October 2015 | Volume 24 Issue 4 - Link Disability Magazine

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October 2015 | Volume 24 Issue 4

Editorial Editor Rebecca Somerfield E [email protected] Creative Director Rachel Tortorella


Contact us P 08 8201 3223 F 08 8201 3238 PO Box 2100, Adelaide SA 5001 Contributions welcome



Advertising Advertising Manager Michelle Stevens E [email protected] P 08 8201 7513 M 0419 822 717

Golden girl The star of the 2012 London Olympics has her sights set on Rio.

Online Content Manager Ian Smedman E [email protected] P 08 7231 0160

Subscriptions Subscriptions Manager Mandy Vercoe E [email protected] P 08 8201 3223

General and News Deadlines Link is issued five times a year: April, June, August, October and December. All material needs to be sent to Link six weeks before each issue is released.

Printing Graphic Print Group ISSN 1447–2023 Copyright 2015. Please contact the editor for permission to reprint content from Link.

The opinions expressed in Link do not necessarily reflect those of the editor, publishers or their agents.

www.inprint.com.au Link Magazine is designed and published at Inprint Design (abn 40 005 498 775), a non-profit organisation. It is produced without the assistance of government funding, relying only on sponsorship, advertising and subscriptions to continue its development.

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Editor’s Letter Link Loves

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Letters News Products & Services Dignity for Disability Kelly Vincent MLC’s column Isabella Fels on her new home Nova Focus on Ability Film Awards Meet author Honey Brown Feature: Sport, travel and leisure

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Building better lives for young people in nursing homes Business advice: How to write Music writer Anthea Skinner reports on a Christmas performance for the deaf community Meet the CEO of the Cora Barclay Centre, Michael Forwood Books What’s on Breakthroughs Social Scene

CD formats available Link is distributed via subscription or www.linkonline.com.au


Link subscribers can now read Link online. Ring Mandy Vercoe on (08) 8201 3223 for details. www.linkonline.com.au Cover shot courtesy Australian Paralympic Committee

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LINK: From the editor

FROM THE EDITOR There’s nothing like travel for rest, relaxation and broadening the horizons and this edition of Link gives you plenty of inspiration for your next holiday. Whether it’s cruising the seven seas like Richard Sowerbutts (page 30), exploring Far North Queensland with our resident travel writer Marayke Jonkers (page 26) or visiting developing countries with intrepid brother and sister travelling team Verena and Tobias Streitferdt (page 32), it seems that tourism operators around the world are beginning to recognise the importance of catering for travellers of all abilities. With the 2016 Rio Paralympics less than one year away this edition we also meet six aspiring Paralympians. Their stories provide plenty of food for thought and reinforce how important it is for people with disability to have access to sport. We also chat with golden girl Ellie Cole, who brought home a swag of medals from the London 2012 Paralympics, and catch up with acclaimed author Honey Brown who tells us how writing was an important part of coming to terms with her disability. We also hear from Dignity for Disability MLC Kelly Vincent on why people with disability must have a presence on the NDIA Board. Finally, a reminder that Link is always looking for submissions from readers. If there’s something you want to get off your chest then write us a letter; get creative and pen a poem or short story - you can even send us a great photograph you’ve taken. We also love receiving ideas for longer stories from budding journalists so feel free to send us your ideas.

LINK LO ES... Opportunity knocks Everyone loves an op shop bargain - particularly if it’s from one of Villa Maria’s op shops in Victoria. Last month six people with disabilities, supported by Villa Maria’s Gateway Service, began volunteering in the organisation's op shop warehouse in Wantirna, helping to sort through items and get them ready for sale. Retail Manager Paul Goggin says while the term ‘opportunity’ has long been synonymous with bagging a bargain, it also reflected the inclusion of more vulnerable people in the local community. “Not only do the shops play an integral role in raising vital funds for our services, they also give people the chance to connect socially, improve their confidence and skill set, and make meaningful use of their time,” Paul said. Monique Sime, 22, (pictured) said she enjoyed her weekly sorting sessions with her friend Katie Ferrer. “My favourite part is cleaning the shoes and putting the clothes on the hook,” she said, adding that she hoped the experience would be beneficial when it came to job hunting. Paul said he looked forward to building the op shop community both in-house and within the wider Knox population.

Happy reading.

“We also have local volunteers who use their passion for knitting and craft to support our shops. A group of ladies create one-ofa-kind, handmade blankets, cushions, mittens, tea cosies and greeting cards, which we have a really high demand for,” Paul said.

Rebecca LINK editor

Villa Maria Catholic Homes, a not-for-profit disability, education and accommodation provider, operates op shops in Bayswater, Ferntree Gully, Heathmont and Wantirna. The op shops are staffed by more than 125 volunteers, with 1,000 garments despatched from the warehouse to the four shops each week.

Share your views and read about all things disabilityrelated at facebook.com/linkdisabilitymagazine.

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$3,9 90 +GS T

Safety, comfort and performance are distinguishing characteristics of all of our handcycle’s. Whether you’re a top professional athlete or a weekend warrior, Top End Handcycle’s are now available online at www.topendwheelchair.com.au or visit a preferred Top End dealer.

For more information on the range please visit www.topendwheelchair.com.au

Letters to LINK


We’ve given our Letters page an artistic feel this edition with photos of two fabulous artworks submitted by readers. We love to receive your contributions so keep sending them in. It could be a poem, short story, photograph or artwork.

By Rosie Byles

By Julie Cutts

I painted this picture when I was in high school. I took me an entire term to finish it. The hardest part was duplicating the large painting on two little paint boards.

I have been painting for four years. My style is abstract. I have been in a couple of South Australian Living Artist (SALA) events and exhibitions. I attend an art group once a week. A couple of my paintings were in the Royal Adelaide Show.

Send your letter to the editor: Link Editor, Inprint Design, 1B Laffer Drive, Bedford Park SA 5042 or email it to [email protected] Please include your postal address (not for publication). Letters should be a maximum of 200 words and may be edited for brevity and clarity.

The best letter wins $50

By contributing a letter you authorise Link to publish it in the magazine or www.linkonline.com.au. Letters may be edited for length and clarity. All published contributions earn the author a free copy of the magazine, containing the letter (or current subscribers may specify that they would prefer their free magazine as an extension of their current subscription), provided a postal address is included with the original letter. Your name, suburb and state will be published with your letter unless you specify otherwise.

Ar you getting Are LINK e-news? Register at Link Online to receive the weekly e-news, that will give you a snapshot of disability news, stories and events ffrom Australia and around the world, straight to your email. linkonline.com.au/subscribe

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Join 8500+ others and LIKE us on facebook facebook.com/linkdisabilitymagazine

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Accessibility Weekend 2015 14-15 November

Join us to celebrate access and inclusion for people with a physical disability. Do you use a wheelchair? Then you (and your carer) are invited to visit Victoria’s top attractions for FREE during Accessibility Weekend. With more attractions participating than ever before, Accessibility Weekend is a great opportunity for you to visit your favourite sights.

Register at



yourself $100!

Upload a photo of yourself visiting a participating attraction (during Accessibility Weekend) to our Facebook page (via the competition app) and you’ll automatically be entered into the draw to win a $100 Visa gift card. independenceaust

AW15 LinkMagazine FP.indd 1

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LINK: News

TEACHING THE TEACHERS Flinders University is set to design and teach a specialist postgraduate course in the teaching of children with autism spectrum disorders to 80 teachers from across South Australia.

p ro g r a m i n w h i c h students specialise in special education and disability studies,” Professor Stirling said.

The new course is being developed thanks to a $700,000 funding package from the South Australian Government, and is set to position SA as a leader in education for children with autism. The move follows a recent evaluation of capacity in mainstream schools that found access to professional learning and qualifications for leaders and teachers in the area of ASD was ad hoc and often limited to introductory levels

“The new course responds strongly to a community need and stands to make a very real difference in the lives of children with autism and to their families.”

Flinders Vice-Chancellor, Professor Colin Stirling, said the award of the tender for the new course reflected the School of Education’s sustained commitment to quality education for all children, including those with a disability.

Associate Professor Kerry Bissaker (pictured) from Flinders’ School of Education said: “The increasing numbers of students with disability now enrolled in mainstream schools often presents additional challenges to leaders and teachers.

