Ronda Celebrates A Decade Of Accomplishments With Matthew

It was 5 April 2008 when Ronda answered an ad in the local paper requiring a Disability Support Worker in her local area. Within 24 hours she had landed a position with Community Access Respite Services (C.A.R.S) supporting a 17 year old named Matthew.

“Matthew, who has Downs Syndrome, Autism and Epilepsy, is non-verbal but with an engaging smile that draws you in. He didn’t interact with me very much on the first day, but as I was assisting with his meal, he put his leg up on my knee. That was a sign of affection and trust for Matthew, his mother explained to me, and it has continued every day since. He’s now 28 years old,” said Ronda.


During their time together milestones have certainly been achieved – especially when it comes to Matthew’s meals. Unable to hold a spoon or fork for himself, Ronda, and other Disability Support Workers assisting Matthew, encouraged him to hold the utensils to feed himself. “Within a month he was able to pick up the spoon and place it in his mouth without spilling any food. It was one huge step on the road to his independence and we celebrate every achievement,” said Ronda.


“In the car as we travel, Matthew loves to listen to music. I always have the radio on so he can enjoy the songs and bounce along on the back seat, but if I pick him up just a few minutes early and the news is on, Matthew lets me know that he’s not happy – the music should be on! I smile and remind him that it’s ok and the news will be over soon. Once the music returns, all is well with the world as we travel home,” Ronda explains.


Ronda says that being Matthew’s Disability Support Worker for 11 years now has been “amazing.” “Seeing his accomplishments has meant so much to me. Being able to assist his family in the tough times as well as the good is important too. I remember the first time Matthew’s mother was able to go out with her two older daughters for an
afternoon coffee, having peace of mind that Matthew was at home, supported and safe in his own environment. For Ronda, understanding is key. She has learned to look at Matthew’s body language, to give eye contact and understand his vocalisations so that she can connect with him and understand his needs.


“I love my role in Matthew’s life. It’s not a job, it’s a delight. Thank you, Matthew, for allowing me to be in your life.”

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