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Viktoria Finding Independence with SIL

Viktoria is a young adult with a love for the visual and the tactile. Some of her favourite things include the sensory room which support workers have created at her Shared Independent Living (SIL) home in Western Sydney, and the large trampoline in the backyard which her parents arranged for her several months ago. There, in the sunshine, Viktoria spends hours bouncing and you can hear the peals of laughter as she enjoys the aerobic thrill while listening to music on her iPad.

Eighteen months ago, Viktoria and her family began their journey with Unisson. Support Coordinator, Freeman, recalls that in the early stages of obtaining a new NDIS plan, the family were understandably anxious, as the requirements for funding were complex. According to Freeman, “Unisson was able to help the family navigate the NDIS by providing the necessary evidence to support various types of funding, including SIL funding. This is a life transition for both Viktoria and her family so it was important to have open communication with the family and with the NDIS and get the right levels of funding to be able to support her.”

Within six months, the new plan was approved by the NDIS and Viktoria was able to move into her SIL home. During the waiting period, Unisson arranged for Viktoria to meet and spend time with her future housemates, including having a sleepover. Her housemates are also young women with a good sense of fun. Viktoria has formed a special friendship with one of her housemates and they love to spend time together listening to music in Viktoria’s room. She has a wonderful reclining chair, where she loves to relax, with her friend sitting on the bed, so they can socialise and enjoy the music face to face. Freeman explains, “The friendship is an anchor. It has helped Viktoria to settle down into her new life and makes day-today living more fun.”

According to Viktoria’s parents, Brigitte and Ralph, who have worked closely with support coordinator Freeman and the team at Unisson to achieve a great outcome, “The new arrangement with Vicky, now at Unisson SIL, has been transformational for our family. We were always anxious about Viktoria’s future and now are so pleasantly relieved that there is a happy path for her. The quality of care she’s receiving is truly exceptional and of the highest standard. The team’s dedication and enthusiasm are notably impressive. In addition, Viktoria attends one of Unisson’s Community Access hubs three times a week, thoroughly relishing the experience. This entire situation has truly been a revolutionary change for our family and it’s reassuring to have the knowledge that she is in capable hands.”

At the Community Access hub, Viktoria spends time trying different sensory activities. She loves to watch musicals, particularly Mama Mia and The Greatest Showman, and sings along enthusiastically to all her favourite music, whether it’s on YouTube or being played on the hub’s piano. In addition, Viktoria is supported to visit local parks and other places of interest, and she participates in a local disco once a month, which she loves. On weekends Viktoria visits her family who are very much involved in her life, and who continue to attend many of her appointments, such as occupational therapy and behavioural support sessions.

During the year, Viktoria and her housemates moved to a new home together. Although this involved considerable change, they successfully made the transition. The new home provides many opportunities for Viktoria to experience her favourite sensory activities, which include anything to do with music. The sensory room was a collaborative team effort with staff, clients and families. At each meeting, the team would chat about new ideas, what could be added, and what items the residents might like. It’s always full of lights, music, dancing and singing, books and fun tactile items to interact with. Viktoria particularly enjoys creating rhythms on a set of bongo drums.

As a way of reaching out to their new neighbours, Viktoria and her housemates created cards to introduce themselves, and placed them in letterboxes – a great way to open doors to their new community.

After a recent visit, Freeman noted that Viktoria has settled in well to her current home and seems peaceful. He observed, “The support workers are very responsive to Viktoria. She is sitting in sun on the trampoline, with music on her iPad, a support worker sits with her and brings her food. She can stay on the trampoline for hours at a time. A newly appointed occupational therapist (OT) arrives to meet Viktoria and discuss how to plan ongoing support. The OT is amazed at the level of engagement which the trampoline brings to Viktoria. She is peaceful; she enjoys the day. Viktoria fits very well with her housemates and this home, and she is well supported.”

He adds, “After raising her in the closeknit family, Victoria’s parents have now handed over daily support of their daughter to Unisson as she begins to live a more independent lifestyle. Now they can be more relaxed, focus on what is best for Viktoria and they have time to travel as well, knowing that she is in good hands.”

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