Ben Keely was a presenter at two workshops by John Armstrong on 13 and 14 March, in Maylands and Queens Park.
The workshops, “Get Ready, Set…Wait-a-minute” were about developing and keeping effective relationships between people with disabilities, their families and support staff.
Ben is currently studying at Notre Dame University, where he is undertaking a Bachelor of Behavioural Science.
In his presentations, Ben shared what he called the “roller coaster ride of living with a profound disability” and talked about his own relationships with service providers.
Ben talked about the experiences he and his family have had over the years, involving a number of service providers including a small country family support association, a government agency, an institutional setting, in-home supports in both his parent’s home and shared management in his own home.
He said each of the experiences were attempts to meet his changing and complex needs, some being more successful than others.
Despite some setbacks Ben said he is now happy to say that things have never been better. Shared management has made a huge difference to his life, with a service provider which gives him and his family autonomy, flexibility, dignity, respect and trust.
He stresses the importance of family and friends in the life of a person with a profound disability, because as he said “at the heart of things, support workers may come and go, but family and friends will always be the constant in your life”.
Ben sees a vital role in our community for people with lived experience to share their stories and inform others and looks forward to having the opportunity to present again in the future.