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Karlene’s Story

Karlene Sydney presentation - 29                                     Karlene Network Meeting - 38

I was born in Kellerberin. When I was two years old I got very sick and went to hospital for three months. After that I lived in different institutions and later group homes. I didn’t enjoy living in group homes. I disliked going to bed early as I love watching TV till late. I didn’t like having to get up at the same time each day because I like to sleep in on my days off from work. I had been telling staff, family members and friends since I was about 18 years old that I wanted to live independently. People tried to work out something that might make me happy, but I wasn’t because I wanted my own place. I didn’t want to share with anyone else.

Finally some years ago a great friend got together a fantastic network of people for me that listened to what I wanted. Over two years, my support network helped me plan and worked with me to make it possible. I had for many years plenary guardianship who made decisions about where I lived, who I lived with and where I worked. As of July 2012 this was revoked and today I am responsible for my own decisions.

I have now been living by myself in my own home since July 2011.

It is fantastic and I have never been so happy. My life today looks very different to what it did two years ago. I do my own cooking, cleaning, shopping and socialising. I live very close to shops, my work, the bank and public transport. Since February 2013, I have had a tricycle that gives me the independence to get to all these places without relying on help.

I am learning to do new things each day as a result of living on my own and I have a small group of support workers that I like to call on for advice. For example, when I first moved into my home, I locked myself out. With the help of my neighbour I had to call a locksmith which cost me $80. I learnt a valuable lesson and always have my keys on me.

Living independently gives me choices to eat what I want when I want. I go to bed and stay up when I want. My boyfriend stays at my place for 2 days each week. I can invite friends over whenever I want. My greatest passion and love is music. I have a large and varied collection of music which I play all day and sing and dance along to. I have made new friends in my community, including my great neighbour Vesna.

I Love my home and I am very house proud, I love to clean my home and decorate it to my own taste. Now not only my home, but also my life looks the way I want it to look.

Karlene

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