How Brad’s job at Casino council has been ‘life changing’
For as long as he can remember, it has been Brad Parker's dream to drive "big toys" and get a job.
But for someone born with low muscle tone ‒ which affects his overall health, movement and speech ‒ it's been a challenge.
After high school, Brad set about making his dream a reality.
He went to TAFE at Lismore and completed a Certificate III in Construction, then did work experience at local school canteens.
His Social Futures local area co-ordinator, Jenny, set up his first NDIS plan with a goal of getting Brad's body strong and maintaining it so he could find employment.
It was a success ‒ Brad now works full-time for Richmond Valley Council as a multipurpose labourer.
The 26-year-old does traffic control and works on roads, laying out hot mix asphalt.
"The council job has been life changing. They are great people. I have a great boss," he said.
"I want to get more tickets with the council and get my truck licence.
"Also, the roller and the grader - there's five other vehicles I want to learn to operate. I like big toys."
Last summer, as bushfires raged through parts of the Northern Rivers, Brad was a part of a council team doing traffic control to keep community members out of the danger zone.
He said he had never experienced being so close to a big fire.
"I saw a fireball - and then a fire that never touched the road - it went over us in mid-air," he said.
"I saw an explosion - the Telstra exchange exploded. We were a fair distance away, but we could still see all the action."
In addition to support from an exercise physiologist, physiotherapist, occupational therapist, dietitian and speech pathologist, the NDIS also provides social support.
Every second Friday, on Brad's rostered day off, he attends art classes in Lismore, and on Sundays he plays ten pin bowling with his team, The Pokemon Three.
Now that Brad has achieved his goal of full-time employment, his next NDIS plan will address another aspect of his life ‒ increasing his independence so he can move in with his girlfriend, Jasmin.
For more information about Social Futures Local Area Coordination for the NDIS, phone 1800 522 679 or email email@example.com.