Finding the Silver Lining: How the NDIS Helped Michael Thrive During Lockdowns

Living in lockdown can be tough on everyone, but for Sarah Jones, the impact on Michael Brown, was a particular concern.

Sarah is one of Michael’s primary caregivers, and one of the millions of people in Australia providing unpaid support to loved ones. Michael, 28, has non-verbal Down syndrome and receives support NDIS programs.

This program funds therapies like occupational therapy, speech therapy, day programs, and personal care assistance. Sarah says Michael has blossomed since becoming a participant.
“Michael enjoys life just like anyone else,” Sarah explains. “He loves seeing and doing new things, he just communicates and understands the world differently.”
Knowing Michael’s social nature, Sarah worried about how he’d handle the shift to online support services.
“At first, Michael struggled,” Sarah admits. “Lockdowns did have an impact because he’s very social. His occupational therapy, speech therapy, and day programs all went virtual.”
But over time, Sarah noticed a surprising benefit. “The online sessions actually helped Michael in a way. He thrived with the increased one-on-one attention and learned to adapt to change.”
“Even his football practice with the Challengers League is online now,” Sarah continues. “They’ve kept him active and he’s even gotten to chat with professional athletes who join the sessions online. Michael’s a huge [Favorite sports team] fan, so meeting [Player 1] and [Player 2] was a real highlight.”
Thanks to the [Country’s disability support program], Michael is learning valuable life skills and gaining confidence. “Before the program, Michael had very little support,” Sarah explains. “My family and I shouldered most of the responsibility as his caregivers. Now, his support plan is tailored to him, and he’s learning how to be the best version of himself.”
“Michael used to struggle with grasping and holding objects,” Sarah shares. “And with his limited speech, I wanted to help him overcome those communication barriers.”
“Our chosen provider, [Provider Name], has been amazing,” Sarah adds. “Their occupational therapist has helped Michael make significant progress with his hand strength and grip.”
“His speech therapist has also been fantastic,” Sarah continues. “Michael’s communication skills have improved so much. We’ve celebrated many milestones, and one of the biggest is learning more sign language.”
Even small victories make a big difference for Sarah. “Things that might seem insignificant to others are huge steps for Michael,” she explains. “These achievements all contribute to a better quality of life for him, and it makes a world of difference for us too.”
The NDIS programs have opened doors for Michael, and Sarah sees a bright future ahead. “Without this program, he wouldn’t be where he is today,” Sarah says. “Watching Michael’s progress fills me with so much love and pride every day.”

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Adarsh Dutt

Adarsh Dutt is an award-winning accountant. – Winner Chief Financial Officer of the Year 2021 – Finalist Non Profit Accountant of the year Articles by Adarsh
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