Sport-loving sisters Hanaa and Sahar Arackakkunnel love being with their friends and taking an active part in school.
Whether it be playing school futsal and netball for 13-year-old Hanaa or swimming in the pool for eight-year-old Sahar, both are continuing to build on their confidence and communication skills thanks to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).
Mum Muna Ibrahim said that before accessing the scheme in 2018, limited supports were available to Hanaa, who has deteriorating hearing, and Sahar, who has Down Syndrome and is also hard of hearing.
Both girls are now accessing allied health including speech therapy and occupational therapy interventions, and further support with coping mechanisms and emotional regulation through a psychologist.
The family are also accessing Australian Sign Language (Auslan) classes to better communicate and understand the girls better.
“I am hopeful that these early interventions will be positive for my children and they achieve their goals and are able to contribute to society when they're older,” Muna said.
Hanaa looks forward to playing in her sport teams and is improving her confidence and communication skills every day.
“Hanaa’s goal is to improve and regulate her emotions and build her self-confidence. With the NDIS she is successfully learning strategies to help her with her confidence and coping with her needs.
“She now thinks and reflects before reacting; Hanaa is much more attuned to her emotions. She is learning to articulate better and understand her disability,” Muna said.
Together with swimming, Sahar also enjoys learning and has easily picked up Auslan.
“Sahar has learnt new signs which she practises at school. She is learning more sounds and words and is trying to talk more. Her fine motor skills are improving.
“She is also getting better with expressing what she wants. Because she uses more sign language, it has been a tremendous help for us to learn some Auslan in order to communicate.”
The sisters received assistance to apply for and implement their NDIS plan from Carers Queensland’s NDIS Local Area Coordination Partner in the Community Program for the Brisbane region.
Muna said her and the girls’ experience with the scheme has only been positive and an enormous help for them and the family.
“My Local Area Coordinator, Sally, has been extremely helpful, listening to my concerns and goals and also answered my questions and gave me a lot of helpful guidance. There are no words to describe my appreciation for the kindness and understanding she showed.”