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FREE online pain management course for people with SCI

Macquarie University is responding to growing demand by Australians with spinal cord injury (SCI) for information on chronic pain management, with a practical free online course starting 8 February 2016. Read More »



Your chance to win a food and wine cruise

Spinal Cord Injuries Australia (SCIA) is excited to announce the chance to win one of 10 tickets on a fully accessible, all inclusive, four day food and wine cruise.

Thanks to a generous supporter SCIA has the opportunity to offer 10 members with a disability a place in an accessible twin cabin on a fantastic fully accessible four day cruise setting sail from Sydney on the 19 August 2016. Read More »



Research Project Opportunity: ‘Discriminatory acts towards young Australians with disabilities in public places’

Researchers at the University of Sydney and the University of Melbourne wish to interview young people in Sydney & NSW mid-North Coast with impairments. To be eligible, you need to have left high school and be aged up till your late 20’s. Read More »



Close call with spinal cord injury inspires fundraiser

Do something amazing this year and join Team SCIA! Run, swim or cycle your way towards helping us overcome barriers to independence for people with spinal cord injuries. Join people such as Harley Lewis, who was only 1mm away from potentially never walking again after a serious neck injury on the footy field in August 2015. Now he is preparing to complete his first ever triathlon and fundraise for SCIA. Read More »



PME Auto Conversions comes on-board as Diamond Sponsor

Spinal Cord Injuries Australia (SCIA) is excited to announce that PME Auto Conversions have come on-board as the Diamond sponsor of the SCIA Independence Expo.

It is fantastic to be in partnership with a company run by and for people with disability, and a business that enhances the confidence, freedom and independence of people with disability through driving and transport options.  Read More »



NDIS discussion: Chris shares his real-life experience

Chris Sontag shared his real-life experience of using the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) to fund his disability supports during a recent panel discussion with Joan Hume (SCIA President) and Tony Jones (SCIA Policy and Advocacy Officer). Read More »



Joan Hume - disability work honoured

SCIA's President Joan Hume was recently honoured to receive a University of Sydney Alumni Award for Community Achievement for her advocacy work for people with disabilities and her tireless efforts to improve disability services across the country and internationally. Read More »



Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Week news

The NRL is proud to be supporting Spinal Cord Injuries Australia's activities for this year's Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Week 2015. The week focuses on what people with spinal cord injuries (SCI) can achieve and how the community at large can ensure society is inclusive and accessible for everyone, with a campaign titled "Think I can't, Think again!"  Read More »



2016 ParaQuad NSW Scholarship Program

Scholarships of up to $5000 for people with a spinal cord injury are available now from ParaQuad NSW. The ParaQuad NSW Scholarship Program aims to support people with a spinal cord injury and like neurological disabilities to pursue educational and career training.

The scholarships:

  • Assist in providing funding to students who are studying at registered training organisations, eg. TAFE, universities and colleges 
  • Are aimed at easing the financial burden of obtaining the necessary education and skill to secure future employment 
  • Cover educational costs such as textbooks, course fees (up to $2,000), computer equipment, additional support 

Applications close on 12 February 2016. To be eligible, your completed scholarship application forms must be received at ParaQuad by that time.

Visit ParaQuad to view the guidelines and download the application form.

Email ParaQuad at for further information. Phone enquiries: (02) 8741 5669.




Sing for SCI in the Illawarra Mercury

The fundraising event organised by Jae Haydon which raised over $10,000 for Spinal Cord Injuries Australia - Sing for spinal cord injury - has featured in the Illawarra Mercury.  Read the story here.



Art exhibition debuts at the SCIA Independence Expo

Spinal Cord Injuries Australia is excited to be incorporating an arts exhibition into the SCIA Independence Expo that will be held on Friday 15 April and Saturday 16 April 2016. The exhibition will feature talented artists, Daniel Savage, Sue Murray and Susan Wood.

Daniel Savage, Sue Murray's Imagine Me project and Susan Wood

L-R: Daniel Savage, Sue Murray's Imagine Me Project and artwork by Susan Wood

Susan Wood Susan is a self-taught painter and illustrator from the Blue Mountains, now living in Sydney, who has Neonatal Flaccid Paraplegia. Susan's art leans toward darker themes and geek and sci-fi genres. She has a wide range of inspirations from classical and metal music, pop culture and food. Susan is an experimental artist who tackles as many disciplines and genres as possible.

