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Real-life experiences from the NDIS trail sites

The next issue of Accord (Autumn 2015) will feature a story about the future of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and explores the real life experiences of people with disabilities in the NDIS trail sites.

Simone

Simone told the Federal Parliament Joint Standing committee on the NDIS last year that the scheme had transformed her life. “… I was getting 21.1 hours before, and now I am getting 42 hours. I am doing a lot more. I can be more flexible,” she said. As examples, she told the committee that the NDIS funding enabled her to work in Melbourne and visit a friend she had not seen in 19 years.

Amanda

Amanda Samek has welcomed the NDIS. “I had a few hiccups at the start but patience and perseverance sorted them out,” she told the Joint Standing Committee last year. “… I could not get in or out [of bed] … so [the NDIS planner] ordered [a new] bed. I have now got a bed that lifts me up and down.” The planner also arranged for decking, so she could get into the backyard. “I feel normal when I have got visitors because I can … go out in the backyard with them,” she said.

Tabi

Tabi Senda’s initial experience with the NDIS has been positive. She has been able to hire two support workers to help her achieve goals important to her; for example, rearranging her bedroom, facilitating her participation as a non-skating roller derby official (learning to do the scoring) and supporting her on campus at university – when she is able to attend.

Naomi

Tabi’s mother, Naomi, points to frustrations with the NDIS, such as delays in waiting for basic items, such as adjustments to Tabi’s existing hoist, a single point walking stick and the correct ankle and foot orthoses. She has also experienced difficulties at the NDIS and Health Department interface. As Tabi is susceptible to fractures, before entering the NDIS she had been receiving ongoing physiotherapy and gym work under her Victorian Individual Service Plan, to help maintain her function. But since entering the NDIS she has been told that the NDIA will only provide 10 physiotherapy sessions and she will need to seek ongoing services via the Victorian Health Department. But Naomi says the Health Department does not provide the services Tabi needs, and she is now trying to resolve the issue via the NDIA. Tabi’s disability is permanent; she needs the ongoing physical intervention, Naomi adds.

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Friday, 27 March 2015

 

Assistive technology for people with spinal cord injury

Assistive technology can make life with spinal cord injury and other disabilities much easier. As the NDIS makes more funding available to people with a disability* it is worth looking into the amazing technology, equipment and modifications that will help improve your independence.

Let’s take a look at what is available and what can be achieved with the right technology.


Talk to your computer or device with speech recognition software

Dragon Naturally Speaking is one of the main speech recognition programs. It has been around for a while, is quite sophisticated and well worth checking out. Speech recognition is also possible on tablets, with Windows building speech recognition into its latest version.  If you are interested in speech recognition software, make sure you research the right kind of software for your computer or device and what it will do for you.


Operate your computer with a mouth stick

Three joysphoto of mouthstick stylustick mouse devices you might want to consider are the QuadMouse, the QuadJoy or LipStick. These and other mouth stick devices all vary in how they operate, so before you whip your credit card out make sure it will suit your needs.


Operate your tablet with a stylus

To do this all you need is a stylus or a mouth stick with conductive material on the tip. The tablet can be hand held, mounted on your wheelchair or mounted elsewhere in your home or workplace, so you can use your tablet wherever you are. This could be useful if you are planning on operating an environmental control system in your house with Wi-Fi or Bluetooth.


Operate your computer with your eyes

Technology has come such a long way that it is now possible to operate your computer by moving your eyes.  Eye gaze systems available include Tobii, Intelligaze and QuickGlance. Ability Technology or Technical Solutions Australia can advise on which system will suit you best.


Control your home environment

screen shot of Ability HouseYou can operate things in your home like doors, lights, windows, entertainment systems, air conditioning, heaters and much more using technological solutions like Infrared, Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. To explore your options, visit Ability House an interactive virtual house, just click on an appliance to see what systems will operate it.


Use hand gestures to control a device

Having any kind of hand movement makes it possible to operate a device using hand gestures. If you are running an environmental control system in your house as mentioned above, the stroke of the finger on your device’s screen can control lights, sound systems and other appliances. You can also set up different gestures to trigger different tasks, for example an upwards stroke could turn lights on and a downwards stroke turn them off.


Become a gamer

accessible gaming iconDepending on your level, to become a gamer you might just need an adapted game controller and accessible video games to play. AbleGamers is a US based organisation that reviews games and specifically assesses the accessibility of each title, including mobility, auditory and visual scores. They also advise video game developers on how to make games as accessible as possible. Visit their enthusiastic online community Unstoppable Gamers to read reviews, chat with others and discover tips and tricks.


The future

This is just a small snapshot of assistive technology and ideas available – if you are having a problem doing or accessing something there may be a technological solution out there, or you may be the first person to invent it!

Look out for the articles by Graeme Smith from Ability Technology in Accord, where he covers currently available and up and coming assistive technology.


More information

Visit our Assistive Technology page for links to more resources and organisations working in the field or contact us at information@scia.org.au or 1800 819 775.


*The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) realises the importance of assistive technology and its potential to improve lives. Their discussion paper Towards Solutions for Assistive Technology is well worth a read.

    Friday, 27 March 2015

     

    Norwegian physiotherapy students visit Walk On

    Juliane NaesPhoto of Juliane & Debbie working out at Walk Ons is a Norwegian physiotherapy student visiting our Exercise Therapy program Walk On from Saxion University. Juliane is the fourth Norwegian student we've had come to Walk On over the past two years, to learn from our expertise in exercise therapy for people with spinal cord injury (SCI) and take it back to their home country.

    As part of the their undergraduate physiotherapy course, the Norwegian physiotherapy students choose a 10 week international placement as part of their 4th year. The students who h

    ave chosen to visit us in Australia have all been extremely valuable assets to the program. They’ve been incredible in building rapport with clients and becoming a part of our Walk On family.

    Juliane is thrilled with choosing Walk On for her placement. She really enjoys working hands on with the clients and is impressed with the length and intensity of each session, saying “It’s amazing to have an opportunity to work with a client for two hours at a time”. Juliane also touches on the innovative and individually tailored aspects of the program. “The staff are always trying different things with clients to get the most benefit out of the session for them,” Juliane says. 

    Malene Stirling was one of the first students to visit us at Walk On, she said of her experience, “I'm very happy I had the chance to spend time at Walk On. The staff are very talented and I feel honouredPhoto of Juliane & client Debbie at Walk On to have learned from them. Ten weeks passes by very fast and I wish I had the opportunity to stay longer. My dream is to work with people with spinal cord injuries in Norway and perhaps come back to Australia to continue to develop myself as a physiotherapist”. Malene has since realised her dream, and is now a Physiotherapist at Cato Senteret Rehabilitation Centre in Norway, dedicating her time to improving the lives of people with SCI through exercise therapy. 

    It is fantastic to hear that international students are being inspired by their time at Walk On to specialise in the field and go on to help people in their home country with SCI improve their health and functionality. We look forward to welcoming more students from Saxion University and other parts of the world in the future.

    Photos: Juliane with Deborah, who has T12 paraplegia, working out at the Walk On gym in Sydney

    Tuesday, 24 March 2015

     

    SCIA joins forces with the NRL

    Spinal Cord Injuries Australia (SCIA) has formed a partnership with the National Rugby League (NRL) to assist injured rugby league players and their families following a major injury.

    As well as providing practical assistance, the partnership will also fund joint research initiatives to assist injured footballers.

    The partnership will operate alongside the NRL’s soon to be established Injured Players Foundation, which will provide long-term assistance to players who sustain severe and permanent disabilities while playing rugby league. The Foundation will cover players from schoolboys and juniors right through to first grade.

    The way the partnership will operate in practice is currently being finalised. Watch this space for more news on this exciting initiative in coming months.

    photo of football field


    Friday, 20 March 2015

     

    Teamsafe features on A Current Affair

    A Current Affair​ featured David Crawford, ambassador for our workplace injury prevention program Teamsafe, in an important story about workplace safety. To watch click here.

