JOSEPH'S birthday in November last year was a double celebration - turning 40, and spending his first year as a National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) participant.
He marked the occasion with a concert in front of 80 invited guests, singing covers of his favourite songs with his sister Lara.
"People loved it," his mother Robyn said. "It was wonderful to see all of his newfound self-confidence shining through."
Joseph is so busy that we have to make appointments to see him!Robyn
Joseph has Down syndrome and lives in Mudgee. Despite living independently for the past 12 years, until he received his first NDIS plan he had never been anywhere on his own.
"NDIS support allowed him to go away on a camping trip to Bowral for two weeks last year," Robyn said. "It was such a big thing for him - he came home just beaming."
Joseph and his family were supported through the NDIS planning process by a Bathurst-based Social Futures local area coordinator. The family opted to manage Joseph's plan on his behalf, and decided to employ support workers who know him.
"[They know] what he wants to do in his life and they're consistent in what they do," Robyn says.
Joseph also works four days a week at the Mid Western Regional Council's recycling centre and one day a week doing coffee deliveries around town for a local café.
His active work and social life meant that even after he moved out of home his family had to do a lot of the drop-offs and pick-ups.
"Now it all gets sorted by the support workers," Robyn said. "Joseph is so busy that we have to make appointments to see him!"