Disability| It took a while but Katherine’s dream came true | Newcastle Herald


mates: Katherine set up independently in her unit, with only Bobby, her beloved pet budgie, living in her space. She’s celebrating the first anniversary. Photo: Supplied

National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) participant, Katherine Black is celebrating one year, living independently in her own unit with reduced supports – something she said people doubted she could do.

The 62-year-old, who has Down syndrome, said she was living in a unit, managed as a group home with 24/7 care, but didn’t need around the clock care because she was capable and confident enough to do most daily living tasks herself.

Engaging her chosen local providers, Mel and Catherine, the two women set about making Katherine’s goal a reality.


Proving her doubters wrong, Katherine is now enjoying life in her own unit, feeling quite proud and accomplished with less support.

Katherine has developed a real confidence about what she wants from life.

Support worker Catherine

Her increased independence means she no longer needs the same level of NDIS funding because she doesn’t need to access Supported Independent Living (SIL) funds anymore.

“Living independently has been my goal for years. I wanted to prove to everyone I could do it, and I did,” Katherine said proudly.

“My unit is lovely; it’s wonderful. I’m really enjoying being here with Bobbie (the Budgie),” she added.

Catherine said over the years Katherine has developed “a real confidence about what she wants from life”.

“Katherine was living in a group home, but she didn’t like living there. She found it noisy and disruptive, and she didn’t need much support. We could see the environment was affecting her health,” she said.

“Now she’s got this lovely little one-bedroom unit, with a kitchen, meals area and lounge. She’s so much happier and her general health and wellbeing has really improved.”

Catherine said working closely with Mel and her team, and understanding Katherine’s strengths and needs, they’ve managed to build a strong support network around her.

“Katherine’s occupational therapist put some great strategies in place so now she has a communication book she fills out if anything’s concerning her or if she needs help with getting things done,” she said.

“She also has a medications book so she knows when to take them. They are sealed in a Webster pack so she’s happy to administer them herself.

“I have weekends to myself now,” Katherine added. “It’s nice. I can walk to the shops if I need anything, like milk or bread, and Bobbie and I can relax and watch TV.”

While it took a few years of intensive work to get Katherine to this point she had to prove to be responsible to group home staff before she could move out.

“Katherine had to learn a lot of new skills around understanding personal relationships and what’s required to be a good neighbour, but she’s been doing extremely well.

“Initially, we were all concerned about how Katherine was going to go, but you’ve got to give people a chance, and thanks to a good planner and flexible funding, Katherine is now living the life she has longed for.”

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