ONI: Hey, my name is Oni and I’m an NDIS participant. When I was born they did some injections and it gave me a stroke and made me deaf. Since I was deaf I couldn’t really learn how to talk so for around about six years of my life I wasn’t able to talk and hear. And after I was six, I was still not very well developed in English because obviously not being able to hear anything for a lot of your life is very hard.
CHELINAY: I couldn’t see a way forward for him so easily. And I couldn’t think that he would actually be independent. Since NDIS, he’s had lots of speech therapy, and if you’d spoken to him say a year and a half ago, you wouldn’t be able to understand him. I couldn’t understand him.
ONI: I’ve been working with a speech therapist to get my speech up and it’s really helping. I can say a few more words and actually pronounce them properly and all that.
CHELINAY: For him it was very moving when he went to NDIS, and the number of times he’s been, he’s been served by people who have disabilities of various types. ONI: One of the best things is that they hire disability people. They don’t think that they should just be looked after, they hire them and they help them through their work and all that.
CHELINAY: He’s only been in one year and the changes have been remarkable. I’ve seen his confidence improve out of sight. I’ve heard him be able to speak and say words that we didn’t even know he knew.
ONI: With being deaf a lot of my life, dealing with it by myself isn’t really an option. NDIS has been there for a lot of this year and they’ve really been helping me through with the speech therapist and all other sort of stuff.
CHELINAY: In one year he’s made enormous changes that are unrecognisable. He’ll have funding for this next period to set him up and then that will end this year. And then, as far as he’s concerned, he no longer has a disability but he is being enabled to go on with his life.
ONI: Looking forward to actually learning the experiences of being a teller and actually working in a bank. Every single school week, I’ll be doing one day off where I’m working at the bank. I’ll have that until I’m in year 12. Depending on whether or not they want to hire me, they’ll either put me up to an official teller or an official worker at their bank, or they’ll try to help me find a different job.
CHELINAY: My hope is that his heart shines. Because he’s an incredible young man, he’s a deep thinker and he has a way of coming out of hardship.