Daniel Savage is an artist with spinal cord injury who challenges societal attitudes toward people with disabilities through his work. Daniel graduated from the ANU School of Art with first class honours, and has exhibited in Australian and internationally. Daniel’s artistic skillset includes, photography, video and performance.  Daniel also plays wheelchair rugby for the NSW Gladiators.

Professional photographer and artist, Sue Murray is another talented individual that SCIA is pleased to have on-board for the upcoming arts exhibition. Through her Imagine Me project, Sue works with people living with spinal cord injury to create inventive and diverse artworks using digital photography. Sue will be exhibiting works from this project that strive to create a greater community understanding of people living with physical disabilities.

Register here to attend the SCIA Independence Expo or phone 1800 819 775.



Thank you Sing for Spinal Cord Injury

During October Jae Haydon and other musicians recorded 31 songs in 31 days and raised a phenomenal amount for Spinal Cord Injuries Australia (SCIA), over $10,000!

A big thank you to Heidi and Jae Haydon, The Stone Fruits, Billy Demos, Dominic Connor, The Real Supastar, Felice Mead and all those that took part. Listening to their songs has certainly brightened up October, check out some of the artists involved below or visit their Facebook page.

Conceived of by Jae Haydon, brother of SCIA Education Officer Heidi Haydon, this was the third year of Sing for Spinal Cord Injury and it was the biggest one yet! Read More »



Congratulations Matthew Pierri

We are so excited for Matthew Pierri, one of our Exercise Services clients from Melbourne, who has been awarded the 2016 Victorian Rhodes Scholarship for postgraduate study at the University of Oxford.

Matthew completed a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Media and Communications and Chinese Language at the University of Melbourne with First Class Honours and is due to complete a Juris Doctor degree at the Melbourne Law School this year. He hopes to study a Master of Public Policy at the Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford. Matthew said he was thrilled to receive the scholarship, which will allow him to further his ambition to achieve social change at a systemic level. 

“Over the last few years, I have advocated to change the perception and treatment of people with spinal cord injuries and I strongly believe that progressive and practical public policy is needed to address increasingly complex and multi-faceted social problems,” Matthew said. Read More »



SCIA President Joan Hume receives Alumni Award from University of Sydney

Spinal Cord Injuries Australia (SCIA) President, Ms Joan Hume OAM, has received the Alumni Award for Community Achievement from the University of Sydney. Joan receives this award for her advocacy work for people with disabilities and her tireless efforts to improve disability services across the country and internationally. Completing her Diploma of Education and Bachelor of Arts in 1969, Joan became an English and History high school teacher with the NSW Department of Education, before she sustained quadriplegia in a car accident in 1971. After a year of recovery in hospital, Joan attempted to return to teaching, only to be told there was no future for her in the state school system. Fortunately, she was offered a teaching role at another public high school and became the state’s first classroom teacher who used a wheelchair. Read More »



Jessica Hansson wins national alumni award

Jessica Hansson, Spinal Cord Injuries Australia’s Team Leader of Exercise Services in Melbourne, is the inaugural Young Alumnus of the Year at the Australian Catholic University (ACU).  Read More »



NSW Accessible Toilet Project in the News

Spinal Cord Injuries Australia is currently involved in a project updating the National Public Toilet Map. The map is a tool that can be used by people with disability to find an accessible toilet. The project was featured in ParaQuad NSW's Magazine recently, encouraging people to get involved and volunteer for the project. A $100 gift voucher is available to people who help out. Read more here.



Abbey Van Capelle - exercise physiologist


Abbey Van Capelle is an exercise physiologist with SCIA’s exercise services, she spoke to UNSW Medicine about her work providing a range of exercise services for people with spinal cord injury and other neurological conditions.  

"The condition and need of patients can vary quite a bit, including spinal cord injury, stroke, brain injury, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, cerebral palsy and many more. The exercise benefits for this population can range from (but are not limited to), gains in strength, coordination, balance and aerobic fitness; improvements in mobility and activities of daily living, improved cardiovascular, respiratory, neurological and metabolic function,” she said. Read more on the UNSW Medicine website.

If you have a spinal cord injury or similar disability, check out the gym and do an initial assessment in Sydney, Perth, Brisbane or Melbourne. Email or phone 1800 819 775.

Discover more about our exercise services.



Current Vacancies - Community Fundraising Collectors

Spinal Cord Injuries Australia (SCIA) is a leading social enterprise committed to ensuring ongoing empowerment and independence for people living with a spinal cord injury in the community.  We are passionate about continually improving our service offerings and driving innovation to provide maximum opportunity for those whose lives are affected by traumatic injury.

