12-year-old Nate and his family first came into contact with MacKillop Family Services six years ago when he took part in one of MacKillop’s school holiday programs. It was the beginning of a long-lasting relationship which has supported the family through the challenges of caring for a child with special needs.
Nate lives with low functioning autism and his Mum, Bree, says the support she received from the MacKillop team has kept her going through many difficult times,
“I wouldn’t have been able to get through some problems without them checking in and helping me.”
Bree works three days a week and she initially contacted MacKillop to get Nate into the holiday program to find somewhere she knew he would be looked after safely. Nate is non-verbal, has behavioural issues and needs intensive support.
I found the MacKillop team very helpful in walking me through the process of getting Nate into the holiday program and the carers were so helpful that it made it easy to get Nate looked after.
As Nate grew and got older, his behaviour became more aggressive and unfortunately it reached the stage where it wasn’t possible for him to continue to attend MacKillop’s holiday program.
However, the support from MacKillop didn’t stop there and Bree says,
“MacKillop assisted in all aspects of getting Nate to attend a mainstream holiday program where they trained the carers and supplied everything that was needed to support Nate.
“Kerry Robinson from MacKillop continued to be my core support. She called regularly to see how we were going and kept in contact to see if there was any way she could help. It was such a relief to have someone who understood and could suggest alternative strategies and avenues of support.Kerry assisted us to develop resilience as a family, manage our wellbeing and look towards the future. Kerry was my rock at this time.”
A few years later, with the introduction of the NDIS, Bree found that MacKillop Family Services provided support coordination and immediately asked if MacKillop could help with Nate’s NDIS supports,
“We already had a great relationship and I knew they would support us as a family, so I was very happy to be able to work with MacKillop again,” said Bree.
“I work closely with support coordinator, Tegan, and to be honest, I don’t think I could do it without her. She helps me navigate the NDIS, links me to available services and helps me with referrals. As a parent, you often don’t know what help is available and as both my husband and I work and have our 14-year-old daughter Charli to care for, we simply wouldn’t have the time to navigate the whole referral process on our own.”
Nate is doing great now and goes to school full-time. He is working with a speech therapist and is in shared care for four days week and will soon go to shared care for three days every fortnight.
“During a difficult time with Nate, when I was really worried about sending him to shared care, Kerry from MacKillop gently pointed out that we were setting our daughter up for her life ahead and asked if we had ever thought about doing the same for Nate? At the time, Nate had only been cared for by us and had never had a sleepover anywhere else. It was a simple thing, but we realised the significance of also helping him prepare for his future.
“One of the most important things I’ve learned from working with the MacKillop team is to remember that Nate is only one quarter of our family. In difficult times, we have to see to everybody’s needs and to support him, it’s really important to take time to help each other. MacKillop assisted us to build our capacity to function as a family and continue to provide support to Nate. Developing the skills to manage Nate, his behaviours and other support requirements means that we lead a normal family life.
“A different perspective and experience of how the system works is an invaluable support for parents like us and it helps us to be the best we can for Nate and all of our family,” added Bree.
MacKillop’s NDIS services support children and young people with special needs and their families with a range of services including: support coordination and case management; social and community activities; parenting support; and capacity-building programs.
To speak to our team about services to support a child or young person in your care, contact us directly: