For Patrick Gamble and his wife Pina, having an energetic 22-year-old son on the autistic spectrum is a rewarding experience but one that can come with hurdles to surmount.
One of these hurdles has been the difficulty in finding tailored, personalised support for Ricky, with a provider that understands his unique needs.
With the family based in Wollongong, Patrick tried several local NDIS Service providers but found them unable to accommodate the type of service Ricky requires. Ricky does not work well in a group setting and needs one-on-one care. Unfortunately, none of the providers were able to meet his particular needs.
“Providing these kinds of services requires someone with a heart, who puts clients on top. Many providers seem to be concerned with their bottom line, not with being accommodating. It felt like they were cherry-picking easy clients who were able to go out in a group and weren’t interested in providing tailored support.”
In lieu of help, Patrick took Annual Leave days in order to assist his wife. Pina has health issues and is not able to take Ricky out herself. After having polio as a child, serious lymphedema set in after her marriage and has left Pina in debilitating pain.
Patrick has been an incredible support to both Ricky and Pina. When assistance wasn’t available, Patrick would rise early to take Ricky for a drive, before returning to help them both with their personal care. He would then head off to work as a Java Programmer with the University of Wollongong, returning to prepare them lunch.
Patrick emphasises how very important it is that Ricky has community access.
“Ricky, like many on the spectrum, has a lot of anxiety boiling under the surface. He needs the community access otherwise he becomes irate and agitated. This also affects the entire family.”
Patrick was thankful that The Disability Trust was able to put him in touch with Zest Care a couple of weeks ago.
“We were delighted to receive a call from John Wilson, a young man with a big heart who has been very accommodating to Ricky’s needs. John exhibits a maturity and professionalism well beyond his years.”
“Within days, Ricky started receiving services. Recently Ricky went out with his first care support worker – Matt. They went fishing and Ricky caught three fish!’
“Matt has experience with kids with behavioural needs and that shows. Ricky needs someone who will stay calm when he gets agitated, and who values what he has to say.”
‘So, kudos to John, Matt and Zest Care. They’ve been a breath of fresh air among the providers in the Illawarra region.
“What puts them head and shoulders above the rest is that they really try – and they care. They are great advocates for NDIS recipients”.
We believe that families like the Gambles need the best support our community can offer.
We’re delighted that we’ve been able to assist them in starting to live the life they want – today.