Emma leads an eventful and busy life balancing her time between work, theatre group, holding Zumba classes and selling her craft at the markets.
The 30-year-old from Beaudesert, who has Down syndrome, is using her National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) funding to access support workers to successfully continue her passions and become more independent.
Combining her love of being creative and developing a business has seen Emma and her brother, Matt – who has Down syndrome and autism – create This is Us Creatives to sell their arts and crafts at markets.
Emma’s mum, Deb, said while both Matt and Emma’s support workers assist with making crafts, Matt’s support worker also posts about their business on social media and Emma’s support worker assists her selling on market day.
“Emma is very creative and passionate about her art and loves to make beautiful art and crafts such as earrings, mosaics, hand-painted planter pots and cards; their products are very popular,” Deb said.
“Emma has very creative support workers who assist and guide her and help her in all the process of making art and then having to sell them through a market stall a couple of times a year at Tamborine Mountain Makers Markets.”
Two days a week, Emma works for a local accounting business with her support worker assisting her with administration tasks, cleaning and shopping for the office.
“I started in 2018 in August; I like working there and it is fun to do stuff, like shopping,” Emma said.
This year, Emma has also begun to run free Zumba classes at her local church hall with her support worker there to help.
“It's only just started up in the last month or so and has been well attended, with lots of laughs,” Deb said.
“Emma’s support person is there to help her run the program and help Emma work out what she needs to do.
“It has been great as it's helping Emma interact with people and engage them in conversations.”
When Emma isn’t working, acting and singing is her passion.
“I started acting in 2011 when I was 20 years old; I liked to do acting at Brisbane every Thursday with Blue Roo Theatre Company (where I) sing, dance and act,” Emma said.
While Emma is taking a year off from acting, she has previously performed in the company’s opera and numerous plays, including A Midsummer Night’s Dream last year, and won a theatre award in 2016 for their play Orpheus and Eurydice.
Deb said accessing speech therapy supports is also helping Emma with her love of performing.
“One of Emma’s goals is to engage with allied health professionals, such as her speech therapist, to build her capacity to improve her communication skills which helps with her acting lines,” Deb said.
Emma 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 Ipswich region.
“The NDIS has opened up Emma's world,” Deb said.
“She loves her support team and we're very grateful for what it has offered both Emma and Matt.”
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.