Jamie’s five-year road to freedom

When Jamie finished high school and joined Centacare’s HAND Social and Life Skills Hub, she had her heart set on achieving one big goal – getting her driver’s license.

For five years Jamie worked tenaciously with her support workers, chipping away at her goal little by little and, in August this year, the 25-year-old from Ferny Grove came up trumps.

This Disability Action Week (26 November – 2 December) Centacare is celebrating the incredible achievements and contributions of Queenslanders with disability and we met with Jamie to talk about her new-found freedom.

“I’m looking at second-hand cars,” said Jamie excitedly. “Either a Hyundai i30 in sky blue or a Mazda CX3 in grey. I’ve got some money saved up”.

For many young people, the thought of learning road rules and getting behind the wheel of a car is daunting enough. For those with an intellectual disability or medical condition, there is a whole other layer of challenge and complexity.

In Queensland, an occupational therapy driving assessment is required to assess a person’s suitability to drive. The assessment includes both a clinical, off-road assessment and a practical on-road evaluation.

Jamie used her weekly 1:1 sessions with her support workers to schedule and attend appointments, complete and submit forms and work through the many steps involved in meeting the requirements.

They worked with Jamie to help prepare her for the written test. They learned and studied the road rules together and completed online practice tests until she felt enough confidence to sit the real exam.

Once Jamie had her learner’s licence, she set her sights on completing 100 hours of supervised driving experience, which she achieved with the support of her family. During this time, Jamie worked with her support workers to record her driving experience in her learner logbook and undertake the research needed to identify a suitable, NDIS-approved driving instructor.

In addition to practical support and guidance, Jamie’s support workers also provided encouragement and emotional support. Jamie applied and received approval for one of her support workers to be present in the driving instructor’s car during Jamie’s lessons.

Centacare Service Leader, Cristina, said Jamie showed incredible determination, patience and resilience through the entire process. “This is a huge achievement for any young person and especially for Jamie, who had many extra challenges to overcome. We are very proud of her.”

Australia Zoo and the Maleny Botanic Gardens & Bird World are the first places on Jamie’s list to visit in her new car. “I love animals and spending time in nature,” said Jamie. “It helps me feel happy and calm.

“I’m also looking forward to getting myself to the shops and to appointments. It will make coming to HAND and seeing my friends a lot easier as well.”


What are your passions, aspirations and plans?

We love nothing more than to see our clients kicking goals! From meeting new people and making long lasting friendships to learning new skills and building confidence in the areas that matter to you most, we offer a range of social and life skills activities that can help you get there.