Independent living no challenge for Harley

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Parents hope their children will grow into happy and independent individuals. With Challenge Community Services, even those who are growing up with a disability can gain skills they need for their independence.

For two years, Harley has participated in life skills lessons through Challenge Disability Services day program. The program prepared him for the move from his family home into supported accommodation in August 2016.

“Since attending the day program, which was designed for his individual needs, Harley can now complete a range of tasks which will improve his life in the future,” Chris said. The program focuses on independent living skills and teaches tasks we all undertake every day. A trip to the shops is a learning experience in itself. Selecting items to buy and paying for them; using the library; showing good manners to others, all become lessons in life.

“Now, with assistance from staff, Harley can prepare and cook his own meals, wash and dry up, pay his bills, wash and hang out his clothes, interact with members of the community and obey road rules,” Chris said.

The improvement in Harley’s skills and self-confidence is noticeable. “He has more self-expression,” Chris said. “He is much more confident doing things independently, he doesn’t need me to do everything with him.”

“Harley likes collecting catalogues from down the main street to make his paper chains. He enjoys being creative. He makes fantastic stick sculptures and paper chain decorations.”

Harley doesn't just spend his time gaining living skills, but also listens to music on the iPad and sings along on the Wii. “He really enjoys spending time with family, listening to music and completing office work, which includes filing and shredding,” Chris said.

Harley loves socialising and interacting with the other participants and staff, including playing games of Snap and Fish. “Harley’s favourite activity is playing cards with the staff,” Chris said. “He has a great sense of humour; we have fun together. Harley told me that I am the best staff member, which is very nice feedback.

"He is very charming and gets on well with all of the participants and staff. He has made lots of new friends and there is one new friend that he likes to spend a lot of time with.”

With over 30years’ experience in the field, Chris knows the ins and outs of the disability industry and said he is very impressed with Challenge Community Services. “Challenge have good quality staff, which is important!” Chris said. “They are tolerant and accepting, with a broad range of experiences.”

Challenge Community Services encourages participants, parents and carers to learn about the opportunities and options available to them through the National Disability Insurance Scheme NDIS. Challenge is available to assist with the pre-planning and structuring of NDIS packages to ensure the best funding and support possible.

For more information about Challenge Disability Services and the support they can provide parents, carers and people living with a disability, please contact 1800 679 129, email or visit

Article from the Newcastle Herald, 13 January 2017.

Author: Katrina Warmoll

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About Challenge Community Services

Over 60 years ago we were a small band of parents and friends seeking support services for our children with disability. Today, Challenge has grown to be one of the largest community support services in New South Wales. We provide support to over 2500 people from Albury to Lismore, Sydney, Dubbo, Tamworth and beyond. With over 900 staff, more than 90 of which have a disability, we strive to comply with and exceed all standards required under State and Federal Acts.
In the spirit of Reconciliation, Challenge Community Services acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the Traditional Owners and Custodians of this country, and their connection to land, water and community. We pay our respect to them, their cultures and customs, and to Elders both past and present.
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