SCIA are looking for committed and outgoing individuals to join our team to collect donations and raise awareness for people whose lives are affected by traumatic injury.   

We are looking for candidates that are passionate about the cause and enjoy having conversations.

If you are interested in this opportunity please email your CV, to or contact Jenny on 02 8347 3005 for more information.

Successful candidates are required to complete pre-employment screening including a criminal background check.



Turning access nightmares into access wins

Making the most of a difficult situation can test anyone’s patience, however resolving it can make a huge difference for you and others in the future, making speaking up really worthwhile. SCIA’s policy and advocacy team can advise on ways to turn difficult situations into positive outcomes, and we encourage you to speak up and take the challenge when you can.

For instance SCIA clients had a difficult experience at the Cool Yule ice skating rink in Sydney. SCIA had been assured the rink was accessible at all times. Unfortunately it had not been communicated to ice rink staff that the SCIA group would be attending on that particular day and a ramp wasn’t available to get everyone on the ice. Read More »



Important update: NDIS gets moving in NSW, VIC and QLD

The NSW and Victorian Governments have released their NDIS rollout plans, and early transition sites have been announced for Queensland in Townsville, Palm Island and Charter Towers. For more information on Queensland click here.

The NDIS rollout in Victoria

Information on the rollout in Victoria is available from the NDIS website and the Victorian Government's website

The NDIS rollout in NSW

The NSW Government has provided the following information, eligible people with disability will be able to start accessing supports under the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) when it is rolled out across NSW between 1 July 2016 and 30 June 2018:

  • From 1 July 2016, people living in Hunter New England, Southern NSW, Central Coast, Northern Sydney, South Western Sydney, Western Sydney and Nepean Blue Mountains will be able to access the NDIS. 
  • From 1 July 2017, the NDIS will be in place across the rest of NSW, and people living in Northern NSW, Mid North Coast, Sydney, South Eastern Sydney, Illawarra Shoalhaven, Murrumbidgee, Western NSW and Far West NSW will be able to access the NDIS. 

These locations reflect the current NSW disability and Health service districts. Read More »



The SCIA Independence Expo is open for visitor registrations

The SCIA Independence Expo is back on 15 and 16 April 2016 for people with physical disability. Explore amazing products, equipment and technology on display. Be inspired by information packed demonstrations and workshops. Discover services to help you get what you want out of life. There will be travel, sport and art, plus entertainment and fun activities. It's free to attend - register today and you could win a $500 gift card.

Click here to read the article in Just Better Living about the Expo (page 30 - 31). 



Young Aussie becomes poster boy for spinal therapy

Claire Conroy spoke to the Northern District Times about her son Evander, who has been doing intensive locomotor treadmill training at the Frazier Rehab Institute, in Kentucky USA.

On the locomotor treadmill, people hold Evander's hips and legs, teaching his brain how to make them work.

Evander has also attended our Walk On program in Sydney, which will be opening an exercise clinic for kids and offering intensive locomotor training soon.   

Click here to read the article



Calling all creatives

We're looking for people with disability, or their family and friends, who make items to sell at the SCIA Independence Expo market. If you make things like jewellery, art, knitted items, jams and chutneys we want to hear from you! Holding a stall won't cost you anything and support will be available for people uncomfortable with selling. If you are interested please email or phone 1800 819 775.

Don't forget to register to attend the SCIA Independence Expo, on 15 - 16 April 2016 in Sydney, by clicking here.

Register to attend Expo


Heidz Haydon on FBI

Heidz Haydon was on FBI Radio with Ash and Jo Wallace, talking about Humans of Newtown. Listen to the podcast by clicking here.

Heidi Haydon with Jo Wallace and Ash on FBI Radio



"We're humans. We’re the same as everyone else. We're just sitting down."

SCIA Education Officer Heidi Haydon is getting the word out about access for people with disability. She writes on Mamamia about how simple it can be to make a venue or event accessible for people who use wheelchairs to get around.

Heidi Haydon"We totally understand that we may have to do things a bit differently, that's a given, But today, I am asking you - I'm asking everyone - to ensure that businesses, establishments and pop-up events can be enjoyed by all. It's easy to have a portable ramp. It's easy to highlight accessibility points on a website. Even though we accept that doing things on a whim may not be achievable, having to make many phone calls, send many emails and then finding out accessibility is not actually an option, can be very disappointing."

Click here to read the whole article.