“The School has delivered many excellent programs in special education, and recently commenced an undergraduate

“The course will also act to build the leadership capacity of the leaders and teachers who enrol to mentor and

support other teachers involved in the education of students with ASD, and to create ASD-friendly schools.”

DISABILITY ADVOCATES CALL FOR END TO VIOLENCE The Australian Cross Disability Alliance (ACDA) has called for a Royal Commission into violence, abuse and neglect against people with disability in Australia.

and the establishment of an independent national statutory watchdog to protect, investigate and enforce findings regarding violence, abuse and neglect against people with disability.

“It is not limited to a few rogue individuals, it is not confined to disability support settings, and it is not confined by state or territory borders. It is a national Epidemic,” Ms Frohmader said.

The request is one 30 recommendations recently made by ACDA to the Senate Committee inquiry into violence, abuse and neglect against people with disability in institutional and residential settings.

According to the ACDA, the Senate Inquiry process has revealed many hundreds of horrific stories regarding violence experience by people with disability in institutional and residential settings.

Other key recommendations put forward by ACDA include an overhaul of the criminal justice system ensuring that people with disability are supported in accessing the same legal protections and redress as the rest of the community

“The ACDA knows that these stories are just the tip of the iceberg and are indicative of a widespread and far-reaching problem,” said Carolyn Frohmader, chief executive of Women With Disabilities Australia and an ACDA member.

The ACDA is a national representative body, made up of four Disabled People’s Organisations - the First Peoples Disability Network, National Ethnic Disability Alliance, People with Disability Australia and Women with Disabilities Australia.

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At time of going to print the findings of the Senate Inquiry were due to be reported on September 16.

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VIDEO COMPETITION CELEBRATES SUCCESS New South Wales resident Renee Mangles is the winner of the #MyMSVictory online video competition - an initiative that provided a platform for people with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) to share their successes. Renee’s video showcased her ‘victory’ as being able to get outside and play with her children - something she hadn’t been able to do frequently due to her MS. The judging panel, which included celebrity ambassador Tim Ferguson, said Renee’s clip embodied the spirit of the competition. An initiative of biotechnology company Biogen Australia and supported by MS Australia, the competition attracted over 50 entries and 700 social media posts, with 12 weekly prizes awarded

to MS community members from across Australia. Campaign ambassador comedian Tim Ferguson said it was wonderful to see such a wide range of successes being showcased. “I hope that seeing the accomplishments of others has served as an inspiration for members of the MS community,” Tim said. “Multiple sclerosis is a disease that affects every person differently and these victories reflect that diversity. All our victories are different and all of them are important. We want people to come away from this experience feeling empowered, knowing that having MS doesn’t mean the end of a happy, productive life.”

Tim Ferguson, campaign ambassador.

IMPROVED ACCESSIBILITY FOR DAISY APP 2.0 A new online resource for women with experience of sexual assault and domestic violence has been relaunched with improved functionality for women with vision impairment. An initiative of State and Federal Governments, the new version aims to connect more women to vital information and services. It features text-to-voice functionality for women with a vision impairment or low literacy, translated information across 28 language groups and an SMS function for women living in rural and remote areas. The Daisy app has been downloaded approximately 100 times each week since its launch in March. In total, there have been more than 2000 downloads nationally.

“We need to make accessing support for women experiencing violence as easy as possible. Acknowledging that every situation is different, the updated app will now be more relevant and more accessible to a wider scope of women,” Ms Cash said.

The Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Women, Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash, said the app is a valuable tool for women experiencing violence to access services relevant to their unique situation.

The app provides women with an easyto-use list of specialist sexual assault, domestic and family violence services in their state and local area. Special features include a ‘Get Help’ function

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that allows users to quickly call 000, and a ‘Quick Exit’ button to leave screens containing service information. Download Daisy free from Google Play for Android phones and the App Store for iPhones. www.1800respect.org.au/daisy/ If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault, domestic or family violence, call 1800RESPECT or 1800 737 732 or visit www.1800RESPECT.org.au

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LINK: What's New?


Driving success

Want to book a holiday but worried the tour company might cancel if they don’t get the numbers? Melbourne-based L e i s u re O p t i o n offers a ‘Holiday Guarantee’ that means you’ll never be told that one of their tours is cancelled due to low traveller numbers, giving peace of mind to both the holiday-maker and their family. Established in 1994, Leisure Options is a nationally accredited travel agency that specialises in supported holidays for people with disabilities. They’re committed to meeting the individual needs of clients and providing a supportive environment, as well as delivering high staffing ratios, maximum choice and loads of fun.

Mobility equipment manufacturers Drive Medical are celebrating their first year in Australia. The international company set up shop in Melbourne in May 2014 with just one member of staff, however customer demand has seen them expand them product range, set up warehouses in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane, and recruit two new members of staff. Selling direct to the trade, Drive Medical exhibited at the ATSA Independent Living Expo in Brisbane and the Daily Living Expo in Sydney, and plan to establish warehouses in Adelaide and Perth down the track. Their range includes manual and power-operated wheelchairs, rehabilitation products, mobility products and beds.











Just say it

Sleep easy

The new, cloudbased Dragon Anywhere mobile app enables users to dictate and voiceedit documents of any length directly on their iOS or Android device. Dragon Anywhere provides professional-grade dictation that lets users create and edit complete documents, reports, client forms, and detailed notes — using customised vocabulary, voice shortcuts and frequently-used text (or auto-text) commands. Dragon Anywhere automatically synchronises custom words and auto-texts with Dragon for Mac or Dragon Professional Individual desktop editions, enabling seamless productivity in the office or on the go. And Dragon Anywhere adapts to a user’s voice within the first few minutes of use, so there is no training required.

The Oventus Clearway Device TM is the first and only sleep therapy device in the world which allows air to flow through to the back of the throat bypassing nasal, soft palette and tongue obstructions. The brainchild of Brisbane dentist Dr Chris Hart, the 3D-printed lightweight titanium mouthguard targets moderate to severe sufferers of sleep apnoea - a condition that affects more than one million Australians and can be related to high blood pressure, stroke, irregular heartbeats and diabetes. In clinical trials, the Oventus Clearway DeviceTM has shown a 50 to 90 per cent reduction in Apnoea Hypopnea Index (AHI) in 75 per cent of patients whereas 50 per cent is deemed a success in oral device therapy patients.



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LINK: Opinion

APPLY WITHIN, BUT NOT WITHOUT US me as a person with disability, perhaps ask me what would best work for me. It may seem logical, but you’d be surprised how little it happens and schemes, systems and programs are landed upon the disability community with good intention, but limited or no out consultation.

Dignity for Disability MLC Kelly Vincent argues that people with disability and their carers must have a presence on the NDIA Board. Nothing about us, without Reasonable and necessary.


Both of these phrases represent two concepts that are dear to me as a Dignity for Disability MP, and as a person with disability. I suspect they also mean something to many of you. The first is a saying that was popularised in the USA’s disability rights movement of the 1980s, but is also often used by other marginalised groups in the community campaigning to be heard, and for equal rights. It is a basic but important idea – if you want something to be effective for

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The second phrase is the kind of Modus Operandi of the National Disability Insurance Scheme. All Plans for Participants devised consider whether funds allocated will provide reasonable and necessary supports which help a participant to reach their goals, objectives and aspirations, and to undertake activities to enable the participant’s social and economic participation. So, you can imagine the surprise when the advertisement appeared last month calling for National Disability Insurance Agency Board members. It’s not so much that a private agency was conducting the recruiting, nor that the Minister for Disabilities was advertising nine months before the current Board members terms were expiring. No, it was the criteria that really stuck in our craw. It is an absolute outrage that the Commonwealth Government talks about an eight-person NDIA Board with no

specific consideration for appointing members with disability personally, or understanding as a family carer. We are the people directly affected by this board’s decisions. Excluding us is poor business sense, to put it lightly. We are completely fed up with being told what to do by people and systems that have no real life experience understanding of what it is like trying to establish a full and meaningful life of one’s choosing given the ableism we face every single day. Not a moment passes where a person with disability somewhere in Australia finds themselves being abused, or excluded from broader society. People with disability tend to be pretty creative business people, used to stretching that skerrick of funding to get us enough resources to live independently, let alone work, and, dare I say it, contribute to society. Does the NDIA not want to benefit from the input of the people expert in using its very product? This is surely in breach of the intent of the National Disability Insurance Scheme. I again call on Disabilities Minister, Senator Mitch Fifield, to recall the advertisement and go back to the drawing board. Having people with disability at that Board table is above all else, reasonable and necessary.

