News in Brief Archive

 

Mixability Youth Circus - Where the focus is on circus ability not disability

After the success of the free Mixability Youth Circus holiday workshops Westside Circus is offering a workshop program during Term 4.

They encourage young people with and without disabilities to work together, face their fears, have FUN and gain new circus and physical skills. Circus activities are adapted to individual needs ensuring all participants overcome physical challenges, increase social connection and improve personal wellbeing.

Workshops will lead to homebodies, a promenade performance in June 2014 by young people of mixed abilities.

Workshops will be running on Sundays and are open to young people with disabilities and their siblings, together with a parent/carer in the following 3 groups:

8 – 12 years
When: Sundays 10:30am-12pm;
Oct 13th, Oct 27th, Nov 10th, Nov 24th, Dec 8th
Cost: $90 per child
 
6 – 12 years
When: Sundays 10:30am-12pm;
Oct 20th, Nov 3rd, Nov 17th, Dec 1st (no class), Dec 15th
Cost: $70 per child
 
13 – 25 years
Oct 13th, Oct 27th, Nov 10th, Nov 24th, Dec 8th
Cost: $90 per child

Venue: Warehouse 2/29 Cameron Street, Brunswick VIC 3056
Payment options are available.
Please note: unfortunately the venue does not currently have wheelchair accessible toilets.

For more information please email: info@westsidecircus.org.au or call 9383 2299; or visit their website: www.westsidecircus.org.au

Posted 03/10/13

 

Schools Blind Cricket Come & Try Programme -Coaching/Clinic Day

The Victorian Blind Cricket Association extends an invitation for all blind and vision impaired primary and secondary school students to attend the 2013 Annual Schools Blind Cricket Programme. Attendees will learn the art of blind cricket through a range of activities and games designed specifically to help students with a vision impairment to have fun, develop age appropriate sporting skills, improve hand eye / hand ear coordination and orientation and mobility skills as well as learning to be part of a team where they experience success from a young age. Parents / guardians, visiting teacher and other service providers are also encouraged to attend the day.

If you would like to attend this programme registration is essential by completing and returning the registration and permission / medical forms by Friday 11th October 2013. The forms and additional information can be obtained from the VBCA Web Site link: http://www.vbca.org.au/clinic.php

When: Wednesday 23rd October from 9.30am to 2.30pm
Where: Charlie Bradley Cricket Pavilion, Victorian Blind Cricket Association grounds
454 Glenferrie Road, Kooyong (at the rear of Vision Australia)
Cost: $5 which includes morning tea and a sausage sizzle lunch

Further information about this day can be obtained by contacting Rod Pritchard by phone on (BH) 8842 5878, (AH) 9754 7308, (Mob) 0401 718 926 or email to pritchardrojo@bigblue.net.au.

Schools Blind Cricket Flyer
(75KB, doc)

posted 27/09/13

National data collection for students with disability goes live - VEOHRC

Currently there is only limited and inconsistent information available at a national level about school students with disability, their educational needs and the support provided to them. Better information about school students with disability will assist teachers, principals and education authorities to support their participation in schooling on the same basis as students without disability.

All Australian governments have agreed to work together to implement a new annual national data collection on school students with disability. This data collection process is being phased in over a three-year period from 2013–2015. The first two years will be a transition period. This means that all schools will begin preparing for the collection from 2013.

In 2015, the first full national collection of data on school students with disability will take place in all Australian schools. From then on, this data collection will occur in every school, every year, along with other school data collections.

For further information about the national collection of data on Australian school students with disability, please visit www.deewr.gov.au/students-disability.

For information about the Commission's work in the area of students with a disability visit humanrightscommission.vic.gov.au.

Posted 25/09/13

Behavioural Neurotherapy Clinic Webinars

The Behavioural Neurotherapy Clinic have recently launched online webinars. You can now learn about Autism from your home computer.
Topics include:
Managing Challenging Behaviour
How to teach children with Autism new skills
Increasing language in preverbal children

The Behavioural Neurotherapy Clinic is a FaHCSIA Autism Panel Provider - See more at: www.autism.net.au and www.adhd.com.au or phone: 9848 9100.

Posted 23/09/13

2013 CARE Melton Expo

Over 40 exhibitors, who deliver support, services or resources to carers, people with a disability or older people within the City of Melton. Free entry, relaxation workshops, refreshments and entertainment provided.
When: Wednesday October 16th 2013 from 10am to 2pm
Where: Melton Community Hall, 232 High Street, Melton.
For enquiries call 9747 7200 or visit www.melton.vic.gov.au/CARE

2013 CARE Melton Expo Flyer (636KB, PDF)

Posted 23/09/13

 

Siblings events
The  Big Weekend

Amaze will once again be running The Big Weekend this year.  The camp will run from Friday 18th  to Monday 21st  October at the Portsea Camp for Siblings aged 11 – 18 who have a brother or sister with ASD.  Please follow the link below for more information and registration details:
http://www.amaze.org.au/2013/08/big-weekend-registrations-now-open/

Little Dreamers Annual Trivia Night

The annual Little Dreamers Trivia Night is on Sunday 29 September at 7.30 pm at the Armadale Bowls Club.  Little Dreamers provide dream experiences for siblings and young carers.  For more details about their upcoming Trivia Night, please see the attached flyer.

Little Dreamers Flyer (234,KB, PDF)

MOIRA and “Purple Soup”  Sibling Camp

Moira in Partnership with “Purple Soup” will be running a Sibling Camp for siblings aged 7 – 17 years from November 8th  – 10th  at Portsea Camp.  Bookings close on the 4th October. There will also be an Incredible Race Day at Albert Park  before the camp event for siblings to get to know each other. Please see the attached flyer for more information. 

MOIRA Camp Flyer (274KB, PDF)


Posted 23/09/13

 

Launch of a new resource to support the mental wellbeing of parents of children with a disability

Wednesday 9th October 2013, 6-8pm, Malthouse Theatre

The University of Melbourne and the Royal Children’s Hospital have partnered with parents to develop a new resource for DisabilityCare Australia to support the mental wellbeing of parents of children with a disability.

‘Supporting the Mental Wellbeing of Parents of Children with a Disability’ will be launched by Bruce Bonyhady, Chair of DisabilityCare Australia, at the Malthouse Theatre and will be accompanied by a theatrical performance that captures the experiences of parents of children with a disability.

Places are limited, RSVP 1st October to Rahila Christian rahila.christian@unimelb.edu.au

Invitation flyer (710KB PDF)

Posted 23/9/13

Keys to Success Program (KSP) conference  - More Choice! VALID conference & expo

Thurs 17th & Friday 18th of October 2013 at Bell City Event Centre, 215 Bell St, Preston.
 
Highlights include:

Update on the roll out of the NDIS & Disability Care Australia.
Creating flexible accommodation options.
How Housing Choices Australia provides support with managing and developing housing projects.
Promoting Choice and Control -The value of Peer Support & using technology to support it.
How to develop Circles of Support for people with disabilities. What works and key issues to be aware of.
Supporting people to make decisions using a new website.
Update on the OPA Supported Decision Making project.
 
PLUS the Expo: aimed at empowering people with disabilities and families with options for purchasing flexible supports and  a range of services to compare and consider for those already managing their supports.
 
Refer to the link for the program information & registration form: KSP Conf & Expo (1.45MB, PDF)

For more information contact VALID on 9416 4003 or email: christine@valid.org.au
Web: www.valid.org.au

posted 21/08/13

 

Reclink Australia -first point of call for sport & recreation opportunities

Following the Victorian Government’s recent restructure of the Access for All Abilities (AAA) program, the Minister of Sport and Recreation Hugh Delahunty recently announced that Reclink Australia will receive funding over the next two years to provide a first point of call service to connect people with a disability to sport and recreation opportunities.

An important objective of the AAA Program is to increase participation opportunities for people with a disability to get actively involved in sport and recreation.

As an 'opportunity broker' this service will ensure that pathways to sport and recreation opportunities exist beyond the point of referral.

Reclink Australia is proud to be able to provide a first-point-of-call service for metropolitan Melbourne. This service will act as an agent on behalf of individuals to identify and connect people with disabilities to sport and recreation clubs and providers.

As part of connecting people with disabilities to sport and recreation opportunities, you can contact them on 1800 AAA VIC (1800 222 842) or (m) 0431 779 755 or info@aaavic.org.au

For g eneral enquiries regarding the AAA first point of call service, please contact Joe Rotella on (03) 9906 2157 or joe.rotella@reclink.org

posted 01/08/13

Irabina Siblings camp - Registration extended to Friday 16th August

Irabina are running a 3 day Siblings Support Camp from Monday 23rd of September to Wednesday 25th September (first week of school holidays) for primary school aged children who have a brother or sister with an Autism Spectrum Disorder.  Please see below flyer for further information or contact Sarah sarahi@irabina.com  or Aggie aggiec@irabina.com.

Flyer Irabina Sibling Camp (PDF, 581KB)

posted 01/08/13

Connecting Us

Connecting Us, an 8 week group program for siblings ( 8 to 10 years) to have fun and share like experiences will commence running weekly on Mondays from the 22nd July.  Please see the attached flyer for more information.

Connecting Us (PDF, 119KB)

posted 01/08/13

Access All Areas app

The Australian Greens have developed a smartphone application or “app” to provide people with a simple method for reporting accessibility trouble spots wherever they experience them. These reports will contribute to the ongoing development of a map of accessibility, and lack of, and a formal report, which will be available online. Senator Rachel Siewert states in this media release that the Greens want to work with the community to improve disability access and awareness.  Links to download the app for Apple iOS or for Android are provided on the Greens website. If you do not have a smartphone or a compatible device, you may contribute by emailing your feedback with the location and a photo to senator.siewert@aph.gov.au.    

posted 31/07/13

DisabilityCare Australia

DisabilityCare Australia is the national disability insurance scheme—a new way of providing community linking and individualised support for people with permanent and significant disability, their families and carers.
DisabilityCare Australia aims to:

  • Provide information and referrals, links to services and activities, individualised plans and where necessary, supports over a lifetime.
  • Raise community awareness and encourage greater inclusion and access to mainstream services, community activities and other government initiatives.
  • Support service providers to build capacity and be part of the scheme.
  • Find new and better ways of providing support, by building on what works well and learning from the lived experience of people with disability.

Families can use the My Access Checker on the DisablityCare Australia website to find out if you are able to access individual support.

Mr Bruce Bonyhady AM, who has been the driving force of the NDIS and has two sons with disabilities, has been appointed as the inaugural Chair of the NDIS Board. Dr Rhonda Galbally AO has been appointed as a Board Member and Principal Member of the Independent Advisory Council.  The Australian Government will provide $19.3 billion over seven years from 2012–13 to roll out DisabilityCare across the country.

For more information and to keep up to date with the transition visit the DisabilityCare Australia website www.disabilitycareaustralia.gov.au or phone 1800 800 110.

posted 19/07/13


Specialist services at Melbourne Dental Clinic

Melbourne Dental Clinic (MDC) is a brand new state of the art dental facility set up to manage patients with a range of special needs ranging from disabilities to those with complex medical conditions.

As part of The University of Melbourne, MDC aims to provide a comprehensive range of services, from routine oral hygiene to comprehensive dental treatment. The specialist clinics are wheelchair friendly and set up so that patients can be transferred to the dental chair using a hoist, if needed, or they can be treated in their wheelchair.

The Head of Special Needs Dentistry (SND), Associate Professor Mina Borromeo, and other SND specialists supervising Postgraduate Specialist Dentists-In-Training have extensive experience in special needs denistry and have been registered specialists for many years. All patients are assessed and provided with a personalised treatment plan developed by the clinical team.

As one of the largest private academic dental clinics in Australia, MDC is unique in its ability to offer six specialties as well as general dentistry in the one location. MDC offers oral health care, cosmetic dentistry, preventative dentistry and restorative dentistry.

Melbourne Dental Clinic is located on the west side of Swanston Street, just south of the Grattan Street corner next to KFC and 7-11. Bookings are essential. To make an appointment, phone 9035 8402 or visit www.umdc.com.au/register

posted 19/07/13


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Celebrating 20 years of the Disability Discrimination Act

Life for millions of Australians changed 20 years ago when the then Deputy Prime Minister in the Keating government, Brian Howe, introduced an Act that would, for the first time, make it unlawful for people with disability to be discriminated against.

The genesis of change was the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (Cth), which commenced operation on 1 March 1993. ‘Twenty Years: Twenty Stories’ is a project marking the Disability Discrimination Act’s 20th birthday with twenty inspiring stories on film.

To watch the films visit www.humanrights.gov.au/twentystories/


National Children’s Commissioner

Megan Mitchell is Australia’s first National Children’s Commissioner. The role sits within the Human Rights Commission and will champion the rights of children and young people.

The Commissioner will promote public discussion and awareness of issues affecting children, conduct research and education programs, consult directly with children and representative organisations and examine Commonwealth legislation, policies and programs that relate to children’s human rights.

For more information visit www.humanrights.gov.au

posted 19/07/13


‘Help Me’ App

The Daniel Morcombe Foundation ‘Help Me’ App not only helps to keep kids safe, but assists people of all ages from 7 to 97 covering all kinds of personal emergency situations.

There is a ‘Help Me’ button that sounds a warning and allows you to send off an SMS text to two nominated ‘safety’ numbers, as part of your Trusted Safety Network. Included in the text are GPS co-ordinates from where the text was sent, so the sender can be located or a last known place of contact is indicated.

The App also provides a range of helpful resources and assistance that is designed to educate kids and parents on how to keep safe. It offers safety and assistance for children and reassurance for parents and adults.

For more information visit www.danielmorcombe.com.au

posted 19/07/13

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Introducing ECIA VC

Early Childhood Intervention Australia - Victorian Chapter (ECIA VC) is the peak body for early childhood intervention in Victoria.

ECIA VC’s work assists children with disabilities, their families, and the networks that support them, as well as providing information and professional development across the sector.

ECIA VC’s recent work includes publishing a 2013–14 State Budget Submission, ‘Building on Victoria’s Strengths’ which called on the Victorian Government to prioritise investment in children and families and build on the great work that is happening across the state. In early childhood intervention this call was heard and answered with the government investing in another 500 additional early childhood intervention service (ECIS) places, which brings the total additional investment to $34.3 million and 1,000 ECIS places over the next five years. 

With the launch of DisabilityCare in Victoria on 1 July 2013, ECIA VC has been busily engaging in a range of advocacy opportunities, policy discussions and sector readiness activities to ensure the Victorian ECI perspective is reflected in the development of DisabilityCare.

For more inquiries and assistance phone ECIA VC on 9819 5266, email exec@eciavic.org.au or visit www.eciavic.org.au

posted 19/07/13


SWAN Australia

The Syndromes Without A Name (SWAN) support group is a not for profit Incorporated Association that supports parents, carers and friends of children who have an undiagnosed genetic disorder or syndrome or an extremely rare condition for which there is no support group.

Doctors may sometimes say that a child has an ‘undiagnosed rare condition’ or an ‘undiagnosed genetic condition’ when they assess that the child’s features strongly suggest the child has a genetic condition but they are unable to find a diagnosis for certain characteristics or symptoms. There are thousands of rare genetic conditions, some of which have only been reported in fewer than five children, and many do not have a diagnostic test available.

Finding an underlying diagnosis for many conditions can be a very long and frustrating experience for families. A diagnosis can take up to five years and sometimes may never happen, especially with rare conditions. This can be very difficult for parents, who may seek a diagnosis for many reasons.

SWAN offers support and information to parents, carers and friends of people who have a child with an undiagnosed genetic disorder/syndrome. SWAN was established to fill a void in the system, which is to assist families on their unknown genetic journey and advocate on their behalf.
For more information visit www.swanaus.com.au

posted 19/07/13

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Smiling Mind

Smiling Mind is modern meditation for young people in the form of a unique web and App-based program developed by a team of psychologists with expertise in youth and adolescent therapy, Mindfulness Meditation and web-based wellness programs.

Mindfulness refers to a special way of being aware and attentive to the present moment with openness and a non-judgmental attitude. It’s a state of mind that allows you to live and experience life from moment to moment as it unfolds. Smiling Mind’s mission is to provide accessible, life long tools based in mindfulness meditation, creating happier, healthier and more compassionate young people. Smiling Mind is a free tool available online or as a smartphone App. It is a not-for-profit initiative based on a process that provides a sense of clarity, calm and contentment.

For more information visit www.smilingmind.com.au

posted 19/07/13


Respite and Recharge program for families of children with cerebral palsy

The Cerebral Palsy Alliance has developed a new Respite and Recharge program that awards grants to families in rural communities to help alleviate some of the difficulties that come with being a full-time carer by offering the precious gift of rest. The program supports 35 families across Australia and there are plans to support more families in the future. The grants allow families to choose who looks after their children as well as control when it is most needed.

For more information phone the Cerebral Palsy Alliance on 1300 888 378 or visit www.cerebralpalsy.org.au

posted 19/07/13

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FREE Aspect ASD Positive Behaviour Support Workshops

Parents and Carers of Children and Young adults diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, aged between 6 - 25 years and living at home are eligible to attend.

Registration for Sunbury, Seymour and Caulfield are now open and spaces still available at: www.autismspectrum.org.au

For further information please contact Heather Kirkhope, Service Coordinator, Aspect Victoria on 9377 6628.

Refer to link for flyer: Aspect Victoria Positive Behaviour Support Workshop Flyer (384 KB, PDF)

posted 04/07/13





Deaf Children Australia – new resources available: SAFE and CommuniCate

Following negotiations for licensing rights, Deaf Children Australia has adapted the UK Safe Program (developed by the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children) into a web based program. Safe is a safety and awareness programme developed for professionals such as teachers and counsellors to provide deaf children with the knowledge and language to protect themselves from potential harm.

