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Sensory overload 101

How to kick start your NDIS plan

Why I'm bucking the 'disabled people can't work' trend





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Inform is Independence Australia’s crossdisability magazine. We encourage readers to submit suitable content for consideration by Independence Australia. All correspondence of this nature should be directed to: inform@iagroup.org.au While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information in this publication, Independence Australia assumes no responsibility for errors or omissions of any consequences of reliance in this publication. The opinions expressed in this publication do not necessarily represent the views of Independence Australia. Medical information included is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice.

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Your NDIS journey of care starts here The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is a new way to provide support for Australians with a disability, their families and carers.


Daily activities: In-home & in the community. Consumables & continence products.


Therapy, skills development & co-ordination of support.


Household aids & mobility equipment.

As a leading service provider, our dedicated team of co-ordinators are here to support your journey to the NDIS. We’ve got you covered with a wide range of products, equipment, services and supports for your NDIS package, all from our one organisation. STEP 1. Preparing your plan.

STEP 2. Developing your plan.

STEP 3. Getting your plan approved by the NDIA.

STEP 4. Choosing your providers and implementing your plan.

inform@iagroup.org.au www.independenceaustralia.com independenceaus independenceaus

Visit independenceaustralia.com/ndis to learn more about the NDIS and how it affects you.

STEP 5. Reviewing your plan.






Waves of change This issue of Inform is all about closing off 2018 and welcoming a brand-new year ahead. While starting a new year can be exciting for some, it can also be a time of anxiety and uncertainty for others. In this issue we hope to equip you with some skills and strategies to cope with these emotions. Also in this issue we hear from Jarad, a presenter with Radio Adelaide about why he is bucking the ‘people with disabilities cannot work’ attitude. In his feature Jarad addresses his challenges in finding work in the media sector and why he is now being up-front with potential employers about his disability. He also shares with us his advice for any job-seekers out there who might be struggling too. In our NDIS feature in this issue we offer advice on how to kick-start your NDIS plan, and what options you have available if you are happy (or unhappy) with what you have received. We also work to break down the key funding categories, so you can better understand your plan, and what your funding can do for you. The Inform team is committed to bringing you quality, informative content wherever you are in Australia, so we encourage you to get in touch with us if you have a story of independence to share. You can reach the team at inform@iagroup.org.au

Alison Crowe

4 4 Feature: Why I’m bucking the ‘disabled people cannot work’ trend 10 NDIS Feature: How to kick start your plan 14 Supports for school leavers 16 If you can’t say something nice… 18 Flying with mobility equipment 20 The What, Where and How of accessible beaches 22 Surviving the heat 24 Sensory overload 101 30 How to find a hobby

Managing Editor: Alison Crowe Deputy Editor: Rachel Tyler Jones Design: Mark Lovatt Cover Story Photography: Lee Knowles




Bucking the trend People with disabilities can’t work? Think again

As one of the presenters of De-Stigmatised with Radio Adelaide, Jarad McLoughlin is an up-and-coming voice in the Australian media industry. From his perspective as someone with Asperger’s Syndrome, AymeGripp Syndrome and other sensory impairments, Jarad shares his thoughts and advice on getting work, tenaciously following your passion and breaking into the media industry.

Words: Jarad McLoughlin Pics: Lee Knowles








t can be said that if you have never worked an honest day in your life, it brings on a horrid feeling of discontent and rejection if you’re applying for jobs in a heavily neurotypical workplace. Unfortunately, problems with getting disabled people into casual or permanent jobs won’t address some of the issues employers are not interested in resolving, including digital convergence, diversity recruitment and awareness training. In the radio broadcasting industry, particularly in community and commercial networks, people with disabilities still have no influential, managerial or strategic voice. This misaligns the balance of representation and inclusiveness in having a range of presenters, producers and directors/managers with good skills and knowledge in both presenting and using technical equipment. When I started writing and sending off my resume in my early 20s, I was quite unadventurous in what I wanted to do. From my earliest memories of being educated at special schools as a young child, thinking about my career goals was never in my inner subconscious. Even when I was 19 years old, I didn’t believe that I had enough talent to host and produce a radio show without supervision. In 2005, I spent six weeks at 5RPH 1197 AM (now known as Vision Australia Radio Adelaide), where I received some mentoring and guidance on working in a radio studio and transferring calls for on-air and pre-recorded interviews. After that, I tried to apply as a volunteer with several community radio stations spread across metropolitan Adelaide, but not one took me on.



