National Carers Week: One family’s experience

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The support he needs: The Disability Trust helped Reece find a fantastic home through their supported accommodation / shared living services where he receives support from caring staff. Photo: NEG Photography.

The support he needs: The Disability Trust helped Reece find a fantastic home through their supported accommodation / shared living services where he receives support from caring staff. Photo: NEG Photography.

A parent shares her experience with The Disability Trust.

Our family’s future plan was that our son Reece, aged 19, diagnosed with a moderate intellectual disability and autism would live with us forever, so his Nan had a granny flat built in our backyard.

We had not accessed much in disability services for his 18 years of life so the staff at The Disability Trust did not know Reece. 

Our life was turned upside down when Reece turned 18; in my eyes he had a mental breakdown, or his hormones were going crazy or in his autistic mind when you turn 18 you move out of home. 

Whatever it was; Reece decided he was leaving and in his words “I leaving, I live somewhere else”. His personality changed from conforming and happy to aggressive and angry all the time. He wanted to go to hospital, call the ambulance or police and was even a missing person for a few hours. 

Our family was in a crisis and we felt so lost, alone and like no one would know the heartache and pain we were experiencing (unless they had gone through it). I was at the end of the line and had no answers, it flatlined me.

From the moment I called The Disability Trust we never looked back, everyone we dealt with was wonderful from case manager Dean, emergency respite staff, management Pam, Lainie, Shayne and all the fantastic staff at Reece’s new home. 

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They all really care about Reece, his needs and wants and worried about him and our family. The staff has had to manage Reece on not such great days of withdrawal of medication, medication reactions and his challenging behaviour and they have always been positive and managed his challenges with dignity and respect.

Supported accommodation / shared living were not something I knew much about and my emotional state at this time was very low. I was so scared, missed him like crazy and in my eyes thought he would not cope living with strangers. 

When we were told that they had found a nice home for Reece suitable to his likes of sport, parks, open spaces and not far away from our home (nine minutes) and with young guys of similar age and disability, I remember meeting the house manager Shayne and just cried for the whole meeting. 

From day one we never had to worry about the care and support he was receiving from all his house staff - they are wonderful. 

A year and a half on, Reece’s medication has been reviewed and he is so much more settled in himself and happy and settled in his home. We are spending lovely quality time with him and he is back at footy training and for weekend games with his favourite team “Collies”. 

We can all enjoy a good quality of life now and I never have to worry who will care for Reece if something happens to us, as he has his home and people that know how to best support him. Thank you everyone at The Disability Trust.

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