ISSUE 14 | SUMMER 2017
SUPPORTING SIBLINGS – GUIDE TO ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY – THE POWER OF PERFORMANCE – PUSHCHAIR REVIEW
When Calories count and so does Tolerance Introducing NEW Nutrini Peptisorb Energy, the new ready to use peptide-based feed specially designed for feed intolerance, maldigestion and malabsorption. Another addition to the tried and trusted Nutricia Paediatric Range.
PBS Listed 1st May 2017
The peptide-based feed specially designed for children who need more nutrition in a smaller volume and is easier on the tummy.
4 4 4 4 4 4 4
100% Extensively hydrolysed whey protein To help Ready-to-use, liquid semi-elemental feed children meet Energy dense 1.5kcal/ml and nutritionally complete their nutritional # Contains 50% MCT needs consistently 1 1 and promote Excellent compliance and GI* tolerance healthy growth. Easy to use, convenient and well-accepted1 For children 1-10 years of age (or 8-45kg body weight)
Contact your healthcare professional for more information. (Should be used under medical supervision)
1. Data on file, Nutricia UK Ltd. 2017. * Gastrointestinal # Medium Chain Triglycerides
Nutricia Australia Pty Ltd. Talavera Corporate Centre, Level 4, Building D, 12-24 Talavera Road, Macquarie Park, NSW 2113 Clinical Care Line 1800 060 051 www.nutriciamedical.com.au
Need help? Variety is here for you We help when others can't Variety – the Children’s Charity helps children and their families with ﬁnancial support for things like wheelchairs, specialist equipment and medical supplies, when they can’t aﬀord it, and when government assistance isn’t available. For families of children who are sick, disadvantaged or who have special needs, ﬁnding support can be a challenge. Each year, thousands of these children and their families turn to Variety for support when they need it most. If you or someone you know is struggling to cope, Variety is here for you. Visit our website or give our friendly team a call on (03) 8698 3900.
FEATURES AND ARTICLES
KINDERSHARE If you haven’t heard about it yet, check out Kindershare – an online peer-to-peer marketplace for children’s equipment. They connect owners of baby equipment with those who need items on a short-term basis.
8 15 24 35 42 49 53
Empowerment Pushchair review What’s on this summer A parent’s guide to assistive technology Supporting siblings The power of performance Arthrogryposis Multiplex Congenita
REGULARS 5 6 26 28 38 45 55
We love Welcome Family profile Special needs teacher in focus Product feature – holiday gift guide Cooper’s travels Competition corner
RUBY’S REST BY PURE EARTH INTERNATIONAL This Sleep n Rest positioning support is ideal for children with additional needs. A quick change in position and the ease of changing the shape is a big winner. The eco-friendly positioning support is simply wiped down with no washing or cover change required. www.pureearthaustralia.com
OUR EMPOWER MENT ISSUE
Building co nfidence, self-esteem a self-worth fo nd r those living with a disability.
CALMING SOCKS BY JETTPROOF With a seamless feel and no heel, these socks are perfect for children with sensory processing disorder or hypersensitivity. Made from bamboo with polyester, they provide comfort and relief. www.jettproof.com.au For your chance to win a pack of these socks go to page 55.
WE LOVE ALL NEW GO-CHAIR Introducing the all-new GO-Chair from Pride Mobility. Designed for easy maneuvering, this chair has been re-engineered from the ground up, offering a bold new style in a variety of contemporary colours. With an increased weight capacity and faster speed, no wonder itâ€™s all about getting out and about in the Go-Chair!
SESAME APP The world's first complete touch-free control for smartphones and tablets. Suitable for people with limited or no use of their hands (SCI, MS, MND, among others). Make independent and private phone calls, connect with family and friends, control a smart home, engage in social media and so much more.
Enter promo code SOURCEKIDS17 for a special discount. www.sesame-enable.com
SDO SLEEVES, GAUNTLETS AND GLOVES BY WELL & ABLE SDO garments are designed to provide consistent compression for sensory and proprioceptive feedback. This full contact lycra gauntlet can be used to resist/assist wrist extension whilst stabilising the thumb in functional extension and abduction.
We love this charming robot friend who is ready to listenâ€Ś Woebot offers strategies to track and improve your mood, teach, give you insights and reduce depression. This automated conversational agent can help you learn more about yourself. www.woebot.io
LEAF CHAIR BY NUNA What a statement piece! Inspired by a floating leaf on a breeze, this chair will grow with your child. No batteries, no cords, no buzz, and no noise. It is designed to give your child the support they may need in a comforting and sleek way. www.nuna.eu/au
TO SOURCE KIDS
SOURCE KIDS LIMITED P: 03 6327 1995 ABN: 36 614 552 171 www.sourcekids.com.au Send all letters and submissions to: firstname.lastname@example.org P: 03 6327 1995
WRITERS AND CONTRIBUTORS Nicole Davis, Rachel Williams, Emma Price, Naomi Sirianni, Cooper Smith, Julie Jones, Kate Strohm, Suzanne Robson, Megan Cunningham, Natasha McNamara, Madeleine Buchner, Leanne Walsh, Ailsa Leslie, Samantha Smrekar Thompson, Tessa Hens and Leonie M Hurry.
ADVERTISING BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MANAGER Naomi Sirianni – 0447 755 043 email@example.com ADVERTISING ACCOUNT MANAGER Kelly Wilton – 0499 017 354 firstname.lastname@example.org
It's been an exciting time here at Source Kids with a couple of big announcements lately! In the four years since Source Kids was created, I am personally incredibly happy to see such momentum and great initiatives helping parents across the country raising their children with special needs. We all know this is such a challenging (yet rewarding!) journey and we’re happy to be reaching nearly 400,000 parents out there every month! So, this issue we are releasing our first dedicated regional magazine with a Victoria/Tasmania edition rolling out to some 2000 people in those states. Watch out other states, we’ll be rolling out as many state based issues as we can over the coming 12 months so we can ensure content is local and relevant for our readers! Also in breaking news, we’ll be hosting the inaugural Source Kids Disability Expo in Brisbane on July 6-7 at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre. The response has been overwhelming for this dedicated event showcasing disability products and services across the two-days – we have some amazing companies exhibiting at this event, just in time for the NDIS rollout across Brisbane from July 1 2018. Jump online and check out our expo page on our website for more info. This issue there is loads to share with our readers, summer is here and this issue is all about….empowerment! This is something we’ve been wanting to cover for a while now, something very important to our kids living with disability, sending them a strong message that they can achieve and be empowered to live amazing lives and touch so many people around them. In addition to empowerment we cover siblings and some awesome programs around the country aimed at supporting siblings of kids with a disability, the power of performance through dance and drama, assistive technology and of course what’s on over summer.
DIGITAL CONTENT EDITOR Nicole Davis email@example.com
GRAPHIC DESIGN Richard Deverell, Dev Design & Creative www.devdesign.com.au
PUBLISHER / CEO Emma Price Editorial and advertising in Source Kids is based on material, written and verbal, provided by contributors and advertisers. No responsibility is taken for errors or omissions, and opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the publisher. All material in Source Kids is subject to copyright provisions. No part of this publication may be reproduced without written permission by the publisher.
DISTRIBUTION Source Kids is distributed through therapy centres, hospitals, paediatricians, special needs schools and early intervention centres. For distribution enquires, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
I would like to send a huge heartfelt thanks to all of our readers and followers, 2017 has been incredible and we can’t wait to make 2018 even bigger and better. Don’t be afraid to get in touch and let us know what else we can do to support all those parents out there along this journey in raising a brilliant bunch of kids living with a disability! Wishing everyone a wonderful and safe Christmas and New Year, see you in 2018!!
Emma Emma Price
SONGO BY CACOON AUSTRALIA Known as The Dreamer, we cannot get enough of the beautiful organic shaped Songo from Cacoon Australia. This twin-door hanging chair with enough room for an adult to fully recline in is the epitome of relaxation and quiet privacy. www.cacoon.com.au
FLYEASE BY NIKE Itâ€™s not every day you hear of an iconic brand developing a product for physical disabilities. Nike has released the Flyease, an easy-entry sneaker fastened with a unique zipper that goes around the back of the shoe. It might not be available in Australia just yet but rest assured this range will be on our shores soon enough! www.nike.com/AU
SPLASH ABOUT FLOAT JACKET FROM APIKALI For all the teenagers or young adults out there who require assistance to float in the water, Apikali has the perfect product! Float Jackets help give buoyancy, solidity, warmth and confidence. Available in three sizes and colours, these are invaluable for hydrotherapy or leisure. www.apikali.com.au
RIBCAP SUPPLIED BY DEJAY
THE EVERYDAY AUTISM SERIES BY MONIQUE CAIN This series of books looks at life through the eyes of Madi, a child with autism and explores how she responds to the world and the challenges she may face. Written for children to enjoy and learn from. www.theeverydayautismseries.com.au
Finally, a soft helmet that works in modern, everyday living! The Ribcap protects but it is not like a helmet. It is more than an ordinary cap thanks to the sewn-in protectors. That's the core of the cap: soft, viscoelastic protectors instead of a hard shell. While hard material either holds its form or breaks on impact, viscoelastic material reshapes itself and absorbs the impact energy.â€¨The Ribcap is available in several styles and colours, with sizes to suit adults and children, and most are hand washable. www.dejay.com.au
"WHETHER YOU THINK YOU CAN, OR YOU THINK YOU CAN'T – YOU'RE RIGHT.” The classic Henry Ford quote epitomises the very essence of empowerment. But, not everyone has the same ability to change their mindset on their own – some of us need a bit of extra help to find the courage and strength to change the course of our lives. Over the next few pages you will read some inspiring stories from a wide-range of people. Some have special needs, others are experts in their field – all have proven that with the right attitude, anything is possible – that despite disability, there are programs in place and people willing to help us all build confidence, self-esteem and self-worth. Here are their stories...
THE POSSIBILITY IS LIMITLESS A healthy, fit and happy teenager one day, 98 per cent blind the next. This was the reality faced by Ben Pettingill.
Now 21, the Melbourne man quickly dealt with the expected anger and resentment that came with the discovery he had the rare genetic syndrome, Lebers Hereditary Optic Neuropathy. The resilience he developed after coming to terms with a life without sight has led him to share his story and his strength of character with people across the country as a motivational speaker. As we go to print, he has just returned from Papua New Guinea where he completed his hardest and most rewarding journey to date - walking the Kokoda Track to raise funds and awareness for Seed Foundation Australia, a body that provides education and career pathways for indigenous youth in the health sector. "I went with a team of eight people and each and every one of them took it in turns to walk in front of me guiding me and describing every single step I had to take," Ben explains. "I used hiking poles to help with my balance and also act as canes to feel out the terrain ahead. "Last but definitely not least, I had two amazing local porters, Joseph and Murray, who supported me through steep sections and helped me keep my balance and put my feet in the right spots across creek crossings and mud swap bridges. "Completing Kokoda is one of the highlights of my life and a truly transformational experience that has proved to myself and hopefully others out there that no matter what your situation or disability anything is possible." It's that message that keeps Ben busy on a daily basis. Even though he lost his vision, he says he discovered 'Limitless Vision'. "I no longer see limits for myself, other people and situations," Ben explains. "Limitless Vision is a transformed perception that anyone can see with that empowers them to see that despite their individual set of circumstances or situation and the challenges that it throws your way the
possibilities are limitless." It's a mature mantra for a young man who had little warning that his life would be transformed in such a fashion. Before his diagnosis, he had a headache during the day at school – the then-year 10 student experienced a slightly blurry sensation while reading and writing. "We went to the Eye and Ear Hospital in Melbourne and it was concluded that I simply had an inflammation of the optic nerve and a course of medication would fix everything within a month," Ben recalls. "I stayed in hospital overnight and the next morning woke up and I had lost 98% of my eyesight. "The first thing I looked for was my mobile phone that I had placed on the bedside table beside me. When I turned in that direction… the bedside table was gone... the hospital television that I had watched the night before was gone. I then held up my hands straight in front of my face and I could not even see them. I could feel them on the end of my arms but could not make them out. My entire body went numb, I was in a state of confusion and panic and I remember rolling over and burying my head into the pillow, closing my eyes and trying to escape what had just happened." It took a few months, but he quickly determined there was no room for self pity. "There was definitely anger and resentment however I had to get through the denial because that is what was stopping me from living. Every day after losing my eyesight I dreamt of seeing and driving the very next day as if I was living in a nightmare. It wasn’t until two months after leaving hospital that I was walking back into school one morning and ran head first into a pole. It hit hard literally but metaphorically it was the turning point for me. It was then that the denial left me and I forced myself to accept my new situation, embrace it and do everything I could from then on to not let it dictate or limit my life in anyway."
EVEN THOUGH HE LOST HIS VISION, BEN SAYS HE DISCOVERED 'LIMITLESS VISION'... "I NO LONGER SEE LIMITS FOR MYSELF, OTHER PEOPLE AND SITUATIONS" 8
BEN'S A WALKING, TALKING EXAMPLE OF THE POWER OF EMPOWERMENT – HERE ARE HIS TOP FOUR TIPS: 1
No matter what your or your child's disability is, embracing it fully is key to making the most of the situation. I will not pretend that I don’t have difficult days and challenges to deal with every day but having embraced my situation has empowered me to no longer hide behind my disability or let it be an excuse. Adopt the attitude that a disability does not actually disable you from achieving anything. All it means is that to achieve a goal you may have to go about it in a different way compared to the normal. disability does not define A a person. It does not dictate what one's potential is and it does not warrant wrapping anyone up in bubble wrap away from life. I am capable of achieving big goals that at first glance seem impossible, I just have to get there in a different way – in order to have the best chance of success I need the people around me to push me forward.