“I had to persist in fighting to be heard by an industry that still has a very low percentage of employees with a disability or impairment�





“I believe that disclosing who you are to potential employers is important in promoting your work ethic�


I didn’t fare better with employment agencies, as nobody could offer me any advice or refer me on to work that catered to my skillset. While undertaking my Bachelor of Media undergraduate degree at the University of Adelaide, I approached Radio Adelaide 101.5 FM about doing a 60-minute program on disability-related content, but was knocked back due to having no proper framework. Often it occurred to me that management misjudged my interests in joining the station, but ableism never interfered with my later involvement at Radio Adelaide after completing my training in May 2016. According to 2014-15 figures from the Australian Government’s Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, of those aged 15+ who identify as being autistic 42% say that they are not in the labour force, while 24% say they are employed and 34% are unemployed. Of the 2.1 million Australians with disability who are of working age, only 1 million have found themselves a job, and over one-quarter of autistic jobseekers are involuntarily unemployed. A recent survey conducted by Autism Spectrum Australia (Aspect) discovered that most adults with Asperger’s Syndrome can’t get access to the support they need in achieving their career goals and aspirations. I had to persist in fighting to be heard by an industry that still has a very low percentage of employees with a disability or impairment. I was lucky – eventually Radio Adelaide did listen, and over the last five years I have involved myself with the radio station. My immersion at Radio Adelaide has made me to be more self-confident and self-assured in what my short- and long-term goals are in my career: to become the first radio presenter or journalist who is openly autistic and gay.



Since then I have dabbled in some freelance journalism work with SBS, writing opinion editorials encapsulating the realities that Australia’s disability community faces daily. I do it without worrying about censoring or retracting what I say with my argumentative and personified opinions. Back in February this year, I applied for the ABC’s Media Cadetship Program as I thought I was ready to venture into the next stage of my career. When writing out my cover letter about having Asperger’s Syndrome, Ayme-Gripp Syndrome and other sensory impairments, tweaking or distorting the truth didn’t seem all that appealing to me. I believe that disclosing who you are to potential employers is important in promoting your work ethic, particularly when marketing your eligibility and productivity as a reliable employee. When deciding what to put into your resume before sending it off to businesses, double-check that everything is accurate and factual. The worst thing is to have two or more referees who are unable to be contacted by phone or email. My advice to future disabled jobseekers, including those who are autistic, is to refrain from suppressing or erasing your disability or impairment. If an employer is verbally or passively ableist, you shouldn’t sacrifice your mental health for financial stability. Also, remember to be well groomed and punctual when going to job interviews, as I guarantee you will be looked at more favourably. Who knows, you might just get that congratulatory call-back saying that you have been hired. Jarad will be a guest in our upcoming podcast episode on work and including your disability on your resume. You can find out more here www.informonline.org.au/listen



NDIS Feature


How to kick start your plan So you’ve successfully received an NDIS plan – congratulations! But are you finding yourself a bit unsure and confused about what is supposed to happen next? This next step can be daunting, particularly if you have never accessed funding before.

NDIS Feature

Where do I start? The first step is to get familiar with it all. There is a lot to learn and remember when it comes to the NDIS, so it is important that you take the time to understand what the NDIS is doing for you. Firstly, read through your plan lineby-line and make sure that you fully understand what you are covered for. As mentioned in issue 25 of Inform magazine, if this read-through causes any questions or concerns for you, make sure that you write them down for later. Once you’ve got your head around your plan, log into your NDIS participant portal and get familiar with this interface. This is particularly important if you are self-managing your plan and your funds, as this interface allows you to access your funds and pay invoices. Hang on, what if I’m not happy with my plan? If you have done your initial readthrough of your plan and you think that it doesn’t meet your needs, you are able to question these decisions and request a review. If you would like to request a review of the NDIS’s decision you can contact the NDIA – either in writing, over the phone or via email – and request an internal review of a decision. In this initial contact, briefly explain why you think this decision is not correct. This will start a process where someone at the NDIA will review your plan and will be in contact with you when a new decision has been made. This process can take some time. It is important for you to know that you can still use your NDIS plan even when you have submitted it for a



It is important for you to know that you can still use your NDIS plan even when you have submitted it for a review review, as using the funds doesn’t mean that you ‘accept’ the plan you aren’t happy with. So although your plan might be in review, it doesn’t mean that you have to go without supports while you wait! What if I am happy with my plan? If you have received your plan and you’re happy then you are all ready to go. If you are already receiving services from a service provider and you want to continue to use this provider, the first thing you should do is contact them and tell them that you have received your plan. Doing this means that your provider can prepare for your plan, and ensures that your service continues without any interruptions. When telling them about your plan, your provider may ask for some information from you, and they will use this to create a service agreement which outlines what services you’ll receive from them. If you are new to receiving services, or would like to try a new provider, why not use our ‘How to pick a provider’ guide in issue 25 of Inform magazine and on our website? Find out more at: www.informonline.org.au/how-to-pick-a-ndisprovider/

