Access Insight - January 2019/December 2020

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Aquatic access and recreation Beaches for all in the City of Rockingham Ground-breaking resort making a splash with accessibility

Autism Swim Sailing for Everybody: an Australian snapshot



by Mark Relf AM

President of the Association of Consultants in Access Australia

From the President’s Desk......2 ACAA State Networks.............3 Congratulations from the Committee of Management....4 Beaches for all in the City of Rockingham.......................6 Ground-breaking resort making a splash with accessibility.........................12 Sailing for Everybody, an Australian snapshot: - Sailability Tin Can Bay....16 - Editor's Interview: Sail Into Life Bunbury.....18 Autism Swim........................20 Hot Apps.............................22 Changing Places..................23

Address: 20 Maud Street, Geelong VIC 3220 Email:

Editor: Anita Harrop December 2019 / January 2020 Issue Cover photo credit: iStockphoto Please email the Editor if you would like to showcase your project on the Cover of the next Access Insight


CPD 2020 ACAA SURVEY FOR ACCESS CONSULTANTS Just when you thought had you attended all the seminars and training you needed to be abreast of standards, guidelines and codes relevant to accessibility, the recent announcements by government, regulators and standards making bodies has just raised the bar even higher, putting the emphasis on C in CPD for continuing professional development. In the coming weeks a survey will be emailed to members asking you what subjects you would be interested in during 2020 and the Access 2021 conference, audit of members qualifications, experience in access and related professions working in the built environment. Your responses will assist ACAA committees and state networks in developing appropriate and affordable education and information activities.

UPSKILLING FOR THE NEW SPECIALIST DISABILITY ACCOMMODATION (SDA) DESIGN STANDARD Following the release of the SDA Design Standard training providers are now taking bookings from interested people who are seeking to become an Accredited SDA Assessor. Be aware some training events focus on select groups that maybe involved in SDA Accommodation such as investors, community housing providers, design and building professionals or other support service providers so check the scope of the training to ensure it matches the NDIS requirements for specified professionals.

Phone: +61 3 5221 2820 Web:


s we say goodbye to summer holidays and get back to the daily grind it is often a time to set out a plan for the year ahead.

ACAA COMMITTEE OF MANAGEMENT PRESIDENT: Mr Mark Relf AM VICE PRESIDENT: Ms Lindsay Perry SECRETARY: Mrs Anita Harrop TREASURER: Mr Howard Moutrie ORDINARY MEMBERS: Ms Cathryn Grant Ms Claire Cunningham


Mr Francis Lenny Mr Dale Sheppard

ACCESSIBLE HOUSING As you may recall the ABCB published a consultation options report in April 2019 and commenced a regulatory impact statement (RIS) analysis in the second half of 2019 and is now programmed to release the RIS for public consultation in April 2020. Australian Network for Universal Housing Design has announced that the ABCB will be presenting the RIS at the 2020 Accessible Housing Forum jointly facilitated with Rights and Inclusion Australia on the 20th April 2020 in Sydney. To reserve a seat see details at or

NCC VERIFICATION METHODS Since the Access 2019 conference there is little to report on over the past few months as the Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB) has multiple projects including development of new education materials arising from the Building Confidence Report. While Access is not a specific theme mentioned in the Building Confidence Report it is hoped that the subject is covered in packages specifically for architects and building certifiers.

BREAKING NEWS – NATIONAL RELAY SERVICE In another, “can you believe it moment”, the Federal government is following through on its decision to cancel the popular real time CapTel technology in response to the cost of the service which had grown from $22 million annually to $32 million in 2017-18. The government has reconfirmed its view that a cap of 2012 funding levels of $22 million per annum shall be maintained for the next 3 years even though the cost of running the overall NRS service is $32 million per annum.

The propriety CapTel handsets will cease to function from 1st February 2020 and users will need to find alternatives such as the old TTY technology, smart phone apps or Skype calls with captions turned on.

If you have been asked to develop a performance using solution using DV2, DV3 and FV2 we would welcome your comments.

ACAA is actively involved in the review of several standards and would like your feedback on issues you have using the various standards. In particular, AS1428.1, AS1428.2 (new part 6), AS1428.4.1, AS1428.5, AS2890.1, AS2890.6 and AS1735 suite of low rise lifts parts 7, 14

With the NCC 2022 revision looming fast any proposals for changes need to be raised ASAP.

