I think that OCIL LTD. provides a great service for people who have a disability, as a P.A. may be the only way they could get the help they need. Having a P.A. has increased my independence enormously, and it means that my family is free to get on with their livesI have had a P.A. for the last 13 years. Betty Dunne was my first P.A. I worked with Betty for 11 years from the time I started secondary school until I graduated from the Athlone Institute of Technology. During the time I was in secondary school, Betty brought me to and from school every day, and she went as my Personal Assistant on a school tour to France during my Junior Certificate year.
When I finished my Leaving Certificate, Betty worked with me until I graduated from college. She worked very long days with me often from around 8 in the morning until 7 in the evening. She drove me to college and came back to collect me at the end of the day.
Denise Casey has worked with me since 2006(?). Denise drives me into town, to get my hair cut, to go to the bank or to do anything else that I may need to do. She also takes me to most of my medical appointments in Mullingar and Dublin. I worked in the Department of Finance for six months in 2007(?) and she drove me to and from there. I had to attend a week long training course in Dublin prior to commencing work in the Department of Finance and Denise accompanied me and stayed overnight with me in Dublin. Before that, I worked in Ballycumber Community Development for two months and she drove me to and from there every day. Now that I am with Offaly CIL LTD., Denise is also there to take me to and from work. She also assists me with some of my personal care needs when necessary. It is not only in my working and educational life that P.A. services were invaluable to me. Denise also helps me to enjoy an active social life, and she was instrumental in planning my 21st birthday, for example. Also, if my parents need to go away for the night or for most of the day my P.A. would come to my house and stay the night, or stay during the day and help me with whatever I needed done.
The P.A. service that OCIL LTD. provides has been of benefit to me in many ways. It means that I am independent of my parents and very much in control of my own life. If I need to go somewhere or if I need something done, I dont have to ask my parents to do it for me. Instead, I can ask my Personal Assistant to help me. Adopting the Independent Living Philosophy means that I am the employer and as such I have control over what my P.A. does for me. I believe that understanding and promoting the Independent Living Philosophy has really enhanced my life and assisted me in achieving my true potential in life.