Nicholas: a young man on a mission

graphic of leaves
Nicholas Crawford

Yarrawonga’s Nicholas Crawford has a plan for the future and is happy to talk through his road map on his goals, aspirations and developing his life and learning skills.

As his confidence grows, 21-year-old Nicholas is ticking off key achievements and striving for his ultimate aspiration of being independent.

Nicholas is diagnosed with autism and over the last three years has made significant progress in building his skills, resilience and embracing the opportunity to be part of the Yarrawonga community – all thanks to a wonderful family, support teams and the assistance of Intereach and the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

From a shy teenager who needed to be assisted across the road and having little contact with people outside his immediate family, this young man is now focused on his fitness, helping with home renovations, loving his computer games and music and setting goals of cars, girlfriends and independent living.

He now independently walks around Yarrawonga while confidently engaging with members of the community who have become familiar to him.

From swimming on Mondays and bowling on Fridays, Nicholas enjoys a jammed packed week of activities. He loves that he has a couple of mates to take him to the gym to work on his “anacondas” (biceps), being the “supervisor” of his parents’ home renovations – including assisting with the painting and tiling – and building his friendship at PALS (Providing All Living Supports).

It is at PALS that, over time, some wonderful friendships have grown. It has been an important part of his development so much that Nicholas enjoys helping those that are less able-bodied than him who attend the sessions.

And Nicholas’ family have been grateful for all the support in the Yarrawonga, Shepparton and Wangaratta areas from Brad, Max, Tanner, Bill, Tim, Nathan, Blake and Kevin – describing the assistance in supporting his growth and maturity as brilliant.

From his speech pathologist, OT, PALS, mental health practitioner and support workers – everyone has seen the huge growth in Nicholas.

The support of the NDIS has changed not only Nicholas’ outlook on life, but those of his immediate family to the extent that they believe he will live a fully independent life in years to come.

As for Nicholas, his next major milestone will be his first New Year’s Eve party to be hosted in his new independent living quarters at Yarrawonga.

With lavash, chicken burgers, and a good playlist is on the menu, it is sure to be a night to remember for Nicholas and his pals.

He is certainly a young man on a mission of independence.