    Our Teamsafe program presents the real-life story of why following safety processes based on participation, facilitation and empowerment is so important. For more information on the Teamsafe program click here.


    Monday, 09 March 2015

     

    Run for SCIA in 2015

    Thanks to people running in various events across the country, vital funds are being raised for people with spinal cord injury and similar disability.

    The bar has been raised for 2015 and we need your help!

    You can help by participating in one of the running events below and fundraising for SCIA. Your support ensures that people with spinal cord injury or similar disability can continue using our programs to improve their health, well-being and independence.

    One such program is Burn Rubber Burn (BrB), a vital exercise program for people with disability that was facing the axe. We have stepped in to save it and now we need your help. Run for us in 2015 and help people with a disability who rely on SCIA services and programs like BrB to improve their health, well-being and independence.

    Click here to watch Ben work out at BrB.

    Here are some of the running events coming up this year:














    Thursday, 05 March 2015

     

    Register for iVote

    Electronic voting is available for people with disabilities who need to vote in the upcoming NSW state election (March 28) via iVote. The following information is provided by the iVote website.

    iVote® eligibility

    People enrolled in NSW can vote using the iVote® system if one or more of the following eligibility criteria apply:

    • My real place of living is not within 20 kilometres, by the nearest practicable route, of a polling place
    • I have a disability (within the meaning of the Anti-Discrimination Act 1977) and because of that disability I have difficulty voting at a polling place or I am unable to vote without assistance
    • I will not be within New South Wales throughout the hours of polling on election day
    • My vision is so impaired, or otherwise I am so physically incapacitated or so illiterate, that I am unable to vote without assistance

    You can register and vote from this website or by phone on 1300 24 86 83 or +612 9290 5287 from overseas 9am - 5pm EDST Monday - Friday.

    The iVote® system has 3 steps

    1. Register
      From 10AM EDST Thursday 12 February 2015 until 1PM EDST Saturday 28 March 2015
    2. Vote
      From 8AM EDST Monday 16 March 2015 until 6PM EDST Saturday 28 March 2015
    3. Verify (optional)
      Verify your vote is recorded as you cast it until 6PM EDST Saturday 28 March 2015
      Verify your vote has been included in the count from Monday 30 March until Friday 24 April 2015

    Please visit www.ivote.nsw.gov.au for more more information.

    Tuesday, 03 March 2015

     

    Provide feedback on your experience with the NDIS

    The Physical Disability Council of NSW is seeking your feedback on your knowledge and experience of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) (even if you live outside of the trial site). The information you provide us will be fed back to the National Disability Insurance Agency, and also help inform submissions and forums. 

    Responses can be from individuals with disability, family members or people in a support network of an individual. 

    Feedback can be provided by calling 02 9552 1606, emailing admin@pdcnsw.org.au, or you can fill in our online survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/ZWWXGMN

    We thank you for your time spent providing this feedback. 

    Thursday, 05 February 2015

     

    NDIS Update - the rollout continues to gather momentum

    by Tony Jones, SCIA Policy & Advocacy Officer

    The NDIS logo graphicrollout of the NDIS continues to gather momentum and increase in numbers. Last November saw the official update with the NDIA releasing its most recent quarterly report with the data showing almost 9000 participants across the country. The report includes for the first time data from the three new trial sites — ACT, Barkly (NT) and Perth Hills (WA) — alongside the existing four sites.The salient facts are:

    • Participant satisfaction remains very high at 1.67 on a scale of -2 (very poor) to +2 (very good).
    • 10,939 people have been found eligible for the NDIS, with 8880 having approved individualised support plans in place by the end of September.
    • More than $395.3 million has been committed to these participants.
    • The average package cost in the first year of the scheme is $35,207, below the funding expectation of $36,750.

    As far as individual package costs go, 3,894 participants have support packages of less than $30,000 for a total of $50.0 million which represents only 23% of total committed supports – only 10% of participants have an annualised package cost over $100,000, but these participants account for 49% of total committed supports.

    In addition to package costs, $45.5 million has been committed to research and innovation projects, and there is another $48.5 million worth of projects under development according to the 5th Quarterly Report to COAG Council on Disability Reform from September 2014.

    10,226 plans have been approved to date, including 1,314 second plans and 32 third plans; plan reviews represented approximately half of plans approved in the New South Wales and Victorian trial sites (52% and 49% respectively). These plans are mostly agency managed (71%), and 28% use a combination of agency management and self-management.


    Service Providers

    There are 1,494 registered service providers now in the scheme, of whom:

    • 1,418 (95%) operate in one state/territory only.
    • 1,052 (70%) are small/medium enterprises.
    • 1,233 (83%) are new to the NDIS and have not been previously registered with the Department of Social Services.

    Service providers have received a total of $86.9 million for participant supports, which is over 90% of the total payments made to date. The remaining $6.0 million has been paid to participants who are self-managing.

    To date there have been 24 appeals to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, 12 due to access issues and 12 due to plan issues. There have also been 370 complaints, 66% due to agency related issues, and 16% due to the amount of reasonable and necessary supports in participant plans.


    New Minister for Social Services

    Scott Morrison, the newly appointed Minister for Social Services, has made comments in the media suggesting cuts to welfare payments are necessary to help pay for the NDIS. He has drawn some criticism for these remarks as the two issues are separate. In December 2013 the Federal Government commissioned a review of Australia’s welfare system to identify improvements to ensure the social support system is sustainable and in last year’s budget announced changes to the Disability Support Pension eligibility. The NDIS is a national program of care and support for people with significant disability and replaces State and Territory programs. The funding for this has already been committed. Assistant Minister for Social Services, Mitch Fifield has the direct responsibility of rolling out the NDIS with full implementation due in 2019.


    To keep up to date with NDIS developments join our Facebook group Disability Advocates SCIA.

    Monday, 02 February 2015

     

    Imagine Me - Images from the Ballina and Coffs Harbour workshops

    These artworks were produced during the latest Imagine Me project workshops in Ballina and Coffs Harbour.

    The workshops were run by photographer Sue Murray with support from SCIA staff and clients. The workshops enable people with spinal cord injury or similar physical disability to create innovative individual artworks using digital photography. Specifically adapted technology enables people with limited mobility to control an entire photo studio using professional cameras & lighting.

    Click on the image to read the artist's statement:

    Craig's artwork  Steve's artwork

    Heather's artwork   Lee's artwork

    Sharna's artwork  Hank's artwork 

    Jim's artwork   Di's artwork

    Hamish's artwork

    Visit www.imagineme.com.au for upcoming workshops and watch this video about the project. 

    Monday, 02 February 2015

     

    Burn Rubber Burn becomes an SCIA program

    We are excited to announce that the Burn Rubber Burn (BrB) program has joined us as a new Spinal Cord Injuries Australia service for people with spinal cord injury and other disabilities. The program provides affordable and accessible exercise in gyms across Sydney for people with physical disabilities. SCIA stepped in to save the program late last year, as it was not going to be able to continue into 2015 without intervention.

    BrB currently operates out of five Police Citizens Youth Clubs across Sydney; Daceyville, Sutherland, Penrith, Bankstown and Campbelltown, and has over 150 active clients with spinal cord injury or other disabilities, such as MS, cystic fibrosis or brain injury.

    BrB will complement our already established services and programs for people with disabilities, and we are excited about the opportunity to expand the BrB program to regional areas of NSW and into other states in the future.

    Exercise is known to be of immense benefit to people with spinal cord injury and similar disabilities, helping people to maintain their health and independence. SCIA is proud to be able to offer our members and clients an increasing amount of choice when it comes to accessing exercise programs to suit their lifestyles.

    If you'd like to improve your health and wellbeing get involved with this fantastic program, email burnrubberburn@scia.org.au or call 1800 819 775.

    If you'd like to support the program by making a donation click here and write Burn Rubber Burn in the comment section.

