“It’s changed my life” – How NDIS support has helped Matthew thrive
Almost 10 years ago, Matthew Dumigan’s life was changed forever. At the age of 40, he sustained a traumatic brain injury which had a huge impact on his life and independence.
Matthew had very little understanding of what living with disability meant prior to his injury. He and his wife Lauren simply did the best they could with what they had – but without proper support.
“It’s been pretty difficult living with the injury,” Matthew says.
“The hardest part is not being able to do the things I used to be able to do. But you just have to live with it. You can’t change it, so you have to try and do the best you can.”
Beforehand, Matthew described himself as a highly active person who enjoyed a lot of recreational activities, many of which are far more difficult as a result of the injury.
However, much to his delight, everything changed for the better when he explored the NDIS and realised how it could help him achieve his goals.
So much more than support
Now that Matthew is a NDIS participant, life is very different for he and his wife.
NDIS support allows him to be much more independent, both inside and outside his home. He has been able to access services like physiotherapy, exercise physiotherapy, occupational therapy, and one-on-one support.
He’s also had access to cleaners to assist with household tasks, and gardeners to help with yard maintenance.
“The NDIS has definitely changed my life by giving me the opportunity to see and use experts and services in our community. It’s also allowed my wife Lauren to continue to work outside the home, and not be my only support.”
But it’s his support worker, Melissa, who’s been one of the biggest assets for Matthew and Lauren.
“Melissa has been fantastic. Each day, I try and do whatever I can to improve, and the help and encouragement from Lauren and Melissa has been so important.”
Stronger than ever
Before NDIS, Matthew’s wife Lauren was his only support. Living in the rural area of Mackay in Queensland, additional support options were limited – particularly without funding.
“Lauren was all I had and there is no way I could do it without her,” Matthew said.
Now with NDIS support, the couple don’t need to worry so much about navigating the day to day, and their relationship is stronger than ever.
Freedom, thanks to assistive technology
Amongst the many benefits of the NDIS, assistive technology was one thing Matthew was particularly eager to try.
“I wanted to trial assistive technology that would enable me to maintain my independence in everyday life,” he said.
Matthew now often uses a motorised mobility scooter, which has significantly improved his ability to access the community.
Plus, he singles out his steering wheel spinner knob as a game-changer and one of the most helpful pieces of assistive technology. Spinner knobs are designed for drivers with disability who have difficulty turning the steering.
“The spinner wheel for my car has been the biggest thing so far, as it has given me the ability to drive and gain some independence again.”
A little support can make all the difference in the world
While adjusting to his new life with a traumatic brain injury has not been without its challenges, Matthew says support from the NDIS and his Local Area Coordinator (LAC) has helped him significantly.
Together, they make sure Matthew has the supports and assistive technology he needs to live as independently as possible—and they’re responsive any time Matthew needs to get in touch.
“They try to help me with any questions I have, which has been very beneficial,” he said.
Thanks to these supports, Matthew has been able to do things he didn’t think he could do again, like participating in the River 2 Reef Ride Festival, an annual charity bike ride event that raises vital funds for local not-for-profit organisations in Mackay and its surrounding areas.
More awareness, more support, and the future
After experiencing life-changing support from the NDIS, Matthew says more disability awareness is needed, as well as recognition for the impact even a small amount of support can have.
“Not many people would understand what it’s like – I know I didn’t,” he said.
Matthew hopes to further improve his speech, strength, mobility, and independence. With continuing support from the NDIS, Feros Care, and of course his dedicated wife, the future looks far brighter for Matthew and Lauren.
At Feros Care, we’re proud to help people with disability live healthy, fulfilled and connected lives. Click here to find out more about our disability services.