Bi­par­ti­san vote gives hope: fam­i­lies

Townsville Bulletin - - News -

GREAT NEWS: Allana McNi­chol shows her mother Mar­ian Pope around her new home WHEN Allana McNi­chol was born, doc­tors told her fam­ily she would never walk.

Thirty-six years later Ms M c N i c h o l i s a v i b r a n t woman who can not only walk but has re­cently moved i n t o Cootharinga’s sup­ported ac­com­mo­da­tion fa­cil­ity, plays ten­pin bowls and is in­volved in a num­ber of pro­grams. De­spite her Down S y n d r o me, s e v e r e h e a r t prob­lems and rheuma­toid arthri­tis, her proud mother Mar­ian Pope said she al­ways knew her daugh­ter could suc­ceed if given the right sup­port.

Ms Pope said while dis­abili t y s er­vices had i mproved im­mensely since Ms McNi­chol was born, there were still wait­ing lists and a lack of fund­ing to con­tend with.

She said if more chil­dren were able to ac­cess early in­ter­ven­tion pro­grams as a re­sult of the Na­tional Dis­abil­ity In­surance Scheme, it would take the pres­sure off fam­i­lies, help clients be­come in­de­pen­dent as adults, and in many cases, even con­trib­ute t o t he work­force. ‘ ‘ Over many years peo­ple tend to slip through the cracks,’’ Ms Pope said.

‘‘ There’s dif­fer­ent things they miss out on if you don’t know where to go to ask for help or have to wait a long time for it.

‘‘ When she was first born there was noth­ing to help us. We were told she would never even walk, but I re­fused to be­lieve it.

‘‘ I said, ‘ while there’s life, there’s hope’, and by the time she was six I had her walk­ing af­ter re­search­ing a pro­gram from the univer­sity.’’

Ms Pope said if the gov­ern­ment im­ple­mented the dis­abil­ity in­surance scheme it would dra­mat­i­cally change the lives of peo­ple liv­ing with dis­abil­i­ties.

‘‘ I be­lieve there are many places in the com­mu­nity they could con­trib­ute . . . if only there were the pro­grams to spend time with and teach them. Hope­fully if it goes through the young o nes g o i ng t hr o ugh t he school sys­tem will be able to get more train­ing and gain em­ploy­ment suit­able to their abil­ity.’’

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