Alyssa Maughan is expanding her massage and intuitive canine behaviour coaching business with the help of technology and the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).
The Woodridge local began to study in this field and launched her unique business four years ago, with a passion to support people who are struggling with their pet’s behaviour.
Since accessing the NDIS in April 2020, Alyssa, who has a congenital vision impairment called septo-optic dysplasia, accesses support workers to assist her to do her job.
“There is a lot of hands-on required with my business and a lot of case studies to review,” she said.
“This work, and my study, has taken me to rural environments that aren’t accessible by public transport, so I access support workers to take me to these places.
“I also train them up so they can understand and interpret canine body language so that we can work safely.
“A support worker helps me to fill in forms and takes footage of what I am doing for study and work, which is the bulk of what I ask them to do, which is helpful.”
Alyssa said she has always been interested in pursuing work with animals, starting with short courses and certificates in both human and animal massage.
“I was quite skilled in these areas as I grew up with a lot of animals around me, and also grew up knowing how health works for people,” she said.
“I am interested in the brain, the mind behind the animal and also our mindset in how we influence our animal’s behaviour.”
Alyssa is always eager to learn, as she continues to study canine behaviour online with further study on the cards.
“It is a blended delivery of online and mentorship, and I have done open learning classes through Registered Training Organisations with different units of study that will be finished in February.
“From there I will do a Companion Animal Studies Certificate through TAFE, which takes about a year to complete.
“This complements what I have been doing with behaviour and body work, and helps with personally handling animals.”
Alyssa accesses specific technology to ensure she can continue her study and run her business effectively.
“Laptops can be cumbersome to carry on the road, particularly if you are also handling an animal or observing their behaviour,” she said.
“They also take time to start up, which if you need to take quick notes, makes you less efficient.
“Braille is quicker to type with, so I am working towards getting a new Braille Notetaker to take quicker notes with a client.
“The Aira app also helps me, as it allows me to get a description of what is happening around me; if I need to take photos it helps me with that. It is almost like a virtual description.
“When I am not using a support worker I can make use of the app, as it also helps me navigate a new environment and is making me efficient in things that I am doing.
“I use it when I get lost; I can make a call to Aira and it tells me what you are seeing through the phone’s camera, or if I’m catching a new bus route, it can go on google maps to work out wherever I went wrong, or a new route to have someone to keep me on the right track.
“It also helps me to scan documents and it can read it or format it in a way where I can see the text in the document.”
Alyssa said she is focussing on finishing her mentorship and building her client base in 2021.
“We have been piloting the last month an idea which had good feedback (and) that can be a part of my niche – decompression walks,” she said.
Alyssa received assistance to apply for and implement her NDIS funding from Carers Queensland’s NDIS Local Area Coordination Partner in the Community Program for the Brisbane region.
Alyssa said the NDIS is allowing her to feel more confident running her business.
“It has given me the opportunity to expand my business more than what I anticipated when I started it,” she said.
“These are things I wouldn’t have implemented without the NDIS.”
Carers Queensland can support you to find out more about the NDIS, to apply for funding and to help you get started with the NDIS.
If you have a disability, but are not eligible for the NDIS, Carers Queensland can help you identify and link to options for support in your community.
You can also contact Carers Queensland on 1300 999 636, or firstname.lastname@example.org