Meet Jessie – he’s been an OnSide customer since August 2019 receiving assistance from our amazing Support Coordinator Wendy. Jessie was diagnosed with a rare spinal injury called incomplete quadriplegia just after he was born, so he’s been using a wheelchair his whole life.
Jessie was raised like anyone else. But now that he’s in his early 20s, he wants even more independence – that’s where OnSide comes in. Wendy assisted Jessie to move into Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) in Brisbane recently and it’s been a game changer for Jessie.
That next level of independence
“I was living with my mum and dad in Logan,” Jessie explains, “so I had to deal with that family dynamic. I want to be able to go for a shower when I want to and get carers in when I need them.”
As a young man, Jessie leads a really active lifestyle. He drives his own car, goes clubbing with friends and has played powerchair football (electric wheel soccer) since 2013. Moving into his own apartment would only amplify his independence and give him more freedom.
“I was pretty independent but wanted that next level of independence – now I don’t have to work around family and can be left to my own devices”, Jessie says.
“I’d recommend OnSide for sure – I haven’t had any bad experiences when people bridge the gap and Wendy has been great”, he offers. So when Jessie brought up the idea of moving into his first SDA apartment, Wendy got to work.
“Wendy helped get everything in place that should’ve been in place from the beginning and she chased people for me”, Jessie continues. “At the time, I was working and studying and it was difficult to balance it all – a whole heap of stress was lifted off my shoulders [working with Wendy], which was helpful.”
At OnSide, we feel it’s important that our customers in SDA are provided an opportunity to select a home within their community, not just with other people who have disabilities.
“The way the SDA works in Brisbane is that there’s a full apartment building and 10 of those units are SDA, so we’re mixed in with other people,” Jessie explains. “I’ve got my own unit and it’s my first time living out of home.”
The biggest challenge for Jessie with the move was the wait. “It took 6 to 7 months to apply for SDA, then we were waiting for 6 months and had to reapply,” he explains, “and we had to do occupational therapy assessments for what equipment I would need for the apartment.”
Through it all, having Wendy by his side to organise and follow up on tasks allowed Jessie the chance to see his dream come to reality.
“It’s a very personal relationship – Wendy checks up to see how I’m going”, he praises. “I lost my job recently and Wendy checked in, so it’s not just about professional stuff.”
A bright future
“It still feels unreal – I’m still getting used to coming home to it being so quiet, but it’s relaxing”, Jessie says. “I find myself needing to play music or leave the TV on!”
With his new found freedom, Jessie continues to explore his new neighbourhood of Bowen Hills and is looking forward to playing more powerchair football. “I got lucky enough to captain an Australian team in 2019”, he states proudly. “We’re hoping by next paralympic games the sport will get selected, but I’ll be competing at the club championship nationwide tournament at Sydney Olympic Park soon!”
OnSide can assist you with SDA
If you or someone you know is exploring SDA options, contact us. We’re experienced in what’s required and can walk alongside you, every step of the way.