ICANIWILL's Celeb vs Rascal' with Conan Visser, Jamie Zhu TV & Kyron Dryden and special needs child Rylan.
At-risk special needs children are being helped and healed thanks to the power of television and the celebrities and sport stars that adorn the screen. ICANIWILL is a children's charity that uses the medium to help promote inclusion and give confidence to children who have been severely bullied due to their special needs. The statistics are sobering – more than 450 kids committed suicide in the last year alone, with another 4000-plus attempts with 80% of cases due to bullying. Children with a disability are three to four times more likely to be bullied and 67% of children with autism are bullied on a weekly basis. Someone had to do something, so, Conan Visser established ICANIWILL in June 2013 after a personal experience with a young boy with special needs. "Nolan was 13 when his mother brought him into the gym I was personal training at and admitted during our first consultation that she was coming to me as a last resort, to find someone that would give Nolan the time of day and simply believe in him," Conan recalls. "The first day I met Nolan, he hid behind his mother and couldn't look me in the eyes, which soon began to cry at the thought of a physical challenge. Nolan now opens up my speeches in front of thousands ... he is now a qualified personal trainer and even has his license." More than 3000 children have been involved in the ICANIWILL school-based
program and 14 wishes have been granted via a 'Grant-a-Wish’ program. But the next step in the evolution of the charity has Conan excited – Celeb vs Rascal. At-risk children are chosen to star in a game with one of their celebrity idols in a concept called Celeb vs Rascal – the episodes are filmed and the children take their recording to school for 'Show and Tell'. "It's about making our life changing experiences extremely entertaining, using celebrities and social media influencers to get huge exposure online to not only be more effective for the child, but to also then raise money by selling product placement and advertising in the videos to raise the money we need, rather than asking for donations all the time," Conan explains. "A few weeks ago we filmed the first episode of 'Celeb vs Rascal' with comedian Jamie Zhu and boxing champion Kyron Dryden vs Rylan in pranks for the weekend. The video is amazing and since this episode aired, Rylan is back at school, the bullying has stopped and he has already helped another two children who were also being severely bullied due to their special needs." "Featuring in an episode with celebrities changes the light in which other children at school view those with special needs, which in turn reduces the bullying...the other children no longer see the child as a target or as someone to isolate, and instead look at them as someone they want to be friends with."
I CAN NETWORK Q&A
WITH CHRIS VARNEY - FOUNDER & CHIEF ENABLING OFFICER
Q. HOW DOES THE NETWORK WORK AND WHAT DOES IT AIM TO ACHIEVE? A: I CAN Network envisions a world that benefits from embracing autism. We live our vision through our purpose: to prove what autistics CAN do. Our credibility comes from our 50% difference: 50% of our team is on the autism spectrum. As a social enterprise, we employ 27 autistic adults to empower 600 autistic kids, teenagers and young adults through our mentoring and camp programs, training and consultancy services. We deliver our work through communities, primary and secondary schools, TAFEs and workplaces.
Q. IT'S STILL IN ITS INFANCY BUT THE I CAN NETWORK SEEMS TO HAVE MADE A BIG IMPACT ALREADY – WHY IS YOUR WORK SO IMPORTANT? A: O ur work is important because it's time for a rethink of autism. I CAN Network is an important catalyst for innovation in the wider neurodiversity movement. 'Neurodiversity', as a term, covers various neuro conditions such as autism, dyslexia, ADHD, etc., under the one umbrella. At the core of our work in the neurodiversity movement is improving the attainment of autistic people's human rights. What this looks like at I CAN is the increased engagement our student mentees have with their schools as a result of our mentoring sessions and the myriad of social benefits our staff gain from the employment we create for them.
Q. WHAT'S BEEN THE GREATEST ACHIEVEMENT TO DATE? A: I think it would have to be the setup of our first business model. Setting up a for-fee mentoring program by autistics for autistics was an incredible feat to pull off. It involved a lot of experimentation which brought wins and failures. Creating the business model involved a lot of people stepping out of their comfort zones, including myself! No one could give me a guide book on how to create an autism-friendly team and workplace. I had to do an enormous amount of guessing. What I kept front and centre was my family's story with my autism. Whenever I made decisions based on my memory of my family's support and what my teachers and employers did with me, I was successful. I called the company 'I CAN Network' because growing up it felt like I had an 'I CAN Network' around me helping me to leverage my strengths to overcome my challenges. Chris with eight-year-old Alexander, who is on the spectrum.
'I CAN NETWORK' ENVISIONS A WORLD THAT BENEFITS FROM EMBRACING AUTISM. WE LIVE OUR VISION THROUGH OUR PURPOSE: TO PROVE WHAT AUTISTICS CAN DO. 10
Q. IS THERE A COMMON DENOMINATOR WITH THE PEOPLE THAT SEEK ASSISTANCE, IN TERMS OF WHAT THEY FEEL LIMITS THEM? A: Y es: self-confidence. We desperately need to increase the confidence levels of the emerging generations on the autism spectrum. Unfortunately, our ABS data indicates that only one third of autistic adults are employed. A contributing factor to this is the meagre 19% of young Australians on the spectrum who gain a postschool qualification. One of the causal factors to this low post-school transition is necessarily the 86% of primary and secondary autistic students that experience social, emotional and learning difficulties at school. At a high-level, this means that autistic Australians are barely visible in our community. I CAN Network's program exists to develop pride, self-acceptance, belonging, optimism and confidence in today's generation of young autistics. If we can empower confident individuals on the spectrum we will get closer to achieving an Australia that benefits from embracing autism.
Q. WHAT'S YOUR GREATEST PIECE OF ADVICE TO PASS ON? A: I think a lot of people hold themselves back out of fear. I absolutely have days where my fear wins over my courage. But the day we started I CAN Network – 19 September 2013 – was not one of them. My advice would be to trust yourself. People love to give advice - on how you should parent, on what you're doing wrong, etc. Most of the time people want to turn you into a reflection of themselves. At the beginning of I CAN, so many so-called experts on autism said my idea was not possible. I was told that it would be too risky. Thankfully I took a leaf out of my tough-minded parents and grandparents and kept my head. Always trust yourself, even if doing so feels very scary.
Q. ANYTHING ELSE YOU WOULD LIKE TO ADD? A: Involve yourself in the lives of a person on the autism spectrum. Get to know them and their interests and help them take an interest in you. Doing so won't just benefit them, it will benefit yourself. It's an addictive sight watching an autistic kid move from the prison of self-doubt to the freedom of self-belief, just from having someone believe in them.
Getting back to basics We've all heard or used the phrase about "getting back to basics". One Brisbane mother of five used the concept as part of her therapy business and both she and her clients are reaping the rewards. Tamsyn Rose is founder of Get Real International, Australia’s leading youth and family support services in emotional wellbeing and empowerment.
move, show them things, get on with life, and all the things I enjoy, and see what happens. I remember sitting with a client listening to their stories, and hardships, and I couldn’t really ‘feel’ any of it. My mind drifted outside as she talked I began longing to be out in my veggie patch or playing with my animals. I
could see them all from the view through the window. Then it occurred to me, I wondered if I was hankering to be out there, what effect would it have on the young person I was currently supporting. I began experimenting with events where we played with the horses, took a walk around
Tamsyn is also the founder of Farm Therapy and for more than 10 years, she has empowered young people to be healthier, happier Australians. Here she writes for Source Kids about her journey to develop the Farm Therapy concept and how it works. "I have been a therapist working with teens and families for over 12 years. Farm Therapy happened along the way, almost by mistake. After years of sitting with clients day in and day out, and running the same type of events over and over I started to feel a little grey, a little bored, though I hate to admit it. Sometimes I just wanted to get up and
THE I CAN NETWORK IS DRIVING A RETHINK OF AUTISM, FROM ‘I CAN’T’ TO ‘I CAN’. We offer mentoring, camps, professional development, speaking opportunities and employment for people on the Autism Spectrum. We build networks across schools, universities, TAFEs, communities, businesses and governments. Together, we are Australia’s first social enterprise founded by people with Autism.
GET SOCIAL WITH SOURCE Follow us on social media – Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube – you name it, we’re there.
COME AND GET SOCIAL WITH US!
Get Real Empowerment Programs
farm therapy for kids to thrive One day workshops, private group workshops and private sessions. Full of inspirational activities all designed to help your kids learn mindfulness and emotional recourses through play. These events are mixture of animal assited learning, art and creative therapy games, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu movement games, growing veggies fun, picnic and cooking from the patch and communication games and mindfulness including yoga.
Suitable for ages 4 - 19 years
Get Real International PO Box 3091 Loganholme QLD 4129 Enquiries and Bookings
07 3388 1207 e: email@example.com www.getrealinternational.com
my veggie patch, picked some veggies, made some green smoothies, chatted about life while we played with the animals and learned about life. I noticed while their hands were in the dirt, feet were on the ground, hearts were focused on the peaceful way the animals have about them, their focus shifted from their stories and their problems, to their wants, desires and goals. When we talked in this totally natural way and space, doing something fun together the therapeutic support was so much more powerful and positive. More motivation for change was evident, more interest in what we were talking about, more willingness to listen, and more natural change without any real ‘doing’. From here Farm Therapy was born. During the years of offering this I have seen that anything that connects us back to basics is good for us in so many ways. Farm Therapy can then provide an additional level of resolve that has been a great
discovery professionally. If you think about it, broadly speaking, we are the first generation to not be shown by our grandparents and parents how to feed and provide for ourselves. Sure, we know how to earn money, and to a point that is providing, but have you ever tried to eat the stuff? Your animal, or primal body, is aware of this, and if the connection between your dinner plate and the land is lost completely, there is a certain type of anxiety that as a therapist I’m witnessing in ever increasing numbers. I call this the Primal Anxieties. During my training, a teacher once described this to me as a ‘call to action anxiety’. It’s a way for the body to communicate to you that you need to eat more, rest more, drink more water, or something similar, so it sets off the little panic button to get your attention and call you to act. After years of observing certain stressors disappear entirely as one starts to spend time again in nature, learns the basic of growing their
PLAYING WITH ANIMALS, WORKING IN THE GARDEN, PLAYING SPORTS OUTSIDE, TAKING A BUSH WALK AND BREATHING THE FRESH AIR, IT DOESN’T MATTER WHAT IT IS, JUST THAT SOME NATURE SOUNDS, NATURE TIME ALLOWS YOUR BODY AND MIND TO RECHARGE IN SOME ESSENTIAL WAY.
own food, and nourishing their body through their own means and knowledge, the primal need to be able to hunt, gather, grow is met very deeply, and the ‘Primal Anxieties’ relax, knowing the call has been heard. Then it continues to be deeply rewarding to take time to sew and reap the rewards according to the seasons of your life and the land around you. It teaches you about life, in a whole 360-degree learning style. Essentially it teaches grit, it teaches us to learn from nature, seasons, and everything the wisdom of the ancients have been trying to teach us through time. This simple act of learning self-sufficiency, no matter how basic, teaches us flow. This helps every aspect of our life as these natural laws apply to every way we try to thrive. What began with me just wanting to wander outside with my clients, set off a chain reaction that has helped me develop the most natural and powerful therapy I have ever witnessed. The best news is that it’s available in your own back yard, right outside your door. So get out there! Enjoy a bush walk, try out some Equine Therapy, even start with a little garden box on your door step. Every little bit you do to reconnect with nature will bring great rewards both physically and mentally. Time to get your hands dirty, people." Details of Tamsyn's programs and books can be found via www.getrealinternational.com or call 07 3388 1207.
P Pod - NOW AVAILABLE! The P Pod provides the ideal opportunity to chill out, whilst still offering critical postural support.
M & E Physio Solutions is a mobile physiotherapy service providing clinical guidance and equipment advice to clients with delayed physical development. Services include: • Assessment trials. • Assistance with product selection, sizing, and appropriate accessory options. • Quotations for funding purposes. • In-services / product education sessions.
Visit our website to book your trial:
www.mandephysiosolutions.com.au M: 0421 795 368
Jenx Standz Newly designed standing system from Jenx
Registered NDIS supplier
Standz abduction standing system offers Prone and Supine abducted standing (of up to 60°). Standz is available with a full range of accessories to accommodate all users, and is suitable for children from approximately 1 - 9 years old. Inspired by the clinical benefits of abducted standing we have worked closely with therapists from all over the world to ensure the perfect combination of clinical positioning with simplicity of use and are delighted to bring you Standz – the most versatile standing frame yet!
Step Ahead Paediatrics
GPO Box 1750, Melbourne, Vic 3001 Ph: 1300 953 935 E: firstname.lastname@example.org www.stepaheadpaediatrics.com.au
Scan the QR code above to view the new Standz demonstrated by Jenx!
FIGHT SEIZURES WITH FOOD?
Intended to be used under medical supervision. Always consult with a specialist Dietitian before commencing a ketogenic diet. KetoCal is a food for special medical purposes for the dietary management of drug-resistant epilepsy and other conditions requiring the ketogenic diet. Nutricia Australia Pty Ltd. Talavera Corporate Centre, Level 4, Building D, 12-24 Talavera Road, Macquarie Park, NSW 2113. NC3568-NOV17. *Martin K et al. Ketogenic diet and other dietary treatments for epilepsy. Cochrane Database of Systemic Reviews 2016, Issue 2.
8/11/2017 1:52 pm
Clinically sound, innovative design and exceptional value. SPECIAL TOMATO, PRODUCTS THAT SUPPORT YOUR CHILD Soft-Touch® Material The Soft-Touch® material outer skin prevents the products from peeling or tearing and also prevents liquids from penetrating the core. It is cool and smooth reducing the possibility of children’s skin sticking to the seating surface.
