Nathan has always been determined since he was just a young boy, diagnosed with multiple sclerosis when he was only in primary school. Now at the age of 23, he has moved on to further his studies and has plans to take over the family business.
When Nathan first registered with Multiple Solutions, he had already been working with the MS Society SA/NT for a number of years. Having been diagnosed with MS at such a young age our MS nurses were there to assist with treatment management, and education for Nathan and his parents in those early stages.
Nathan and his family have also received support from our occupational therapists with home modifications and specialised equipment, our social workers with advocacy and support, and have attended our newly diagnosed seminar to learn more about the supports and options available to them.
But it was about three years ago when Nathan started seeing an employment consultant. At this stage he was feeling overwhelmed juggling the requirements of job search activities, university studies and helping his family with their new business. This stress had an impact on his MS symptoms, including his fatigue levels and cognition.
Nathan’s employment consultant provided support to help him find a study pathway that was right for him and helped to improve his quality of life while juggling study, part-time employment and managing his MS symptoms. She also helped him narrow the focus of his study to a specialty he truly loves.
“I was studying Software Engineering and I was on my third year. I had a relapse and I realised all this work is really getting to me. It’s so stressful, I just can’t do it all,” Nathan says.
But Nathan wasn’t ready to give up study just yet. Nathan’s employment consultant contacted him when she heard he was interested in studying at TAFE. She assisted him to change his study to a more manageable qualification, with a lighter workload, and worked to secure study support from the training organisation.
Since his parents decided it was time for a career change and started up their own farming business, Nathan has truly realised his passion. He decided to change the focus of his study to Business Management, so that he can one day take over when his father retires.
Nathan was also determined to find a part-time job so that he could help to support himself while he is still studying. His employment consultant supported him to find work with hours and a workload that he can manage.
Once Nathan had secured the job, Multiple Solutions conducted a workplace assessment and was able to provide new equipment and tools to help manage his MS symptoms at work through Job Access. “During the summer, the biggest issue is the temperature. When it gets really hot I get extremely tired and stressed,” Nathan says.
Nathan now has a new air conditioner so he doesn’t get too hot, as well as a cooling cap, cooling vest, and a more ergonomic mouse and mouse pad. He also keeps in contact with his employment consultant for ongoing support.
“If I have any issues I can just contact them and they will assist me. I come in every three weeks just to keep in touch, and tell them how I’m doing. I used to visit every fortnight, but they’re increasing it to every three weeks now because they can see how well I’m doing,” Nathan says.
Today, Nathan has been employed for 12 months, and is progressing with his studies. His stress levels are down and he is on the way to building a career in an area he is passionate about.
If you’re looking for employment, or your MS symptoms are having an impact on your studies or work like Nathan’s, please visit one of our locations at any time to speak with an employment consultant, or call the Multiple Solutions team on 1800 053 154.