Teaching Resource An initiative of
The latest statistics indicate that 15-24 year olds are the group most at risk of acquiring a spinal cord injury. The SpinChat program aims to address this at-risk group by raising awareness and promoting the prevention of spinal cord injury amongst high school students. This resource aims to support the presentation given by the SpinChat speaker. Included is further information about spinal cord injury, as well as extension activities which aim to help consolidate the message of injury prevention and foster further discussion about living with a disability. If you would like more information or wish to discuss any aspect of your SpinChat session, please donâ€™t hesitate to contact the SpinChat team. SpinChat Coordinator Independence Australia 208 Wellington Street Collingwood VIC 3066 03 9418 0490 email@example.com www.spinchat.org.au
What to expect during a SpinChat session Upon arrival The speaker will arrive for the session approximately 30 minutes prior to the scheduled time. The speaker will require either an accessible parking space or a space reserved close to the venue where the session will take place. Please arrange for someone to meet the speaker upon arrival and ensure the way from the car to the classroom/ venue is flat and wheelchair accessible.
Set up and equipment Please arrange to have a laptop, projector and screen (or monitor) set up prior to the speaker’s arrival, as the speaker will have a DVD and PowerPoint to show. If you wish to watch the DVD prior to the session it is included in the confirmation pack mailed to you with this booklet.
During the session The speaker will allow time for questions during their presentation. It is often helpful to have students start to think about the types of questions they may have for the speaker. A few ‘planted’ questions are encouraged to help break the ice and stir up discussion.
After the session Once the session has ended, if students have additional questions that were not answered at the time, we encourage them to submit them either via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or via the SpinChat Facebook page (www.facebook.com/SpinChatAU). Included in this booklet are possible extension activities to complete with students following a SpinChat session. In the week following the session, a feedback survey and the invoice for the session will be sent to you. If students also have feedback that they would like to pass on to the speaker, they can do so via the SpinChat website at www.spinchat.org.au/contact or via the SpinChat Facebook page (www.facebook.com/SpinChatAU).
Extension activities Below is a range of extension activities you might like to complete with students after the SpinChat presentation. These activities aim to foster further discussion and thought about injury prevention and living with a disability.
Activity: Share with the speaker Write a letter to your SpinChat speaker. Having students share their thoughts on the session may help students to think about what it was that they took from the session. In the letter, encourage students to consider aspects such as: H ow the speaker’s story made them feel? W hat aspects of their story were most surprising? W hat they learnt from the presentation? A ny other questions that weren’t answered during the presentation
Letters can be mailed to Independence Australia and will be passed on to the speaker.
Activity: Fundraising events The SpinChat program is run by Independence Australia, a not-for-profit organisation that supports people living with physical disabilities. These support services assist people to regain, retain and extend their independence. As a not-for-profit organisation, the support of the community helps us to ensure that these important services continue to be available to those who need them. Your school community can get involved and make a real difference to people living with a physical disability. Fundraising activity ideas: H old a casual clothes day H ost a quiz night, morning tea or movie night H ave teachers bring a baby photo and hold a competition to guess who’s who O rganise a sausage sizzle or pizza lunch O rganise a fun-run or walkathon
To discuss fundraising ideas contact the SpinChat team on 03 9418 0490.
Activity: Creative for a cause There is no cure for a spinal cord injury, only prevention. Encourage students to think about how they would go about promoting the injury prevention message by creating a poster or ad. When creating their prevention campaign, students may wish to consider aspects such as: t he wording or slogan images or photos ideas that will resonate with other students
Any artwork created for ‘Creative for a cause’ can be submitted to the SpinChat team and placed on the SpinChat website (with permission). At the end of 2014, a $100 iTunes voucher will be awarded to the artist whose work is deemed most effective. Artwork can be emailed to email@example.com or sent via mail to the address on page 3.
Activity: Is it wheelchair friendly? Accessibility is one of the biggest issues for someone living with a spinal cord injury who uses a wheelchair. Have students consider how wheelchair accessible the school is by having them navigate a course through the school without using stairs. The same activity could be tried at home, with students reporting back on how they went.
ILLUSTRATED DIAGRAM OF
The Spinal Cord C1 C2 C3
V1 V2 V3 C3
C4 T2 T3 T4
T5 T6 T7 T8 T9 T 10 T11 T12 L1 S2
S1 S2 S3 S4 S5
TH OR AC IC V E R TE BRAE
LUMBAR V E R TE BRAE
C E RV ICAL V E R TE BRAE
C4 C5 C6 C7 C8 T1 T2 T3 T4 T5 T6 T7 T8 T9 T10 T1 1 T1 2 L1
L4 L4 L5
CREATED FOR SPINCHAT AUSTRALIA AND INDEPENDENCE AUSTRALIA.
SAC R A L V E R TE BRAE
What is a spinal cord injury? A spinal cord injury is damage or trauma to the spinal cord that results in loss of or reduced mobility or feeling. Spinal cord injury is normally diagnosed as either complete or incomplete. A complete injury means that the spinal cord is completely severed and there is
total loss of feeling and movement below the injury. A n incomplete injury is when the spinal cord is not completely damaged and there is some movement or sensation below the level of injury.
Who is most likely to acquire a spinal cord injury? Spinal cord injuries are most common among people aged 15-24 years old. Males are over represented amongst spinal cord injury sufferers, accounting for 80% of all spinal cord injuries.
