Pave the Way info session

Focal are hosting a free information session for parents and carers, on Sat 14 Nov, from 10am-1pm at their Ipswich office.  Focal arrange multiple different information sessions throughout the year- I have attended several, and have found them to be very well-organised and helpful.  I recommend joining their email list to keep up-to-date with what’s on.

This information session is run by Pave the Way, and is called “Planning for Now, Tomorrow and the Future”.  This presentation is available frequently throughout the year, in different places as listed on their website.  I found the information shared to be very useful- rather than playing ostrich about our loved one’s future, it is possible to plan a good life for them, and Aimee explained about some of the tools available to help with this, including normal and Enduring Powers of Attorney, Guardianship and Administration, wills, trusts, Special Disability Trusts etc.

Full information available in the flyer below.

Pave the Way Flyer _2015-10-14

Communication about disabilities

Disability Services Queensland has put together some great resources about how to communicate with people with disabilities, and additional tips about guide/hearing/assistance dogs.  Towards the bottom of the page, there are several links- two in particular are exceptional.

The first is “A way with words: Guidelines for the portrayal of people with a disability”.

The purpose of this booklet is to promote inclusiveness and the fair and accurate portrayal of people with a disability.  It is intended as an aid for professional communicators, such as journalists, writers, producers and broadcasters, and provides suggestions for appropriate language, interviewing techniques and media coverage involving people with a disability.  

While that description does sound rather dry, the booklet is very engaging and readable, with great cartoon illustrations throughout.  Some of the recommendations include emphasising individuality (eg emotions, interests, problems, talents, frustrations, faults and roles), not disability; avoiding superhuman or excessively emotive portrayals, and not focusing on the person’s disability unless it is important to the story. There is also a list of words to avoid, with acceptable alternatives.  One suggestion given was to use the phrase “uses a wheelchair” instead of “confined to a wheelchair” or “wheelchair bound”, because a wheelchair provides mobility, not restriction.

The other link that I found useful was the Medical Signing Board.  There are Yes/No/I Don’t Know options across the top, front and back models of the body in the middle, 15 options for medical issues on the left (eg hot, cold, vomit, headache, bleeding, broken, seizure), 12 communication options on the right (eg need more information, call someone, worried, too loud, hungry), and a visual 1-10 pain scale at the bottom.  The second page lists some things paramedics might do (eg blood pressure, take temperature, bandage, medicine), a short social story, visuals for wait/be still/calm down, and some interaction tips for the paramedics.  Very thorough- wish I’d had this for Abi’s last admission!

Buddy Bench

This lovely idea is a great way to minimise bullying and increase inclusion.  A young boy, having seen a similar idea at a school overseas, raised it with his principal and school board, who agreed to implement it.  Kids who feel lonely at recess can sit on this bench, and be invited to play or walk with others.  The website has several different strategies with which the benches can be used- Christian’s Buddy Bench.

Brisbane subsidised shared cabs

Brisbane City Council organises shared taxis at scheduled times for residents who find it difficult to get to their local shops.  To be eligible for this service, you must be over 60, mobility impaired, or a Pensioner/Senior Card holder- and you may be accompanied by a carer or a child under your care.  Costs $1-$3 each way, and covers many suburbs and shopping centres.  Looks like a very helpful scheme- may be worth asking if similar opportunities are available in other cities.

Autism and SN Guides Qld and beyond

One of the incredibly resourceful ladies I’ve had the privilege of “meeting” through Facebook has put together two very indepth resource guides that she is keen for people to share wherever they would be useful.

A Resource Guide & Ideas for Therapists, Teachers, Parents and Carers working with people with Special Needs- covers a multitude of topics, and is well worth checking out.

The Queensland Autism Parents Handbook is 101 pages and is a comprehensive guide to autism services, support, tips and ideas for Qld. The book is most relevant to Qld but is a valuable source of info wherever you live.