CommuniCate is a package of resources which assist parents as they learn and teach their child visual communication. Unlike traditional Auslan curricula, which are based on signs appropriate to adult life and interactions, this resource includes signs for everyday activity with young children such as telling nursery rhymes and playing.

See the flyers by clicking here: SAFE Flyer (PDF, 680KB) and CommuniCate (PDF, 2MB)

For further information please visit: www.deafchildrenaustralia.org.au

Posted 10/06/13

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Irabina - Siblings camp

Irabina are running a 3 day Siblings Support Camp from Monday 23rd of September to Wednesday 25th September (first week of school holidays) for primary school aged children who have a brother or sister with an Autism Spectrum Disorder.  Please see below flyer for further information or contact Sarah sarahi@irabina.com  or Aggie aggiec@irabina.com.  Registrations close on Friday 29th June, 2013.

Irabina Sibling Camp flyer (PDF, 584 KB)

posted 02/06/13


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Help for children with disability to access sport and recreation activities in their community

Would you like support for your child with a disability to access sport and recreation activities? Then join the Live Your Community Program from Extended Families Australia. A recent influx of volunteers into the Extended Families Program means that they are now looking for families to participate.

Live Your Community Program (LYCP) provides flexible, volunteer-based inclusion support for children with disabilities who experience barriers to participation in sport, recreation and leisure. This exciting new program, developed by Extended Families Australia is funded by the Department of Human Services Innovative Respite program.

How it works
A local adult volunteer is recruited and receives training before being matched to a child with a disability. Volunteers support the child they are matched with to access and be included in local community sport or recreation activities. Volunteers provide friendship, practical assistance and mentoring to:
•             help the child develop social skills and sports skills
•             provide transport to and from the activity (in some cases)
•             attend sport training sessions and,
•             on match days support the child to be included in the sport or community group support club coaches, team members and local sporting groups in including the child in the activity.

Matching of volunteers with children will take into account the personal situation, availability, and interests of both the volunteer and child. On average volunteers provide 2 to 4 hours of inclusion support weekly, fortnightly or monthly. The LYCP Coordinator will work closely with the family, local council, local sport and recreation clubs to find activities that suit the child.

Children aged 6-17 years of age with a diagnosed disability are eligible. There is no cost to families accessing LYCP. Specific costs relating to the sporting activity chosen by the child (for example, club membership fees) are generally met by the family.

For more information, contact Rachel DeSumma on 9285 4839 or 0438 752 126, or email rachel@extendedfamilies.org.au

posted 05/04/2013

RIDE Disability Expo – Discover the Respite Possibilities – (Yooralla)

The RIDE Disability Expo is the biggest source of disability respite information in the Eastern Region. Over 80 service providers will be attending this year. The Expo offers the opportunity for a 15 minute 1:1 personalised consultation to discuss your individual circumstances and respite needs. There will also be craft tables for hands on activities and a pampering area to relax and unwind.

RIDE in partnership with Scope will present the annual Wheelchair Soccer Tournament. To register a team or register to attend the RIDE Expo, contact RIDE on 1300 886 798.

Date: Wednesday 11 September 2013 Time: 10am-2pm
Venue: The Whitehorse Club 298-336 Burwood Hwy Burwood East. Free parking at venue.

To register a team or attend the expo, please contact RIDE on: 1300 886 798 or email: RIDE@yooralla.com.au

RIDE Expo Flyer 2013 (874KB, PDF)

RIDE Wheelchair Soccer Flyer (417KB, PDF)

posted 05/09/13

 

Dick Smith Walk With Me: Creating an inclusive and diversified community. Celebrating people of all abilities.

Walk with Me is a national 2km or 4km walk that raises awareness that 1 in 4 Australians are impacted by disability.

The non-competitive event celebrates the achievements of people with a disability while providing an opportunity for the community to walk, support or volunteer.

All funds raised in Victorian will support the continued work of Scope. Scope’s mission is to enable each person we support to live as an empowered and equal citizen. Scope provides services to adults and children across 97 sites in Victoria.

Melbourne 1st Sept - Birrarung Marr
Bendigo 7th Sept - Lake Weeroona
Geelong 8th Sept - Eastern Park
Ballarat 15th Sept - Lake Wendouree

Registration fees: $50 Family, Adults $25, Concession $10

To walk, support or volunteer go to www.walkwithme.org.au

For help with registration, please contact Scope on 9843 3061 or email events@scopevic.org.au

Check out the flyer here: Walk with me flyer (774KB, PDF)

Posted 22/08/13

 

Disability Respite & Recreation Expo 2013 brought to you by MOIRA

Free event for parents and carers in the South Division. Find out about more opportunities for people with a disability.

When: Thursday 29th August 2013
Where: Dandenong Market, Cnr Clow & Cleeland Streets, Dandenong

For further information please refer to the below link or contact the MOIRA Expo Coordinator on 8552 2222 Email: respiteexpo@moira.org.au

MOIRA Disability Respite Recreation Expo (1.22MB, PDF)

posted 22/08/13

EARLY CHILDHOOD INTERVENTION AWARENESS WEEK: 17 - 25 AUGUST 2013

To celebrate early childhood intervention awareness week, Early Childhood Intervention Australia, the Victorian Chapter (ECIA VC), is holding ‘A Fair at the Farm’ at Collingwood Children’s Farm on Sunday 25th of August 2013.  

There will be tractor rides, face painting, information for families and a BBQ as well as regular farm favourites like cuddling guinea pigs and milking the cow at 10am.  

In addition to providing a fun morning for all, ECIA VC will be launching their new booklet on early childhood intervention developed with Carers Victoria. 

When: Sunday, August 25th 2013
Time:   9:30am to 1:00pm
Where: Collingwood Children’s Farm, 18 St Heliers St, Abbotsford Melbourne
Cost:    Bring along the event flyer and only pay a $5 entrance fee per family!

To register: Register online at http://www.eciavic.org.au/events  

 Event Flyer:  www.eciavic.org.au/documents/item/503

Write your details on the flyer and go in to the draw to win a flip camera valued at $200!

Enquiries: If you would like to make an enquiry or request further information please contact Andrea Day via email at andrea.day@eciavic.org.au


ECIA Membership Drive

For the month of August ECIA VC will be holding a membership drive with the aim of recruiting new members.  As part of the drive ECIA VC is offering two flip cameras as prizes for two lucky individuals who become new members (or renew their lapsed membership) in August.  Could you please support ECIA VC and their work by considering taking up an individual membership and/or promoting this drive to your community?  
Please click on the below link for the membership drive flyer.

ECIA Membership Drive flyer (367KB, PDF)

posted 14/08/13

Transitioning to Tomorrow - Save the Date: 30th July 2013
(Ability Tasmania Group Inc)


Ability Tasmania Group specialises in supporting people with intellectual disabilities and autism spectrum disorder and has offices in Tasmania and Melbourne.

What can families can be doing today to secure a working future for a young person with disabilities?

Families are pivotal in supporting young people with disabilities to successfully transition from education to open employment.

Dr Richard Luecking will be discussing what needs to be in place to ensure that young people with complex needs achieve the best possible post-school outcomes, and how family members can assist the transition process.

Dr Richard Luecking is President of TransCen, a US-based organisation specialising in school to work transition for young people with disabilities and has been responsible for rolling out the Seamless Transition Model - a program that has placed 17,000 young people with disabilities into paid employment across the US.

Dr Luecking will meet with families in Melbourne on Tuesday 30th July 7pm - 9pm
Theatre Room, Carlton Football Club
Royal Parade, Carlton
Early registration is advised as limited seating available.
Cost: Individual $20 or Family (2 attendees) $30
Light supper will be provided.

To register and for event details go to the Ability Tasmania Group website:
http://www.abilityemployment.com.au/
Email:admin@atginc.org.au
Enquiries:1300 783 448

Click here to see the flyer: Transitioning to Tomorrow Flyer (PDF, 950KB)

Posted 11/06/13

Extended Families Annual Fundraiser Night

Extended Families Australia is an organisation that supports children with disabilities and their families by providing a matching service with volunteers. They are holding their annual fundraiser: A night of music, comedy and celebration - June 21 at Box Hill Town Hill. MC and entertainer for the evening will be Gabriel Rossi including music by the much acclaimed ‘Rudely Interrupted’.

BYO option: Adults $30 and Children $10 (16 years & under).
Proceeds of the night will go towards providing social events and groups for children and families, creating opportunities for supportive connections and bringing children new experiences and fun.

For details please see the flyer on the Extended Families website: http://www.extendedfamilies.org.au/e.php/fundraiser/main

For enquires please contact Zoe on 9355 8848 or email: info@extendedfamilies.org.au

Posted 10/06/13


Planning Great Futures presents: The Housing Roadshow

An information day about how to get started on the journey to leaving home and living in the community. Offering a practical guide to housing and supports, who can help and what you need to do to make it a reality.
FOR - Individuals with a disability, their families, friends and workers.

WHEN: Saturday 11th May 2013 – 10.00am to 3.00pm
WHERE: Tecoma Uniting Church, 1566, Burwood Highway Tecoma
Melways Ref: 75D9  adjacent to Tecoma train station.
Cost $100.00   Concession $50.00

To book a place or for information contact Di or Ross on 0412 535 435 or email planninggreatfutures@gmail.com

Please see flyer for further information: Planning Futures: The Housing Roadshow (Word docx, 16KB)

Posted 03/05/2013

DARU Forum: Disability Standards for Accessible Public Transport Review

Are you considering making a submission to the Disability Standards for Accessible Public Transport Review? Not sure where to start?

The Department of Infrastructure & Transport has recently announced the second five year review of DSAPT. Submissions from the public are due on Friday 26 April 2013. The issues paper can be found at: http://www.infrastructure.gov.au/transport/disabilities/review/2012.aspx

The forum is designed specifically for disability advocates and people with a disability. Llewellyn Reynders from the VCOSS All Aboard campaign will facilitate the forum.  Presenters Jessica Zammitt, consumer representative from the Australian Public Transport National AdvisoryCommittee, and Bec Feldman from the Youth Disability Advocacy Service, will offer their perspectives on key points you may wish to consider when making your submission.

When:Tue 16th Apr, 2013  Time: 10:00am - 12noon
Venue: Ross House, 247 Flinders Lane, Level 4 Meeting Room, Melbourne 3000.
Booking is essential as there are limited places. Please click on the following link to register: http://www.eventbrite.com.au/event/6130517543# or contact DARU on 9639 5807.

Posted 05/04/13

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Caring for children and young people with a disability Webinar series 2013
Hosted by Department of Developmental Medicine (RCH)

There are three information sessions which you can access via the internet. This seminar series is
presented via webinars which are virtual lectures.
Benefits of webinars:
You can participate in the session in the comfort of your own home
No travel time or babysitters required
Opportunity to ask questions just like in face to face sessions
Opportunity to link in with a range of families caring for a child with a disability
This introductory webinar series is free.

For further information and to register, please refer to the following flyer:

RCH Reg Webinars June 2013

Posted 05/04/2013

Seeking Personal Stories from People with Disability

Occupational Therapy Australia has funding under the NDIS Practical Design Fund to develop a web resource for people with disability and their families explaining the services offered by allied health professionals. A feature of the web resource will include a range of personal stories on how you think an allied health professional has helped make a difference in your life. So if you are interested in contributing your story (can be anonymous) please contact Vicki at CPSN on 9478 1001 or email cpsn@cpsn.info

Posted 05/04/2013

ADEC ArtAbility® 2013 -Destinations

ADEC aims to empower people living with disabilities from multiculturally diverse backgrounds, their carers and families to fully participate as members of the Victorian community. ArtAbility® is ADEC’s flagship, annual art exhibition, held at the Atrium, Federation Square. The theme this year is Destinations, and ADEC invites artists living with a disability, from multiculturally diverse backgrounds to submit works interpreting this theme for showing from December 2nd to December 14th 2013.

Since its inception in 2005, ArtAbility® has grown into an important event within the multicultural and disability communities as well as making its mark on the mainstream artistic calendar. Many artists have been discovered through ArtAbility® and have gone on to launch careers in the arts because of this. Works of art from ArtAbility® have been acquired by industry, government and other collections for display.

Expression of interest Flyer and form  - EOI form must be received by 24th June 2013.

Please contact Cassandra Glover, Artistic and General Coordinator – ArtAbility on 9480 1666 or email artability@adec.org.au for further information.

Posted 05/04/13

 

Ensuring Success for the Dyslexic Learner Workshop (SPELD Victoria)

Ensuring Success for the Dyslexic Learner is a one day workshop that will provide a collaborative approach to supporting children and young people with dyslexia.

A wide range of presenters will speak from their perspectives across psychology, teaching, parenting, the education and community sectors about what works!

When: Monday March 18th, 2013
Time: 9.30am until 2.30pm and all resources and catering will be included
Location: Darebin Arts Centre – Corner of Bell Street and St Georges Road, Preston.

This event is suitable for parents, teachers and allied health professionals.

Please refer to the website www.speldvic.org.au for more information and to book on line.

Ensuring Success Flyer (PDF 340KB)

Posted 04/03/13

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Clinical Intensives for children with Cerebral Palsy

‘Paediatric Workshops’ are a new service offering clinical intensives for families in the Melbourne area where a small team of therapists work with families, towards their goals for their children, and on an occasional basis – such as 2 or 3 times per year. 

If you are interested in finding out more, refer to the links below:

Paediatric Workshops Intensives - Families Flyer (PDF 225KB)

http://paediatricworkshops.com.au/

posted 15/02/13

A Home of My Own – Upholding the Sanctity of Home - (Belonging Matters Inc)

When we think about home we generally think about a place that is dear to our hearts, a revered place that nurtures our personhood and surrounds us with love and warmth. It’s one of the few places that we can be ourselves and seek refuge in a busy and chaotic world! Conversely if you have a disability the sanctity of home is often replaced by a limited menu of services, programs and predesigned accommodation options, which you need to “fit” into! This seminar aims to uphold the sanctity of home and provide the opportunity to hear from a range of inspiring speakers who have tackled the question of ‘accommodation’ in more typical, innovative, personalised and life giving ways, while creatively supporting people, some of whom require some very complex support arrangements (for a variety of reasons).

This seminar is designed for people with a disability, families and others who are genuinely interested in exploring alternative accommodation possibilities.

When: Wednesday 27 February 2013
Time: 9.30am – 4.30 pm
Venue: Abbotsford Convent, Community Room
1 St Heliers Street, Abbotsford, Vic
Cost: Standard $220
Families:$55

Registration closes 18/02/13.

For further information please refer to the flyer and registration form:

A Home of My Own Flyer (PDF 606 KB)

Registration form (Word 131 KB)

posted 15/02/13


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Limbs 4 Life 2013 Events information

Limbs 4 Life supports amputees, their families and primary care givers. So, whether you are facing limb loss for the first time or have been an amputee for many years, Limbs 4 Life can support you through information and programs.

Based on the valuable feedback from the consultation process, a twelve month program has been designed to provide information, networking opportunities and family events.

Please find more information from their flyers :

Calendar of Events for the Carers, Children and Youth program for 2013 (PDF 186 KB)

Information session on Dealing with Grief and Loss (PDF 80 KB)

Easter Egg-Stravaganza – family picnic event (PDF 938 KB)

posted 15/02/13

Positive Behaviour Support Workshops

Aspect Victoria is providing Positive Behaviour Support Workshops for parents and carers of children and young adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder aged between 6 – 25 years of age and living at home.  Participating families are encouraged to invite professionals or service providers working with them to attend the workshop.

Please refer to the attached flyer for details:

Aspect Victoria Positive Behaviour Workshops (Word 157 KB)

posted 15/02/13

National Disability Insurance Scheme
Victorian Bulletin February 2013

From the Minister for Community Services, Mary Wooldridge

NDIS Vic Bulletin Feb 2013 (PDF 50 KB)

Posted 15/02/13

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Every Australian Counts campaign re NDIS update

The legislation will impact on the lives of people with disability, their families and carers. So if you have an opinion on the laws that will establish the NDIS, then the Federal Parliament needs to hear from you.

Making a submission to a parliamentary inquiry might sound daunting. But don't worry, you don't have to be a legal expert to make a submission; you can use the easy form on our website:
www.everyaustraliancounts.com.au/your_voice_counts/

The campaign is also polling our supporter's opinions on our Facebook page:
www.facebook.com/everyaustraliancounts

These online polls will be part of the Every Australian Counts campaign's submission to the inquiry.

We want to know:

Which feature of the NDIS will have the biggest community impact; and

Which support types are the most important for the NDIS to provide?

By answering these questions, your views on the NDIS will be considered by the parliamentary inquiry and included in the final report and recommendations when the legislation heads back to Federal Parliament for our MPs to vote on.

Your voice will influence the laws that make the NDIS a reality.

Remember, the deadline is January 25 - so make your submission today.

Your experience and opinions are critical to designing the NDIS. More than ever, your voice counts.
Thank you for your support.

posted 21/01/2013

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Parents as Career Transition Support (PACTS) Workshops

Have you spoken with your child about life after school?
Do you know where to start?
Would you like to participate in a conversation that helps you to help your child begin to explore their future choices?

The National Disability Coordination Officer Program (NDCO) is funding 3 PACTS Workshops series in the Southern Metropolitan Region. The workshops are aimed at providing information to parents about careers planning and post school supports for their child with a disability. These are sessions open to all parents from all schools who are caring for a child with any disability type. The idea of providing these sessions is to reduce anxiety and increase expectations for young people with a disability. 

If you are interested please refer to the below flyer for further information or contact:

Sally Bailey
National Disability Coordination Officer
Southern Melbourne and Suburbs
03 9784 0400 or 0439 897 027
sbailey@skillsplus.com.au

PACTS Workshops (276KB, PDF)

posted 20/01/13

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Media Release - The Hon Mary Wolldridge MLA, Mon 3 December 2012
Direct Employment providing infdependence and choice

People with disability now have a much greater say in their support with the state-wide rollout of the Direct Employment initiative, Community Services Minister Mary Wooldridge said today.

