Living a full and meaningful life with a physical & intellectual disability

Ms Dayna Atkinson1, Miss Valeska Catalan1, Miss Sarah Black1

1The Argo Trust, Wellington, New Zealand

Argo Trust is a Charity in Wellington, NZ. We provide a Residential and Vocational service for 6 people with Physical and Intellectual disabilities.

Argo’s objective is to offr a complete life experience that recognises individuality, spirituality, sexuality & culture – within a philosophy that promotes dignity.

We encourage fun & challenging opportunities by creating individual support plans and programmes for each resident. In Argo’s Health & Disability Sector Standards Audit (2016), Argo achieved 4 years certification with no findings. This is testament to a needs-based, evolving model of service provision that is consistently reviewed using quality assurance practices.

Client Goals are documented using various platforms and reported to families in an effort to ensure that management & staff are assisting people to achieve their goals.

We are exploring new ways to best support people who are non-verbal and in particular, how do we gain consent from people who communicate non-verbally?

We use music, massage and hydrotherapy to enjoying bars, nightclubs and restaurants. Sailing, attending concerts and festivals. Gym memberships for exercise and the SPCA for contact with animals. We create amazing holidays staying in beautiful places.

Family feedback, smiles, happy vocalisations, stable health and a reduction in challenging & self-harming behaviours indicate that our approach to providing services is successful.


Dayna has been the Manager of the Argo Trust for 16 years. She have worked in the disability sector since she was 15 and is incredibly passionate about providing an exemplary standard of service to people & their families, who experience disability.

Valeska has worked at Argo for 5 years & is the Vocational Team Leader. Valeska is from Chile and has recently gained NZ Citizenship. Valeska works tirelessly to ensure the people we support have full opportunities to be a part of their local & wider communities.

Sarah has worked at Argo Trust for 3-years. Sarah has a Psychology degree and although relatively new to the disability sector, feels that she has found her niche.

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