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Playtime is quality time for Jocelyn


Identitywa Planning Officer Karen Aitchison with Jocelyn, who is a participant in the NDIS My Way Cockburn-Kwinana trial launched in July this year. PHOTO: Michelle Ebbs

By Michelle Ebbs, Identitywa

Having a weekly ‘play date’ is just one of the fun benefits for Jocelyn who is a participant in the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) My Way Cockburn-Kwinana trial launched in July this year.

The two-year trial of the NDIS My Way in Western Australia by the State Government offers people living with disability the chance to access services and develop individual plans which best reflect their needs and goals.

Seven-year-old Jocelyn, who has autism, is supported by Identitywa, one of Western

Australia’s leading agencies supporting people with disability and their families.

Each week, Identitywa support worker, Janelle, visits Jocelyn in her home to spend one-on-one time with her.

For Jocelyn’s mum, Leah, the ‘play date’ provides not only a chance for Jocelyn to have meaningful interaction with Janelle, which is really important, but also for the rest of the family to be together.

“It can be a real challenge to spend quality time with your other children and even your husband,” Leah explained.

“Jocelyn is full of life and loves to have fun but has limited ability for social interaction which can affect what we do as a family.

“This regular schedule allows us to do things such as watching her brother Riley at footy training and visiting public places like SCITECH or going roller skating.

“I used to dread school holidays. Having Janelle to assist me means we can enjoy our outings rather than stressing about constantly losing Jocelyn and I can spend time with Riley, too, which is important.

“Before having Identitywa’s support, Riley would miss out because I did not feel comfortable taking Jocelyn on outings by myself. Things don’t always have to be stressful now… it feels normal,” Leah said.

As a registered NDIS My Way Cockburn-Kwinana service provider, Identitywa is currently planning to open a dedicated service hub in Cockburn which will enable it to more effectively provide a range of services to individuals with disability and their families living in the trial site.

Editor’s Note: Surnames have been removed to protect identities of participants in this story.