Rainey and her tricycle
Nine-year-old Rainey loves cycling through the park with her brother Rye, while mum Amber keeps an eye on her kids.
It’s a simple joy, and one made possible by the support the family receives through the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).
Rainey has spina bifida and uses a wheelchair. One of the things funded by the NDIS was a hand-pedalled tricycle, so she can have the same fun riding independently as any other nine-year-old.
“Being an outdoors person and then having a child with a mobility issue changes your whole life,” Amber says.
“Being able to get out together and explore, and get that fresh air and independence, makes a massive difference for all of us.”
Rainey loves everything about her new trike, right down to the colour scheme.
“I use it a lot and it helps me get around a lot. It’s fun to ride because I can go really, really fast.”
Amber says the process of getting the trike was straightforward, with support from her Carers Queensland Local Area Coordinator, her NDIS plan manager, therapists, and community organisation Spina Bifida Hydrocephalus Queensland (SBHQ).
“We had a trial of what tricycle was best for her through SBHQ, and our physiotherapist helped us through that process of choosing which was best.
“We got the application in, we got our tricycle, and now we’re out in the park doing things we were never able to do before.”
Amber says her family received support under the old disability services system before the introduction of the NDIS, but the new system is proving much less work and easier to navigate.
“When you have kids with special needs, and you have to work, and live, there’s a lot to do. Managing all the supports is a job in itself, and our plan manager does that now.
“It takes a huge amount of stress off you.
“We know that we can get what we need, we just have to take the action to make it happen. So, life is better.”
Less time spent with paperwork means more time for the important things in life – like time spent in nature with family.
“I walk behind the kids while they’re on their bikes,” Amber says, while Rainey and Rye ride circles around the picnic table where she’s sitting in their local park.
“They’re a few hundred metres in front of me, they’re learning their road rules, they’re getting their independence, they’re exploring things, and we’re in the environment where we couldn’t be with ease before.”