Brothers in a kitchen

Cameron, Byron, Robyn and Trevor Moody

Specialist Disability Accommodation has given a couple’s sons the chance to live independently and allowed them to have time for themselves and each other.

Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) has given a couple’s sons the chance to live independently but allowed them to have time for themselves and each other.

Robyn and Trevor Moody are enjoying their retirement on the NSW mid north coast while Cameron (36) and Byron (34) enjoy life in their own SDA apartments in Sydney. Robyn and Trevor are building a new home and have plans to travel.

Robyn says she and Trevor had hoped that the boys would be happy and independent one day but didn’t think the day would ever come. She says when the boys were diagnosed the doctors said they would likely outlive their sons.

“Thankfully that has not been the case and we started to worry about what they would do once Trevor and I were no longer around,” Robyn says.

“We didn’t want them to end up living in aged care or an unsuitable shared house, or the boys relying on their younger sister to look after them,” she says.

The couple had always wanted to leave Sydney after finishing work, but the boys were very keen to remain in Sydney where they have jobs, friends and support. Despite being NDIS participants, they didn’t know about SDA funding until a family member told them about it.

“We thought the boys would just end up coming to live with us up the coast which wasn’t what any of us wanted.”

The process of getting SDA funding was lengthy and difficult but worth it. Robyn says when the funding came there was a feeling of elation, and a huge weight was lifted from her’s and Trevor’s shoulders.

Her advice to parents in a similar position is to stick to your guns and keep fighting for your children.

“If you and your children are keen and willing then do it.”

“For your own sanity you need to take back your life, your own time. This is our time, time for us – something we never thought we’d get.”

“Don’t let anybody tell you what your children need or deserve. Get a good support co-ordinator to help with submissions and arranging reports and assessments. And keep paper trails – who you spoke to, when and what was said.”

When the time came for the boys to move in Robyn and Trevor had mixed emotions.

“It was hard to let go of the apron strings, but it was the right thing for the boys and for us. We stayed in Sydney for a few months while the boys settled in, before heading up the coast.”

Robyn says life is easier and more pleasant for everyone – and less back breaking for her and Trevor.

“Our relationships with the boys have changed for the better. They are capable men, not boys, and they deserve some independence – their own place, not living at mum and dad’s place.

“We spend more quality time together now – it is less transactional; we all speak more and listen more.”

“I love going down to visit and they make me a coffee in their own kitchen.”

Before the funding had been approved, the family had looked at different SDA and other disability housing options. They were very keen on the Summer Housing apartments in the suburb of Kirrawee, not far from the family home. They live in their own one-bedroom apartment in the complex, one floor above each other.

“The boys didn’t want to live with each other but they like the fact that are close to each other.”

Robyn and Trevor both say Summer Housing and Property and Tenancy Manager, Home in Place, have been “awesome, brilliant” in working with the Supported Independent Living (SIL) provider, Civic, to get the boys settled in and fostering their independence.

“They kept us informed through every step in the process and moved mountains to get Cameron and Byron in their apartments.”

“The apartments are new so there hasn’t been much to do but we had some minor modifications done before the boys moved in, and the maintenance response is quick.”

Well designed and well-located SDA housing has meant Cameron and Byron now have their own forever homes, leaving Robyn and Trevor have some TLC time.