What causes spinal cord injury? The most common causes of spinal cord injury are the result of a trauma (79%). Road crashes are the leading traumatic cause of a spinal cord injury, however other common causes include leisure and sporting activities such as water-related incidents or motor sports, as well as falls.
What are the effects of a spinal cord injury? The effects of a spinal cord injury will vary depending upon where the spinal cord is damaged and the type of injury. The higher the damage to the spinal cord, the greater the loss of function. An injury at the base of the neck at C2 will usually affect function below the neck. While an injury to the lower back at L1 is likely to affect function in legs and lower half of the body only. Paralysis or a lack of function is often classified as either quadriplegia or paraplegia. Q uadriplegia is an injury to the spinal cord which results in partial or full paralysis
to the arms, legs and chest muscles. P araplegia is an injury to the spinal cord which results in some degree of paralysis in the legs and abdomen. Other possible effects of a spinal cord injury include:
Incontinence of the bowel and bladder B reathing complications T emperature control issues such as inability to sweat (below point of injury) L ow blood pressure or inability to regulate blood pressure D iminished sexual function D iminished fertility P ain
INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT
Spinal Cord Injury WHO IS LIVING WITH A SPINAL CORD INJURY? APPROXIMATELY
FEMALE (20%) MALE (80%)
MOST AT RISK
15-24 YEAR OLDS
UP TO 350-400 NEW CASES REPORTED EVERY YEAR MOST COMMON CAUSES ARE
(ROAD ACCIDENTS, FALLS, WATER RELATED INCIDENTS)
HOW DOES A SPINAL CORD INJURY AFFECT THE BODY?
LOSS OF MOVEMENT AND FUNCTION BELOW THE LEVEL OF INJURY (SUCH AS LEGS, ARMS, HANDS)
CHANGES TO OR LOSS OF BLADDER, BOWEL AND SEXUAL FUNCTION CHRONIC PAIN
LOSS OF FEELING BELOW THE LEVEL OF INJURY
INABILITY TO REGULATE BODY TEMPERATURE
HOW DOES A SPINAL CORD INJURY CHANGE LIVES? SPINAL CORD INJURY CAN HAVE AN ENORMOUS IMPACT ON ALMOST EVERY ASPECT OF SOMEONE’S LIFE AND THAT OF THEIR FAMILY’S – PHYSICAL, SOCIAL AND PSYCHOLOGICAL DATA IS CORRECT AS OF SEPTEMBER 2012. CREATED FOR STEPSFORINDEPENDENCE.COM.AU AND INDEPENDENCE AUSTRALIA.
No cure, only prevention The SpinChat program aims to encourage high school students to consider the possible consequences of risk-taking behaviours in order to reduce the incidence of new spinal cord injuries. The most common causes of spinal cord injury are the result of a trauma, such as road accidents, water related incidents, falls and incidents that involve the influence of drugs or alcohol. Below are some tips for helping to minimise risks.
On the road A lways wear a seatbelt D rive smart – influences such as drugs, alcohol, fatigue, speed and distractions
can increase the chance of an accident
B e a smart passenger – don’t risk your safety by getting into a car with a careless
or dangerous driver, or one that is under the influence of alcohol or drugs Be alert – pedestrians are vulnerable road users, so obey the road rules set to protect you C ycle smart – always wear a helmet and obey the road rules
In the water A lways check the depth of the water before diving in W atch out for hidden dangers under the water, such as logs, rocks and sandbanks E quip yourself with the right protective gear for water sports such as water skiing,
wakeboarding and surfing
Falls C onsider potential hazards and exercise caution W ear a helmet for sports such as cycling, horse riding and rollerblading
Drugs and alcohol R emember when drugs or alcohol are involved, you’re more likely to take
unplanned risks. In some cases these unplanned risks can lead to serious traumatic injuries, such as spinal cord injury
Disability Etiquette Ask before you assume A lways ask a person in a wheelchair if they need assistance before offering help.
It may not always be needed or wanted.
When a person has transferred out of a wheelchair to a chair, bed or car don’t
move the wheelchair without asking first.
The environment and personal space A void leaning on or touching a wheelchair without permission. Don’t pat a person on the head or shoulders or slap their back as a friendly gesture.
This may be perceived as patronising or cause the person to lose their balance. If children are curious, don’t discourage them from asking questions. W hen giving directions, consider distance, weather conditions and physical obstacles. R earrange furniture if something is blocking the path. Know and advise where accessible facilities are (ie. ramps, accessible toilets). W hen involving people with a disability in social events, ensure there are accessible facilities available. L eave accessible parking spaces for people with disabilities.
Communicate naturally S hake hands, speak normally and make eye contact. If someone speaks slowly or with great effort, be patient and don’t pretend to
understand. Ask the person to repeat or offer them a pen and paper if appropriate. Consider sitting down or kneeling for a longer conversation to put you at the same eye-level. D on’t mention the person’s disability unless it is relevant to the conversation. B e natural with language and expressions. It is okay to use expressions like “running late”.
Don’t pat assistance dogs It’s only natural to want to pat a guide or assistance dog, but please refrain from
doing so as they are always in working mode when they are with their owner.
Independence Australia 208 Wellington Street Collingwood VIC 3066 Australia T F E W
1300 704 456 1300 704 451 firstname.lastname@example.org www.independenceaustralia.com
An initiative of
Proudly supported by