Safety Concern With over 35 years of manufacturing pediatric seating and positioning systems, our products are safe and easy to use while providing a latex-free contact surface. The contoured designs of our products provide a large surface area for distributing pressure which reduces the risk of skin shear and breakdown.
Design and Function Hand-crafted in upstate New York, the Special Tomato® products are designed with the needs of the user and care provider in mind. The superior Soft-Touch® materials are very durable and easy to clean. We stand behind the quality of our products by offering up to a 5 year warranty on most of our products.
Contact us and speak with your local consultant email@example.com • Ph. 02 9838 8869 www.dejay.com.au/special-tomato
Even though I’m differe nt—like the tomato—as a person with Down syndrome, my lovable and outgoin g personality and strong character mak e me just as special as everyone else. I gues s I am the special “tomato” in our family ’s garden! – Carrie Bergeron, foun der Special Tomato
Check out the full specifications and comparisons on the following pages Bingo Evolution
1 Convaid Rodeo
5 Hippo+ Stroller
9 Kimba Neo
13 Leggero Reach
17 Special Tomato EIO
21 Tom 5 Streeter
2 Convaid Trekker
6 Jacko 5 Streeter
10 Kool Stride
14 Ormesa Clip Stroller
Convaid EZ Rider
Jazz Advantage S
Tom 4 Corzo XCountry
Tom 4 Duo
28 SUMMER 2017
WEIGHT RANGE (KG)
PRODUCT HEIGHT (CM)
PRODUCT WIDTH (CM)
SEAT WIDTH (CM)
Bingo Evolution (Size 1, 2 & 3)
Medifab & Step Ahead Paediatrics
S1/2: Children S3: Youth
S1: 2-6 S2: 3-12 S3: 8-15
Up to 50
S1: 63 S2/3: 67
S1: 18-30 S2/3: 23-35
Special Needs Solutions
Up to 20
Convaid Cruiser 14” (Also available in 10 /12/14/16/18”)
Toddlers, Children & Youth
Convaid EZ Rider 14” (Also available in 12/14/16/18”)
Children, Youth & Adults
Convaid Rodeo 14” (Also available in 10/12/14/16”)
Toddlers, Children & Youth
Convaid Trekker 14” (Also available in 12”)
Toddlers & Children
Toddlers & Children
Up to 34.9
Cricket (Size 1 & 2)
Toddlers & Children
S1: Up to 35 S2: Up to 50
S1: 68 S2: 74
S1: 34 S2: 40
Toddlers & Children
Hippo+ Stroller (Size 1 & 2)
Just Juniors Disability
Toddlers & Children
S1: 0-4 S2: 3-9
S1: 0-20 S2: 0-30
S1: 105 S2: 113
S1: 20 or 31 S2: 34
Jacko 5 Streeter (Standard & Maxi)
Just Juniors Disability
Std: Children Maxi: Children & Youth
Std: 4-9 Maxi: 8-14
Std: 40 Maxi: 50
Std: 95-115 Maxi: 97-120
Std: 59 Maxi: 63
Std: 34 Maxi: 38
Jazz Advantage S (Size 1 & 2)
S1: Toddlers & Children S2: Children
S1: 1.5-6 S2: 4-10
S1: 4.5-35 S2: 10-40
S1: 114 S2: 120
S1: 60 S2: 68
S1: 19-31 S2: 25-37
Toddlers & Children
Kimba Neo (Size 0, 1 & 2)
S0: Toddlers S1: Toddlers & Children S2: Children
S0: 0-6 S1: 1-6 S2: 4-12
S0/1: 60 S2: 66
S0: 15.5-31 S1: 19-31 S2: 24-40
Medifab & Step Ahead Paediatrics
Children & Youth
Up to 70
Healthcare Innovations Australia
Toddlers, Children & Youth
Up to 36
Healthcare Innovations Australia
Toddlers & Children
Up to 36
Leggero Reach, Models 12,14 &16
Healthcare Innovations Australia
Toddlers, Children & Youth
Ormesa Clip Stroller (Size 1, 2, 3 & 4)
Special Needs Solutions
Children & Youth
S1: 30 S2: 35 S3: 40 S4: 76
Pixi (Size 1 & 2)
Medifab & Step Ahead Paediatrics
S1: Children S2: Children & Youth
S1: 3-7 S2: 6-14
S1: Up to 35 S2: Up to 50
S1: 90 S2: 96
S1: 58.5 S2: 63.5
S1: 28 S2: 32
Shuttle Discovery with Verve Base
Medifab (Seat), Phil & Teds (Stroller frame)
Medifab & Step Ahead Paediatrics
Toddlers & Children
Up to 25
107 (in Verve)
Special Tomato EIO
Dejay Medical & Special Needs Solutions
Toddlers & Children
Stingray (Size 1 & 2)
Toddlers & Children
S1: 18-30 S2: 23-35
Tom 4 Corzo XCountry (CRX30, CRX34, CRX38 & CRX42)
Just Juniors Disability
30: Toddlers & Children 34: Children 38: Children & Youth 42: Children, Youth & Adults
30: 3-7 34: 5-10 38: 5-13 42: 10+
30: 45 34: 55 38: 75 42: 75
30: 101-112 34: 98-108 38: 102-118 42: 121-132
30: 53 34: 58 38: 63 42: 65
30: 30 34: 34 38: 38 42: 42
Tom 4 Duo
Just Juniors Disability
Toddlers & Children
Tom 5 Streeter (Mini, Standard & Maxi)
Just Juniors Disability
Toddlers, Children & Youth
Mini: 0-6 Std: 3-10 Maxi: 6-14
Mini/Std: 0-40 Maxi: 0-50
Mini: 95-110 Std: 97-111 Maxi: 97-118
Mini: 59.5 Std: 64 Maxi: 67.5
Mini: 22-28 Std: 25-35 Maxi: 29-39
Medifab, Step Ahead Paediatrics & Active Rehab
www.medifab.com.au www.stepaheadpaediatrics.com.au www.activerehab.net.au
Toddlers & Children
Up to 50
S1: 63 S2: 68
Zip (Size 1 & 2)
S1: Children S2: Children & Youth
S1: 3-8 S2: 6-16
S1: Up to 50 S2: Up to 60
S1: 36 S2: 44
S1: 35 S2: 40
SEAT DEPTH (CM)
SEAT HEIGHT (CM)
PRODUCT WEIGHT (KG)
FOLDED SIZE L X W X H (CM)
TILT IN SPACE
S1: 16-34 S2: 22-40 S3: 27-45
S1: 28-46 S2: 34-55 S3: 42-63 (shoulder height)
S1: 15 S2: 16.1 S3: 18
78 x 62 x 38
Indoor base available. Adjustable harnesses, chest and lap straps. Postural support accessories: hip, head and lateral trunk supports. Reversible seat.
Retractable handlebar. 5-point safety harness and footrest. Conversion kit available separately to convert buggy into single pushchair.
120 x 40 x 43
Adjustable push brace. Lap belt and harness options. Tire options. Transport fittings (approved). Self tensioning seat system. Optional sunshade, rain cover, colour range, tray, anti tip bars, headrest, under chair net, calf strap.
116.8 x 34.3 x 45.7
Adjustable push brace. Lap belt and harness options. Tire options. Transport fittings (approved). Self tensioning seat system. Optional sunshade, rain cover, colour range, tray, anti tip bars, headrest, under chair net, calf strap.
86.3 x 63.5 x 45.7
90 or 110°
Castor locks, heavy duty tires. Transit option (tested). Elevating leg rests, ankle huggers, calf panel, thigh support. Side support. Lap belt and harness options. Headrest options. Rain cover, sunshade. Under chair net or medical necessity storage basket.
99 x 66.8 x 33.5
Castor Locks, heavy duty tires. Transit option (tested). Elevating leg rests, ankle huggers, calf panel, thigh support. Side support, chest and hip. Lap belt and harness options. Headrest options. Rain cover, sunshade, tray options, under chair storage basket. Oxygen bottle holder, IV pole, ventilator holder.
S1: 21-31 S2: 31-43
S1; 50-53 S2: 54-58
S1: 12.4 S2: 13.4
76 x 35 x 48
Transport fittings (Crash tested to AS/NZS). Sunshade, under chair storage, tray, backpack, seven colour options. Headrest(s) and armrests. Lap belts and harness’ and seat width reduction. Adjustable (angle and height) footrests with foot straps.
120 x 25 x 25
Adjustable 5-point harness. Laterals. Basket, sunshade, boot cover, rain cover. Harness pad and vest harness.
S1: 28 S2: 32
S1: 40-54 S2: 55-64
S1: 19.5 S2: 22
S1: 115 x 66 x 56 S2: 125 x 66 x 56
Swivel front wheels. Shock absorbers. Foot straps, abduction block, 5-point harness, additional supports: basket, rain cover, pump, bag and hood, reversible seat and seat reduction insert.
Std: 30 Maxi: 37
Std: 65 Maxi: 73
Std: 15.5 Maxi: 17.5
Std: 86 x 59 x 37 Maxi: 92 x 63 x 37 (fixed wheels)
Height and angle adjustable footrest. Detachable grab bar. Reclining back rest.
S1: 19-31 (min seat depth 150mm with minimiser) S2: 27-38
S1: 47 S2: 46 (from floor)
S1: Seat 9 Chassis 9.8 S2: Seat 10.4 Chassis 10.9
S1: 82 x 60 x 43 S2: 86 x 69 x 55
Tilt-in-space and back rest recline. Easy adjust leg rest angle. Folding lock to maintain folded position. Sprung suspension. Super comfy upholstery in five colours. New style footrest. Padded grip rail. Abduction block, straight and flexible lateral trunk supports. Height angle and depth adjustable tray. Transit tie-down system.
85 x 60 x 40
Adjustable harness. 3-point lap belt. Sun canopy.
S0: 14-30 S1: 20-30 S2: 26-35
S0/1: 79 x 60 x 46 S2: 85 x 66 x 46
Full range of positioning accessories. Ventilator tray.
140 x 70 x 50
Easy compact telescopic folding. 5-point harness included. Rain cover and UV shades available. Lightweight.
48 (seat to floor)
100 x 65 x 45
Head support options. Lateral thoracic supports. Lateral pelvic supports. Adjustable chest harness.
58 (seat to floor)
83 x 64 x 63
Adjustable harness and head support. Height adjustable push handles. Height adjustable foot plate. Under seat storage bag. Sunshade.
50 (seat to floor)
78 x 60 x 48
Fixed seat tilt 10°, 20° & 30°. Hip angle adjustment. Height adjustable push handle. Height adjustable foot plate. Under seat storage bag and sunshade.
S1: 32 x 30 x 110 S2: 110 x 30 x 32 S3: 115 x 32 x 35 S4: 115 x 56 x 34
Removable footrest. Un-pierceable wheels with brakes.
S1: 25 or 30 S2: 35 or 40
S1: 36–45 S2: 45–55 (shoulder height)
S1: 12 S2: 17
S1: 69 x 58.5 x 44 S2: 91 x 63.5 x 48
S1: 90-125° S2: 93-123°
Unique footplate which user can stand on while transferring without toppling or breaking. Accessories include underneath basket, tray table, sun canopy, vehicle tie down kit and rain cover.
24 – 39 (shoulder height)
Seat: 8 Buggy: 12.5
Seat Unit: 56 x 33 x 14 Verve Frame: 84 x 65 x 31
The Discovery Seat Unit is interchangeable between five bases: Verve Stroller, Launcher (‘A’ Frame and Wooden HiLo base), Lunar and Moon Rock. Range of postural accessories available. Second sibling seat available.
94 x 61 x 41
Adjustable harness. 3-point lap belt. Sun canopy. Removable positioning hip and thoracic bolsters. Under seat shopping basket.
S1: 18-30 S2: 25-40
Frame: 13.5 Seat S1: 5.5 Seat S2: 6.5
90 x 59 x 49
180° turnable seat. Transport fittings (Crash tested to AS/NZS). Sunshade, under chair storage, tray, backpack. Headrest(s), side/chest supports and high-low indoor frame option. Lap belts and harness and seat width reduction. Pommel. Adjustable (angle and height) footrests with foot straps.
30: 26-34 34: 30-37 38: 32-39 42: 32-40
30: 54-63 34: 58-67 38: 67-93 42: 67-93
30: 12.5 34: 13 38: 14 42: 14.7
30: 117 x 32 x 35 34: 117 x 32 x 37 38: 120 x 35 x 38 42: 126 x 37 x 35 (fixed wheels)
30: 17° 34: 22° 38: 21° 42: 19° (fixed)
30: 106 or 111° 34: 110 or 114° 38: 110 or 114° 42: 108 or 112°
Adjustable backrest height and seat depth. Height and angle adjustable footrest. 5-point harness with shoulder pads. Crash tested.
90 x 98 x 55
Two Independent detachable, tiltable, reversible seats. Choice of Mini/Mini, Mini/Std or Std/Std seats. Adjustable backrest height and seat depth . Seat width adjusts with removable hip pads. Hip rest and grab bar included.
Mini: 18.5-27 Std: 23-33 Maxi: 29-40
Mini: 44-57 Std: 51-68 Maxi: 55-70
Mini: 16 Std: 19 Maxi: 20
Mini: 87 x 59.5 x 37 Std: 89 x 64 x 39 Maxi: 90 x 67.5 x 43
Detachable, reversible seat. Adjustable backrest height, seat width and depth. Basket, hip rest and grab bar included. Crash tested to Australian standards for vehicle use.
34-55 (shoulder height)
80 x 68 x 31 (seat unit removed)
Includes the new Spex Comfi headrest. Spex backrest with cube contouring cell system and SuperHigh contour cushion, four sizes available (10”-13” cushions). Indoor base option and rain cover.
