Ryan’s relatives Yoli and Gary first remember seeing him around 11 years of age, sitting on the couch and not saying a word. To them, he seemed too overwhelmed to communicate or interact with people and the world around him.
Things grew progressively more difficult for Ryan and his mum as he grew older. Then one day, when Ryan was in his early twenties, Gary discovered him living alone in an empty house, fending for himself. In short order, Gary and Yoli arranged for Ryan to move into their home.
Yoli remembers the transition to family life being a little bumpy. For close to a week, all Ryan wanted to consume was packets of Doritos and cans of Coca-Cola.
About five days into the new living arrangements, Yoli decided to prepare Weet-Bix for Ryan’s breakfast.
“I don’t eat Weet-Bix,” Ryan said.
“Well, you do now.”
As she increasingly gained his trust, Yoli watched the young man come out of his shell, laughing and joking.
Within a month, Ryan’s Uniting disability support consultant Regina found him work placement for two days per week. She also put him in touch with education programs where he could develop more social skills and learn about the world around him.
Through his work, Ryan found a sense of personal achievement, good friendships and even fell in love for the first time!
“I love my work,” Ryan says. “Every day’s a perfect day for me.”
After receiving love and support from Yoli and Gary and learning a wealth of new skills for independent living, Ryan recently transitioned to his own home in supported accommodation. He has never been happier.
“I can do a lot more things now,” Ryan says.
Yoli believes that without Uniting’s disability services, Ryan would not be as settled and happy as he is now. “Literally everything I’ve got for Ryan has been through Regina,” says Yoli. “She’s just been a godsend for me.”
Ryan’s story teaches us that it’s often the little things that make life great. Watch his funny and heart-warming interview here.