Samantha Thornely

Family member of a person with disability

I am the legal guardian of my brother who has an intellectual disability. He currently lives in supported accommodation. Over the past three years he has had several problems with his service provider and in short it could not have been resolved without the assistance of his advocate, Christine Agius from Action For People With Disability Inc.

With the roll out of the NDIS it is even more important than ever that people with a disability have access to advocacy services. Indeed based on our limited experience with the NDIS planning process (which has been far from ideal) it has only reinforced to me the requirement for advocacy services for people with a disability. It is essential that a person centred approach is undertaken at all times and that such an approach is not overtaken by bureaucracy.

For people with a disability like my brother who literally has no voice, it is imperative that, in addition to the support and advocacy we can provide as his family, he has access to an independent advocate who understands the system and how to achieve results. An independent advocate can also sometimes inject some reasonableness into situations where understandably emotions of family members can sometimes take over.

As we move into the changed world of the NDIS I anticipate my brother will need the assistance of his advocate even more than ever.