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LINK: Interview

BACK ON THE STARTING BLOCK Photo credit: Australian Paralympic Committee

After winning four gold medals and two bronze at the 2012 London Paralympics, swimmer Ellie Cole was elated, but exhausted. Suffering from intense pain in her shoulders, she lost her passion for the pool and admits she “hated swimming”. A double shoulder reconstruction followed, putting her swimming career on the backburner for good – or so she thought. The 23-year-old New South Wales resident started swimming at the age of three as part of her rehabilitation following the amputation of a leg due to cancer. In just two weeks the naturalborn swimmer could swim a straight line and, by the age of 15, was representing Australia.

Congratulations on winning gold and achieving a world record at the recent World Championships. Did you expect to do so well? Absolutely not! Coming out of a semiretirement with a completely different training regime and new shoulders left me feeling a bit unsure about my

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preparation heading into the World Champs. I knew that I wanted to try something new in training that wasn’t exactly ‘textbook’ in the swimming world and I have seemed to tailor something that really works for me.

What made you re-enter the world of competitive swimming and was there an exact moment where you decided to give it another go? There actually was! I hated swimming after the London Games. I started coaching to stay around the water. I remember applying for a job because it required ‘pool-deck coaching’ which means that I didn’t actually have to get in the water! It really was a perfect job for me where I got to share my knowledge with other swimmers – I found it really rewarding seeing the kids come through the door and getting excited about their achievements. Being involved in grass-

roots swimming made me remember what sport is all about and getting those little things right can be really exciting.

What are your goals for Rio? My key event will be the 100m Backstroke but I will also be focusing on the sprint events. The major goal for the Paralympic Games is to win. However, the Paralympic Games can always be so unpredictable so my aim for the Games is to swim faster than I ever have before and hope that it’s good enough to produce the gold medal.

What about your plans beyond Rio? Do you think you’ll keep competing? Absolutely. I want to swim and represent Australia proudly for as long as possible. Swimming has been something that I have dedicated a large portion of my life to and I want to see it out to the end.

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Photo credit: Australian Paralympic Committee

Content to pursue her coaching career after the shoulder operation, Ellie says being involved with grass-roots sport and seeing the achievements of her young swimmers reignited her passion for the pool. She made the bold decision to train for a comeback at the Australian National Championships, her efforts gaining her a spot in the team for the 2015 IPC World Championships where she won gold in the 100m backstroke and achieved a World Record-beating time in the heats. Her performance at the World Champs stunned everyone – Ellie included – and fuelled her motivation to compete at the Rio Paralympics next year.

Photo credit: Australian Paralympic Committee

“Sport is so amazing for people with disabilities. It really can remove that stigma and perception that the public can have.”

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LINK: Interview

What’s your daily training regime? I usually start the day with a swim where I focus on very minor details of my technique. After training I hit the gym for an hour of physiotherapy exercises to make sure my shoulders are in good condition before starting a pretty hectic weights session that usually leaves me floored within the hour.

What sort of advice do you give your students? I am very strict with their technique. I harp on to them all the time about their body positions, streamlines and head positions. They are such a motivated bunch of students and my favourite part of the day is coaching them.

I read that you were oblivious to your disability as a child.  Do you still feel this way?

What advice would you give young people with disability, particularly in regard to the benefits of sport? Sport is so amazing for people with disabilities. It really can remove that stigma and perception that the public can have. My advice would be to give anything and everything a go. If there isn’t a way then find one. There have been so many times in my athletic career that my coaches have had to find a different way of doing things and that’s okay. If it works, it works!

Who or what inspires you and why? Petria Thomas is a big one for me these days. She spoke to the Australian swim team last year and mentioned that she won a gold medal at the Olympic Games a year after her shoulder reconstruction.

I was so happy to hear her say this and it made me cry! I realised that it’s possible if you keep chipping away at the old wooden block.

What do you get up to when you’re not in the pool? I’m studying at university – it’s a golden rule in my family that you need to have a degree. An education is very important to my future. Particularly being an athlete, I am not getting as much work experience as some of my ‘normal’ friends so am hoping to tuck away a degree to add to the resume for when I finish my swimming career. I also go around to schools to talk to them about their health and wellbeing – it’s been a big part of my life and kids can’t be educated enough on the topic.

Photo credit: Swimming Australia

I never saw myself as different – I guess I didn’t want to see myself as different. As I’ve gotten older I have come to realise that it is pretty cool to have limitations put on you from outsiders and proving them wrong. I am more aware of it these days - that doesn’t mean that I let it bother me.

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LINK: Issues

HOME AT LAST A supported accommodation development in inner-city Melbourne has transformed the lives of a group of people with mental illness, writes Isabella Fels. The Haven, the name for my supported accommodation complex for people with mental illness, particularly Schizophrenia, is my dream home. I never imagined I could be so happy. Having The Haven, which my mum and dad helped set up with other carers, has opened up my world. How I love its perfect location just off Chapel Street, which always gets my heart beating with its hustle and bustle. I can also feel the peace of St Joseph’s church located opposite, who kindly rented out what used to be their convent at a very low cost in order for us to renovate the place. The great design and comfort of The Haven, which took several years to create, makes it the best place in the world. There has been government, individual and private company funding put into it, including The Haven fundraiser ball every year. The Haven is a far cry from the seedy Community Care Units (CCUs) and other transitional places I have lived in. All sorts of disputes occurred there, such as people not doing their fair share of housework, fights over what television programs to watch, food and other items mysteriously going missing, general noisiness and lack of privacy for people in the units - not to mention different staff members popping up all the time. For a start, THE HAVEN is stable, permanent accommodation. We are all in it together, and are lucky to have our own self-contained units which came furnished with things like vacuum cleaners, microwaves, cutlery and even dishwashing powder provided. We have been set up, almost reborn, with a silver spoon in our mouths.

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Although many of the residents spend a lot of time in their units, which is sometimes not a great thing, there is a wonderful downstairs area which we all share to enjoy meals at least once a week, and to do different sorts of groups, such as singing, art, relaxation and meditation. However, often there are only a few of us doing the activities and lack of motivation is a problem. In The Haven we are like brothers and sisters and understand when to come close to one another, and when to back off. We generally have a wonderful time with birthdays always being celebrated, and there is a lot of give and take. We all have different things to offer - one resident loves to bake beautiful cakes, another is like a handyman around the place and another welcomes people with open arms into his unit, although it does smell a bit like a smoke pit. However, we are no longer in the pits like so many other people with mental illness who are homeless or living in dangerous and poor accommodation. Just like the plants so lovingly taken care of in our beautiful Spanish-style courtyards, I look after my body by going to a gym in Chapel Street as well as doing yoga run by a wonderful volunteer. I try to encourage other residents to look after themselves as well, and not to eat so much takeaway pizza which is very popular around the place. The Haven also places a lot of emphasis on health and wellbeing, with healthy diet pyramid charts on the foyer walls and wholesome cooking classes done together. I literally grow with the plants, which I help look after with other volunteers and my wonderful mother in a very special gardening group once a week. I feel beautifully looked after by my key worker, although it took quite a few key workers to finally find the right one. In this situation there is a fast turnover of workers caused by lack of pay and other greater opportunities in the system.

“We are no longer in the pits like so many other people with mental illness who are homeless or living in dangerous and poor accommodation.” I have grown in many ways and the different workers have all taught me something new - whether it is how to make a winter soup or to pack a dishwasher, and even how to save money and how to avoid the temptations of the Chapel Street shops! With this one-onone help I have learnt to become much more independent in my unit, taking real pride in it, and in the outside world I feel I ‘fit’ better into the wider community. All in all, The Haven has been such a wonderful experiment that we hope to repeat the model generating other ‘Havens’ in Geelong and Frankston. I look forward to seeing a chain of many ‘Havens’ in the future, making a real difference to how mental health services are run. Isabella Fels is a poet and writer who writes about her disabilities, including Schizophrenia and more recently Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), which has developed over time. She also enjoys writing on health and wellbeing. Her work has appeared in numerous magazines and websites including The Big Issue, The Record, Positive Words, Eureka Street and DHS Divine.

