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Independent living the dream for Grace

Jul 04 2019

Whether swimming at the Special Olympics or aspiring to live independently and move out of home, Grace Hegarty has always worked hard to make her dreams come true.

From eight months old Grace was happiest in the water learning to swim, and by the time she was 14 years old was already representing Queensland at the Special Olympics.

Now as a 25-year-old Grace, who has an intellectual impairment and epilepsy, still loves the water, joining Masters Swimming Queensland as a multi-class swimmer.

Mum Jane said Grace loves being competitive and the social aspects of swimming in a team.

“Grace swims because she loves the feel of the water and the satisfaction of achieving at an activity that keeps her fit and happy.”

Jane said Grace refuses to let epilepsy dominate her life.

“Grace’s love of swimming outweighs her concern about seizures in the pool. She knows that by taking precautions and ensuring she never swims alone, she can have a successful and safe time in the pool.”

Grace’s next goal in life, to live independently and move out of home, is about to be fulfilled thanks to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

Grace joined the NDIS in July 2018 and receives funding for support workers who assist her accessing the community, attend sport and recreation activities, to complete work experience and to learn living skills to help her move out of home and into Supported Independent Living (SIL).

“Grace is looking at moving into Supported Independent Living in the next few months. This would have been impossible without the NDIS.”

Grace has also completed a literacy and numeracy course and will soon work with an occupational therapist to develop skills to gain work in animal care or at a plant nursery.

Grace received assistance to apply for and implement her NDIS plan from Carers Queensland’s NDIS Local Area Coordination Partner in the Community Program for the Brisbane region.

Jane said Grace’s experience with the NDIS has been positive.

“Staff have been caring and compassionate and when information was needed by me that wasn’t available, genuine, timely effort was made to find out and solve any confusion I was having.”

Carers Queensland can support you to find out more about the NDIS, to apply for the scheme and to help you get started with your NDIS plan.

If you have a disability but are not eligible for the NDIS, Carers Queensland can also help you identify and link to options in your community.

To find out more about how the NDIS and Local Area Coordination program can work for you, visit Carer’s Queensland NDIS Local Area Coordinator Partner in the Community Program for the Brisbane region at Garden City Office, Building 20, Level 1, 2404 Logan Road, Eight Mile Plains or call 3719 9600.