The Government has specified a maximum funding level that is lower than the cost to deliver current services.

Nonetheless, we await the release of “suitable metrics” to quantify and support the Verification Methods for further digest by ACAA members.


and 15. Yes, it is a busy year ahead at Standards Australia.

Winners and losers – depending on who you listen to the story seems to be poles apart as the government claims the new provider, a US call centre service Concentrix, will provide “a range of improvements”, which is difficult to fathom when a real time captioned handset service is cancelled. Of course the telcos are winners the budget is capped at historic 2012 level. No doubt there is more to be told as 2020 unfolds.

Mark Relf AM

ACAA NSW Access Consultants Network

Contact: ACAA NSW Chairperson Robyn Thompson

ACAA SA Access Consultants Network

Contact: ACAA SA Chairperson Grant Wooller

ACAA QLD Access Consultants Network Contact: ACAA QLD Chairperson Angela Chambers ACAA VIC Access Consultants Network

Contact: ACAA VIC Secretary Mr Paul Eltringham

ACAA WA Access Consultants Network

Contact: ACAA WA Chairperson Anita Harrop

December 2019 / January 2020



Congratulations from the Committee of Management The ACAA Committee of Management warmly welcomes the following people who have joined ACAA, upgraded their membership or been awarded Fellow membership!

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Jalal Anis Malcolm Perry Pia Chandoke Andrew Flanagan Senan Mescal Ray Franke Leonie Hargraves Thien Hieu Elton Truong Matthew Gardiner Michael Casey Mark Solomon Kylie Rowland Katrina Henderson Neroli Moran Jessica Clarkson

• • • •

Apeksha Gohil Thomas Clark Hannah Collins Guiseppe Oppedisano

• • • •

Sharlene Howland Greg Murrow Paul Mulholland Nick Cribb



• • • • • • • • • • •

• Rijendra Shrestha

Emma Keith Luke Price Vicki De Silva Adeline Bisson Emily Sproule Mauricio Vera Tanisha Cowell Mark Krause Giovanni Trombino Travis Craig Michael Zora

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December 2019 / January 2020



Beaches for all in the City of Rockingham by Michele Gray

Michele Gray has been a Community Development Officer at the City of Rockingham since 2016. She is responsible for leading the implementation the City’s Disability Access and Inclusion Plan and Strategy.


ustralia, the ‘island continent’ that is ‘girt by sea’. We sure do love the coast, and with 85% of us living within 50km of the coastline, the beach occupies a special place in Australian culture and identity. Whether it’s enjoying the surf, building a sandcastle, sharing a chat with a dear friend during a walk along the sand; you name it – we do it on the beach.


From an access perspective, beach environments present some considerable challenges, and these impact every single person in the community, just in different ways and to different degrees. Let’s face it – not many people find it easy to walk over a hot, steep and soft sand dune, particularly while carrying a squirming toddler and a boogie board. However for many people, a trip to the beach can feel like a monumental challenge. They may even feel that it’s not possible, and something they just have to live without. The reasons for this are diverse, but predominately relate to changes in mobility, strength and/or balance caused by disability, ageing, injury or ill-health. Importantly, barriers that prevent people from accessing the beach are also also created and reinforced by attitudes and perceptions about people with disability that exist in the community.


FEATURED ARTICLE The goal of improving access to the beach is something that the City of Rockingham has been working on for some time, and the commitment to making beaches more accessible for our community is well established. These ongoing efforts are driven and informed by the City’s Disability Access and Inclusion Plan and Strategy, and sit within a broader context of seeking to achieve a vision of Rockingham as an inclusive community that enables people with disability to fulfil their potential as equal citizens. By progressively implementing different approaches and introducing new equipment, the City has learned more about what works and what people need. A few key inter-related themes have emerged over time: • Access is for everyone. Firstly, access (in any environment, not just at the beach) is about the whole community, not just something that relates to people with disability. Access is a need which is shared by everyone, there is just a lot of diversity in regards to how it’s achieved and the specific needs of people with disability. • Diversity. People with disability, just like the rest of the community, are diverse and need different things. When designing initiatives to

address access, we need to be mindful of this and avoid the trap of considering only one type of need. • Choice. We can acknowledge and respond to the diversity in our community by providing people with options and choice. For example, no single model of beach wheelchair is suitable to meet the requirements of all wheelchair users. People differ greatly in regards to their age and size, core strength and specific support needs. The more options we can offer, the better chance there is that an individual will find something that works for them. • Location, location, location. When seeking to enhance access in any situation, it needs to be location specific so that the unique context can be considered. It’s so important to look at a location and identify the specific features that promote access, as well as the features that limit access, and then design your approach accordingly. This offers greater success as you are not limited by a pre-determined solution or approach. By designing location specific approaches, you ensure that your investment is well suited to the conditions at that location and will achieve the desired outcome for the community.