Effective in flattening, fading and softening

up to 90% of red and raised scars


CICA-CARE™ – Let the anxiety fade1,2

CICA-CARE Frequently Asked Questions

CICA-CARE Gel Sheets have been shown in studies to flatten, fade and soften red and raised scars in up to 90% of cases.4,5 This includes both new and existing hypertrophic and keloid scars. Additionally, CICA-CARE Gel Sheets have been shown to be effective in the cosmetic appearance of scars up to 20 years old,3 making them potentially suitable for patients who have experienced the long-lasting impact of scarring. When used correctly, CICA-CARE can give you results in as little as 2–4 months.4,5

How do I know if CICA-CARE will work on scar(s)? The scar needs to be red and raised for CICA-CARE to be effective – it doesn’t work on white and flat scars.

More than “just a scar” For many patients, a scar is more than an imperfection – it’s a source of physical and emotional distress.1,2 Given the significant impact scarring can have on patients’ lives, international guidelines now recommend that following surgery or trauma, the first priority should always be the prevention of abnormal scar formation.6



How is CICA-CARE used and how long will it take for the scar to get better? It can vary from person to person and from scar to scar. Some people may see an improvement within days. When used correctly, best results are seen after 2-4 months of treatment. CICA-CARE wear time should be increased from 4 hours per day for the first two days up to a minimum of 12 hours per day. Refer to the pack insert for details. If possible, CICA-CARE should be worn 24 hours per day. This build up is necessary to get the skin accustomed to the gel sheet. Painless to remove and easy to replace, CICA-CARE stays in place, although a light bandage or tape may give extra help to hold it in place. CICA-CARE can be cut to size to fit most scars. Each separate cut piece will last up to one month in use. It is durable and reusable. How soon can CICA-CARE be used after an injury? CICA-CARE Gel Sheet may be used on any old or new closed wound. This includes red and raised scars resulting from surgical incisions such as Caesarean section, cosmetic surgery or accidental injuries, such as burns or cuts. Always ensure the wound is fully closed before using CICA-CARE Gel Sheet. Do not use on open or infected wounds, scabs, over stitches or anywhere where there is broken skin.

Products listed may not be right for you. Read any warnings before purchase. Smith & Nephew Pty Ltd 85 Waterloo Rd North Ryde NSW 2113 Australia T +61 2 9857 3999 F +61 2 9857 3900. ™Trademark of Smith & Nephew. SN14231. References 1. Newell R. Psychological difficulties amongst plastic surgery ex-patients following surgery to the face: a survey. Brit J Plast Surg 2000; 53: 386-392. 2. Rumsey N, et al. Exploring the psychosocial concerns of outpatients with disfiguring conditions. J Wound Care 2003; 12: 247-252. 3. Quinn KJ. Silicone gel in scar treatment. Burns 1987; 13 (supp) : S33-S40. 4. Carney SA, et al. Cica-care gel sheeting in the management of hypertrophic scarring. Burns 1994;20: 163-167. 5. Mercer NSG. Silicone gel in the treatment of keloid scars. Br J Plast Surg 1989; 42: 83-87. 6. Monstrey S, et al. Updated scar management practical guidelines: non-invasive and invasive measures. JPRAS 2014; 67:1017-1025.

NDIS Feature



What do the funding categories mean? One of the first things we recommend you do when you receive your NDIS plan is to read through it thoroughly and make sure that you understand what you are funded for. But how can you understand your funding if you don’t quite understand what the funding categories mean? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.

Core Supports Core supports is your flexible funding that covers activities that help you in your everyday life. For example, this funding can be used for in-home care, cleaning assistance, any needs-related products or assistance to access your community. This funding is flexible so you can use it across a number of support categories. Capital Supports Capital supports is funding for your ‘big ticket items’, such as car modifications or assistive technology. Sometimes you may need a quote or report from a specialist to be able to access this funding, so it is best to check with the NDIA if you have any queries regarding your capital supports funding. Capacity Building The final funding category is the capacity building category. This is to fund activities that help you build your skills and reach your long-term goals. This funding is not as flexible as your core supports, and can only be used for specified activities as mentioned within your plan. This funding can be used for things like support coordination, finding and keeping a job or improving your relationships, and much more. If you’re still feeling a bit lost the NDIS has a number of ‘Understanding the NDIS’ booklets on its website at www.ndis. gov.au. We also recommend looking at the ‘NDIS Price Guide’ to help you understand how much each service can cost you, and therefore how far your funding will go.



