11 Novita clients living with disability have been recognised for their commitment to achieving their goals at the Novita 2023 Achievement Awards presentation ceremony.
The 2023 Achievement Award winners are:
Pauline McGregor Early Intervention Award
The Pauline McGregor Early Intervention Award commemorates the dedication and commitment of Pauline McGregor, a former Novita staff member who made a lasting contribution to the area of early intervention. The award recognises the outstanding achievement of a Novita client under the age of eight.
The 2023 winner is Freddie!
Freddie, a charming and occasionally cheeky 3-year-old, relocated to Pt Lincoln in 2021 with his dedicated parents who are actively involved in his progress. Initially facing communication and motor skill challenges, Freddie, with the support of his parents and early intervention therapy team, has made significant strides. In 2023, he now communicates using a combination of words and sign language, demonstrating the ability to combine two signs, such as saying ‘again please.’ Through consistent efforts, his parents successfully completed a bimanual therapy program, enabling Freddie to use both hands in play.
His aquatic therapy sessions have also contributed to newfound enjoyment in water activities, including safe sliding into the pool and crab walking along the edge with support. Notably, Freddie has learned to jump, climb stairs, and has embraced his role as a big brother. The progress he has made highlights the positive impact of dedicated parental involvement and tailored interventions, setting the stage for a successful transition to kindergarten.
President's Achievement Award
The President’s Achievement Award is presented to a Novita client of any age who lives with physical or intellectual disability and has made outstanding progress in their rehabilitation.
The 2023 winner is Aidan!
Aidan, recipient of the President’s Achievement Award, has demonstrated significant personal and professional growth while working in the Manton Street Cafe and participating in the Transition to Work cooking group on Mondays. Initially reserved and quiet, Aidan has evolved into an integral and confident member of both the cafe team and retail store.
His eagerness to assist, friendly customer service, and newfound ability to engage with regular customers showcase his remarkable transformation. Aidan takes pride in his role, finding a sense of achievement in cooking and making coffees. Notably, he has mastered many menu items with little or no assistance and is particularly celebrated for making the best lasagne. Aidan’s journey highlights his dedication, positive attitude, and the meaningful impact of his contributions to the workplace.
Wallmans Lawyers Academic Achievement Award
The Wallmans Lawyers Academic Achievement Award recognises the academic excellence of a Novita client over the age of 10.
The 2023 winner is Jemma!
The 2023 winner is Jemma, a motivated 26-year-old with Cerebral Palsy residing in Murray Bridge, faced challenges in completing high school due to multiple surgeries. Undeterred, she finished high school online in 2021 and is currently pursuing health sciences at Adelaide Uni. Despite commuting from Murray Bridge, Jemma actively engages in therapies like physio and problem-solves to maintain pace with her peers at university.
Her proactive approach involves collaborating with the university to ensure accessibility through software for studying, scribing, and attending classes. Jemma’s involvement in athletics has evolved into a tailored gym routine, showcasing her commitment to mobility, community participation, and independence. She stands as an inspiring role model and advocate for disability rights, contributing to increased awareness and accessibility improvements at the university level.
Graham Nancarrow Achievement Award
The Graham Nancarrow Achievement Award is presented to a Novita kid aged five to ten who has worked to develop a specific new skill. This may be related to sport, recreation, school or areas of self-care such as tying up shoelaces.
The 2023 winner is Karter!
Karter, a recently diagnosed young boy with autism spectrum disorder, initially faced challenges transitioning to Ceduna Area School, leading to frequent suspensions and shorter school days. However, over the year, Karter has shown remarkable progress, returning to full-time schooling with minimal outbursts and excelling in his academic work.
Additionally, he has joined a football team, actively participating in weekly practices and weekend matches. Karter’s achievements, including no longer needing weekly psychology intervention, demonstrate significant and unexpected progress since the beginning of the school year, making him a deserving candidate for the award.
Communication Achievement Award
The Communication Achievement Award acknowledges a Novita kid or young person who has overcome considerable personal or environmental barriers to make significant progress in their communication, which has led to greater community participation and the creation of new circles of communication partners.
The 2023 winner is Dawt!
Dawt, a 29-year-old who initially couldn’t speak English and was reserved, has made remarkable progress since joining the Novita West Croydon hub. Engaging in various activities, she has improved her life and communication skills significantly. The cooking program, in particular, has empowered her to follow recipes, develop knife skills, and handle food preparation and dishwashing.
Dawt now confidently participates in group programs, independently ordering and paying for her food. She has also gained the ability to recognise Australian coins and notes, understand simple questions, and respond to instructions. Dawt’s journey is a source of pride for everyone involved in her progress.
