Trent competing in fifth Special Olympics Australia National Games

Published 4:00pm 19 October 2022

Trent competing in fifth Special Olympics Australia National Games
Words by Jodie Powell

Rothwell athlete Trent Porter has jetted off to Tasmania to compete in his fifth Special Olympics Australia National Games, representing Queensland in basketball.

The 31-year-old is building on an impressive record of representing the state and Australia.

Mum Margo says Trent was eight when his family discovered the Moreton North branch of the Special Olympics.

“While he attended a mainstream school, we wanted to find somewhere that Trent could feel at home and fit in, a place where he could mix with other people with a disability,” she says.

“The first sport he tried was basketball.

“He loved it so much, and at the age of 13 was selected in the inaugural Special Olympics Junior Nationals to be held in Launceston.”

Representing Australia

Trent went on to represent the Queensland team in athletics at the nationals in 2010, 2014, 2018 and this year he’s playing basketball.

He’s also represented the state in a Trans-Tasman Tournament in New Zealand in 2011 and 2016, for basketball and athletics, respectively.

“Trent has also represented Australia with Special Olympics Australia in athletics at the 2019 World Games in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. He came home with a bronze medal in the 200m sprint,” Margo says.

“Trent loves being part of a team, the comradeship and working together, he is very much a team player.

“He also loves helping others to do their best and is very much the cheerleader of the team.”

Gaining independence

Trent competing in fifth Special Olympics Australia National Games
Rothwell's Trent Porter with Mum Margo, Dad Darrell and sister Desley.

Trent received help to apply for and implement NDIS funding from Carers Queensland’s NDIS Local Area Coordination Partner in the Community Program, which has given him independence from his family.

Before accessing the NDIS, Trent’s family took him everywhere he needed to go, including to and from work and social and medical appointments.

“Trent only ever attended group activities, and options were limited and not personalised to Trent’s tastes,” Margo says.

“He relied on us for nearly all of his transport needs which meant we had two choices - either Trent’s activities or ours.

“This meant no one was always 100 per cent happy with that.

“In a nutshell, he was spending a lot of time with us, with us making most of his decisions.”

Life-changing support

Margo says Trent’s entire life has changed since accessing the NDIS, with her son now able to live more independently at home and make decisions about his future.

“He has access to an occupational therapist when there’s fine motor activity he’s having trouble with, he attends physiotherapy and has weekly phone chats with a speech therapist.

“Darrell and I were able to move out of the family home last year and leave Trent to live the life of his choice with all the necessary supports in place for him to feel safe and secure,” Margo said.

“His sister Desley still lives at home too, although is a shift worker so they don’t spend a lot of time together.

“The NDIS has given him the empowerment of getting up each day and being able to make his own decisions on what happens in his own home and in his life.”

Achieving goals

Trent says he’s loving his life, particularly now he can do things for himself.

“I love being independent,” Trent says.

“I’m happy I can achieve my goals with the NDIS”.

Margo says Trent recently attended an All Abilities Basketball training session with the Brisbane Bullets and he’s a regular gym goer.

“He also enjoys going to the gym, so we have support workers that also enjoy working out to accompany him and ensure he’s getting the most benefit out of the machines he’s using,” she says.

Brisbane Fringe Festival

“Trent enjoys attending sporting events with like-minded peers and I prefer that too as he likes to discuss all things sport, and there’s only so much sports I can talk about.”

But Trent isn’t just a sports fan, he’s soon to perform as a member of a dance troupe at the Brisbane Fringe Festival in October and November.

“There have obviously been many rehearsals to attend, and without NDIS funding, Darrell and I would have had to take him to them all and given up a lot of our time to make this happen,” Margo says.

Trent’s next goal is to live alone in a smaller house of his own so he can keep it clean independently and without all the assistance he receives now.

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