Jeff Ellem is the father and guardian of Stephen, who lives in an Achieve Australia group home in northwestern Sydney.
Stephen enjoys being alone in his room and has been matched with a home and roommates who understand this and accommodate his needs.
“Our experience in moving over to the NDIS was largely positive. I think it is a matter of asking the right questions, and being firm about getting the right answers.
“Our son has an intellectual disability, is blind in one eye and has limited vision in the other, and also has some mobility issues. It was made very clear during the planning process that Stephen requires 24/7 support, and that is what he is now funded for.
“However, we did have some issues in obtaining funding for music therapy. Stephen has a history of biting his hands, causing severe wounds due to stress and frustration.
“Over the years, we worked with various therapists to try and resolve this. We finally found that music therapy works best. Stephen now takes drumming lessons and this has proved an ideal way for him to vent his frustrations physically.
“During the first round of discussions with the NDIS, funding for music therapy was declined. We were told we had not put our case for this particular support ‘robustly enough’.
However, with the help of Achieve Australia’s Support Coordination and My Pathways teams we were able to make a stronger case. We are now awaiting the outcome.”