DISAPPOINTED: Alison Coate-Kibeiks, pictured with her daughter Olive, is disappointed her NDIS funding has been slashed, making it harder for her to return to work. Picture: Anthony Brady
A south-west Victorian teacher desperate to return to work is concerned she won’t be able to do so because her National Disability Insurance Scheme funding has been slashed.
Alison Coate-Kibeiks, 44, suffered an ischemic stroke four years ago. Her partner recognised signs of a stroke when Ms Coate-Kibeiks woke and immediately called an ambulance. Ms Coate-Kibeiks was rushed to the Royal Melbourne Hospital in a critical condition. She was in hospital for two weeks before being moved to a rehabilitation facility. In the months after her stroke, Ms Coate-Kibeiks had very little mobility. She was using a motorised wheelchair for a long period of time. “At the start I needed a person on each side of me to support me upright on the side of a bed,” she said. “I still have no movement or function in my left hand but I’m quite mobile over different surfaces. “However, I use a stick and ankle brace.” Ms Coate-Kibeiks has undergone occupational therapy, physiotherapy and exercise physiology to aid in her recovery. In the first year after the stroke, her NDIS funding covered the cost of treatment, as well as four hours of community support per week. However, Ms Coate-Kibeiks said her NDIS budget had been slashed and she no longer had access to the amount of therapy she needed to return to work. She said she had inquired about extra funding to return to work but had so far been unsuccessful in obtaining any. “Considering a major goal of mine is to return to work, I feel NDIS has let me down with funding because I can’t afford any more OT support,” she said. Ms Coate-Kibeiks said she considered herself lucky because she was able to advocate for herself after her stroke. “I was lucky that my brain injury didn’t affect me cognitively and I have been able to do a lot of work to apply for funding myself,” she said. “I worry that people who don’t have the cognitive ability or anyone to advocate for them will be affected significantly. “I feel very capable of advocating for myself and I’m having such difficulty, so I worry about people who don’t have the ability to advocate for themselves.”