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LINK: Arts

LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION A funny take on living with autism, cerebral palsy and epilepsy called ‘Bumblebees’ has won the 2015 Nova Focus on Ability (FOA) Film Awards, presented in Sydney on September 9 before an 800-strong audience. Described by judges as “hearty and funny”, winning filmmaker Jenna Kanell, from the United States, based the short film on the life of her brother, Vance. It was among 161 entries in the competition, which have been viewed in 154 countries. Notable Australian entries included ‘Family First’, which depicts a father’s honest account of his son’s autism, and ‘Dragon Dreaming’ – a story about Kushia Young,

a talented young artist from Pipalyatjara country who is hearing impaired. Offering over $100,000 in prize money, the competition aims to recognise films that focus on the ability of people with a disability. It’s an initiative of Nova Employment – a not-for-profit disability employment service that finds awardwage jobs in the open community for people with disability. In the Schools Documentary section the winning film was ‘Captain Jacob’, which tells the story of 11-year-old Jacob Rushton and his plans to join the navy. Directed by Jo-Anne Brechin, the film won a $12,000 Smeg Appliance Package for Werrington Public School in

Sydney. The 11-year-old star of the film, Jacob Rushton, said he enjoyed seeing himself up on the big screen. “It felt quite natural to be up on the screen because all of my friends were there,” he said. Nova Employment CEO Martin Wren said Focus on Ability was designed to get young people - the next decisionmakers - to look favourably on the ability of their peers who have a disability. “This year’s selection of films has done that remarkably well,” he said. “People involved in FOA become champions of people with disability; such is their change of attitude while exploring the people, issues and themes associated with living with disability.” Photos: 1. International Online Votes Winner Rhea Lobo 2. Stars of the film "Smiling Champion" 3. Open Entrant Short Film Winner Georgia Cramp 4. Paula Duncan & Martin Wren





5. Tribal Warriors


Entries for FOA 2016 close June 30. To view this year’s winners visit www.focusonability.com.au

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LINK: Interview

PAGE TURNER Well-known for her awardwinning psychological thrillers, Australian author Honey Brown has ventured into the world of rural romance for her sixth book, Six Degrees. The anthology of sexy stories aims to present a realistic portrayal of sex in fiction, and to explore the role of sexual attraction in everyday life.

Though romance and erotic fiction is a departure from Brown’s usually dark subject matter, writing Six Degrees certainly wasn’t light relief for the talented author. “The biggest challenge writing Six Degrees was making the sex believable and readable,” she says. “As a writer you have to crack your knuckles and get ready to flex some cerebral muscle. It takes effort to get sex working within the story and on the page.” Honey, who lives in country Victoria with her husband and two teenage children, started writing in 2000 after a farm accident resulted in her suffering a spinal injury. She has used a wheelchair ever since, and says writing helped her rehabilitation. Several of her books, including The Good Daughter, After the Darkness and Dark Horse, have won awards, and she’s currently busy writing her seventh novel. Link asked Honey about sex and disability in fiction, how writing helped her battle depression and her advice for budding writers.

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“I hope that by being disabled and writing about sex, that alone breaks down some barriers.”

What has been the response to Six Degrees? I had some nerves before releasing Six Degrees, not because of the sexual content, but because readers don’t pull their punches when it comes to sex in fiction. If they don’t like it, they’re quick to say. I’m happy to report that the response has been terrific. I took care to avoid all the usual sex clichés, I made sure the sex was revealing of each character and added meaning to the story, and readers and critics have said they appreciate that kind of relatable sex on the page.

Why did you make the foray into erotic fiction? I’ve always enjoyed writing about sex. I’ve written other erotic stories, but they’re just sitting in the desk bottom drawer. These six erotic stories slowly came together in between each thriller I was writing. When the big boom in erotic literature happened, it frustrated me that so few of the characters or situations felt real to me, so I figured it was time to hone my stories and see how they went with readers. Disability and sex is often an issue that is overlooked or even treated as a 'taboo'. Is this something you might write about in the future? I hope that by being disabled and writing about sex, that alone breaks down some barriers. When I attend festivals and I’m interviewed about the stories, it’s heartening that my disability isn’t mentioned. There’s the sense that my interest in sex and my own sexuality isn’t questioned in any way, and I think that’s the kind of everyday, automatic

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acceptance that we’re striving for. I’m sure at some point I’ll create disabled characters. When I do, I won’t be focusing on the disability; those characters will have fully rounded and diverse personalities, with their own unique sexiness. I've read that writing was an important part of your rehabilitation after your accident. After my accident I suffered depression. I had the feeling that the real me had died, and I felt like I was mourning my own death. I missed ‘me’ terribly. I still do miss the healthy me. Always though, I’ve had this creativity in me, and my creativity was something that didn’t require me to stand and walk. I think I quite naturally turned to that side of myself. My creativity was the one thing

untouched by my spinal injury. I was able to find a part of me I knew and recognised, and that side of me saw me through, while I adapted to the huge change spinal injury brings about. What are you working on at the moment? My current manuscript is a psychological thriller. I’m one of those writers who try not to say too much about their current work, for fear of taking the “heat” out of it. I’ll just say…I’ve always wanted to write a story about a serial killer we can relate to, who feels like some we might know, and who we might even like a little bit. What approach do you take to your work? Are you a disciplined writer? I’m naturally disciplined about writing. Actually, it doesn’t feel like discipline

at all to me – I want to be writing. If anything, I feel guilty about how much I write. I have a home office I work in, but most days I end up in the kitchen at the table, where it’s warmer and sunnier. As the publicity side of being published takes over, there is now a need for a professional approach to writing. But that approach is simply to stop feeling guilty about writing and to take the time to write every day. What advice do you have for aspiring writers? Keep on writing. Don’t stop at one book or one short story. Let your writing rest as long as possible, before polishing it and sending it into competitions or submitting it to open days at publishing houses. Write without pride or vanity. Write honestly.

MJP Employment Services make it easy Matching a job to the most appropriate candidate should be the number one priority of recruitment. MJP Employment Services specialise in placing individuals with a disability in to the workplaces and will advise you to recruit the right person and link you to a range of workplace supports. This includes providing you with information and advice on working with people with disability. We provide:

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Premium recruitment service tailored to suit your requirements, including job descriptions, candidate screenings and short listing. Free work trial to assess the job seeker’s suitability for the position. Accredited on-the-job workplace trainer to ensure the employee learns the job to your satisfaction. Assistance and advice on government funded workplace modifications and wage subsidies Confidential, expert advice and support relating to the employment of people with disability.

For more information about MJP Employment Services and possible jobs available to you phone 7325 0027 or email [email protected]

October 2015 — Vol 24/4

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Sport, travel and leisure

WHEELS TO GO Both professional and aspiring wheelchair athletes can now try before they buy thanks to the launch of www.topendwheelchair. com.au The website is the only one in Australia that gives people the opportunity to trial wheelchair sporting equipment for free at different locations across Australia before purchasing. It also offers detailed equipment information and a database of wheelchair sporting events and ‘come and try’ days in each state. Australian Paralympic gold medallist, Kurt Fearnley OAM, has given his thumbs up to the site. “This website would have been really helpful back when I was starting out.

Even now, lots of kids don’t realise what services are on offer to them and getting into a chair and having a go is completely different to just watching a sport played. It’s important for kids with a disability to understand that no matter your situation, there is always a pathway to participation,” Kurt said. The website has been launched with the support of Invacare, who manufacture home healthcare and mobility equipment. Invacare Managing Director Geoff Purtill would like to see sport participation rates of people with disability rise to those of able-bodied people. “There are many barriers, both real and perceived, for people with a disability to engage in a sport, not least the access to

sports equipment such as chairs designed for the various activities. So our support of this program is intended to help ensure anyone can have a go and find their sporting passion,” Geoff said.

Only 32% of people with a disability currently participate in sporting activities, compared to 72% of able-bodied people.

Paralympian Kurt Fearnley wants more kids with disability to play sport.

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COUNTDOWN TO RIO With less than one year until the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, athletes across the country are busy sweating it out as they train for the ultimate prize. The Australian Paralympic Committee plans to send a team of more than 170 athletes who will compete in up to 16 sports. This will be our biggest team yet - up from 161 athletes in London 2012, where Australia won 32 gold, 23 silver and 30 bronze medals to finish fifth overall in the medal tally. However, the benefits of the Paralymics are not confined to the sporting arena. A spokeswoman for the Australian Paralympic Team said the event helps shape community attitudes toward disability and helps Australians with a disability participate in sport to the level of their choice. The Australian team, to be led by Chef de Mission Kate McLoughlin, is aiming for a top five finish, and a new media rights agreement with Seven West Media promises to deliver plenty of mainstream media coverage. The Rio 2016 Paralympic Games is on September 7-18, 2016. More than 4,350 athletes from 178 national are expected to participate in 528 medal events across 22 sports.