    Sharon working out at the BrB gym photo

    Sharon working out at the gym

    Monday, 02 February 2015

     

    Big changes lie ahead for personal care services

    Changes ahead graphicIf you are living in NSW and receiving your personal care through the NSW Government’s Home Care Service, you may have heard that with the full roll out of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) the government is intending to transfer all of the programs and supports they currently provide to people with disabilities to the private sector. As part of this transition the government is selling the Home Care Service to a non-government operator.


    Why are they making these changes?

    The government has decided that moving Home Care to the non-government sector will enable improvements and innovation within the community care sector and will give people with disability far more choice and control over the services they need.  The government is currently asking for tenders to run the service and if everything goes to plan the program will be in the hands of a non-government provider from July 2015.


    What does this mean for my existing situation?

    There will be no immediate change to your services or to the Home Care staff that support you. A key consideration for the government when selecting new operators to run the program will be the ability of the operator to continue providing the same services that are currently being delivered.


    What if I don’t want services from the new provider?

    People will have freedom of choice over which provider they choose to receive their services and supports from. Home Care’s new operators will take on Home Care’s existing capacity and if you are an NDIS funded client you are already able to choose any registered NDIS provider for your supports.


    How do I stay informed?

    If you have questions or concerns you can call the Home Care Service on 1800 003 227, or contact your service coordinator at your local branch. Alternatively, contact us at Spinal Cord Injuries Australia on 1800 819 775 or email information@sca.org.au and we will be able to help you.


    What about Home Care Services in other states across Australia?Australian map graphic

    Services similar to the NSW Home Care Service operate in most other states and with the NDIS being implemented across Australia changes will very likely occur, but for the moment it appears to be business as usual. If you have questions or want to find out what is planned for the future get in touch with your service coordinator, or contact us at Spinal Cord Injuries Australia on 1800 819 775 or email information@sca.org.au we'll be happy to assist.


    What if I use The Attendant Care and High Needs Pool program in NSW?

    If you have been receiving your personal care services through the Attendant Care or the High Needs program you will have already been switched over to the Community Support Program (CSP), which came into effect in July 2014. If you are not on this program and would like to be, get yourself registered on the CSP Service Needs Register as soon as possible, because there is a high demand for the program and access cannot be guaranteed. Once you are on the register your access to the program will be prioritised according to need.


    Look out for our Autumn issue of Accord, it will feature an article on how to manage your own care package.


    Photo credit: Changes ahead: One Way Stock, Map of Australia: color line

    Friday, 30 January 2015

     

    SCIA joins call for inquiry into violence, abuse & neglect against people with disability

    In January 2015, a letter calling for a national inquiry into violence, abuse and neglect against people with a disability in institutional settings was sent to the Australian Prime Minister, the Hon Tony Abbott MP.

    Spinal Cord Injuries Australia was among over 95 organisations across Australia who endorsed the call.

    Our president Joan Hume has also supported the campaign by sending a letter to the Prime Minister on behalf of Spinal Cord Injuries Australia. Click here to read the letter.

    Joam Hum's letter to the Prime Minister

    Read the full list of organisations calling for the inquiry here.

    Visit the campaigns website here.

    Sign the change.org petition here.

    Friday, 23 January 2015

     

    SBS reports - implanted electrobe receptors help US man move knees and toes

    SBS News reports that a man in the US who was paralysed after an accident has been able to move his knees and toes again thanks to an experimental new treatment.

    Nearly two-and-a-half years after his accident, Calven Goza has been able to move his knees and toes. In December of last year, University of Louisville researchers surgically implanted electrode receptors into his lower spine and had sensors wired to his legs.

    An electrical charge is sent to the receptors in his damaged spinal cord to mimic brain signals, with the idea that the pulse could help stimulate and trigger movement from the muscles.

    After nearly two hours of testing, lead researcher and neuroscientist Dr Susan Harkema ramped up the voltage and Goza was able to first shift his big toe, and then eventually bend his knee.

    Researchers hope that this therapy will eventually be able to help people get the return of bladder and bowel control and sexual function.

    The experience was described as "pretty awesome" by Goza.

    In addition to leading this scientific research, Dr Harkema pioneered the Locomotor Training that the SCIA Walk On program delivers for people with spinal cord injury.

    Dr Harkema was the keynote speaker at the recent Australia and New Zealand Spinal Cord Society (ANZSCoS) conference, and spoke about extremely positive data on the effects of Locomotor Training and task specific training for people with spinal cord injury. Our Exercise Programs team met Dr Harkema and discussed her and SCIA's work in the field. SCIA's National Manager of Exercise Programs has also completed Dr Harkema's Locomotor Training course.

    Click here to read more about the story.

    Thursday, 08 January 2015

     

    National register to collect information about childhood SCI


    Do you or a member of your family have a spinal cord injury that happened in childhood?

    If so, you may be able to assist in the development of a national register that collects information about childhood SCI by participating in the following research project;

    Making connections: Using consumer, health professional, and researcher perspectives to guide the establishment of a national paediatric spinal cord injury register.

    If you are interested in participating in this study, or would like to find out more, please contact, Erin Garner T/0479 077 307 or email: eogarner@students.latrobe.edu.au by the 12th of January, 2015.

    Monday, 08 December 2014

     

    Festivals around Australia


    Sydney Festival 8 - 26 January 2015, Sydney NSW

    Sydney Festival 2015 LogoSydney Festival enlivens and transforms Sydney with a bold cultural celebration. The program is diverse, from burlesque circus to Chicago rap to Dutch theatre. Inclusive programming, a broad range of free events and accessible pricing policies for the ticketed shows means that Sydney Festival is open to all, welcoming Sydneysiders and visitors from wherever they live.

    Accessibility information: All venues in the 2015 program are wheelchair accessible and designated wheelchair spaces (where available) are sold at the lowest price in the house for that performance. The Sydney Festival has good information about accessibility on their website, click here to view. Sydney Festival also supports the Companion Card program, for people who require assistance of a companion or carer, a second ticket is issued at no cost to the Companion Card holder.


    Woodford Folk Festival 27 December 2014 - 1 January 2015, Woodford QLD

    Woodford Folk Festival Logo 2015The Woodford Folk Festival is held over six days and nights, featuring over 2,000 local, national and international performers. This year will be the 29th Woodford Folk Festival. Located in between the Brisbane Valley and Queensland's Sunshine Coast Hinterland, the Woodford Folk Festival takes place in a rural valley surrounded by natural bushland with plenty of native wildlife. The festival is about an hour and a half drive north of Brisbane.

    Accessibility information: The festival offers daytime parking facilities and camping facilities for people with a disability. They advise that the festival site does offer some challenges for people with restricted mobility, due to the rural setting of the festival some of the terrain is uneven and sloping and does get crowded. The festival can issue a carer with a complementary ticket and these tickets are allocated on an individual needs basis. Click here to read more about accessibility.


    National Multicultural Festival 13 - 15 February 2015, Canberra ACT

    National Multicultural Festival Canberra LogoThe National Multicultural Festival, held in Canberra each February, is a fun, free family event that features plenty of activities, shows, stalls, samples, dancing and celebrating.

    Accessibility information: The festival is held outdoors in Civic, Canberra. There are accessible bathrooms in the mall and in the Multicultural Centre. They are expecting around 160,000 people so the event will be busy and some areas crowded. For any enquiries, please contact 02 6207 0555.


    Perth International Arts Festival 13 February - 27 March 2015, Perth WA

    Perth International Arts Festival LogoThe Perth International Arts Festival is the oldest annual international multi-arts festival in the southern hemisphere and offers theatre, music, film, visual arts, street arts, literature and free community events. No single art genre, concert, performance or exhibition series can cover the breadth of intellectual and imaginative territory of the Perth Festival, nor reach as broadly into the community. For two generations of locals, summer in Perth without the Festival is simply unimaginable.

