November 14, 2023
Steve Scholten is dedicated to bringing quality disability support, with choice and control, to the people of country Queensland. And he’s got the mileage to prove it!
As part of his work as a support coordinator with Disability Plan Services, Steve is frequently on the remote roads of southern and western Queensland, for regular face-to-face catch ups with clients spread as far as Roma, Charleville, St George and Hervey Bay. He also operates a walk-in office at Care Balonne in St George at the end of each month.
Steve also actively liaises with service providers, to help bring their much-needed services to the regions.
“The people living out in the regions often just don’t get a choice of providers, or therapists,” he says. “They don’t get choice and control. I’m trying to get services out there to give people more variety, and more choice of therapists.”
“They miss out on so much of the specialised therapy that we get in the city,” Steve explains. “So I’m in constant talks with providers, saying ‘there’s a need, this is where you should be heading’.”
“I have introduced provider services for supports in St George. We now have a provider whose staff drive-in-drive-out, on a 7 day rotating roster from Toowoomba.”
Steve is committed to in-person visits with his clients in each of these regional towns every month, and he knows how much this matters to them and their families.
“Nothing beats face-to-face communication. It means they’ve got someone there who they can see and read their expressions, and someone that can see their expressions, which you just don’t get on the phone. They really know you’re listening, and showing care and empathy.”
“And then, you can go and action what they’re asking for,” he says.
“The NDIS is about seeing people grow, because of what we connect them to – it’s about the right services, making sure there’s a match,” he says.
“I get a real sense of purpose out of seeing the results that are benefitting the participant.”
Steve has many examples of this, including Lacey*, a 19 year old woman he supports in Roma.
“Lacey wasn’t using any of her core or capacity-building supports,” he says.
“She liked a particular art therapist, but a previous support coordinator had told her she couldn’t use that one.
“So I re-connected her with that art therapist, and she’s so happy. She’s also using her core supports which she absolutely loves, getting out, trying different foods, going to different venues, trying different activities. She’s a completely different person. She used to be at Headspace most days – but last time I was out there, they said they hardly see her now.”
“She’s never really had her own financial independence – her parents gave her money for whatever she needed. But now she’s 19, so we’re in the process of helping her apply for Disability Support Pension and Newstart, and she has a goal of moving out. She’s on her way to independence.”
While there are long hours on the road in Steve’s role, he loves exploring the vast country areas, having previously run a business in Charleville.
“I love the west,” he says. “I want to focus on Cunnamulla next. I know my name is getting out there, because I actually do what I say I’m going to do.”
We’re proud to have Steve on the Disability Plan Services team! If you’re interested in support coordination services in regional Queensland, contact us today.
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