Our vision is to develop a model of supported accommodation that we believe will best suit the needs and wishes of our particular group of people.

At Parliament House in 2011

We claim that we can best represent this group of people because we know them best. We have lived with our people for decades, observed them on a daily basis and been privy to their innermost hopes and dreams. They are telling us that, more than anything else, they want to be with their friends, and those friends are that group of people who have a disability similar to their own.

Our sons and daughters have been included in everything that our families have done for decades, but it is our experience that when given the choice, they prefer to be with people like themselves.  Inclusion in the wider community is not as important to them as inclusion in the group of like people. In this, they are no different from their non-disabled peers.

It is generally accepted that the three cornerstones of most people's lives are their families, their careers and their friends. When one considers that in most cases, people with an intellectual disability will not have a family of their own or a rewarding career, it is easy to see why the social life assumes priority in their lives. However, their disability often makes it difficult for them to access that social life if they are unable to use a telephone or a computer or to drive a car.

People with an intellectual disability are often as lonely and isolated living in dispersed group homes as they are living with ageing parents. Our model is an attempt to best meet the needs of our people after having witnessed over many years the pleasure and support our sons and daughters derive from each others' company. We believe that this residential model will allow them easy access to their friends while ensuring that each has privacy when desired.

Julie, David and Adam

The advantages of our model are:

  • The person with a disability stays within his/her own immediate locality so the transition from the family home is much easier because the surrounds are familiar.
  • The person with a disability stays within a group of disabled peers with whom he/she has grown up, again making the transition easier and allowing for the maintenance of a wide social network.
  • The person with a disability remains close to work or day programs, thereby reducing the necessity for long and expensive travel across the city as now often happens. Each one of our sons and daughters attends a day placement in this area.
  • The transition happens in a planned, timely and orderly way instead of the crisis-driven, trauma-causing way that occurs now. There can be nothing more inhumane than a person with a severe cognitive impairment losing (at the same time) the only home ever known and their primary carer. 
  • The transition is aided by parents who are still well and active enough to smooth over the inevitable bumps and to ease the way by having the family member home for weekends, holidays and special occasions.
  • This will be a high empowerment model with parents on hand to advocate, liaise with staff and to ensure that person centred planning is followed.
  • The support arrangements will be enhanced by assistance from parents all of whom will live close by.
  • The residence will be staffed around the clock.
  • The local community will be encouraged to contribute to the development by parents who are well-known in that community.
  • The recurrent costs of such a model will be lower than those of a group home because of scales of economy.

The members of RASAID are offering a practical and cost-effective alternative to the group home model. We firmly believe that our model will work well because we are already a community of like-minded people and our sons and daughters are already a socially cohesive group. We envisage a cluster of homes designed to meet the needs of individual residents now and can be adapted in the future. The design will include both personal and communal areas so that residents can choose to be in their own space or to socialise with their friends.

We believe our model, favoured by thousands of families of intellectual disabled people, will be a template for many other similar developments to secure the best outcomes for their disabled family members.