When I left school I did what a lot of people who have disabilities get to do. I went to a day centre and did the things that you normally do in a day centre like drawing, cooking, art, yoga, going out and they even told me I could get a job. I didn’t hate this stuff but I didn’t have much choice about it and I didn’t look forward to going there and doing it, it was pretty boring, and the job never happened either. Going to a day centre seemed to me to be what you do when you leave school, that’s what every body else did anyway.
When I left school I did what a lot of people who have disabilities get to do. I went to a day centre and did the things that you normally do in a day centre like drawing, cooking, art, yoga, going outand they even told me I could get a job. I didn’t hate this stuff but I didn’t have much choice about it and I didn’t look forward to going there and doing it, it was pretty boring, and the job neverhappened either. Going to a day centre seemed to me to be what you do when you leave school,that’s what every body else did anyway.
The best part of the week for me was delivering the meals on wheels. I was in a bus with about four other clients and we used to take it in turns to give the meal to the old person. Delivering meals on wheels meant I got to go out of the centre and meet people. The best part was when the old person would open the door and I would hand them a meal and we would have a chat. I used to really look forward to chatting with the old people. For most of the time I didn’t really get a chance to do that much chatting with anybody except staff.
Things were going along and nothing much was happening until my Nan and mum decided that the day centre weren’t doing good enough. They were not doing what they said they would do and I was not happy. So Nan got the phone book and rang a disability service near us. Nan rang Milparinka. Stephen and Claudia came over and we talked about what I was doing at the centre, what I liked to do and what I wanted to do. I told them that the best part was chatting with the old people when I gave them their meal but that I only got to do this a few times a day. They told us how at Milparinka other people my age were doing all sorts of things that sounded really good and lots of them didn’t even go to a centre!!! I had a whole list of stuff in my head that I wanted to do like work with animals, old people, children, motorbikes, shopping centre, hair dressers and music.
Guess what? Now I have a volunteer position 2 days per week at Lort Smith Animal Hospital. Milparinka worked with them so that I could work independently there. They put together a list of my jobs using pictures because I can’t read and arranged for a staff member to be the person to see if I need help, which I rarely do. I am a member of the Preston Motorcycle Club and help out when I go to the meetings and race meetings. Milparinka helped me to buy a computer so that I could keep up with the motorcycle club over the internet. I also use the computer for things like facebook to keep in contact with new friends. At the race meetings I help out on the back of the truck which picks up the riders when they fall off and need help. I also help with directing the parking. I help to
sell raffle tickets and go for rides around the race tracks! I go GoGo dancing every week.
I went and got myself another volunteer job at my local op shop and met some people who live in my street who I had never met before, I got my first aid certificate, I cook for the whole family every Tuesday and we all sit down at the dinner table and have a big plate of Lasagna and I am now learning how to cook shepherds pie and cakes. I know a lot more people now to talk to, most of them are people who are friends and co workers not people who are paid to give me support.
What next? I won’t be going back to a centre because it doesn’t make sense to me. I will be looking for work in a nursing home and a child care centre.
On sadder note Rhoda has not found her roles in aged and child care… Rhonda shifted houses and now lives with a different parent much further away from all of her established roles and relationships. She moved to a place where other people are providing her with a service rather than a life, a day service, and are doing for her rather than with her. They are looking after her. Rhonda is now back in groups doing a lot of things that are less interesting and not a lot of value to her. When we talk to her now she has fewer conversations to have and less people and things to talk about. This is an example of needing to build safeguards into people lives that ensure people’s lives keep moving forward even when disruptions occur