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Season's Greetings from SCIA

Help us raise much needed funds for people with spinal cord injury this Christmas, purchase a pack of 18 Christmas gift stickers with gold foil for only $5!

Click here, fill in your details and let us know how many packs you'd like in the comments field.

Christmas stickers graphic


Wednesday, 10 December 2014

 

Gregory & Dolores Farrell Scholarships for 2015

The Gregory & Dolores Farrell Scholarships for students who use a wheelchair for mobility undertaking tertiary education in NSW will again be administered by the SpineCare Foundation in 2015. Students who are completing year 12 at the end of this year will be eligible to apply if they plan on attending university in 2015. Students who are part of the way through a tertiary course are also eligible.  

These scholarships were first offered in 2004 and are supported by the family of the late Gregory and Dolores Farrell. Gregory Patrick Farrell OAM was a founding Director of the SpineCare Foundation. The scholarships are available to students who use a wheelchair for mobility, who are undertaking an undergraduate or higher degree, and for those who will be pursuing post-graduate study overseas. 

In 2015, four scholarships of up to $5,000 each will be offered to students in New South Wales who use a wheelchair for mobility and are attending university. 

ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA

  • Scholarships are only for students who use a wheelchair for mobility, who are Australian citizens and who have been accepted into a university course in NSW or are currently enrolled in one. Students who are proceeding to a higher degree are also eligible, as are students who have been accepted for post-graduate study in Australia and overseas.
  • Applications must be lodged by the close of business on Friday 6 February 2015 with the application form.  Applications may be posted, faxed or e-mailed.
  • The successful applicants will be chosen by a Selection Committee.  If placed on a short list, it may be necessary for applicants to attend an interview in Sydney in mid-February 2015.
  • Successful applicants will be advised in the first week of March 2015.
  • As a condition of the scholarship, it will be necessary for the successful students to submit mid-year and end of year results, as well as a report on how the scholarship funds have been spent.
  • Funding has been made available for one year only, subject to review for further assistance, but successful applicants may reapply for future years. 

The application form and recipient guidelines are available here. If you require any further information, please contact Deanna Mooney on: deanna.mooney@northcott.com.au or 98900959.

Tuesday, 09 December 2014

 

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.

  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

     

    Imagine Me Photo Workshop at Royal Rehab

    The Imagine Me workshops are kicking off at Royal Rehab in Ryde on Wednesday 17th September.

    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. If you are interested in getting involved or coming along to watch, contact Sue on 0412 810 745.

    The workshops will run 10.30am - 4pm for 7 days over 6 weeks, with an exhibition on the final day (Sept 17, Sept 24, Oct 1, Oct 8, Oct 15, Oct 22 plus the Exhibition Day date TBC). Visit www.imagineme.com.au for more information about the project and upcoming workshops around NSW.

    Imagine Me Flyer

    I am about to start the Imagine Me workshops at the Royal Rehab in Ryde on Wednesday.

    Thanks so much for your encouragement for the workshop to date.

    As you probably know I am currently running the workshop in SCIA Wollongong office

    on Thursdays, having been funded by another grant from Delineate an initiative of Accessible Arts 

    in partnership with The Campaign sponsored by NSW Government, 

    Department of Family & Community Services, Ageing, Disability, and Home Care.


    If you know of anyone who you think might be interested 

    in having a look at the workshops and might be interested in participating

    now for the Ryde workshop or at a later date then please invite them along -

    they can always observe without participating, just ask them to contact me 

    to let me know they are coming along.


    Workshop runs 10.30-4 for 7 days over 6 weeks - final day is the exhibition

    Sept 17, Sept 24, Oct 1, Oct,8, Oct 15, Oct 22 plus Exhibition Day.

    In Recreational Room in Community Building

    Tuesday, 16 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

     

    Mark Tonga Clubs NSW Community Heart award

    Congratulations to Mark Tonga, one of our Policy and Advocacy team members, for his recent win of the Clubs NSW Community Heart award.

    Mark was nominated by the Castle Hill RSL club for his on-going work in fighting for better outcomes for people with disabilities.

    ClubsNSW CEO Anthony Ball said that while this year’s competition was fierce, the work Mark Tonga has done advocating for a better social environment for people with disabilities made him the front runner when it came to deciding the winner of the Heart of the Community Award, “Mark’s commitment to the local area, his local club and supporting other people with disabilities has really showed that Mark genuinely is the Heart of his Community.”

    http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/newslocal/the-hills/nsw-community-heart-winner-mark-tonga-is-king-of-clubs-at-castle-hill/story-fngr8i1f-1226933416217

    Monday, 02 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

     

    Help improve future SCI clinical trials

    Researchers at the University of Miami are conducting a new survey for people living with spinal cord injuries (SCI) over the age of 18 to provide direct input on factors that encourage or discourage participation in clinical trials.

    The survey is going out to organisations and contacts in the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

    Very rarely are people with SCI asked for their input on factors involved in the design of clinical trials.

    As a result, many people may end up qualifying for trials, but decide not to participate because they are overly complicated or very burdensome.

    Here is your opportunity to provide direct input on what factors about clinical trials encourage or discourage you from participating.

    The survey only takes about 10 minutes to complete and can be found here https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/sciclinicaltrialssurvey

    They need input from as many people as possible so please feel free to share this survey with your SCI friends, contacts and organisations.

    You can Contact Dr. Kim Anderson with any questions KAnderson3@med.miami.edu.

    Wednesday, 14 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

     

    NDIS will help, says lobby group - local access issues in the Eurobodalla Shire

    Peter Perry, our CEO, talks about local access issues and the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) in the Eurobodalla Shire in this article from the Batemans Bay Post. Please read the article here

    Thursday, 06 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

     

    Report: International Perspectives on Spinal Cord Injury

    Spinal Cord Injuries Australia has been recognised as a leading provider of valuable services in a recent report published by the World Health Organisation (WHO). The report entitled ‘International Perspectives on Spinal Cord Injury’ summarises information about spinal cord injury and the practices of various organisations from around the world. We are proud to be acknowledged in this report as it shows our programs are recognised on a global level for making a difference to the lives of people with spinal cord injury. The report is available from the WHO website and can also be borrowed in hard copy from the SCIA SCI Resources Library.

    Thursday, 12 December 2013

     

    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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