Disability Support Worker

How the NDIS is changing the nature of Support Work

Mel Schlaeger

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) means choice for people with a disability (PWD) and for support staff. But what does this mean in action?

 From the perspective of a person with a disability NDIS means choice of service provider and support workers. This can also mean self-managing your support budget or having a coordinator of supports to help with paying staff and organising other aspects of your NDIS plan as required.

 In practical terms NDIS should mean that people with a disability can be in the driver’s seat of their own lives. Service providers have to be mindful that people with disabilities are now customers who can take their funding wherever their individual needs can be best met.

In my role with projectABLE, I hope to enable young people to see people with a disability as just like them, but with different support needs.  We want the students who attend projectABLE workshops to get the sense that supporting someone who has a disability is not about creating a life for the person.  Instead, it’s about walking alongside them and supporting the life they have created for themselves.

I want to acknowledge at this point that some people with disability will need more help than others to create and maintain a meaningful lifestyle. However it is our consistent purpose through disability awareness training to ensure PWD are not subject to pity in today’s society. For some students, projectABLE presenters are the first people with disability that they have met who are working.  I feel confident that in the future, young people will no longer be surprised that PWD are paid members of the workforce.

Future workers in the disability sector will have the opportunity to work with PWD who are active members of the community and who will be more confident to access the choices that are available to them.  I see the support worker/PWD relationship moving from people being grateful for the support they receive to people instead having the opportunity to connect on a genuine human level.

In the end it all comes down to respecting others and treating everyone as equals, and we can all be a small part of the mosaic that will continue to create positive change now and into the future.

 

Melanie Schlaegar

True Stories: Dale Clark – If I can, anyone can…

Dale Clark

 

About three and half years ago, after being self-employed for many years, I decided that I was fed up with what I was doing and chasing money owed to me.  So I made myself unemployed and after a few visits to a job agency the opportunity came up to start a Cert III in Disability through the Pathways Program which was supported by Nexus and another organisation.  When it came to the work experience part of the program, Nexus gave me the opportunity to do so in one of their group homes.

Soon after this was complete I was employed by Nexus as a Casual Disability Support Worker Level 2 and after six months I gained a permanent Level 2 position.
After another seven months I was given the opportunity to work as a temporary Level 3 Key Worker position which in the last few months has been made permanent.

The Disability Sector offers so many opportunities and if I can relearn and commence a new career at 51 years of age anyone can. It’s wonderful!

Dale Clark
Level 3 Key Worker (DSD 3)
Nexus Inc
Moonah , Hobart
Tasmania

True Stories: Matthew Old – Took the role and never looked back!

Matthew OldI entered the sector by chance when my sister organised an interview for me with another disability organisation in their transition to work programs. Having no real knowledge or understanding of the issues faced by people with disability it was a steep learning curve. I did, however, have experience working with young people and believing in them, to make the most of their lives. I took this into my role and haven’t looked back.

I now work as a Leaving Care Program Mentor for Northcott Disability Services in the Hunter region. I work with young people who are or have been in the care of Community Services and are about to make a transition into the Ageing, Disability and Home Care sector.