Speaking on the 20th anniversary of International Day of People with Disability, Ms Wooldridge said Direct Employment gives people greater choice and control over their supports.

“People with disability using Direct Employment are able to directly employ the staff that support them, which gives them greater choice in what type of supports they access, and when they receive their supports,” Ms Woodridge said.

“This gives them more flexibility and independence in their lives, and allows them to have better control of their life by taking into account their personal needs and preferences. It is an empowering initiative.”

Ms Wooldridge said that from today, Direct Employment is available to approximately 400 people with disability across Victoria who manage their own Individual Support Package funding.

“Direct Employment will appeal to people who are confident they can manage their support arrangements, along with the responsibilities and obligations required of them as an employer,” Ms Wooldridge said.

“The type of choice and control available under Direct Employment is similar to what people can expect under the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), which will be launched in the Barwon area from 1 July next year.”

Ms Wooldridge said it was fitting that the Direct Employment initiative was being made available across Victoria on International Day of People with Disability.

“This year’s International Day of People with Disability has a theme of creating an inclusive and accessible society for all,” Ms Wooldridge said.

“The participants involved in the pilot of the Direct Employment initiative have told us that it has enabled them to pursue their personal goals and has given them greater flexibility to access and participate in local community activities such as sporting and music events.”

Posted 10/12/12

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Media Release - The Hon Wendy Lovell MLC, 30 November 2012
$3.7 million per year to provide vital support to children with disabilities, additional needs

Hundreds more young children with a disability or developmental delay will receive the vital support they need due to a multi-million dollar boost from the Victorian Coalition Government.

Minister for Children and Early Childhood Development Wendy Lovell today announced the Coalition Government will provide an extra $3.7 million per year for an additional 500 Early Childhood Intervention Services (ECIS) places.

The funding will reduce waiting lists for children to access ECIS, including specialist educational, speech pathology and occupational therapy.

It also means that more than $70 million worth of ECIS funding will now be available to support more than 13,000 Victorian children each year.

“As a government, we recognise that the sooner children with a disability or developmental delay are supported, the greater their chances of reaching their potential,” Ms Lovell said.

“This new additional funding, worth $3.7 million per year, every year, will provide support to children who need it most, helping them to lead fulfilling lives.”

The cost of ECIS visits are covered by the Coalition Government for children with additional needs from birth to school age.

Ms Lovell said the investment was responding to increased need for support.

“We’ve seen a growing demand for ECIS services in recent years,” Ms Lovell said.

“This is due to a range of factors, including a growing population, an increase in diagnosis of conditions such as Autism, and the increased skills of professionals in identifying and referring children for specialist support at an earlier age.

“This is a significant investment which I hope will have a profound impact in the lives of many children with additional needs and their families,” Ms Lovell said.

Ms Lovell said the new funding complements other Coalition Government commitments to increase support for children with disabilities and additional needs.

In 2011-12, the Coalition Government contributed $10 million over four years to provide more Kindergarten Inclusion Support packages.

This provides kindergartens with extra funding for staff assistants, building modifications and specialist training for kindergarten staff to support the participation of children with additional needs.

http://www.premier.vic.gov.au/media-centre/media-releases/5542-37-million-per-year-to-provide-vital-support-to-children-with-disabilities-additional-needs.html

Posted 10/12/12

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'Every Australian Counts' Campaign message:

"Both our children have been diagnosed with a medium level of autism. We constantly struggle to provide speech therapy, occupational therapy and schooling. We are constantly worried about what the future will hold for our children. As my wife and I grow older we will be unable to provide sufficient resources to allow my children to lead a healthy life."

That is what Frank from Glen Iris, Victoria wrote to his local MP Kelly O'Dwyer last week asking her to speak up for the National Disability Insurance Scheme in Parliament before the year is out.

He's one of more than 800 supporters from every single electorate around Australia who have already written to their local MP. Wow!

Will you join in and write your message
before parliament finishes up? There are only 6 days left to take part.

The more people who write to their local MP before the end of the year, the more chance we have of the issue being raised in Parliament and a funding commitment guaranteed in 2012.

Without full funding, there will be no NDIS.

Don't let this year end without helping to secure the promise we need to know that the NDIS is here for good. Write your personal message in just three easy steps.

Find out who your local MP is and send your message now, before it is too late. It will only take a few minutes.

Thank you for your support,

John Della Bosca
and the Every Australian Counts campaign team
www.everyaustraliancounts.com.au

Posted 21/11/12

People Outdoors present: ADVENTURE FOR ALL Camp

People Outdoors are running another ADVENTURE FOR ALL Camp in the January 2013 school holidays. This camp is for campers with and without a disability (campers with a disability must live in the Eastern Region of Melbourne).

For further details about dates, location and cost, please see the flyer and expression of interest form by clicking on the below link.  Please note the expression of interest form needs to be returned to People Outdoors by Monday December 3.
Adventure for all camp (PDF 205KB)

Posted 19/11/12

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CPSN Family Fun Day - Sunday 25 November, 11am -3pm

Corner of Oriel Road and Southern Road, Heidelberg West
Just bring your family and a picnic rug or chairs – and meet & mingle with the CPSN team and other families who are affected by CP.
RSVP by phone: 9484 5326 or email cpsn@cpsn.info
Please folow the link for further information: http://www.cpsn.info/calendar.html

Posted 23/10/12

Expression of Interest
‘Twenty Years: Twenty Stories’ Film Grants
The ‘Twenty Years: Twenty Stories’ project will tell the stories of twenty people who have used the Disability Discrimination Act to change the lives of many.

There are currently over 4 million Australians with disability. In 1993 the Disability Discrimination Act, (DDA) which aims to promote equal opportunity and access for people with disability, made disability discrimination unlawful.

The Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC), Disability Discrimination Commissioner and Sydney Community Foundation (SCF) are working collaboratively on the Twenty Years: Twenty Stories project to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the DDA. 

They are inviting community organisations working with people with disability to join them in this ground-breaking project and tell the often heroic stories of people who have used the Act to promote equal opportunity and challenge discrimination.

They are seeking Expressions of Interests from community organisations working with people with disability to apply for a film making grant (up to $5000) for the production of a short film (3-5 minutes) that tells the story of how the Disability Discrimination Act has been used by an individual or organisation, and as a result has systemically changed the lives of Australians with disability.

Applications are now open until 14 September 2012.
Please refer to the attached link for further information and how to apply:
http://www.sydneycommunityfoundation.org.au/Apply-for-a-Grant/Tweny-Years--Twenty-Stories.aspx

Posted 07/09/12

Transportation of Children and Youth with Additional Needs Workshop
When: Friday 28 September, 2012
Time: 9.30am –12.30pm - Parent/carer workshop and expo
12.00pm – 4.00pm - Allied health professionals expo and workshop
Venue: Ella Latham Theatre, The Royal Children’s Hospital, Flemington Road, Parkville.
Registration information will follow soon.

Check out the Flier: SAVE THE DATE

Posted 07/09/12

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NDIS Engagement Forums
The National Disability and Carer Alliance are running forums for people with a disability, their families and carers and specialist disability service providers to have their say about the design, introduction and implementation of the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

Melbourne: Tuesday 2 October, 10am – 2:30pm
Jasper Conference and Events Centre, 489 Elizabeth Street, Melbourne
Geelong: Monday 1 October, 10am – 2:30pm
Buckley’s Entertainment Centre, 54 Fellmongers Road, Breakwater, Geelong
Traralgon: Thursday 4 October, Traralgon, 10am – 2:30pm
Gippsland TAFE – Academy Conference Centre, 49-63 Princes Street, Traralgon
Mildura: Monday 8 October, 10am – 2:30pm
Benetook Room, 180 to 190 Deakin Avenue, Mildura

To register visit: http://disabilitycareralliance.org.au/upcoming-events/upcoming/
Select the session you wish to attend and complete the online registration form.

For more information, contact Leah Hobson at AFDO on (03) 9662 3324 or email leah.hobson@afdo.org.au
Posted 07/09/12

"Report it Right" and WIN!
Budding journalists across Victoria have the chance to be published in their local Leader newspaper, thanks to the “Report it Right” and WIN competition.“Report it Right” and WIN is open to media, communications and journalism students, studying at a Victorian tertiary institution

To enter, write a news story about a real news issue in your local community relating to people with a disability. Email your entry to reportitright@haystac.com.au by close of business 13 September 2012.

A chance to win up to $5,000 worth of prizes to help you in your studies - including a $2,500 Dick Smith voucher, and three iPads are on offer. The winner’s story will also be published in their local Leader newspaper.

For more information and competition guidelines, visit:
http://www.dhs.vic.gov.au/about-the-department/plans,-programs-and-projects/projects-and-initiatives/disability-services/report-it-right
Posted 07/09/12

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Sensory Friendly Films

Village Cinemas Australia are bringing Sensory Friendly Films to families affected by Autism Spectrum Disorders.
Sensory Friendly Films allows families to enjoy their favourite films in a safe and accepting environment with the cinema lights turned up and the sound turned down.
Buy tickets (all $6) at the ticket box or at villagecinemas.com.au
Participating Sites: Airport West, Century City Walk, Fountain Gate and Knox

Check out their flier here: Sensory Friendly Films
Posted 07/09/12

amaze SIBLING CAMP – The Big Weekend
amaze (Autism Victoria) is running ‘The Big Weekend’ sibling camp for 11-18 year olds with one or more siblings with an Autism Spectrum Disorder.
When: Friday 19th October to Sunday 21st October 
Where: The Portsea Camp
Cost: $60 per person which includes accommodation, meals, and all activities.

Registration remains open until Friday 28th September. Places are limited.
For more information about the camp contact the Information Team at amaze on 1300 308 699 or visit their website www.amaze.org.au

Check out the flier here: The Big Weekend (PDF 1.63MB)
Posted 07/09/12

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RIDE Disability Expo 18th September
The RIDE Disability Expo is the biggest source of disability respite information in the Melbourne Eastern Region. This year there will be over 70 service provider stalls providing information on respite and disability services.
The Expo offers the opportunity for a 15 minute one-on-one personalised consultation to enable you to discuss your individual circumstances and respite needs.
The expo will be held at Brandon Park Community Hall 649 Ferntree Gully Road, Glen Waverley
When: Tuesday 18th September 2012
Time: 10am - 2pm
To register for this event or to find out more information, contact RIDE on 1300 886 798 or email: ride@yooralla.com.au


Posted 07/09/12

Sibling Support Program – September 2012 School Holidays
Irabina will be running a ‘Sibling Support Program’ group over the coming school holidays in September, held at Irabina in Bayswater.
Monday 24th September 12:30pm - 3pm
Tuesday 25th September 9:30am - 3pm
Wednesday 26th September 9:30am - 3pm

Sib Support is a play-based education and support group for children who have a brother or sister with an Autism Spectrum Disorder. Its focus is on normalizing their experiences and feelings, developing supportive networks of other children who can understand what life can be like, and boosting their coping strategies for when things around them get tough.

Registration and eligibiity criteria applies. For enquiries please contact: Aggie Chan (aggiec@irabina.com) or Su-Hwei Moey (sum@irabina.com) on 9720 1118

Check out their flier: Irabina Sibling Support Program September 2012 (PDF 159KB)

Posted 28/08/12

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'Leading: the next steps' Parent workshop - Association for Children with a Disability (ACD)
Southern Region - Wed 24 October 2012, 9:30am - 2:45pm


Build on the strengths and skills you already have as a parent to better identify, plan and achieve your goals. Start by turning small possibilities into realities through our 'Leading: the next steps' workshop.

Our workshop is designed for parents/primary carers of children (0-18) with a disability, and our presenters are parents or siblings of a person with a disability themselves so they understand issues from a family perspective.

Check out our flier for further information:
Leading the next steps_Parent_workshop_southern_region

Bookings can be made online via this link:
http://www.trybooking.com/Embed.aspx?eid=32010

Book now as places are limited!
For further enquiries please contact Debby Conlon at ACD on 9818 2000 or email debbyc@acd.org.au

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An insight session for families or carers of children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder
Care Connect in association with Spectrum Connections is hosting a session entitled, ‘An insight into Autism Spectrum Disorder’.

The session aims to provide families and carers with another parent’s perspective on the difficulties of raising a child on the Autism Spectrum.

When: Saturday 1 September, 2012 Time: 2.00pm – 4.00pm
Address: St Stephen’s Church Hall Corner Phylis Street and Warruga Avenue, Bayswater
Cost: Gold coin donation
Contact CareConnect on 1800 116 166 or check out their flier for further details:

ASD insight invitation for families or carers ( PDF 129KB)

Posted 27/08/12

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MOIRA Siblings Social Support Group – Term 3 & 4, 2012
SSS stands for Secret Sibs Society and is a group for primary school children who have a brother or sister with a disability or chronic condition. It is a place where they can get together and have fun with other siblings who really understand what it’s like.

You need to be registered with MOIRA’s Sibling Support Program. Once registered, you will receive information about the SSS and Sibling camps. For further information contact MOIRA on 8552 2222 or email: bocallaghan@moira.org.au  .

Check out their flier for further details: Term 3 & 4 Primary Flier MOIRA Sibling Program (PDF 120KB)

Posted 15/08/12

Three, free forums -Assisting people to move toward a Self-Directed Approach -17, 21 and 23rd August, 2012. (North/West region).
The forums are designed to give information and to ask "What Next" for people keen to explore self-directed approaches – both within their existing services and independently. What other supports are necessary for both individuals and families and what do organisations need more support in to take these important changes forward?

These events are free, however with limited spaces, registrations are required for attendance.
Please see attached flier for further information and how to register:
Assisting people to move toward a Self-Directed Approach (598KB PDF)

 If there are any questions, please contact Tamara Cassar-Gray on 0429 335 183 or email via tamara.cassargray@gmail.com

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Living Real Lives in the Community
What does it Take & What Stands in the Way?
A 2 day workshop presented by Belonging Matters Inc. formerly (Personalised Lifestyle Assistance (PLA) Victoria) & Dr Michael Kendrick. This workshop will enable participants to explore the key dimensions of supporting personal lifestyle development and community inclusion. The workshop is for people with a disability, family members, allies, advocates, human service workers and managers and others interested in developing good lives for people with a disability and other marginalised people.

When: 30th and 31st August, 2012 (9.00am - 5.00pm)
Where: Matsudo Room, Box Hill Town Hall, Box Hill, Vic.
Cost: Concession $100.00. Standard $380.00.
For further information including the registration form and information flyer, please visit:

www.field.org.au/infocast12/field/mixed.html

For all enquiries please contact Belonging Matters
Address: 2/18 Floriston Rd Boronia, 3155
Email: admin@plavic.net.au
Phone & Fax: 03 9739 8333

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A message from Every Australian Counts
Congratulations. Because of you and your support, Australia will launch the National Disability Insurance Scheme from July 1, 2013.

Finally our leaders listened.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard and the leaders of most States and Territories have reached an agreement on launching the NDIS.

This afternoon Victorian Premier Ted Ballieu and NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell committed money towards NDIS launch sites meaning that the scheme will kick off around the country, in the ACT, NSW, South Australia, Tasmania and Victoria.

This is a significant milestone in the journey towards an NDIS.
We could only have achieved this because of your ongoing support and hard work. You sent messages, asked people to join the campaign and spread the word.

The Every Australian Counts campaign now has over 126,000 supporters - more than 2,000 people joined the campaign when the federal and state governments initially failed reach broad agreement at COAG on Wednesday. Support came in from far and wide to help the cause.

But we must keep this campaign alive and fighting strong. We must remember that this is just the first step towards making the NDIS a reality. We still need to work hard to ensure Queensland and Western Australia also gets on board.

There are many more challenges we will face, and we will need your help to make the NDIS real.

Spread the word by sending the email below to your friends and encouraging them to join the thousands of other Australians that want to make sure Every Australian Counts.

Thank you, and Congratulations.

The Every Australian Counts Team
www.everyaustraliancounts.com.au

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Social, Health and Recreation Program (SHARP) 2012
The CPSN are running a social program for young people aged between 13-20 years with high support needs. The program will run on a Saturday afternoon each month at Glenallen School commencing July 2012. The program is supported by CPSN staff and volunteers.

Information flyer (226KB PDF)

For further information please contact Mike McDermott, CPSN Programs Coordinator on 03 9484 5326 or email: mike.mcdermott@cpsn.info.

A Social Action Workshop with the Oaktree Foundation and YDAS
Are you a young person who wants to learn more about social change and how you can get involved in making a difference in your community?

Find out about young people leading change, successful campaigning and taking action with others in your community.
When: Saturday 28th of July 2012  Time: 10.00am – 1.00pm
Where: Melbourne Multicultural Hub, 506 Elizabeth Street, Melbourne.

For further information visit YDAS:www. ydas.org.au/news-and-events/social-action-workshop-oaktree-foundation or contact Bec at YDAS on 9267 3712 or email: ydasprojects@yacvic.org.au .

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Carer Entitlements

From 1 July 2012, carers across Australia will receive a $600 boost to help ease the costs of caring for a loved one.

The annual $600 Supplement will be paid to people who receive:
• Carer Payment
• Carer Allowance

Recipients of Carer Allowance will receive the $600 supplement for each person they care for.
The Australian Government introduced the annual Carer Supplement in 2009 to give carers certainty about the level of assistance they receive each year, and help them with budgeting for any unforeseen costs.

Also from today, about 140,000 carers who receive Carer Allowance (child) will receive the annual $1000 Child Disability Assistance Payment for each child they care for.
For more details visit Centrelink at: www.humanservices.gov.au/customer/contact-us/

Victorian Changing Places Project
A group of individuals and organisations (including ACD) has initiated work to develop access to accessible toilets in Victoria, following the very successful UK Changing Places project which commenced in 2006.