December 2019 / January 2020


FEATURED ARTICLE HOW ARE WE MAKING BEACHES ACCESSIBLE IN THE CITY OF ROCKINGHAM? The City of Rockingham is a rapidly growing community of almost 140,000 people, located at the southern edge of the Perth Metropolitan area, about 40 kilometres from the Perth CBD. Residents, and the lucky tourists who visit the area, are blessed with 37 km of coastline to play with, including Perth’s only northern facing beach (which is a big advantage from an access perspective). Beach goers in the area are spoilt for choice, with calm shallow waters of Palm Beach, surf beaches such as Secret Harbour and the seemingly endless and pristine sand of Warnbro Sound.

BEACH ACCESS MATTING Beach access matting makes it easier for people to get from the main footpath onto the sand and closer to the water. It’s particularly beneficial for people using mobility aids such as walkers and wheelchairs, and is also a big bonus for families with young children in prams. For the spring and summer of 2019/2020 the City has 140m of Mobi-Mat® beach matting installed across six


different locations. For the first time this season, additional short wing sections of matting have also been installed in some locations. These allow a wheelchair user to move off the main path and ‘park up’ without blocking access to the mat for other users. In addition to providing ongoing regular ‘beach goer’ access throughout spring and summer, the matting also vastly improves the experience for people at community events that take place on the sand. A great local example of this is the Castaways Sculpture Awards which is held annually at the Rockingham Foreshore. For the exhibition held in October 2019, 80m of matting was used, and the curator was able to plan the placement of sculptures in such a way to maximise access for viewing and interaction. The matting is predominately used on the northern facing beaches of Rockingham, which are well protected and have a minimal dune system, making it naturally conducive to easier access onto the sand. When selecting locations for the installation of matting, the following factors were also considered important: • distance to and availability of nearby car parking, including ACROD bays


FEATURED ARTICLE • connecting pedestrian routes, avoiding where possible any steep gradients or excessive distances • availability of toilet facilities close by • any other infrastructure available nearby, such as showers, picnic tables, BBQ and cafes or shops The use of matting on our more exposed western facing beaches has proven problematic, as sand movement and exposure to rough conditions can lead to the matting either being ineffective, a safety risk, or lost at sea. Staff continue to seek out alternative strategies that will be more effective at enhancing access at these beaches.

BEACH WHEELCHAIRS In Rockingham there are five beach wheelchairs available for people to hire free of charge, with three different models available to choose from. Partnerships with three local community organisations are central to making this work. Making the most of their proximity to the beach, our ‘chair hosts’ store the chairs and manage customer enquiries and bookings on behalf of the City. This is a huge bonus for the community as it helps ensure the chairs are available and accessible seven days a week. Big shout out to the Rockingham Visitors Centre, the Cruising Yacht Club and the Seaside Camp for Kids for their ongoing support for this initiative.

BEACH WALKERS The purchase of two beach walkers in 2019 is a recent development that the City anticipates will make a big difference for many in our community who would normally avoid situations where they have to walk on sand. They are constructed like a regular walker and are height adjustable with handles, brakes, four wheels, a seat and a basket under the seat. The only difference is that a beach walker has a larger frame and has soft balloon wheels, making it much more stable. Since being introduced in October 2019, they have December 2019 / January 2020


FEATURED ARTICLE been well used and feedback from the community indicates that many people are attracted to the independence they can enjoy using the walker. People can book the walkers through the City directly and collect from two different pick up points. Using their own vehicle, the hirer can transport the walker to the beach of their choice (within City boundaries).