Photo credit: Australian Paralympic Committee

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Sport, travel and leisure

ONES TO WATCH Clare Nott, WA Age: 29 Sport: Wheelchair classification 1.0


Career highlight: Winning ‘white gold’ - an engagement ring from her husband after the 2010 WNWBL final Heroes: Paralympians Brad Ness and Kathleen O’Kelly-Kennedy Interesting fact: Holds a Bachelor of Legal Studies and Criminology from Murdoch University and works as a law clerk Having picked up a silver medal in London and a bronze in Beijing, Clare Nott is one of the Australian wheelchair basketball team’s most experienced athletes. She got involved in wheelchair sport after a motor vehicle accident at the age of three left her a paraplegic. Though Clare initially gravitated towards competitive swimming, she soon became interested in wheelchair basketball and was introduced to the sport through Sporting Wheelies. Clare made her name with the Western Stars and Perth Wheelcats in the WNWBL, rising to prominence in 2005 when she was named Best New Talent in the domestic competition. The following year she was part of the World Championship Gold Cup team in Amsterdam and by 2008 was at her first Paralympics. Since then, she has been a mainstay of the Australian team, winning gold at the 2009, 2010, 2012 and 2013 Osaka Cups. In 2014, she was the first female named in the NWBL All-Star Five. Clare likes to spend her free time with her husband Lee and Labrador Taj and in ten years’ time hopes to be growing her family and living closer to the beach.

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Dylan Alcott, VIC Age: 24 Sport: Wheelchair tennis, Classification Quad Career highlight: Winning gold at Beijing 2008, making the World All-Star Five at 2010 World Championships, winning 2015 Australian Wheelchair Tennis Open Heroes: Daniela Di Toro, Pat Rafter Interesting fact: Dylan is well-known for his wheelchair crowd-surfing at music festivals across Australia Winning a gold medal at the Paralympics and a World Championship is a huge achievement in anyone’s language. But imagine winning gold in two different sports! That’s the prospect facing basketballer-turned wheelchair tennis ace Dylan Alcott, who is a strong gold medal prospect for Rio. Retiring from a stellar basketball career after the London Paralympics, Dylan made his sporting comeback in 2014 defeating world number three Andy Lapthorne (UK) in the British Open. He then took out the 2015 Australian Wheelchair Tennis Open - the first Australian to win the tournament. Born with a tumour wrapped around his spinal cord, Dylan underwent surgery at three days old which resulted in paraplegia. He took up wheelchair tennis as a child and

quickly climbed the ranks to become number four in the junior world rankings by the age of 16. A huge advocate for disability, Dylan believes his purpose in life is to help change perceptions of disability and he regularly gives motivational talks. Pre-match you’ll find him listening to rapper Wu-Tang Clan’s ‘Protect Ya Neck’ before he goes on court. He even performed with the band on-stage at the 2014 Meredith Festival.

Daniel Michel, NSW Age: 20 Sport: Boccia (Individual and Pairs), Classification BC3 Career highlight: Beating the world number five at the Montreal World Open in 2014 Heroes: Michael Clarke, Steve Waugh Interesting fact: Speaks fluent Dutch Born with spinal muscular atrophy type 2, Dan found it difficult to participate in many sports but since discovering the uniquely Paralympic sport of boccia he’s competed at national and international events. Dan was introduced to the sport during a camp conducted by Muscular Dystrophy NSW - his talents were immediately recognised by APC Boccia program director, Peter King, who encouraged him to take his new passion to the highest level possible. Two years later, Dan competed at his first international competition, the 2013 BisFed Asia Oceania Championships. He’s hoping to be the first Australian to win a medal in the sport at the Paralympics since 1996. Before each competition, Dan likes to calm his mind through deep breathing. And though he says he’s not superstitious, he wears the same pair of shoes to every training session and another pair at every international match. He’s also studying a Bachelor of Commerce at the University of Wollongong.

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Sport, travel and leisure

Chad Perris, ACT Age: 23 Sport: Para-athletics (100m and 200m), Classification T13 Career highlight: Representing Australia for the first time at the 2013 IPC Athletics World Championships and placing 5th in the 100m Heroes: Five-time Paralympic gold medallist Evan O’Hanlon, his father Interesting fact: Holds a Certificate IV in Sport Development and Athlete Services Though he’s only been competing since 2012, Chad Perris has proven his potential on the track. At the 2013 IPC Athletics World Championships he finished fifth in the 100m and dominated the 200m, breaking a 28-year-old Australian and Oceania record. At the 2014 Australian Athletics Championships, Chad won a bronze medal in the 100m and achieved the number one world-ranking for the T13 100m. He was also nominated for the Athletics Australia 2014 Male Para-athlete of the Year, alongside Paralympic champions Kurt Fearnley and Michael Roeger. Born with albinism affecting the pigment in his eyes, skin and hair, and causing vision impairment, Chad turned to athletics to keep fit during the AFL off-season. However, it was only when he joined his club in Perth that he turned his attention to competing at a Paralympic Games. Having since moved to Canberra to train, Chad says wearing the green and gold on the world stage has been a ‘dream come true’. Nicknamed ‘The White Tiger’ by friends and family, he’s now focused on being selected for Rio 2016 and achieving a gold medal.

Melissa Tapper, VIC Age: 25 Sport: Para-table tennis, Singles and Teams, Classification 10 Career highlight: Winning the 2011 Hungarian and Italian Opens, finishing fourth at London 2012 Heroes: Her dad, Charles Interesting fact: Has studied Exercise Science and is passionate about fitness. (But does confess to loving the occasional piece of chocolate!)

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Born with Brachial plexus Erb’s palsy, which affects the nerves in her right arm, Melissa began her table tennis career in the able-bodied arena. She made her first state team at 12, the Australian junior team at 14 and was the number one junior player in Australia by 18. Her sights were firmly set on the Olympics. But then the Australian Paralympic Committee suggested she try Paralympic table tennis. While reluctant at first, disregarding herself as an athlete with a disability, Melissa soon embraced the idea and began training for national selection on the Australian Para-table tennis squad. She went on to win a string of singles gold medals and quickly rose to world number one. At the London Paralympics, Melissa was the best performing

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Chris Bond, QLD Age: 29 Sport: Wheelchair Rugby, Classification 3.5 Career highlight: Winning gold in London 2012, being in the first Australian team to win the 2014 IWRF World Championships Heroes: His parents Interesting fact: Chris says his girlfriend, Australian Gliders player Bridie Kean, is the most influential person in his life Chris Bond was 19 when he was diagnosed with a rare form of leukaemia. During his treatment he contracted a severe bowel infection which sent him into septic shock the infection spread throughout his body and developed into gangrene. With his life on the line, doctors decided to amputate both his legs below the knee, his left wrist and all but one of his fingers on his right hand. As a way of adjusting to life with prosthetic limbs, Chris turned to sport. He began swimming at the Australian Institute of Sport pool and, in 2010, was approached by the head coach of the wheelchair rugby team. He started training and playing in the national league, and competed in his first international game at the 2011 Asia Oceania Zonals in South Korea. In 2012 he was instrumental in the team’s first ever gold medal win at a Paralympic Games. Chris also plays professionally in the USA for Texas Stampede. When he’s not training Chris enjoys the outdoors, being on the water and exploring the wilderness. He is looking forward to re-settling in Brisbane with his dogs.

Australian in table tennis since 1984, finishing fourth overall. In 2014 she became the first Australian Paralympic table tennis athlete to qualify for an able-bodied national team, competing at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, where she won bronze in the women’s team event. She is now focussed on Rio 2016, and hopes to become the first Australian Paralympian to win a medal in her sport.

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Sport, travel and leisure

DIVE INTO LIFE The Great Barrier Reef is one of the seven wonders of the natural world, but is it accessible for wheelchair users? Travel writer Marayke Jonkers discovers that North Queensland is not only beautiful, but unexpectedly accessible.

levels of visibility. Sightings of parrotfish, coral and clam-shells encourage me to venture far from the boat however there are guide ropes and flotation devices for less confident swimmers. Prescription snorkel goggles are provided free-ofcharge for those with vision impairment.

