Sunday, 31 July 2011

New York Times Magazine article on research into treatment for Down syndrome

A New York Times Magazine article published on Friday features an interview by Dan Hurley with research scientist Dr Alberto Costa, from Denver, addresses the range of views about research into treatments for Down syndrome.  It highlights some of the directions research is currently taking, and the potential effects of competition for research funding.  Read it in full here.


Source: news website Disability Scoop under the Down syndrome tab

Saturday, 30 July 2011

COLOUR MY WORLD: regional NSW art competition

‘Colour My World’ Art Competition is open to people with a disability living in regional NSW and are currently attending a disability service.
Entry is free and all artwork must be the artist's original work. Paintings (in oil, acrylic, watercolour, pastel) and drawings are acceptable. Photographs can be entered.

Selected works (finalists) will be placed on display at

Ray Walsh House Foyer Gallery Tamworth
9th November to the 7th of December 2011

Total prize pool of $2,500 will be available.

Paintings and entry forms must be received by


Friday 14th October 2011
at Challenge Disability Services,Tamworth NSW 

Entry form and competition rules can be downloaded here.

Friday, 29 July 2011

Website of the week: Speech Pathology Australia

Speech Pathology Australia is the professional body for speech and language pathologists in Australia.  Its very user-friendly website includes a number of features accessible to the general public, including:
  • a searchable database of speech pathologists allows you to find a speech pathologist in a particular location, in public or private practice, who sees clients with a disability, and in a particular age group.  You can also search by names.
  • information on funding sources and rebates is included.
  • a book awards scheme with several categories - the 2011 shortlist is now available.
  

Who wants to know about Down syndrome?

Among a wide ranging training program, Learning Links has scheduled this workshop, Who wants to know about Down syndrome? for parents and early childhood professionals,

14th September, 2011 (6.00 - 8.30 pm)
Peakhurst

Presenters:  Frances Schembri and Siobhan Beavis

From the Learning Links training brochure:
This is a practical yet thought provoking workshop that aims to challenge perceptions about Down syndrome.  It brings the benefit of understanding and experience from both a family and professional perspective,Presenters will outline the impact of Down syndrome on children's learning and discuss ways to  to support families of chidlren who have Down syndrome.  Strategies for home and early childhood settings that assist these children to reach their potential in all developmental areas will be explored.


The 8 page brochure/registration form detailng Workshops for Professionals, Parents and Carers, July 2011 - December 2011 can be downloaded here.  Online booking is available.

Enquiries 8568 8200

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Reminder, and all dates for NSW-wide person-centred approaches consultations

Did you realise that 1st August is next Monday?  Where has 2011 gone ....  That means that the first of the month-long ADHC consultations on person-centred approaches to supporting people with disabilities in NSW, and funding services, will begin within days.  The full schedule of events for both families and separately for service providers across NSW is now available from the ADHC website, here.

The Lester Effect

Hastings (UK) is famous for 1066, Foyle's War, now for Lester Magoogan.  Lester  is not just skilled with an ink brush - he knows exactly what HE wants to do:

Lester draws with a Japanese brush pen, black ink on white paper. “This is black and white art,” he says. “I don’t like colours. Some person saying, Lester, do colour. No! This is not a way of draw colour, this art is black and white, as I’m doing. Go away, leave me alone, I’ll draw my life.”

... read the Hastings Online Times article on The ever growing world of Lester Magoogan.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Positive directions for lives of meaning and fulfilment

Hornsby - 5 September 2011

South Hurstville - 7 September 2011

About the Workshop:
Many families have said that they would like their son or daughter with disability to enjoy the same good, ordinary, opportunities as their other children but that they find this hard to achieve.

This new workshop considers why this is so and explores strategies for helping a person with disability to have a good life as part of their community. These strategies are:




  • having a positive vision for the future
  • working not just for community presence but also community participation and relationships and
  • assisting people to develop and sustain positive roles in their community by ‘looking the part’ and ‘acting the part’.
With NSW Government policy changing to enable people with disability and their families to have more control over their lives, now is a great time to be inspired!

Download a detailed flyer and registration details here.
July - September dates for other Resourcing Families workshops were posted here.

Monday, 25 July 2011

Disability plan to free new workforce

The Productivity Commission's report into the care of people with disabilities is due to be released later this week. We will hear much more on a National Disability Insurance Scheme over the next few days and weeks, as the report is analysed and responded to.  Today's Australian newspaper reports a statement from the Assistant Treasurer, Bill Shorten on the potential economic benefits.  Sue Dunlevy writes:

Australia could afford a $7 billion national disability insurance scheme if it were phased in over five to six years and it could free up a part-time workforce of 500,000 carers, says Assistant Treasurer Bill Shorten.   

