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WA NDIS kicking goals for soccer dream

A potential Perth Pele is in the making as Chris Minutillo, who has an intellectual disability and Cerebral Palsy, sets his sights on becoming a professional soccer player.

The 18 year-old Cockburn resident has been able to incorporate his love of sport and soccer into his WA NDIS planning process to assist him with achieving his individual goals, both on and off the soccer field.

Before joining his Cockburn City Soccer Club, Chris had played little sport and didn’t have many social outlets – until Disability Services Commission Area Manager Donna Richardson contacted the Minutillo family about Football West’s Equal Footingball program.

Equal Footingball is a competition for people of all abilities and encourages healthy competition while supporting children with a variety of disabilities.

Chris is now an avid soccer player playing at both a state and national level, as well as playing for his local team in Cockburn.

His mum, Sue, said that before joining the WA NDIS trial in 2014, it was a struggle to ensure Chris received all the therapy he needed with her and her husband working two jobs to pay for some of his therapy needs.

“The WA NDIS has changed things for all of us, not just Chris,” she said. “Since becoming part of the WA NDIS, Chris has been able to work out what he feels is the best plan for him.

“With our support, Chris sat down with his Local Coordinator and they worked together to develop goals and strategies specific to Chris’ needs.”

“While soccer has been a great avenue in supporting Chris, he has also been working on his social and life skills with a support worker,” Sue said.

“On a weekly basis, they go out and do things to help Chris learn new skills, whether it’s money-handling, learning to be independent, seeing friends or interacting with others.

“The support and therapy Chris is receiving through his WA NDIS plan would have been virtually impossible for us to provide to him on our own.”

Chris said he wanted to continue to play soccer and loved being able to score goals and be part of his team.