Mother and son

Brigette, a middlle-aged woman, hugs her son Tony, who physically and intellectually disabled

Mother and son

Brigitte Krstanoski has been caring for her son Tony for nearly 33 years. Tony has intellectual and physical disabilities and has been receiving National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) funding since November last year.

“Tony is finally able to have the life he deserves,” says Mrs Krstanoski.  “He’s enjoying his life now – he doesn’t like being home, he likes going out. He wants to be able to do the things any other man his age would, not stay home with his mum and dad.”

Tony spends weekdays with Nepean Area Disabilities Organisation (NADO), and heads out on day trips with other organisations on the weekends. One of the big changes Tony’s NDIS package has enabled is that he now has one-on-one support every second Wednesday. This means the activity he does is just for Tony and can be what he wants every time.

The family also has much more control over what services and support Tony receives. “Together we are able to say what we want, when we want it, and how we want it,” says Mrs Krstanoski. “Previously I felt like I was banging my head against a wall every time I asked for something.”

Mrs Krstanoski says that she has received invaluable support from her NDIS provider, community services organisation Uniting.

“I’ve got a great support consultant,” says Mrs Krstanoski. “We’re very close now. Kylie understands how I want things to go for Tony – and what I want for my husband and me.”

Kylie-ann is a Support Consultant with Uniting and helps families like the Krstanoski’s navigate the new system. She works with Tony and his family to understand their NDIS plan, so they can make their own decisions about the services and the providers they’d like to support Tony.

Another advantage of the NDIS for the Krstanoski family is that with Tony happy and engaged in activities outside the home, Mrs Krstanoski and her husband have time together again.

“Having a child with a disability changes your life. We weren’t like husband and wife anymore – we’d have to beg for help for an evening of respite just to go out for dinner together. Now with Tony going out on Sundays my husband and I have time together, we can have lunch, and just chill and relax,” she says.

“We’re thinking of going on a holiday somewhere later this year. It’ll be our first holiday since before Tony was born.”

“The NDIS is a brilliant idea, and for us it’s perfect,” Mrs Krstanoski says, but adds she knows other families who have struggled to understand what’s required of them. “There’s a lot of work involved in setting up an NDIS plan,” she says.

She has run a carers support group for more than six years, and is currently helping others in her group to navigate the NDIS and develop plans that work for them.

Lisa Kinsey-Smith, Head of Operations with Uniting, agrees that it is not an easy process to develop the first plan. She encourages participants to write down everything they do in their day and to consider all the different areas where they may need assistance.

“It’s a complicated process, and we want to make sure everyone who comes to Uniting for support gets what they need – we want all our NDIS participants to have outcomes as positive as Tony,” says Lisa Kinsey-Smith.

If you’re looking for an NDIS provider who understands intensive support needs, Uniting has specialists who can come to you and who will work with you to get the most from your NDIS package

Contact us

For more information about our services for people with a disability or how Uniting works with the NDIS, get in touch on 1800 864 846 or email ask@uniting.org

Uniting disability is a registered provider of NDIS supports and operates independently from Uniting LAC Transition Services.

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