Sara D'Cruz Youth Transition Achievement Award
This Sarah D’Cruz Youth Transition Achievement Award acknowledges a young Novita person who has completed their education and successfully transitioned to appropriate post-school options, which may include tertiary education, work, volunteering, or a day activity program.
The 2023 winner is Matthew!
Matthew, a participant in the Transition to Work program, recently secured paid employment at St. Georges Bakehouse Cafe, marking a significant achievement. His journey involved gaining valuable skills through work experience in the Grounds for Growth Cafes and coffee vans.
Throughout his time in the program, Matthew has shown substantial personal and professional growth, enhancing his workplace and communication skills to an impressive level. Known for bringing positivity to the group, he is well-liked and respected by both participants and staff. The team expresses immense pride in Matthew’s accomplishments and eagerly anticipates his future successes.
Carol Dibben Achievement Award
The Carol Dibben Encouragement Award is presented in memory of Carol Dibben, a former Novita client and long-term employee, to recognise a senior student who has worked diligently to achieve their personal goals.
The 2023 winner is Makayla!
Makayla is a strong, independent, and formidable woman who is preparing to start the next chapter of her life after high school. An avid writer, she has created numerous stories that she shares during sessions. Makayla has connected with services like the Country Universities Centre to pursue further education or tertiary studies.
Her independence and generosity are evident through her weekly volunteer work with St John’s Ambulance Service at sporting events. Makayla’s attention to detail is particularly noteworthy, making her a standout individual and a worthy recipient.
Michael Wooley Recreational and Sporting Achievement Award
The Michael Wooley Recreational and Sporting Achievement Award is presented to a Novita client of any age who has shown determination to achieve in a sporting or recreational capacity.
The 2023 winner is Jet!
Jet, a lifelong client at Novita, stands out as an amazing young person with an impressive list of sporting achievements. His can-do attitude is inspiring, and he plays an integral role in the NovitaTech Cafe’s Saturday morning coffee crew, engaging in activities like wheelchair football and Wheelchair Basketball for the past few years. In 2022, Jet was awarded a national Olympic changemakers award for contribution to culture of sport and participation at Adelaide Botanic high school. In 2023, Jet was selected for the South Australian junior wheelchair basketball State team playing in KCC national tournament.
Alongside wheelchair sport, Jet also began boccia in 2021 where he won the national silver medal team open category last year. In 2023, Jet was awarded the bronze individual medal at the South Australian Boccia State championships. Jet’s accomplishments reflect his dedication and passion for sports and participation.
Margory Head Award
The Margory Head Achievement Award acknowledges a regional Novita client who has overcome significant challenges to be able to achieve their personal goals in order to participate fully in their community.
The 2023 winner is Hollie!
Hollie, living in Kapunda with a spinal cord injury, has demonstrated remarkable determination in improving her transfer skills and strength. Initially requiring assistance from multiple carers, she has progressed to the point where only one carer lightly assists her using a slide board.
Additionally, Hollie has made significant strides in manual wheelchair use, becoming adept at navigating school and community environments independently. Notably, she achieved a major milestone by successfully participating in a school camp. Recently, Hollie has become more involved in physical education, overcoming personal care challenges to fully integrate with her class, even participating in activities like gymnastics.
Minister's Community Achievement Award
The Minister’s Community Achievement Award is presented to an outstanding Novita ‘all-rounder’ of any age who has demonstrated a commitment to personal independence and taking part in community activities.
The 2023 winner is Taylor!
In 2023, Taylor faced frequent suspensions from school due to challenges with emotional regulation, prompting a change in his academic environment. In 2023, he transitioned to Lincoln Gardens Primary School, marking a significant turning point in his educational journey.
Since the move, Taylor has demonstrated remarkable progress—he now attends school consistently, establishing connections with peers and achieving a notable milestone by being elected to the Student Representative Council (SRC.) This accomplishment not only reflects Taylor’s personal growth but also underscores the positive impact of the supportive environment provided by Lincoln Gardens Primary School in fostering his academic and social development. His achievements in 2023 showcase a transformative journey and highlight the importance of tailored support systems in facilitating positive outcomes for students like Taylor.
Judith Worrall Achievement Award
The Judith Worrall Achievement Award provides significant recognition of a Novita client, aged 25 years and over, who lives with disability and has worked diligently to achieve a new skill which has made a significant impact on their daily life.
The 2023 winner is Zach!
Zach has a diagnosis of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DM) and has had to overcome a few big changes in his daily life over the past 12 months due to decline in his physical abilities. Over this period of challenge and change and loss of independence with daily tasks Zach, has engaged in weekly exercise physiology sessions aimed to build his strength in his upper limbs. This has supported him to be able to continue to play musical instruments which has brought Zach immense joy.