As any mum of a child with a disability knows, the juggle is real, and at times, it can be overwhelming.
For single mum of two, Virginia Knight, life was so busy caring for her son Noah, 13, who has Angelman Syndrome, that she was unable to focus on her own needs and that of her seven-year-old daughter, Molly.
While she had previously engaged the services of several support worker agencies, she was tired of being ‘let down’ by the lack of consistency with who came to her home to care for Noah. The poor communication from those agencies also meant that there were times when no one turned up at all.
“There was no stability in Noah’s care, random people would turn up at the house and I would have to spend so much time training them in how to care for Noah and his needs,” Virginia explains.
When a friend recommended Carer Solutions Direct Employ service, Virginia had no idea just how much her family dynamic was about to change for the better.
Carer Solutions assists families like Virginia’s to set themselves up as formal employers and people they already know as formal employees. Carer Solutions take care of all the tricky stuff, giving families the assistance and information they need to set up their support team.
Through their Direct Employ service, Virginia was able to connect with people who were already in Noah’s life, and formally employ them as his support workers. Virginia approached two women from Noah’s special school to come on board to support him, as well as a friend of hers from university – who she is studying nursing with.
The support workers who Virginia fondly refers to as ‘Noah’s girls’, assist with mealtimes and showering, as well as taking Noah to his therapies and swimming classes. Virginia says he is happy knowing he can do teenage boy things, that he perhaps he wouldn’t want to do with his mum.
“Noah already knew the girls, so formally bringing them on board as his support workers made total sense. They’re like family to us and it’s so good to have people come into my home every day that I know and trust,” she says.
“Our long-term goal for Noah is for him to become more independent and as a teenager, it’s great that his support workers can help to get him out and about in the community.”
Virginia says having the freedom to employ people she knows and trusts, not only meant she could go to university, but also that she and the kids could do more things as a family.
“Before, it would have been too much to take the kids away for a holiday on my own, but now with Noah’s girls, I am able to take them on holidays with us to support Noah, which makes things so much easier,” she says.
To find out more about this unique service, visit the Carer Solutions website or give their friendly team a call on 1300 729 839.
Please note: In principle the NDIA considers family members as informal support and not employable via the NDIS criteria. People you know beyond family are considered eligible to be employed by you as your support workers. The NDIA states:
“Generally, the NDIA will only fund family members to provide supports in exceptional circumstances. For example, when:
- there is a risk of harm or neglect to the participant;
- there are religious or cultural reasons for funding a family member to provide supports; or
- the participant has strong personal views, for example in relation to their privacy or dignity.”
You can read the NDIA’s full official statement on the NDIS website here