Your future

Supports for school leavers with disabilities Leaving school and figuring out what to do next is a process most people go through, and it’s hard for everyone. If you’re considering getting some help because of a disability, there are a few extra things you need to think about. Here we have tried to give you a simple guide, to help you get started. After you leave school, you might want to: • pursue further education • gain employment • undertake vocational training • participate in volunteering and/or other community based activities. When deciding what you want to do, you should think about: • what is involved with each option • what each option might mean for you long-term • how you might access your chosen option • what kind of assistance you might need to achieve your goal

Your future

For example, if you like technology you might want to get a job in IT. Working backwards from that end goal, you will need training, either through TAFE or a university. To get training you will need to apply and get accepted. Before that, you might need a part time job to support yourself. To get to your part time job or to university you might need travel training. You can get support through each of these steps, so it’s important to work backwards from your end goal, break the process down into steps, and figure out what assistance you might need along the way.

Types of assistance you can access: • Job-ready training • Assistance finding employment • Assistance with independent living • Travel training This is not a complete list, but it might get you thinking about what is possible.

What has changed for school leavers Previously school leavers were supported through the My Future: My Life program. This program will continue to be available until the NDIS rolls out in your area, at which point you will move over to the NDIS. You can apply for NDIS school-leaver support up to six months before the NDIS rolls out in your area. How the new system works If you are eligible for the NDIS you can access School Leaver Employment Supports (SLES) during your final two years of schooling, or up to two years after leaving school. The earlier you start this process, the better your chances of getting all the support you need. SLES is one of many supports available through the NDIS. As with all things NDIS, it is available if it is deemed reasonable and necessary for the school leaver. Because SLES is a support, it needs to be included


in your NDIS plan. To access this, you need to contact your Local Area Coordinator to develop a plan. You can do this up to two years before you leave school. Before you go to your meeting, you may wish to identify which supports you may need. For example: • assistance in getting work experience while you are still at school, so you can identify what sort of work you might want to do • undertaking job skills training, to improve your employability • undertaking travel training, so you can get to and from work independently • assistance in creating a CV or in applying for roles • assistance with your application for further study or training • assistance finding a community organisation or volunteer position Your Local Area Coordinator will help you to think through the options, and help you to develop a plan that’s right for you. If you would like to read more, to help you consider all your options, the Better Health Channel has created a very comprehensive resource, which can be found at www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/ ServicesAndSupport/postschool-options-forpeople-with-a-disability. If you’ve got a story about leaving school, or think you could offer some advice to other school leavers based on your own experience, we’d love to hear from you. Email us at inform@iagroup.org.au




Your health

If you can’t say something nice… Dealing with stigma is part of everyday life for those living with a disability, and for those that don’t have the right coping strategies it can take a toll on your emotional health. Here are some ways in which you can deal with unwanted advice and opinions.

Speak up Stigma can often mean that an individual is thought of as being ‘other’ and there is often a separation created between the different parties. It is important to be able to speak up and inform people that you are equal and deserve to be treated as so. Educate A lot of people may be creating these differences because they genuinely don’t understand someone’s disability, so informing and educating these family members is key. This will also give you the opportunity to correct inaccurate statements and misunderstandings. Participate People may not understand your capabilities so leaving you out of an activity may seem like their only option. In this case, speak up and let them know that you would like to participate and suggest a few activities that you may be able to do.

Your health

The anticipation of a new year can sometimes bring about feelings of stress and anxiety for some children and adults with disabilities.



Tips for family and friends While the new year can bring times of joy and excitement to some of us, it can sometimes bring about feelings of stress and anxiety for some children and adults with disabilities. Here are a few tips and ideas for family members and friends to try, to help create a positive environment for those living with a disability.

Connect with your support system If all else fails, remove yourself from the negative situation and surround yourself with people who are respectful, accepting and understand your disability. Be prepared Preparing yourself for an uncomfortable situation may be a useful strategy for being able to take care of yourself on the day if things go south. Having already developed strategies for situations that may upset you or make you angry may be helpful in being able to cope with the circumstance. For example, removing yourself from the situation, breathing exercises, going outside for some fresh air, sitting in another room and doing an activity that relaxes you such as reading. Realistic thinking Remember that thoughts and opinions are not facts! It is critical to remember that you are your own expert, you know your ability and being able to identify the unrealistic thoughts and opinions of yourself and others is a necessity.

