A “very healthy crowd” streamed through the Links for Life Disability Expo on Thursday, as people learnt what’s at their disposal to reach their goals.
Spokeswoman Danielle Northey said the event, at Tamworth Sports Dome, had attracted “a lot of general public” – a sign that people were “becoming more comfortable with the NDIS”.
“It’s moved away from ‘What is the NDIS?’ to ‘What supports can I access?’” she said.
“There’s a better understanding now of what it is, and people can now focus on themselves and their goals.”
The event, which is in its 11th year, featured exhibitors with expertise in employment, equipment, transport, education, advocacy and more.
At the opening, Tamworth woman Emily Bellamy spoke of her experiences with the NDIS, her service providers, and the tools and assistive technology she uses.
Miss Bellamy is blind, works part-time in admin at Joblink Plus, is doing a certificate IV in business administration, lives with her grandmother, and enjoys reading, cooking, going to the movies, attending church and shopping.
Among the tools and technology she uses at home are tactile markers for her washing machine settings.
At work, she uses a dual-channel headset – in one ear, she hears a caller; in the other, she hears the computer as it “speaks” what’s on the screen.
“Being blind has never disabled me in any way,” she told the crowd, prompted by her audio speech notes through her Bluetooth earbuds.
“Sure, there may be limits to what I can do sometimes, or I might have to do things a slightly different way, but I can do anything I set my mind to.
“In the future, I would eventually like to get into full-time employment and to be able to buy a little house for both me and my grandma to live in.”
Mrs Northey said many of the people who had visited the expo were students from years 10 to 12.
“This is a good opportunity for them to see, under the one roof, what support exists,” she said.
“That may help them to make some decisions about – if they’re on the NDIS – what services they may choose and also give them a better understanding of what sort of supports they could access once they finish school.
“In turn, that will help them understand that the sky’s the limit in terms of their goals.
“They don’t need to be limited by their disability.
“It might take a little longer, but they’ve still got the capacity to work towards whatever their future goal is.”
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