Natalie is a mother of two. She tells the story of how Mission Australia’s Early Childhood Early Intervention (ECEI) Coordinator helped her family navigate the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) to help her son. Mission Australia is the NDIS community partner delivering ECEI services in Cairns and surrounding regions.

My name is Natalie and I have two children; George, four, and Tiaki, nine months. I also have a fantastic partner named Dan. George was born with Moebius Syndrome, which is a very rare syndrome characterised by facial paralysis and club-foot. He had paralysed vocal cords at birth and received a tracheostomy at two months old. These things affected his speech, eating and mobility. Seeing our little boy born with differences and hurdles was heartbreaking for Dan and I.

Before ECEI and the NDIS

We’ve always had big dreams for George to have a rich and fulfilling life. We have constantly sought out opportunities to support and develop George’s potential, but more often than not, we would come up against closed doors.

As Moebius Syndrome is such a rare condition, George was unable to receive funding because he never met any of the funding criteria. His functional impact should certainly have ticked the boxes, but the name ‘Moebius Syndrome’ was never on a list.

 

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Our first meeting

The NDIS is all about people’s functional capacity, and George finally met the criteria; however, I was nervous, because I had heard stories from people who weren’t getting what they needed from the NDIS. I’m glad to report that my fears were unfounded. Our ECEI (Early Childhood Early Intervention) Coordinator came to our house and really listened to our story and the dreams we have for George. It was like having a conversation with a new friend.

The coordinator and I were emailing back and forth over the next few weeks as we both found new ways to support George’s plan.

Getting George’s plan

When we received George’s plan, it was as if all of those closed doors were finally open. My son and my family now had possibilities, and I finally felt like I had some control over helping George to achieve his dreams. I called therapists that very week!

The changes for our family

The greatest change has been seeing George become more confident, independent, and brave. It feels as though the gap between him and his peers is narrowing. George has achieved so much already, and we are all so excited to see what goals we’ll be dreaming for him in his next plan.

*Names and images have been changed to protect the identity of the people we helped.


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