THE KEYS TO MAKING IT WORK Some of the keys we see in making sustained progress in this space are outlined below. These valuable lessons are now front of mind when the City is planning future work in this space. • Harness the power of stories to ensure that people, both within your organisation and in the community, really get the ‘why’. Nothing is more powerful than local stories told by real people about the impact it’s made in their life. If you’re starting out and don’t have any local stories yet, websites such as Accessible Beaches Australia https://accessiblebeaches. com are powerful tools in communicating the outcomes of beach access and giving it a human face and voice. • Monitoring and maintenance are critical, in relation to the equipment you are using, but possibly even more importantly in relation to the partnerships you’ve established to make the system work. Beaches are dynamic and so are partnerships. Making time to touch base


regularly to seek feedback and input from your partners will build resilience and sustainability for your system. • Promotion and marketing efforts need to be ongoing and employ multiple approaches. Having the equipment is not enough, you have to talk about it and make sure people hear about it, multiple times. It’s important to accept that there is no perfect solution out there that will make beaches accessible for everyone, particularly if you are addressing it at the level of the community and you are seeking to respond to a diverse range of needs. The wins are found by making a sustained effort to seek out and implement improvements that are tailored to specific locations, while nurturing partnerships that will make your initiatives sustainable.



RBA’s new range of Designer Grab Rails is now available in Matte Black, White and Bright polished finishes. Finally you don’t have to compromise looks for performance and strength. Select from shower, ambulant and straight configurations for your next project.

December 2019 / January 2020



Ground-breaking resort making a splash with accessibility by Sargood on Colloroy Sargood on Collaroy is a resort purpose built for people with spinal cord injury. Spacious and beautifully appointed apartments feature modern amenities and advanced home automation technology to deliver a stress-free experience. A wide range of accessible recreation/leisure activities and a state-of-theart gym complete the resort experience and put the fun back into travel. For those looking for an accessible holiday or short-term accommodation and assistance, Sargood is the perfect choice. Contact us at:

David and Jacob (Sargood Rec Team) 02 8597 0600 1 Brissenden Avenue, Collaroy, NSW 2099


ummer and the great outdoor lifestyle go hand in hand but for people with disabilities the accessibility barriers can make it all too hard. One resort challenging the norm is Sargood on Collaroy; a world-first facility purpose-built for people with spinal cord injury (SCI) located on a spectacular headland at Collaroy beach on Sydney’s Northern Beaches. Inclusivity is at the forefront of the entire offering at Sargood on Collaroy, including an impressive adaptive recreation and leisure program offering everything from surfing to rock climbing. With the support of specially trained staff and a wide range of accessible equipment, the activity program provides an opportunity for guests to engage in new experiences, learn new skills and connect with peers.

And Wade, Sargood Exercise Physiologist

As a beach-front resort, water activities are often top of guests’ holiday bucket lists. Despite advancements in accessible town planning, accessibility ramps remain few and far between at Australian beaches. The 12

Darren and Sebastian (Sargood Activities Coordinator)


FEATURED ARTICLE Sargood on Collaroy staff have developed safe techniques to support guests both up and down stairs, and sand to water access is made possible via the use of equipment such as manual beach wheelchairs by Lasher Sport & Mogo Wheelchairs and Magic Mobility X8 Extreme 4x4 Power Chairs. The team regularly review access points across various locations on the Northern Beaches, aware of the everchanging nature of the coastal environment and the challenges it presents. This includes negotiating shifts in access points affected by the tides, where an area that is flat one week may develop sand cliffs the next.

Surfing at Sargood on Collaroy not only focuses on the experience of catching a wave, but centres on the task of learning to surf as independently as possible. Guests are assisted through both staff and the use of the Wavejet Propulsion system; a portable electric pod that is fastened to a surfboard proving paddling power when a guest in unable to paddle independently. In addition to surfing being offered daily as part of our rec program, Sargood on Collaroy also run a number of surf courses throughout the year aimed at further developing skills and independence in the water.

Of course, beach access is not limited to accessing the water. Although beach access matting gives wheelchair users a direct path across the sand, it does not offer the freedom of a beach chair, which gives users free movement across the entire beach.