Inform and educate – who needs to know? There are many situations where extended family gets together and some family members or friends may not completely understand an individual’s disability or know how to act when around them. It might be useful for family members or the individual with the disability to send out a quick update to other family members before any big events, and this update may include: • Achievements and events that have happened during the year • Activities and topics that the individual may enjoy discussing • Activities and topics that people should avoid • Things that the individual may enjoy or find difficult and challenging during the festive celebrations A designated safe area might also be helpful, if an individual starts to become overwhelmed and requires a quiet and designated space where they can retreat. This area can be a calming place where they can complete an activity or task that they may prefer (e.g. reading their favorite book or listening to music).



Our advice

Flying with mobility equipment

Requiring mobility equipment shouldn’t hold you back from taking to the skies, but the reality is that it does take a bit of extra planning before you can board the plane. Most airlines have improved their mobility assistance services over the last couple of years, and it’s now much easier than it used to be to communicate your needs. So what can you take, and how can you make sure it arrives in one piece?

Do your research The first step is to do your research. Each airline has its own restrictions, procedures and costs around bringing your own mobility equipment on board. For example, some airlines charge extra if you need a lift to get up the stairs for planes that don’t have an aerobridge, while others offer this service free of charge. Each airline will have this information listed on its website. Alternatively you can call the airline and talk to someone about your needs. Another complicating factor is that while many newer, larger aeroplanes can accommodate full-size mobility scooters and wheelchairs, older and/or smaller aircraft may not have this capability. Where you can go or what you can take may be restricted by the aircraft that flies this route. Again, this is a question you can ask the airline. Finally, it’s important to

Our advice

let the airline know that you will be bringing a mobility aid early, as many aeroplanes can only accommodate a small number of these, and there may already be other people who have booked a spot for a wheelchair or scooter on your flight.

Communicate early and often Once upon a time airlines understood “I need mobility assistance” as “I need a wheelchair”, but these days you can communicate your needs with a level of nuance. Communicating your specific needs with the airline well ahead of time will ensure you have the best possible experience. Start by calling when you are booking your ticket to ensure the airline can accommodate your needs. Then call again the day before your travel, to confirm your plans and go over what will happen when you arrive at the airport. Finally, ensure you arrive at the airport with plenty of extra time, as it may take you longer to get to your gate. Whatever your specific needs are, if you communicate them early and often you are more likely to get the individual support you require, rather than being treated as ‘generic disability’. When you arrive at the airport If you give them enough notice some airlines will meet you at your car with a wheelchair. You can request a golf buggy ride if you are more mobile, but may still find the long trip between check in and the final gate too long and strenuous. If you use crutches or walking sticks let the staff at security checkpoints know that you require these aids to walk – if you communicate your needs, they can pass your walking stick(s) through the scanner, and then bring them back to you, to allow you to walk on your own through the security checkpoint.



Alternatively, they may provide a wheelchair to get you to the other side. Finally, if you are checking in a wheelchair or scooter, ensure you bring the manual and any tools you may require to disassemble it. Most airlines will require that tall backrests are removed, or they may have other requirements. Ensure you arrive with plenty of time to undertake these tasks, and that you bring someone to assist you, as airlines may not be able to do so.

On the plane Remember that being on the plane itself may take some planning. Airline staff are not expected to assist with eating, administering medication, using the toilet or lifting or carrying a passenger. If you are likely to require this type of assistance, you’ll need to bring someone with you who can perform these tasks. If you need a carer, they may be eligible for a Companion Card discount from the airline, which can provide tickets at a significantly reduced cost. Touchdown If you have a stopover, it’s worth checking whether you will have access to your mobility aids. If they have been stored under the aeroplane, the answer is likely no, so come up with a plan for the stopover ahead of time in consultation with the airline. It’s also important to plan what will happen at your final destination. Talk to the airline about where you can pick up your mobility aids, or what assistance may be available in terms of commuting through the airport to pick up your luggage.




The What, Where and How of accessible beaches


What are accessible beaches? Accessible beaches have been made more accessible for people with wheels – whether you’re in a wheelchair, using a mobility scooter or even pushing a pram. There are usually a few considerations when making a beach accessible. Accessible beaches offer ramps or stair-free access to the sand. They also have beach matting, to make rolling across the sand possible in a standard wheelchair. Many also offer beach wheelchairs for hire. Beach wheelchairs have buoyant armrests and wheels that allow the chair to float in the water. They also have straps to secure the rider. Beach wheelchairs are designed to enter the water, up to the waist height of a support person, so that everyone can enjoy the beach and have a dip. Finally, some accessible beaches may offer access to Changing Places facilities. Changing Places Changing Places is a project to advocate for public toilets with full sized change tables and hoists in major public spaces across Australia to meet the needs of people with disabilities. If you are looking to hire a beach wheelchair, but will need the help of a hoist to transfer from a standard wheelchair to a beach wheelchair, then looking for an accessible beach that also has a Changing Place is going to make the process much easier. Not all accessible beaches have a Changing Place. Where can I find my nearest accessible beach? The Accessible Beaches Australia website has a good list of accessible beaches. You should also check in with your local city council. And, if you are looking for a beach with access to a Changing Place, the Changing Places website offers a searchable map of accredited facilities.