There are now more than 400 Changing Places toilets in the UK enabling people with a profound or severe disability to fully participate in the community.

A Changing Places toilet provides:
•    A height adjustable adult-sized changing bench
•    A tracking hoist system, or mobile hoist if this is not possible
•    Enough space
•    Safe and clean environment

A Victorian committee has been established involving Maroondah and Knox City Councils, DHS, the Association for Children with a Disability, Yooralla and interested individuals to replicate the UK Changing Places project. Their first task is to finalise development  of a new Portable Comfort Station for the launch of the Station at the Maroondah Festival in November.

The Portable Comfort Station is a transportable facility that has a toilet with a ceiling hoist and adjustable adult change table. This facility will be available across Melbourne at major outdoor community events.

The committee is aware of about 20 accessible toilets in Victoria in recreation facilities, community centres, shopping centres and council facilities. They are developing a database of people and organisations who want to help and/or be kept informed of the Changing Places Victoria project. If you are interested in the other Changing Places Projects, contact Jack Mulholland, Metro Access Officer at the City of Maroondah Jack.Mulholland@maroondah.vic.gov.au

For more information about the UK Changing Places project visit www.changing-places.org

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Carers Recognition Bill 2012
The new Carers Recognition Bill 2012 recognises all carers, including young carers, kinship and foster carers, and people providing support and assistance for someone with a mental or chronic illness, and those supporting ageing parents, the frail aged or a person with a disability.

For the first time, Victoria will have legislation that sets out clear expectations for organisations that engage with people in care relationships about how they should be treated. The legislation requires government and funded agencies to reflect the care relationship principles in the conduct of their business and report annually on the actions they have taken to comply with these principles. The Victorian Charter Supporting People in Care Relationships will be updated to reflect the new legislation and will support implantation of the Bill.

New Behaviour Support Program
Autism Spectrum Australia (Aspect) has been awarded a three-year contract for a new behaviour support program to support families and carers of children and young people with autism between the ages of 6 and 25.

Starting from April 2012, the program will help families and carers develop positive behaviour support plans with the assistance and expertise of Aspect. The Positive Behaviour Support program will commence with a series of workshops held in all regions across Victoria. More intensive support programs will be rolled out across Victoria over the three years.

For more information visit phone Aspect on 1800 069 978 or visit www.autismspectrum.org.au

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‘I Give a Gonski’ campaign
You can join the growing demand that governments improve education outcomes for your child. Learn more and join the I Give a Gonski campaign at www.igiveagonski.com.au

Uncle Bobs Club 70th Anniversary Celebrations
Families and friends are invited to celebrate 70 years of Uncle Bobs Club at a Gala Masquerade Party on 13 October from 6pm, tickets $65. For more information phone 9335 6300 or email UBC@alphalink.com.auUBC@alphalink.com.au

Protecting us all—new website promotes human rights
A new website to educate Victorians about their human rights under the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities was launched in May. The site outlines the 20 fundamental rights the Charter protects and uses real people and their stories to explain how these rights are protected.

A range of fact sheets explaining key elements of the Charter is available on the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission website www.humanrightscommission.vic.gov.au/charterfactsheets

For more information visit www.humanrights.vic.gov.au

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Social media for people with a disability
Media Access Australia undertook research to determine how accessibility issues found in each of the most popular social media tools could be overcome. Funded by the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network, the ‘Sociability: social media for people with a disability’ review aims to enable all users to have equal access to social media.

Australia’s most popular social media tools were tested for their accessibility and users with disabilities then contributed their tips and tricks on how to overcome each social network’s inaccessible features. This body of knowledge can be found in the guide to each social media tool.

For more information visit www.mediaaccess.org.au

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The ABLES resource
Abilities Based Learning and Education Support (ABLES) will enhance the resources available to school leaders and teachers to support the teaching and learning of students with disabilities and additional needs. ABLES resources target and support the development of Individual Learning Plans. Implementation of both ABLES and the e5 instructional model will ensure Victorian schools continue to support high-quality teaching and learning in every classroom.

Using knowledge about students’ readiness to learn in five foundational learning areas, (English-reading and writing, English-speaking and listening, Personal learning, Personal learning (ASD), Interpersonal development), the relevant curriculum level, and recommended learning and teaching strategies teachers can create high quality targeted classroom program.

For more information visit www.education.vic.gov.au/healthwellbeing/wellbeing/ables.htm

Reading difficulty and dyslexia
The resources include practical ways to identify the nature of a student’s reading difficulty and focus on teaching strategies that support the development of a student’s reading skills. The strategies will help to support and monitor a student’s learning and progress in reading.

The primary and secondary school teacher resource, developed with the expertise of Associate Professor of Exceptional Learning at the University of Melbourne John Munro, aims to build, strengthen and reinforce teachers’ knowledge and understanding of reading difficulties and dyslexia. The resource features a wide variety of materials to support teachers including information on using technology, online tools and applications.
The information available for parents highlights the common signs of reading difficulties in children and how to recognise them, strategies to support children’s learning and development at school, information on networks and organisations that assist help children with reading difficulties and their families, as well as tips on how to discuss the topic with teachers.

For more information visit www.education.vic.gov.au/studentlearning/teachingresources/english/dyslexia/default.htm and
www.education.vic.gov.au/aboutschool/learning/dyslexia.htm

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The Autism friendly Learning website
This site provides a range of information about the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development’s approach to supporting children and young people with an autism spectrum disorder. It contains information about regional plans, specific initiatives and specialist options.
For more information visit www.education.vic.gov.au/about/directions/autism/about.htm www.education.vic.gov.au/about/directions/autism/about.htm

ADEC Artability 2012—Dreams
ADEC aims to empower people living with disabilities from multiculturally diverse backgrounds, their carers and families to fully participate as members of the community. Artability is ADEC’s flagship annual art exhibition held at the Atrium, Federation Square. The theme this year is Dreams, and ADEC invites artists living with a disability, from multiculturally diverse backgrounds to submit works interpreting this theme for showing from 6−17 December 2012.
For more information phone 9480 1666 or visit www.artability.org.au

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Children of Parents with a Mental Illness (COPMI) website
COPMI has launched a new website with helpful information for children, teenagers and young adults of parents who have a mental illness. It includes practical information and advice for parents as well as family and friends who may be carers or supporters of a parent who has a mental illness. There is information for young people about mental illness, including how to cope, how to get support, and what they can do to help a parent when they are unwell.

You can also search for CPOMI programs, services and helplines across Australia that support parents, their children and family members. For more information visit www.copmi.net.au

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Concession Wizard
There is a quick and easy Concession Wizard on the Department of Human Services (DHS) website to help identify possible concessions. Follow the Concession Wizard to determine the best match for your family situation.
Concessions programs are designed to ensure eligible cardholders have access to essential services.
Each concession has its own detailed eligibility criteria. Some examples of concessions are listed in this article but you may be eligible for others.

To use the Concession Wizard visit www.dhs.vic.gov.au/ concessions

Alternatively, you can phone the Concessions Information Line on 1800 658 521.

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Send your items for Diary Dates and News in Brief to Fiona Gullifer by email fionag@acd.org.au or phone the Association office on 9818 2000. A selection of News in Brief items also appears in our NoticeBoard magazine.

Infoxchange

Visit the Disability News section of the Infoxchange Australia website for more news, events, activities, publications, research, services and programs.

Classifieds

The Classifieds listing is a free service for families of children with a disability in Victoria who want to buy or sell equipment that relates to their child's disability.

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Send your items for Diary Dates and News in Brief to Fiona Gullifer by email fionag@acd.org.au or phone the Association office on 9818 2000. A selection of News in Brief items also appears in our NoticeBoard magazine.

 

 

 

Save Auslan TAFE Courses Petition

The Victorian state government have cut the TAFE budget by $300 million. As a result, Kangan Institute has stated that it can no longer viably run the Diploma of Auslan, and is closing its department in December 2012.

This Diploma is the only of its kind still available in Victoria, and the only officially recognised qualification which provides a professional pathway to Auslan interpreting and education. This foundation of skill is vital for people to be able to work within the Deaf community at a consistent professional standard. If we cannot attain that level of proficiency, the level of the service provided to the Deaf community will decline devastatingly.

With the closure of this Diploma course, students can no longer attain the qualification necessary to progress to post-graduate interpreting and education courses, leaving us without interpreters or teachers of the Deaf and other relevant and integral professional positions in the language, education and disability sectors.

Eventually this would lead to the closure of those post-graduate courses entirely, and cut off the number of professional interpreters, in a state which is already under strain with interpreter shortages. Overall the result would be a devastating setback in the rights of Deaf people and their access to unobstructed information, communication and services by means of reintroducing a severe cultural and language barrier.

The provision of a full-time Auslan course at Diploma level is necessary to continue upholding Deaf rights and access. To ensure the continuation of comprehensive high-level Auslan training you can sign this Auslan TAFE Course Petition.

For more information visit www.saveauslancourses.org

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Supporting decision making for people with a disability

‘Supporting decision making: a guide to supporting people with a disability to make their own decisions’ assists service providers and others to support people with a disability and their family to make decisions to the extent that they are able.

The guide is based on seven principles:

•   everyone has the right to make decisions about the things that affect them
•   capacity to make decisions must be assumed
•   every effort should be made to support people to make their decisions
•   capacity is decision specific
•   people have the right to learn from experience
•   people have the right to change their minds
•   people have the right to make decisions other people might not agree with

The guide provides information about what the principles mean in practice and offers practical tips for service providers and their staff so members can expect that these practical tips should improve supportive decision making.

A limited number of copies of the guide will be distributed to departmental and community service organisation workplaces. Additional documents written specifically for people with a disability and their supporters will be added to the DHS website over the coming months.
For more information or to download the guide visit www.dhs.vic.gov.au and search for ‘decision making guide’.

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All Aboard Campaign

All Aboard wants all buses, trains, trams, supporting infrastructure and service information to include the needs of all Victorians. Universal access is a human right and we need action now from government and transport operators to ensure that we are all aboard. The All Aboard Action Network is a collaborative initiative between accessibility advocates, community sector organisations and local government to raise concerns about the level of access provided by Victoria’s public transport system.

For more information visit www.facebook.com/allaboard4access

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What care you can expect for your children 0 to 8 years: Victorian Early Years Learning and Development Framework (VEYLDF)

It has long been recognised that children’s education begins before their first day at school. The technical jargon often used to describe early learning is ‘play-based learning’. Childcare and preschool settings often do provide a service beyond ‘child minding’ and it’s important that staff who spend time with your children are able to give your child the best opportunities to learn.

The VEYLDF covers children from birth to eight years and focuses on providing high quality learning and development experiences in long day care, preschools and family day care, and positive transition to primary school. Staff are expected to work closely with parents to get to know your child better, create an individual program of learning and to stay in touch with you about your child’s progress. There are 5 ways in which this Framework aims to help your child to learn, to thrive and to be happy irrespective of any challenges they may face:

1.  Children have a strong sense of identity
2.  Children are connected with, and contribute to, their world
3.  Children have a strong sense of wellbeing
4.  Children are confident and involved learners
5.  Children are effective communicators

You can expect that staff will be talking more about your child’s development, how they have been more closely observing and supporting their learning and encouraging you, as parents, to talk about what would help with your child’s progress leading up to starting school.

In Victoria, staff are required to increase their qualifications to better support young children, kindergarten hours are being extended beyond 10 hours per week and long day care will include a more formalised preschool program. There will also be a stronger focus on sharing information between the preschool program and Prep so that this transition is smoother.

For children with a significant disability your child’s preschool program can give you a copy of ‘Sharing our Journey’ that briefly explains the transition to primary school.
Now that first term is behind you and your child, think about how the remainder of 2012 can help prepare them for the following years. Talk about potential challenges to staff and those who support you and work towards finding solutions that will make life easier and happier for your child and family.

For more information ask the early years staff who support your child in child care, kinder or primary school or visit www.education.vic.gov.au/edulibrary/public/earlychildhood/learning/veyldframework.pdf

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More than Horseplay: Horse riding documentary

In a world first scientific study, straight from the horse’s mouth, ‘More than Horseplay’ explores the benefits of riding for children with cerebral palsy.
To ensure the innovative study is statistically significant the Riding for the Disabled Association recruits more than 90 children with cerebral palsy and their families, as well as more than 60 volunteers and over 25 horses. None of the children has ever ridden a horse before but by the end of the 10 week study the children are visibly riding with confidence.
Witness the sheer joy they experience through the closeness and warmth provided by the horses. Overall, the profound impact enriches all lives, for some the transformation is physical and for others poignantly emotional but all share a common dream, to continue horse riding in the future.

This is a film with a combination of ground breaking science and the visible delight of children learning to ride a horse.

To view the film online go to www.smh.com.au/tv or www.theage.com.au/tv and search for ‘More than Horseplay’. For more information about Riding for the Disabled visit www.rda.org.au

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Major reform for the Department of Human Services

The Department of Human Services (DHS) is embarking on major reform to deliver more integrated, family-centred services for vulnerable Victorians. This follows last year’s announcement of a new approach to case management and service delivery, which is being trialled in Dandenong and Geelong and the South West Coast. After a comprehensive review, some of the proposed changes to the department include:

•    Regional operations will be organised into 17 local areas based on geographic catchments reflecting trends in population growth and service demand across the state.

•    The 17 local areas will be supported by four regional divisions (North, South, East and West). The areas will manage service delivery with government and non-government organisations in a more integrated way, along functional rather than program lines.

•    The areas will have greater decision-making power over local services and the ability to allocate resources depending on the needs of that area.

•    The areas will have a greater focus on achieving lasting outcomes for people through early intervention and building opportunities for social and economic participation.

•    The department’s central office will be consolidated to three central office groups: Policy and Strategy; Service Design and Implementation; and Corporate Services.

For more information visit www.dhs.vic.gov.au

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Call for Young People with Disability across Australia!

Do you have film and video editing skills and like to share your thoughts on issues that affect you and other young people with disabilities?

If so, the Youth Disability Advocacy National (YDAN) YouTube Channel might be the place to share your skills! The YDAN YouTube Channel has just relaunched for 2012 and needs young people like YOU to join the team of contributors.

The purpose of the channel is to discuss issues important to young Australians with disabilities. Each week a different topic will be discussed. There are opportunities for young people to contribute to the channel on a weekly, fortnightly, 3rd weekly, or monthly basis.

To visit the channel go towww.youtube.com/ydannetwork For more information about becoming a contributor, email Jarrod at ydasjarrod@yacvic.org.au

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A new disability policy and action plan for Maribyrnong – have your say

Maribyrnong City Council is seeking community views on a new Disability Policy and Action Plan. The aim of the Policy and Action Plan is to create a more inclusive and accessible municipality for people with a disability, their families and carers.

The plan will include actions to be implemented over the next three years across all areas of council operations, including physical infrastructure, services and facilities, communications, employment opportunities and participation in the community.

The survey can be completed online or in hard copy. If you would like a hard copy of the survey (full version or Easy English with pictures), please contact Jacki Bacon, Diversity Support Officer, on 9688 0453 or email jacki.bacon@maribyrnong.vic.gov.au

To complete the survey online, click on one of the links below:
Disability Action Plan Community Survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/2ZNHZ6S
Disability Action Plan Community Survey EASY ENGLISH: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/2Z6P3ZG

Surveys must be completed and returned by Wednesday 28 March 2012.

For more information contact Lauren Reader, Disability Planner on 9688 0194 (Wednesdays only) or lauren.reader@maribyrnong.vic.gov.au or Liz Wright, MetroAccess Officer on 9688 0313 or liz.wright@maribyrnong.vic.gov.au

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2012 Young Carer Scholarships

Carers Victoria is pleased to announce that applications for 2012 Young Carer Scolarships are now open. The scholarships are for young people with caring responsibilities who are attending Secondary School in Victoria. Applications close on 30 March 2012.

For more information visit www.carersvictoria.org.au/young-carers-scholarships.   

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If you are a student with disability – or a parent, teacher or carer of a student with disability – the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission would like to hear from you

This research aims to gather information about the issues and challenges experienced by students with disability in the Victorian school system and to identify potential solutions.

Regional ‘have a say’ days are being held in:

Carlton
Tuesday 14 February 2012, 1pm to 3pm
Level 3, 204 Lygon Street Carlton
(between Grattan Street and Pelham Place)
Have a say day flier Feb 14 (PDF 23 KB)

Bendigo
Wednesday 22 February, 10am–12pm                                        
Sandhurst Room at Best Community
Development Bendigo
26-28 St Andrews Avenue

Traralgon
Monday 27 February, 10am–12pm
Traralgon Business Centre
55 Grey St Traralgon

Ballarat
Wednesday 29 February, 10am–12pm
Kohinoor Community Centre
417 Errard St South

Shepparton
Thursday 1 March, 10am–12pm
North Shepparton Community and Learning
Centre (North Shepparton Hub)
10-14 Parkside Drive

Geelong
Friday 16 March, 10am-12pm
Encompass Community Services
400 Pakington St Geelong.

Have asay day for students with intellectual disability and their parents
Tuesday 14 February 2012, 1pm to 3pm
Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission
Level 3, 204 Lygon Street Carlton

RSVP
To register, call (03) 9032 3430 or email rsvp@veohrc.vic.gov.au
Please advise when registering if you have any accessibility or dietary requirements.
If you would prefer to speak to us privately while we are in your area, contact us to book a time.

Can’t make it?
You can still have your say by filling out our confidential online survey at humanrightscommission.vic.gov.au/disabilityinschools

Or you can call us on 1300 292 153 or (03) 9032 3583. If you need an interpreter, you can call the Commission using the interpreter service on 1300 152 494 or TTY at 1300 289 621.