    Accessibility Information: For information about accessibility check with the venue hosting the event you want to attend when you are booking. The Perth International Arts Festival accepts Companion Card, you will need to phone the festival to arrange the complimentary ticket.


    Adelaide Festival 27 February - 15 March 2015, Adelaide SA

    Adelaide Festival LogoFor more than 50 years Adelaide Festival audiences have delighted in an outstanding mix of inspiring, challenging and entertaining artists and performers. With internationally acclaimed theatre productions, an eclectic array of world-class musicians, breathtaking dance pieces and striking visual arts displays, Adelaide’s warm March days and starry nights provide the ideal setting for this highly accessible event.

    Accessibility information: Adelaide Festival has good information about accessibility on their website, click here to view. All festival venues have full wheelchair access. Adelaide Festival accepts Companion Card, card holders qualify for concession price tickets and a second ticket at no cost for their companion. Power-wheelchair battery charging points will also be available at the Pioneer Women’s Memorial Garden.


    Taste of Tasmania 28 December 2014 - 3 January 2015, Hobart TAS

    Taste of Tasmania LogoTaste of Tasmania is one of Australia’s most popular food festivals. Stallholders use their creativity to present a variety of dishes, such as wallaby burritos for those a little more adventurous, to family favourites such as freshly cooked fish and chips. The festival also hosts a New Year’s Eve party featuring live entertainment and fireworks.

    Accessibility information: The City of Hobart state they are committed to making The Taste of Tasmania accessible to all visitors and that facilities such as accessible parking, seating and wheelchair access will be available. Contact them on 03 6238 2410 or email info@thetasteoftasmania.com.au to enquire. The Taste of Tasmania recognises the Companion Card for most ticketed events.

    Tuesday, 02 December 2014

     

    Did you know you could access…

    Energy Rebates
    People with spinal cord injury can have trouble regulating their core body temperature and face additional costs to heat and cool their homes. In NSW the Medical Energy Rebate will help cover those costs. Eligible people can apply for the rebate by contacting their energy retailer directly. The rebate is automatically deducted from quarterly power bills. Other states have similar schemes, in Queensland the Medical Cooling and Heating Electricity Commission Scheme, in Victoria the Medical Cooling Concession, in WA the Cost of Living Assistance (CoLA) Payment and in the ACT the Life Support Medical Heating and Cooling Concession and the Energy Concession.

    Companion Card

    People with a disability can get a Companion Card. When the cardholder buys a ticket for themselves at selected venues and facilities around NSW, their companion will get free entry. Each state or territory issues their own Companion Cards, however a cardholder can use their card across Australia. A companion can be a partner, family member, friend, volunteer or paid carer. Click here to find Companion Card in your state.

    MLAK
    The MLAK is a master key that fits into specially designed locks allowing 24 hour a day access to public toilets for people with a disability, who can buy a key that opens all accessible toilets displaying the MLAK symbol. Click here for more information about getting a key.

    GST Exemption when buying a car
    You can buy a car GST-free if you have a disability and will use the car to travel to and from work for either two years or for 40,000 kilometres from the date you bought it.

    Other entitlements / concessions
    Make sure you read this page on our website to keep up to date with all of the concessions, benefits and entitlements you can access.

    Government websites outlining their concessions

    ·         VIC

    Tuesday, 02 December 2014

     

    Help to manage chronic SCI pain

    The ACI Pain Management Network has created the online toolkit to help improve the quality of life for people living with spinal cord injury who experience chronic pain. SCIA members and clients shared their experiences of pain and how they cope to assist the ACI Pain Management Network in creating this toolkit, which includes:

    • Videos about successful strategies used by people with spinal cord injury to manage chronic pain
    • A ‘Navigator’ decision support tool to guide healthcare professionals through the complexity of chronic pain in spinal cord injury to support the development of a pain management plan
    • Complementary resources for consumers, patients and healthcare professionals to work in partnership and produce pain management plans.

     The toolkit helps people manage pain through topics like physical activity, exercise, lifestyle, nutrition, medications and sleep.

     Associate Professor James Middleton, Director and Chair of the ACI State Spinal Cord Injury Service, led the toolkit’s development with a number of experts in the field. He stressed the importance of self-management for people with SCI who experience chronic pain.

     “The most effective pain management is to arm the person with spinal cord injury and pain with a range of skills and self-management strategies to build into daily life and routines,” said Associate Professor Middleton.

     The toolkit is available online by clicking here or you can borrow The Spinal Cord Injury Pain Book via the SCIA library.

    Tuesday, 18 November 2014

     

    Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Week

    Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Week 2014

    Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Week (9 – 15 November 2014) is a national campaign highlighting spinal cord injury in the community. The week is relevant not only to people living with spinal cord injuries, their families and friends; but the broader community, venues and business. - See more at: http://www.rebuildinglives.com.au/#sthash.4YRfvEdB.dpuf
    Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Week (9 – 15 November 2014) is a national campaign highlighting spinal cord injury in the community. The week is relevant not only to people living with spinal cord injuries, their families and friends; but the broader community, venues and business. - See more at: http://www.rebuildinglives.com.au/#sthash.4YRfvEdB.dpuf
    Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Week (9 – 15 November 2014) is a national campaign highlighting spinal cord injury in the community. The week is relevant not only to people living with spinal cord injuries, their families and friends; but the broader community, venues and business. - See more at: http://www.rebuildinglives.com.au/#sthash.4YRfvEdB.dpuf


    Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Week is a national campaign highlighting spinal cord injury in the community. The week is relevant to people living with spinal cord injuries, their families and friends and the broader community, venues and business.

    During Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Week the Australian Spinal Injury Alliance, representing eight of Australia’s state-based spinal cord injury organisations, highlights what it means to have a spinal cord injury, how spinal cord injury can be prevented, the common barriers that prevent social inclusion, and what needs to be done to ensure all people with spinal cord injury can contribute to community life. The Alliance also aims to deliver a National Spinal Cord Injury Strategy that will lay the foundation for better outcomes, both social and economic, for all Australians who have sustained a spinal cord injury. 

    Support Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Week by donating here.

    During this week, spinal injury organisations around Australia are working together to highlight the common barriers that prevent social inclusion, what it means to have a spinal cord injury and still contribute to community life as well as what we can all do to prevent one.

    The Australian Spinal Injury Alliance, representing eight of Australia’s state-based spinal cord injury organisations, has been established to provide a national voice for people who have a spinal cord injury.

    - See more at: http://www.rebuildinglives.com.au/#sthash.4YRfvEdB.dpuf

    SCI statistics

    • Of reported traumatic spinal cord injuries, 84% are male and 16% female
    • Spinal cord injuries were most frequent in 15-24 year old age group (accounting for 30%)
    • 80% of newly reported spinal cord injury cases are due to traumatic injuries like motor vehicle accidents or falls
    • Newly reported non-traumatic spinal cord injury cases are usually caused by vascular disorders, degenerative conditions, genetic disorders and cancerous lesions
    • The most common category of spinal cord injury is Incomplete Quadriplegia (38%) where there is a loss of movement and/or sensation in all four limbs

    Social impact

    • Spinal cord injury has enormous health, social and economic impacts on individuals, families and communities.
    • As well as the physical and psychological impact on those affected directly by spinal cord injury, there is also a heavy burden on those who support and care for them
    • Socio-economic factors known to be important in relation to injury and rehabilitation are marital status, employment status and educational level attained at the time of onset of the spinal cord injury.


    Click here to download the Spinal Injuries Awareness Week fact sheet.



    The Alliance of State Spinal Injury Organisations

    Follow the Australian Spinal Alliance on Twitter @SpinalAlliance

    Sunday, 09 November 2014

     

    A world first - spinal cord injury comic books launched

    In a  world first, two comic books designed to teach young children about what it’s like to live with a spinal cord injury Medikidz Explain Spinal Cord Injury and Meditotz Explain Spinal Cord Injuries were launched today 7th November, to coincide with the start of Spinal Injury Awareness Week, 9 - 15 November. The comic books are based on real life stories of three Australian children who live with a spinal cord injury. Evander Conroy, an SCIA and Walk On client, appears in the comics.