Beach wheelchairs are designed to enter the water, up to the waist height of a support person, so that everyone can enjoy the beach and have a dip. How can I get my local beach made accessible? Although Accessible Beaches Australia has a vision to make most patrolled beaches accessible by 2020, local councils need to know there is a demand for this service. When they are presented with the idea of making a beach accessible, most councils are concerned about the work and the cost involved. To counteract this, Accessible Beaches Australia hosts accessible beach days, where they demonstrate to local councils both how easy it is to make beaches accessible, and how high the demand is in the local community. Councils can contact Accessible Beaches Australia through their website to request a trial accessible beach day. In many cases, the trial can be provided free of charge. As a local resident you can always contact your local council to let them know that services like these exist – the fact that they can be tried risk (and cost) free makes it a much more appealing proposal! To find out more, visit accessiblebeaches.com and changingplaces.org.au



Your health

Surviving the heat There are a range of reasons people’s bodies don’t cope well with the heat. Some medications, such as blood pressure medication, antidepressants, antihistamines and more can interfere with a person’s ability to manage hotter weather. As we get older we don’t perspire as much, so our bodies have more difficulty cooling themselves. Those with a cognitive disability may not ‘feel’ the heat, or may not be able to communicate their discomfort.

Your health

Getting too hot can be dangerous, especially when the person has trouble communicating their discomfort Whatever the reason, if you or a person you are caring for are at an increased risk from the heat of summer, there are a number of steps you can take to stay cool. It is important to know the signs of heatrelated distress, and how to avoid it, as in extreme cases becoming overheated can be life-threatening.

Signs of heat-related distress: • Headache, nausea and fatigue are all signs of heat stress • Cool, moist skin; a weakened pulse and feeling faint are all signs of heat fatigue • Thirst, giddiness, weakness, lack of coordination, nausea, profuse sweating, cold and clammy skin, possible raised pulse, possible contracted pupils and possible vomiting are all signs that the body is getting too hot, which is known as heat exhaustion • If not treated, heat exhaustion can lead to heat stroke. Heat stroke is life-threatening and immediate medical attention is required. Symptoms can include confusion, combativeness, bizarre behaviour, faintness, staggering, rapid pulse, dry hot and flushed skin, lack of sweating, possible fast, shallow breathing and possible dilated pupils. Later stages can include delirium, seizures and coma. Getting too hot can be dangerous, especially when the person has trouble communicating their discomfort, so it’s important to know the signs ahead of time, and to take steps to remain cool during hot weather.



Ways to stay cool in the heat: • Stay hydrated. Sip on cool drinks often. Water is best, but if you prefer fruit juice then water it down to improve hydration. Avoid drinks with alcohol, caffeine or excess sugar. • Stay out of the sun during the hottest part of the day, and if you have to go out cover up with loose, cool clothing and a hat. Natural fibers such as cotton will keep you cooler than polyester. • Take a cool shower or bath, or splash yourself with cool water. • Identify the coolest room you have access to ahead of time, so you know where to go in the heat. • Avoid turning on the oven or stove, as this will introduce heat into the house. Instead, opt for a cool, fresh meal, such as a proteinrich salad. • Check in with others. If you know someone who lives alone, or you yourself live alone, check in with others throughout heatwaves, to ensure everyone is staying safe and keeping cool. Other things to consider include checking medications to ensure they are being stored at a safe temperature, and putting them into a cooler room or even the fridge if it’s getting too hot inside the house. If you are ever concerned about how you will cope with the heat, or whether a medication will affect how your body responds to the heat you should have a chat with a medical professional, as they can help you make a plan. If you are worried that someone may be suffering from heat-related distress, it is important to seek medical attention urgently, as heat-related distress can become lifethreatening if not treated. Please note the information supplied is general in nature. Please consult your medical practitioner for individual advice.



Your health

Sensory overload 101 Anyone can experience sensory overload, but some conditions can make sensory overload debilitating. Conditions such as sensory processing disorder, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, post-traumatic stress disorder and Autism spectrum disorder all exacerbate the experience of sensory overload, and can make access to safe spaces and sensory friendly environments a necessity for participating fully in everyday life.