A week before the Productivity Commission hands down its final report on the issue, Mr Shorten said the government had an appetite for the reform and gave his personal commitment to the scheme he said would be a test of "Labor values".

Delivering early intervention and proper disability services to people as a right could free up the nation's half a million full-time carers to work part-time, unlocking a massive new workforce as
a skills shortage gripped the nation.

In its draft report in March, the Productivity Commission called for a national disability insurance scheme to fund high-quality long-term care and support for people with a disability. It also called for a national injury insurance scheme to be established to provide lifelong care and support for those who suffered a catastrophic injury such as loss of limb or spinal cord damage.

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Arts opportunities in August

Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre is offering an arts program for individuals living with mild to moderate intellectual and physical disabilities, commencing on the 1st August, on the first Monday of each month. Details here.

Rozelle Neighbourhood Centre Leisure Options - term 3 begins 1st August. Classes in drama, music, dance, art. Details here.

Sydney Symphony Open Rehearsal, 2nd August, Olympic park. Details here.

Source: Accessible Arts NSW

Friday, 22 July 2011

Transition support for students with additional or complex needs and their families



This NSW Legistlative Council inquiry has been set up to inquire into and report on programs and services for children with additional and/or complex needs and their families during transitions between stages of education (the Inquiry's home page)

Individual students' and families' experiences are always useful to such inquiries - please consider telling the Inquiry about yours, what worked, what did not work, what could have been improved, how your student managed transitions in education, the impacts of transition periods on your family. Have your say about how the process of moving from preschool to school, between primary and high school, and/or out of high school has been managed.

Written submissions are open until 12th August.  All details of the terms of reference, how to make a submission, hearings and reporting are available from here.

Website of the week: Taz Paintings

A website to brighten the gloomy southern hemisphere winter weather:

Taz Fawley is a landscape and seascape painter living in Bristol, UK.  She has had several exhibitions,  and takes commissions.  Her gallery includes some Australian subjects, including the Twelve Apostles (a limestone formation off the Victorian coast), and lighthouses. 

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Walking the Walk….Eating the Choices

A new blog post, Walking the walk .... eating the choices from the very reliable Joan Medlen from Phronesis- Practical Wisdom demonstrates how she implements her sound healthy eating and nutritional advice in her own kitchen.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Wordless Wednesday

School Leavers Expo:

North Sydney
A Free Event - for students, parents/carers and  school staff to talk to service providers about post school pathways and options for students with a disability.

Find out about
• Transition to Work
• Community Participation
• Centrelink

Wednesday 24th August 2011
2:00pm – 5:30pm

Dougherty Community Centre
7 Victor St, Chatswood

For Further Information a go to:  http://ndco.cds.org.au/index.php/expos
Or contact:
Sue Werner on 9413 3400 or swerner@seds.org.au
Eileen Lyons 9416 1087 or eileen.lyons@det.nsw.edu.au
Belinda Crane 9416 1087 or belinda.crane@det.nsw.edu.au
Timothy Hart 8878 0514 or t.hart@sydney.edu.au


Post School Transition Planning Forums

Date: Wednesday 10th August

For Parents/Carers and School Staff

More information will be available from July at http://ndco.cds.org.au/

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Parents of children with disabilities: Ombudsman's final report from 2010 consultation

Between late May and August 2010, NSW Ombudsman staff consulted with over 300 parents and carers of children with disabilities across NSW. The focus of their discussions with families was their recent experience in seeking and obtaining specialist disability and mainstream services and supports.
In September 2010, the Ombudsman made a submission to the Legislative Council Inquiry into services provided or funded by ADHC, which outlined the main themes from the consultations, and indicated that he would produce a public report from that work following the detailed analysis of the information provided by families.


It highlights the key issues raised by parents and carers of children with disabilities in the consultations, acknowledges recent developments, and indicates the areas that the Ombudsman's office is pursuing with government agencies. A copy of the report has been provided to the relevant agencies and Ministers, and is being promoted widely to non-government agencies and families through community networks.

If you have any questions about the report, please contact Christine Flynn, Senior Investigation and Review Officer, on 9265 0410 or email cflynn@ombo.nsw.gov.au.