    Evander’s mum, Clare, is proud her son can tell his story in the comic books: “It has been good to be able to share what Evander enjoys in his day and then see those appear as part of the story.”

    Evander training at Walk On

    “The comic is simple enough for young children to understand and fun at the same time. It will be a very useful tool for Evander, and other children who can take it to school and share with their class or with their brother and sister. Children naturally have a lot of questions about why Evander is in a wheelchair and it will help to have a comic that answers these.”

    Click here to download the comic books from the SpineCare Foundation, a division of Northcott. To get printed copies of the books contact deanna.mooney@northcott.com.au. The books can also be borrowed from SCIA's library. See here for details.

      Evander's Adventure


    Friday, 07 November 2014

     

    New Imagine Me Images

    Here are some recent images created by the Imagine Me project. The workshops are run by photographer Sue Murray, who supports people with spinal cord injury or similar physical disability to create innovative individual artworks using digital photography. Specifically adapted technology enables people with limited mobility to control an entire photo studio using professional cameras & lighting.

    On Thursday 30th October an exhibition of the works created by our clients in the Illawarra will take place in our Wollongong office.

    On Wednesday 3rd December an exhibition of 30 works will be on display to celebrate International Day of People with Disability at Royal Rehab in Ryde, Sydney.

    Visit www.imagineme.com.au for more information about the project or watch this video. For information about upcoming workshops in Ballina, Coffs Harbour and Tamworth contact Sue on 0412 810 745.

       

       

    Tuesday, 28 October 2014

     

    Greg Killeen speaks to the ABC's AM program about increasing the Taxi Transport Subsidy Scheme

    SCIA Senior Policy & Advocacy Officer Greg Killeen spoke to the ABC's AM program about the importance of increasing the Taxi Transport Subsidy Scheme. The interview took place ahead of a rally and forum held on the issue at NSW Parliament House on 21st October. Click here to listen to the interview.

    Greg Killeen & Mark Tonga rally for an increase to the Taxi Transport Subsidy Scheme

    Tuesday, 21 October 2014

     

    Australian Spinal Injury Alliance

    SPINAL ALLIANCE SETS AGENDA FOR A NATIONAL SPINAL CORD INJURY STRATEGY

    October 7, 2014

    Today the Spinal Alliance Sets Agenda for a National Spinal Cord Injury Strategy

    Senator Mitch Fifield, Assistant Minister for Social Services Welcomes Approach

    Today the Australian Spinal Injury Alliance (Spinal Alliance), representing eight of Australia’s state-based spinal cord injury organisations, launches its vision, and approach to deliver a National Spinal Cord Injury Strategy that will lay the foundation for better outcomes, both social and economic, for all Australians who have sustained a spinal cord injury (SCI).

    The announcement comes ahead of the Spinal Cord Injuries Awareness Week (9-15 November, 2014) and is welcomed by Senator Mitch Fifield, Assistant Minister for Social Services.

    The Hon. Mitch Fifield comments, “The Alliance’s threefold approach of working with stakeholders, promoting coordination and monitoring outcomes will lay the foundation of a sound strategy.

    “The collaborative, holistic approach is a good fit for the new world heralded by the introduction of the National Disability Insurance Scheme, with its focus on helping people with disability achieve their own goals through a combination of services and supports they have chosen for themselves,” said Senator Fifield.

    Every day in Australia someone’s life will change in an instant due to a spinal cord injury, with an immeasurable emotional, social and financial impact on the individual, their family, friends and community.

    The current outcomes for people living with a spinal cord injury in Australia are well short of international best practice.

    Peter Trethewey, Spokesperson of the Australian Spinal Injury Alliance, comments, “As the national voice for all Australians with a SCI, the time is ‘now’ for the Alliance to collaborate and make a difference, to leverage our relationships across the board and to pursue outcomes that matter to every Australian with a SCI.”

    The Alliance’s approach for a National Spinal Cord Injury Strategy is threefold:

    1. To work with all stakeholders to agree a set of outcomes most valued by people with a SCI
    2. To facilitate discussion, promote coordination, set priorities and actions of the service system to achieve those outcomes
    3. To start to measure and monitor outcomes, and take necessary action in response

    “We believe we now have the opportunity to truly deliver, measure and monitor outcomes, to those dealing with this most devastating of injuries,” says Mr Trethewey.

    Tim McCallum, who sustained a SCI in 1999 due to a swimming accident at a local Perth beach, gives a personal perspective at today’s launch and comments, “The proposed National SCI Strategy has the potential to seamlessly connect people to all the support services they need at the time they are needed and most importantly deliver outcomes of most value to each one of us who has sustained an SCI. I do believe that the collaborative approach The Spinal Alliance is taking to bring together separate organisations and services will help reach a goal that would be otherwise difficult to achieve.”

    Key outcome priorities include access to support services; equipment; healthcare; information; employment; education; community services, and research.  A National SCI strategy would also help to collate robust data on the number of Australians who sustain an SCI every year.

    The Australian Spinal Injury Alliance launch event is being held on Tuesday 7 October, 10:00am-11:00am at JBWere, Level 16, 101 Collins Street, Melbourne.

    Follow the Australian Spinal Injury Alliance on Twitter - @SpinalAlliance.

    END.

    Tuesday, 07 October 2014

     

    Funding available around Australia

      A range of funding options are available to people with a disability. State and territory governments provide a number of programs that offer funding for housing, home modifications, personal care, home help, respite care, transport, and equipment. However there are many other alternatives out there as well, visit out Financials - Benefits, Funding, Pensions, Grants page for a full run down.

      Here are some funding opportunities for people with a disability from around Australia we have heard about recently.

      NSW - SCIA Grant Scheme

      Our very own Grant Scheme provides up to $2,000 to people with an SCI or similar disability who are members of SCIA. The scheme will fund tools, equipment, planned respite and many other activities that will empower people to live independently. Funding is also available in emergency situation. Click here for more information about the scheme, and for updated guidance on what constitutes planned respite or a holiday when applying for a SCIA Grant.

      WA - Equipment for Living Grants

      Equipment for Living Grants are available to assist eligible people obtain vital equipment not currently available through the Community Aids and Equipment Program or other support programs. The maximum individual grant is $5,000. Click here for more information.

      VIC - Foundation 97

      Grants are available to people with spinal cord injury who don't have the funding available to participate in sport and recreation, or to undertake training or education to increase their employment opportunities. The deadline for the current round of grants is Friday 3rd of October 2014 at 5pm. Click here for more information.

      QLD - Youngcare Home Soon Grant

      The Youngcare Home Soon Grants support young people by making it possible for them to transition out of aged care and back to their community. Funding between $5,000 and $20,000 is available for equipment, home modifications or respite/attendant carer services. In exceptional circumstances, funding of up to $50,000 will be considered. Click here for more information.

      Friday, 26 September 2014

       

      Tim Hays returns to work thanks to In-Voc and support from SCIA

      Fantastic to see the wonderful story of Tim Hay's journey back to work in the Newcastle Herald. With the support of In-Voc, the spinal ward at Royal North Shore Hospital and the SCIA Peer Support team, Tim has started re-training as a spatial analyst at the company where he worked prior to his injury. Tim says, "it has given me something to strive towards, not just through an employment side of things, but a social and intellectual side as well."

      Click here to read the article.

      If you are interested in returning to work, contact our Workforce team on workforce@scia.org.au.

      Tuesday, 23 September 2014

       

      Walk On client Mikaela Williams

      One of our youngest Walk On clients has been featured on the front cover of Sporting Wheelies and Disabled Association Quarterly magazine. Mikaela attends our exercise program Walk On in Brisbane and has been getting some excellent results, with her strength, balance and independence improving.