More information
To find out more visit humanrightscommission.vic.gov.au/disabilityinschools or contact the Commission on (03) 9032 3422 or atresearch@veohrc.vic.gov.au

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Helping Hand Is Here

“Motherhood started eight weeks early for me. One minute I was working full time as a Graphic Designer, and the next I went into labour and didn’t turn up for work ever again.
The surprise of meeting my son eight weeks early was a small shock compared to being thrown on a huge roller-coaster which suddenly spun out of control. I look back now and see hours of sitting by Bailey’s humidicrib, worrying whenever a specialist walked in the room and waiting for every test result.

My beautiful daughter Jasmine wanted to beat her brother’s record and come into the world eight weeks and four days early. When I woke up the next morning after a caesarean birth, I was wheeled down to her room full of other babies. I asked, “Which one is mine?” She was so little, and in a humidicrib where I could not hold my baby … again. Jasmine came eight weeks early and the fear began all over again.

All I wanted was to have a baby born full term. To have a room filled with flowers and balloons and only family and friends coming and going. Not nurses pinching for blood, doctors looking over my babies and taking them away. My heart still mourns those missed precious few moments of meeting your child for the first time and holding them. Unable to move, I just watched as they were whisked away from me.

Out of my journey so far, meeting the many other parents who have been thrown into parenthood with a child with additional needs has been the most challenging. For years my heart has heard so many tear jerking stories from parents about what they have been through and the lack of support they experienced.

Hearing these stories over and over, grew my passion to help others to source information to assist them. Not only for their child with additional needs, but for the whole family.
So, Helping Hand Is Here was born out of my heart for other carers. Hearing their exhausted cries for help and assistance gave birth to an online disability directory that has been flooded with users from all over Victoria.

The directory has proven to be a powerful information platform for carers, families, health professionals, teachers, nurses, child care centres and therapists. Please look over our directory and use it as a daily resource to assist you caring for the additional needs people in your life.“

Michelle Jankovic

For more information visit www.helpinghandishere.com.au

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Parent input needed: Research into experiences of students with disability in Victorian schools

The Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission is conducting research into the experiences of students with disability in Victorian schools. This follows an increase in complaints to the Commission relating to disability discrimination in education, and concerns raised by parents of children with disability, advocacy groups and members of the Commission’s Disability Reference Group.

The purpose of the research is to gather information about the challenges experienced by students with disability in the Victorian school system and to identify potential solutions to improve access to education for students with disability.

The Commission is keen to hear from parents and students about what works and what could be improved when it comes to the education of students with disability in Victoria. There are several ways you can have your say, including completing an anonymous online survey at humanrightscommission.vic.gov.au/disabilityinschools.

If you work in a community organisation or provide support to families, children and young people with disability, you can send an email to research@veohrc.vic.gov.au

For more information about how you can contribute phone 1300 292 153 or 9032 3583. If you need an interpreter, phone the interpreter service on 1300 152 494 or TTY at 1300 289 621 or visit www.humanrightscommission.vic.gov.au

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State Disability Plan 2013−16

Development of the next State Disability Plan for 2013−2016 is underway, and the Disability Act 2006 (Vic) requires that a new State Disability Plan is in place by 1 January 2013.
The Plan will focus on a whole of government approach to improving the economic and social outcomes for Victorians with a disability, their families and carers.

The Victorian Government has said that it, “continues to do everything we can to drive the implementation of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). The State Disability Plan will assist us in outlining a vision for reforming disability support and laying the foundations for an effective transition to a NDIS.” 

The draft State Disability Plan 2013−2016 will be released in early 2012 for public consultation, and opportunities for families and carers to have input will be included in our NoticeBoard magazine and on our website.

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$1.18 million to research NDIS

At International Day of People with Disability celebrations in December, the Victorian Minister for Community Services Mary Wooldridge MP announced a commitment of $1.18 million for research into national disability reform, with a focus on what is required to establish a National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

The Victorian Government is playing a leading role in advocating for an NDIS to replace the existing service system and the $1.18 million represents Victoria’s contribution to the $10 million National Disability Research and Development Agenda.

To keep up to date with developments in the campaign for an NDIS visit www.everyaustraliancounts.com.au

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Communication Access symbol

The Communication Access Symbol will be displayed at places and services in the community that meet specific criteria for communication access. When people see this symbol, they will know that the place or service is communication accessible.

The symbol will be awarded to those businesses and services that successfully complete a Communication Accessibility Assessment and demonstrate their preparedness to work with people who have a communication disability and communicate in ways other than speech. This includes displaying clear signage, providing information in a variety of formats, providing extra time for service, as well as staff interaction.

Scope’s Communication Resource Centre has driven the development of the symbol to represent Communication Access. Scope’s vision for the symbol is to create communities that are universally accessible. Two cafes so far in Victoria have been awarded the Communication Access symbol with other states to follow by 2013.

For more information visit www.scopevic.org.au

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Cybersmart Access for students with special education needs

Cybersmart Access is Australia’s first online cybersafety game created to meet the needs of students with special education needs. This new resource will teach students how to protect themselves from online dangers in a fun and engaging way. It’s a free resource open to all primary and secondary teachers in schools across Australia.

Cybersmart Access covers the key cyber safety issues confronting children of all ages and abilities, including safe social networking, protecting personal information, identifying and protecting against cyber bullying and responsible online behaviour. The resource was developed by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) in consultation with special education teachers and students, following feedback from focus groups specifically commissioned for this purpose by the ACMA.

For more information visit www.cybersmart.gov.au

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Victorian Auditor-General’s Office Report: Individualised Funding for Disability Services

Disability services in Victoria have been undergoing major reform since the early 1990s. A significant reform has been the development of Individual Support Packages (ISPs). People with ISPs can manage the funds themselves and choose the services and providers that best suit them. At least 7,800 Victorians have an ISP, accounting for 19 per cent of the Department of Human Services’ (DHS) disability funds.

The audit found evidence of good outcomes for recipients and that all stakeholders are enthusiastic about the results of ISPs and their ongoing potential. However, benefits are not consistently delivered. Application processes are burdensome, allocation decisions can lack consistency and transparency, and DHS needs greater assurance that funds are spent appropriately. DHS also needs to support and develop the new marketplace in the disability services sector. Current departmental activities and forward planning align with these directions.

To view the report visit www.audit.vic.gov.au/reports_and_publications/latest_reports/2011-12/20110914_disability_funding.aspx

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Information on early teens

The Raising Children website now includes a teens section that covers aspects of teenage behaviour, development, entertainment, education, relationships, bullying, decision making, health and wellbeing. The website provides comprehensive parenting information from newborns to teens including videos, forums, articles and interactive guides.

For more information visit http://raisingchildren.net.au

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Holiday retreats

Care Connect provides holiday retreats in Daylesford and Rosebud, with priority given to ageing carers and mental health carers. Both retreats are available seven days a week to Care Connect clients, their carers and external agencies.

The Daylesford retreat is wheelchair accessible and costs $190 per night for up to 6 people. The Rosebud retreat costs $190 per night for up to 8 people.

For more information or to making a booking, phone 9362 8000 or email daylesfordretreat@careconnect.org.au or rosebudretreat@careconnect.org.au

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Stronger Siblings DVD for parents

A new DVD, Stronger Siblings, developed by Siblings Australia and presented by Andrew Daddo, was launched in November in Adelaide. The DVD will assist parents and those who work with families to understand the experience of brothers and sisters of a child with disability and how to support them.

Parents and siblings share their stories and, together with professionals, explore a number of issues. The DVD also includes notes to facilitate further discussion to use with groups of parents. The DVD costs between $60 to $100 per copy depending on the quantity ordered, plus postage.

For more information visit www.siblingsaustralia.org.au/ps_resources.asp or phone 0408 720 558.

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Experiences of discrimination in education

The Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission is wanting to speak to students with a disability, parents, teachers and education support staff about experiences that relate to discrimination-related education issues. The Commission wants to gather a body of evidence that is current and can assist them in their aim to eliminate discrimination in Victorian education.

In the coming weeks and months online surveys will be available on the Commission’s website as well as details of when you can phone the Commission or attend forums.
Keep an eye on the Commission’s website for more information www.humanrightscommission.vic.gov.au

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Every Australian Counts Campaign to support the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)

ACD Sibling Worker Gemma Holleran and her family met with local Federal Member Alan Tudge at the Every Australian Counts breakfast at Parliament House in October as part of the Every Australian Counts Campaign to support the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

Mr Tudge said support for the NDIS should be one of the top priorities of the government.
He said, “The current disability system is broken. The level of support a person with a disability might be eligible to receive can come down to where they live or how they acquired their disability. This is inconsistent and puts an unfair strain on people with a disability, their carers and families ...

“The NDIS proposes a mechanism to support people and their carers regardless of how they acquire their disability and regardless of the jurisdiction in which they reside. “I support a new national arrangement for people with a disability. It is critical that the Federal Government work to address the current inconsistencies. This is a hugely complex reform so it will take time and also be very expensive. However, I am keen to work hard to help achieve a better deal for people with disabilities, their carers and families, who deserve a much better deal,” he said.

You can support the Every Australian Counts Campaign by getting involved in Spread the Word Week: 27 November to 3 December. The aim is to grow the movement for an NDIS to 100,000 supporters.

For more information visit the website www.everyaustraliancounts.com.au

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One Day at a Time resource

The One Day at a Time resource produced by Scope includes information about child development and ideas to help parents and early childhood professionals match activities with each child’s developmental levels.

The resource consists of four observational developmental checklists that cover four skill areas: Moving Around Skills, Using Hand Skills, Communication Skills, and Play Skills.
There are 160 activity sheets that correspond to the developmental areas to help parents encourage the skill by incorporating it into daily routines such as bathing, dressing, mealtimes, playing and outings. The checklist can be used to monitor progress over time.
The One Day at a Time manual is available online at no cost to families.

To view the resource visit www.scopevic.org.au/index.php/site/resources/onedayatatime

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Ramp up website
Ramp Up is the ABC’s online destination for news, discussion, debate and humour for everyone in Australia’s disability communities. Whether you live with a disability, are a friend or family member of someone with a disability, work in the sector or just want to get a better picture, this is a lively community space to have your say.

For more information visit www.abc.net.au/rampup

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Assistive Technology (AT) Service Review Advisory Committee

The Independent Living Centre, ComTEC, the Equipment Libraries and the Yooralla Library are inviting people who have used our services directly or indirectly to put in an expression of interest to be a member of an Advisory Group. RSVP 30 September 2011.

Brooklyn Advisory Committee Invitation (105KB)
Terms of Reference (98KB)
Future Directions flyer (321KB)

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Subsidy reinstated for child restraints for children with a disability

In 2009, the Victorian Aids and Equipment Program (A&EP) subsidy for child car seats was temporarily suspended pending advice from VicRoads about child car seats for children with a disability not meeting the relevant Australian Standard. The Department of Human Services (DHS) established a reference group and VicRoads lead a project to review the issues and child car seats for children with a disability available in Australia.

The outcome of the review resulted in a report that provides recommendations about which child car seats for children with a disability are available for subsidy through the A&EP and the subsidy has now been reinstated. Appendix 2 of the report includes a full list of recommended child car seats.

VicRoads will continue work on this issue, with the intention of including child car seats for children with a disability in the next review of the Australian Standard.

To apply for the subsidy, contact the Statewide Equipment Program (SWEP) at Ballarat Health Services on 1300 747 937 or 5333 8100 or visit http://swep.bhs.org.au/

Child restraints for children with a disability (2 MB PDF)

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Carers Week 16–22 October 2011

Carers Week is Australia’s annual celebration of family carers and each year thousands of Australians take the time to recognise the wonderful contribution that carers make — this year you should be one of them! Carers Week 2011 runs from Sunday 16 October to Saturday 22 October and aims to recognise, support and celebrate Australia’s carers.

Over 700,000 Victorians are caring for a family member or friend with a disability, mental or chronic illness, or who is frail aged.

Carers Victoria is the statewide voice for family carers, representing and providing support to carers in Victoria. For more information about Carers Week events and activities visit the Carers Victoria website www.carersvictoria.org.au

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Telehealth for regional areas

From 1 July 2011 people in remote, regional and outer metropolitan areas of Australia will have access to telehealth, an initiative allowing patients to have video consultations with a range of medical specialists.

Patients in remote, regional and outer metropolitan areas face greater barriers to accessing specialist services than those in city areas. Telehealth helps patients to overcome these barriers, accessing specialist services sooner with lower travel costs, and better continuity of care.

The telehealth initiative introduces 11 new MBS items for video consultations provided by specialists, consultant physicians and psychiatrists. These new items will allow 55 existing MBS attendance items across these medical specialities to be undertaken by video conference.

In addition, 23 new MBS items have been developed to enable medical practitioners, nurse practitioners, midwives, Aboriginal Health Workers, and practice nurses to provide clinical assistance to patients during the video consultation with the specialist, when necessary.
Medicare and DVA rebates will be available where the patient’s service is undertaken in an eligible geographical location and where clinical support is available.

For more information see the MBS item descriptors available at www.mbsonline.gov.au
For more information phone Medicare Australia on 1800 222 032 or visit www.mbsonline.gov.au/telehealth or www.medicareaustralia.gov.au

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Equal Opportunity Act 2010

The Equal Opportunity Act 2010 came into effect in Victoria on 1 August 2011.
The new Act aims to strengthen discrimination laws in Victoria by changing some key definitions, creating new responsibilities for the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission in helping government, business and the community to identify and eliminate discrimination.

Key features of the new Act include:

•   Introducing a positive duty to eliminate discrimination, which obliges organisations covered by the law to take pro-active, reasonable and proportionate measures to eliminate discrimination, sexual harassment and victimisation

•   Introducing a duty to provide   reasonable adjustments for people with disabilities in employment, education and provision of goods and services

•   Providing an extended definition of disability

For more information visit www.humanrightscommission.vic.gov.au

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Teenagers with High Functioning Autism

Latrobe University is doing a research project looking at teenagers with High Functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder, their parents and siblings.

To participate in the study teenagers must be diagnosed with High Functioning Autism/Aspergers Syndrome and be between the ages of 13 and 18 years, their siblings must be 13 and 25 years and parents up to age 55 years.

For more information contact Jessica Gill at jmgill@students.latrobe.edu.au

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After hours contact for SWEP repairs & maintenance

The Statewide Equipment Program (SWEP) will cover most repair and maintenance costs of equipment owned by SWEP. In the event that the equipment breaks down or you need an emergency repair, you can phone SWEP’s emergency after hours number 1300 747 937.

For more information about SWEP visit http://swep.bhs.org.au/

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New DHS website

The new Department of Human Services (DHS) website provides a single access point and is structured so that users can find information, services and resources. A service directory search also makes it easier to find service providers and practitioners close to where you live.

Other new features include a concessions finder, enabling people on low income to find out what assistance is available to help them pay their council rates, water, gas and electricity bills. Many of the web addresses of popular sections of the site will be retained but you may need to update bookmarked links to documents and pages.

For more information visit www.dhs.vic.gov.au

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Vision Australia’s Further Education Bursaries 2012

Each year Vision Australia awards bursaries to tertiary students who are blind or have low vision consisting of adaptive technology such as CCTVs, laptops, screen reading and magnification software to enable easier access to course materials.

A Victorian Bursary Recipient who is judged to best display a need for the equipment and ability to be successful in their studies will also receive the Fairhall Memorial Scholarship of $150. Vision Australia’s Further Education Bursaries are available to Vision Australia clients and applications open in August and close at the end of October.

For more information visit www.visionaustralia.org/bursary/ or phone Max Bini, Tertiary Education Consultant on freecall 1300 84 74 66 or 8378 1223 or by email max.bini@visionaustralia.org max.bini@visionaustralia.org

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RCH on the move

Keep up to date with the RCH redevelopment via a new website www.rch.org.au/rchonthemove

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Mobility Maps

The Melbourne CBD, Docklands precinct and Entertainment and Sporting mobility maps help people with limited mobility to use and enjoy what the city has to offer.

The maps include wheelchair accessible toilets and telephones, public TTY telephones, disability designated car parking spaces, accessible off street parking, train stations, accessible pathways, taxi ranks, public seating, and street gradients. These maps are updated and produced annually by the City of Melbourne and Melway Publishing. The CBD Mobility Map is included in each edition of the Melway Street Directory.

Accessing Melbourne is a resource for people with mobility-related impairments, people who have difficulty negotiating the physical environment and others. It includes information about getting around Melbourne, events, entertainment and accessible accommodation.

For more information visit www.melbourne.vic.gov.au

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Every Australian Counts campaign

Every Australian Counts is the campaign for the introduction of a National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). The NDIS will revolutionise the way people with a disability, their families and carers are supported in this country.

The NDIS will be a new support system for people with a disability, their families and carers. It will transform the way services are funded and delivered, ensuring people are better supported and enabling them to have greater choice and control.

The campaign needs every Australian to stand up and say that people with a disability, their families and carers in this country deserve better and that it’s time for change. It needs every Australian to say that people with a disability, their families and carers are Australians too, and that their hopes and dreams count.

Over the next few months the Productivity Commission will report to the government on the findings of its inquiry into a long-term disability care and support scheme. Public forums will be held across Victoria where you can find out more about the progress of the NDIS.

For more information and to support the campaign visit www.everyaustraliancounts.com.au

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Better Start for Children with a Disability

From 1 July 2011, eligible children will be able to access financial assistance and Medicare rebates under the Better Start for Children with a Disability initiative.

Children under six years of age who have been diagnosed with hearing or vision impairments, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome or Fragile X syndrome will be able to access up to $12,000 in funding that can be used to pay for a range of early intervention services from allied health professionals such as speech pathologists, occupational therapists, physiotherapists and psychologists.

A new Medicare rebate for the development of a treatment and management plan will be available for children with the listed disabilities who are aged up to 13 years. Medicare rebates will also be available for up to four allied health diagnostic services and 20 allied health treatment services per eligible child.