Mock my pants, not my sister: Dr Brian Skotko

The entirely fabulous Dr Brian Skotko (Boston Children's Hospital paediatrician and co-author of  Fasten Your Seatbelt: A Crash Course on Down Syndrome for Brothers and Sisters)  has responded brilliantly to a silly article recently published in the US edition of GQ magazine that made a thoughtless reference to Down syndrome when denigrating Bostonians' style credentials, stirring up much comment unfavourable to GQ.

Go ahead, GQ, and mock my blue whale-emblemed Nantucket-red pants. Laugh if you want at the loud argyles that I prefer to wear with my black suit. I don’t even care if you dismiss the sexy pink polka-dotted tie that I like to wear with my blue-checkered shirt in clinic. But, whatever you do, do not mess with my sister.

My sister, Kristin, has Down syndrome, and let me explain what “Style Down Syndrome” really is ... read on here (Children's Hospital Boston blog) or here (Brian Skotko's personal blog)

The online version of the GQ article has been removed because of the unfavourable response of readers.

And how about those pants?

Monday, 18 July 2011

Research on interaction with play therapists in hospitals

Sarah has asked us to advertise her survey so that children with disabilities are represented in her research:

Hospital Play Therapy

Parents:
  • Has your child experienced hospitalisation?
  • Are they aged between 0-12 years?
  • Have you and/or your child been involved with Hospital Play Therapists?
If you answered Yes to the above questions, you are invited to participate in a research study looking at the partnerships between hospital play therapists and families.
Your experiences will provide valuable insight into the existing partnerships and will aid in creating positive hospital experiences for young children.

If you are interested please follow this link https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/PVYLDG2 for more information.

Sarah Scott
E: sarah.scott@students.mq.edu.au
Ph: 0425 225 050

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Eastern Sydney Speak Up Group Information Session

IDEAS NSW invites people with an intellectual or learning disability, their supporters and any interested service providers to attend the Speak Up Group Information Session.

The goal of the Speak Up Group is to provide an opportunity for people with an intellectual disability to get together and talk about Human Rights and self advocacy skills, as well as to make new friends and socialise.

So far IDEAS has had the help of a great pilot group who have contributed to the development of this project, including identifying topics and issues that might be important to people with disabilities, and in developing resources.

The information session is an opportunity to learn about the objectives of the group and how it will be run. Members of the pilot group will also be there to share their thoughts and experiences of the project. IDEAS NSW will also ask people for their thoughts about the best way to plan and run the Speak Up Groups in the future. Some of the topics that the group can cover in the future include Human Rights, communication skills, making complaints and finding out where to get help.

Thursday 28 July 2011
2pm – 4pm

Meeting Room 2, Level 2 Mill Hill Centre, 31-35 Spring St, Bondi Junction
Afternoon tea will be provided.

If you would like to come along or would like more information please call Rachel at IDEAS on 1800 029 904 or email RachelSpencer@ideas.org.au

Spark 2011 Creative Arts Festival

This festival is designed to allow people with a disability the chance to find their voice through the creative outlets of music, dance, art and performance. In a positive and safe environment, people with a disability can come together to share their stories, interests and ideas and be given the opportunity to share their experiences.
Held over three days, people with a disability will work and interact with professional and accomplished community artists who have been drawn from numerous artistic mediums to provide workshops throughout SPARK.

The aim of the workshops will be to take every festival participant through a series of sessions including the process and production of an original CD recording. Each step in the process will build skills and encourage each individual to tap into their creativity.

Professional artists will be presenting workshops and performing for the festival participants as well as working side by side and in support of participants. On the final day of the SPARK Festival the people with a disability will have the opportunity to express their skills through a performance and presentation.

Wednesday 26 October to Friday 28 October
Tops Conference Centre, Stanwell Tops.

For more information and registration please click on the following link: http://thejunctionworks.org/news-events/events/spark-2011-creative-arts-festival-0

Source:  IDEAS e-News Issue 22, July 2011

Friday, 15 July 2011

Gray, green and gold


Interview with Joshua Gray, Special Olympics World Games muliple medallist in gymnastics, and his proud grandfather, in the Australian Jewish News.

Webinars coming up

A number of webinars (seminars conducted via the internet) on a wide range of topics about people with Down syndrome are coming up, from international organisations. Some offer live sessions during the day for Australian time zones, others are post permanent links to video of the presentations. Most make documents about the content available online. Some are free, and there is a small charge for others.