S1: 30-35 S2: 35-40
S1: 66 S2: 68
S1: 12.5 S2: 13.5
S1: 78 x 36 x 39 S2: 91 x 44 x 40
90-100° (105° optional)
Very compact folding for easy transport and storage. Lightweight. Accessories available include tray table, grab rail, adjustable 5-point harness.
Seating: 6 Base: 12
72 x 81 x 30
Two different styles of seating options: moderate seating and advanced positional seating. Footrests, pommels, pelvic belts, head supports, chest harnesses, lateral trunk support, hip guides, adjustable seat plates. Baby Jogger base. Telescoping stroller handles. Quick access, hand operated wheel locks. Patented quick lock folding technology. Canopy with mesh window. Transit approved. Carry all storage basket.
Trust the experts in special needs strollers
Shaping better lives
With over 25 years experience in supplying special needs strollers, you can trust Medifab to have the stroller that will suit your unique needs. From strollers that keep your child safe and secure, to those that encourage correct postural support and allow for easy transport, we know the difference the right stroller can make to your family. At Medifab, we are proud to have the most comprehensive, quality special needs stroller selection to cover all needs across Australia. All our strollers are in stock and available for delivery.
SPEX WONDERSEAT â€“ A BREAKTHROUGH REHAB STROLLER
SHUTTLE DISCOVERY The ultimate first postural seating system for your child. Modular configuration as needed, to provide maximum support and comfort from an early age.
A specially designed Spex seating system combined with the Bingo stroller frame, in a package. Made for young children needing rehabilitative postural support, with the ability to customise, in true Spex comfort!
High needs special care stroller with tilt and options for carrying medical items such as oxygen ventilators.
A simple stroller perfect for shopping centres and pathways which is easy to fold for transport.
Lightweight growth adjustable stroller with patented compact folded size for effortless transport.
Transit solution, with style and comfort, and a compact, easy folding design.
Explore the outdoors, go for a jog, and have fun with this all-terrain buggy.
Your family requirements are unique. Call to chat to the stroller experts on 1300 543 343, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.medifab.com.au/my-stroller
RIDING IN STYLE & COMFORT!
Choosing a rehab pushchair can be mind boggling but we can help you compare features to find one that suits your childâ€™s needs and lifestyle. We have a fantastic range of rehab strollers to suit all ages and abilities. So keep your young one safe and comfortable by talking to us about our strollers which are practical, stylish and engineered to perfection â€“ and then let the good times roll!
PH: 1300 131 884 www.facebook.com/pme4thosespecial2u PME-Source-Kids-Ad-0917-V01.indd 1
6/09/2017 3:50 pm
SIDE SEAT ATTACHED
An attachable side seat that also converts to a stroller!
07 5597 4321 email@example.com
Conversion kits sold separately*
Play equipment designed for Children and Adults with Special needs to have the freedom to PLAY! OUR RANGE INCLUDES: ● Sensory swings ● Swing frames ● Outdoor play equipment ● Disable swings for children and adults ● Therapy sensory gym frames ● Wheelchair designed play equipment
(02) 9725 4961
Take care of yourself too
table a ctivity
es on the move mili a f for kit,
A lightweight bag contains an entire activity centre. Inside you will find rolls, wedges and supports ph: 03 5441 8966 firstname.lastname@example.org activerhab.net.au
MyTime groups connect you to other parents of children with disabilities. Find support from people who really understand. Join today www.mytime.net.au www.sourcekids.com.au
Stability and Comfort from HIA
Leggero 3 2 1
Leggero buggies are designed to fit each child precisely, providing varying degrees of postural support while facilitating functional activities.
1. TRAK Tilt-in-space function, superior positioning and postural support, and a high level of growth adjustability, makes TRAK a great wheelchair alternative.
2. DYNO Highly adjustable buggy with excellent postural support and individual wheel suspension for added comfort – the DYNO is a dynamic buggy for active children and parents.
3. REACH Adjustable seat-to-back angle, 3 fixed tilt-in-space settings, and the smallest footprint when folded away – REACH is an ideal option for children who do not have complex positioning needs.
The Breezi chair is a solution for children with behavioural and postural needs. It can be customised with a wide range of accessories to cater to the individual child.
Benefits Easily adjustable and grows with the child Supports can be added to create optimal seating positioning for improved posture and comfort Simplistic wooden design means it can be incorporated into any home
For a free demonstration quote code ‘HIAKIDS’ on 1300 499 282 or email email@example.com
Healthcare Innovations Australia PTY Ltd PO Box 34 Salisbury South BC, SA 5106 Australia T: 1300 499 282 F: 08 8125 5990 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Supporting your needs
Bringing fun, practical and unique products to children with special needs in Australia.
Australia’s newest online disability store has just launched with a great range of products including EazyHold straps, EZPZ mats, Reflo cups and Snug cups. The range is growing daily so make sure you subscribe to receive all the latest product releases.
Does your child struggle to keep cool during the hot summer months? COOL KIDS WEAR NIKKI G’S The only children’s clothing using Outlast certified space technology. Our products can be tailored to meet your child’s needs, helping regulate temperature all year round and have been successful for children with epilepsy and other neurological conditions. Ask your service provider about funding.
Bedding, Sleepwear, Vests and Wheelchair Blankets Contact me to discuss your needs. Ph. 0413 006 836 • Email. email@example.com • www.nikkigs.com.au
! Sue Gay Nikki G’s Temperature Control Clothing 22
SAVE THE DATE ATSA FULL PAGE
YOUR CHOICE, YOUR CONTROL 16-17 May 2018 Melbourne Showgrounds 30-31 May 2018 Claremont Showground, WA On display will be the latest in assistive technology, aids and equipment, as well as options for mobility, communication, travel services and lifestyle options. The Independent Living Expo is an event that welcomes all those involved in ensuring better outcomes for people with disability of all ages.
www.atsaindependentlivingexpo.com.au 1300 789 845
r e m Sum BY NICOLE DAVIS
WHAT'S ON THIS
GRAB Y OUR SA NTA HATS, B UCKETS AND SP ADE GET RE S AND ADY TO GET AC TIVE!
From Christmas parties to a whole heap of fun by the sea and more, we’ve gathered some of the summer season’s best events and activities for your family to enjoy.
Special families in Queensland can celebrate at the Special Children’s Christmas Party at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre. In association with Variety Queensland, over 3000 children attend Queensland’s largest Christmas party for children with serious illnesses, special needs, disabilities or who experience unique challenges in their life. The children are treated to rides and entertainment, loads of yummy treats and new and exciting experiences. The highlight of the day for the children is meeting Santa and being treated to Santa’s Toy room where they receive fantastic presents to take home. Children are personally invited to the party through charities, women's refuges, schools, special schools, government and community organisations. 16 DECEMBER | BRISBANE CONVENTION AND EXHIBITION CENTRE More info: 1300 88 77 36
Each year, the Variety Kids Xmas Party in Western Australia puts smiles on the faces of hundreds of kids and their families. The 2017 Variety WA Kids Xmas Party will be held for the first time at Santa’s Magical Kingdom in the Crown Pyramid, at the Crown Casino where the magic of Christmas will come alive with an interactive walk-through Adventureland that includes everything kids and adults alike love about Christmas including face painting, balloon twisting, the Freedom Fairies, a visit from Santa himself and a present for every child. The event even includes a purpose built sensory zone! 3 DECEMBER, 2PM – 5PM SANTA’S MAGICAL KINGDOM IN THE CROWN PYRAMID AT CROWN CASINO. More info: www.variety.org.au/wa
DISABLED SURFERS BEACH DAYS The Disabled Surfers Association of Australia holds numerous beach days all through the summer and all around Australia allowing children and adults with disabilities the rare chance to catch a wave. Their wonderful mission is to put ‘Smiles on Dials’ by taking disabled participants of all ages and all disabilities surfing in a fun, friendly and safe environment. A selection of dates is listed below but make sure you visit the Disabled Surfer’s website for the latest on all the planned days around Australia. NSW: Saturday 6 January Jetty Beach, Coffs Hbr Hands on Day Saturday 20 January Coast Guard Tower Beach, Kingscliff Saturday 3 February Umina Beach Hands on Day Sunday 18 February Main Beach Minnie Waters QLD: Sunday 21 January and Sunday 25 February Len Wort Park/Flat Rock Beach, Currumbin WA: Saturday 27 January and Saturday 17 February Leighton Beach, Fremantle SA:
Sunday 25 February (location TBC)
More info: disabledsurfers.org
a multi-sports camp for junior wheelies aged 8-18 years with a physical disability. The purpose of this live-in style camp is to provide juniors with opportunities for personal development, enhanced social skills and sports skill development through team building activities with other participants, sports coaching clinics and social activities with peers. The camp is run by a team of dedicated WS NSW volunteers, with sports sessions run by Sydney Academy of Sport Activity instructors and elite WS NSW athletes and coaches. 8 – 10 December, 2017 Sydney Academy of Sport, Narabeen More info: 02 9809 5260
PLAY ALL DAY Nothing beats a day in your local park… except a day in a Livvi’s Place playground – a network of truly inclusive playspaces across Australia with a unique environment that allows children of all ages and all abilities to play side by side. Each playspace includes some soft fall rubber flooring, visual and audio stimulation and is configured to maximise creative, physical, social and cognitive play. They are also totally fenced and shaded for protection from the elements. Even if you don’t have a local Livvi’s Place we’d highly recommend a day trip!
Event Cinemas website or visit Sensory Souls Facebook page. Various times | 35 locations across Australia More info: @sensorysouls (Facebook) or eventcinemas.com.au
CATCH A SHOW Join Mouse on a daring adventure through the deep, dark wood in a relaxed performance of the magical, musical adaptation of the classic picture book by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler. Searching for hazelnuts, Mouse meets the cunning Fox, the eccentric old Owl and the party mad Snake. Will the story of the terrifying Gruffalo save Mouse from ending up as dinner for these hungry woodland creatures? After all, there’s no such thing as a Gruffalo – is there? Tuesday 23 January La Boite Theatre, Brisbane More info and to book: www.cdp.com.au 13 62 46
HOLIDAY FUN WITH ALLOWAH For over 60 years Allowah in Dundas Valley, NSW, has been supporting children with complex disabilities and medical needs. Their school holiday program is open to all children with moderate to severe disabilities and children with complex medical needs are most welcome. Their summer holiday line-up sounds like a blast!
LEARN HOW TO SAVE A LIFE
Some of the locations of Livvi’s Places include: Hawthorne (Brisbane), Dubbo, Five Dock, Merimbula and Port Macquarie.
More and more surf lifesaving programs are being adapted to accommodate children with special needs, teaching them important water safety skills while having heaps of fun and enjoying Australia’s beautiful beach environments.
DELIGHT THE SENSES
January 1 – 5 - Mad Scientist Week
On the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Little Life Saving Legends is a modified Nippers program run by qualified and experienced surf lifesavers from Surf Lifesaving Queensland aimed at teaching water safety skills to children age five to 16.
Sensory gardens are designed to appeal to all five senses. They provide a stimulating experience where children can interact with nature in a safe and accessible environment. Sensory experiences can be had in the following beautiful gardens:
Don your lab coats and the Allowah Laboratory where we will mix, muddle and generally make mahem! Make exploding volcanoes, colour-changing flowers, and elephant toothpaste. There will be slimy jelly and so much more!
Children with wide-ranging disabilities and their siblings can participate in fun activities and games encompassing water skills and lifesaving techniques, all designed to slowly build their confidence in the water and teach them how to stay safe at the beach.
QLD: Gold Coast Regional Botanic Gardens Brisbane Botanic Gardens, Mt Coot-tha
Sea Horse Nippers is a similar program also run at lifesaving clubs in SE Queensland. In New South Wales, Little Rippaz in association with House with No Steps is run out of Nobby’s SLSC. For the latest program details and dates contact:
For a full list and more info on addresses visit: touchedbyolivia.com.au
NSW: Terilbah Reserve, Central Coast Queanbeyan Sensory Garden, Ray Morton Park, Queanbeyan SA: Urrbrae House Historic Precinct Gardens, University of Adelaide Hawthorn Sensory Garden, Mitcham NT: George Brown Darwin Botanic Gardens, Darwin
Little Lifesaving Legends: 07 3846 8000 Seahorse Nippers: North Burleigh SLSC – 07 5576 5403 Noosa SLSC – 07 5448 0900 Bribie Island – 0447444595 Alexandra Headland – 07 5456 7804 Little Rippaz: firstname.lastname@example.org
JUNIOR WHEELIES CHRISTMAS CAMP The Junior Wheelies Christmas Camp is
January 8 – 12 It’s a Hokey-Pokey Holiday 1,2,3… 1,2,3… Are you ready for a week of music and dance! During this week you’ll sing songs from around the world, meet dancers from a local dance company, hear live music and even watch a musical movie or two. January 15 – 19 - In the Garden A week of gardening fun in the sun. Be ready to get your hands dirty… and quite probably you’ll get wet and a little muddy, but that’s all part of the fun January 22 – 26 - A Beastly Week
TAKE IN A MOVIE (OR TWO) When the summer heat is getting too much there’s nothing quite like the cool, airconditioned respite of your local cinema. Event Cinemas have teamed up with Sensory Souls to feature regular sensory friendly movie sessions which allow families to enjoy their favourite films in a relaxed environment. With the cinema lights turned up and the sound turned down, kids are free to get up, move around, shout or sing. Sensory session times can be found on the
Are you brave enough to go to Allowah for a Beastly Week?? There will be puppies and birds and lambs and maybe even a lizard or two. There will even be a chance to meet a pony. Sing animal songs, make animal masks and play animal games. You will be squeaking and squawking and barking and purring and … well you get the idea! Places are limited and booking is essential. Phone: 02 8877 3400 Email: email@example.com or visit www.allowah.org.au
Taylors MEET THE
Our family consists of Joshua, Julie and Jedidiah (4). Jed was our 9th pregnancy – a beautiful surprise… to everyone.