For more information visit the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs website www.fahcsia.gov.au or email via the dedicated mailbox at EI.Child.Disability@fahcsia.gov.au

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MyTime groups for all ages

MyTime groups provide facilitated peer support for mums, dads, grandparents and anyone caring for children with a disability, developmental delay or chronic medical condition. Previously for families of children under school age, MyTime is now available to families of children up to the age of 16.

For more information phone 1800 889 997 or visit www.mytime.net.au

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Livewire Parents

Livewire Parents is an online community where parents and carers of people living a serious illness, chronic health condition or disability can support and connect with one another.
For more information visit www.livewire.org.au/parents

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Accessible toilet facilities in Frankston

The Keys Street public facility offers universal male and female toilets, a children’s toilet, baby feeding and change rooms, as well as two fully accessible toilets for people with a disability, including hoists and adult change facilities. Users need to provide their own sling for the hoist or hire a sling from the Frankston Visitor Information Centre.

The facilities are open at 5 Keys Street during business hours every day and until 9pm on Thursdays and Fridays. One accessible toilet will be available to people with an MLAK Key 24 hours, seven days a week. The Frankston Liberty Swing at the Frankston Waterfront Regional Playground is also accessible using an MLAK key.

For more information about the Keys Street facilities visit www.frankston.vic.gov.au

For more information about MLAK keys phone the Master Locksmiths Association of Australasia on 1800 810 698 or visit their website www.masterlocksmiths.com.au

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RCH parent/carer information sessions

The RCH is holding four information sessions on topics including autism, cerebral palsy and the transition to school for children with additional needs. Sessions cost $15 per person or $25 per couple. For more information phone 9345 5898/5692 or email education.seminars@rch.org.au

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Post Intervention Physiotherapy (PIP) Review Implementation

The Department of Health (DoH) last year undertook a Review of the Post Intervention Physiotherapy Program (PIP) Program. Association staff member Donna Henderson was involved as the Consumer Representative. This program had previously been limited to children with a diagnosis of cerebral palsy (CP) requiring orthopaedic surgery on their lower limbs.

We are  pleased that progress has been made on expanding the program to include children with a diagnosis other than CP requiring surgery. This is a big step forward in achieving quality outcomes for children with a disability. There have been some teething problems with the early stages of the program’s expansion, mainly with private patients in private hospitals being financially disadvantaged and poor communication of PIP changes to families and professionals.

Although we have advocated for clarification no further information has been received from DoH. We hope that more information will be available to share with you in the next edition of NoticeBoard, so watch this space.

If you have urgent concerns about the PIP Program we encourage you to contact the Association office on 9818 2000 or 1800 654 013 (rural callers) or the Department Representative directly by email Andrew.Crow@health.vic.gov.au

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Scooter and wheelchair travel pass (SWAP)

The Scooter and Wheelchair Travel Pass is a free travel pass for people in scooters or wheelchairs using public transport. The Scooter and Wheelchair Travel Pass entitles the pass holder to free travel on:

•    Melbourne metropolitan trains, trams and buses
•    V/Line services
•    Regional town buses
•    Regional services that have a contract or service agreement with the Department of Transport.

Free travel passes cannot be used for CountryLink, Great Southern Railway, airport services and tourist railways. The pass holder should check with the relevant operator before travelling.

To be eligible for the Scooter and Wheelchair Travel Pass you must:
•    have a permanent and severe disability
•    depend on the use of a scooter or wheelchair for mobility outside your home
•    be a permanent resident of Victoria.

All scooter users must have their dependence on a scooter certified by a general practitioner or specialist to be eligible. If you are not eligible for the Scooter and Wheelchair Travel Pass, you may be eligible for a Companion Card, the Multi-Purpose Taxi Program or an Access Travel Pass. The Metlink Central Pass Office is responsible for issuing Victoria’s public transport free travel passes.

For application forms and more information phone the Metlink Central Pass Office on 9619 1159 or 1650 or visit www.metlinkmelbourne.com.au

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ECIS Reform Project (Stage 2)

The Department of Education and Early Childhood Development’s ECIS Reform Project (Stage 2) aims to significantly enhance the efficiency, effectiveness, and sustainability of Victoria’s early childhood intervention services (ECIS) system and improve outcomes for children with a disability or developmental delay and their families.

The project builds on previous work undertaken in the ECIS Reform Project (Stage 1) to identify opportunities for future reform of ECIS services and the program structure and governance of those services in Victoria. The project will deliver recommendations for a comprehensive ECIS reform—including a new service delivery model, new program structure and new funding model—by mid 2011.

As part of this work the Allen Consulting Group will conduct web forums with members of the community. The purpose of these forums is to hear community views on the future shape and nature of the ECIS service sector and program structure. Members of the community with interest in, or experience of, the early childhood intervention system are invited to participate in the forums.

The web address for the forums is: www.allenconsult.com.au/ecisreform

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Statewide Equipment Program (SWEP)

The State-wide Equipment Program (SWEP) provides people who have a permanent or long-term disability with subsidised aids, equipment, oxygen and continence and vehicle and home modifications.

The program aims to enhance the independence and safety of people with a disability in their own home, facilitate their participation in the community and support families and carers.

SWEP is a suite of programs funded by the Department of Human Services and administered by Ballarat Health Services. SWEP incorporates the following programs:

1.  Aids and Equipment Program (A&EP)
2.  Supported Accommodation Equipment Assistance Scheme (SAEAS)
3.  Domiciliary Oxygen Program (DOP)
4.  Continence Aids (CA)
5.  Vehicle Modification Subsidy Scheme (VMSS)

Issuing centres will gradually transition across to the new statewide service between 6 December 2010 and 4 April 2011. The centres are scheduled to transition in six separate groups, which are aligned as much as possible to the DHS regions in Victoria.

The first transition group of five issuing centres involves the Grampians and Barwon South West Regions transitioned to the statewide service on 6 December 2010.

For more information visit phone 1800 995 009 or 5333 8100 or visit http://swep.bhs.org.au/

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ABC launches website for people with disability

The ABC, with the support of FaHCSIA, has launched a new website to ramp up the conversation about disability in Australia. The ABC Ramp Up website is a place for people with disabilities to have a say, no matter what part of the country they are in.

The site will host plenty of discussion and debate on a range of disabilities and experiences, and visitors to the site are encouraged to join in. You can comment on the opinion pieces, follow the site on Twitter and keep up with the latest news in disability from across the ABC.
Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Carers, Senator Jan McLucas, and Mark Scott, ABC Managing Director, celebrated the launch of the website on the International Day of People with Disability, Friday 3 December 2010, at HELP Enterprises in Brisbane.

For more information visit www.abc.net.au/rampup/

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All abilities e-playground

The All Abilities ePlayground is a free online space offering fun and games for children of all abilities. The e-playground was developed to create a way for children to visit an all abilities playground from anywhere—making them more accessible than ever. After a visit to an outdoor all abilities playground, children can then enjoy playing a game that reminds them of their ‘real world’ experience.

The All Abilities ePlayground is an initiative of the Gold Coast City Council supported by the Department of Communities (Disability Services) and created by Sonokids Australia.
For more information visit www.allabilitiesplayground.net.au

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NDIS campaign update

A new National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) campaign website will go live at the end of January and will complement training in February for people who want to become more involved in the campaign by visiting politicians and speaking to the media. A public rally will also be held on the waterfront in Geelong on 10 February.

The Productivity Commission’s draft report on a proposed long term disability care and support scheme will be launched at the end of February. Forums and public consultations on the draft report will be held in March and April before the final report is released in July.

For more information visit www.ndis.org.au

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Productivity Commission Response

Our Association's response to the Inquiry into A National Long Term Disability Care and Support Scheme focuses on the 'nuts and bolts' components of a scheme that we believe would work in the best interests of those being supported whilst at the same time, demonstrating an a more streamlined approach to service system delivery. 

ACD Productivity Commission Response (93KB PDF)

Campaign for a Special School for Casey-Cardinia (SS4CC)

There is a campaign to get a special school built in the Casey-Cardinia growth corridor to cater for local children with additional needs. For more information email specialistschool4caseycardinia@gmail.com

SS4CC Mission Statement (DOC 29KB)

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Art Competition Open

VALiD is proud to annouce the Having a Say Art Competition sponsored by the Office of the Senior Practitioner (OSP) and National Council on Intellectual Disability (NCID) Major Winners will receive cash prizes and their art featured in the OSP documents. Minor Winners will receive both a cash prize from NCID and have their art featured on NCID Christmas Cards. Entries must be received at the VALID office by 10th December 2010.

Art Competition Entry Form (PDF 404KB)

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National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) Update

The idea of a National Disability Insurance Scheme has been around for some time now, first gaining publicity at the 2020 Summit.

The scheme proposes a medical care levy to provide people with a disability with entitlements to care and support, therapy, aids and equipment, home modifications and access to the community, education and training.

Late in 2009 the federal government acknowledged that the systems that support people with a disability and their families were not working well and instigated the Productivity Commission to undertake an inquiry into the feasibility of a National Long Term Care and Support Scheme. 

If you think the system to support your child and family could be improved, this is your chance to be heard. It will be important to focus on what you think a new system should look like, rather than criticism of the current system. Solutions are the key. The Commission already knows that the current one is not working and is looking for new ideas. 

You can register your interest, attend public hearings or provide a written submission to the Commission. 

For more information phone 1800 020 083 or visit www.pc.gov.au/projects/inquirydisability-support

NDIS fact sheet (PDF 25KB)

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New Respite Victoria website

Respite and carer support services are provided by a range of different organisations and it can be difficult to know where to start when you first consider accessing respite, need support or move to a new area.

Respite Victoria links you to the eight regional disability respite websites in Victoria. Each regional website links you to the Respite Service Search (local and statewide), and has specific local information, news and events.

Respite support is when carers can take a short-term or time-limited break while someone else supports the person with a disability. It aims to provide a positive experience for both the person with a disability and the carer.

Respite support is flexible and can be planned throughout the year so that there are regular or occasional breaks, or it can be unplanned when a break is needed at short notice, and it can also be used in an emergency when there is an immediate need such as a carer going to hospital.

For more information visit www.respitevictoria.org.au

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Step by step cook book

This step by step cook book was developed for people with an intellectual disability to use independently or with support from family or staff. It provides an easy to use and clearly laid out guide to a range of healthy meals.

The book has been made available free of charge for use by disability and community services organisations provided the owners are properly referenced. The cook book was produced by Tracey Martin and Belinda Wester from Deakin University in consultation with ISIS Primary Care.

For more information phone 8686 5621 or download a copy from www.field.org.au/resources/cook_book/cook_book.html

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Call for submissions for book project — Now I See

Submissions are being sought from parents (both mums and dads) who have a child with Down syndrome and who are keen to write about their experiences. This can include how you dealt with your child’s diagnosis, what you thought life would be like with your child and how it has turned out to be, and the gifts (for example, acceptance, respect, love, courage and delight) that child has brought into your life.

The submissions will be compiled into a book with the working title Now I See. The book is aimed at raising awareness about life today for children with Down syndrome and their parents. All submissions will be considered.

For more information visit www.nowisee.com.au

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LiveAccess Project

Live Access is a new project of the Youth Disability Advocacy Service (YDAS) to work alongside young people with disabilities, local government, venue owners, members of the music industry and the general community to raise awareness about the need to have access to music and entertainment for people with disabilities.

The project aims to raise awareness about the need for venues to be accessible and to build a website that will provide information about venues across Melbourne.
LiveAccess welcomes the involvement of people with and without disabilities and is looking for people to get involved to complete reviews of Melbourne’s live music venues, pubs, clubs and festivals.

For more information contact Bec on 9267 3712 or ydasprojects@yacvic.org.au or George on 9267 3755 or George@ydas.org

For more information about YDAS phone 9267 3755 or 1300 727 176 (rural callers) or visit www.ydas.org

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Carer Supplement payments issued in July

Carers in receipt of Carer Payment and Carer Allowance should have received a Carer Supplement of $600 in July as part of the Australian Government’s pension reform. Carers who receive Carer Allowance (child) will also be paid the annual $1000 Child Disability Assistance Payment from 1 July for each child they care for.

For more information phone Centrelink on 132 717 or visit www.centrelink.gov.au

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Single assessment process for Carer Allowance (child) and Carer Payment (child)

From 1 July 2010 there will be a single assessment process for Carer Payment (child) and Carer Allowance (child). The Disability Care Load Assessment (child) was introduced on 1 July 2009 for Carer Payment (child). It assesses the level of care provided rather than a narrow set of medical conditions and it will now be used for Carer Allowance (child) as well. This means that parents who qualify for Carer Payment (child) will automatically qualify for Carer Allowance (child), without the need for more forms and medical examinations.

For more information phone Centrelink on 132 717 or visit www.centrelink.gov.au

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Victorian Carer Card

The Victorian Carer Card was launched in July 2010 to acknowledge the role of carers in providing ongoing support to an adult or child with a chronic condition, mental illness, disability or who are frail aged.

The Carer Card entitles the cardholder to discounted products, services or venue entry, free Sunday travel on all metropolitan and regional public transport, and two free return rail vouchers for travel anywhere within Victoria.

Carers can be parents, foster carers, partners, brothers, sisters, friends or children. To be eligible, carers must provide evidence they are a primary carer in receipt of carer income support from the Commonwealth Government through Centrelink. For carers not in receipt of a Centrelink carer benefit, a health professional can sign Carer Card application forms to confirm the applicant is an unpaid primary carer.

The plastic credit card-sized Carer Card will be issued to eligible primary and foster carers in Victoria and will display the cardholder’s name, signature and a registration number.
For more information phone 1800 658 521 or visit www.carercard.vic.gov.au

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Australian Disability Parking Scheme update

Plans for the new Australian Disability Parking Scheme have been referred to the Australian Transport Council for its endorsement. Once approved, the Scheme will be incorporated in the Australian Road Rules and each state and territory will amend their local laws and regulations to reflect the new arrangements.

For more information visit www.fahcsia.gov.au

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National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) update - Productivity Commission Inquiry into Disability Care and Support
Extension of due date for submissions to 16 August 2010

The idea of a National Disability Insurance Scheme proposes a medical care levy to provide people with a disability with entitlements to care and support, therapy, aids and equipment, home modifications and access to the community, education and training. The Australian Government asked the Productivity Commission to undertake a public inquiry into a long-term disability care and support scheme and has extended the due date for submissions to Monday 16 August 2010.

If you think the system to support your child and family could be improved, this is your chance to be heard. It will be important to focus on what you think a new system should look like, rather than just criticise the current system, because this inquiry is about finding solutions. You can register your interest and be kept informed of the inquiry’s progress, make a submission and/or discuss your submission at a public hearing.

For more information phone 1800 020 083 or visit www.ndis.org.au or www.pc.gov.au/projects/inquiry/disability-support

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Strategic Plan for Disability Services funded respite and carer support
Submissions due 5 August 2010

KPMG is working with the Disability Services Division of the Department of Human Services to develop a statewide strategic plan for Disability Services funded respite and carer support. Individuals, carers, service providers and other interested parties are invited to provide feedback on a discussion paper that is available on the DHS website. Submissions are due 5 August 2010.

For more information phone KPMG on 8626 0978 or DHS on 9096 7246 or visit www.dhs.vic.gov.au/ disability/supports_for_people/families_and_carers/respite

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Strategic Framework for Paediatric Health Services

What would you like the Victorian Paediatric Health Service system to look like? This is one of the questions being considered by the Paediatric Leadership Group, recently established by the Department of Health to advance the provision of acute paediatric services in Victoria and engage stakeholders in setting strategic directions and priorities.

The Leadership Group includes senior representatives from the Department of Health, the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, senior clinicians and representatives from specialist and regional services, peak children’s service agencies, the Royal Australasian College of Physicians, General Practice Victoria, community paediatricians, health service providers and consumers.

Our Association is represented in this process and you can share your ideas with our representative Donna Henderson by sending an email to donnah@acd.org.au

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Continence Aids Payment Scheme (CAPS)

From 1 July 2010, the Continence Aids Payment Scheme (CAPS) will replace the Continence Aids Assistance Scheme (CAAS). CAPS provides a payment to assist people who have permanent and severe incontinence to meet some of the costs of their continence products.

People are eligible for CAPS if:

  • They are five years of age or older and have permanent and severe incontinence due to an eligible neurological condition, or
  • If they have permanent and severe incontinence caused by another eligible condition provided they have a valid Centrelink ConcessionCard and a health professional verifies the condition.

The biggest difference between the CAAS and CAPS is that eligible people will now receive a payment to purchase their own products instead of receiving subsidised products. Medicare Australia will administer the scheme on behalf of the Department of Health and Ageing.

For more information phone Medicare Australia on 132 011, the National Continence Helpline on 1800 807 487 or visit www.bladderbowel.gov.au

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Exploring the Possibilities booklet

If you have a child or young adult in Year 10, 11 or 12, now is the time to start thinking about, and planning for, post-school options. The Exploring the Possibilities booklet is a resource guide to assist young people with a disability aged 15 to 18 years and their families to plan for the future and life after school.

The guide explores the range of options available to young people in the transition from school to adult life. This may include further study, employment, volunteer work or training. The guide emphasises the importance of planning from as early as Year 7. The first edition was developed by VALID and has been rebranded and printed by the Department of Human Services.

For more information and to download the booklet visit
www.dhs.vic.gov.au/disability/supports_for_people/being_part_of_my_community/futures_for_young_adults

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Unclaimed Education Tax Refund

The Rudd Government is encouraging Australian families to keep their receipts from education related expenses so they can take advantage of the Education Tax Refund (ETR).

The Education Tax Refund provides parents with assistance with education expenses, with refunds of up to $375 per primary school student and $750 per secondary school student.