Boston Children's Hospital Speakers Program
The excellent Down Syndrome Program of Speakers for Parents is now in its second year at Boston Children's Hospital. Each event is webcast live, with the talk then being made freely available online to access at any time, bringing a world class expert to your computer. A few days afterwards, notes and handouts are posted, along with the online video.

All links and schedules are available here.

Already available online from the 2011 series:
Postsecondary Education, Employment and National Service
Breastfeeding and Down Syndrome
Dental Issues in DS and Orthodontics in DS
Autism and Down Syndrome
Complex Care Needs and Down Syndrome

Coming up:
September 6, Cynthia Haddad, and John Nadworny on Financial Planning for Families
October 24, Margaret Kenna and Lisa Walker on Hearing/Audiologic Concerns and Down Syndrome
November 1, JoAnn Simons, on Transitions for Young Adults with Down Syndrome
December 12, Priscilla Osborne and Jessica Konter on Gross Motor Skills and Down Syndrome

Down Syndrome Education International has reached the final stages in its current reading research with children with Down syndrome, and is offering an online event. Read about the preliminary findings and publication plans here.

Find out more at the free online event:
20 July 2011 6.30pm Sydney time
Register here.

Proloquo2go
The producers of the very popular communication app Proloquo2go are planning two series of free webinars during the northern hemishpere summer - one for professionals, and one for families.
Descriptions of the content, the schedules and online registrations are available here.

Developmental Disabilities and Challenging Behaviour: Research to Practice and Policy - Conference

30 September 2011
Camperdown campus, University of Sydney

The Faculty of Health Sciences and Brain and Mind Research Institute, University of Sydney in association with the NSW Council for Intellectual Disability is pleased to announce the conference: "Developmental Disabilities and Challenging Behaviour: Research to Practice and Policy”.

Leading international and Australian researchers will present the latest developments in supporting challenging behaviours in people with autism spectrum disorders and intellectual disability. Strategies for gaining government support to implement proper services will also be a focus.
This conference will benefit those working with people with developmental disabilities in community and health settings, as well as research students and academics, and clinical practitioners.
Registrations will open in July 2011
Enquiries can be directed to: Imelda Noti Imelda.noti@sydney.edu.au  or Prof. Stewart Einfeld, Convenor stewart.einfeld@sydney.edu.au  
More information can be found here.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Down Syndrome NSW Office closed Friday 15th July for one day

The Down Syndrome NSW office at Harris Park will be closed tomorrow,
Friday 15th July while some building repairs are carried out. 
Business will resume as usual on Monday 18th.

Living life my way: Person centred approaches consultations, August 2011 (ADHC)

From Ageing, Disability and Home Care, on the scheduled Person centred approaches consultations, launched with a 2 day summit last week.  Consultations will be held across NSW.  We urge families to have their say, either by attending a local consultation meeting or by making a submission.  Individual families' points of view and stories are an important part of this process.  More information is available on the ADHC website:

Message from the Minister about Living life my way

Register to attend a consultation
Consultations with people with a disability, their families and carers, as well as workshops with service providers will be held from 1 August to 2 September 2011 at a range of locations around the state.
The consultation sessions will involve small focus group discussions with people with a disability, their families and carers so that every participant has an opportunity to have their say.
To register to attend, visit www.pcasummit.net or call (02) 4984 2554.

 

How to make a submission

You can make a submission by:
  • Email: pcaconsultations@dhs.nsw.gov.au
  • Post:
    Manager, Person Centred Approaches
    Ageing, Disability and Home Care
    Department of Family and Community Services
    Level 5, 83 Clarence Street
    Sydney NSW 2000
If you require assistance to make a submission or would like further information about other opportunities to participate in the consultation process, please contact the Person Centred Approaches Team on (02) 8270 2132.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Disability in education follow-up survey - input to talks with Australian Government

Here's an oportunity to have a say on education and students with disabilities, by completing an online survey:

The Australian Youth Affairs Coalition (AYAC) recently conducted a survey on the Disability Standards for Education and these results were shared with to the Government. Since then, the Federal Government announced $200 million extra funding for school students with disabilities.

AYAC will be meeting with the Minister for Youth and Schools Education on 11 August this year. That's why we would like to hear your views on education and disability so that we can present them to decision-makers so that they can better support you.

Your answers will remain anonymous, so please take 5-10 minutes to complete the survey - or pass it on to your friends and your networks.


The survey closes Friday 29 July.