      When asked about Walk On, Mikaela’s dad Peter says, “kids like Mikaela need places like this. When you combine an intensive, consistent and disciplined program with committed therapists and parents working together, that is a potent mix that launches their development into overdrive.”

      Click here to read the full article.

      Monday, 22 September 2014

       

      Home modifications and builds with Chris Nicholls

      If you are thinking about doing home modifications take a look at this presentation made by Chris Nicholls, our Transitional Services Manager, at a recent Universal Design Conference in Sydney.

      Chris was injured in a motorcycle accident and has T6 paraplegia, so when it came to designing a new home it needed to be accessible for him and comfortable for his wife Jen and their four children.

      Chris shares the challenges he faced and his advice and tips on building an accessible home, which can be applied to minor or major home modifications. Chris covers the practical solutions he found for indoor and outdoor living – from choosing suitable taps and appliances to building a pool accessible for someone with paraplegia.

      Click here to download the presentation.

      Chris Nicholls' accessible family home


      Wednesday, 17 September 2014

       

      Insight - Jobs and Disability

      It was refreshing to see an informed discussion on the topic of jobs and disability on SBS's Insight program. The program looked at whether more people with disabilities should be working and what’s standing in the way. The hurdles, practicalities, and attitudes of employers and job seekers with a disability were all discussed, you can watch the program by clicking below.

      SBS Insight Jobs and Disability

      www.sbs.com.au/news/insight/tvepisode/jobs-and-disability


      If you have a spinal cord injury and are interested in finding employment, contact the SCIA Workforce team on workforce@sciworkforce.com.au or 1800 819 775.

      Tuesday, 19 August 2014

       

      Australia wins the 2014 International IWRF Wheelchair Rugby World Championships

      Australia has won the 2014 International IWRF Wheelchair Rugby World Championships, defeating Canada 67-56. This is the first time Australia has won the championships, and it makes Australia the second nation in history to hold the Paralympic and world championship titles at the same time. All eyes will be on the team to see if they can repeat their success at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.

      Australian coach Brad Dubberley said he could not be prouder of his team.

      “World champions, Paralympic champions, this team just keeps getting better,” Dubberley said.

      “I’m so proud of our whole team. Not just the athletes, but all the support staff. It’s a huge accomplishment. We’re really enjoying our success and we’re going to celebrate being world champions here. But as soon as we get home, it’s going to be all systems go for the Paralympics. I think there is still a lot of room for improvement before we get to Rio.”

      Congratulations to Naz Erdim, one of our wonderful Accord contributors, who helped Australia bring home the win.

      FINAL STANDINGS – 2014 IWRF Wheelchair Rugby World Championships
      1. Australia
      2. Canada
      3. United States
      4. Japan
      5. Great Britain
      6. Denmark
      7. Sweden
      8. New Zealand
      9. France
      10. Finland
      11. Germany
      12. Belgium

      You can keep up to date with the team's preparations for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games by liking the Australian Paralympic Team on Facebook.

      Australian Wheelchair Rugby Team Wins

      Image: Brian Mouridsen




      Monday, 11 August 2014

       

      National Disability Insurance Scheme Update

      From Tony Jones

      Spinal Cord Injuries Australia Policy & Advocacy Officer

      NDIS - Every Australian Counts

      July 1, 2014 marked the first year anniversary of the NDIS (National Disability Insurance Scheme) for the four trial sites in the Hunter (NSW), Barwon (VIC), South Australia (for children under six years of age) and in Tasmania (for young people, aged 15 to 24 years). The ACT, Western Australia and the Northern Territory have signed agreements with the Federal government to start their trials and Queensland has also agreed to full commencement starting in 2016, making it a truly national scheme.

      According to the first year progress report, 6434 participants have been found eligible for the scheme, with 5414 having an approved plan by the end of March 2014. At this stage this is a small number and only early days; full implementation across the entire country will progress gradually over the next few years until 2018 – 2019, which will see around 400,000 to 450,000 participants with the full cost expected to be up to $22 billion each year. The average package cost so far for each participant is just over $32,000 and head office has moved from Canberra to Geelong. Read More »

      Wednesday, 23 July 2014

       

      Walk On client Matt Battista features on SBS's Insight program

      Walk On client Matt Battista featured on SBS's Insight program on Tuesday 15 July. The program focused on whether current stem cell treatments are cause for hope or are just misleading hype. Matt joined Perry Cross in sharing his experience of stem cell therapy to treat a spinal cord injury.

      The full episode aired on Tuesday 15 July. You can watch the episode and read the transcript here.


      Matt Battista at Walk On in Perth

      Matt Battista training at our Walk On gym in Perth

      Monday, 14 July 2014

       

      Pain and temperature preservation following SCI

      Over the last two decades, in collaboration with the spinal cord community and spinal injury units around New South Wales, members of the Pain Management Research Institute (Kolling Institute), University of Sydney have been working to improve the management of people with pain following spinal cord injury.

      To improve the way pain is assessed following spinal cord injury an evaluation is being conducted into the benefit of a sensitive nerve test (Contact Heat Evoked Potentials) to detect surviving pain and temperature nerves in the spine following spinal cord injury. This test measures brain activation (electroencephalographic recording or EEG) following a computer driven heat pulse to the skin. The presence of a brain wave indicates communication between the skin and brain and intact temperature and pain pathways. This test is likely to be more sensitive and objective than the current approach of asking whether cold or heat is felt

      The study is recruiting people with complete (preferably thoracic level) spinal cord injuries with or without nerve pain, also looking for healthy controls without pain or injury.

      The study involves one visit to Royal North Shore Hospital and is expected to take approximately 3 hours. An amount of $120 will be provided to assist with the costs of attending.

      If you have any questions, would like to view the information sheet or would like to participate in this study please email Dr Paul Wrigley paul.wrigley@sydney.edu.au or phone 02 9926 4859.

      Monday, 16 June 2014

       

      Professor Glen Davis awarded an Order of Australia Medal

      Congratulations to Professor Glen Davis who was awarded an Order of Australia Medal for service to science and community health through developing and promoting spinal cord injury therapies. Professor Davis helped to establish Walk On at the University of Sydney and continues to support the program by providing advice from a research and scientific perspective, aiding with the development and assessment of the program. He also oversees a PhD student who is investigating the benefits of Walk On. He is pictured here at our recent Independence Expo presenting on the importance of exercise for people with spinal cord injury and other physical disabilities.

      Read more about Professor Glen David here: http://sydney.edu.au/health-sciences/about/people/profiles/glen.davis.php

      To see the fill list of Queen's Birthday honours visit http://bit.ly/1hL3DWZ

      Wednesday, 11 June 2014

       

      Walk On client Ben Kende

      Walk On client Ben Kende has been profiled in an article in the South China Morning Post about spinal cord injury. Ben was injured in 2010 in an under-20s rugby tournament. Today he is studying at university and attends Walk On. "His upper body has got stronger all the time with constant therapy," says Ben's mother Jennifer. Read the article here: http://www.scmp.com/lifestyle/health/article/1524313/recent-scientific-advances-are-giving-hope-spinal-cord-injury

      Thursday, 05 June 2014

       

      Our new CHOICES house

      SCIA was the successful bidder at an auction for what will be our new CHOICES house. The home will be designed to help people transition from hospital to home after a spinal cord injury. The property is on a big sunny block of land in Gymea, close to shops, cafes, the train station and parklands. We will now make plans to knock down the existing house and redevelop the site as a showcase for the principles of accessibility and universal design.


      Monday, 26 May 2014

       

      Our new Patron

      His Excellency General the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC (Retd), Governor-General of the Commonwealth Of Australia is the new Patron of Spinal Cord Injuries Australia.

      Spinal Cord Injuries Australia is proud to have His Excellency as its new Patron. Sir Peter Cosgrove was pleased to accept the role and sees the work of SCIA as complementary to his responsibilities as Governor-General and to themes of personal interest to him.

