Catherine was in her twenties, living an active life like most other 20-year-olds. She had purchased a property with her partner, but was then in a work-related motor vehicle accident. She suffered a traumatic brain injurythat left her in a wheelchair, with communication and cognitive difficulties.

Sadly, her marriage broke down following the accident. She was left living in the downstairs garage of her mother’s home. She had a desire to move out and live independently, but feared the reaction of her close-knit, protective family.

It was at this time Catherine connected with Synapse’s Advocacy Team to discuss how her desires to live independently could be facilitated and discussed productively with her family. Over a period of 18 months, the advocates supported Catherine and her family through a slow build-up of trialled independent living to ensure direct support staff were able to appropriately support her.

There were numerous obstacles throughout this period, with COVID-19 restrictions, maintenance issues and disagreements between support staff and Catherine’s family. Catherine navigated these challenges with a Synapse advocate by her side to both protect, guide and support her, ensuring she was encouraged and equipped to advocate strongly for herself.

Catherine now lives independently in her own home, her family visits regularly and she is able to live a fuller and more independent life.

*Names have been changed to protect client identity