‘’My heart is happy!’’- Christopher
Christopher is 17 years old and has just walked into his very own studio for the first time. This is his new pad, located at the back of his family home in the leafy Melbourne suburb of Bulleen. He has his own bedroom and bathroom as a part of the studio, which has been provided by Kids Under Cover. For Christopher, the studio means he has his own space yet he still has the great support of his family next door.
Christopher has Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and is looking to finish school at the end of this year. Christopher’s mother, Maria, is here today at the unveiling of his new ‘home’. Maria is a single parent of three teenage children; she takes in a deep breath before explaining how ‘Christopher has only recently been in remission for cancer’. She is open and direct about the strain Christopher’s health has had on both him and the family. Maria points out how with ASD, ‘change is a real challenge at times for Christopher’. She knows that this coupled with Christopher finishing school this year, means a new chapter lies ahead for her family.
In early 2018 Maria and Christopher met Melissa, their Support Coordinator at healthAbility. Support Coordination is a service at healthAbility that forms a part of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). Having been employed by Maria to coordinate the supports in Christopher’s NDIS plan, Melissa was able to ensure he had access to the right support areas in the community. It also meant that the family did not have to go it alone, during what can be an overwhelming process.
After six months of working together Melissa had the idea of applying for a Kids Under Cover studio, to help Christopher develop his independent living skills. When the application was successful, Melissa was thrilled to be able to share the news with the family. Today she has had the privilege of presenting the studio to Maria, Christopher and his brother William, who are pictured below with their pet dog Bo and Cale from Kids Under cover.
Melissa explains how this studio in particular is so unique because it is actually the first one to be built on a rental property. ‘Maria’s landlord was so supportive during the entire process, she even wrote a letter of recommendation when she was up in Queensland…two days before her first child was due’. Flash forward today, to say that Christopher is thrilled to have his own space to thrive, is an understatement.
“Christopher danced as he explored his new space, but not before double checking that the the WiFi had been connected… just like any teenager would!’’ – Melissa
Until today, Christopher has been sharing a bedroom with his 16-year-old brother William. This is no easy feat for any teenage boy, let alone a family facing its challenges. By having his own studio, Christopher can now begin to develop his independence and life skills before his next big transition. It also means he can have some breathing space during those times of change.
The generous support from Kids Under Cover continues with scholarships offered to all three of Maria’s teenage children, to offset basic education costs to empower young people to achieve their goals.
Kids Under Cover is a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to preventing youth homelessness. They are a charity organisation in Australia supporting vulnerable young people between the ages of 12 and 25 years who are either already homeless or at risk of homelessness.
At healthAbility our knowledge of services and support available means we can effectively support you to implement your NDIS plan. Contact us today to find out how we can help.