Kade, 20, is finally living with independence and freedom in his own apartment at Chermside!
Kade is a creative soul who loves drone photography, going to the movies, graphic design and vinyl cutting. He is using this creativity to personalise his new apartment and has plans for an innovative art installation where he will line the hallway walls with puzzles.
These fun, creative outlets have made the move so positive for Kade and his parents, Ish and Troy, but it’s also his newfound ability to access essential, simple necessities that have made a world of difference.
Kade has Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy- a progressive muscle degeneration and weakness. At 20 years old Kade still has some ability to walk, which is unique for someone with this condition, but he usually gets around on a mobility scooter.
Before moving into his apartment, Kade and his parents struggled to find a home that offered a balance of access to community and social outlets, as well as an accessible living space.
Kade started out living with Ish at Forest Lake where he had sufficient space to move around the home, but his family noticed he was not going out easily. He was becoming isolated from the community and activities he loved.
To improve his community access, Kade moved into an apartment in Toowong with Troy, but renting limited the modifications Troy could make to help Kade live more comfortably in the smaller space. Due to its lack of accessibility, Kade ended up having a few accidents in the apartment, causing his family to search for better options.
“The biggest improvement for Kade is that he’s been able to combine accessibility at home and access to the community. He can use things that he couldn’t before, like the kitchen, or he can go to the bathroom without having to get people to open doors for him. It’s removed all of those obstacles,” Troy explained.
“The Youngcare SDA unit has overcome those barriers and now both of us have that time to be separate from Kade, knowing that he is safe,” Ish said.
“It allows me to be a Mum again.”
Kade’s favourite things about his new apartment are the kitchen, which he loves to cook in, the bathroom, which is fully accessible, and the automation, which gives him his independence.
“The biggest thing is that I have the ability to open all of the doors to get out of the building,” Kade said.
“I don’t feel like I’m trapped anymore. It doesn’t feel like I can’t do stuff that everybody else can do. I feel included,” Kade explained.
Unfortunately, like many other young Australians living with high physical support needs, independent living was not an easy outcome for Kade to achieve.
HIs NDIS plan initially only approved funding for Kade to move into a three-bedroom sharehouse, but Kade and his family fought the decision.
“For Kade it was, ‘Just because I have a disability doesn’t mean you have to group me in with other people with disabilities’, and that’s where we were leading from.” Ish said
“The people with brown hair do not have to live with people with brown hair, they get to choose whoever they want to live with. The biggest thing was that NDIS were effectively saying ‘you have to live with other brown-haired people’,” Kade explained.
An important part of Kade’s history is that his parents have always taken a preventive approach. They have taken steps to prevent him from being hospitalised, and supply intensive support and care to ensure that he maintains a certain degree of mobility. They ensure he has access to a range of assistance aids to avoid more intensive interventions, and they took the same determined approach when finding a solution for his housing.
“Youngcare were so supportive all the way through about promoting that choice and control – from the funding being approved, to not choosing the alternative, he’s had an outcome where there has always been choice and control, which is so positive,” Troy said.
Living at Chermside, the family feel comfortable knowing that the Youngcare SDA apartment does not just tick the necessary boxes but will be an amazing long-term home for Kade as his condition progresses. Kade’s proximity to amenities and social outlet means that he can always live the independent young life he deserves.
“It’s fantastic that you’re providing units close to facilities, close to community, close to the shops so that if transport becomes difficult for Kade, he still has his independence- he doesn’t have to find another solution. He can just go out and go to the shops and this wouldn’t be possible if it weren’t for this unit and its location,” Troy said.
Ish said Kade has been given certainty and stability, knowing his needs will be met now and in the future. His story creates hope for other people who never thought living independently would be an option for them.
“Never settle for anything less than what you are worth. You are a human being, not a person with a disability. You have the same rights as anyone else. You can do everything that everyone else does. Never take ‘no’ as an answer. Do not settle, continue.”
“Kade put it really well the other day, he said to me, there’s not much I can have control over but the choices I do make, they make me feel like I have control. To me that’s important,” Ish recounted.
“It has been a long journey for the family to finally see Kade realise his goal of living independently, but now that he is here, he is so grateful.”
“Because of Youngcare I can cook in the kitchen. I can access a wide range of community activities and I am not worried every day about my safety because I can open all the doors here to leave the building. I’m able to live in a home, rather than feeling like I’m in a medical facility.” Kade explained
“It has enabled me to be me.”