Website of the week: Down's Heart Group

About half of all babies born with Down syndrome also have  congenital heart condition (commonly known as a 'hole in the heart').  While almost all of those conditions will be corrected by surgery or will heal without interference, dealing with a heart condition, with heart surgery and other treatment is often overwhelming for parents, and Down syndrome might be a secondary consideration while it is taken care of. A very few congenital heart conditions will be ongoing, and the availability of ongoing support for families is important.

Down's Heart Group is a long-established UK  charitable organisation that provides information and support specifically about the range of heart conditions that can occur in people with Down syndrome of all ages. 


Information is provided from a parent's perspective, and  checked for accuracy with appropriate medical professionals. It includes the expected qualification that "... information provided on this website is to assist with understanding only and should never be used as a substitute for professional medical opinion.

While some information is specific to the UK, much of it is useful to families anywhere.

This well researched website can complement support offered in relation to Down syndrome alone and to heart conditions alone, at times when both or either can be very challenging for families.

Self-directed funding - learning from the Canadians

Resourcing Families is a new initiative of Family Advocacy.

Creating Inclusive Lives – the Canadian Experience
This workshop is for families, friends and professionals interested in creating rich inclusive lives for people with developmental disability.

The workshop gives you the opportunity to:
· learn from many years of experience in self directed funding in Canada
· hear about strategies to build inclusive communities
· explore opportunities for post school life
· understand the value and importance of a vision in creating a rich life

This one day workshop includes presentations by family members and professionals who have a long history of supporting inclusion and self directed funding in Canada. It is a wonderful opportunity to learn directly from a large group of people who have experienced many years of self-directed funding in Canada, and will be particularly helpful as the NSW government has committed to making self-directed funding an options for all support by 1 July 2014.

Thursday 18th August 2011
Ryde Eastwood RSL Club, West Ryde

Registrations and payments must be received by 4th August 2011

Further information on the impressive list of speakers and options for concurrent sessions is available from the flyer/registration form, and from the Resourcing Families website.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Apps 2

 
Apps for Literacy Support - Greg O'Connor from Spectronics has created a list of Apps for iPad and iPod Touch/iPhone that support the literacy needs of people who struggle with reading and writing. Included in the list are Apps to support reading text, writing, note taking, organisation and study.



Apps for children with special needs is a website allowing users to see apps in action before you buy, via video demonstrations.


Lillie's Pad is a blog about iPad and iPhone resources designed for and/or used by children with disabilities.

For earlier listings, re-visit this post from 18/06/2011

Lake Cargellico fundraiser for Down Syndrome NSW

Coden Stenhouse is just eighteen months old, but but he is already well known and loved in his home town of Lake Cargellico in the Riverina.The Tullibigeal Lakes United Sharks rugby league club held a very successful charity day on 26th June, with more than $12,500 raised for Down Syndrome NSW! The local community really got behind the day, at which Coden was the mascot, in his own tailor made Sharks jersey. 

Coden with his cousins, Jaden and Tenayah Kelly modelling the charity jerseys that were so succesfully auctioned on the day. 


The event was big news in the Lakes News. Coden is pictured with his Mum, Deanna.

Organiser Kerry Amoamo reports that the weather was perfect, the crowd huge and the auction of football jerseys awesome, under the gavel of Dasher Frankel. Coden had a great day, along with his little friend from Condobolin, Jock. Junior, senior and first grade matches between the Sharks and the West Wyalong Mallee men entertained the crowd.

Funds were also raised through a raffle and donations. Kel's Kitchens provided the much appreciated coffee, and donated the proceeds.

Our grateful thanks to the community of Lake Cargellico and Tullibigeal for your generosity and support for the organisation, and for Coden and his family.

More photos are in the Down Syndrome NSW Facebook album, Lake Cargellico - 2011

Help test a new online program, to teach behaviour management skills

From the Parenting Research Centre (which provides the Raising Children Network among its other activities):

 
One of our research projects is seeking parents of children aged 3-9 with a developmental delay or intellectual disability and difficult behaviour to participate in the trial of an exciting new online program called the Behaviour Skills Builder.

 
Parents of children with special needs who are finding their child’s behaviour difficult to manage are welcome to participate.

Behaviour Skills Builder is free, can be done online in your own time and only takes 30 minutes each week for 6 weeks to complete the online component. Parents will be able to:
  • gain a better understanding of why certain behaviours occur
  • tailor a plan specifically to suit their child
  • try out strategies with their child in between online sessions.
Information about the project is available here. To find out how to take part, contact the team on behaviourskills@parentingrc.org.au

Monday, 11 July 2011

Swimming lessons - inner west Sydney

Kathleen Collins (Emily’s Mum) has organised a Learn to Swim Program  in collaboration with Special Olympics Inner West.

