Jacob has surpassed his own expectations in just 12 months with the support of the National Disability Insurance Scheme and the 18-year-old, who has Asperger’s syndrome and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) puts it down to being supported by people who understand him.
“I was of the absolute opinion that I had no chance and no hopes to achieve anything in life, because I spent my entire schooling thinking I was a complete idiot,” he said.
“After accessing the NDIS and actually learning what my struggles were, I could finally take some steps to improve myself instead of thinking that I was broken and couldn’t do something. It’s just I couldn’t do it that way. I had to find a different way to do it.”
In Jacob’s NDIS plan, he had planned to get his driver’s licence over a couple of years, because the goal felt too big and unobtainable at first. But, with the help of the NDIS, he found a driving instructor who specialises in teaching people who learn differently.
“I’ve got my P plates now,” he said proudly. “It basically took me two years for the Ls, but only six months after finding Liza to get my Ps. She was the first one that actually made sense.”
In addition to obtaining his licence, Jacob was able to complete a Certificate III in Business, 12 months sooner than expected. Previously, anxiety about learning overwhelmed Jacob. It left him exhausted and unable to complete his studies.
Jacob’s mum Meg, believes he wouldn’t have been able to accomplish any of this without the NDIS.
“We wouldn’t have known to look for support if we didn’t have the NDIS. There’s things that we wouldn’t have thought of before and definitely couldn’t have afforded,” she said.
“Jacob’s psychologist recommended a mentoring group that is made up by young mentors. Jesse and Alek (Jacob’s mentors) are the most incredible humans on the planet in my eyes. The time Jacob has spent with them has led to the most extraordinary growth for him.
“That teen who fell asleep during the interview process and had to completely zone out is no more. The meltdowns that were experienced daily are now only occasional, and typically triggered by new experiences or high adrenaline incidents – his coping tools have improved greatly.”
Jacob has also found great support with his new companion, Ruby, a miniature poodle. After losing a beloved family pet at the beginning of the year, Jacob’s occupational therapist suggested he get a new dog.
“I didn’t realise how much anxiety and just general coping methods I had around Bella. So after about a two month period without her, I was really struggling to get anything done.
“I had a meltdown over the littlest things. There were two months there, after Bella had died, my heart rate used to sit around 140 beats per minute as a resting heart rate.
“If I had to do anything it probably jumped up to around 160-170. Since getting Ruby, my resting heart rate sits between 60 and 70. I’m not as exhausted all the time,” he said.
Looking back, Jacob acknowledges it has been a year of new things and opportunities, pushing him outside of his comfort zone.
“I am full of gratitude to the NDIS for creating opportunities to find the right people to teach and guide me through this year. I have achieved more than I ever thought possible,” he said.
Jacob received assistance to implement NDIS funding from Carers Queensland’s NDIS Local Area Coordination Partner in the Community Program for the Sunshine Coast region.
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.
To find out more about how the NDIS and Local Area Coordination program can work for you, contact Carers Queensland on 1300 999 636, or firstname.lastname@example.org.