Identitywa’s support makes all the difference for Sadie’s family
Originally from New Zealand, we moved to Australia in October 2009 and our daughter, Sadie, was born the following year. We have two other daughters, one older and the other younger than Sadie. While our lives have been blessed with these three amazing girls, the road we have travelled and continue to travel as a family, has been filled with a number of ‘pot holes’ that have challenged us along the way.
Government policies have played a major role in what services we can access for Sadie. We have continually faced barriers to get the support she needs to have a great life, now and in the future.
Sadie is registered with the Disability Services Commission and it was on the advice of their Local Area Coordinator about organisations who might be able to assist us with her care, that we eventually found Identitywa who have proven to be the best fit for Sadie and our family.
Since the beginning of 2014, we have accessed the day respite support at Identitywa’s Nollamara Children’s Respite Service. Given she is only five, I hadn’t thought that she would be eligible for overnight stays, so was surprised when the staff suggested it was an option. We decided it was something that we wanted to try. With their support we were able to transition her from day support to overnight stays.
The first night, I was a mix of emotions, mainly apprehension, and all sorts of things went through my mind. I came with my list of instructions (basically her routine), wanting it to be a success so that, in a selfish way, we could have a moment to breathe. A staff member rang me that night at around 6.30pm to reassure me that Sadie was fine. She’d played on the trampoline with the other kids, eaten her dinner, had a bath and fallen fast asleep (the first time ever in a big bed!). That thoughtful phone call meant I could get to sleep knowing that she was safe and happily tucked up in bed.
The next morning – still no phone calls from the staff which to us was a great relief. Whilst we enjoyed our morning with our other daughters, we all felt the emptiness without Sadie around the house. We missed her constant noise of communicating. I think that was the hardest thing – not to hear.
We were excited for her. She finally had the chance to interact with other children and adults, and over time, she has developed a unique relationship with many of them. We are so happy she is experiencing a different environment and having the opportunity to be with other children. It’s her own special place where she feels safe and welcome.
As for our family when she is in respite – well it’s very different. It’s less measured. I don’t have to stick to a plan and our life is more flexible, but at the same time the children miss her immensely. So much so, that our eldest daughter wants to sleep in Sadie’s bedroom until she comes home!
For my husband and me, we have had the opportunity to do the things we ordinarily would not be able to do together. We have had a moment to breathe, something that we often forget to do.
When we celebrated our anniversary last year, we managed to get Sadie into respite and the other children had a sleep over at a close family friend’s. We had a lovely evening out, just the two of us. In the morning we did what we used to do many years ago – we had takeaway coffees and I made an indulgent breakfast, after which we sat and read the newspaper, exchanging different sections and hardly needing to say a word. It was such a precious time for us.
So, our future with Sadie…We have been able to enrol her into an Education Support Centre for Kindy which has made a positive impact so far this year. Sadie loves going to school and will go full time in 2016. She uses Identitywa’s respite support one day a week and an overnight stay once a week.
As with all families, there have been unforseen expenses and circumstances placed in front of us that have caused us to re-evaluate what is important and what we are prepared to accept for Sadie. Our experience with Identitywa’s support has been positive. They are committed to resolving any concerns or issues in a professional and respectful manner. Placing our trust in them is so important given the extent that Sadie relies on us and other supervising adults on a continual daily basis.
Respite has been invaluable for us all. Whilst it is an emotional test for every family member, the rewards cannot be measured. For Sadie, it has built her independence and resilience and is enabling her to socialise in ways that we could never offer her. I know this because the staff love telling me stories of what she gets up to – she’s a bit of a cheeky monkey!
Written by Lynley (Sadie’s Mum)
Posted in General