IT was only last year Newborough brothers, Mitchell, Lindsay and Michael were in need of someone to care for them.
Seventeen year-old Mitchell and the 15 year-old twins all live with autism and intellectual disabilities of varying degrees.
While the boys have an extended support system, disability support service Yooralla was determined to find a live-in carer willing to reside in their family home.
“Change is difficult for boys with autism and they need continuity,” Yooralla project manager Angela Alibrando said in January.
“We need somebody that will build a relationship with the boys and a routine to give them the best chance.”
Following an article by The Express in January detailing the boys’ plight, they have been matched with two carers.
According to Yooralla, the story also inspired eight others to become carers.
One of the boys’ carers, Kevin Pullen said due to his own family circumstances, he was uncertain if he could care for the boys full-time, but a shared caring situation made it all possible
“We’re two different people, but we’re also very similar. We have the same big picture at the end to support the boys to reach their fullest potential. That is our primary goal and we work quite well together,” Mr Pullen said.
“This has been the most rewarding and most challenging aspect of my life. It’s been as rewarding for me as it has been for the boys.”
Ms Alibrando said following The Express story ‘Brothers’ plight’, the service was inundated with enquiries and ran two information sessions in Morwell about the ‘Yooralla Family Options’ program.
One enquiry was Graham, whose name has been changed to protect the identity of the child he cares for with his partner.
Already a disability worker, he said he read the story and attended the training course with a view to provide respite care for the Newborough brothers.
He later came back and told staff that he had changed his mind.
“I thought instead of doing respite with all the (Newborough) boys, we could open up our home,” Graham said.
He said he was matched with the “little man” and did a process of a meet and greet.
Since living with the couple, the boy has increased his vocabulary and has been enjoying outside activities, Graham said.
“I went for a job and came home with a family.”
Yooralla Family Options stresses carers can be single, couples or families of any age. Caring or disability experience is preferred, but not essential.
Once expressions of interest from potential caregivers are received, applicants must go through an accreditation process.
This includes interviews and meetings, police clearances, mandated training and intensive case management to ensure the caregiver is well supported to provide quality care.
For more information, visit firstname.lastname@example.org or 9831 5600.