“Mum I found Nemo,” I shout excitedly. I’m swimming through gently lapping water above the Great Barrier Reef as a clownfish darts away from me into a sea anemone. I’m 66 kilometres from Port Douglas on Quicksilver’s Agincourt Reef. I entered the reef several hours earlier via a water-powered lift designed especially for passengers who use wheelchairs. Before that the Quicksilver boat, complete with ramped access, delivered me to Agincourt 3, a floating platform complete with buffet lunch, wheelchair accessible bathrooms and access to the water for snorkeling or scuba driving.

All too soon the ship’s horn blasts, calling swimmers back to the boat where we change and enjoy our 90-minute trip back to shore.

While the underwater observatory is downstairs and not accessible, I’m happy snorkeling in one of the most spectacular areas of the reef with high

My journey to the Great Barrier Reef began days earlier when I flew into Cairns with my mum Marion. We opted for a hire car with a boot large enough to carry my wheelchair, giving us the option of visiting attractions without needing inaccessible tour buses. Cairns may be overlooked as the gateway to more famous attractions, but it’s well worth a stay in the palm treelined city. Wander along kilometres of pathways on the scenic esplanade and you’ll discover the wheelchair-friendly lagoon, filled with salt water from the Trinity Inlet and providing a year-round,

Accessible accommodation in Darwin, NT www.bromeliadbandb.com

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(08) 89274640 [email protected]

safe swimming location without stingers and crocodiles. Cairns is also home to the Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Centre and a great base for the Kuranda Sky Rail. Soaring metres above the treetops it offers breathtaking views of World Heritagelisted rainforests and an opportunity to stop and see Barwin Falls, before disembarking in the quaint town of Kuranda. The Kuranda Sky Rail has wheelchair access to the gondola via ramp and accessible toilets. We decide to drive to Kuranda and approach the town from up-hill moving down, avoiding the steep walk from the terminal up through the town. The Sky Rail offers return trips, or you can travel back via the accessible Kuranda Scenic Railway. Next on the itinerary is the Australian Butterfly Sanctuary in Kuranda Village, home to the rare Ulysses butterfly. Here, on wheelchair friendly boardwalks, you can see caterpillars in the nursery and a daily release of newly-hatched butterflies, as well as butterfly feeding time.

When you stay with us in Darwin, you enjoy access to: • accessible swimming pool • accessible bathroom facilities with complimentary toiletries • laundry service • undercover, off-street parking

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Credit: Marion Jonkers Photography

Leaving Cairns for Port Douglas the scenery is a trip highlight. The 75-kilometre drive via the Captain Cook Highway, a windy stretch of road on the edge of a powder-blue coral sea, is punctuated with cliffs, palm trees and crystal blue water. It’s the only place in Australia where two World-heritage-listed icons sit side-by-side — the Daintree Rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef. Travel further north, crossing the river on a car ferry, and you will find yourself at Cape Tribulation, deep in the heart of rainforest and crocodile country. Three of the four short boardwalks (Marrja, Dubuji and Kulki) are wheelchair accessible and the fourth boardwalk (Jindalba) has wheelchair access to the creek available from the exit end. From here I use my freewheel to access the beach, causing my own trials and tribulations in the soft sand! Other nearby attractions include Milla Milla Falls - the carpark is so close to this stunning waterfall you can see it without leaving your car, but should you wish to there is a level car park and viewing area. On the Atherton Tablelands, just outside the small township of Yungaburra, you’ll find the Curtain Fig, accessible via a 50metre boardwalk. Over 500 years old, the tree’s 15-metre long aerial roots twist and drape from the giant tree creating a curtain effect. In Yungaburra you can also see platypus swimming in the creek from the wheelchair-friendly platypus viewing platform. *Marayke’s travel was self-funded. Check out www.marayke.com for more travel tips.

Need more information? The Douglas Shire Council has created a website for visitors with disability, providing information on access to tourist attractions, accommodation and equipment hire. www.douglas.qld.gov.au/ access-douglas-directory-2/

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Sport, travel and leisure

! E L O

A mountain biking holiday in Spain, a wheelchair-friendly adventure in Egypt and safari in Tanzania are three of the world’s top accessible holidays, according to UK disability travel specialists Responsible Travel. The holidays feature in the company’s new online Accessible Tourism guide, which provides an insight into the inclusive tourism industry and aims to encourage more tourism operators to offer accessible experiences and products. “The Responsible Travel guide aims to encourage people to expand their horizons when it comes to travel,” a spokesperson said. “The key message is that the inclusive tourism industry is much broader than many people think, with accessible safaris, small ship cruises and scubadiving trip all available.”

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According to Responsible Travel, Catalonia in Spain is a leader in the accessible tourism industry. Based on the concept that travel is a fundamental social right, the Catalonia Tourism Board’s ‘Tourism For All’ initiative encourages local tourism operators to ensure that experiences, activities and accommodation can be tailored to all people, regardless of disability. The picturesque region offers a range of accessible tourism experiences, including adaptive skiing, horse-riding, rowing and kayaking. A wheelchair accessible adventure in Egypt, complete with five-star Nile Cruise, is another hot seller for Responsible Travel. The tour includes transfers in wheelchair-adapted vehicles and access to a ‘helper’ when visiting historical sites.

(Credit: Go Africa Safaris)

(Credit: Mas Pelegri)

Spain tops accessible travel list

Also popular is a wheelchair accessible safari in Tanzania’s Tarangire National Park - the lodge’s accommodation is wheelchair friendly and vehicles are adapted for wheelchair use with ramps. The Accessible Tourism Guide lists a wide range of other experiences, including self-catering cottages in England’s Peak District, apartments in Brittany, France, and a country-house hotel in Scotland. Read the full guide at www.responsibletravel.com/holidays/ accessible/travel-guide/

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Norden Conversion 60-62 Bennet St, Dandenong Victoria 3175 Phone: 03 9793 1066 Fax: 03 9794 5840 October 2015 — Vol 24/4

[email protected] www.norden.com.au linkmagazine 29


Sport, travel and leisure


Adelaide man Robert Arthur Sowerbutts has travelled more in the past ten years than many people do in a lifetime. Having gone on six major cruises since 2006, this intrepid adventurer has rode elephants through a Thai jungle, sailed deep into the Antarctic Southern Ocean and cruised the majestic fjords of Norway and Iceland. Robert, who has a moderate intellectual disability and elective mutism, loves exploring the world and is always up for a challenge. His travelling companion, Dario Gregoric, a registered volunteer with the SA Department of Communities and Social Inclusion’s Buddy Friendship Program, says Robert loves his oceanic explorations, and that many of his friends follow his travel with gusto. Robert’s latest adventure, earlier this year, was aboard the Queen Mary 2 on a cruise to South Africa. With the help of Dario, Robert has shared his travel diary with Link. Happy reading!

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March 29, Adelaide

April 13, Durban

We board the ship and Robert is in awe of its immense size - 14 storeys high. In previous years, when the ship docked at Outer Harbour, Robert would spend days at the Port admiring the ship, refusing to come home for tea and sleep. We are late leaving because the Captain did not use the pilot to guide the ship in the narrow harbour and has backed into a sandbar bending one of the large propellers which weigh 350 tonnes. They spend the next 12 hours repairing it underwater. We eventually leave on Monday and the ship steams to Perth at 23 knots, reaching our destination in three days. While at sea Robert explores the ship, goes to a few shows and enjoys the a la carte meals.

Three days later we arrive in Durban, South Africa, and Robert decides to do an eight-hour tour of Zulu Natal visiting an authentic Zulu village. We are introduced to Zulu life and dancing, and hear stories about the mighty Zulu armies. The whole experience is thrilling for Robert who is impressed with the spears, dancing and the Zulu lunch which includes antelope, buffalo and other African native meats.

April 2, Perth While in Perth I support Robert on an eight-hour shore excursion exploring the Swan River on a cruise boat, as well as a tour of Perth and Kings Park with all of its brilliant flowers. We visit Swan Valley wineries and Robert enjoys sampling the many wines and cheese. He enjoys lunch at a winery estate and then explores Freemantle’s historical buildings boarding the ship to sail for Mauritius.

