LIVES CHANGED FOREVER: NDIS participants Kerry Read-Zorzi and her son Blake Read-Zorzi.
LIVES CHANGED FOREVER: NDIS participants Kerry Read-Zorzi and her son Blake Read-Zorzi. Liana Walker

How NDIS has changed families lives for good

THEY say a change is as good as a holiday but for Kerry Read-Zorzi this is the first time she has had both.

For 16 years Mrs Read-Zorzi has not been able to take a break from being a 24 hour carer and mother to her disabled son Blake. Now under the NDIS this has all changed.

"I've literally been able to go away for seven days without worrying, because I've had the funding to get support workers in for Blake,” she said.

On the previous disability scheme Mrs Read-Zorzi could not afford the support workers they needed.

"We constantly kept losing workers because I wasn't able to pay them enough,” she said.

"The funding I have now gives me the ability to have time out, to get away when I want to.

"That's where it's changed our life.

"My husband and I might be able to have a romantic night ... we might be able to have a night away completely” she said with a laugh.

"That's never happened - it's always got to be me or my husband here, but now I'd be quite confident in leaving the (carers) and I have the money to leave the girls here 24 hours a day.”

Big smiles from the Granite Belt Support Service Community
Big smiles from the Granite Belt Support Service Community Liana Walker

This is the second year NDIS has been a part of the Granite Belt community. Mrs Read-Zorzi had to do a lot of research to fully understand the new scheme.

"It's taken me nearly eight months to get my head around it, and it's the same for the NDIS people who are trying to do the NDIS and the plans,” she said.

"It's like writing a story about how you'd like your life to look and setting goals, what your goals would be, what you'd like to be able to do what you couldn't normally do without the support of funding.”

She said they missed out on things like visiting family because they needed support workers and special equipment to be able to travel. They now have the funding to be able to do this.

Along with seeing her family Mrs Read-Zorzi wanted Blake to get out into the community playing sport and socialising.

Granite Belt Support Services president Fiona Marsden said although respite was no longer part of the disability scheme, participants would still be able to receive it if it worked with their plan.

"If you want a specific thing you have to tie that into goals and that's not always easy,” she said.

"For instance respite is something that is technically not available in the NDIS, so if you want something that would be like respite, you would have to work out how it would fit into the goals for the child or adult to become more independent and able to access the community.

”It's actually very complex and if you don't say the right thing you can miss out.”

Ms Marsden said she was aware some participants did not receive the funding they had expected under the NDIS.

"There are some people who have been disappointed in the results of their NDIS assessment,” she said.

"A lot of parents haven't had to advocate for their child in this way, it requires very specific language to talk about the child's goals and their long term goals.”

Mrs Read-Zorzi suggested a NDIS support group would be a great way for people in the community to share their experiences and learn more from each other.

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