Kathy Divine is a busy woman. As well as the author of six books, founder and editor of Australian Vegans Journal magazine and a qualified dog massage therapist, she also coaches first-time authors on how to publish their books easily and successfully. If that wasn’t enough, she runs a blog and, through social media, has crafted a profile for herself as ‘Ask the Aspie’. Kathy is diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, as well as Chronic Fatigue syndrome and Ehlers-Danlos syndrome.
So, how does she do it all?
“I have great support through Mable which is a website and app that enables you to find support workers yourself,” Kathy said. “Since discovering it through NDIS Facebook groups, I’ve built a team who help me with cleaning, transport, social and community participation and I’ve also got workers who help me achieve my work goals.”
Kathy was able to directly connect with and engage independent support workers in her area, having refined the search criteria to suit what she was looking for.
“I found someone to teach me how to edit YouTube videos for my Ask the Aspie channel and I’ve also learned design skills for my magazine publishing. My support workers also accompany me to events where I sell my books and magazines.”
With the right support, Kathy said she feels confident to go out into the community and say yes to opportunities as they present themselves.
“Mable has been an absolute game changer for me,” she said. “It’s so flexible and it gives me genuine choice and control. I choose my workers and negotiate the terms so it’s an all-round collaborative platform.”
Mable’s smartphone app means Kathy always has access to the platform wherever she goes.
“Both the website and the app are easy to use and navigate. That is important to me as it saves energy for living life to the fullest. With the app, access to Mable is right there in my bag so if something comes up and I need to book a session at short notice, I can get onto it without delay.”
For Kathy, being able to choose and vet her own support workers has been important.
She admitted that she needed to feel confident and comfortable with anyone who came into her home. “Mable screens every support worker with police checks and reference and qualification checks before they can start working with clients. Plus, because I get to choose my own workers and meet them before I agree to work with them, either in person or via a video call, I get to make an informed decision.”
Having experienced Mable from the client’s perspective, Kathy identified an opportunity to become a support worker herself.
“I actually offer social support to Mable clients via Zoom and phone. As a lifestyle coach with a passion for helping people with disabilities, I understand potential challenges and I am good at brainstorming solutions. I specialise in helping people with autism, Asperger’s, Chronic Fatigue syndrome and Ehler’s-Danlos syndrome as these are my own lived experiences.”
Kathy said that from either point of view, Mable is an affordable option. “Compared with traditional support providers, clients pay less and support workers earn more so in my case, I appreciate it from both perspectives. Mable has become an essential part of my life and i love it because it enables me to live my life on my own terms.”