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Baileys celebrate NDIS milestone with first ever family holiday

Kathryn, Grace, Adrian and Lachlan Bailey back at home after their first family holiday.

 THE Baileys have started 2019 on a high note after celebrating their first holiday together as a family in more than a decade.   

Kathryn and Adrian Bailey are the parents of Lachlan, 14, and Grace, 12. Both children have a diagnosis of ASD and Downs Syndrome, which can lead to challenging behaviours. In the past, this has made traveling impractical; however, through their participation in the NDIS over the last 12 months, the pair have learned living skills and the value of routine.

Making it this far required dedication, including from support workers and a plan manager, funded by the NDIS.

“My plan manager is my backup, my sounding board,” Kathryn said.

“I’ll ask if something is doable, explain the justification, and she can see if it works.

“Sometimes you need to look at things from a better angle to find a different solution.”

Kathryn said when it comes to getting supports it is important to find what works for you, with local expos like Options Day and general information sessions a good place to start.

“I found it (Options Day) was really good for me personally; I don’t have time to contact every business, my household is busy, so if I can go to a one-stop shop that’s great,” she said.

“I did the rounds twice, and I’ll attend again this year to update my information and see what new things are out there for my kids.”

The Baileys have chosen to employ their support workers directly, and have set up a weekly routine which is paying dividends in good behaviour from Lachlan and Grace.

“We’ve gone from two children that we had to physically wash, shower, dress and dry, to two children who will wash and dress themselves 70% of the time. We have good days and bad days, but we’re really chuffed to be making these baby steps. For us, that’s what change is,” she said.

“This morning, Dad (Adrian) sat and watched Lachlan cook himself fried eggs on toast. He cooks himself breakfast every morning now. He wasn’t doing that 18 months ago.”

Having just completed their first reviews for both children, the Baileys have got clearly defined goals which have been honed over the last 12 months. Both sets of goals relate to developing independence.

Kathryn said drawing up a summary of Lachlan and Grace’s goals, key achievements and the strategies the family have in place made review a very easy and simple process.

For Adrian and Kathryn, the NDIS has given them the space to be a proper family.

“It’s given us a real break that we desperately needed. It was really tough,” Adrian said.

“We’ve found the NDIS has changed our lives and given us the opportunity to have a breather so that we can parent better and also function better as a couple. It gives us back our space and identity rather than just being parents of children with special needs. We’re actually back to being Adrian and Kathy,” Kathryn said.

As a reward for their great progress over the year, Lachlan and Grace each received second-hand guitars for Christmas (pictured). The pair are continuing to become more engaged with their community, with support, and will continue to use the NDIS to pursue their goals throughout 2019.

If you require support accessing or navigating the NDIS, consult your Local Area Coordinator for the Bundaberg region, IWC. You can find IWC LACs at 184 Barolin St, Bundaberg, Monday to Friday.

About the author

IWC's major focus is to improve and support Indigenous and non-Indigenous people, and the vulnerable and disadvantaged people across the Bundaberg and Wide Bay / Burnett.

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