Starts Saturday , 23rd July (Term 3)

Cost is $80 per term with one on one fully qualified Swim Instructors.

Time slots are half hour lessons from 1pm - 4pm every Saturday during school terms.

Where: Annette Kellerman Aquatic Centre, Marrickville (great new pool)

You must be registered with Special Olympics to take advantage of this offer. Limited places are available.

Contact Kathleen on 0405 100 753 or email kath2012@tpg.com.au

The Tricky Bits : Bolshy Divas submission to Productivity Commission

This submission to the Productivity Commission Inquiry into a Disability Care and Support Scheme must have been a refreshing change for the Commissioners and bureaucrats.  It's intent and arguments are every bit as serious and valid as the more usual formats for such submissions. 

Sunday, 10 July 2011

They're home!

Most of the Special Olympics Australia team returned from the World Games in Greece late last week.  Here are some of the athletes we have been following, rejoining their families at Sydney airport, with a a very warm welcome home:
They look pleased to be back, after a a wonderful experience. Our congratulations and thanks again to the communications team and photographers who have allowed us to share in their experiences.

Friday, 8 July 2011

Have your say about the new (Australian Government) Supported Accommodation Innovation Fund

Individuals and community groups now have the opportunity to provide feedback on the draft Program Guidelines for the Supported Accommodation Innovation Fund initiative.

This $60 million initiative, spanning three years will help build innovative, community-based supported accommodation places for people with disability.

This funding will be used to create 150 new places to help address the need for accommodation and respite places for people with severe or profound disability, their carers and families. Projects could include renovations to existing homes, pooled resources to build contemporary accommodation services close to community and health services or the modification of existing accommodation within the community.

The draft Program Guidelines are now available on the FaHCSIA website, along with details about how you can make a submission. Your feedback will help shape the final Program Guidelines to be released later in 2011.

Comments will be accepted by email only, and submissions close on 25th July 2011.

Source:  FaHCSIA

Website of the week: paulakluth.com

Dr Paula Kluth was in Sydney in March, presenting workshops on inclusive schooling for Family Advocacy.  Several Down Syndrome NSW members attended the workshops and found them excellent. Renowned for her work related to educating children with autism, her ideas and strategies for differentiating instruction are applicable much more broadly. 


paulakluth.com has been redesigned and relaunched recently, and is well worth a bookmark and a regular check-in for new ideas and information:
  • it is bright and welcoming (those pencils look delightfully well-used!)
  • the content is excellent - there is a bank of very useful free articles, and much more
  • navigation is easy
  • the blog is updated regularly, including a 'tip of the day'
  • a direct link to her Facebook page is provided (where she  posts a website of the week, each Wednesday, among other posts)
The website introduction:

This website is dedicated to promoting inclusive schooling and exploring positive ways of supporting students with autism and other disabilities. Most of my work involves collaborating with schools to create environments, lessons and experiences that are inclusive, respectful and accessible for all learners.

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Parents of disabled children rebel against suspensions

From page 1 of today's Sydney Morning Herald, a report about legal action being taken by NSW parents about the use/misuse of suspension policies when students have disabilities.  Readers are invited to submit their own experiences:

Parents of disabled students are taking the Education Department to court alleging discrimination, saying their children are being punished for their disability by being suspended from school.

One boy from Wagga Wagga, with a mild intellectual disability and emotional disorder, was suspended three times for a total of 80 days as an eight-year-old. He is now 10 and his mother last month filed a $50,000 damages claim against the department in the Federal Court.

His lawyer, Phillip French, the director of the NSW Disability Discrimination Legal Centre, said the boy was effectively ''left with no education at all, not even home schooling''.

 ... read more of Andrew Stevenson's article.

School-Link newsletter June/July 2011 online now

The June/July 2011 edition of The Children’s Hospital at Westmead’s School-Link newsletter on mental health and intellectual disability in children and adolescents is now available to download from the School-Link website



Highlights include:
· Identifying factors that impede training and service development for mental health of children and adolescents with intellectual disability by Associate Professor David Dossetor

· Discovering the possibilities with visual strategies: A Training Day with Linda Hodgdon by Anders Hansson

· Running Group Stepping Stones Triple P within a school - How Successful is it? by Michelle Jewell

· The medicine cabinet : fluoxetine and autism by Judith Longworth

· AAC apps-speaking APPropriately by Jane Farrall

· Upcoming training, reviews, reading list, resources and more!