On the map

Link Magazine has profiled Spinal Cord Injuries Australia's charge to improve access to public toilets for people with disability by updating the National Public Toilet Map

The map is a website and app that provides locations and information on over 16,000 publicly available toilets across Australia. It is designed to reduce the stress people face when they cannot find an accessible toilet and to ensure that people with disability and other mobility restrictions can be confident in getting out and enjoying their lives.

SCIA is asking people in the community to help assess toilets in their local area by becoming Volunteer Access Officers. The tools and forms to assess toilets are provided and $100 gift vouchers are available to eligible volunteers as a thank you.

For information contact Kelly McCann email or phone on 0412 177 643.

Click here to read the article.

Project logo



Humans of Newtown: Heidi Haydon

The residents of one of Australia’s top eccentric suburbs have become the focus of a new book after taking social media by storm. Among those happy to share their story was Heidi Haydon, an SCIA Education Officer in our Peer Support team who sustained T4 complete paraplegia after a motorbike accident in December 2009. Heidi Haydon

She shared her struggle to overcome anger and the stigma associated with disabled people with the Humans of Newtown community. 

“People tend to see my chair first, then the tattoos, then the hair and last of all they see my personality. I don't want people to be awkward with people with a disability…we may look and do things a little differently, but we are all the same.” 

“I felt sharing my story would break the barriers for people with disability,” she said. 

Heidi says she was overwhelmed by the support she received on social media when her story was shared. “I am not an emotional person, but to have that feedback from people I've never met or seen before touched my heart and was very moving.”

Click here to read more on Yahoo7 News.



Research into Facilitated Sex and Disability

You are invited to participate in a research project conducted by researchers from Deakin University that aims to provide information that will help to have a better understanding of the need for facilitated sex support in the lives of adults with disability (AWD). Some AWD may need assistance from their paid carers or support workers in order to express themselves sexually or participate in sexual activities (this is called facilitated sex). There is very little research on this issue. Currently in Australia, the need for this kind of help is ignored by disability services and those who make policy.

In order to be eligible to participate in the research you would need to:

  • be an adult with a disability age 18-65
  • be restricted in one or more of the following: mobility, arm movement, hand manipulation and/or ability to communicate
  • use the services of a carer or support worker to assist you in everyday care/tasks
  • reside in Victoria

For more information about the project visit the project website.



780 toilets and counting

Thanks to our volunteer Access Officers, 780 toilets have been assessed for the SCIA project to update accessible toilets in NSW on the National Public Toilet Map.

accessible toiletStaff at Slater and Gordon got involved and have assessed more than 190 toilets. "It's easy to get involved, even my kids had a go. You simply fill in the form and take a photo, and as a result help reduce the stress felt by people with disability when they need an accessible toilet whilst out and about," says star volunteer, Maria from Slater and Gordon Liverpool office.  Read More »



Tribute to Ed Watts

Spinal Cord Injuries Australia farewelled our Chairman Ed Watts, who passed away in July. Ed was a senior lecturer in Applied Finance and Actuarial Studies at Macquarie University. He joined our Board of Directors in 2013, and become Chairman in 2014. Ed had a great interest in how government policy, services and technology can assist people with disabilities to lead fulfilling and independent lives. Our deepest condolences go out to Ed's family, friends and colleagues at this sad time.

You can read more about Ed's life, and a tribute form his friend Geoff Nilon, in The Daily Examiner. You can also leave your own tribute to Ed by clicking here.



Spinal Cord Injuries Australia and NRL partnership

Spinal Cord Injuries Australia's partnership with National Rugby League (NRL) has featured in the media recently, with the news that the NRL launched its whole of game Foundation to provide assistance to players who sustain catastrophic injuries. 

CEO Dave Smith said the NRL wants to provide support for players who suffer catastrophic injuries playing rugby league.

The NRL already has in place an insurance scheme which provides compensation of up to $1 million to NRL players who suffer severe injuries. Read More »



Exhibit for disability rights open at M.A.D.E

An exhibition exploring campaigning for disability rights Grassroots Democracy: The Campaign for Disability Rights recently launched at the Museum of Australian Democracy at Eureka. Exploring the deinstitutionalisation of the 1970s, the right-based activism of the 70s and 80s and the recent introduction of the National Disability Insurance Scheme, the retrospective show was exhibited both in the museum and online. President of Spinal Cord Injuries Australia, Joan Hume, was included in the exhibition and on the Honour Board for the Campaign for Disability Rights, launched in conjunction with the exhibition.  Read More »


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