Ability Options respectfully acknowledge the traditional custodians of the Country on which we live and work together, and are committed to building relations, respect, and opportunities with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples. We actively build relationships and respect through our Stretch Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP), which since 2019, has strengthened and shaped our relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
Over forty-five years ago, the Program Director at Rydalmere Hospital started a mini revolution in Western Sydney. At the time the hospital was home to more than 250 people, including children with intellectual disability and mental illness.
The institutional model of that time held the belief that children with a disability could not learn, but the Director knew there had to be a better way. So, he began working with parents to challenge these views and encourage families to take on the role of being advocates for their children.
Through his work, the Program Director demonstrated that people with disability should not be excluded from their communities and needed to feel a sense of belonging and participation, while also having opportunities to contribute.
The Director, and leader of this revolutionary change in thinking, was the late Greg McIntyre OAM.
It was in 1976 that Greg saw his vision come to life by connecting the Rotary Club of Guildford and the NSW Health Commission. The collaboration helped to source and guarantee homes in the community for people with disability living in the Rydalmere Hospital. The initiative was so successful and needed that over time it developed into a company. This organisation later became known as Ability Options.
Right from the beginning, Ability Options has been a courageous sector leader and a strong advocate for participants and their families. We have always challenged perceptions and assumptions. Well before the conception of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) we pushed for choice and control; for participants to live their lives as they choose. This underpins our long-held and heartfelt mission – to support people who need assistance to achieve their aspirations and inclusion in the community.
Our approach today
Our focus is to work with each individual, understand their story then help each person build the life they want to live. It’s not always the easiest road to take but our experience, and the experience of participants, show that it’s certainly the road that leads to the greatest opportunities and satisfaction.
We continue to fulfil our mission by identifying and developing services that are needed, to enable people who find themselves facing barriers or exclusion to be included in our communities. Our services now include accommodation, individual and group supports, respite, support coordination, therapy and employment. In this way, our mission towards an inclusive country, society and communities continues.
Today, our services run across 94 sites in NSW stretching from Greater Sydney and the Illawarra all the way through to the Central Coast, Hunter and Mid North Coast to Nambucca. A team of more than 1,100 incredible staff support thousands of people each and every day. Forty-five years on we look back with pride on the people who have boldly shaped our organisation and helped to transform disability services in NSW. Our journey for inclusion is well and truly established and our efforts to better our communities, improve our country as a result, continues unabated.
Our driving forces
We pride ourselves on delivering services that meet our Values. We highlight everyone’s right to opportunity, choice, and self-determination, empowering people to achieve their aspirations and goals in line with our Mission, Vision, and Values.
To inspire and lead communities, creating opportunity and services for people to participate fully in society.
To support people who need assistance to achieve their aspirations and inclusion in the community.