At just 23, ambitious Norfolk islander Lleyton Clark has taken up the challenge of building his own log cabin home.
Lleyton, who is on the autism spectrum and lives with global developmental delay, has prospered since he was able to access NDIS supports from his remote island home in 2018.
After many months of planning, Lleyton’s dream of building a log cabin next to the family home is taking shape.
With help from his mother, Sarah, building materials are on the way to the island. Lleyton is waiting for the cladding to arrive from the United States via New Zealand.
“It is still in the first phase. I plan to have it finished early next year, depending on shipping,” he said.
Lleyton, who accesses speech therapy and direct support through his NDIS plan, is learning to read and write, and become more independent with daily life skills.
He now has his full driver’s license, which he uses to drive his truck around town and to the local hardware store to pick up building supplies.
Thanks to those NDIS supports, Lleyton’s life has changed for the better after some struggles during his high school years.
Sarah says the main challenge at school was communication.
“Lleyton didn’t have very clear speech and it’s only in the last year or two that he’s actually been able to articulate a lot clearer,” Sarah said.
“A lot of it was frustration, of not being able to be understood.”
Through weekly speech therapy sessions, Lleyton’s communication skills have increased, allowing him to be more social.
Lleyton is now a popular member of the local Men’s Shed and has already built a wooden stool at his weekly meetups.
“It is all joinery – no screws or nails. It’s a masterpiece,” Lleyton said.
By Lleyton’s 24th birthday next February, he hopes to be able to sit on that stool in his finished log cabin.
Lleyton’s support coordinator, Eve, from Life Without Barriers, helps him to download audiobooks on his tablet.
“These days, I have a lot more confidence. I get out more and I am learning to read. I love Harry Potter,” he said.
“Lleyton listens to his audiobooks every day, sometimes twice a day, and if he enjoys the book he will listen to it a number of times,” Eve said.
“And when his mum has been away on the mainland, Lleyton has had learn to be more independent with things like cooking, cleaning and managing his own finances.”
Meantime, Lleyton will continue helping in the family café but dreams of one day opening his own burger bar.
“He is a very driven young man. He doesn’t want to sit at home. He is proud of who he is. We all are,” Sarah said.