Chris was born in 1985. He was born with Cerebral Palsy, hydrocephalus, a buckled rib cage and a left side tortacollis. He also has an intellectual disability. At the time he was born I also had another son Tim who was two. Both my parents died when they were quite young so I didn’t have their help and support. Off and on over the years, I have also helped my sister raise her daughter who was 8 months older than Tim.

Chris has an intellectual age of about 5 years. He can’t read or write or be left on his own; he needs to be bathed, shaved and teeth cleaned; and he needs help getting dressed. He is 5' 9” and weighs 45 kilo. He is quite frail and a good wind would blow him over.

Chris attended the handicapped children’s clinic and then the Spastic Centre Clinic.¬†The first five years were a blur of Physiotherapy, Occupational therapy, Speech therapy. Neurosurgeons, Orthopaedic surgeon, many trips to hospital and a brain abscess at 9 months.

The therapists didn’t think he would walk unaided but after arm splints, leg splints and standing frames he walked by himself at 4 years. When he was 4 I had Laura; she was my sanity at the time, she walked and talked and did all the things babies should do without all the intensive early intervention.

One thing people don’t think of, is the disabled child isn’t the only one in the family who gets sick and has things go wrong. My two other children have had quite severe medical problems at times and so have close family members, so you deal with that as well as your disabled child.

Greg, Christopher’s dad works really hard. He has been retrenched twice, he has worked two jobs and I have worked at night and also take in ironing to make ends meet. I have no superannuation. When you have a child with a disability, you can’t have a full-time job. They are your full-time job and the government think I am worth $50 a week as a carer.¬†THANKS!

When Chris was little I decided that I would do everything in my power to make sure he reached his potential and that still applies now.

He has a right to have his own home, just like his brother and sister do. He has a right to move in with his friends. He has a right to be safe and happy and not left devastated on his own in some respite house when his father and I can no longer look after him.

I joined RASAID so that as a group of 20 families we have each other for support and we can fight for accommodation as one. There is no better support for a carer than another carer.