Autism Spectrum Disorder, family, and sport
WHETHER HE’S WORKING TOWARDS HIS GOALS OR SHOWING HIS WIZARDRY ON THE
LANES, FEROS CARE PARTICIPANT COREY IS BOWLING OVER HIS OBSTACLES.
Living with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Corey has experienced
challenges, but the 23-year-old National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)
participant has found happiness.
The world is Corey’s oyster with family, sport and exciting
“Corey now has his White Card for the construction industry, and
he also secured Certificate III qualifications,” Corey’s mother Kathleen said.
“That was part of his NDIS plan goals, as he wanted to be able to
get a job that would allow him to play in the dirt and with trucks.
“He’s now got a job in agriculture, where he makes up fertilizers
and works on Macadamia and Cane farms on an aeration tractor.
“NDIS funding will also allow him to do his site skills
Certificate III guarantee, which he’ll do over eight weeks on an agricultural
site in Bundaberg,” Kathleen said.
“Corey is very focused now and works at things until he gets
It’s commitment that has seen Corey dedicate his life to sport,
which Kathleen believed kept her son from a life behind bars, after he
struggled with behavioural issues growing up.
Born and bred on the Gold Coast, Corey spent time in mainstream
school, before moving to an alternative school which helped for a time, before
exiting the school system after year nine.
Dragged into the wrong crowd, Kathleen and Corey decided on a
“dirt change”, which took them to Mount Isa for a time, before settling in
Bundaberg, after a short return to the Gold Coast.
“He played baseball and made district, regional and state sides
and worked in a bakery,” Kathleen said.
“But, as a family, we had always holidayed in Bundaberg, so along
with my parents, we decided to make the move there.”
The move, coinciding with the roll-out of the NDIS, saw Corey land
another bakery role. It was during this time a chance introduction to the
Special Olympics saw Corey find his true sporting passions.
“We found Corey support services, and they linked him up with the
Special Olympics,” Kathleen said.
“He was hanging out on the basketball court and the coach, also a
support worker, came to pick him up and said, ‘why did I never know about this
kid on the basketball court?’.
“I told him we’d just moved to town, and from there, Corey was
playing basketball and got involved in ten pin bowling and table tennis.
“I met Kimberly Doyle from Special Olympics Mackay, who coaches
the Mackay Fire basketball team. Kimberley took Corey under her wing; he moved
up there and has never looked back.”
The Mackay Fire offers inclusion and participation for people with
intellectual disabilities. Flourishing in his new surroundings, Corey excelled
in basketball, becoming an on and off-court leader for his Mackay Fire peers.
Playing mainstream basketball, Corey also continued to excel at
table tennis and ten pin bowling, where he made it to national level.
Wanting to compete in local, state, and national competitions for
all his sports across Australia, the Special Olympics program provides great
stability and structure in Corey’s life. Offering the ability to be actively
achieving in sport, Corey said he wouldn’t know what to do without the Special
“It helps with my physical and mental wellbeing because I would be
lost if I couldn’t compete in the sports I love,” he said.
A big advocate of Corey’s, Kimberly said it was his commitment and
dedication which saw him continue to excel.
“We identify people willing to put in work, and we hold our
athletes to the highest level of conduct on and off the court, and Corey
embraced that,” Kimberly said.
“He has high sporting abilities and he’s just so good, but he’s
always a team player and very encouraging towards his teammates which is a
great sign of a leader and just so rare.
“It hasn’t been an easy road for Corey with his challenges, but as
he’s gotten older, he’s been able to curb his reactions and take a time out and
gauge his response, and that’s a sign of his continued maturity growth,”
FAMILY IS A BIG FACTOR IN COREY ACHIEVING HIS GOALS
A big part of Corey’s evolving maturity came via a chance meeting
at K-Mart, with his now long-term girlfriend, Jo.
Now a loving father to 18-month-old Quinton, Corey has remained on
track in 2020. Despite missing out on his sport due to lockdowns and the
current climate, he had turned his focus to being the best dad possible.
“His short-term goals were to learn how to do some cooking, so Jo
didn’t have to do it all,” Kathleen said.
“He has also focused on budgeting and cleaning, as he wants to be
the best dad he can be.”
Preparing for ten pin bowling nationals, Corey’s focus has been
combined with NDIS planning and funding through Feros Care Local Area
Coordinator (LAC), Vicki Preston, who has helped Corey secure the supports and
capacity to achieve his goals.
Living his best life with the support of family, including
unconditional love from sister, Codie, and mentorship and friendship from
soon-to-be brother-in-law, Sean, Corey has the framework for sustained
happiness and success.
HOW THE NDIS IS HELPING TO CHANGE LIVES
Combined with ongoing support from the NDIS, Corey has a happy
family life, and is achieving his sporting goals, finding friendships, and
continually improving his health and well-being.
“You can’t take his sport away as he’d become secluded, and when
he heads to the nationals, we’ve received funding for a support worker to
accompany and assist Corey to prepare and participate in his competitions,”
“It also funds a lot of Corey’s integration and social connection
in the community through support workers, as he just wants people to hang out
“Without the NDIS, I believe Corey would be looking out from
behind bars… I’m a big believer in the NDIS and I pushed for it greatly.”