Six-year-old Jaime dresses head-to-toe in pink for her weekly ballet class. She can barely contain her grin when her Mum, Debbie, talks about her newest passion.
“Jaime really likes being involved in what her friends are doing. She was so excited about being a teddy bear in the end of year production,” Debbie says.
One of the older ballet students supports Jaime during class. Her grandmother helps her to attend Pippins, the junior version of Girl Guides.
Her family chooses people Jaime gets on well with to be her support workers. They employ them using Individualised Funding, set up by AccessAbility.
Three mornings a week, Jaime is assisted to get organised for school, which allows Debbie to get her two other children ready at the same time. Day-to-day life has also been made more convenient, with an accessible bathroom that was organised through AccessAbility.
“We live quite an ordinary life and the support through Individualised Funding has made a huge difference towards making things as ordinary as they can be,” Debbie says.
Jaime, however, is anything but ordinary. One of her biggest achievements has been contributing to the ‘Super Power Baby Project’ – a book that features 72 children with disabilities. It aims to change people’s perceptions about disability and Jaime has a starring role.
Jaime draws people in and has them playing games with her in minutes. Her favourite word is ‘hi’ and she repeats it to everyone she meets. These are her ‘super powers’.
She’s a social butterfly at school too, transitioning from kindy with her peers. In her first year, Jaime has learned to count and read. She also has a computerised talker that she is learning to use in class.
“Everyone at school just has such high expectations for her, which is really fantastic,” Debbie says.
Her family is also looking towards her future. Their long-term goal is that Jaime will live independently in the community.
“Being a part of her community is the most important thing in helping to set Jaime up for a good life. This dream for Jaime is the basis for every decision we make,” she says.
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