Tak­ing next steps to in­de­pen­dence

Sunshine Coast Daily - Caloundra Weekly - - LIFE -

YOU couldn’t wipe the smile off 25-year-old Ari­ana Nioa’s face as she threw her mor­tar board into the air after grad­u­at­ing from STEPS Path­ways Col­lege in Caloun­dra last month.

The Mary­bor­ough woman has called the col­lege home for the past two years, study­ing as a board­ing stu­dent liv­ing on cam­pus.

For the past six months, her res­i­dence at STEPS has been funded by the Na­tional Dis­abil­ity In­sur­ance Scheme.

Ari­ana – who has Down syn­drome – has been learn­ing how to main­tain a ten­ancy, ac­cess health and lo­cal ser­vices, ef­fec­tively bank and bud­get, use tech­nol­ogy and stay healthy and well, with the goal of mov­ing out and liv­ing in­de­pen­dently.

“Ari­ana’s very con­fi­dent now in her abil­ity to get from A to B with­out any sup­port what­so­ever, so that’s been a huge change,” her mum, Anne, said.

Ari­ana is ready to em­bark on the next chap­ter of her life post-grad­u­a­tion, plan­ning to move out with one of her col­lege friends in the com­ing months.

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