April 9, Mauritius We sail for six days toward the Indian Ocean. Robert enjoys exploring the grandeur of the Queen Mary and listening to the ship’s orchestra playing ‘Rule Britannia’ and ‘God save the Queen’. We finally reach Mauritius, famous for its now extinct Dodo bird, its sparkling ocean and golden beaches. Robert goes on an all-day tour exploring volcanic craters, gorges, the waterfall of Chanarel, King Kong Mountain, and the famous sevencoloured earths of the island. Lunch is on a plantation overlooking green luscious jungle gorges.

April 15, Port Elizabeth After embarking at Port Elizabeth we go on a day tour of the Kariega Game Reserve to see the ‘Big 5’. A mighty lion, with its golden main, comes within one metre of our open Jeep, and we also see the Cape Horn Buffalo with its menacing curved horns and rhinoceros, but miss the leopard and the African elephant. We also see zebras, wildebeest, giraffe, hippopotamus, wart-hog, ostrich, monkeys and antelopes. I ask Robert which he liked most and he draws an ‘L’ on his thigh trouser indicating the Lion.

April 17, Cape Town Sailing to Cape Town is a wild, stormy rollicking ride. As we sail past the Cape of Good Hope the ship is battered around as it navigates 10-15 metre waves and stormy swell. Robert enjoys the rollercoaster ride as he has a fearless love for adventure and excitement, expressing it in his intense but focused watching of the rolling white-capped waves. In Cape Town Robert goes on an all-day bus tour, which visitsTable Mountain and a penguin colony, and takes in amazing scenery including wild beaches and bays, mountains, farmland and quaint towns. Lunch is at a chalet overlooking the South Atlantic Ocean and, later that afternoon, Robert visits a winery.

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April 19, Shark Cage Diving We wake at 3.30am and are driven for three hours to the Southern Coast to do some White Pointer Shark viewing. Arriving at dawn we have breakfast, get our scuba gear on and board a small, 20metre vessel. An hour later the boat lets down its anchor near a seal colony where a number of large White Pointers are prowling around. The first shark we see is about 4.5 metre’s long. All the people in

the boat gasp in awe but we all don our gear to go in the cage. Robert decides to stay on the boat and sits himself two metres above the cage to watch all the action. Robert, in his kindness, sends me down to take photographs of the sharks. During the four hours of viewing we see 13 monsters swim past our flimsy cage. The sharks bare their rows of teeth while the crew drag clumps of salmon heads past our cage. Robert is enthralled by the spectacle and likes it when the

sharks splash water onto the boat as they quickly turn and lunge.

April 21, Heading home We pack and fly back to Adelaide on Singapore Airlines, arriving in Adelaide on April 23 after a one-day stop-over in Singapore. Robert expresses his general happiness about the tour by gesturing, by writing small statements on paper and via his happy disposition.

• Short break getaway’s, longer domestic and international tours • Travel unbound by any disability • Small group tours with low support staff ratios

“To travel is to live” Hans Christian Andersen



Come with us and explore Australia and the rest of the world www.accessholidays.net.au

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Sport, travel and leisure


Top: Verena and Tobi at Angkor Wat Left: Tobi with a group of Maasai in northern Tanzania

Intrepid travellers Verena and Tobias say developing countries are worth the effort for people with disability, writes Judith Friedlander. From the ruins of Angkor Wat in Cambodia to the floating villages of Brunei, Verena Streitferdt and her older brother Tobias, have visited sites that many tour operators said were impossible to negotiate with a wheelchair. Verena and Tobias (Tobi), who uses a wheelchair due to muscular dystrophy, set up the organisation Wheelchair Traveller in 2013 to encourage other wheelchair users to take the road less travelled. Their aim is to ‘show it can be done’ and motivate and reward tourism operators in accommodating people with disability. Their website (www.wheelchairtraveller. org) provides a guide to wheelchair-

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friendly hotels, tour operators, restaurants, airlines and other services and facilities, and wheelchair travellers regularly contribute posts with information and comments on destinations and facilities. Apart from the benefit of providing knowledge to people with disability, Verena, a student at the Sydney University of Technology, and Tobi, an online manager at a publishing company in Germany, say there is a huge untapped market for tour operators and travel providers. “It is estimated by the World Health Organisation that over 65 million people in the world require a wheelchair,” says Verena. Tobi says the pair offered free oral and written advice via their website during their trip, as required. “We created our Accessibility Report, in which we evaluated the locations with a short checklist and then made suggestions

for improvement,” he says. “This offer was gladly accepted by many hotels and tour operators. Some hotels were so excited about the project that even during our stay they built ramps, re-located doors and trained their staff.” For Verena and Tobi, developing countries are the real gems for travel experiences. “In developing and emerging economies, people react very positively in general to people with disabilities,” Verena says. “Our experience has shown that, especially in those countries, people are genuinely open, very hospitable, and deal with obstacles in a flexibility that makes almost everything possible.” Their decision to travel came about after Verena had not seen Tobi for six months. “After not seeing my brother for a while, I realised the physical deterioration. While last year he could still stand when you assisted him, the next year a leg would give way or I realised he sometimes breathed heavily while sleeping,” Verena said. “I asked him one day in December 2010, when I was on a home visit in

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Germany, what he thought of the idea to go travelling for six months around the world. In the beginning, he thought it was just another crazy idea from his sister, but by the end of my visit, he was thrilled and it became our common dream.” Despite the concerns of family and friends, who were worried about the health standards and missing infrastructure in the countries they planned to visit, they were soon on their way to their first destination – Buenos Aires, Argentina. Verena says there were many special experiences. In Malaysia, for example, Verena booked accommodation in a rainforest lodge, located in hilly terrain. On arrival they were provided with a personal assistant who helped Tobi up the steep slopes, and a ramp was fitted

to the cottage to ease access. A special jungle tour in the resort area allowed them to see and experience the exotic animals and plants. Their journey was not without obstacles: they were robbed in Argentina, Tobi developed a lung infection at one stage, centuries-old cobblestones in the old city centre of Trinidad meant wheelchair sightseeing was impossible and not everybody they came across was helpful and obliging. “Finding suitable accommodation was sometimes difficult, not because it was non-existent, but because the necessary information was not provided,” says Verena. “So we had endless days where we emailed or called hotels to find out the specific measurements of their bathroom door etc.” They also learned

to call airlines in advance to specify the degree of assistance required.

Tobi is positive about the whole travelling experience: “Travelling has so many positive impacts for my disease, even if the muscles are weaker after the journey than before. But the warm climate kills any pain in my back, the sun makes you happier and meeting people, seeing different cultures and landscapes helps me to level my own fate.”


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iendly facilitato

e of our fr Hello from som

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inspiring achievement Flinders University’s Disability and Community Inclusion courses teach you how to facilitate, advocate and support people living with disabilities and their families. We offer a Bachelor of Disability and Developmental Education and a Graduate Certificate and Master of Disability Studies all of which are available for on-campus and external study plus an on-campus PhD in Disability Studies.

Ask us about: • Pathways for people with Cert IV and Diplomas • What RPL may be available for previous study • Mid-year entry • External on-line learning For more information contact: Disability and Community Inclusion flinders.edu.au/sohs/sites/disability-studies 08 8201 3745 [email protected] Developmental Educators Australia Inc: deai.com.au


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Sport, travel and leisure

A CUPPA WITH CAROL A new shore-based activity for cruise ship visitors to Darwin has been designed specifically for people with disability.

a paraplegic after a motor vehicle accident in Brazil, said the tour provided guests with a ‘slice of territory life’.

‘A cuppa with Carol’ sees passengers transported to Carol’s award-winning accessible bed and breakfast, where they meet with a group of long-term locals and hear about life in the Top End. Home-cooked munchies – think pikelets with Kakadu plum jam, mango ice-cream and a grazing platter of seasonal tropical fruit – are also served.

“We have a large flat town block – no steps or stairs, except into our swimming pool, so older guests or those with limited mobility will find it easy to visit and view our garden which has over 1,000 Bromeliad plants on display,” she said. “During their visit, guests can also use our two ensuite guest bedrooms for comfort stops.”


