26 June 2019 in Stories
“Boating, Camping, Fishing – Our Joel gets to do it all!”
We were just a normal, happy couple looking forward to the birth of our first child, Joel. However, at 8 months old, Joel was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy.
Little did we know at the time, that our world would change forever. We quickly began to realise that we needed to learn new skills to help smoothen the formative years of Joel’s life to give him the start he deserved. We were up for the challenge and pulled out all the stops for our beloved Joel. We made a family decision to move from Geraldton to Bibra Lake to attend a special education school.
Throughout the schooling years, we gratefully had lots of support from teachers and the school community. Their level of expertise helped us to support Joel as he graduated high-school – We were very proud!
Around this time, we began to seek out other disability providers to take Joel’s growth to the next level and were very fortunate to be introduced to Interchange. It was like a breath of fresh air, and when Joel immediately took to the carer from Interchange, we were over the moon and have never looked back!
Interchange took the time to really understand what was important to Joel. They learnt that Joel is a sports fanatic that loves a multitude of sports such as tennis, bowling, footy, swimming, fishing, and sailing. He goes bowling regularly as well work out at the gym once a week. He also loves to support his favourite AFL team, the West Coast Eagles.
Interchange really listened to what Joel needed and gave him the self-belief that anything was possible – and they were right! Confidence is everything in life, and that is one of the greatest gifts that Interchange unlocked within Joel. The biggest highlight for me was watching Joel learn to dance for the first time. It was a very emotional experience for me, and everyone involved.
Interchange helped to ease Joel’s transition from leaving school to finding a job. With his newfound confidence, Joel was open and ready to enter the working world. With the help of Interchange, he now proudly holds the position of ‘Meet & Greet’ at Coles. But of course, now he wants even more from life and believes anything is possible.
Joel has continued his journey by moving out of home into a shared management home. He continues to develop his independence, none of which could have been achieved without the support of Interchange.
I recall vividly the day we met Interchange and the hope that we had upon leaving the first meeting. Today, I look back and am grateful for finding them. Joel’s life and confidence has gone from strength to strength and we couldn’t be happier with his development and zest for life. Thank you Interchange!