Josh has cooking and maths down pat
Newcastle dad, Phil Young can't believe how much his son has progressed since joining the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) in July 2014.
Josh, 26, has Down syndrome and through his NDIS plan, he has been able to engage Ryan Brooks, a support worker, to teach him how to budget; use a calculator, buy his own food at the supermarket and prepare and cook meals at home.
"It's just so great to see where Josh has come from to where he is now," Phil said. "And it is fantastic Ryan has been able to teach him all of this, helping him to live a more independent life."
Ryan, 40, works for New Lake Peer Support, in Merewether, a suburb close to where Josh lives, in Newcastle.
Ryan works with Josh every Wednesday afternoon for two hours and they spend one hour doing maths and the other hour doing money management, using Josh's iPad.
"For two hours on a Saturday morning, Josh and I also do a cooking program and we both really enjoy it," Ryan said.
"From the money management side of things we've been learning the basics to get Josh back up to speed… counting from one to 10, one to 20 and then working on different equations on a board.
"I even designed a program for him. It's sort of like a process of elimination but it really works well with Josh and now he can do equations the size of the board and when he finishes, he gives me a peace sign. It's great," Ryan said.
"I've also taught him how to do equations on the calculator and now we have the maths down pat."
To prepare for Josh and Ryan's Saturday cooking program each week, the pair search the supermarket website for ingredients and work out how much it will cost all on Josh's iPad.
"Once we've worked it out, we take the iPad to the supermarket and use the calculator on it to add up our shopping. Josh really enjoys it and we try to work on a $15 budget," Ryan said.
"Our cooking program works on a six-week turnaround so we have six weeks of different dishes Josh has selected to cook, and we repeat that process three times. That way Josh can learn and retain the process of preparing each meal."
Ryan said when he first met Josh six months ago he struggled to count to 10.
"It was hard for Josh at first but we've managed to get him there," Ryan said. "We spent months saying the numbers over and over again because there's a lot of value in repetition.
"Like Phil, I'm pleased with how far Josh has come since I've been working with him, and it's great to see him utilise his NDIS plan to engage extra supports that will really benefit him."