Asta’s story- not being afraid to speak up

My name is Asta Beavis. I am the Client Service Manager at Endeavour Group Australia; I support our coordinators in the delivery of services, such as community access, accommodation and drop in support. However at the moment I also have a project role ensuring our organisation is ready for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

This November will mark my fifth year with Endeavour. Before that I had ten years with another disability organisation based in Newcastle. I started as a first year university student. I was studying psychology and was told to get work experience in the social services sector. I chose a disability organisation. Originally the plan was to build my networks so
that finding a supervisor later in my degree would be easier. However I ended up loving the work so much that I began a full time role in the sector.

You see my experience of disability began with my family. I have a brother with an intellectual disability and I have a sister with profound hearing impairment. When my older brother was going through high school he didn’t have a great time. He was bullied a lot. He would come home in tears; he wouldn’t want to go to school. I couldn’t understand why people thought he was different. I didn’t see him as different.

But as I got older, I understood that because his speech was a little impaired and he’s hard to understand, that’s why people decided to pick on him. He was an easy target, I guess, because he wasn’t able to defend himself.

Since then I’ve always been passionate about making sure there were advocates, people who would assist and empower people to become independent. I personally wanted to help people to have an opinion, to be able to speak their opinion, to contribute to community and society and not be afraid to speak up.

We still need to educate the wider community; make sure people are all on the same page. There are still lots of perceptions out there for people with a disability. It’s our role to change that. This is particularly important because the NDIS is putting a lot on community. The NDIS wants to utilise the community more. However we also need to look at how we can assist the community to be ready for this responsibility.

At Endeavour our programs are designed around what people want. This might be something an individual is interested in or something for the group to do.  We ensure our clients choose what they do, choose their life, choose their journey, choose their goals.

It can take a little while for people to be comfortable saying, “This is what I want to do withIMG_1534 my life, this is my goal.” We have person centred planning which is fantastic but it can take a little while for people to speak up.  Some of our clients have never had this opportunity before. Some are reluctant because it might be something only they have thought of. It’s not only about the person with a disability. For many goals to be realistic we need the community to help us.

This is the second year Endeavour has participated in projectABLE. To students wanting to know what the NDIS is all about I would say this.  It’s about empowering people to achieve their goals and dreams and having the extra support to do that.



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