WE LIVE: Perth, Western Australia OUR CHILD IS DEALING WITH THE FOLLOWING: Chromosomal 18p deletion syndrome and 3q duplication syndrome-unique. Each is considered rare worldwide and Jed is the only person worldwide registered with both syndromes. His presentation so far includes: moderate global development delay, generalised hypotonia, joint hypermobility, dyspraxia, dysarthria, sensory processing disorder, dysautonomia and sleep apnea. Jed also has gastrointestinal issues including gastroparesis, severe reflux, a cow’s milk protein allergy, food intolerances and sensitivities and eczema. His eyes are affected with bilateral ptosis of the eyelids and floppy eyelid syndrome. Jed also had a submucosal cleft palate.
HOW WE MANAGE: Jedidiah James Taylor was delivered by emergency caesarean a day before he was 36 weeks. During his short stay in the neo-natal unit he was observed to have feeding issues, floppiness and difficulty with temperature regulation, so the neonatologist started running tests. We received a diagnosis at Jed’s six-week check-up and were given two printed out booklets by the geneticist – one on 18p deletion syndrome and one on 3q duplication syndrome. On the one hand, we were relieved to have a diagnosis but we didn’t really know what it all meant and how to prepare for the road ahead. I was told to hope for a smile. And to grieve. I was told that he was unlikely to thrive, that he would have an extremely diminished intellectual capability and many physical challenges. For the first year, we battled many feeding issues but slowly he began to thrive. Jed didn’t respond to my voice or make much noise for quite a while. I sang songs, played music, read to him and I started narrating my day to him. I also began baby
signing, and one day, at around 15 months old he signed ‘more’ as I was making his Shaun the Sheep doll dance. Jed is now starting to comprehend more language and after a lot of hard work can produce a few words. Physically, Jed was very floppy. Severe reflux made it painful for him to lay flat or be on his tummy and sensory issues meant that sometimes even a loving touch meant pain. I trialled all sorts of touching pressure and massage and a wonderful OT we worked with helped me understand sensory processing issues a bit more and introduced me to vestibular system exercises.
I REMEMBER ENDLESSLY READING AND RESEARCHING AND ASKING SO MANY QUESTIONS. BUT I ALSO NEEDED TO CONSERVE ENERGY FOR JED SO I WEEDED OUT THE IMPORTANT ‘NEED TO KNOW NOW’ STUFF FROM THE WHAT IFS AND MAYBES. I documented all his daily vitals so that I could see patterns and I didn’t expend energy on worry. I tried to be practical and relaxed in finding solutions that could make the situation better or more tolerable for him. Josh and I both have a strong spiritual faith that has really kept us grounded throughout our challenges as a family. I’m a big believer in prayer and I pray for Jed and for wisdom and insight to help me give Jed the best opportunity and every chance to thrive. I keep thinking about this scripture that says, “Perhaps this is the moment for which you have been created.” In June this year, Jed had his submucosal cleft palate repaired by Dr David Gillett who did an amazing job. Jed’s cleft was discovered when he was 11 months old during an operation to remove his adenoids and partially his tonsils to help his sleep. He has multiple challenges regarding speech and language, but the palate repair was a practical piece of the puzzle that will give him the best opportunity to progress. He was not
able to suck or blow through his mouth, but we are working on those things now. I have never been so preoccupied with bowel movements as I am now! Jed has multiple gastrointestinal issues so whether he has had a poo is a pivotal factor in the day. Hard poo, soft poo, runny poo, acid poo, no poo. I feel like a scientist! I have also recorded his liquid intake every day of his life so far, and weighed nappies on those low fluid intake days. The food he is offered is carefully tailored to ease gut pain, limit reflux, minimise choking. I try to make each bit of food offered nutritional and fun. I analyse the previous day. Did he have a good day? Is there anything practically I can help do to help him function better. Give him more quality to the day?
BEST INSIGHTS: You will be your child’s specialist. In some ways, you will know more than some of the medical specialists and therapists you will be dealing with. Be your child’s advocate. Talk and sing to your child. I narrate to Jed all the time – I describe the scenery as we go for a stroll in the pram. I discuss why the plants need sunlight and water, I make up silly songs about washing dishes. I tell him where we are going, why and give ‘play by play’ directions. I massage his muscles in the morning, give him deep pressure hugs and sing to him. I ask him questions and if he makes any attempt at a response, then I ask him another. I try to see a situation from his perspective and acknowledge what I perceive his feelings may be, then include him in working together to find a solution. You just do whatever it takes for your child to be at their best that day.
OUR FAVOURITE PLACES TO GO AS A FAMILY: The first time I ever heard Jed say, “woohoo!” was four months ago on a Friday when I reminded him that the next day was Saturday, our family day. We have so many lovely places close by to us. King’s Park, Perry Lakes, City Beach, Cottesloe Beach. Jed is interested in playgrounds now, so accessible ‘Jed friendly’ ones are always on the radar. If you see us out, more than likely we are humming, singing, dancing or just acting silly. Maybe we are singing a song you know, or maybe not – but please feel free to join in. Your child is unique. Celebrate the moment. Find the joy.
PRODUCTS WE LOVE: •
Comotomo bottles and Dr Brown’s Specialty Feeding bottles.
SMALTUM Giraffes Weaning cups and Xsmall KeepCups – great for little hands that are a bit floppy.
Yumbox – leak proof bento boxes – good for compartmentalising coloured foods or textures.
ErgoPouch sleep suits.
Babiator polarised sunglasses – great for light sensitivity and hard to break.
Pureau Boxed Water – a staple in our house for drinking as Jed reacts with gastric distress to filtered boiled tap water and other bottled waters.
Stokke Trip Trapp Chair – we won this awesome chair in a Source Kids competition and it was such a God send. We are getting a special Tomato soft liner to cup his bum.
City Elite Baby Jogger – it has been so easy to modify to Jed’s needs.
PEOPLE AND BUSINESSES WE LOVE: Dietician: Ingrid Roche, PMH Immunology and Advanced Dietitians Group Murdoch. This lady is amazing! She keeps up with Jed’s complex needs and really offers tailored care and helpful suggestions. Physio: Jenny Moore, Early Movers Physiotherapy and PMH EIT program. We met Jenny when Jed was six weeks old and had first been diagnosed. She was so lovely and understanding and practical. She inspired me to look beyond milestones but gave practical breakdowns to work on to get to the next level. Speech Cleft and Palate Pathologist Terry Washbourne and PMH Dental team. Ability Centre Team: Avril, Sue, Jess, Andrea. We have a long list of superstar doctors but a quick shout out to a few that have given us so much of their time: Dr Jon Silberstein, Neurologist; Dr Alexandra Taylor, Specialist Ophthalmologist; Dr Sharma, Gastroenterologist; PMH Dr Thacker, Gastroenterologist; PMH Dr Paula Holmes, Paediatrician. Kate Zanich took the beautiful photos. Her handsome son Leuwin is one of Jed’s little mates She is a photographer and owner of Leo & Spargo featured on Esty and Facebook.
SPECIAL NEEDS TEACHER IN FOCUS
JACKIE LAWRENCE AGES YOU TEACH: I work in Middle School with students between the ages of 8-11 years.
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN TEACHING FOR? Five years
WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO BECOME A SPECIAL NEEDS TEACHER? A key motivator for my decision to become a special needs teacher was my passion and advocacy for high quality care and education for children with disabilities. I hold a strong view that all children are citizens with entitlements and rights. Becoming a special needs teacher enabled me to offer a negotiated curriculum where student input is valued, and multiple opportunities and pathways for learning, foster student success. In addition, I had a strong desire to set direction and establish values for all key stakeholders working with special needs children.
WHAT IS YOUR TEACHING PHILOSOPHY? I believe that catering for the whole wellbeing of the child is quintessential to effective teaching and thus I aim to holistically provide for the students in my care. I believe that my ability to nurture and work in the best interest of the child resonates throughout the culture of my classroom. This culture reflects a place of warmth, happiness, calmness, equality, safety, tolerance, collaboration, respect and motivation. It is flexible and welcoming and collaborative relationships with families is fostered through shared decision making and effective two-way communication. Learning will always be rightfully at the heart of teaching. Knowing my students better positions me to cater for classroom diversity and create meaningful and flexible learning experiences. I value a positive guidance approach to managing student behaviour. This approach focuses on the studentâ€™s social and emotional well-being; enabling them to develop the necessary strategies to regulate their thoughts and emotions.
WHAT DO YOU WISH PARENTS WOULD TELL YOU ABOUT THEIR CHILD AT THE BEGINNING OF THE SCHOOL YEAR? Any concerns, desires or goals they have for their child and family, so an open and trusting partnership is fostered and student outcomes are maximised.
WHATâ€™S YOUR FAVOURITE PART OF YOUR JOB? Celebrating student success is extremely rewarding. Those WOW! moments that touch your heart and reinforce why you are working in special education.
ARE THERE ANY TOYS/BOOKS/ PRODUCTS YOU RECOMMEND? Nick Bland is an Australian author illustrator, who created a serious of imaginative rhyming books with a very cute bear. Student interest and engagement with the books are always high, providing a great opportunity to teach them about text structure and text features. The Very Cranky Bear is always a favourite, especially when doing a retell through role play.
GOLD COAST HOSTS
games Special needs athletes are counting down the days until they receive unprecedented support and coverage as part of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games. The integrated Para-Sport program for next year's event will be the most extensive in Commonwealth Games history. While there will be plenty of records set by athletes, the event itself is setting a record, with the highest number of para-sport athletes – up to 300 - and 38 medal events across seven sports to take place. That's almost double what took place in Glasgow in 2014. Athletics, swimming, lawn bowls, powerlifting, track cycling, table tennis and triathlon will all be contested during the event, which runs from April 4–15, 2018. A spokesperson from the Department of Tourism, Major Events, Small Business and the Commonwealth Games says all is on track for one of the most inclusive sporting event in the games' history. "Further highlighting GC2018’s commitment to equality and inclusion, there will also be an equal number of men’s and women’s events across all sports," the spokesperson said. "The GC2018 Para-Sport program has been developed by the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) and GC2018 in consultation with the International Paralympic Committee and Commonwealth Games Australia (CGA) to showcase the best para-sport in the Commonwealth. "The swimming and athletics programs will double in size from previous Games, while paratriathlon will make its anticipated debut at GC2018, building on the great success of the able-bodied triathlon competition in Glasgow 2014 and the sport’s increasing profile across the globe. "The first wheelchair marathon (T54) at a Commonwealth Games will take the inspirational thrill of Para-Sport competition to the streets and communities of the Gold Coast." GC2018 will be hosted across 18 new, upgraded and existing venues on the Gold Coast, Brisbane, Cairns and Townsville – all competition venues are already complete, delivered as part of a $320 million venue infrastructure program. All new GC2018 venues were designed and built to be universally accessible, including lifts, ramps where necessary, amenities and signage. The spokesperson said the $2 billion overall investment in the Games wasn't just for an 11-day event but for a lifetime of legacy benefits.
Top - Australian elite para-sport athletes, Evan O’Hanlon OAM, Brenden Hall OAM, Madeleine Hogan OAM, Rowan Crothers and aspiring para-triathlete, Sara Tait at the event in South Bank where GOLDOC announced GC2018 will include the largest para-sports program in Games history. Above - Para powerlifter Jessica Gray preparing for her lift at the recent 2017 Australian National Para Powerlifting Competition at Carrara Sports and Leisure Centre
Three new venues were built: Coomera Indoor Sports Centre, Anna Meares Velodrome, Carrara Sports and Leisure Centre Seven venues were upgraded: Belmont Shooting Complex, Broadbeach Bowls Club, Carrara Stadium, Carrara Indoor Sports Stadium, Gold Coast Aquatic Centre, Gold Coast Hockey Centre, Nerang Mountain Bike Trails
"GC2018 holds the promise of a transformative legacy, creating active and inclusive communities, diverse and enduring economic growth, and greater reconciliation and social justice for all Australians," they said.
"This sporting infrastructure is already being used for local, state, national and international competition – creating a positive legacy for both community sport on the Gold Coast, as well as assisting in attracting further international sporting events," the spokesperson said.
"Existing venues that were refurbished were brought up to current code requirements where possible to improve universal accessibility."
"Overall GC2018 will inspire more proud, active, engaged and inclusive citizens and communities who lead a healthier and more active lifestyle."
BY JULIE JONES
Our favourite destinations for
accessible travel Like most families we look forward to breaking away from our daily routine to enjoy a holiday. It’s a time for us to reconnect and build lifelong memories away from therapy and doctor’s appointments. For us, the success of a holiday does require additional effort to ensure our son Braeden, who lives with cerebral palsy, can enjoy it as much as the rest of us. But, with planning and research we’ve found many inclusive and accessible experiences for the whole family.
We weren’t always confident travellers. At first we were daunted at the prospect of travelling, particularly when we realised Braeden would need a wheelchair for mobility. At the time we didn’t know anyone else travelling who was in the same situation and we were nervous about how we’d manage with the extra equipment he needed. We started with several self-drive local holidays, which proved a good way of working out what made a great holiday for us. In time we spread our wings, taking domestic flights, a cruise and much later, several trips to the US.
When we research a destination we look for somewhere with activities for the whole family and where Braeden will feel included.
HITTING THE BEACH Both kids enjoy a beach holiday so we return yearly to Port Macquarie on NSW’s mid-north coast. The region has beach wheelchairs, which are free to use at several of the local beaches making it possible for us to enjoy time in the water as a family. Port Macquarie also has an all abilities playground, several accessible waterfront walks and is an easy drive for us from Sydney.