Your health

Everyday environments where sensory overload is more likely to occur include shopping centres, cinemas, festivals, public transport, noisy cafes and even busy roads. Some sectors are becoming more aware of sensory overload, and are starting to create safe spaces to become more inclusive for people with differing sensory needs. The below list is by no means exhaustive – these are just some examples of businesses doing good work with safe spaces for sensory overload. You can look online for programs running in your local area, and if you can’t find any why not take the first step and make a proposal for a program you’d like to see run near you?

Shopping With their harsh lighting, banging trolleys and beeping machines, supermarkets can be a big ask for someone who suffers from sensory overload. Coles Supermarkets has partnered with Autism Spectrum Australia (Aspect) to run a sensory overload friendly ‘Quiet Hour’ every Tuesday from 10.30–11.30am across a number of its stores nationally. During Quiet Hour the lighting is dimmed, and noise is reduced by ensuring that shelf-restocking carts are removed from the shop floor, and beeps on checkout machines are turned off. You can find a participating store by visiting the Coles website. The Good Guys is running a similar initiative, and the concept is beginning to catch on with other retailers. Some shopping centres, for example the Northland Shopping Centre in Melbourne, are creating sensory safe spaces for shoppers who need some down time. These are quiet rooms with gentle lighting and soft fittings to give shoppers or their children some time out to reset and relax before continuing with their shopping.



These quiet rooms with gentle lighting and soft fittings are designed to give shoppers or their children some time out to reset and relax Driving Drive Smart Driving School in Adelaide has partnered with Autism SA to train staff to run programs specifically for teaching learner drivers with Autism Spectrum Disorder, to help them to become safe, independent drivers. Hairdressers There are a number of hairdressers who specialise in giving haircuts to children and adults who find the experience of getting a haircut overwhelming. Giggle and Scissors are a mobile Brisbane based company. Shear Abilities salon in Maitland offers a friendly and inclusive space. Cinemas Some cinemas run sensory-friendly sessions, which include dimmed lighting and lowered volume, and no judgement for getting up and moving around during the film. Event Cinemas and Village Cinemas both run sensory-friendly sessions, so check out their websites to find a session near you. Sensory overload can be debilitating, but initiatives like those mentioned can help to make everyday activities bearable, and for some, possible for the first time. It is always worth encouraging your local businesses and councils to look at the success of these programs in other areas and to consider doing something similar, so we can all enjoy being out in the world.

Abri-Form Junior Supporting the changing needs From child to young adult

Shop online at store.independenceaustralia.com or call 1300 788 855

Skincare Lotion With age, the skin changes and can become dry, which can cause irritation. Moisturising twice a day helps to maintain skin integrity. The Abena Skincare Lotion is a gentle, effective product suitable for daily care of the skin. The lotion contains both nourishing ingredients that moisturise the skin, and stearates that increase the speed of absorption. Assists with regenerating the skin’s own defence system, and assists with skin elasticity.

• • • • •

CLINICALLY PROVEN* Skin neutral pH 16% fat content Nordic Swan certified Dermatologically tested

*The effectiveness of a twice-daily skin-moisturising regimen for reducing the incidence of skin tears Carville K et al (2014) International Wound Journal ISSN 1742-4801

Shop online at store.independenceaustralia.com or call 1300 788 855


Melbourne Disability Expo

The Melbourne Disability Expo 2018 My future, my choice The Melbourne Disability Expo was more relevant than ever in 2018. The NDIS is now fully rolled out or being rolled out progressively across most of Victoria’s metro and regional areas. Under the new scheme thousands of Victorians with disabilities are expected to make decisions about their own care, or the care of their loved ones, and with so many services on offer this can be an overwhelming task. The yearly expo allows people with disabilities to find out about the latest products, services, technology, aids and equipment, by talking face-to-face with people working for those companies. It can be an important step in finding a provider who feels trustworthy, capable and respectful of your choices. This year the expo took place over Friday 16 and Saturday 17 November at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre. Over 150 service and product providers exhibited at a stall, and visitors were able to try products, talk to industry experts, listen to information sessions and take advantage of the children’s entertainment.

Independence Australia’s photobooth was particularly popular – turn over the page to see some fantastic snaps from the day!