For more information visit www.educationtaxrefund.gov.au

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National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)

The campaign for a proposed National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is for a national no-fault insurance scheme, similar to Medicare, that would provide lifetime care and support for everyone who has, or acquires, a significant disability.

You can get behind the campaign by showing your support and encouraging family, friends and colleagues to join the growing band of supporters. A study by the Productivity Commission will begin in early 2010 and report by July 2011. You can register your interest and be kept informed of the study’s progress, make a submission to the study, and/or discuss your submission at a public hearing.

For more information visit www.ndis.org.au orwww.pc.gov.au/projects/inquiry/disability-support

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Disability Standards for Access to Premises

On 15 March, the Australian Government launched the Disability Standards for Access to Premises, which for the first time set the minimum access requirements for people with a disability to publicly accessible buildings.
The Standards cover features such as accessible lifts, stairs, ramps, toilets and corridors and include buildings such as office blocks, shops, hotels, motels, and common areas of new apartment buildings.

By requiring better access to buildings, the Standards will ensure that people with a disability can access employment, services and the community on an equal basis with other Australians. The Standards will also provide greater certainty for business by providing for national consistency and reducing different regulatory arrangements. They will also provide the basis for improved arrangements for disability access in the Building Code of Australia.

The Disability Standards for Access to Premises will commence on 1 May 2011.

The Standards will contribute to the Australian Government’s 10-year National Disability Strategy which is being developed in consultation with the community and disability groups. The strategy will be released later this year and will represent a long-term plan to address the barriers faced by Australians with a disability.

For more information visit www.ag.gov.au

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Call for submissions for book project

Submissions are being sought from parents (both mums and dads) who have a child with Down syndrome and who are keen to write about their experiences, including how they dealt with their child’s diagnosis, what they thought life would be like with their child and how it has turned out to be, and the gifts (for example, acceptance, respect, love, courage and delight) that child has brought into their lives.

The submissions will be compiled into a book with the working title Now I See. The book is aimed at raising awareness about life today for children with Down syndrome and their parents. All submissions will be considered.
For more information visit www.nowisee.com.au

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What activities do children with a disability living in Victoria take part in?

Over 80 more participants across Victoria are still needed for a study by La Trobe University looking at the out-of-school activities of children with a disability aged 6−18 years. Children will be asked to fill out a child-friendly questionnaire about the activities they do, how often they do them, where they do them, and if they enjoy them. This can be completed by post with supervision from parents/guardians or in person with the help of a research assistant.

Contact Annie Synnot at La Trobe University on 9479 5789 or A.Synnot@latrobe.edu.au

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One Step at a Time: A parent’s guide to toilet skills for children with special needs

The new edition of 1 Step at a Time is now available. The booklet guides parents through five sequential steps of toilet training. Each step brings the child closer to being able to use the toilet independently.
Learning each step takes time and the guide advises parents to think of toilet training as a process that may take several months or longer. The booklet also includes tip sheets on common issues.

For more information phone the Victorian Continence Resource Centre on 9816 8266 or visit www.continencevictoria.org.au

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Interim Report on implementation of the Autism State Plan

The Autism State Plan was launched in May 2009 and articulates a vision of support where:
All people with an Autism Spectrum Disorder and their families are supported to fulfil their maximum potential, enjoy life and contribute to their community.

An Inter-Departmental Committee (IDC) has been set up to ensure cross government involvement as well as a Stakeholder Advisory Group to provide advice and inform the IDC about matters directly relating to the implementation of the Plan. Our Association is a member of the Stakeholder Advisory Group.

The Plan sets out a range of Priority Actions to commence implementation, including new initiatives totaling $8.27 million over four years funded through the 2009−10 State Budget.

For more information about the implementation of the Autism State Plan visit http://autismstateplan.dhs.vic.gov.au/interim_report.htm

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Early Days Workshops

Early Days provides workshops for parents and carers of children aged six and under on the autism spectrum.
Workshops are free and families may be eligible to receive a $100 support payment to assist with the costs of travel and childcare. The workshops are also available online or as self-directed interactive programs. For more information phone 1800 334 115 or visit www.earlydays.net.au

Launch of book project: call for submissions

Submissions are being sought from parents (both mums and dads) who have a child with Down syndrome and who are keen to write about their experiences: of how they dealt with their child’s diagnosis; of what they thought life would be like with their child and how, in reality, it has turned out to be; and the gifts (for instance, acceptance, respect, love, courage and delight) that child has brought into their lives.

The submissions will be compiled into a book with the working title Now I See. The book is aimed at raising awareness (and challenging outdated ideas) about life today for children with Down syndrome and their parents. All submissions will be considered. For more information visit www.nowisee.com.au

Compass guide to services & support in the southern region

Compass: A Guide to Services for People with Disabilities and Their Families Living in the Inner Southern Metropolitan Region of Victoria is for parents, carers and people with a disability living in the local government areas of Kingston, Port Phillip, Bayside, Glen Eira and Stonnington.

The booklet includes information about a range of services and supports including, early intervention, childcare, education, financial support, equipment, transport, legal issues and advocacy. The Compass guide complements the Time For A Break booklet that includes information about respite care and recreation services. Contact MOIRA on 8552 2222 or visit www.moira.org.au

Disability information kits for north and western regions

The Case Management Action Group (CMAG) publishes a series of information sheets as Disability Information Kits about services and support in the north and western regions. The kits are available in English, Arabic, Somali, Turkish and Vietnamese. For more information visit www.cmag.org.au/home.html

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Aids and Equipment re-development udpate

The Aids and Equipment Program in Victoria has basically operated the same way for more than 20 years and the aim of the re-development reported in Autumn 2009 NoticeBoard, has been to improve the way people with a disability receive the aids and equipment they need.

The new program due to begin in late 2010 will be delivered through:

• a single statewide service
• a single point of entry with one phone number and one email
• a single statewide waiting list
• a new function of clinical advisors, who will provide clinical expertise (including specialist children’s clinical advisor)

The new program will have three components:

1. Aids and Equipment (including aids and equipment for children)
2. Domiciliary Oxygen
3. Continence Aids

To support the new program, a custom built web based IT system called ASSIST (Assistive Technology Management System) will replace the old system and will operate from March 2010.

ASSIST will provide a single database of people and equipment and consolidate waiting lists throughout Victoria. The changeover to ASSIST will be an internal process and should not affect those using the program.

For more information visit www.dhs.vic.gov.au/disability/supports_for_people/living_in_my_home/aids_and_equipment_program

Eastern Region Respite Resource Guide 2009

Respite Information and Development in the East (RIDE) has published the latest guide to respite care and services in the eastern region. For copies of the booklet phone 1300 886 798 or visit www.respiteeast.org.au

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Keys to Living Together resource for couples with a young child with a disability

'Keys to Living Together - Helping to build stronger, healthier relationships for couples with a young child with disability' is a new resource published by the Australian government. 

The kit includes a DVD and booklet that provides strategies for coping with issues that may impact on your relationship when you have a young child with a disability. 

Copies are available from the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA).

Phone 1800 050 009 (free unless calling from a mobile or pay phone)

National Relay Service for users who are deaf or have hearing or speech impairment

TTY: 1800 555 677

Speak and Listen: 1800 555 727

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Helping Children with Autism package:

ASD website

A new website about services and support for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) has been launched by the Raising Children Network. The website includes sections on:

•    learning about autism
•    services pathfinder
•    guide to therapies
•    online parent forum

The website provides impartial, evidence-based information about ASD and early intervention. Future enhancements will include video clips, improvements to interactive features, additional text based articles and further parent guides to therapies.

For more information about the ASD website visit http://raisingchildren.net.au/autism

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Early Days workshops

Early Days provides workshops for parents and carers of children aged six and under who are on the autism spectrum. Workshops are free and each family who attends the Early Days Introductory Workshop is eligible to receive a $100 support payment to assist with the costs of travel and childcare.

The workshops will be followed by skills sessions later in the year that focus on practical strategies for dealing with issues such as behaviour, language and play.
The workshops will also be available online or as self-directed interactive programs.

For more information about Early Days phone 1800 334 155 or visit www.earlydays.net.au

The ASD website and Early Days workshops are two initiatives of the Australian Government’s Helping Children with Autism package. Other initiatives include the introduction of Autism Advisors, Playconnect playgroups, changes to medicare items to assist access to early intervention and workshops for teachers.

In addition to the Helping Children with Autism package, six Autism Specific Early Learning and Care Centres are being established as part of the Australian Government’s broader commitment to establish up to 260 Early Learning and Care Centres across Australia.

For more information about the Helping Children with Autism package phone 1800 289 177 or visit www.facs.gov.au/internet/ facsinternet.nsf/disabilities/ services-help_child_autism.htm

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Extension of Outside School Hours Care for Teenagers with Disability program

An additional 250 outside school hours care places for teenagers with a disability will be available from September 2009. The Outside School Hours Care for Teenagers with Disability program assists families of children with a disability by funding services to deliver outside school hours care, including before and after school and vacation care.
For more information phone 1300 653 227 and ask for an Extra Support for Children with Disability Program Officer.

Our Association has been active in advocating for quality outside school hours care programs that are age appropriate, most recently with the publication of our Moving Beyond the Catch-22 Report.

An Even Start — National Tuition Program ceases

As of 30 June 2009, An Even Start – National Tuition Program, which provided $700 worth of tuition in reading, writing or numeracy for eligible students, will no longer be available.
Eligible students were generally those who did not meet the 2007 national literacy or numeracy benchmarks in year 3, 5 or 7 and students who were formally exempt from benchmark testing.

An evaluation of the program is in progress and a summary of findings will be available on www.anevenstart.deewr.gov.au

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Support Your Way: A self-directed approach for Victorians with a disability

Building on work undertaken as part of the Victorian State Disability Plan 2002−2012 towards individualised support for people with a disability, the Department of Human Services has published Support Your Way: A self-directed approach for Victorians with a disability.

Self-directed approaches recognise that every person has unique support needs and that they will need different levels of assistance to design and manage their supports. Support Your Way outlines the principles and outcomes of self-directed approaches and promotes a shared responsibility for achieving greater choice for people with a disability.

You can view or downloadSupport Your Way from www.dhs.vic.gov.au or phone 9096 0218 or email sdsupport@dhs.vic.gov.au for a print copy.

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New Guidelines for the Administration of Conveyance Allowances for Student Travel 2009

The Department of Education and Early Childhood Development (DEECD) has published new Guidelines for the Administration of Conveyance Allowances for Student Travel 2009. Conveyance allowances are available to assist eligible students with the cost of travel to school. Allowances are available to eligible students attending government and non-government schools in all country and designated outer metropolitan areas and they apply to public transport, private car and private bus.

The guidelines provide detailed information about the eligibility criteria and application forms. Applications must be submitted by the school each semester and lodged electronically.

For more information visit www.education.vic.gov.au/management/schooloperations/studenttransport.htm

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Bring It Forum report

The final report from The Young Carers Bring It Forum held in November 2008 and hosted by Carers Australia, is now available on the Carers Australia website www.carersaustralia.com.au

New look ‘Using disability discrimination law’ booklet

Legal Aid Victoria has updated and reprinted their Using disability discrimination law booklet. The booklet includes information about how disability is defined, how to take action against disability discrimination, the complaints process and where to get help. New additions include information about the proposed changes in the Disability Discrimination and other Human Rights Legislation Amendment Bill (2008).

Using disability discrimination law is available free from Victoria Legal Aid. For more information phone 9269 0120 or visit www.legalaid.vic.gov.au

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Changes to the definition of income

From 1 July 2009, assessable income for Centrelink and Family Assistance Office will also include:

•    Reportable superannuation contributions, and
•    Total net losses from rental property or investment income

These changes may affect families who receive Baby Bonus, Child Care Benefit, Family Tax Benefit, and people who receive income support payments such as Carer Payment and the Disability Support Pension, amongst others.

For more information download a ‘Changes to the definition of income could affect your payment’ factsheet from the Centrelink website www.centrelink.gov.au or phone 13 23 00.

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Changes to Carer Payment (care receiver under 16 years with severe disability or medical condition)

Carer Payment provides income support to carers who, because of the demands of their caring role, are unable to support themselves through substantial paid work. Carer Payment is income and assets tested and paid at the same rate as other social security pensions. 

The most important change is to the way qualification for Carer Payment is assessed. The new method that will be used from 1 July 2009 looks at the carer’s total care load. Other changes include:

•    recognising more situations when carers will receive the payment, such as caring for:
    - one child with severe disability or severe medical condition
    - two or more children with disability or medical condition
    - an adult with disability and one or more children with disability or medical condition
•    the payment will be available to eligible carers who are looking after a person
     for a short period of time, that is at least three months, but less than six months
•    more sensitive and generous arrangements for carers of children with
     a terminal illness
•    removing the 63 day limit on hospitalisation
•    automatic Carer Allowance for carers who qualify for Carer Payment
•    a wider range of health professionals to complete medical forms.

For more information visit the payment page on the Centrelink website www.centrelink.gov.au or phone Centrelink on 13 27 17 or TTY 1800 810 586 or visit your nearest Centrelink office.

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2010 Program for Students with Disabilities Handbook and Student Support Group Guidelines

The 2010 Program for Students with Disabilities Handbook and Student Support Group Guidelines are now available on the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development (DEECD) website.

The Program for Students with Disabilities provides additional support for students with a disability in regular and specialist schools. The DEECD website also includes information about applications for continuation of funding for students over 18 years of age studying VCE, VET or VCAL, which must be completed before 26 February 2010.

For more information and to download the handbook and guidelines visit www.education.vic.gov.au/healthwellbeing/wellbeing/disability/handbook/default.htm
Mobile communications made more accessible

National Disability Awards

Nominations for the 2009 National Disability Awards are now open. The awards celebrate and acknowledge the achievements and contributions that individuals with disability make to our community and recognise individuals who have contributed to the disability sector. Nominations close 5.00pm AEST Friday 22 May 2009.

For more information phone 1800 440 385 or TTY 1800 555 677 and ask for 1800 440 385. Nomination forms are available from www.idpwd.com.au

Online travel directory

The IDEAS online travel directory provides a searchable database of accessible accommodation, tour operators, vehicle hire companies and other travel services across Australia. For more information phone 1800 029 904 or visit www.ideas.org.au/travel

Teenage social group – Access All Areas

The Cerebral Palsy Support Network (CPSN) is looking for enthusiastic fun loving participants to join a teenage social group for teens aged between 13 and 18 years who have cerebral palsy.

Monthly activities will be provided by staff and volunteers and most costs, including travel, admission to events and refreshments will be covered by CPSN. The aim of the program is to build confidence, empower independence and to have fun!

For more information contact Sam on 1300 277 600 or by email samantha.kosky@cpsn.info or visit www.cpsn.info

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Good Practice Guide and Self Audit Tool

The Disability Services Commissioner has launched the Good Practice Guide and Self Audit Tool: Developing an effective person centred complaints management culture and system. The guide and self audit tool has been developed to assist disability service providers to develop and review their complaints management system to ensure that it is responsive and accessible to people with a disability. It also forms part of a broader quality culture that sees complaints as an opportunity for service improvement.

For more information phone 1800 677 342 (free call) or TTY 1300 726 563 or visit www.odsc.vic.gov.au

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Victorian Bushfire Case Management Service Hotline 1800 050 400

All Victorians directly affected by the bushfires who need to access services can access the bushfire case management service.

Case Managers will be provided by Centrelink, DHS-funded community services organisations and local government. The service can assist with a range of support including accommodation, financial assistance, employment, education, counselling, health and legal services.

Individuals and families who have already registered with the Red Cross or the DHS Bushfire Hotline do not need to register directly with this service. They will be contacted by a Case Manager and offered the Case Management Service.

To register for support phone 1800 050 400 and a case manager will contact you within 24 hours. Support is also available for people who need immediate assistance.

Other resources and support:

Department of Human Services (DHS)
DHS is responsible for co-ordinating the State Government's recovery effort after the bushfires and there is a range of support available to families.

Victorian Bushfire Resource
Resources to support parents, schools and early childhood communities published by the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development (DEECD).

Donations of specialised toys and equipment
To donate specialised toys or equipment phone SCOPE Eastern Specialist Services on 9561 1233.

Support for families of children with autism
The Autistic Family Support Association (AFSA) is offering to help co-ordinate support for families of children with autism in fire affected areas. Phone AFSA on 0400 226 408 or email afsa_aust@bigpond.com

Victorian Bushfire Information Line 1800 240 667

Parent support
For information about services and support for your child and family contact our Parent Support Workers on 9818 2000 or 1800 654 013 (rural callers) or email mail@acd.org.au

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Coalition for Blind School NOW

A group of parents, educators, supporters and concerned citizens have committed to creating a new educational facility to take over the work done by the Vision Australia school that is being closed down at end of school year 2009. For more information contact Alan Lachman on 0421 582 462 or alan.lachman@sctelco.net.au
www.whitecane.info

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Autism - Stop the Robbery campaign

'Autism - Stop the Robbery' is the latest campaign by the Autistic Family Support Association (AFSA) aimed at the Victorian Government to ensure that the priorities detailed in the Autism State Plan get appropriate funding. For more information about letter writing, bumper stickers and demonstrations send an email to afsa_aust@bigpond.com with 'Autism- Stop the Robbery' in the subject line.

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Free Sunday travel for disability pensioners and carers

People who receive a Disability Support Pension or Carer Payment can now travel on public transport for free on Sundays. Free travel will be provided in the form of a Sunday Pass Metcard which is valid on trains, trams and buses travelling within Zones 1 and 2 in metropolitan Melbourne and also on town bus services in Ballarat, Bendigo and Geelong. Application forms are available from some train stations, staffed V/Line stations, the MetShop and Metcard agents.
www.metlinkmelbourne.com.au

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Family responsibilities: new guidelines for employers and employees

From 1 September 2008, changes to the Equal Opportunity Act 1995 (Vic) will protect working parents and carers from discrimination when trying to balance their work and family responsibilities.

The Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission and Industrial Relations Victoria have published new guidelines to provide practical information to employers and employees about the new rights and responsibilities under the Equal Opportunity Act.

The guidelines include details of the amendments, common questions asked by employers and employees and a model process that employees and employers can use to make and consider requests for changes to work arrangements.

Under the changes, when considering a request for changed work arrangements an employer should take into account all relevant facts and circumstances including:

•    the nature of the employee’s work and parental/carer responsibilities
•    the nature of cost of any alternative arrangements
•    the financial circumstances for the employer, and
•    the impact on the workplace

Employers are not compelled to agree to every request for changes to existing work arrangements but they should seriously consider such a request and any other options that may be suitable.

Employees who believe their employer has unreasonably refused to accommodate their family or carer responsibilities after September 1 will be able to lodge a complaint with the Commission.

Building eQuality in the workplace: Family Responsibilities - Guidelines for Employers and Employees is available on the Commission’s website www.humanrightscommission.vic.gov.au/publications

For more information contact the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission’s enquiry line on 9281 7100.

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Using disability discrimination law

Victoria Legal Aid has published a revised version of their free publication, Using disability discrimination law. The booklet covers all aspects of Victorian and federal law about what is considered discrimination and how to take action if you believe your rights have been infringed. New sections cover topics such as your rights with assistance animals, and the Human Rights Charter.

The booklet is available in print, audio and braille. The printed version can be ordered online or downloaded from the Victoria Legal Aid website. For more information contact Victoria Legal Aid’s Legal Information Service on 9269 0120 or 1800 677 402 (rural callers) or visit www.legalaid.vic.gov.au

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Up to $12,000 early intervention  support for children with autism
From 1 October 2008, families of children aged 0–6 years with a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder will be eligible to receive $6,000 per year for approved early intervention services for two years before their child starts school.

Rural families will also be able to access an additional $2,000 over two years in recognition of travel and other costs associated with visiting professionals in major city centres. To access the funds, families will need to visit one of 40 proposed ‘Autism Advisers’ who will confirm the diagnosis and advise what services are available. This can include speech pathology, occupational therapy and psychology.

The federal Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA) is developing a provider panel of approved allied health professionals and agencies that will be able to receive the $6,000 directly for services provided to families.

This initiative is part of the Australian Government’s Helping Children with Autism package, which also includes new Medicare items for the diagnosis and treatment of children with autism spectrum disorder, workshops for parents, and professional development for teachers and school staff. There are detailed and age-specific eligibility criteria for different parts of this initiative.

Comprehensive information for parents and carers is available from the FaHCSIA website www.fahcsia.gov.au (search for ‘helping children with autism’.) For more information phone the Helping Children with Autism enquiry line on 1800 289 177.

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Hippocampe all-terrain wheelchairs available to families

In addition to raising money to buy Hippocampe chairs for specialist developmental schools along the Mornington Peninsula, the Freemasons have purchased chairs for the Mordialloc Surf Life Saving Club and the Chelsea Surf Life Saving Club. The chairs are available for families to use for the day on a ‘first come’ basis.

The Hippocampe is an all terrain beach chair on wheels that provides access to the beach, water sports and other outdoor activities. Designed to be used by anyone, including people with limited mobility, the chair has a push bar kit that allows assistance when required.

The chair, which has a low seat and weighs 14 kg, is light and floats in the water. All parts are sand and water resistant and the chair’s aluminium tubes are sleeved to stop them getting hot in the sun. Its neutral buoyancy design allows it to be used in or out of the water and double width wheels make movement on sand easier. For more information contact the Mordialloc Surf Life Saving Club on 9580 6264 or the Chelsea Surf Life Saving Club on 9772 3029.

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Sharing Our Journey kit

The Department of Education and Early Childhood Development has produced an information kit for families of children receiving Kindergarten Inclusion Support Services packages to assist with the transition from kindergarten to school. The kit includes templates for documenting important information about your child and planning for support at school. The kit has been distributed to kindergartens across Victoria. For more information phone 1300 731 947.

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Talking Taxis communication tools

Talking Taxis features a small suite of simple communication tools such as picture boards, personal journey cards and alphabet boards. The tools aim to improve communication between taxi drivers and passengers, reducing confusion about destinations, payments and routes.

The Picture Boards display simple pictures and phrases that are commonly used in taxis. The Personal Journey Cards involve filling in the cards for each journey, giving specific information about the destination and payment to the taxi driver. For more information contact the Victorian Taxi Directorate on 9320 4300, 1800 638 802 or visit www.taxi.vic.gov.au

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Keeping Your Children Safe: Choosing safe organisations and activities for your children

A free 16-page guide for parents and carers outlines the important features of Child Safe organisations and the regulations and legal obligations of children’s services to protect children in their care. The booklet includes information on:

•    What is Child Safe
•    Choosing safe services and activities for your children
•    A Child Safe checklist
•    Regulation of commonly used children’s services such as childcare, kindergartens, and sporting and recreational organisations
•    Children travelling without parents

For more information contact Child Wise on 1800 991 099 or visit www.childwise.net

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Inquiry into Better Support for Carers

Through our national organisation the Australian Association for Families of Children with a Disability (AAFCD), we recently contributed to the Parliamentary Inquiry into Better Support for Carers

Our submission focused on the need for real change and recognition of carers, service system reform and financial assistance for carers. We were also invited to attend one of the public hearings and roundtable discussions held in August which was an opportunity for the committee to hear first-hand about real-life issues for families and carers.

It is encouraging that the government has set up this Inquiry and we look forward to seeing how it all translates into real outcomes for families and carers of children with a disability. To read our submission to the Inquiry visit the AAFCD website www.aafcd.org.auwww.aafcd.org.au

For more information about the Inquiry visit www.aph.gov.au/house/committee/fchy/carers/index.htm

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Family Relationship Service for Carers

The Family Relationship Service for Carers (FRSC) is a statewide program that supports carers of family members with a disability with issues around family relationships, disability and future planning.

The FRSC works with family members caring for someone with any type of disability, of any age, including young children. Free counselling information and referral is available and the service is designed to complement other services or counselling a family may be receiving.

For more information contact the Regional Program Co-ordinator in your area: Gippsland, Hume, North, West and Eastern regions contact Nicola Roche on 1300 303 346 or nroche@EACH.com.au. Barwon South West, Grampians, Loddon Mallee, and Southern regions contact Karen Jorgensen on 1300 303 346 or email frsc@each.com.au

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Helping children with autism package

The Australian Government’s Helping Children with Autism package includes a range of new initiatives across a number of government departments, including:

•    increased access to early intervention services for children aged 0–6

•    education and support for families and carers of children with autism spectrum disorder

•    new Medicare items for diagnosis and early intervention treatment for children aged under 13 years

•    workshops and information sessions for parents and carers of school-aged children

•    professional development for teachers and school staff who work with students with autism spectrum disorder

The Helping Children with Autism package will provide $190 million over 2007-08 to 2011-12 and is a joint initiative of the departments of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA); Health and Ageing (DoHA); and Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR).

For general inquiries and information about support for children aged 0–6 phone 1800 289 177 or visit the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA) website www.fahcsia.gov.auwww.fahcsia.gov.au

For information about Medicare items for children aged under 13 visit the Department of Health and Ageing (DoHA) website www.health.gov.au/autism

For information about support for school aged children visit the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR) website www.dest.gov.au/schools/autism

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Autism State Plan

A summary of the statewide consultation process for the Autism State Plan is now available. The summary outlines the main themes that emerged from the forums and written submissions. For more information about the progress of the Autism State Plan and the consultation summary visit http://autismstateplan.dhs.vic.gov.au

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Vehicle Modification Subsidy Scheme

The new Vehicle Modification Subsidy Scheme (VMSS) is now available for Victorian residents who meet the eligibility criteria of the Aids and Equipment Program.
The statewide scheme will be administered by Ballarat Health Services through the Aids and Equipment Program.

The subsidy will provide assistance to:

•    people requiring vehicle modifications due to    their disability to drive their primary vehicle, and

•    people with a disability requiring modifications to travel as a passenger in their primary vehicle.

A maximum subsidy of up to $10,000 over a seven year period is available to assist with the purchase of prescribed vehicle modifications. A range of vehicle modifications are covered by the scheme including hand controls, specialised seating, hoists and ramps. The application process requires an assessment by an occupational therapist.

For more information phone Ballarat Health Services on 1800 995 009 or visit www.dhs.vic.gov.au/disability

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New guidelines for Individual Support Packages

From 1 July 2008, disability support packages known as HomeFirst, Support and Choice and Community Options/Futures for Young Adults Years 1−8 have been consolidated into one Individual Support Package with a single set of guidelines.

Individual Support Packages are Disability Services funds allocated to a person to meet their disability related support needs, which may include support to maintain independence, learn new skills and participate in the community. They were created so that people with disabilities can direct the planning process and make their own choices about how they live their life.
To be eligible to receive an Individual Support Package you must meet eligibility criteria under the Disability Act 2006.

For more information about the guidelines and how to apply, contact your regional Disability Intake and Response Service on 1800 783 783, TTY 1800 008 149 or visit www.dhs.vic.gov.au

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National Disability Insurance Scheme

The idea of a National Disability Insurance Scheme has been around for some time but appears to be gaining momentum after it was discussed at the Australia 2020 summit in April this year.

The proposal is for a ‘no fault’ insurance scheme for people with disabilities that would fund the reasonable needs of the insured person without the need to sue and win a court case. This could include medical costs, aids and equipment, home modification, and therapy services.

The proposed scheme could operate in a similar way to the TAC no fault insurance scheme but would cover all people with a disability. Funding for the scheme could come from a number of sources, such as a supplement to the Medicare levy.

Anyone interested in supporting the proposed scheme can contact our CEO Elizabeth McGarry by email elizabethm@acd.org.au or phone the Association office on 9818 2000 or 1800 654 013 (rural callers).

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Capital grants scheme

The Capital Grants Scheme provides one-off assistance to concession card households by repairing or replacing essential water, gas or electrical appliances for households who otherwise could not afford to do so because of financial hardship.

To be eligible, you must demonstrate that you have no savings to meet the cost of the faulty appliance. Applications are available from financial counsellors or direct from the Concessions Unit.

For more information contact your financial counsellor or the Concessions Unit at the Department of Human Services on 1800 658 521 or visit www.cyf.vic.gov.au/concessions

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Livewire website

The Starlight Children’s Foundation Livewire website for teens with a serious illness or disability features information, online chat, games, competitions, forums and more.
For more information visit www.livewire.org.au

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Early Childhood Intervention Reform Project (DEECD)

Amongst a range of early years consultations happening of late is a statewide review of Early Childhood Intervention (ECIS) Reform Project by KPMG.

The project will look into issues around early childhood intervention services for children aged 0–6 with a disability or developmental delay, including demand for services, funding arrangements, transition issues and workforce development.

Of particular interest to families of children with a disability is an examination of the Early Childhood Intervention Service (ECIS) program, Kindergarten Inclusion Support Services and the Preschool Field Officer programs. The resulting Ministerial Options Paper and Action Plan due in September 2008 will guide a long-term reform process for early childhood services in Victoria.

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A Statement of Principles to guide support for families of children with a disability and their families (DHS)

KPMG’s National Health and Human Services Practice is assisting the Department of Human Services to develop a contemporary Statement of Principles to guide support for Victorian children with a disability and their families.

The purpose of the project is to:

•    Raise the profile of children with a disability and their families receiving support through the Disability Services Program

•    Provide a Statement of Principles to underpin service delivery to children with a disability and their families; and

•    Contribute to a co-ordinated approach across Disability Services and children’s services sectors to provide timely and effective supports

The Statement of Principles will be informed by a range of recent reforms to legislation and policy being implemented by the Victorian Government in relation to early childhood, disability and related areas such as child protection, education and health.

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Autism Support Program

The Commonwealth Carer Respite Service is funding a support program for people with an autism spectrum disorder who do not have an associated intellectual disability. Autism Plus, a specialist disability support agency, will provide support in the areas of community participation, recreation, out of home respite and holiday and weekend activities. To register your interest, phone the Commonwealth Carer Respite Service on 9212 3000.

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2009 Program for Students with Disabilities Handbooks

The 2009 Program for Students with Disabilities Handbooks are now available on the Sofweb website. The Sofweb site also now includes information about the application for a continuation of PSD funding for students studying VCE, VET or VCAL. This is in accordance with changes to legislation in the Education and Reform Act supporting student attendance up to the age of 20 to enable them to complete their VCE or equivalent.

The PSD handbooks, including Student Support Guidelines and the Language Support Program handbook, are available from www.sofweb.vic.edu.au/wellbeing/disabil/psdhandbook.htm

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Kids Onside football

Football Federation Victoria and the Victorian Sports and Recreation Association of Persons with an Intellectual Disability (VICSRAPID) are running a program to encourage children with an intellectual disability to take part in community football.

Kids Onside involves Regional Sports Assemblies, Access for All Abilities co-ordinators and Regional Soccer Associations working to educate clubs and local communities about making activities accessible to everyone. The program will focus on areas of West Gippsland, Swan Hill and Ballarat.

For more information contact Jenny Bees at VICSRAPID on 9926 1383 or jbees@tpg.com.au

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Building Foundations Autism: your child, your family DVD and manual

Aspect Australia has produced a 30-minute DVD and manual for families who have a child recently diagnosed with autism. It features families and service providers talking about their experiences and includes strategies and information about autism.

The manual covers topics such as early signs, diagnosis, interventions, communication, visual supports, play and social interaction, behaviours and sensory processing. The DVD is in English with subtitles in other languages. The manual includes a glossary of terms in English, Arabic, Cantonese, Farsi, Hindi, Korean, Turkish and Vietnamese.

Copies of the DVD and manual are available for $9.95 from Aspect Australia , phone 02 8977 8300 or visit www.aspect.org.au

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Blueprint for government schools

With the creation of the new Department of Education and Early Childhood Development (DEECD) in August last year, the Victorian Government has begun a process to integrate early childhood services and schools across Victoria .

The Blueprint for Early Childhood Development and School Reform discussion papers were released for public comment and feedback in May. The Blueprints outline proposed reforms in the early childhood sector and in schools, taking a lifecycle approach to the learning and development of children from birth to adulthood. The final Blueprint will be released later this year.

You can read our Blueprint submission online or contact the Association office for a print copy. For more information visit www.education.vic.gov.au

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Exploring the possibilities - Post-school options for young people with a disability

The Victorian Advocacy League for Individuals with Disability (VALID) has published a resource guide to assist young people and their families with the transition from school to adult life.

The booklet includes information about planning, post-school options, study, employment, specialist and community based choices as well as a list of websites and contacts.

For more information contact VALID on 9416 4003 or 1800 655 570 or visit www.valid.org.au

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Federal Inquiry into Better Support for Carers

The Federal House of Representatives Standing Committee on Family, Community, Housing and Youth is conducting an inquiry into better support for carers.

The Standing Committee will report on the role and contribution of carers, barriers to social and economic participation for carers, practical measures to better support carers, and strategies to assist carers to access the same range of opportunities and choices as the wider community.

For the purpose of the inquiry, carers are defined as ‘individuals providing unpaid support for others with ongoing needs due to a long-term medical condition, a mental illness, a disability or frailty'.

Parents and carers are encouraged to make a submission or attend one of the public hearings to be held in all capital cities and some rural centres. The inquiry is an opportunity to tell government about specific ideas, solutions, and program proposals you want to see put in place to better support carers.

Templates for writing a submission are available from the Carers Australia website

For more information and details of public hearings, phone the Clerk Assistant (Committees) House of Representatives on 03 6277 4399 or visit the Australian Parliament House website

Submissions close Friday 4 July 2008.

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Autism State Plan

The Autism State Plan aims to build new and better approaches across government for meeting the growing needs of people with autism spectrum disorders. For the latest news on the Autism State Plan and other information about autism, contact Autism Victoria on 9885 0533. For government information about the Plan phone 9096 0526.
http://autismstateplan.dhs.vic.gov.au

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Disability Services Commissioner

The role of Victoria's Disability Services Commissioner, Laurie Harkin, is to resolve complaints about disability service providers and to work with them to improve outcomes for people with a disability. Anyone can make a complaint in relation to a disability service. Contact the Office of the Disability Services Commissioner on 1800 677 342.
www.odsc.vic.gov.au

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Australian Cerebral Palsy Register

The Australian Cerebral Palsy Register uses web-based technology to share information about the causes and treatment of cerebral palsy with researchers in Australia and around the world. Participation is voluntary and requires written consent.
https://secure.cpregister-aus.com.au/

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Disability Act

Information about the Disability Act including a series of Easy Read Information Sheets is available from the Legislation Team of the Disability Services Division of the Department of Human Services on 1300 366 731. Copies of the full Act can be viewed on the Victorian Legislation and Parliamentary Documents website in the Victorian Statute Book.
www.legislation.vic.gov.au

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Auditor General’s report on education

In September 2007 the Victorian Auditor General released a report on the Program for Students with Disabilities (PSD). The report, ‘Program for Students with Disabilities: Program Accountability’ is available from the Victorian Auditor-General’s Office website www.audit.vic.gov.au or phone 8601 7000.

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Autism Consultation and Training (ACT-Now)

The ACT-Now project aims to build the skills of professionals who work with children with autism and their families. A series of fact sheets about autism and a project newsletter are available.
www.med.monash.edu.au/spppm/research/devpsych/actnow/

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Free information booklet for families

'There's No Such Thing As A Silly Question' is a practical guide for families living with a child with chronic illness, disability, mental illness or life-threatening condition. Contact the InterAct Secretary at secretary.interact@gmail.com or Very Special Kids on 9804 6222 to order a copy.

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