NDIS officer brings a personal perspective

Southern Way Direct Care Service’s first NDIS officer Bridie West.

Southern Way Direct Care Service’s first NDIS officer Bridie West.

Personal experience will help Bridie West in her role as Southern Way Direct Care Service’s first NDIS officer.

The NDIS arrives in the south-west in October and Mrs West will draw on her experience with daughter Greta, who has the rare condition tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC)

She will see first-hand the positive change the disability scheme will have.

“There’s so much potential that participants and their families are able to tap into,” she said.

In her role Mrs West will help all new participants, including existing Southern Way clients, to move to the NDIS.

“It can be scary making such a big change but I have a unique understanding to help people navigate their way to the best outcome from my case management background in the welfare and community services sector and as someone personally involved in the disability sector,” she said.

Greta, 8, was diagnosed with TSC during an ultrasound. Tests in Melbourne confirmed the cardiac rhabdomyomas and also found 27 tubers in her brain.

TSC is genetic disease that causes benign tumors to grow in the brain and other vital organs.

As a baby she experienced seizures and at one stage needed to be resuscitated. At age three she underwent brain surgery with a grid placement and a tuberectomy to remove four of her tubers.

Greta has been free of seizures for five years. “Her development went forward in leaps and bounds, particularly her motor skills,” Mrs West said.

“We still have our visits and check-ups but it’s no longer something that rules our lives.”

Mrs West said the south-west region would be well placed for the NDIS roll-out. “There have been some teething problems in trial sites but they have been worked through and the response now is very positive,” she said.

“It will allow people with disabilities to become true members of the community.”