Carla was a 30 year old who lived with her parents. She has a mild intellectual disability and controlled epilepsy. Socially isolated due to her extreme shyness, Carla had only recently moved to the area and didn’t know anyone and therefore had no friends.


Carla received recreational funding through our organisation. She identified that her goal was to use this to make friends. With the funding she was paired with another woman of similar age and ability and they bonded straight away.


They would go shopping, movies and just enjoy girly days out in general. Both women wanted to join a social group, but needed support due to their shyness. With staff support they accessed a supported recreation group and began making new friends.


Carla also experienced problems with catching public transport by herself due to lack of skills and self confidence. Carla learnt the skills to travel on public transport independently. Unfortunately she still had issues with her confidence due to being bullied by young girls at the train station.


Carla heard about the self defence class and requested to attend. She was very scared at first, but once she realised that some of the people from social club were a part of the class she felt more relaxed and confident.


Her confidence grew as she continued and really enjoyed the classes. The focus of the class was to obviously learn self protection skills, however, this class also improved participants fine motor skills, general fitness, anger control/management, decision making, concentration, road safety and stranger danger skills. This was all taught so that it could be used as a deterrent in case of being attacked or threatened.


Carla’s confidence grew to the point where she was able to catch a train by herself and to go shopping away from her local area. On one occasion she was approached by a man on the platform of the station asking her for money. She said she didn’t have any and moved away. He followed her and continued to ask. She again moved away for a second time. After a while he approached her again and she raised her hand and said “Stop, leave me alone!” in a loud voice. This caused people to look to see what the commotion was and seeing this, the man left.


A few days after the event, Carla came into the office and told her Service Co-ordinator what had happened. She didn’t seem to be afraid, she was very proud of the fact that she stood up for herself and she was not harmed.


At the beginning of the funding, Carla was socially isolated and lacked skills and confidences. She couldn’t catch public transport on her own and relied on her family for all social activities.


The outcome is Carla is no longer a shy, dependant young lady, but someone who can now actively get herself around on public transport, she has a circle of friends, she has achieved her purple belt in self defence and she is living and independent and fun filled life.


Carla’s family have noticed a complete change in her personality and self confidence and has stated that they are pleased to see their daughter flourishing within her new friendship network.



NADO is a not-for-profit, non-government community organisation that provides services and programs for people with a disability in the Penrith and Blue Mountains areas. NADO has been operating for over 30 years, and works closely with both the local and state governments.


Organisation Details
28 Gidley Street, St Marys NSW 2760
Contact details: 

1300 738 229