“With a smile on her face, Emma still remembers the day Heath popped up the question asking her to be his girlfriend.”
Like bodies, relationships can take all sorts of forms.
Take Emma (39) and Heath (43), who have been in love for almost two years. The NDIS participants met at a day program and were determined to make their relationship work.
At the time, the couple faced a range of barriers that prevented them from seeing each other for a few months and were not happy about it. They then decided to move to one of Momentum Collective Supported Independent Living (SIL) houses at the Gold Coast and their person-centred service enabled the pair to foster this relationship.
Momentum Collective Support Worker Jessica Grosskreutz says that love is love and shouldn’t be different when living with a disability. “Having a physical or intellectual disability doesn’t change the need for a loving relationship with another person or the desire to express it. When people living with disability form intimate relationships, they often experience cultural stereotypes and prejudices that can be hurtful and damaging. I’m here to support Emma and Heath, giving them back the choice and control on what they do and who they live with”.
With a smile on her face, Emma still remembers the day Heath popped up the question asking her to be his girlfriend. “It was on the bus coming back from the day program. I was so happy and had happy tears. When I told my family, they were all excited for me. He is a great man, and I can feel the love in my heart”, Emma blushes with her friendly, welcoming face.
“To be seen by your partner for who you are and be accepted and celebrated it’s a good thing,” celebrates Emma.
The couple is now inseparable, and they usually make plans in advance to go out for barbecues, to the Botanic Garden, out for dinner and visit each other at their SIL houses.
Heath would like to see everyone who is looking for love to find their soul mate and get the best support they can. “My Support Worker listens to me and helps me see Emma. They know what I like to do and help me plan activities with my girlfriend. Without Momentum Collective’s support, I would probably still be living at home with my parents”, says Heath.
Emma and Heath’s plans are to live together and get married one day. For now, they are enjoying their remarkable Valentine’ Day date at a sunset boat day tour with their favourite snacks and drinks.