Recently, two of Bespoke Lifestyles’ participants, Emma and Matthew Gordon-Smith, were featured in the local Beaudesert newspaper. It was great to see their story shared to the world, and we hope that it has given others the idea of using their NDIS funding to fulfil their dreams.
Emma, who is 27, and her 23-year-old brother, Matthew, were born with Down syndrome. Matthew was also later diagnosed with autism and has some difficulties with speech and communication. Sadly, after the two finished school, they were lumped together in the same ‘one-size-fits-all’ model of disability service and were resigned to tasks and activities that they did not find meaningful or fulfilling.
Their mother, Deb, became increasingly frustrated with the services her children were receiving and did not agree with the traditional service model of separating people with disability from other people in the community.
Several years ago, Deb decided to come to Bespoke Lifestyles to work out a way for her son and daughter to live a full and happy life. We were able to mentor and train Deb, Emma and Matthew so that they could successfully manage their own NDIS funding and finances. Through regular one-on-one meetings with our NDIS consultants, they were able to create informal support networks while also engaging their own support staff.
Since then, the siblings have been able to hire their own support workers and start their own small businesses.
Matthew and his support worker, Justin, started a coffee delivery service, Matt’s Coffee2Go, where they take text message orders for coffee that they then deliver to businesses and workplaces around Beaudesert. He has also started a snack delivery service and regularly sells his handmade wooden clocks and furniture around the Scenic Rim region.
Emma has also recently secured a role as an administrative assistant with a local accounting firm and is currently undertaking a traineeship in business. Through self-managing her NDIS plan, Emma has been able to hire a support worker who helps her with her computer and admin skills. She has also been able to hire support workers to help her reach her fitness goals, tutor her with mathematics and financial skills, and help her do regular shopping trips.
By engaging their own support workers and becoming active members of their local community, Emma and Matthew – alongside their mother, Deb – have been able to forge their own paths and reach towards their own goals.
If you would like to read more about Emma and Matthew’s story, check out the article about them in the Beaudesert Times.