24 November 2022

Lleyton's story about living with a disability in a remote part of Australia isn't what you might expect. 

Lleyton and Chad standing at a lookout.

Norfolk Island, about 1500 kilometres off the coast of Brisbane, had limited disability services throughout Lleyton's childhood. 

But things changed a few years ago. Lleyton says Life Without Barriers providing services on Norfolk Island helped him turn his life around, and he wants others in remote areas to have that chance as well. The below story is from a triple j HACK episode via Angel Parsons which features Lleyton and Chad, a Life Without Barriers support worker and participant.

There's been so much talk lately about the NDIS the National Disability Insurance Scheme. The NDIS funds services for people with disability and helps to pay for things like care, transport, and other services to improve their quality of life.

But some politicians, journalists, and others have been questioning its value for money. It's easy to forget how much the NDIS has changed lives and people in the disability community are speaking out, including Dylan Alcott who says we need to be focusing more attention on this, we need to be recognising that many Australians can now access a quality of life they couldn't imagine before the NDIS.

Lleyton shared how difficult it was to go through school without disability support services on the island.

"It was a struggle, a bit lonely. No one understood what having autism was." Said Lleyton.

Lleyton has a developmental delay; despite this, he's working towards running a business at the moment and has the full support of Chad.

"One of my goals is building my own burger bar!" Said Lleyton.

Lleyton is standinng behind a cafe bar with his arm account a woman.

"In other words bloody smashing it, or as he told me, proving himself wrong." Said Angel.

“Thanks to my support and to my family who push me to be my best at anything I do.” Lleyton.

Chad is Lleytons support worker and one of Llyeton's biggest supports."

“Yeah, he's kind of stolen my heart," shared Chad,

Norfolk Island, and many other remote or rural places in Australia, are often not ideal regarding accessibility and availability of disability support services. Up until about five years ago, there were no qualified disability support workers on the island, despite about 30 residents becoming eligible for NDIS funding.

When the funding rolled out in 2018 Chad, who is a hairdresser by trade, was one of five people who got trained as a support worker through a scholarship funded by the government and coordinated by Life Without Barriers.

“Work in general has been something I've just fallen in love with.” Said Chad.

Having support options on Norfolk Island has changed both Lleyton and Chad's life for the better.

“He's like a brother to me in a way.” Lleyton.

Chad and Lleyton standing by a map of Norfolk Island.

Find the full interview via triple j HACK here.

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