EXPLORING A RAINFOREST Up until Braeden was seven years old, my husband would hike with him on his back. Once he was too heavy and lanky we had to retire the back carrier and started exploring wheelchair accessible walks. Many are uninspiring so we were thrilled when the TrailRider became available at many National Parks. Earlier this year we explored the mythical-like rainforest floor of Dorrigo National Park using the free-to-borrow TrailRider.
ANIMAL ENCOUNTERS Braeden’s sister is an animal lover so as a family we’ve participated in many animal encounters. Braeden’s fed a rhino at San Diego Zoo, played with a seal at Marine Magic in Coffs Harbour, held snakes and participated in the special needs experience at Sea World, Gold Coast. Many zoos and marine parks offer encounters suitable for wheelchair users and children with additional needs.
WHEN WE RESEARCH A DESTINATION WE LOOK FOR SOMEWHERE WITH ACTIVITIES FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY AND WHERE BRAEDEN WILL FEEL INCLUDED.
ADRENALIN EXPERIENCES If it has a motor, then Braeden is keen to give it a go and this includes tandem go-karts, dune buggies and boats. One of the highlights of our travels was watching Braeden cable hang-glide across the Huon River at the Tahune Airwalk in Tasmania. Although Braeden is non-verbal he needs no words to express his joy, his huge smile says it all.
THE USA Braeden finds long flights a challenge. Like most of us he finds it difficult to sleep in an upright position and for someone who is constantly on-the-move, sitting for 15 hours on a flight was interminable. Once in the US Braeden is a great traveller, embracing the variety of opportunities on offer. He’s been to the top of the Empire State Building, the Rockefeller Center and made it to the platform on the Statue of Liberty. At Disneyland, California Adventure Park and Universal Studios he’s met the characters and enjoyed the many accessible rides and facilities. Braeden has had to work hard for the skills he’s gained so it brings us great joy to see him participating in life so fully. The idea of travel may seem daunting at first but with careful planning and research the rewards are well worth the effort. But be warned, the liberating feeling at the end of a successful trip can make it addictive. You can follow the travels of Julie, Braeden and the rest of the family at www.havewheelchairwilltravel.net
JULIE’S TIPS FOR A SUCCESSFUL HOLIDAY - START LOCAL and work out what makes a good holiday for your family, what equipment you need and how well everyone travels. - ASK LOTS OF QUESTIONS when you make a booking. Don’t be afraid to ask for a photo of a room or bathroom if booking a hotel. - SPEAK DIRECTLY TO AN AIRLINE AND HOTEL rather than booking online. This ensures they understand your needs. - LOOK FOR A DESTINATION WHICH OFFERS A RANGE OF ACCESSIBLE ACTIVITIES which will entertain the whole family. - IF LOOKING TO BOOK A BEACHSIDE DESTINATION, choose an area with beach wheelchair availability. - IF A FAMILY MEMBER HAS COMPROMISED HEALTH, holiday at a destination with a good hospital. - ENQUIRE ABOUT TRAVEL INSURANCE prior to booking a holiday to ensure any existing medical conditions will be covered. - ASK YOUR THERAPIST FOR TIPS on making travel more comfortable. - QANTAS OFFERS DISCOUNTS ON DOMESTIC FLIGHTS WITH THE QANTAS CARER CONCESSION CARD (must apply and purchase the card) and the Carer Companion Card offers free entry for a carer to many theme parks, shows and attractions. - HAVE FUN!
EXPO BRISBANE CONVENTION & EXHIBITION CENTRE 6 - 7 JULY, 2018
BRISBANE’S MUST-ATTEND EXPO! Source Kids will be hosting the first disability expo in Brisbane focused on children, youth and young adults – bringing together the latest products, services and technology, along with some incredible speakers under one roof for two days. Come along and find, test and talk with providers.
Register online to receive updates in the lead up to this event.
Take your Christmas cheer into the kitchen with these cute and simple recipes that the kids will love to help with. EASY SNOWMAN CUPCAKES
Who doesn’t love a cupcake and these easy snowman cupcakes are perfect for a Christmas gathering. Use a box of cake mix and pre-made icing to keep this recipe as simple as possible.
SANTA STRAWBERRIES These are so much fun and so easy for the kids to help put together. Pressing the santa ‘hats’ on the whipped cream is a great fine motor exercise! If you don’t fancy whipped cream for the filling you can use icing or cream cheese instead. INGREDIENTS: Strawberries Whipped cream Chocolate sprinkles METHOD: Slice the end of each strawberry so that they stand up by themselves and then slice off the tip to make a little hat (this is a job for the adults). Place a nice dollop of cream (or whatever filling you are using) on the strawberry base and then place the hat on top. Add another little bit of cream to the top of the hat to make a pom pom. Two chocolate sprinkles on the cream will give Santa a face and then use a toothpick to put two small amounts of cream on the front of the strawberry for his buttons.
INGREDIENTS: Chocolate cake mix (plus eggs, butter, milk etc. as per the box instructions) Vanilla icing White crystallised decorating sugar Butterscotch chips Mini chocolate chips
What a way to make Christmas morning even more special. Santa pancakes for everyone!
Make the cupcakes as per the box instructions and once they’re cooled you’re ready to decorate and make your snowmen.
INGREDIENTS: Ready-made pancakes (keep it simple!) Banana Raspberries or strawberries Whipped cream Marshmallows Purple grapes (or blueberries) METHOD: This is too easy to put together.
Store your Santas in the fridge if they’re not going to be eaten straight away.
Santa’s face is the pancake, sliced bananas for his beard and whipped cream and raspberries for his hat and nose. Use a marshmallow and a grape cut in half or blueberries to create Santa’s eyes.
He doesn’t like the heat!
Ho, ho, ho!
Cover each cupcake with a good layer of pre-made white icing. Fill a bowl with the crystallised decorating sugar and holding the bottom of a cupcake press it gently into the sugar rocking back and forth until the icing is covered. Take a butterscotch chip and press it into the centre of the cupcake for the nose. Use the mini chocolate chips for the eyes and mouth. Repeat until you have a whole bunch of cute, frosty, tasty snowmen. Recipe source: One Little Project. Visit http://onelittleproject.com for more.
Comfort, relaxation and sensory fun for the whole family!
tic t Ev
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www.swingz.com.au 0414 551 895 ! @swingz $ @swingznthingz Cacoons are a wonderful and effective space for children and adults with autism and other sensory integration disorders.
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BY AILSA LESLIE
A PARENTâ€™S GUIDE TO
Assistive Technology WHAT IS ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY?
and maximise their independence in daily living tasks.
Assistive Technology (AT) is the name given to any equipment, device or system that allows an individual to perform tasks they would otherwise be unable to do or increases the ease and safety with which tasks can be performed. AT promotes greater independence, increased efficiency and increased access to activities/tasks by providing practical solutions to overcome barriers to performing everyday life skills.
Seating and positioning equipment such as adapted seating, specialised cushions, positioning belts and head supports can help people maintain an upright posture, maintain physical health and limit postural deterioration.
EXAMPLES OF TYPES OF ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY: Daily living aids such as dressing aids, modified eating utensils, tap turners and other kitchen equipment can help people overcome physical or cognitive limitations
Vision/hearing aids such as magnifiers, large button remote controls and text to speech software may assist in overcoming sensory deficits.
Mobility equipment such as power or manual wheelchairs, electric scooters, walking frames and modified vehicles for travel may help individuals move within their environment and maximise their participation in their home and community. Alternative and augmentative communication (AAC) such as electronic communication devices, speech generating devices, voice amplification, communication books and other communication resources may help people with speech and language impairments to communicate with those around them.
Photo by Chris Crerar
Computer access aids such as switch access, mouse alternatives (including eyegaze mouse control, head tracking devices, mouse emulation software and power wheelchair controls integrated as mouse controls) and specialised computer access software (including voice control software and voice to text software) can allow independent computer access to individuals with complex presentations and very limited functional movement. Environmental control systems such as home automation systems, power link devices and advanced remote control systems can allow individuals to control household appliances (such as lighting,
Photo by Scott Gelston
heating and entertainment units) as well as their home environment (such as remote opening doors) and operate their telephone when they may have very little functional independent movement. Leisure/recreation aids such as adapted gaming controls, adapted sports equipment (bowling supports, fishing rods, horse-riding saddles, kayak seating, paddle grips, etc.) and audio descriptions for TV, internet use and movies. Home/school/workplace modifications provide structural solutions such as ramps, grab rails, stair climbers, bathroom modifications, increased door widths and adaptive desk/workspace configurations to maximise access and safety in the home, school and workplace. Prosthetics and orthotics such as hand splints, Ankle Foot Orthoses (AFOs), artificial limbs and orthotic aids provide support, replacement or augmentation to affected body parts.
WHO USES ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY? We all use AT to assist us in a range of daily activities â€“ this may be a simple solution such as a standard TV remote control or a more complex solution designed specifically to address a physical, sensory or cognitive difficulty specific to a disability.
IS AT COMPLICATED TO USE? Assistive technology may involve simple products such as an adapted spoon or much more complex systems such as an eye-gaze communication device. The level of complexity of the technology as well as your level of experience with that technology will determine how much support you and your child will need to integrate it successfully into
your everyday life. As an example, the supply and use of a low-cost, off the shelf, assistive technology solution such as a sippy cup or child-sized computer mouse may be self-directed by capable individuals who can liaise with other people involved (such as your child’s teacher). However, the recommendation and supply of more complex solutions such as switch access for the computer or a wheelchair, will require AT assessor input from a qualified health professional (such as an occupational therapy, speech pathology or physiotherapy assessment). Your AT assessor will also be able to work with you to determine the level of support your child will need to effectively integrate the AT into their life once it is supplied.
WHICH AT IS BEST FOR MY CHILD? There is a wide range of AT options available for children and knowing where to start can seem overwhelming. Most often, the choice of which AT is the best fit for your child is a decision you make collaboratively with a team of AT professionals. Your AT team will work with you and your child to understand their needs, trial possible AT solutions and make a recommendation that represents a good match. Your AT team may include an occupational therapist, speech pathologist or physiotherapist (depending on the area of your goals) who will collaborate with your child’s broader team (teachers, child-care worker, family, etc.) to recommend an AT
solution, provide the relevant training and ongoing support so that the AT is integrated successfully into your child’s life.
depends on your child’s diagnosis and functional presentation and varies from state to state.
It is always useful to identify some initial goals for your child prior to consulting with your AT team to help guide the process. Some questions to help you with goal setting may include:
Most simple/low tech AT solutions are relatively cheap and are usually purchased privately by families. Most complex AT solutions require fundraising or an application to a funding body. Funding bodies usually require AT team input and specific supporting information.
•W hat would your child like to be able to do better? •W hat is your child interested in and motivated by? •W hat potential can you identify in your child? (What can they almost do?) •W hat physical/body limitations are a barrier to your child’s participation in daily living tasks, home activities, school and recreational activities? •W hat environmental factors are a support or barrier to your child’s performance of tasks?
WHERE TO FIND MORE INFORMATION If you are already linked in with a therapy provider they may offer a dedicated AT team as part of their service. Ask your child’s current therapist what their service offers.
•W hat personal factors (such as temperament, culture, behaviour, etc.) are a support or a barrier to your child’s performance and participation?
If you are not already linked with a service provider, an easy place to start is to Google “Assistive Technology” and your state. You will find links to local AT providers nearby.
•W hat parts of an activity are achievable for your child? What parts do they need help with?
WHO FUNDS AT?
The information contained in this article is intended solely for general information purposes. It is not a substitute for, and is not intended to replace, independent professional advice or recommendations.
Funding for AT assessments, trials, recommendations and equipment is available from a variety of sources across Australia. The amount of funding available
Ailsa Leslie is a senior occupational therapist and manager of SEMAT (Seating & Equipment Modifications Assessment Team) at St. Giles, Tasmania.
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Your AT team will be able to link you in with funding bodies in your local area (such as the NDIS) and provide you with resources to support your funding application.
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Tis the OUR HOLIDAY
LAUGHABLE DANCING NECKLACE/BANGLE BY NINJA BABIES The Laughable Dancing set is a great sensory resource for any child to run their teeth/fingers along or run between their hands. Attach to a belt loop or in a pocket for easy access as a fidget.
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Let children design their own virtual reality. Place walls on the grid, add traps and choose start/end points. Endless fun!
This has taken the world by storm! Rock it. Balance it. Push it. Spring it. Flip it or slide it. This beechwood board is known to be perfect for kids with sensory issues.
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COCOON SENSORY HAVEN SUPPLIED BY TEACH ME HOW SHOP A soothing space ideal for children to self-regulate whilst applying a deep and even pressure to the body.
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PLASTIC PIN ART SUPPLIED BY MY DIFFABILITY Imagine the hours spent imprinting faces or making creative patterns. The neon, fun resource is tactile and provides sensory input as your child plays.
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BALANCE KIT BY HART SPORT With varying degrees of difficulty this kit is ideal for building confidence and balance.
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This band is soft on the skin and easy to wear. Tested with members of Autism SA to ensure it was suitable for those on the spectrum, the feedback has been fantastic. Why not gift fashionable but practical medical identification jewellery this Christmas.
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BY KATE STROHM
EVEN IN THE MOST LOVING AND CARING OF FAMILIES, WITH SO MUCH TIME AND ENERGY NEEDED FOR THE CHILD WITH DISABILITY, IT CAN BE EASY FOR THE OTHER CHILDREN TO FEEL OVERLOOKED.
