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Amberly Nelson

Behaviour Support Practitioner

How Amberly Nelson is strengthening lives and a remarkable career at #teampossible

Breaking down barriers is what Amberly Nelson does best. Beneath her warm and generous smile is a steadfast advocate who helps people through some of the most challenging times of their lives. Our Behaviour Support Practitioner works with clients to overcome complex behaviours and enhance their quality of life. In turn, Amberly is given the support she needs to grow her career and live her best life with our #teampossible.

Resilience in the face of adversity

Amberly Nelson was an active, energetic teenager who lived life to the max. Sports were her passion: basketball, karate, running, gym sessions, school sports. Life was fun and full of possibilities; there was no stopping this spirited young athlete. Until serious injury struck, confining Amberly to a wheelchair and crutches.

A full knee reconstruction sidelined Amberly for many months. It was a challenging time. Yet, with the support of her school, family and friends, Amberly pulled through. The experience made a profound impact on Amberly, who was keenly aware others weren’t as fortunate.

“That experience was a small glimpse into the lives my clients live today,” Amberly says. “It was only a physical injury, and obviously I got better. But I was really sporty, and being so restricted totally changed my perspective. It also made me realise the difference great support can make. I had a wonderful mentor in my school psychologist, and I knew from then on that I wanted to be in the helping industry.”

While studying psychology at university, Amberly worked as a teacher aide in various schools. But it wasn’t until she was placed in a school for young people with Autism Spectrum Disorder that Amberly discovered her passion for disability support.

“At uni, you can learn about different conditions and the challenges people face, but it’s not until you’re in that environment that you really understand. I learned so much at that school. It was an amazing experience.”

After completing her psychology degree, Amberly worked as a children’s Behavioural Therapist. She then decided to expand her skill set by working with adults living with disabilities. An opportunity to join Community Solutions in 2020 came at just the right time.

“I didn’t have a lot of experience, but I had so much passion and drive. Community Solutions took a chance on me, and I’m so glad they did. I’ve never learnt so much in my life. I love my role. It has its challenges, but they’re worth it to see the positive effect we have on our clients. For me, it is so fulfilling.”

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Improving lives for a living

As a Behaviour Support Practitioner, Amberly seeks to support people with a disability to reach their goals. This is important when complex behaviours, such as impulsivity and aggression, can cause physical and emotional harm to the individual and others around them. A Behaviour Support Practitioner helps people with complex behaviours engage in the community and build relationships.

By supporting family members and carers with positive behaviour management strategies and plans, Amberly supports people with a disability to gain greater control, confidence and independence in daily life.

“We take a highly collaborative approach with the client, their family and their supports. Each client is different, so we tailor everything to the client’s needs. We do a full functional behavioural assessment, then produce a comprehensive behaviour support plan. We always aim to use proactive strategies, monitor the client and provide training sessions for everyone involved, such as family members, school staff and support workers.”

Behavioural change takes time; there are no overnight successes. But the results are life-changing, and the sense of purpose Amberly feels is profound. “Some people have been engaging in these behaviours for longer than I’ve been alive, so the strategies can take some time to have an effect. But when they do, the difference they can make to the client’s life is huge. We see a lot of tears from family members when they see the strategies are working. It’s lovely to receive those heartfelt thank-yous.”

Supported to succeed

As a compassionate advocate for others, it’s important Amberly gets the support she needs to be at her best, too. At Community Solutions, Amberly feels part of a connected team that prioritises her health and well-being.

“If we’ve had a challenging day, there’s always someone you can talk to and debrief with,” Amberly says. “People genuinely care about each other. Everyone is here because they’re passionate about the industry, but having that great work culture is what makes me get up each day and do what I do.”

Professional development is also important to Amberly, who sees clear pathways to success at #teampossible.

“Community Solutions prioritises our career development. We have monthly sessions with our Team Leaders where we discuss the areas we’d like to develop. We’re encouraged to grow within our roles and also to try different directions. There are other aspects of the industry I’d like to explore, and I feel supported to do that here.”

For us at Community Solutions, we can’t wait to see what Amberly achieves next for her clients and her future. If you’d like to shape a purposeful and rewarding career with us, Amberly offers this advice:

“You need that compassion for clients. Improving their quality of life is our number- one priority. And because each client is different, you need to be flexible and empathetic to their needs. I love this role because no day is the same - every day brings something new. Knowing you’re making a difference in someone’s life is so rewarding. I’m really passionate about Community Solutions. It’s a great team to be a part of.”

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