Daniel was born in 1977. He is an integral and much loved part of our family. The eldest of four boys, Daniel presented as a “normal” baby boy and we rejoiced in his birth. However, by age one, we were concerned that he was not progressing like other toddlers his age. A series of investigations at two different hospitals detected nothing different about him. He was healthy and robust but delayed for reasons unknown.

Today, we still don’t know why Daniel is as he is, although we suspect an as-yet-undetected chromosone difference.

Daniel has a cognitive age of about four years, which means that he needs assistance with many areas of his daily life. We like to believe that the intensive work that we did with him when he was young has made him as high achieving as he is.

Although unable to read and write, he has many skills and abilities. In his place of supported employment, he is a strong and willing worker. At home he is eager to help with chores. In his recreation group, he is a popular and loyal member.

We have enjoyed being Daniel’s parents and we delight in his achievements. We did not think too much about his future because we expected that he would eventually live at Crowle, which is what we saw happening to an earlier generation of disabled people in the Ryde area. It was with the Vacancy Management Policy and the demise of Crowle that we began to get worried. It now seems that there is nowhere for people like Daniel to go.

It was not until his youngest brother moved out of home that we started perceiving Daniel as a burden. It is not always convenient to be home at 3.00pm and now that his father has left work, we have retirement plans that are not achievable while we continue to care for our son. Daniel is very social and wishes to be with his peers. He is quite lonely and isolated living at home with us and constantly asks how many more sleeps before he sees his friends. When his brothers moved out, he wanted to know how long it would be before he could do the same.

We feel that the optimum time in Daniel’s life for transitioning into supported accommodation has already come and gone. We can see that he is less adaptable than he was six or seven years ago. We are tired after so many years of caring and we are frustrated that we are unable to do the things our peers take for granted at this stage in their lives. And we are angry that there exists no place for Daniel and all the people like him in this rich country.

This is why we must make a place for him to live and do it quickly. We have worked long and hard to make RASAID a reality. Daniel is an original Aussie Battler, because everything he has achieved has cost him, and us, far more effort than in a “normal” situation. This is why he deserves only the best. The best for him is in the local familiar area, close to his family and his workplace, in a secure and happy residential environment with the friends he has grown up with. Is this not what we would choose for ourselves?

Why should it be otherwise for Daniel?