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How we promote secure independence: Darren's story

How we promote secure independence: Darren's story

How we promote secure independence: Darren’s story

Empowering our NDIS participants

We believe everyone deserves to lead a secure, independent life, especially those participating in the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). When we understand and support each individual’s unique needs, we can help build capacity and improve their independence.

Here we tell the story of Darren and how targeted support from his Care Coordinator Warren, helped empower him. It’s a testament to resilience and the transformative power of understanding and connection.

Understanding behaviour as communication

Darren is a Five Good Friends Member who is on the NDIS, frequently calling our Customer Service Team, often multiple times a day. While we always enjoy hearing from our Members, we must ensure our time is distributed fairly among everyone, so spending too long on the phone with a single person isn't feasible.

It would be easy to assume that Darren was lonely and was calling Five Good Friends because he wanted someone to talk to. But Warren knew that wasn’t the case. Darren has a girlfriend who lives in the same complex as him, sees his friends regularly and has Helpers in his home every day.

Warren understood that behaviour often signals unmet needs or desires. So why was Darren calling so often? Warren set himself a goal to find out what makes Darren tick so that his Helpers could support him better. .

Darren’s fears

When Warren chatted to Darren, he realised that his frequent calls stemmed not from loneliness but from anxiety.

“It became clear that what frustrated Darren was uncertainty. If a Helper changed the visit time, a deadline was missed or a doctor wasn't sure what was wrong, he would get very anxious which would lead to increased calls,” Warren said.

Darren wanted control of his life but because he couldn’t read or make big decisions for himself, that made it difficult.

“Darren felt that many people didn't understand him and he couldn't communicate in a way that people could understand,” he explained.

Empowerment step 1: Work on Darren’s roster

The first step was to work on his roster as that was a big source of anxiety. Darren would often call every few days to make changes or want a different Helper. We explained to him that having a consistent team would lead to less anxiety and better outcomes.

“With a lot of conversations, we got to the point where he had a group of people that he trusted and could build relationships with,” Warren said.

Empowerment step 2: Build independence

Another key component was to help Darren build independence so he could solve some of these problems himself. One of his Helpers supported him to speak to doctors so he no longer had to see his GP to get his insulin shot. He could do it himself.

“He's also reengaged with the psychologist so he can start working on some strategies for when he's anxious. It also gives him an outlet for the concerns that he has every week,” Warren said.

Darren is looking into starting TAFE which is something he’d like to do but is fearful about failing.

“He's now being able to express what his fears are and talk them through, instead of just saying, ‘nope, I'm not doing it’, which has been a huge improvement over the last six months,” Warren explained.

Empowerment step 3: Helping Darren make decisions for himself

The third source of anxiety was when people who support him outside of Five Good Friends did not return his calls.

“At a stakeholders meeting, it was suggested that we dedicate a day that Darren can call each of us. And that's worked really well. Darren now goes directly to his guardian when he has an issue, who has also supported him to make decisions that are important to him” Warren said.

Thanks to the support from Five Good Friends, he even planned and booked a holiday earlier this year and got it all signed off and paid for by his Public Guardian.

Measuring our success through progress

Tracking progress is vital. We established a system to monitor the frequency of Darren’s calls so that we could measure his growing independence.

From talking to Darren we can see how making decisions for himself has helped improve his quality of life and independence. He doesn’t need to call us every day. He wanted to be sure that his life was going in the right direction and now he’s realised that it is.

Moving forward

Darren's story is just one example of how tailored support can foster secure independence among NDIS participants. His progress from seeking daily reassurance to planning his own holidays and pursuing educational goals, shows the impact of understanding, supporting and empowering individuals on their terms.

Our commitment to secure independence and empower our NDIS participants is unwavering. If you want help from a team who learns more to support your journey, get in touch with our team.

Learn more: How we match you with your ideal Helper

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