Jacob's Journey – Never Give Up

JACOB is 18 years old and is studying year 11 at his local high school. He is at a transitional stage of life, beginning to consider educational and career options post school. You can watch Jacob tell his story here.

Jacob requires electronic equipment for all his communication and recording of schoolwork. He walks small distances on flat ground, but uses a motorised wheelchair for long distance. He requires assistance during mealtimes.

“(I’m concerned about) not having much movement,” Jacob said.

Jacob was referred to mylifeAssist through his Speech Pathologist in March 2014. His Consultant at lifeAssist, Gayle, has been working with Jacob to achieve his goals.

Gayle has been supporting his educational and vocational outcomes, coordinating his professional support networks and his personal networks.

“(My consultant is) brilliant. She has taken a lot of pressure away from me and my family,” said Jacob. “Get help. Because it is hard.”

Jacob barracks for St Kilda; he participates in martial arts and he loves to tend his vegetable garden. He studies four VCE subjects.

“I want to go on to drafting. I've always wanted to do construction,” said Jacob.

Jacob enjoys attending school. It was always his goal to be able take the bus to and from school. For this to happen, the bus stops at both ends of the journey required modification.

Two years ago, this goal seemed unreachable because of the amount of negotiation needed with the local council, Public Transport Victoria, the Education Department and Ventura Buses.

During this time Gayle, Jacob and his family advocated for the changes required to make the bus stops accessible. Jacob advocated for himself during this process by writing a letter to the Council.

Despite all the hurdles in the journey, Jacob achieved his goal. Both ends of the journey were made accessible and he used the bus for transport to and from school with his schoolmates for the first time in August 2015.

This achievement has given his family two extra hours in their day, no longer needing to transport Jacob to and from school.

Communication between Jacob, his family and Gayle is important. Gayle advocates with Jacob to make sure his High School is meeting Jacob’s interests, educational opportunities and day-to-day needs. This also means making sure the subjects and study Jacob takes at school will help him pursue his future career interests and goals.

Jacob has goals for his future, and is determined to achieve them. He has important advice to anyone facing barriers – “Never give up.”

Watch Jacob's Story.