Dr Catherine Wade (Parenting Research Centre): Thank you for coming to talk to us about your experience of this journey. It's great to meet you. So can you tell me a little bit about yourself and about your family?
Chantelle (parent): My family is just my 3 kids, my animals and my mum. My oldest is 6. The 2nd one is 3. The youngest is 2.
Dr Catherine Wade: 3 kids. 3 pretty young kids. Tell me your favourite bit about being a parent.
Chantelle: The best part of being a parent is the cuddles.
Dr Catherine Wade: When you first heard about NDIS, did you know much about it?
Chantelle: I heard a little bit about it but it was really confusing.
Dr Catherine Wade: A lot of parents that we've spoken to have told us that as well. So how did you handle that?
Chantelle: I had to do an NDIS meeting thingy at the beginning. I didn't talk in it though. It was Michael that spoke in it.
Dr Catherine Wade: And who is Michael?
Chantelle: He was with [unclear].
Dr Catherine Wade: So a worker? Like, a support worker. And what sort of stuff – can you remember what he was saying at that meeting?
Chantelle: About my disabilities that I need help with.
Dr Catherine Wade: Now that you're on it, and you've been on it for a while now, what sort of stuff do you get support with?
Chantelle: You can get support with a lot of things. Parenting, cleaning once a fortnight, lawn mowing once a fortnight, doctors' appointments, hospital appointments, shopping if I need to. They just come with me to the shops or the appointments. Like, if there was a doctor's appointment or a hospital appointment, the support workers will take notes and, if I don't understand it at the end, they can explain it to me.
Dr Catherine Wade: How helpful is that?
Chantelle: Really helpful because I know if I don't understand it in the appointment, then I know that I can ask afterwards.
Dr Catherine Wade: So the appointments that you get taken to and that a support worker helps you with, they're not just for you but they're also for your children?
Chantelle: The hospital appointments are, yeah, and then there's therapy appointments. A support worker takes me there for the kids' therapy appointments.
Dr Catherine Wade: So it sounds like the worker might have a conversation with you beforehand and ask you what you want to get out of the appointment, and then, when you're in the appointment, that the worker will help you?
Dr Catherine Wade: So tell me, parenting. What sort of stuff do you get support with in relation to your parenting?
Chantelle: Child safety meetings.
Dr Catherine Wade: So what does that mean? Somebody will come along with you to the meetings?
Chantelle: Linda will come to meetings.
Dr Catherine Wade: And why is it good to have her there?
Chantelle: She can advocate for me and she can write notes of what happened in the child safety meeting.
Dr Catherine Wade: How does Linda know what you want?
Chantelle: Because me and Linda talk before the meeting.
Dr Catherine Wade: And sometimes you call Linda up and get advice from her and ask her for help?
Chantelle: Yeah. And, like, if the kids are there and if I need to talk to someone.
Dr Catherine Wade: So does Linda come into the house, or anyone else come into the house, and do parenting stuff with you, like practise parenting?
Chantelle: Linda's done circles creating with me. We talk about what you can do in challenging times, like when you're a parent.
Dr Catherine Wade: Does that reassure you?
Chantelle: Linda was able to come at night-time when the kids went to bed to help. She didn't succeed though because, like, kids, you can't force kids to actually go to sleep. But me, I can get them to bed about 8-ish.
Dr Catherine Wade: Nice. Well done you. You know your own kids better than anyone else, right?
Dr Catherine Wade: Are there ways, Channy, that you've been able to get support for your daughters' schooling?
Chantelle: Maddy's in a school that is like – it's not ages away but there's, like, 3 different buses. We're trying to get Maddy into the school that's around the corner from me so it's easier to get her to school. Linda came to the school with me to check it out and see the principal and that would have been difficult if I was on my own.
Dr Catherine Wade: But it sounds like having someone who can come with you to these meetings is really important.
Chantelle: Yeah, but it takes time for you to trust the person, like a worker.
Dr Catherine Wade: And why is it important that you be able to trust them?
Chantelle: Because if you don't trust them, then it's not a good client and worker relationship because if you don't trust them you can't vent to them about everything and you can't say anything that is on your mind or whatever.
Dr Catherine Wade: Have you ever gone to any parenting groups or groups –
Chantelle: Yeah, I go to a parenting group on a Friday.
Dr Catherine Wade: What sort of stuff do you do there?
Chantelle: Like, talking about resources.
Dr Catherine Wade: Like activities to do with your kids?
Chantelle: Yeah, and healthy snacks. Last week we spoke about what things we would put in a bag to take on an outing or to a contact. They're thinking of doing resources again and stuff for people with disability or whatever, but we can take the resources home.
Dr Catherine Wade: Shall we have a look at your resources?
Chantelle: This is called ‘Dinner mealtime jack-in-the-box poster’.
Dr Catherine Wade: And you've got pictures there with little descriptions that talk about the steps, I suppose, for mealtime and for preparing dinner. With the resources that you've developed, did you do them on your own or did you have some support from someone?
Chantelle: I had support from my support worker.
Dr Catherine Wade: Does your support worker go to the parenting group as well?
Chantelle: Yes, my support worker does come to the parenting group with me.
Dr Catherine Wade: When you go there, how does it make you feel?
Chantelle: Gets you out of the house, and there's other parents that have been through the same stuff, and that probably has kids that are challenging.
Dr Catherine Wade: You've been involved in the NDIS for a while now. If you've got any advice for other parents who might be thinking, ‘I don't know if I'm eligible. I don't know. Should I apply?’ What would you say to them?
Dr Catherine Wade: How might their lives be improved if they tried NDIS?
Chantelle: Probably better because then they would be able to get support.