Many families say that the journey shared with a child with a disability has enriched their lives in ways they could never have anticipated, but there are also challenges. It can be difficult for parents to juggle the needs of the whole family. There are some quite simple things that parents can do to make things a little easier for siblings. And first up, it is about understanding what some of the challenges for siblings might be. Often, they experience similar stresses to parents, but without
the same maturity to cope. There may be confusion about what is happening around them and the mix of feelings they might have. They might feel sad, guilty, anxious or resentful. They might fear for the safety of the child with disability or, in some cases, safety for themselves or other family members, if the child has aggressive behaviours. They might be upset by other children’s responses to them or their brother or sister with disability.
• Help them to express their feelings – let them know that any feeling is okay but not all behaviour is okay. For example, it is understandable that they feel upset or angry that a picnic needs to be cancelled at the last minute because of the needs of the child with disability, but it is not okay to break things or say nasty things to their brother or sister.
Sometimes siblings will behave in ways that show they might be worried or anxious. For example, they might withdraw a little, spending more time in their room, or if they are younger, they might become more ‘clingy’ to parents. They might become the ‘good child’, trying to make things right and ease the stress on parents. But this can sometimes have impacts on their physical health – they might get tummy aches or headaches or have trouble sleeping. On the other hand, some siblings ‘act up’, either in an effort to gain attention or as an outlet for any difficult feelings.
• Let them know you understand it can be difficult at times for them as a sibling.
If siblings are supported, however, they can develop a range of positive qualities, things like compassion, understanding of differences and skills in supporting others who may need help.
SO, HOW CAN PARENTS SUPPORT SIBLINGS? • It is helpful to give them information at a level that they can understand, and this can be more detailed as they become older. Let them
know that they can ask any questions.
• Help them to learn ways to let out their feelings. Some children like to do something active like throwing basketball hoops or kicking a ball, others like listening to relaxing music, drawing or writing in a journal – explore with your child what works for them.
• Some responsibility is good for children – it can add to their sense of self-worth – but ensure this doesn’t become too much of a worry to them and that they are not missing out on things that are important to their own development. • Sometimes siblings will be upset by others’ reactions. Help them learn ways to respond in ways that they are comfortable. • Help them make contact with other siblings – having fun and sharing experiences with kids who understand can be enormously helpful for siblings. Ultimately, happy healthy families listen to and respect each other. Each member feels appreciated and it is understood that everyone has strengths and weaknesses, and that everyone is important. They find time for each other, have fun together, share interests but also allow for independence of all members. For more information: Siblings Australia has a number of resources
and services to help parents, including via the parent page online at siblingsaustralia.org.au/ parents/ In addition, there are one-on-one parent information sessions on support for siblings and these can be claimed through the NDIS. Parent or professional workshops and webinars can also be held. Siblings: Brothers and Sisters of Children with Disability Revised edition. (Wakefield Press) can be a useful book for both parents and professionals – a good resource to have in agency libraries for parents to borrow. It can be ordered online or via Siblings Australia. The Sibworks program is especially designed for young sibs to come together and share their experiences while having fun. Megan Cunningham from TasCare talks about the benefits of this program on the following pages.
SIBLING PROGRAMS There are a number of great programs running across the country that are focused on siblings of children with a disability, we take a look at a few of them.
TASCARE SIBLING SUPPORT PROGRAM Tascare’s sibling support program program is designed to strengthen the experiences, opportunities and life skills for children who have a sibling with a disability. These free programs are held regularly throughout the year with most programs held during school holiday periods. The program offers a range of fun-based activities including bowling camps, sports clinics, craft, cinema days, drama classes, surfing lessons, cooking and discos just
to name a few. Children are closely involved in designing the programs to ensure the activities match their interests. In addition to the free fun-based activities, Tascare’s sibling support program also offers a Sibworks program, modelled on the work of Kate Strohm (Siblings Australia) and Monique Nesa (Curtin University). Essentially this program uses a peer support model to support siblings to explore and understand the issues they share regarding their siblings’ disability, to consider and recognise the support networks available to them, receive support to express and deal with their emotions and learn how to make positive adjustments to their family situation. This program is delivered in partnership with Li-Ve Tasmania, a leading disability service provider. Megan Cunningham (EO, Tascare Society for Children) says that “although the Sibworks program is designed and delivered for children, there are numerous benefits reported by parents and carers who report a significantly increased capacity for parents to respond to and support their children in the context of being a sibling of a person with disability”. Any young person between the age of 6-16 with a sibling who has a disability can attend the school holiday programs, organised four times a year. Similarly, children aged between 8-12 years are eligible for Sibworks. For more information, call (03) 6272 8265, email firstname.lastname@example.org or check them out on Facebook @tascaresocietyforchildren
For more information visit www. littledreamersonline.com - they love chatting to young carers so don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and get in touch.
SIBLINGS IN SYNC WORKSHOPS Siblings in Sync is a fun music workshop for kids with a disability and their siblings aged 5-10 years. This program is held during school holidays and aims to develop teamwork and foster mutual respect, all while having fun with instruments, songs and music technology. Prior to the workshop, families are invited to share information about children’s preferences and needs to tailor the program. Siblings in Sync takes place at The Channel, Arts Centre Melbourne’s digital hub for creative workshops and events. Arts Centre Melbourne also offers an Accessible Music Program (AMP) welcoming children, young people and families with disability to engage in immersive music making. AMP integrates accessible instruments, technology, and sensory experiences into workshops for groups from
LITTLE DREAMERS Little Dreamers was developed in 2009 to support young carers and special siblings caring for a parent, brother or sister with a chronic illness, disability or other serious illness or injury. Little Dreamers is run by young carers for young carers and is the only one of its kind in Australia. Support is open for anyone under the age of 25 years growing up in a family affected by disability, illness and addiction. Both short term impact and long term support programs are offered including granting Dream Experiences, providing mentors, a six-month personal development program, annual Young Carers Festivals and an online Dreamers Hub to connect young carers and special siblings to each other and to services they can access.
special schools, community organisations and the general public. For bookings and information call (03) 9281 8790, email email@example.com. au or visit https://www.artscentremelbourne. com.au/discover/for-schools/access-program
SOCIAL SIBS CLUB Sunshine Butterflies on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast created their Social Siblings Club to give siblings a regular break away and a fun day out. The Clubs aims to provide better support for siblings in an environment where kids can be open and engaged with other children who live in similar situations. Once a month, kids aged between 7-12 years meet up at different locations and attractions on the Sunshine Coast, which
promises to be fun day full of laughter for the kids. The Social Sibs Club provides brothers and sisters the opportunity to: • Meet other brothers and sisters of children with special needs and make new friends. • Have fun without the guilt of knowing their sibling can’t always enjoy the same activity or pleasure. • Talk about their brothers and sisters with others who really know what it’s like to have a sibling with a special need. • Learn and develop coping strategies for some of those difficult situations that they may encounter, such as teasing.
Wishes to 10-year-old Sy who’s wish was to be a policeman.
• Improve their self-esteem, increase their social interactions and begin to see their situation as normal. For more information, call Sunshine Butterflies on (07) 5470 2830, email admin@ sunshinebutterflies.com.au or visit www. sunshinebutterflies.com.au
STARLIGHT CHILDREN’S FOUNDATION The Starlight Children’s Foundation (Starlight) has been granting wishes since 1988. Last year Starlight granted 525 of these lifechanging wishes which equates to more than one Starlight Wish every day. Starlight recently granted its 10,000th Starlight
Just like every child, every Starlight Wish is unique and special and touches the entire family including siblings. Dreamed up by the kids themselves, a Starlight Wish may be the chance to meet a sporting hero, swimming with dolphins (a favourite choice!), a special family holiday or a new cubby house. These once-in-a-lifetime opportunities give sick kids and their families including their siblings something fun and positive to look forward to, they support family cohesion and create lasting family memories. A Starlight Wish not only provides sick kids with more optimism and hope for the future, they give families something positive to look back on when things get tough. To find out more about Starlight or to make a donation visit, www.starlight.org.au or call, 1300 727 827.
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COOPER'S TRAVELS Cooper Smith is 12 years old and a keen traveler and foodie. Cooper uses a manual wheelchair while he travels as he has dystonic quadriplegia cerebral palsy. You can see more of Cooper’s adventures on Instagram @thewheelfoodie I loved visiting and exploring Mongolia because it is so rustic. The landscape is filled with hills and mountains and green plains. We stayed in a Ger, which is a traditional nomadic tent home that had no electricity or water. At night we used candles to see and the stove to cook our meals. We rode beautiful horses across the huge plains so big that you can’t even see where they end. There was so much fresh air and flowers and local nomadic families to meet. We drove across the rocky paths to a mountain with a Buddhist temple. Along the stairs were lots of prayer wheels and signs with Buddhist affirmations. We walked up 300 steps to see some amazing views of mountains and green hills.
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For children with complex disabilities and health care needs Have you been searching for the very best care for a child or teen with complex disabilities and health care needs? Do you wish that you could find everything you need in one place? Well let us introduce you to Allowah. For over 60 years Allowah has been supporting children with complex disabilities and medical needs. Our family-centred approach maximises quality of life for children and their carers, and our focus on excellence brings the very best to each child. Children and young people from birth to the age of eighteen who have moderate to severe disabilities and medical needs - such as genetic or chromosomal disorders, birth trauma, cerebral palsy, head injuries, and conditions acquired after birth – can find the services they need at Allowah, all in the one place. We provide both hospital services and disability support services, all in the one place: •
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Hospital admissions for a range of reasons – seizure management, spasticity management, feeding assessment, post-operative care Short Stay Accommodation and Respite After School Care • Therapy • Early intervention Holiday Programmes and Mid-week Adventures A huge range of other supports We provide tailor-made support to children and young people from right across New South Wales and the ACT. Allowah is an NDIS approved provider and an accredited paediatric hospital.
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“We never th ought there could be a p where our Li ttle Princess lace could be lo cared for as ved and well as her o many childre wn home, as nw with to change an ith disabilities are very adverse d sensitive to new environ From the firs ments. t meeting w ith the team Allowah we knew this w fr om as a place o love and su f emphatic pport. All o ur child’s ne eds were met and exc eeded.”
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The power of performance
BY SAMANTHA SMREKAR THOMPSON AND TESSA HENS
A growing body of research is proving that the multi-sensory nature of the arts has so many wonderful benefits for our children.
We asked professionals working in the world of the performing arts how their disciplines can be used both in formal therapy settings and beyond.
DANCING TO GROW, LEARN AND CONNECT: THE BENEFITS OF DANCE MOVEMENT THERAPY AND CREATIVE DANCE Gabi runs to her teacher, Anika, tugs on her hand and says: “Ring a Ring a Rosie!”. Anika smiles, accepting Gabi’s invitation. She joins hands with Gabi and launches into a gallop, spinning in circles and singing. Before long, other children have seen the dance and join the circle. In this small moment, a teacher and three young children living with autism have connected, developing their social skills, communication, gross motor skills and experiencing sensory regulation through the enjoyable act of dance. For many, dance is inherently pleasurable and creates opportunities for rich childhood learning and development. When Gabi seeks to share a dance and song, she initiates the interaction, smiles, and moves her whole body. She is enjoying herself and is open to learning. Many children living with disability face challenges when connecting and communicating with others and many also use non-verbal methods of communication. Dance Movement Therapy and Creative Dance can honour an array of communication styles, opening channels for building relationships and expanding social skills. Dance Movement Therapy emerged as a psychotherapeutic practice in America in the 1940s and has since become a recognised profession practiced in diverse settings
including special educational settings around the world. It draws on a body of theory, increasingly supported by evidence based research, that harnesses movement, body based interaction and play to support healthy attachment and communication. Shared movement and rhythms, safe and respectful touch, joint pressure and weight bearing, all support the building of healthy attachments and by extension emotional wellbeing and early learning. Dance can be as simple as shared small hand movements, as complex as intricate
formal dance sequences and all the spectrum of meaningful movement in between. Interactions could be one-on-one, in small or large groups or even participation on the periphery of the dance space. For children with physical disabilities, adapted dance movements can provide experiences that are focused on enjoyment and capability rather than physical ‘deficits’. This approach of meeting children ‘where they are at’, ensures that children of all abilities feel recognised, valued and capable in therapeutic or educational dance spaces.
DANCE CAN BE AS SIMPLE AS SHARED SMALL HAND MOVEMENTS, AS COMPLEX AS INTRICATE FORMAL DANCE SEQUENCES AND ALL THE SPECTRUM OF MEANINGFUL MOVEMENT IN BETWEEN www.sourcekids.com.au
Recent neuroscientific research also validates the connection between movement, learning and development. Rhythmic and repetitive sequences of movement can help children to develop strength and sequencing skills that can enhance daily functioning. For example, from a simple ‘Ring a ring a Rosie’ circle dance, the children coordinated left and right to gallop, used spatial reasoning to move in a circle with other bodies, used large muscle groups to move up and down along vertical planes and moved to shared rhythms, developing temporal awareness.
DANCE CAN ALSO HELP CHILDREN REGULATE THEIR SENSES BY ASSISTING IN THE PROCESSING OF TACTILE, VESTIBULAR, PROPRIOCEPTIVE SENSES AS WELL AS VISUAL AND AUDITORY PROCESSING. This in turn has the potential to increase children’s ability to explore their environments and engage in interactions with others with greater confidence. Dance for children with special needs can exist in many settings including Dance Movement Therapy groups or one-to-one sessions with therapists formally trained in targeting therapeutic outcomes; early learning and specialist schools programs with educators trained in dance, arts and early development; through family dance groups, or simply with spontaneous dance at home with family. Whatever the setting, dance has the capacity to help development in a way that recognises the whole child and is both fun and empowering.