Prior to open water snorkelling, Sargood on Collaroy staff often work with guests in the local ocean pool to develop important skills such as floating and rolling over unaided. This is also used as an opportunity to assess how much assistance will be required once in the

Teresa December 2019 / January 2020


FEATURED ARTICLE ocean. Snorkelling is typically carried out at Shelly Beach, Manly. Depending on weather conditions, the water is accessible via a boat ramp or directly across the sand itself. Staff support for guests in the water vary based on experience and confidence – some requiring 3:1 support with others are almost completely independent. Whilst ensuring guest safety is never compromised, the staff encourage increasing independence over time. Fishing is another activity much loved by guests of Sargood on Collaroy, which can be enjoyed both from the beach and from a kayak. X8 Extreme 4x4 Power Chairs provide access from the resort onto the beach and across the sand. Electric fishing reels, strong arm supports, and rod holders are also all incorporated into this activity depending on our guests’ level of injury.

Lee and Sebastian (Sargood Activities Coordinator)

Kayaking, offered at Narrabeen Lakes, can accommodate most levels of injury including higher level quadriplegics, who are supported through use of tandem kayaks. Active hands gripping aids, foam seating support and single and double kayaks are all utilised during this activity, and fishing rods can be used if desired. Sargood on Collaroy aims to create an environment that fosters independence and the development of new skills, striving to set a new standard for accessible travel.

Bilal and Darren with Sebastian and Bri (Sargood Rec Team)

Steven and Wade (Sargood Exercise Physiologist) 14


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December 2019 / January 2020



Sailing for everybody, an Australian snapshot Sailability Tin Can Bay by Raewyn Oliver

Raewyn Oliver is past secretary for the Tin Can Bay Sailability for 5 years and involved in TCB for 7 years. Previously, Raewyn and her husband Paul lived in Bundaberg and were also committee members for Bundaberg Sailability. Raewyn has always had an interest in writing as well as reading and is in charge of the TCB Writers' Club which has published one collection of our short stories, and Raewyn is about to publish her own collection. Raewyn is current secretary for both the TCB Yacht Club and the local Mens' Shed.


ailability Tin Can Bay has been operating for almost 11 years. Sailability as an organisation is known world-wide as a means to give different types of recreation to those who are disabled or disadvantaged in some way. The Tin Can Bay (TCB) group was first mooted when a group of yachties were enjoying a Sunday sherbet at the Yacht Club, as they included some very enterprising folk, they got onto the job immediately, and five months later the club was a reality. Some of that group are still involved and one is the current Commodore of the Yacht Club. The sailors come from some great distances; Hervey Bay (2 hours north), Gympie (55 mins west), Maryborough (1.5 hours west), and also some

Dinghies at the Coast Guard Pontoon 16



communities in between. Most of the sailors (often attending with carers) make a full day trip out of their weekly excursion, either bringing or purchasing lunches to eat on the foreshore, before driving back after an exhausting day of sailing! Sailability TCB has a few hurdles in that whilst we collect our participants as a group in the open-air area at the yacht club, (the pergola over which was paid for by Sailability from a government grant), we actually sail from the Coast Guard pontoon, located some 150 metres away. Thus, each participant has to be called up via radio, to come to the pontoon to have their PFD fitted and be escorted down the ramp. This means some difficulties for those able to walk as it is through a public carpark for the boats and trailers of the recreational kind. The area is ‘sealed’ but not smooth, and cars/trailers/ boats/campervans etc can all be sharing the space! Likewise, should the Coast Guard be called out, they need the pontoon to be vacated, and this can be at only a few minutes notice. Our new hoist, from ParaMobility, replaced another hand wound hoist. Given the average age of our volunteers being past 60; this winding action was a big problem and we only really had one chap capable. The new electric hoist made such a difference that members were all keen to be the hoist operator!

The pontoon itself is quite steep, but also narrow. A participant who is a wheelchair user has room only for themselves and their attendant, which can be isolating for a young or new client. On the pontoon is a sturdy chair, which the individual is transferred to whilst the sling is sorted, then the straps are slipped into place and the remote buttons send the client slowly up and the operator manually moves the hoist arm over the boat and then lowers the client into place. Then the grins start! This activity would be made so much easier for all if there was a dedicated pontoon, wide enough for two persons, with extra hoists to allow the loading of more than one boat concurrently. To that end a pontoon builder was asked to provide plans and costings for the placing of a new pontoon for Sailability use only (no public fishing etc) adjacent to the Yacht Club building itself. The funds for this were quite considerable, so funding from an external source (such as a government grant), money is going to be essential. Sailability TCB is currently sourcing funding for the new pontoon and hoping they will have this dream realised with the next change in government! Sailability TCB operates every Friday morning – weather permitting – from 9.00 am until everyone

