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Ben is his own man

Ben stays at Orana’s Galway Apartments one weekend a month working with his Client Coach.
Thank you to everyone who supported Orana’s May Appeal. Your gifts assist Orana to provide supported accommodation, in-home and life skills support services.

Many of you will recognise Ben from Orana’s respite TV commercial. As a baby, Ben suffered infantile spasms but he was misdiagnosed with reflux. Understandably Ben’s parents, Nick and Ev were beside themselves with worry. After Ben’s third ambulance trip to emergency, a nurse witnessed one of Ben’s seizures and reported it to the doctors. But this was only the start of a challenging journey for Ben and his parents.

Prior to starting at the local state primary school, Nick and Ev took him to an independent assessor who tested Ben and he was diagnosed with Autism, ADHD, obsessive compulsive disorder and an intellectual disability.

Just under a year ago fifteen year old Ben and his parents approached Orana to provide respite and life skills support. Ben, like any other fifteen year old boy, has dreams and goals: increasing his social life, experiencing new things, getting his driver’s licence and to live independently.

Ben’s father, Nick, has dreams for his son too. “As I’ve just turned sixty I worry about Ben’s future. I want to know he has the skills to take care of himself. To be his own man. That would give me peace of mind.”

Working with his Client Coach, Kim, Ben stays at Orana’s Galway Apartments one weekend a month. Together, Kim and Ben are building the foundations to make his dreams a reality. During the day, Ben has been learning to catch the bus, read bus timetables, plan days out and improve his interaction skills when out and about in the community. Ben has been building the skills that will enable him to ‘be his own man’ in the future. Ben has been learning to take care of himself. “He gets to learn everyday things like cooking, washing dishes, making his bed, helping Kim clean up, putting his bedding away and just getting everyday hands-on skills that people generally take for granted,” says Ben’s dad, Nick.

The daily demands of caring for a child living with disability can take all of a parent’s energy and focus. Respite helps to break the cycle. “We’ve got no support other than Orana, they’ve been a godsend for us. Actual hands-on help made a difference to our little family and put some joy back in our lives.”