SUPPORT: Chris Hobart and Catherine Perriotte are struggling with the National Disability Insurance Scheme.
SUPPORT: Chris Hobart and Catherine Perriotte are struggling with the National Disability Insurance Scheme. Cordell Richardson

NDIS: Carer says autistic son worse off

The National Disability Insurance Scheme has been heralded as a new golden age for Queenslanders with disabilities, but Barellan Point carer Catherine Perriotte says her autistic son is worse off under the program.

Christopher Hobart, 31, has multiple disabilities. In addition to autism, he suffers from partial blindness and a growth hormone deficiency that requires daily medication.

"Christopher can't go into a care home environment because his needs are too high. If he misses one dose of medication, he can actually go into a coma," Ms Perriotte said.

The NDIS is supposed to empower people with disabilities by building a flexible plan to support their goals and ambitions in life.

Ms Perriotte, a paramedic, said for her son to be able to stay at home, their house needs an independent living space where he can engage in behavioural therapy, including learning to cook and clean for himself.

The family has proposed converting their existing garage structure, but the NDIS has denied requests to reallocate about $17,000 currently budgeted for daily living and social support towards the modifications, saying that the renovation did not meet legislated criteria.

Ms Perriotte said Mr Hobart's funding was set after he was made to answer NDIS assessment questions without carer support when he was transitioned to the scheme one year ago.

"They won't even look at the mental health aspect to Christopher's disability, this is what he needs to become independent and socially connected," she said.

An NDIA spokesperson said that funds allocated through an NDIS plan must be spent on approved items only.

"We understand the concerns of the family and will continue to work with them to ensure they receive the appropriate NDIS supports," the spokesperson said.

Mr Hobart's autism symptoms are severe. He is unable to communicate with most people, preventing him from completing his studies.

The family home was recently visited by Biosecurity Australia after Mr Hobart, afraid of developing a blood clot, secretly imported leeches from Bulgaria to bleed himself.

"My mum died of a blood clot, and he was really worried about getting one," Ms Perriotte said.

"He hid them, imported them and put them onto himself - it's also an AIDS and hepatitis risk, I was so upset."

"When we went to the doctor, he opened up about why he had done it, but it just goes to show why Christopher needs behavioural modifications, so he can learn to open up to others."



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