After school — what then?

Family Advocacy Workshops: regional NSW

This workshop is about preparing and planning towards life after school for students with disability and ongoing support needs. It is suitable for families of students with disability who are approaching the end of high school
  • Mudgee
  • Dubbo
  • Cobar
  • Broken Hill 
Week of August 29 - September 2nd

Phone:02 9869 0866 or 1800 620 588 (NSW non metro callers). Email: workshops@family-advocacy.com  

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Resourcing Families: information sessions

Resourcing Families is an initiative of Family Advocacy that provides information and ideas about building informal supports, establishing networks and developing, implementing, directing and sustaining individualised, self managed supports.
About the information session

Resourcing Families will be running information sessions across NSW to discuss how people with developmental disability and their families can have more control over their lives and opportunities to pursue their dreams.

Information sessions will be taking place in:

Warren 27th of July
Dubbo 27th and 28th of July
Mudgee 29th of July
Queanbeyan 1st of September

Ph: 02 9869 7753 or 1800 774 764 (NSW non metro callers) Email: info@resourcingfamilies.org.au

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Response to news article on inclusive education

Two letters-to-the-editor were published in Monday's Sydney Morning Herald,  in response to the weekend article about including children with disabilities in mainstream classrooms, under the heading Question left questions on special needs children (scroll quite a way down the page), and two replies today, under the heading The question is can teachers speak out?

Bronwyn Thompson

Sadly, Down Syndrome NSW member Bronwyn Thompson passed away on Sunday night after a sudden illness. Bronwyn was loving grandmother to young Flynn Edwards (4), and mother to DSNSW vice-president Hannah Edwards.

In the short time in which she has been involved with Down Syndrome NSW, Bronwyn has made a big impact.

With her husband Geoff, their Team MOG entry in the TUFF TRUCK challenge (2009 – 2011) has raised close to $20,000 in just 3 years and gained great local publicity for Down Syndrome NSW on the north coast.

As well as being a dedicated fundraiser, Bronwyn has worked hard in her gentle and unassuming way to improve understanding and acceptance of people with Down syndrome in her community – and her grandson Flynn has been a wonderful ambassador.

Bronwyn and Geoff generously hosted the UP!Club on their property near Taree last year, and many UP!Clubbers will have fond memories of Bronwyn’s warm hospitality.

Bronwyn will be a sadly missed member of the Down Syndrome NSW family. Bronwyn’s funeral will be held this Friday in Taree.

Special Olympics World Games 2011, Greece: closing ceremony

What a wonderful event - the 2011 Special Olympics World Games came to a spectacular close in Athens this morning (Sydney time) after a final 'super Sunday' of competition - 129 photos are already up on the Special Olympics Australia Flickr Photostream which has kept us so well supplied with fabulous images throughout the Games.

Here is Nick Lorenz at the closing ceremony with some mates, in a news wrap of the Games: Athletes celebrate as Special Olympics draw to close

Congratulations to all at Special Olympics Australia and all 130 Australian team members on their participation and the many medals they won - we can see that you have had the time of your lives.

All the news, results, video highlights from every day of the event, and anything else you might want to know about Australia's experience of the Games is available through the Special Olympics Australia World Games website.


We know the Australian athletes aren't even home yet, but where are the next Special Olympics World Games?

Los Angeles, USA in 2015

Person Centred Active Support – One Day Workshops: Wagga Wagga and Bathurst

The Australasian Society for Intellectual Disability (ASID) will be presenting a one day interactive workshop on Person Centred Active Support and how it can be incorporated into the everyday support of people with disabilities and the benefits that are being achieved by people with disabilities.

Active Support is a way of organising how support is provided to people with disability in community based accommodation and similar services and provides the tools to implement true person centred planning in meaningful everyday activities.

WAGGA WAGGA
27th July 2011
9.30am to 4.00pm
Charles Sturt University, Gulballanna Room C

BATHURST
25th July 2011
9.30am to 4.00pm
Charles Sturt University, James Hardie Dining Hall

Cost: $55.00 (inclusive GST)
To reserve your place, please email to request a registration form to: Tiana Sartor, by 18th July 2011, debtors@kurrajongwaratah.org.au

Source: IDEAS NSW E-News, Issue 21, June 2011

Buddy Walk - Australia 2011: dates, early bird registration and T shirt orders

It's time to start organising for Buddy Walk - Australia again.  Let's hope for some better weather for the Sydney, Canberra and Wagga Wagga events this year!