Samantha Smrekar Thompson, B.A. Dance, M.A. Teaching, completed her Multiple Subject teaching credential in primary education in California in 2001. Tessa Hens has completed a Bachelor of Contemporary Arts majoring in Contemporary dance, a Post Graduate Diploma in Dance Movement Therapy and a Post Graduate Diploma in specialist teaching. Samantha and Tessa are based at Port Phillip Specialist School (PPSS) Early Learning Centre in Melbourne. PPSS is internationally recognised for using Visual and Performing Arts as an engagement tool to teach literacy, numeracy and life skills to children living with disabilities. To learn more about Dance Movement Therapy visit www. dtaa.org.au and if you would like to learn about PPSS’ use of Visual and Performing arts in the Early Learning Program at PPSS you can contact Samantha at smrekar. email@example.com
Drama Therapy and its benefits in
treating the individual BY LEONIE M HURRY
Drama Therapy is the intentional use of drama processes or theatre productions to achieve a variety of goals including symptom relief, emotional and physical integration and personal growth. It differs from the use of Creative Drama in an educational setting because of the relationship between the client and therapist where goals are not incidental but are the primary focus of the activities being carried out. Broadly defined, any use of therapeutic role-playing and improvisation is central to the Drama Therapy technique. Drama Therapy first emerged in the US during the 1960s where the availability of an abundance of trained actors coincided with an increasing sensitivity to the needs of socially deprived groups. Many actors were sent to work in hospitals, prisons, schools and nursing homes where they began to develop techniques for those in need. The therapy was found to be effective with psychiatric patients of all diagnoses, alcohol and drug abusers, people with disability and the elderly. It transpired that by using drama-based techniques actors and professionals could reach severely disturbed or disabled populations more effectively than by using the more traditional Talk Therapy. This is still particularly true of children with special needs or those with anxiety issues or conditions such as anorexia etc. who don’t respond to other types of therapy. Talk Therapy can be intimidating for some children as they are unable to verbalise how they feel or can’t process their emotions effectively. Drama Therapy offers a safe, fun way for children to explore feelings and process hopes and fears. Drama therapists use improvisation, theatre games, role play, storytelling, puppetry, masks, mime, performance and many other techniques to access
and address clients’ needs and therapeutic goals. They may also use props, costumes, puppets, music, art work and scripts in therapy sessions. Many drama therapists work with groups, but many also work with families, couples, and individuals. The implicit message in Drama Therapy is that we are, in our healthy state, all creative beings and creative action is central to the process of becoming whole. When we express ourselves through action we engage at a physical level. There is a profound connection between body, senses, emotional and mental states. Drama Therapy has become increasingly relevant in working with young individuals - either those on the autism spectrum or those suffering from various forms of mental illness. Many children are relaxed in Drama Therapy, where they become aware that nothing is expected of them - they don’t have to talk ‘stuff’ - but they can play. A unique collaboration between drama therapist and client provides freedom to explore and play with therapeutic goals in place. The therapeutic space becomes the therapeutic stage inviting clients to explore the worlds of memory, fantasy and myth. Group social skills sessions and individual sessions using Drama Therapy are available in Melbourne. Workshops and training in Drama Therapy are also available through the Drama Therapy Institute of Australia for all professionals. For more information call 0438 580 247. Leonie, an American trained Drama Therapist, lecturer and teacher works with special needs children individually and in groups. She tailors interventions specific to the needs of each individual, using the unique benefits of Drama Therapy. This method is highly successful in children with delayed social skills development. Leonie is a qualified secondary teacher and an accredited practitioner in NeuroDramatic Play, Narradrama and Art/ Drama Therapy.
CIRCUS STARS BY NICOLE DAVIS
Circus Stars is a specially designed circus training program for children on the autism spectrum founded in 2013 by youth circus practitioner Kristy Seymour. Kristy has worked as a professional circus artist since 1999 and has extensive experience working with children and young people through circus arts. She has published research on her work with autism and circus and more recently she presented at TEDx. She has worked with children with autism since 2010 and her passion is to help children become the very best version of themselves, promoting a style of teaching that is inclusive and creative in its approach, allowing individuality to shine through. Circus Stars is driven towards providing an inclusive and supportive training environment where children and young people can find their own place to learn and thrive. Circus as an art-form and physical activity allows children to be creative and build confidence. The Circus Stars program is based around five key elements of why circus works for children: to have fun, to take safe risks, to build trust and work as a team, to encourage individuality, and to work hard on our skills. Circus Stars aims to provide a flexible learning environment where children can participate in various activities at their own pace and skill level, allowing them to develop as individuals while still belonging to the group. Using the tools of circus training to ‘unlock the body’ can open a new world to children with special needs. Not only do they gain strength, coordination and physical awareness, they can also gain confidence, opportunities for creative expression and a sense of ‘fitting in’ somewhere. Within the Circus Stars class, they will find a space to learn that is supportive and playful, safe and inclusive. Kristy’s research has explored the ways in which circus training can allow children with autism to discover their bodies in a positive and creative manner, in a way that also aids their creative and emotional development. Skills such as trapeze, juggling, tumbling, acrobatics and skipping can develop the gross and fine motor skills in a fun and creative way, while also developing agility, core strength, balance, stability and flexibility. Trapeze and juggling in particular can be used to cross the mid-line of the brain – getting the left and right brain firing together! Proprioception is developed when we are tumbling and flipping, when we are juggling, when are hanging upside down on a trapeze. Children also learn about taking turns, sharing, trust and team work through human pyramids and partner work.
CIRCUS STARS RUNS MULTIPLE PROJECTS INCLUDING: • CIRCUS STARS CORE CLASSES – the heart of Circus Stars are the weekly circus school term classes • PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT – teaching the Circus Stars method to circus trainers and health practitioners through master class courses • IN-SCHOOLS PROGRAM - specialised programs in schools to help students reach their full potential For more information visit www.circusstarsasd.com email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0433 816 333.
Creating a lifetime of opportunities for children with autism AEIOU Foundation provides autism-specific early intervention to children aged 2 - 6 years. Our evidence-based program develops essential life skills, while providing family and transition support. Visit www.aeiou.org.au or call 1300 273 435 to find your nearest centre.
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ARTHROGRYPOSIS MULTIPLEX CONGENITA The enthusiasm Anna Blinks exudes when you speak to her is contagious – the sort of spirit you wish you could bottle and spread around the world to make it a better, more positive, place. And, that's just what the 14-year-old Victorian girl wants to do, especially for people with a disability. Anna had once aspired to be a politician but now thinks that using her creativity through singing and acting will be a better way to effect change. "I did want to be Prime Minister but I have slightly changed my mind. I want to go into the creative field and I think I can actually influence more people that way," Anna says. "I want to be a motivational speaker because I have done a couple of speeches at Variety and that was fun, so now I want to do that." Anna suffers from a long list of medical challenges as a result of her Arthrogryposis Multiplex Congenita, which means she has limited mobility and limited range of movement because of joint contractures and lack of muscle development. She has significant spinal deformities of lordosis and scoliosis and also suffers from restrictive lung disease, myotonia, severe talipes, and is dysmorphic. "The most frustrating is probably my lordosis," Anna admits. "You see, the back of my back is fused so it can't move. However, the front of my back
is growing. So the more I grow the more I shrink as my back just curves instead of growing. And unfortunately for me, a back brace won't help." She wears hand and finger splints at night to ensure those body parts stretch. She also requires medication every night to help her relax into sleep. As we speak she has just spent a few nights in hospital after suffering a fainting experience that led to concussion and tests were needed to rule out any seizures or brain damage. Anna's no stranger to hospitals – she spent three months there after being born. Now, Anna sees the lighter side of her condition when describing the most annoying limitations. "Because I am really short I buy clothes and don't grow out of them which is kind of good!" she quips. Anna can walk but not for long distances and uses her motorised travel scooter, which she received a year ago from Variety – the Children's Charity. "It's great. It folds up really easily and I can put it in the boot of the car and it's rechargeable and I use it to get to all my classes and it carries everything, all my books and computer and my trumpet, which I need because we have to learn a musical instrument at school. "I played piano for a long time for mobility in my hands but stopped because it became too hard." Being small, at just 127cm, isn't going to stop her reaching heights of a different kind – what she lacks in physical stature she more than makes up for with a bold personality and awesome attitude. With her four cats – Professor Paws, Tiger, Inky and Fifi – by her side, the unicorn-loving, Lilly Singh and Harry Potter fan, has her heart and mind set on making a difference for other people with a disability. "I want to create equality for people with a disability – we are no less people than other humans," she says. "I want to stop bullying. I am not bullied so much now but I used to get bullied when I was younger so I moved schools. "I've felt a lot of exclusion. I wasn't allowed to play with anyone and people won't share food with you, which wasn't very nice." Anna says positivity is the best medicine to deal with her challenges. "I try and have a positive attitude but you can't always be that way and sometimes that frustrates me – like when I am not tall enough to go on a ride and I can't do PE with everyone else because I have to do my own
exercises and I don't get to spend as much time with my friends. "I have to say I don't have a normal lifestyle like everyone else and I'll never be able to have that and it is sad but I wouldn't trade it in. "I do get to miss some school at times when I have to go to the hospital for appointments, which is kind of nice – that’s a joke!" Seriously though, Anna shows maturity beyond her years when it comes to accepting her situation. "My disability has made me a lot more humble and without it maybe I wouldn't be able to understand people. If I hadn't gone through these experiences, then I wouldn't be me. It's a part of me."
ARTHROGRYPOSIS IS A GENERAL OR DESCRIPTIVE TERM FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF NON-PROGRESSIVE CONTRACTURES AFFECTING ONE OR MORE AREAS OF THE BODY PRIOR TO BIRTH (CONGENITALLY). A contracture is a condition in which a joint becomes permanently fixed in a bent (flexed) or straightened (extended) position, completely or partially restricting the movement of the affected joint. The symptoms of AMC are present at birth (congenital). However, specific symptoms and physical findings can differ greatly in range and severity from one person to another. In most cases, AMC occurs randomly, for no apparent reason. More than 400 different conditions can cause isolated or multiple contractures and the causes, genetics, specific symptoms, and severity of these disorders vary dramatically. Over 350 genes have been identified as responsible for different types of arthrogryposis. AMC affects approximately 1 in 3000 individuals with males and females equally represented.
Has your child been diagnosed with a disability? Confused about the NDIS and your op�ons? IDEAS can help you with independent, expert advice so your child can fulﬁl their dreams.
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MedicAlert® and NDIS make ‘Safe Return’ program accessible for all Travelling with children is daunting enough. But for Sharon Jackson, a trip with her four children – three of whom have autism - took that fear to the next level.
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“We live in a small rural town, so if one of my children runs away I know they’re safe. But not when we’re away.” That’s why Sharon organised MedicAlert sports bands for her family before the trip. MedicAlert IDs provide full support in an emergency – including access to a 24 hour Safe Return service. “MedicAlert IDs inform first responders of conditions like autism, ensuring the child receives appropriate care and is quickly and safely returned to loved ones,” said MedicAlert Chief Executive Heidi Jones. MedicAlert is now an NDIS provider, so those who qualify for the Safe Return Program may be able to include it in their NDIS plan. To learn more, visit www.medicalert.org.au/ndissource
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Win one of two jewellery packs valued at $45.00 each. These gorgeous, unique handmade recycled pieces are made by The Really Useful Recyclers. Pack one includes a necklace and keyring, while pack two includes earrings and a bracelet.
TRUR JEWELLERY PACKS
Josh and Courtney are two young adults from Western Australia, who together with their support teams and families have turned a passion for recycling and being useful into an exciting small business enterprise, giving new purpose to old newspapers collected in their local community!
DISCOVER MUD KITCHEN Win a Discover Mud Pie Kitchen valued at $499.95 thanks to Plum® Play Australia. The Discovery Mud Pie Kitchen is a great way for your child to get stuck in at playtime and explore existing hobbies and curiosities. The Discovery range combines hands on play and learning, where children can discover living things, tinker and experiment as they mush, mix and mould a mud pie. Identify the wildlife and forage for inspiration. Cut and trim the buds and shrubs, add a pinch of sludge or pick a pot of pinecones. Love your environment!
DOUBLE SWING SET Win a double swing set including the swing frame, nest swing and either the full bucket baby swing OR heavy duty strap swing, plus all the anchors, hooks and brackets to put this set together! This set is valued at $639 and is up for grabs thanks to our friends at Special Needs Play Equipment. This classic timber double swing frame is strong, sturdy and Australian made, certified to hold up to 150kg. It’s the perfect swing set for any family backyard and all abilities.
CALMING SENSORY SOCKS Win a pack of three JettProof calming sensory socks valued at $23.85. These socks are made from bamboo with polyester/ elastane, have a seamless feel and no heel. Available in various sizes and colours.
The unique design is what makes this sheet so beautiful and comfortable to sleep on. It can help you move your child more easily while reducing any friction and the risk of skin breakdown causing pressure ulcers Call now and find out where you can trial the Wonder Sheet. NDIS REGISTERED
(07) 5591 1629 • email@example.com www.thewondersheet.com.au
STUCK ON YOU SCHOOL PACK Win a ‘All You Need Value Pack’ valued at $69.95 from Stuck On You. The pack includes various scratch resistant coated name labels, iron-on labels, shoe labels and personalised bag tags perfect for back to school.
A fitted sheet that you and your child will love!
Brisbane’s only exclusively child focused Podiatry Clinic and Shoe Shop
• flat feet • hypermobility • toe walking • delayed gross motor skills • tripping & falling • intoeing • gait assessment and much more
Visit us at www.littlebigfeet.com.au or www.littlebigshoes.com.au
Ph 3378 5935 – 6/2069 Moggill Rd, KenMoRe (Parking in Princeton St)
REDEFINING ABILITY FOR 50 YEARS.
firstname.lastname@example.org l 1300 845 483 www.permobil.com.au