Rheanne is the type of person that if you tell her what she can’t do, she’ll go to any lengths to prove you wrong. ‘Determined’ is an understatement when talking about this tenacious young woman.
Rheanne has cerebral palsy and has wanted her Ls since she was 16. People told Rheanne she could never achieve her dream: that there was no point trying. But that just made her even more determined to reach her goal.
Recently, Rheanne passed her Ls test and she is currently pounding the pavement on the lookout for a job. Having spoken to Rheanne, we can tell it won’t be long until an employer snaps her up.
Move to independence
Six months ago, the 20-year-old relocated from Port Macquarie to Tamworth to gain independence. She started attending Challenge Disability Services Connexions program, and Rheanne said she is glad she made the move.
“The support I have received has been great,” Rheanne said. “I have achieved a lot more in the six months I have been working with Connexions compared to living back at home, in terms of looking for work and being more independent.”
Rheanne attends Connexions weekly and works one-on-one with a support worker. While her support worker assisted with paperwork and transport to and from testing, passing her Ls test was a result of Rheanne’s hard work and determination.
“The support worker drove me to the RMS, so I could fill out the forms and hand in the test, but passing the test was all me,” she said.
“It’s just me, sitting up for an hour every night before I went to bed, reading the book and doing the practice tests online over and over again until I knew the type of questions and what they were asking.”
Hard work pays off
After working so hard to achieve her goal, Rheanne was taken aback when she passed the test.
“I was excited, but I was shocked as well. I’ve always wanted to get my Ls, but it always felt like it was just out of reach,” Rheanne said.
“I’ve had people tell me ‘you’re not going to get your Ls, it's a lot harder for you to do it, so there's no point in trying'. I said to myself ‘I’m not going to sit here and listen to that. I’m going to do whatever it takes’.
“Every 16-year-old wants to get their Ls. But to me, it meant more. It’s about being able to pass the test and becoming more independent, but I was determined to prove people wrong too.”
Rheanne said that the process had given her more confidence and she looks forward to the independence of having a full license.
“I know I have to be on my Ls for a year, which means I have to have someone in the car obviously, but when I get my license everything will be easier,” Rheanne said.
“It’s a confidence boost, and once I move onto my Ps I won’t have to rely on anyone else to get me around anymore. I can just do what I have to do and do it myself.”
On the job hunt
With one goal ticked off, Rheanne is now using her time at Connexions to create a resume and pound the pavement applying for jobs.
“What we do depends on what I need to get done,” she said. “Lately, we have been printing out resumes, then I go around town and hand out resumes.
“I’m waiting to hear back from some applications, but I take the opportunity to hand out resumes whenever I can. I was studying for a little while, but I decided to defer for at least a year until I’m more financially stable.”
Connexions is a community-based program for active young adults with low support needs. The program offers independent living and job readiness skills, as well as the opportunity to participate in social activities such as fitness training, gardening, and art.
“When I’m well enough, I go to the gym to work on my physical strength and ensure my condition doesn’t deteriorate and I’m still physically capable,” Rheanne said. "I’d recommend Connexions for the support they give to anyone who wants to become independent and are looking for that extra bit of help.”
Challenge recently released an ebook to help school leavers to navigate their life after school with the NDIS. The guide outlines the different NDIS budgets and how they can be used to support you to achieve your goals and independence.
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