Crestmead resident, Levi Allston, loves learning new things, it makes him feel like he can take on the world.

“When I started doing things for myself, it made me feel like a Transformer, like Optimus Prime,” Levi said.

“I feel like I could transform into a robot and fly to space. That’s how happy I feel when I learn a lot of new things.”

Levi has autism, and his mum, Gaye Hiscox, said since accessing the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) in late 2018, her son’s independence, abilities and outlook on life has improved.

She said early interventions funded by the Scheme, including speech therapy, occupational therapy (OT) and physiotherapy, has helped Levi increase his communication and life skills.

This in turn has given Levi the confidence to get his driver’s licence and find meaningful employment that’s helped him buy his first car.

“After school I wanted to become a construction worker or anything that’s hard working, like what I do now, which is mowing, labouring and other things,” Levi said.

For the past four years, Levi has worked two days a week as part of a gardening crew, saying the people he works with are more than just friends.

Levi Allston and mum Gaye Hiscox
Levi Allston and mum Gaye Hiscox

“They’re my family. I love them. My boss is like an uncle to me,” Levi said.

“I’m also thinking of some new goals for work. I’d like to learn how to drive a car with a trailer on it.

“I’d also like to learn to fix things better. My boss fixes the mowers a lot, and he’s not really that young anymore and I just want to help him.

“So maybe he can teach me how to use a wrench or other tools.”

Last year Levi, 23, moved out of his upstairs bedroom in the family home in Crestmead and shifted downstairs into a self-contained flat. Most nights he cooks for himself and he’s learning how to do housework.

Levi said over the years he’d had some good support people who taught him new skills and helped him to overcome some of his fears.

“I learnt to cook, and I can make tacos. I also had some fears like walking up and down stairs,” Levi said.

“So, she (his OT) taught me how to walk downstairs properly. It took a couple of months. But she was pretty wonderful.”

These days, Levi has a lot more choice and control in his life.

“I don’t really need that much support anymore. I can go out by myself. I even go to Garden City by myself. I park there for free as long as I don’t stay longer than 3 hours,” he said.

But Levi’s favourite thing by far is watching movies and making costumes of his favourite characters. He says superheroes such as Spiderman give him the courage to help people.

Levi Allston
Levi Allston

“There was this lady at the shops, and she dropped her purse and so I gave it back to her. And if there’s only one parking spot left at the shops, I let other people have it,” Levi said.

Levi’s passion for helping others is what prompted him to sign up to help Carers Queensland on its School to Adult Life Transition (STALT) project as a member of the organisation’s Amplifying Young Voices Reference Group.

As one of Australia’s largest NDIS partners in the community, Carers Queensland has a key role to play in driving inclusive change in communities.

The STALT project aims to increase the confidence of young people with disability to ensure a successful transition from school to adult life, leading to greater social and economic outcomes.

Levi is one of eight people aged 18-25 on the reference group who’ve already made the transition and are now living life their way at home, work and/or in the community.

As part of the group, Levi wants to reassure other school leavers who might be scared or worried about what their life might look like in adulthood.

Levi admitted he was “terrified” at the thought of leaving school, but when the time came, he was excited about what might be next.

“I was really scared thinking we’ve got 3 more months and I’m out of school,” he said. “But I just remembered something, I’d been waiting 12 years to get out of there.”

Levi also wants young people with disability to know they can accomplish more than what they realise, with a little support from others.

“Like me, when I first started my job, I thought I could do push mowing, but then I got into whipper snipping and riding on the big lawn mower,” he said.

“At first it was scary, because it’s a big and dangerous machine and the blades are right underneath your feet. But with some encouragement, I realised I could do it.”

Levi says he’s proud of what he’s achieved so far, and one day hopes to move out of home and live by himself.

“Not for a little while, because I know it would make mum very sad and she is the best mum,” Levi said.

“She helps me a lot.”

For More Information

To find out more about the School to Adult Life Transition project, please visit the Carers Queensland website, call on 1300 999 636, or email: cq.communityandmainstream@ndis.gov.au

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