      Peter Cosgrove was born in Sydney in 1947. He attended Waverley College in Sydney and graduated from the Royal Military College in Duntroon. Early in his career, he fought in Vietnam and he was awarded the Military Cross in 1971 for his performance and leadership.

      As Commander of the International Task Force East Timor, Peter Cosgrove was responsible for overseeing that country’s transition to independence.  For his leadership, he was promoted to Companion in the Military Division of the Order of Australia (AC). Promoted to Lieutenant General, he was appointed Chief of Army in 2000.  After further promotion to General, he served as Chief of the Defence Force from 2002-2005.  He retired from the Australian Defence Force in 2005.

      He was named Australian of the Year in 2001 and in March 2014, Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced that General Cosgrove would become a Knight in the Order of Australia when sworn in as Governor-General.

      Thursday, 15 May 2014

       

      Future breakthroughs in spinal cord injury treatment closer with new research scholarship

      The prospect of future breakthroughs in spinal cord injury treatment has been boosted with the joint announcement today of a new medical research Fellowship, according to the Royal Australasian College of Physicians.

      Duncan Wallace, spokesman for Not-For-Profits SpinalCure Australia and Spinal Cord Injuries Australia said the David Prast Research Establishment Fellowship, valued at up to $450,000 over three years, will fund research into spinal cord injuries and aim to improve outcomes for the 12,000 Australians living with spinal cord injury.

      The Fellowship is a joint partnership between Not-For-Profits SpinalCure Australia (SCA), Spinal Cord Injuries Australia (SCIA) and the Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP).

      “The Fellowship was established to commemorate the work of the late spinal injuries advocate Australian David Prast, who despite a spinal cord injury, used his drive and determination to focus on better initiatives in the spinal field, particularly in medical research, until his death in November 2011,” said Duncan Wallace.

      “These are exciting times for spinal cord injury research - stimulating the spinal cord below the level of injury has shown remarkable success in rats and now thrilling results in four young men as reported recently in the medical journal Brain.

      “The men, who have been paralysed for years, were able to move their legs voluntarily with the help of an implanted device that delivered an electrical current to the lower spinal cord, known as epidural stimulation.”

      “So we expect that the successful candidate will be working with international leaders in the field with a view to bringing epidural stimulation and other technologies back to Australia.”

      Applications for the Fellowship close on Monday 23rd June 2014. To read about the Program and apply for the Fellowship please visit here.

      Wednesday, 14 May 2014

       

      DIY Home Modifications - Consumer Survey

      The Home Modification Information Clearinghouse at the University of New South Wales is undertaking research into DIY home modifications. 

      Do you know anyone that has done a home modification?

      Have you, your carer, or someone you care for ever undertaken a do-it-yourself home modification project?

      Was the modification a grab rail, hand-held shower, level access shower recess, ramp, handrail, or something else?

      Your experiences matter!

      The Home Modification Information Clearinghouse would love to hear from you if you:

      • Have experience of a do-it-yourself home modification project
      • Live in New South Wales
      • Are over 18 years old

      You are invited to complete a short survey so that it can be better understood why people choose to do home modifications DIY and more importantly, if home modifications done in this manner have made a difference to your quality of life.

      The research aims to develop resources to assist people with disability and their carers to undertake do-it-yourself home modification projects safely and appropriately.

      This research is being funded from Ageing, Disability and Home Care, NSW Department of Family and Community Services. UNSW Ethics Approval no. 145013.

      If you require any assistance or have any questions please feel free to contact Nicole McNamara ph: 02 9385 4529 email: nicole.mcnamara@unsw.edu.au

      See here to access the survey and download the Participant Information Statement.

      Tuesday, 13 May 2014

       

      Station out-of-order policy

      Sydney Trains has a policy that whenever infrastructure is out of order, whether at the commencement of the journey or at the destination, a taxi be arranged to the next wheelchair accessible train station.

      This policy is reasonable; however, it can take up to 45 minutes to execute as there are so many hurdles to overcome and different people to whom you needs must be communicated.

      SCIA Policy & Advocacy team member Michael Magro has been working with Sydney Trains to alter the policy so that it includes transport to either the next accessible station or to the passenger’s final destination, such as home or hospital.

      The distance of the destination must be deemed reasonable by Sydney Trains. Michael also worked with Sydney Trains to ensure that the appropriate signage be used at all times in the event of lifts not being in operation.

      In a journey Michael took recently, the lift was broken at the other end and he requested a taxi but after initially being refused by staff, he had to demand to speak to the station master. 

      After the best part of 45 minutes of not understanding his request, it was refused. As a result of this incident, Michael wrote to Sydney Trains management and copied in Gladys Berejiklian,

      Minister for Transport recommending that all frontline staff have appropriate training sign off and that the emergency taxi information be published on the Sydney Trains website since there was a great failure to adhere to this policy.

      SCIA received a commitment from Sydney Trains that all staff training will be signed off and policy information will be recorded on the website in due course.

      Thursday, 08 May 2014

       

      The David Prast Leadership Program

      As part of the David Prast Leadership Program, The David Prast Research Establishment Fellowship is currently being advertised by the Royal Australia College of Physicians. To read about the Program and the David Prast Research Establishment Fellowship please visit here

      Wednesday, 30 April 2014

       

      Pressure Ulcer Prevention study


      Did you know that the risk of developing a pressure ulcer increases significantly from 10 years after a SCI?1

      Why do some people develop pressure ulcers and others don’t?

      You can help find the answer!

      This landmark AusCAN Risk study2, will follow 500 people across Canada and Australia for 3 years looking at the broadest range of risk factors ever investigated in SCI pressure ulcer prevention research. Its aim is to reduce the impact that pressure ulcers have on people’s lives through early identification of people at risk of skin breakdown. We are looking for people who have had a SCI for 10 years or more to participate.

      Come along and:

      • Pressure map your seat3
      • Have an ultrasound of your bottom cheeks
      • Hear about the latest way to check for some early signs of skin damage

      Plus, have your weight and height measured each visit.

      Taxi expenses covered & receive a $25 Coles/Myer voucher each visit for participating.

      What’s involved?

      A few hours once a year (for 3 years) at your choice of RNSH or Assistive Technology & Seating clinic (Gladesville)4

      What next?

      If you have had a SCI for 10 years or more, (and have not had surgery for a pressure ulcer) call/sms or email Liz Dallaway 0498 599 097/ elizabeth.dallaway@sydney.edu.au to find out more.


      1. Chen Y, DeVivo MJ, Jackson AB. Pressure ulcer prevalence in people with spinal cord injury: age-period-duration effects. Arch Phys Med Rehabil 2005;86:1208-13. http://www.archives-pmr.org/article/S0003-9993(05)00090-0/fulltext; Charlifue S, Lammertse DP, Adkins RH. Aging with spinal cord injury: changes in selected health indices and life satisfaction. Arch Phys Med Rehabil 2004;85:1848-53. http://www.archives-pmr.org/article/S0003-9993(04)00389-2/fulltext.
      2 . Funded by the National Health & Medical Research Council of the Commonwealth Government of Australia.
      3. This does not replace a Seating Assessment provided by a qualified health professional.
      4. Assistive Technology & Seating clinic (Northern Sydney Local Health District) previously located at Royal Rehabilitation Centre Sydney.

      Monday, 14 April 2014

       

      Shower chair Commode study

      IS YOUR MOBILE SHOWER COMMODE USABLE?! 

      Emma Friesen of University of Queensland School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences is conducting a study to assess the usability of mobile shower commodes. The study involves completing two surveys on SurveyMonkey. The first survey is available @ www.surveymonkey.com/s/eMASTstudy.

      The study seeks the participation of people over 18 years old who have a spinal cord injury and use a mobile shower commode for showering and/or toileting.

       

      For more information about the study contact Emma emma.friesen@uqconnect.edu.au.

      Wednesday, 09 April 2014

       

      Private vehicle and trip planning research

      A study is being conducted by the UTS and OT Solutions private vehicle access, modification, and trip planning by people with disability.

