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Living independently with a disability

Independent living is an important part of growing up, and having a disability doesn’t mean you need to miss out on this major milestone. Hear from Gretta who tells us all about her journey towards independent living.

Independent living means having freedom and the opportunity to truly live life as any other adult. But if you have a disability you know that achieving these goals for yourself isn’t always easy.

Hi, I’m Gretta. Ever since I was young, I’ve dreamt of living independently. Because I have Cerebral Palsy, which impacts the way I’m able to control my muscles, there was always a little part of me that doubted whether I could do it.

So, I spent my teenage years and early adulthood thinking of ways that I could live independently and still receive the care that I needed. I even thought of paying an abled body’s housemate’s rent in exchange for having them help me out between the hours that I had my regular care. When I reached my late twenties, it became clear that these ideas weren’t suited to my personality. I was also spending my time between my parents’ houses.

Specialist Disability Accommodation

Although I didn’t mind this routine I did find it difficult to manage my social life, studies and career around two separate homes. Luckily, right at this time I was introduced to Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA). As I began to explore this option I realised that this model was absolutely perfect for me. The SDA model supplies participants with a dual or single occupancy accessible unit to rent, and access to on-site carers. After working with me, my team, and the NDIA, I was all set to move into my own SDA apartment in Penrith.

Tips for living independently with a disability

It’s been a year since I moved into my apartment and I have learnt a few things about living independently already.

Tip 1: Be realistic

It’s important to have realistic expectations about your current and future needs. Take the time to think and plan for what daily living looks life for you. For me this meant organising the installation of a ceiling hoist.

Tip 2: Be open

Meet with and get to know new staff. Learning to get familiar with staff members can make living on your own a lot more enjoyable. In my case this was with meeting the Interaction team onsite who I have ended up getting along with extremely well.

Tip 3: Acknowledge your independence

Moving into your own home is a major part of being an adult. Don’t forget to take the time to acknowledge what you have achieved, and remember that your opinions matter the most. Although this can be hard to remember sometimes, it’s been important to remind myself of my independence because it represents a part of my identity and what I means to be an adult.

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