Empowered to Live Life Your Way

Trinity Cook

The National Disability Insurance Scheme is a game changer for close to 30,000 Gold Coasters living with disability. It is the biggest change in health care and social policy since the introduction of Medicare.

With the NDIS, disability funding is attached to individuals rather than organisations. It gives people with disability greater control over their lives and the products and services they wish to engage. The goal is to enable a flexible, whole-of-life approach to support so that people with disability can engage more fully in their community, pursue life goals, and enjoy a better quality of life.

However, for people to maximise the benefits of the NDIS, they must coordinate a complex network of interrelated products and services. This includes accessing information, navigating the options, and negotiating and coordinating the best products and services for their individual needs. It’s a complicated process.

Experience from earlier rollout sites has shown that this can significantly delay the uptake of NDIS plans.

“The biggest challenge I’ve had with the NDIS is working out what services fit each of the categories we have funding for,” says Lori Stewart, mother of Trinity Cook from Tweed Heads who started her NDIS Plan in April this year.

Born with a rare genetic condition called Williams syndrome (WS), 18 year old Trinity lacks the gene responsible for making elastin in her body. This means that exercise can be challenging, sometimes painful, and muscle is difficult to build. Trinity also has a mild intellectual disability and has undergone numerous surgeries, including open heart surgery, at just two years of age to fix a life-threatening cardiovascular problem – all common symptoms for people with WS.

“We really needed help working out exactly how we could use our funding. You might have funding for health and wellbeing, but you also have different core supports and life supports… It’s really hard for me to know where each thing goes. Like where does cooking, or ‘transport training’ go? I just needed someone to look at the plan and work out the best way to utilise our funding. Finding Rod [at Tweed Community Hub] was just gold.”

With Rod’s advice, Lori and Trinity found that they could get funding for an additional personal training session per week at the gym. It was perfect for Trinity, who loves the gym and has some serious fitness goals!

Despite her physical disability, earlier this year Trinity became the world’s first bodybuilder with Williams syndrome. She won her second I Compete Natural (ICN) competition in her division this past weekend and was given the tuition for a Certificate III in Personal Training as a prize. She was also invited to compete in the Queensland Championships and World Championships, which will be held in Brisbane later this year.

“I want to be an assistant personal trainer and help people with special needs. I want to let them know they can follow their dreams,” says Trinity, who will be in Booth 86 at the expo with personal trainer and NDIS service provider Angie Moore.

The Gold Coast Disability Expo is a unique community experience that provides a vital service to the region. It gives people (whether NDIS eligible or self-funded) access to the most up to date and relevant information available. It is a smorgasbord of options; where people can narrow their choices and engage services and supports that meet their unique, real life needs.

Organisers expect thousands to attend and benefit from the quality face-to-face interaction with over 100 service providers and range of government agencies and advocacy groups.

They will also have access to the latest equipment and assistive technologies, enjoy all-ability stage performances, and learn valuable tips from exhibitor Q&A sessions and keynote speakers from the sector, including the National Disability Insurance Agency.

Come along to the Gold Coast Disability Expo and learn more about products and services that will empower you to live life your way.