The Melbourne Disability Expo


Featured Products

TENA takes special care of skin TENA is a name better known for continence products but did you know they are also the skincare specialists. Continence and skincare are closely linked, skin breakdown can be caused by the repeated wetting and drying of the skin with the affected area being more susceptible to damage. Lanna Ramsay, head of Ozcare Aged Care used the TENA skincare range on her father “My father has always had very sensitive skin and is prone to easy bruising. As he is quite active and he often gives himself small skin tears, and sometimes big., I have had him using TENA Wash Cream and Skin Lotion for about three years. Over that time, there has been a significant improvement in his skin and a decreased number of small skin tears”

like Incontinence Associated Dermatitis (IAD) can be painful however the TENA 3-in-1 range does not require soap or water to cleanse and ensures that the skin is cleaned, protected and moisturised. Daily checklist for healthy skin: ✓✓ Prevention is the best treatment, cleanse the body daily ✓✓ Cleanse the skin well when using the toilet or after every pad change ✓✓ Moisturise the skin after cleansing to avoid dehydration and form a protective barrier ✓✓ Protect the genital area (perineum specifically) with a barrier cream if area is exposed to regular faecal or urinary incontinence

Traditional soap and water can also be very harsh on delicate skin, and conditions

Tena Skincare Products

TENA wet wipes 3 in 1 cloth that is premoistened to clean the perineum TENA wash cream 3-in 1 no-rinse cream that cleanses the body or perineum and acts as three products in one, a gentle cleanser, moisturiser and protective cream. It can be safely left on the skin and is ideally applied with the TENA soft cloth

TENA skin lotion deep moisturizer that contains natural oils that make it gentle and suitable for delicate/sensitive skin and for use on the whole body TENA Barrier Cream forms a protective layer over the skin; keeps moisture in; prevents irritants penetrating the skin.




Our advice

How to find a hobby

Finding the right hobby for you can be tricky. Many people leave hobbies behind in childhood, and then never quite figure out how to get back to spending weekend afternoons engrossed in a good book, or letting it all out in drama class. So, if you’re stuck, here are some steps that might help you to start the process.

First, think about the sort of person you are. Do you want a hobby that is just a bit of fun, or do you need to be doing something productive in order to relax? This may determine the type of hobby you look for. Do you want a hobby where the activity is the main focus, or are you looking for a group of like-minded people, where the hobby itself is less important than being social? Are you a morning person who would enjoy sunrise meditation, or would you prefer to do a hobby in the afternoon on the weekends, when you are at your most relaxed? If you factor these things in when choosing a hobby, you are more likely to find something you can stick with and enjoy for more than a few weeks. Second, think about what makes you happy, and the activities you already enjoy. It’s important to think

Our advice

about why you enjoy them, too. For instance, two people may enjoy playing board games with friends, but for one person the important thing is spending time with friends, and for the other person it’s the mental challenge and strategic thinking that keeps them coming back week after week. If these two people were to pick new hobbies, they would likely pick two different activities, despite both enjoying board games. It’s the why that’s important here. Next, look for inspiration. Think about the things you enjoyed as a child. Spend some time in a bookstore, and be aware of which sections excite you – are you drawn to the cookbooks? Or do you spend all your time in the history section? Think about projects you may have undertaken in the past, and see if you could turn this into an ongoing hobby. Take a look at local notice boards, and just see what’s on offer in your area – the avenues for inspiration are endless. Finally, try a few hobbies out. You likely won’t be sure whether you enjoy something until you try it, and hobby collecting can become a hobby itself. We’ve put together a list of different hobbies to help inspire you – why not pick twelve, and commit to trying a new one every month for an entire year? Who knows, maybe something will stick.

Try a few hobbies. You likely won’t be sure whether you enjoy something until you try it, and hobby collecting can become a hobby itself.



25 hobbies to inspire you Hobbies to help you learn a skill • Learn a language • Improve your cooking • Take up gardening • Take up film photography • Learn a musical instrument • Enroll in an online degree • Attend free lectures Hobbies you can do alone • Become a podcast listener • Become a Wikipedia editor • Rate and review movies online • Take up meditation • Write letters to people • Hobbies to do with friends • Learn to play a team sport • Get together and play board games • Start a documentary watching club • Become a computer gamer • Form a pub trivia team • Join a historical reenactment group Hobbies that could make you some pocket money • Become a blogger • Take up a craft and sell your wares • Write a book • Become a decluttering guru • Make a podcast • Learn to decorate cakes • Buy and resell items on eBay (for a profit!)

Independence Australia is a: NDIS approved provider TAC service provider DHHS service provider

Our services include: In-home care Accommodation Psychology and counselling Case management Support Coordination Information Post polio support Health care products and equipment

1300 704 456 service.enquiry@iagroup.org.au www.independenceaustralia.com.au independenceaust @independenceaus

Profile for Independence Australia

Inform Magazine Issue 26 - Summer 2019  

Inform Magazine Issue 26 - Summer 2019