This article was written by Keen Cook and published by The Gladstone Observer.
For the full article, visit: http://bit.ly/2qCCnk9
Nathan Rayner has become a working example of the CPL - Choice, Passion, Life in Gladstone.
After finishing high school at Rosella State School in 2016, 18-year-old Nathan Rayner has been keeping up with CPL's community support services, learning to cook and staying active with swimming and gym programs.
Options for people with disabilities can often be limited after school and Nathan's mum Sherree wanted to find something that he would be interested in, as well as teaching him valuable life skills for the future.
"Nathan didn't like school a lot in his final year and we weren't in a hurry to get him into something and we wanted to find something that he would enjoy,” she said.
The family came across CPL's community support options and are rapt they did.
"Nathan loves it - he's very happy there,” she said.
He's currently working on improving his sign language skills, practising signing sentences every morning with his peers.
"CPL gives him the time to make his own choices,” Nathan's dad Mark said.
"They find out what his interests are, allowing him to be himself and participate in what he wants.
"He loves socialising, cooking, singing, and being active.
"His goal in the future is to do some volunteer work in a kitchen or in a child care centre.”
Through the local service, Nathan can access support to access education, catch up with friends and family, go shopping or run errands, go to the gym, or play sports like swimming, bowling, fishing and sailing.
Mum Sherree said it was important to socialise.
"He's a real go-getter. He goes fishing with his brother and he meets up with everyone once a week to catch up and socialise,” she said.
Nathan also enjoys the community access group, who cook up a storm once a week at CPL's Gladstone service.
"He is easy going and he's happy - he loves it. I don't think there's anything where he's said 'no, I don't want to do that.'”
"He's settled in well and he enjoys what he does.”
Nathan's confidence and initiative have grown as he takes on new experiences and prepares to play basketball.
"He will have a go at anything; hedge trimming, whipper snippering, I even came home the other day and he said 'I'll empty the drainer,' and he dried everything and put it away. Then it started to rain and so he brought in all the washing and towels and folded them up - I was shocked,” Sherree said.
"It is wonderful, and it works for me, too. It's five minutes up the road. Everyone we met has been really lovely,” she said.
"We know that he is well looked after.”
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