Melissa’s tip the balance story

Tipping the balance logo showing a smiley emoji and a sad emoji on scales with the NDIS logo underneath

My son is now 11. Up until mid 2019 he was a frequent absconder. He would find his way to get out of anywhere, any place. I had lock boxes at all doors holding the key to open it, a safe where car keys and remotes were kept, screws in the windows so he couldn’t open them and was even sleeping with his bed next to mine is my bedroom and the door handle off the inside of my bedroom door.

After a new tragedy in February 2019 (the 5th time in a 4 week period) my son I woke up to find Charlie not in the house, a chair where the safe is kept, a chair at the back door, and both gates open.

After calling police and searching, Charlie was found in the middle of the highway doing “snow angels” on the road. Fortunately a Gold Bus Driver spotted him, turned around and got my son off the road, and called the Police.

After this incident, together with the NDIS, our OT, Behaviour Therapist and the support of our Local MP and the CEO of Pinarc Disability Support, and Charlie’s Support Co-Ordinator at Pathway Connections, our application for funding for security measurements for the home was quickly re-assessed and approved.

We now have finger-print locks on external doors, sensors on the windows, which alerts us if he opens a window and the gates are connected to an App to open them.

Since these devices have been installed, my son sleeps in his own room, so we both get a better nights sleep, he now knows to go outside he needs to ask, therefore making it a positive experience where we are in control, and allow him to explore his world in a safe way. He has MORE independence than ever before!

It is unfortunate that it took a near tragedy for NDIS to recognise that not all “restraints” are actually used to restrain a person with disabilities and actually give MORE freedom but in a safe manner.

Changes need to be made in regards to what is deemed a restraint and what is actually a safety need.

Coming up to a year later, there has been zero escapes since instal.