More people with a disability and their families are in need of help during COVID-19.
Among those who have been responding to the demand in a COVID-safe way is experienced behaviour support specialist Raymond Bradshaw.
Mr Bradshaw has been able to draw on more than 30 years' experience working in the sector during such an unprecedented time.
He has lived in the Illawarra since migrating from Sydney as a teenager and during the last three decades has provided support to families in Wollongong, Shellharbour, Kiama, the Shoalhaven, Southern Highlands, Wingecarribee and Goulburn.
As a behaviour support practitioner with the Benevolent Society he assists people of all ages with disability, and their families.
The effective behaviour support he provides improves quality of life and increases community and social inclusion.
During COVID-19 the Benevolent Society has seen an increase in people needing help. But the way it is delivered has changed to meet social distancing requirements.
Technology has allowed Mr Bradshaw and his colleagues to continue support even when face-to-face interactions are not possible.
"Requests for help keep coming in so we have plenty to do."
Requests for help keep coming in so we have plenty to doRaymond Bradshaw
Mr Bradshaw knows others who have worked in the disability services sector as long as he has for the same reason. He said being able to help people made for a very rewarding career.
"Going back a few years we used to work within Family and Community Services and before that the Department of Community Services.
"Some of the people I worked with are still floating around in the non-government sector and I still bump into them from time to time."
After doing a creative arts degree at university Mr Bradshaw worked as a teacher for a while but wasn't really enjoying it as much as he thought he would. So he applied for a job working with people with disabilities and has worked in the field ever since. Now he couldn't image doing anything else and loves being able to assist with any challenge.
"I think the thing about behaviour intervention and support is there is always something around the corner that surprises you," he said.
"Due to the COVID restrictions a lot of our stuff is done through TeleHealth now.
"I have one client in the Southern Highlands I still go and visit at the moment. And when called on to do so I will travel far and wide."
Mr Bradshaw said helping create a better quality of life for people was the most important part of his job. He said when people feel like they need to resort to unproductive behaviour it is not good for them or their families. He said improving their quality of life was the key to achieving a positive result for everyone.
"It teaches you a little bit about yourself as well. It can be quite humbling at times."
Mr Bradshaw said he will keep doing what he does for as long as possible because he gets to do a job that is making a real difference for many people.
He said when he eventually retires he will be able to look back and know his whole career has been dedicated to trying to make life a little better for others. And that is why he recommends it as a rewarding career for others to consider as well.
Mr Bradshaw said often parents did not know what was developmentally normal for a child with a disability. And it was great to be able to set their minds at ease about what to expect.
He said it makes them feel more at ease when they discover their children are exhibiting normal behaviour for their age.
"And with COVID-19 TBS has really gone out of its way to make sure that we are all safe."
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