Dinghies at the Coast Guard Pontoon

December 2019 / January 2020



Sailing for everybody, an Australian snapshot (continued) has enjoyed a sail. Usually around 30 people sail each week. The volunteer base is all local and they are mostly all retirees. Some have their own yachts and are still keen to sail, others just want to help out. As the client base comes from out of town largely, many do not arrive until 10.30 am as they have their own procedures and while some come by car, there are several organisations who arrive in mini-buses. The parking area has been known to hold 5 buses, and a lot of cars on a busy day. Sailability is determined to give clients what our slogan says; ‘Freedom on the Water’, as sailing is and should be, for everyone, regardless of ability, age, or income. Sailability have not registered with the NDIS due to erratic funding issues, but some of the clients are registered, and they make a weekly donation of $10 per sail. We certainly are appreciative of the effort the carers go to, bringing their clients some distance to enjoy a 30-minute sail on our inlet. TCB will always need more volunteers for Sailability, given the age of the group, and we hope to offer sailing to people with disability and people who are disadvantaged in our Wide Bay area for many years to come.

The Mayor Mick Curran, Patron of TCB Sailability and local TCB councillor were present to officially launch the new electric hoist, surrounded by Sailability volunteers.

We are all well aware of the physical and social benefits of aqua therapy and the positive effects that exercise and physical rehabilitation in water have on the body. This activity is not just relaxing but can relieve stress and pain on joints and work towards making independent movement much easier. The Pelican pool hoist manufactured in Australia by Para Mobility allows a person with any disability to have access to both above and below ground spas, swimming and Hydrotherapy pools – without any manual lifting. The Pelican is a versatile hoist that can be custom made to suit most pools and allows the addition of interchangeable accessories – from an aquatic wheelchair to a sling. This design allows the one hoist to be used as a client’s range of movement changes over time. For more information contact Para Mobility at 1300 440 600 or

We are all well aware of the physical and social benefits of aqua therap exercise and physical rehabilitation in water have on the body. This ac can relieve stress and pain on joints and work towards making indepen



The Pelican pool hoist manufactured in Australia by Para Mobility allow

to have access to both above and below ground spas, swimming & Hy We are all well aware of the physical and social benefits


EDITOR’S INTERVIEW: Sail into Life Bunbury by Anita Harrop


oday I have had the pleasure of talking with Marg Roberston, Rotary Sail into Life Bunbury.

Rotary Sail into Life, initiated by the Rotary Club of Bunbury in 2005, offers people with disabilities the opportunity to experience the freedom, adventure and fun of sailing on the open waters out of the Koombana Bay Sailing Club. Fundraising and sponsorship enabled the initial purchase of a small fleet of three Hansa Access Dinghies, now a fleet of seven dinghies and a rescue craft, plus a floating pontoon and a hoist for people in wheelchairs to access the dinghies. Initial works provided concrete paths around the area and a shade sail is erected to provide welcome shelter. Improvements since those initial days have been to engage Naturaliste Yachts and Chandlery to manufacture a new electric hoist (as the original hoist was manually operated and was challenging for the volunteers to wind). The new hoist has proved a most valuable asset for the club, sailors and the volunteers alike!

Sailors and skippers on the jetty at Koombana Bay, Bunbury, with the electric hoist insitu

Upper jetty and lower pontoon with dinghies ready for sailing

Another exciting activity offered is fishing from Rotary Reel Time (the Sail into Life fishing pontoon). The pontoon has a fold-out rear ramp, to which a path of rubber matting is connected from the beach sand, and people with mobility disability including wheelchair users can access the pontoon directly from the shore. The programme has more than 150 participants, family members, carers and volunteers involved over the season and Koombana Bay is now a vibrant hub of colourful dinghies, people and activity three days a week!

