The High Wycombe resident was acutely aware that the time would soon come when Ella would need to enter the workforce and, like any parent, wanted her daughter to have as many options and the best quality of life that she could.
The launch of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) last week, which is being trialled in the Perth Hills, came as perfect timing for the bubbly mum and her daughter, and being a local family, they were a shoo-in for the benefits of the new scheme.
‘One of the greatest challenges (with raising Ella) was her schooling,’ she said.
‘We had to try and find a place that had the right amount of aid time, but when she was in Year 3 we put her in Kalamunda Education Support and it was perfect.
‘In about five years time, Ella will be heading into the workforce and I knew it was going to be hard to get her there.
‘We need support and access to training.’
With their first consultation due in early August, Ms Bridges already has her daughter’s short-term plan mapped out and ready to be implemented.
‘I am hoping to get a support worker for Ella for a couple of days a week after school and on weekends,’ she said.
‘I work full-time and my teenage son works part-time and it is not his responsibility to look after Ella and she is not able to stay at home alone yet, so it would be great to have a young support worker to take her shopping and to the movies.
‘She and her friends can’t just hop on a bus to Midland, she needs someone to be with her and she is at that age where she doesn’t want mum to tag along with her.’
Wanting to be actively involved in her daughter’s future and the shaping of the NDIS, when the opportunity came up to be on an advisory group, Ms Bridges jumped at the chance.
‘They were seeking expressions of interest, so I applied as a parent of a child with a disability,’ she said.
‘My understanding is that this scheme will allow flexibility, to allow Ella to be able to do what she wants even if her interests change; I just hope they follow through.’