      Participation is invited sought from

      • drivers with disability;
      • those who have a modified vehicle for themselves or a family member with disability for private transport purposes; and
      • those who would like a modified private vehicle but have been unable to obtain one.


      Read More »

      Monday, 07 April 2014

       

      Spinal cord injury in the media

      With the recent injury of Alex McKinnon, spinal cord injury has been talked about and discussed in the media and SCIA staff and clients have contributed to the conversation. Watch Dan Holt from the SCIA Peer Support Team on Nine News Sydney, Walk On client Alex Walker on the ABC's 7.30 Report and listen to SCIA CEO Peter Perry on 2ser FM - Real Radio The Wire program. Also read a subsequent article that appeared on ABC online following the 7.30 Report.

      Thursday, 03 April 2014

       

      Chronic Pain Australia Research Participant Database

      Are you interested in participating in research?

      If so, you might be interested in registering your details in a new Research Participant Database.

      Chronic Pain Australia is often asked by universities and other organisations to advertise research of interest to people with chronic pain, those who care about them, and/or healthcare professionals with an interest in pain. All such requests are considered by the Chronic Pain Australia research sub-committee to decide if a study is appropriate for the organisation to advertise.

      The aim of the database is to create a list of people interested in being contacted about research that might be of interest to them. This would include only research that has university or other appropriate ethical approval. Only members of the research sub-committee of the Chronic Pain Australia Board of Management will have access to the database and will contact you. At no time will access to the database or personal details to anyone outside the Chronic Pain Australia research sub-committee be provided.

      Please visit the Chronic Pain Australia website for more information and to register for the database.

      Monday, 24 March 2014

       

      Aged care and the NDIS are not interchangeable

      Tony Jones, a Policy and Advocacy Officer for Spinal Cord Injuries Australia and an Advisor to Jan Barham MLC, Greens NSW MP, has written an opinion piece for ABC’s Ramp Up about aged care and the NDIS.

      Tony explores the implications of supports for people over 65 who acquire a disability being provided by the aged care sector instead of the NDIS.

      He concludes that, “If people who acquire a disability after age 65 are to have an engaged and fulfilling life, three main issues will need to be addressed: suitable support to remain in the home and engage in the community, workforce support for those able to remain in employment, including working with employers to find ways to recruit and retain older workers with a disability, and adequate mainstream support to reduce the pressures through housing, healthcare and welfare.

      "These concerns require a broad public policy approach from all levels of government and agencies. The demands will be beyond the scope of the aged care sector alone to address.”

      You can read the full article here.

      Thursday, 20 February 2014

       

      People with spinal cord injuries maximising life choices

      Minister for Disability Services John Ajaka today visited Spinal Cord Injuries Australia’s (SCIA) Walk On program in Lidcombe to see first-hand the support it provides to people with a spinal cord injury.

      “SCIA received more than $3 million in funding from the NSW Government this financial year to cover services including accommodation, medical crisis support, nursing care and the Walk On program,” Minister Ajaka said.  

      “Today I am experiencing the Walk On program first hand, including its intensive activity based exercise program. This offers paraplegics and quadriplegics the chance to regain function through personalised exercise programs aligned to people’s goals. 

      “With help from the program, each client is able to experience improvements in their physical, emotional and psychological wellbeing with some, amazingly even taking their first steps.”

      The Chief Executive of SCIA Peter Perry said Spinal Cord Injuries Australia is committed to finding effective ways for people with spinal cord injuries to be able to live lives no different from anyone else.

      “We help more than 90 clients per week get back on track after a spinal cord injury so they can become the masters of their own destiny, rather than recipients of care.

      “The Minister’s visit affords us an opportunity to demonstrate the amazing outcomes and progress made by our clients as well as to meet the team who make it all possible.”

      Minister Ajaka said it is wonderful to see the results which can be achieved by non-government organisations with the support of government funding.

      “SCIA not only make a difference to people’s lives in NSW, but their expertise is also recognised and accepted internationally,” he said.

      Thursday, 20 February 2014

       

      Safe Day Initiative

      A commitment to safety by Arrium Mining and Leighton Contractors has resulted in more than $50,000 being donated to charity.

      The companies joined forces to create an added focus on safety as part of the Magnetite Optimisation Project at Arrium Mining's South Middleback Ranges Concentrator site by adopting a 'Safe Day Initiative'. For every one of the project days completed safely, Arrium Mining and Leighton Contractors each contributed $100 to a fund to be distributed to nominated charities.

      Spinal Cord Injuries Australia was the major recipient, receiving 30 per cent of the proceeds. 

      SCIA client Charles Brice represented SCIA to accept the generous donation generated by this fantastic initiative.

      Click here to read the the Wyalla News article about the project.

      Wednesday, 12 February 2014

       

      Inequality in law report

      In 2013, the Australian Human Rights Commission conducted a wide ranging consultation process to identify how people with disabilities deal with the barriers they experience to equality before the law. The report Equal Before the Law provides a snapshot of where equality does not exist, highlights services and programs that improve equality before the law for people with disabilities, and sets some directions by which change may occur. For further information and to access the report visit www.humanrights.gov.au/publications/equal-law.

      Wednesday, 12 February 2014

       

      PDCN survey of EnableNSW's PADP program

      4 February 2014

      The Physical Disability Council of NSW (PDCN) ran a survey between August-October 2013 which was completed by over 140 people who were clients of EnableNSW's Program of Appliances for Disabled People (PADP) which provides equipment, aids and appliances (commonly known as assistive technology). PADP services were centralised a few years ago with the aim of ensuring there were uniform policies and procedures for all eligible people throughout NSW, and to create some efficiencies in the system of which any financial savings would be used for PADP, and although the waiting times were initially reduced dramatically it is unfortunate that there are reports of waiting times exceeding 18 months. Please read the survey here. 

      Tuesday, 04 February 2014

       

      Daredevils warned about jumping off Manly Wharf

      SCIA CEO Peter Perry, speaking on behalf of the Australian Spinal Injury Alliance has been quoted in an article in The Manly Daily.

      In a photo supplied to the newspaper, a man was captured jumping off the Manly wharf building into the waters about eight metres below. It is common for people to dive off the deck, but wharf property manager Chris Coore said it was the first time he had heard of someone jumping off the roof. Mr Perry said in the article that young people often did not realise how much a spinal injury could change their lives and encouraged young people to watch out for their mates.

      You can read the article here.

      Friday, 24 January 2014

       

      Transport accessibility in Australia today

      Greg Killeen, disability advocate and part of the SCIA Policy and Advocacy team, looks into the accessibility of transport services in major Australian cities in a three piece series for the ABC's Ramp Up Website.

      Part 1 - In the first article of this 3-part series, he focuses on the most common modes of public transport - buses, trains and trams.

      Part 2 - In the second article of this 3-part series, he focuses on coaches, charter buses and dedicated school buses.

      Part 3 - The final article of this 3-part series looks into taxis and related services.

      Friday, 24 January 2014

       

      Jerome Wong to drive modified vehicle from London to Cape Town

      Jerome Wong and Jessica

      One of our adventurous fundraisers Jerome Wong is featured on the front page of the Hornsby Advocate. Jerome and his partner Jessica will drive a modified 4WD from London to Cape Town and are fundraising for SCIA to help other people with a spinal cord injury.

      To support Jerome with his fundraising please visit: http://bit.ly/DonatetoLostAboundYou can read the article here.

      Tuesday, 21 January 2014

       

      Free Workshops on person centred approaches

      My Choice Matters is offering free workshops on person centred approaches, the National Disability Insurance Scheme, self-managed funding and individualised supports for people with disability. The workshops provide a valuable opportunity for people with disability, to think about how they can exercise choice and control over the supports and services they receive.  Participants will have the opportunity to hear from other people with disability, who are already operating within a person centred framework. For further information visit the website, email info@mychoicematters.org.au or call 1800 144 653.


      Monday, 26 August 2013

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