The Rotary Reel Time, the Sail into Life fishing pontoon December 2019 / January 2020



Autism Swim Prepared by Cathryn Grant

Cathryn is a registered Occupational Therapist and ACAA Accredited Access Consultant. She has been working as a Access Consultant since 2007. Prior to this she worked with people with a diverse range of disabilities in community and rehabilitation settings. Cathryn has recently completed a Masters in Public Health, specialising in health and the built environment. This involved researching and writing a thesis on universal design and consultation with users.


utism Swim is an international social enterprise specializing in wandering and drowning prevention for those with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and other abilities. Statistics on the Autism Swim website state that children with ASD are 160 times more likely to drown than a child without.


The CEO and founder, Erika Gleeson, a Senior Behavioural Specialist and Skill Development Specialist in Autism Spectrum Disorder. Autism Swim offer certification packages (training, resources and support) for Swimming Instructors, Occupational Therapists, Exercise physiologists and other aquatic professionals, through which you can become Autism Swim approved. The training and other certification inclusions aim to help swimming instructors to understand and develop skills to be better equipped to teach children with ASD and other abilities. There is also a range of resources available for purchase for parents on all things Wandering and Drowning Prevention. Parents can also access Autism Swim staff, including Aquatic Occupational Therapists, for advice and support. Additionally, they run a range of programs including surf awareness and modified nippers.


FEATURED ARTICLE A map on the website indicates the location of Autism Swim Approved providers. Each state of Australia, except Tasmania and Northern Territory, have a listed Autism Swim approved provider. Notably the Victorian State Government has partnered with Autism Swim to give 400 scholarships at a significantly reduced rate for Aquatic Therapists and Swim Instructors to complete the Autism Swim training program.

Visit the website: This web article provides background on drowning statistics relating to children with autism:

In December 2019 Autism Swim released a free app that is an interactive social story that can be used to educate those with ASD/other abilities about water safety and about how to respond to certain situations they may face around water. The app currently focuses on swimming pool safety however they hope to broaden this to lakes, beaches etc. It is currently only available to download onto an iPad. With regards to the built environment, Autism Swim suggested that it can be useful if there is a break-out area if the swimmer becomes overwhelmed, also acoustic considerations to dampen noise in pool environments. For a relatively new enterprise (established in 2016) they appear to be making the headlines with an extensive collection of media coverage listed on the website and operations in 13 countries. Congratulations to Erika and her team for taking on this issue and supporting parents and aquatic professionals in supporting children with ASD and other abilities, with any hope reducing the shocking statistics.

Beach photos courtesy of Gavin Little Photography December 2019 / January 2020



HOT APPS January 2020 ByJen Barling

PLAYGROUND FINDER An all abilities playground finder that allows you to search for over 4000 playgrounds throughout Australia.

AUTISM SWIM STAYING SAFE AROUND THE WATER The Autism Swim game created to introduce people with a variety of abilities to water safety. 'Staying Safe Around the Water' has been developed by expert clinicians, parents of those with ASD/other abilities, neurodiverse adults and aquatic professionals. The App is an interactive social story teaching users how to respond in certain situations. AUSTRALIAN INSTITUTE OF ARCHITECTS NATIONAL BUSHFIRE RESPONSE We may be looking for ways we can personally and professionally respond in the wake of the recent catastrophic bushfires, as the recovery and rebuilding occurs. The Australian Institute of Architects has created this helpful resource. about/national-bushfire-response/




Changing Places


he Changing Places located in the Four Kings Car Park, 78 Great Ocean Road, Anglesea VIC 3230, was officially opened on 14 January 2020. It opens up Anglesea and the popular tourist destination of the Great Ocean Road to people with a disability. Anglesea and the Great Ocean Road are now more accessible to visitors and community members with the addition of this Changing Places toilet. Anglesea is a small town, however it expands over 5 times during the summer period from around 2,500 to 14,500. The Angelsea Changing Places compliments the accessible features at Anglesea beach, including beach wheelchairs and accessible pathways. This facility enables people with disabilities to make the most of travelling along the Great Ocean Road, taking in all that this great tourist attraction has to offer, and is accessible 24 hours per day, seven days a week, with an MLAK key. You can find the Four Kings Car Park, Anglesea, Changing Places toilet and another 124 facilities on the Changing Places Australia website, visit: Pictured: Luke Donnellan (VIC Minister for Disability Ageing and Carers), Cr Rose Hodge, Mayor, Surf Coast Shire Council, Ken Northwood, Chair, Great Ocean Road Coast Committee (GORCC), Jack Tori Advocate for people with physical disabilities.

December 2019 / January 2020



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