WAGGA WAGGA: SATURDAY 15th OCTOBER

SYDNEY: SUNDAY 16th OCTOBER

NEWCASTLE: SUNDAY 16th OCTOBER

CANBERRA: SATURDAY 22nd OCTOBER

Note: To take part in the walk, please register. All registered walkers will be sent an Event Kit with map and full details of walk and picnic.

* Early bird special: T-Shirts ONLY $15 until 26th August (Note: orders must be received in the office by close of business on Friday 26th August)

* T-Shirts $22 from 27th August until 23rd September (Please note the 23rd September is the final cut off date for ALL t-shirt orders. NO T-Shirt orders will be taken after the 23rd September).

Click here to download a registration form and apparel order now. Online registration will be available shortly.

Registrations will remain open up until the day of the event.

For all enquiries, contact Priscilla at Down Syndrome NSW on 9841 4404 or  Priscilla@dsansw.org.au



Monday, 4 July 2011

Proloquo2go: free webinars starting in July

The producers of the very popular communication app Proloquo2go are planning two series of free webinars during the northern hemisphere summer (commencing later in July) - one for professionals, and one for families.

Descriptions of the content, the schedules and online registrations are available here.

Should children with special needs be taught in a mainstream class?

Fairfax newspapers this weekend carried a debate on inclusive education, presenting the views of

Senator Sue Boyce, a Lberal senator for Queensland and parent of an adult daughter with Down syndrome.

Bob Buckley, convenor of Autism Aspergers Advocacy Australia

Dr Kirsty Young, a senior lecturer in education at the University of Technology, Sydney

Karen Pakula, a Sydney writer and parent

Read it online here

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Determination, persistence, positive attitudes, fun, celebration and medals continue at SO World Games

A day of medals and celebration (and dancing!) for our "familiar faces" in Athens (all of these links are to the Special Olympics Australia Flickr Photostream):

Nick Lorenz enjoying his singles match against Germany. Nick Lorenz celebrates with his family after winning Bronze in the Men's Singles at the Tennis. Renee Belleggia and Nick Lorenz win Silver in the Mixed Doubles. Nick Lorenz dances the Macarena with other tennis athletes and volunteers at a dance party on centre court after the days play.

Alex Hayes - Australia have proved a force to be reckoned with at Athen's Glyfada Golf Course. Alex tees off.  Every member of the Australian golf team won a medal and today they received them and celebrated Alex is proudly displaying his silver medal (centre front).

Softball champs. The softball team (including Mel Eustace centre front and Andrew Mujunen draped in flag) took bronze in a tough division and their fun-loving spirit and never-say-die attitude was fantastic.  Mel and teammate Peter heading for the podium.

For a particularly up close look at persistence and determination, have a look at this sequence of four photos of Ederson Idrogo from Peru finishing his walking event. The caption reads in part that in "..a very Special Olympics moment,  the 23 year old ... showed a large crowd in the Stadium today what SO is all about."

Saturday, 2 July 2011

Australia's softballers all heart in Athens

Just look at these three (especially the ones on green and gold)!

Two dance events for July

Dance to the Nines Event!
is a night for people over18, with a disability. Get your dancing shoes on and dance to a live band!

Friday 15 July 2011
6-9pm

Doughtery Community Centre,
7 Victor Street, Chatswood

FREE! Light refreshments provided.
Bookings essential: call 9777 7975

* * * * * * * * * *


Everyone Can Dance Social Event!

Sunday the 17th of July
Campbelltown City Bowl

If you would like to attend, please email Tara Grech on tara_grech@hotmail.com  or call (02) 4655 7711.

For more information about Everyone Can Dance, please visit the website: http://everyonecandance.com.au

Friday, 1 July 2011

Better Start: amended Fact Sheet from Carers Australia

Carers Australia (the registering body) has released an amended Fact Sheet on the Better Start for Children with a Disability Initiative.

The amendment addresses an error about the upper age limit for registration in the original document:

The funding must be expended by the child's 7th birthday, BUT REGISTRATION MUST OCCUR BEFORE THE CHILD’S 6TH BIRTHDAY.

Registrations for Better Start open from today with Carers NSW via Freecall 1800 242 636, or visit the Better Start website for more detailed information about the registration process.