This solid Geelong brick house – its front garden home to a pink flamingo statue and a fruiting pomegranate tree – might not strike you as a setting for a quiet revolution.
But that’s how the three women who live here, and their parents, regard the successful experiment that has unfolded within its four walls. It is one that could soon be replicated across Australia.
Belinda Cini, 31, Melanie Saleh, 39, and Jessica Shea, 32, were among the first generation of people with intellectual disabilities to attend mainstream kindergartens and schools.
When they did use specialist services, they were always “groundbreaking” ones that encouraged independence.
Sadly, when they got to adulthood, it was a different story. Their income – the disability support pension – was not enough to cover a suitable rental property and the support needed to live in it.
Despite wanting independence for their daughters, their families had little option but to keep them at home.
But over the past three years their hometown of Geelong has been a trial site for a seismic shift in disability support: the introduction of the National Disability Insurance Scheme.
Source: The Age