HELP MY SON: Cheryl Warner is concerned about the safety of her disabled son and is pleading to the NDIS for funding.
HELP MY SON: Cheryl Warner is concerned about the safety of her disabled son and is pleading to the NDIS for funding. Jessica McGrath

'I am desperate': Mum's plea for disabled son

SIX times a week Cheryl Warner finds herself in a panic, running onto a busy road after her eight-year-old son.

Jai, who has severe autism and an intellectual impairment, climbs the fence and runs onto Brights Rd in East Nanango, a narrow and busy stretch of road dotted with dams and a rural fire brigade.

"You can't relax for five seconds. You have got to be worried about him all the time," she said.

"I can't stress the urgency and need to keep him safe. I am so worried."

When he is on the run, Mrs Warner said he was impossible to catch so she gets in her car.

It then takes two people, one at Jai's head and one at his feet, to carry him home.

Mrs Warner has seen him close to being hit by a 4WD, and one day she fears he will actually be hit.

With an 18-month-old and four-year-old also in her care, Mrs Warner is calling on the National Disability Insurance Scheme to approve her application for a safety fence and safety gates to help keep her son safe.

"I am begging the NDIS for help to keep my son safe but they will not help us," she said.

"I am desperate. I do not know what to do.

I am disabled as well and I cannot catch him when he runs off."

Jai has received an NDIS package since August 2018, at the same time Mrs Warner put in an application for the fence and gates.

This application was knocked back on the grounds that it was a restrictive practice.

Mrs Warner lodged a review and change of circumstance but this was also denied.

An NDIA spokesperson said NDIS plans were tailored to each participant's individual circumstances which is done during the planning process.

"Decisions about the type of support included in a participant's plan are made based on what is deemed reasonable and necessary for them," they said.

"For the NDIS to pay for home modifications, it needs to be identified in the plan.

An NDIA spokesperson said they would fund reasonable and necessary home modifications where a qualified occupational therapist has performed an assessment and recommended home modifications.

However, Mrs Warner said Jai's occupational therapist had assessed the situation and said a safety fence and gate was the only viable option to keep him safe.

"If a participant thinks a decision made by the NDIA about them is wrong, they are encouraged to contact their local office and discuss their concern," the spokesperson said.

Mrs Warner said if the application was not approved, her family would be forced to move and with a child with a disability who does not like change she said it would be distressing for everyone.

South Burnett


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