Wednesday April 19, 2017
Lousy timing to cut special needs help Wainuiomata parents raising special needs children are irate that DEA Services announced cuts to their respite care without telling them or signalling any replacement provider. DEA Services, or Intellectual Disability Empowerment in Action, is the operational arm of IHC that also provides services to those with special needs such as severe autism. It announced cuts last month, but just before Easter, Associate Health Minister Nicky Wagner announced Explore Services would take on the work. Many affected parents were not told of the changes and found out via the media after opportunity for feedback had closed. Matt and Cathy Johnston’s 9-year old son, Mitchell cannot speak, read, or write and is not toilet trained. He has epilepsy, severe autism and has a fulltime teacher-aide at Kimi Ora School. The family can get respite care and holiday programmes through DEA Services, who last month sent a letter to affected parents advising the changes and providing feedback opportunities.
But the Johnston’s were not consulted or told who would take over services. “I’m not happy at all – I was really angry,” Cathy said before Easter. “What lousy timing – during Autism Awareness month.” “I would have liked to provide feedback - but I didn’t get a chance - I want respite care.” “It’s insulting and mean spirited, and very poor strategic planning from DEA,” Matt added. On April 6, Labour MP Poto Williams tabled a letter dated April 4 from DEA Services to parents, stating that underfunding meant it could not continue to provide services. In response, Mrs Wagner said DEA Services was being irresponsible. “I am incredibly disappointed that DEA Services has been so irresponsible as to cut services without notice.” The Johnston’s didn’t get that letter either. Neither has Clare Stonyer, whose son Vinny has severe autism and is in the same class as Mitchell. He also travels to Kimi Ora school from Wainuiomata. A solo parent, Clare gets 60
Clare Stonyer, with Matt and Cathy Johnston and their son Mitchell are not impressed with IDEA Services.
days respite care each year. She was shocked to find out about the respite care cuts, and she immediately rang DEA Services. “I panicked – I rang the 0800 number and the woman couldn’t answer any of my questions. She said she`d get back to me.” “I’m so stressed about it, with-
out respite care, I`d go crazy.” Clare had to stop work in August to focus on caring for Vinny, and is now on a caregivers benefit. Messages were left with IDEAServices’ communications manager Gina Rogers last Tuesday, but were not returned.
Hutt STEMM festival celebrates and showcases regions strengths The third Hutt STEMM Festival returns next month with Hutt City Council and other local organisations preparing a wide array of events celebrating science, technology, engineering, mathematics and manufacturing - or STEMM. Highlights of this year’s festival, starting May 6 and concluding May 21, include two breakfast talks focusing on the importance of women in tech leadership, and inspiring young women to get into the tech field. These breakfasts are
organised by the council and the Ministry for Women, and feature passionate speakers, including a CEO, a Managing Director, recruitment and education experts and a special guest from NASA. The festival is held in recognition of Lower Hutt’s local industries. It has grown each year from its first iteration in 2015 and will deliver a diverse range of activities. Some will appeal to and inspire kids and their families, while others will strengthen connections between
Remembers your service
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businesses and industry. This year it coincides with the nationwide initiative Techweek’17. Lower Hutt Mayor Ray Wallace says celebrating STEMM is integral to the economic future of the city. “The future is being built here in Lower Hutt. We have businesses and educators leading the nation in key fields and inspiring our young people. There are plenty of free events for students and kids, showing them how exciting the STEMM industries can be.”
Anzac Day programme
Tuesday 25th April 2017 6 am - Flag-raising at the Cenotaph, thereafter ﬂagraising at Hine Road Memorial Garden. 11 am - Civic Parade & and ceremony Parade participants should please muster at Fraser St and be ready to set off for the Cenotaph at 11 am.
IN YOUR AREA
We Will Remember Them
Between the breakfast talks and the new Innovative Young Minds programme Council is working on with Rotary Hutt City and Hutt Valley High School, Mr Wallace says he expects there will be plenty of bright young women considering further study and careers in STEMM.” Festival programmes are now available at the Wainuiomata Library or online at huttstemm. nz. They will also be delivered to local schools at the start of Term 2.
inbrief news Waiting for accommodation A tetraplegic woman has been forced to wait inside her van while the Ministry of Social Development tries to find her accommodation. Hutt Valley woman Queenie Matatahi said she has been bounced back and forth between Housing New Zealand and Work and Income as she tried to find a roof over her head. “All I want is for someone to give me a break,” she said. Queenie Matatahi has spent the last two days in the van, waiting to hear if emergency housing has been found for her. Matatahi has spent the past 16 years in a wheelchair and requires 24-hour care. She also suffers from anxiety and dysreflexia, a potentially life-threatening condition that affects people with spinal cord injuries.
Teen chased in stolen car A teen chased by police in a stolen car drove over the Valley Church lawn just before a church service was about to end on Sunday. The stolen Subaru also crashed into a white hatchback parked near the church around midday, and shunted it into another car. The vehicle belonged to church goers about to come out of the service. The teen then drove off, weaving off and on the pavement and footpath and popped the car’s tyres. A witness to the police chase said church goers would have almost certainly been hit if the incident had happened minutes later. The 15-year-old driver was finally stopped by police when driving on the car’s rims along Fitzherbert Rd, and taken to hospital with moderate injuries. Police closed the road between The Strand and the Fitzherbert Rd shops after the incident and referred the teen to Youth Aid.
Wainuiomata News 19-04-17