Awards at NWDS
2010 "Spirit of NWDS Award"
Aby Ryan - Community Support worker
When did you start working with NWDS and why?
I considered working in the Disability Industry because I grew up with a friend who has an intellectual disability and since primary school we have remained close friends. This experience made me more aware of people with disabilities and so I started to do some research of what was out there and how I could get work in this field. My passion to work in the disability industry was something I had always wanted to pursue but when I left school I didn’t know how to get my foot in the door. I found out I could study locally at Castle Hill TAFE doing Certificate III Disability Work. Through my studies I did a student placement at “North West Disability Services” and then became a volunteer in August 2009. After volunteering for a while I got a job as a “Program Assistant” in the Post-School-Options programs at Conie Avenue, Baulkham Hills.
What exactly does your position involve?
My current position is a Program Facilitator; my job role is to ensure the program runs effectively. The programs are designed to consider the individual holistically and work on assisting them to live as independently as they can within their capabilities. The programs encourage the individual to lead an active life where they are being challenged to learn new things and excel in their environment. When the Line Facilitator writes up a program I make sure the program is followed accordingly. I delegate tasks for the workers that day ensuring that all needs are being met such as the goals of the service users through their task analysis. I also make sure that personal care is sorted out as well as medication, meal time assistance and diary communication entries.
What's the most rewarding part of your job?
When I see an individual I am working with enjoying themselves, learning something new and getting something out of the day I couldn’t ask for anything more. I have gone into this industry with the intention to support people with disabilities and assist them to live life as independently as they can. What I didn’t realise was just how much I have learnt and gained from the people I work with. What’s so rewarding for me is the outlook on life that they have given me. I see such strength, appreciation for life, honesty and kindness.
I have gained better communication, conflict resolution and observational skills and a more positive outlook on life. I have learnt how to manage stress more efficiently and I have become a more flexible and innovative individual. No day is a boring day and no day is the same. I am constantly being challenged as an individual to learn how to better support people. We are all human; we all want to belong and to be able to communicate our wants, needs and desires. Some of the people I work with find it hard to communicate their wants, needs and desires. To assist someone to be heard and to exercise their rights is the most rewarding thing I can think of.
How did you get to your current position?
I started off as a Program Assistant and gained experience and I was offered the role as a Program Facilitator. I'm a very active and practical person I love to work on my feet and work directly with the service users. Although I would enjoy the challenge of a more senior position in the future, I feel I am doing great in my current role and want to pursue this right now. It's important in this field to give things a go and try out different programs and settings until you find what you enjoy.
I enjoy the flexibility of my current role as I can do outside programs such as the disco shifts, flexible respite shifts; attendant care shifts and teen time shift’s. These shifts give me an opportunity to work with children, teenagers and the elderly in new environments such as within their own home. I enjoy doing these shifts because I face new challenges and meet new people to support. I find my current role very fulfilling.
WSABE 2019 Finalist