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Choice matters – Kathy, Angus and Eric are thriving through personalised support.

three pictures from left to right, son wearing a beany with mum in orange shirt. middle picture of two adult males smiling and sitting at a table, far right picture young adult female in black leather jacket with green grass behind.

Choice matters – Kathy, Angus and Eric are thriving through personalised support.

Just as autism is different for everyone, support looks different for everyone too. For people diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, support needs naturally change along the way. Mable.com.au is a two-sided online community empowering people with disability to discover, connect and build a team of support workers, based on what’s important to them.

Kathy, Angus and Eric are all at different life stages who have each found the support they want on the Mable platform. And they’re getting so much more out of their sessions than you might imagine!

Busy Kathy calls Mable “a real game changer”

Kathy Divine, founding editor of Australian Vegans Journal magazine has authored six books and is a qualified dog massage therapist and runs a blog called ‘Ask the Aspie’. Kathy is diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome and counts on support for cleaning, transport, social and community participation and to achieve her many life goals. Since discovering Mable, she has built a team of independent support workers, all of whom she has chosen herself. “I need to feel confident that I would feel comfortable with anyone who comes into my home,” she says. “Mable screens every support worker with police checks and reference and qualification checks.”

With so many ambitions for various projects, Kathy has been able to access support to learn new skills. “I found someone to teach me how to edit YouTube videos for my Ask the Aspie channel and I’ve also learned design skills for my magazine publishing.”

With Mable’s smartphone app, Kathy can access the platform wherever she goes. It means she can book a session at short notice and search for support workers when not at home. “Both the website and app are easy to use and navigate,” she says. “With the app, access to Mable is right there in my bag.”

Kathy also provides support via the Mable platform. “As a lifestyle coach with a passion for helping people with disabilities, I understand potential challenges and I’m good at brainstorming solutions,” she explains. “I offer social support to Mable clients via Zoom and phone.”

Kathy is industrious, hardworking and determined to seize every opportunity she can. “Mable is an absolute game changer for me. It’s so flexible and it gives me genuine choice and control.”

Angus and his “life skills coach”

As her eldest son Angus who lives with autism reached his teens, mum of three Vanessa knew he would make greater progress if he could access support catered specifically for him.

“My partner and I had a chat to Angus’s psychologist, and I said it’s almost like he needs a life coach,” Vanessa explains. “We wanted to enable him to achieve the best for himself, not necessarily learn some skills so he could conform to a norm.”

The Covid-19 pandemic had also brought challenges. “Not being able to go to school, not being able to see his friends, Angus became more introverted and isolated, and I was concerned.”

Vanessa has always been proactive, advocating for Angus’s needs through the NDIS and working with other professionals to determine the best kind of support. On discovering Mable, she posted a job for a ‘Life skills coach/companion for 13-year-old with autism’. She received responses from several “very qualified” independent support workers and was impressed with the calibre. One response was particularly noteworthy; “to the point, stated her qualifications and overall, she seemed like a really good fit for Gus”.

Gus’s support worker helps him be more organised with school, helps with homework assessment in terms of prioritising and how to approach it, creates visual routines, takes him on social outings and more.

The family’s mornings are quite hectic so Angus being more independent has a big impact on the whole family. Vanessa says the home is now calmer since Angus has been working with his support worker. “You can see he feels good about being more independent. His little brothers see him organising himself and being a leader in his own life.”

Vanessa is keen to retain Angus’s support worker for the long-term. “I hope she’ll be able to support him for years to come as he transitions to high school and develops his independence.”

Eric is playing sports and learning life skills

Twenty-two-year-old Melburnian Eric lives with ASD. He loves kicking a ball around outside and is learning to cook. His mother Mardi attributes his enjoyment of these activities to the independent support workers from Mable who have come into his life. Previously, Eric rarely left his room. Having tried various traditional support providers and a range of programs, it seemed Eric could not be persuaded “out of his enclosed world and back into today’s land,” as Mardi put it.

Eventually, she came across Mable and searched for a support worker of a similar age who might be able to connect with Eric, and that was Lucas. Impressed by Lucas’s industry experience and range of interests which included sport, one of Eric’s passions, Mardi had a feeling that good things were about to happen. She says there was an instant change from the very first session. The two ate together outside, momentous because Eric had not eaten outside of his bedroom “for years”.

Next, Mardi looked for a support worker on the Mable platform who could help Eric increase his independence. She found Sue who used to manage a program that Eric had previously attended and who now teaches him useful life skills, including cooking, two days per week.

Mardi is grateful that the connection Eric and Lucas have formed has made such a positive impact on her son. “My boy is wearing his beautiful smile again,” she says. “He’s learning how to write the alphabet and gradually gaining a range of useful and interesting life skills.” Eric enjoys seeing Lucas several times a week so they can play some sport and hang out together. Read more here.

Mable is about choice

Mable empowers people with disability to choose support on their own terms. The online platform is easy to use and it’s free to join and search support worker profiles. Customers get to choose their support workers, what kind of support they receive and when they receive it. Visit www.mable.com.au to browse from thousands of independent support worker profiles today.

Mable are the proud sponsors of AUStism 2021.