One of Nextt’s clients’ grandmother has taken the time to share her grandson James’ journey of achieving his NDIS goal in to live independently. Joyce praise the incredible job the team at Nextt has done in creating a unique Supported Independent Living model to ensure James gets more out of life.
Our journey for James to move into Supported Independent Living
I am James’s Nan, I advocate with my daughter, James’s Mum. James is 21 years of age, we have always worked hard to give him the best chance of living a happy, healthy independent life.
NDIS came into our region 2014, this is when James became a NDIS participant. Within his Plan in the Participant Statement we were able to list his goals, one being “to move into my own place with friends of my choice with daily supports and to develop Independence skills”.
During his 2017-2018 NDIS Plan his Support Coordinator from NEXTT asked if James and his family like to meet with another young man and his Mum who also had the same goal as James, to move out of home and live with a friend in Supported Independent Living. Our Support Coordinator believed they could be compatible as similar personalities.
James, his Mum and I met with Ryan and his Mum in the Nextt office in March 2017 along with James and Ryan’s Support Coordinators and their office manager. We established James & Ryan knew each other, as had spent some time at the same school and were currently attending a Day Program once a week together. We straight away thought they would be good house mates, as both quiet personalities and would not be disturbing to each other.
In May, Tom, Nextt’s Business Development Manager in Supported Housing travelled from Sydney to meet with both families. He explained the steps we needed to make in preparation for this to happen.
We are also very grateful for his provider Nextt… They worked hard for James and Ryan to achieve their goal of transitioning out of home and moving into Supported Independent Living.
Along with Ryan’s Mum we were keen for the boys to have a couple of weekends away together with a Carer, to see how they got along together. We organised a Support Worker to take them to a cabin in a local Caravan Park for Fri & Sat night for two weekend respite outings. The Carer gave us fabulous feedback from the weekends away. Although they have different preferences, they were happy to take turns and make choices. He also advised they were at ease in each other’s company.
During this time I believe we all had positive thoughts and were getting excited about this arrangement. Early November we met with Tom again with plans of moving forward. He gave us paperwork assisting us with requirements for the house, financial sheet, roster for house and all the preparation plans we would need to complete. Staff member would start at the house 3pm, be there when the boys get home from their day programs, support them with preparing evening meal and showering etc. This staff member would have an 8 hour inactive shift and sleep in the house and be there to support them with morning routine. This shift would finish at 9am.
Our Nextt Support Coordinator during the next few weeks did massive amount of paperwork on behalf of James, completing “Change of Circumstance” to have a new plan allowing for SIL funding. She also completed a Plan Review Report which is compulsory by the NDIS to be completed before next plan and a lot of paperwork was involved in applying for the SIL package. We were so appreciative to have such a dedicated worker assigned to us.
Our next step was to find a suitable house for rent in the suburbs of choice. Fortunately for us Ryan’s grandmother offered the boys her rental house in Grovedale. Ryan’s family live close by and it is accessible for James’s family to visit. From then a move in date was arranged and James’s new NDIS Plan was generated, thankfully a SIL package was included.
Luckily Ryan’s Mum, James’s Mum and myself worked well together and decided who would be providing the things for the house, we were happy to share the costs. This also included the services to the house, boys will pay half the costs for rent, services, groceries and other items required.
An important part of the process of the boys becoming independent, was them having access to an OT. Assessments and recommendations for capacity building with Self-care, In home safety, Community access, Meal preparation and Household tasks were made. Their OT had a staff training session and also visited their house each morning and evening first few days to teach staff processes for the boys to become self-sufficient. James’s Speech Therapist also gave advice to the house staff best strategies to assist him. As James has little speech it was imperative the staff was given methods of communicating with him.
Part of our preparation to help James successfully transition into his new house with Ryan was to make a picture/writing/speaking book explaining he will be moving from Mum’s house to live in his new house. He also has a Velcro board with pics of each day of the week and what will be happening. James also uses the communication app Pro2Go, which we need to keep updated with his current happenings.
Furniture van moved his things the day before he actually stayed there. He was a bit overwhelmed with what was happening when his room was getting set up, wasn’t really sure of what was going on. The next afternoon his first night there he was quiet when we left, but not unhappy, he has been used to staying in respite houses two nights every second week for a few years, so probably thinking it was the same.
James comes back to his Mum’s house each Wednesday and goes swimming with his Carer, then in the afternoon returns to his own house. In time he may come home on a Tuesday afternoon and spend the night at Mum’s, we will wait and see how he transitions. In his SIL package he has been allowed 3hrs Monday to take part in a 10 Pin bowling league and 3hrs Sunday to be supported by his main Carer he had prior to SIL with Nextt. It was very important to keep this routine and we are very appreciative he has been able to keep this Support worker as she has been a large part of his world for over 5 years.
We have been advised James asks for “mum” and “home” quite often, this was not a surprise to us as he has been doing this over the past few months whenever he was away. However, when it is explained to him when he will see “mum” he is fine and moves on to what he has been doing.
At this stage we have not seen any changes in his personality, which is a positive result.
James’s Mum and his family are very happy and grateful he has been given this fantastic opportunity to move out of home and in with a friend of his choice. Ryan’s family have been helpful with all the joint decisions that have needed to be made and given us a positive vibe.
This transition would not have been possible without the funding from the NDIS. It’s essential the boys have the right supports in place to keep them safe and workers to assist them to become independent.
We are also very grateful for his provider Nextt, their staff giving us such great support through the steps to make this happen. They worked hard for James and Ryan to achieve their goal of transitioning out of home and moving into Supported Independent Living. They have been cooperative with all our requirements and guided us through the steps we needed to take. Their House Supervisor is an amazing, we feel very confident he will be doing all he can to give our boys the best opportunities to become independent. We believe this is a great model of accommodation for our boys and hope to see other NDIS participants given this opportunity to grow as well.
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