Carol, who moved to Darwin in 2000 to support her son who became



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Sport, travel and leisure

PLAY TIME Outdoor activity rooms that encourage adventure, learning and discovery are a feature of Suneden Special School’s new award-winning playground. The innovative and colourful space, designed specifically for students with intellectual and physical disabilities, aims to improve body awareness, problemsolving skills, cognition and creativity. Designed by WAX Studios, the playground won a design award at the recent Australian Institute of Landscape Architecture SA Awards. WAX Studios’ director Warwick Keates said their goal was to create a fun space that combined sensory experiences, design and amenity. “All this was achieved in an incredibly small budget through extraordinary efforts of staff, parents, carers and the project team.” Special features include concrete pipe ‘grass rooms’ - one of which is covered with a mirror mosaic - that provide spaces for children to play, socialise or retreat. There’s also a curved chalk wall for children to create artworks; a basket swing providing opportunities for active play and relaxation and a giant games board, complete with coloured line marking and super graphics. “For children with visual impairment the line marking demarcates level changes in bitumen,” Warwick said. Occupational therapist with Suneden Special School Nancy Hutchieson said the students love exploring the play space and are finding new and exciting ways to enjoy it. “It’s such a unique space which can be enjoyed individually or with a group, which suits the needs of our students with intellectual and physical disabilities.”

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Dunsford House Access-friendly holiday accommodation Port Elliott, South Australia Newly renovated throughout, Dunsford House offers totally access-friendly accommodation for families and individuals with high needs. A stone’s throw from the beach in the picturesque coastal town of Port Elliott, this comfortable family home is only an hour and half drive from Adelaide. • • • • • • • • • •

Five bedroom property Sleeps 12 people Spacious family dining room Large games room New kitchen Wide door openings Disability friendly bathrooms Access railings and ramps Outdoor area for entertaining Close to the towns of Port Elliott, Victor Harbor, Middleton and Goolwa

“By refurbishing Dunsford House, so many more families like us, that have been unable to take their family member, will be able to enjoy a few days away together and reconnect. We are really looking forward to spending some quality time together as a family again.” – Roger and Bernardette

4 Seaview Road, Port Elliott, South Australia

Booking details: Minda Inc. | T 08 8422 6213 | F 08 8422 6200 | [email protected]


Sport, travel and leisure

A LEG'S UP FOR HORSE RIDING PROGRAM The McIntyre Centre Riding for Disabled in Queensland is gearing up to teach more children with disabilities to ride horses, thanks to funding from the SUEZ Community Grants program. The $5,000 grant will help fund a full semester of the Saturday Therapeutic and Recreational Riding Program, run by qualified coaches and supported by trained volunteers. A non-profit organisation located in the western Brisbane suburb of Pinjarra Hills, the Centre is the only full-time horse riding centre for people with a disability in Brisbane. Client Services Manager of McIntyre Centre Riding for Disabled Janine Chambers said the grant would enable a further 12 children to join their horse riding community - some of which have been waiting two or three years for a placement. “It has been wonderful contacting these families and inviting them into our equestrian community,” she said. “They were very exciting and emotional phone calls to make to the parents.

“In addition to horse riding skills, the Therapeutic and Recreational Horse Riding participants will also be developing physical, personal, educational and social skills. It’s a life enhancing journey for these children,” added Ms Chambers.

“This program will benefit 12 children between the ages of 5 and 17 who have physical, intellectual or multiple disabilities and will provide them with not only a therapeutic riding session but a fun and enjoyable social activity,” Mr Haslam said.

Paul Haslam, SUEZ’s Queensland Commercial and Industrial Manager, said the company was delighted to provide a grant to a local community group that supports improved health and wellbeing.

Since its launch in 2013, the SUEZ community grant program has provided more than $250,000 in funding across Australia. Visit www.suezcommunitygrants.com.au for details.

Become a Carer Light up your world and support a person with an intellectual disability in your own home.

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October 2015 — Vol 24/4

Positive Living is about Imagination... SACARE believes with a little bit of Imagination... everyone can enjoy a holiday! • Imagination is a fully-equipped wheelchair-friendly houseboat based at Mannum Waters Marina which can provide a journey of discovery and wonder for any individuals seeking a holiday or respite option for a weekend or week away. • Imagination provides five large ensuite cabins with two bathrooms providing full disability access. Wide doorways, central passage and spacious living areas ensure comfortable wheelchair accessibility. A fully-equipped kitchen, heated spa and sun-deck, as well as entertainment and BBQ facilities ensure comfort for all guests on board. • SACARE services can include transport in their wheelchair accessible bus to and from the houseboat, a full-time skipper, 24-hour care, meal preparation, grocery delivery and daily assistance.

Ph 1300 145 636 www.sacare.com.au


Sport, travel and leisure

PHOTO WORKSHOP REIMAGINES DISABILITY People with spinal cord injury are being invited to explore their creativity in free digital photography workshops around rural NSW. Using equipment specially adapted for people with limited mobility, participants can unleash their imagination and learn photography in the process of making a self-portrait. “Projects like ‘Imagine Me’ are an extremely important part of both the recovery process, and the wellbeing of everyone involved,” says Brett Henman, a past participant who suffered a spinal cord injury in 2013. “They bring back hope, social connection and an overall feeling of worth.” The modified equipment enables people with quadriplegia to control a digital camera and a professional photographic studio using a mouth-stick and mobile phone. Supported by the Australia Council for the Arts and the NSW Government, the Royal Rehab ‘Imagine Me’ project aims to foster creativity and greater community understanding, and build social networks for people living with disability. Imagine me creator Sue Murray is excited to bring the workshops to regional areas where services and support for people with disabilities are more limited than in metropolitan areas. “This is a fantastic opportunity for anyone with a spinal cord injury or similar to learn adaptive and modified photography and digital editing techniques,” Ms Murray said. Register online at www.imagineme. com.au. Examples of works from the 'Imagine Me' project.

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October 2015 — Vol 24/4

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October 2015 — Vol 24/4

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Sport, travel and leisure

CARING FOR THE CARER Caring for a family member or friend with disability, or someone who is chronically ill, can be an extremely rewarding experience. However, it can also be difficult, exhausting and mentally draining. With this in mind, Sue Raines offers sound advice on how carers can look after themselves.

Give yourself the gift of time Taking time out makes good things happen. You will stay healthier, feel better and will generate more energy and enthusiasm to be able to cope. This can be exercise, a short walk or listening to your favourite music. Catch up with friends, send an email, write a letter or send a cheery card. If added responsibilities mean you have lost touch with the things you used to enjoy then try to rediscover an activity that makes you happy. See a movie, read a book, re-join a social club or get out in the garden. Try to make time to do one or two of these things each week - and don’t be afraid to ask for help so you can free up some time. There may be a friend or family member willing and able to help for a couple of hours a week – people like being asked and remember: you aren’t a burden on them. Allow yourself to take a well-earned rest.

Look after your health Keeping fit is as important as keeping healthy. Have regular medical check-ups and don’t ignore your eyesight, hearing or sleep problems. Stress management is another important consideration and everyone has different ways of managing it. Look for a reputable book or CD on stress management, and remember to visit your doctor if you’re feeling rundown or tired – prompt action will make a big difference.

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Ask for help As well as family and friends, be sure to seek help from Government, nonprofit and private sector agencies who specialise in caring. The Commonwealth R e s p i t e a n d C a re l i n k C e n t re (www.commcarelink.health.gov.au, ph: 1800 052 222) can organise for a support assessor to visit and explain how their system works, not only through respite needs but their in-home help division. They operate Australia-wide and each state has its own enewsletter packed with information. The Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centre is also a useful resource in an emergency. Sonja, a full time carer for her husband, suddenly became ill at night. Worried that she would need a trip to hospital, she consulted the Centre who advised her to take her husband with her in the ambulance to hospital and they would arrange to pick him up and look after him at home until she was assessed. They can also help organise short-term respite care in these situations if required. The Department of Social Services will introduce a National Carer website in December, which promises to make accessing information and support services easier for all carers. There will also be a national telephone contact centre. You can also register with www.myagedcare.gov.au (ph: 1800 200 422), which contains information on services for carers.

you. It’s important that you take care of yourself and seek help when required. Fulfilling the role of carer and meeting your own needs is a balancing act but, with the right support and outlook, you will succeed. For more information visit www.carersaustralia.com.au Sue Raines is a freelance writer and playwright who has a special interest in Crime and Mystery writing. As the main carer for her husband for seven years, Sue has gained confidence and knowledge in surviving as a carer.

It’s also worth checking if there is a carer’s group in your area – they’re a good way of meeting friendly, likeminded people and learning from other’s experiences. As the physical and emotional demands of caring for someone increases, more time and energy will be needed from

October 2015 — Vol 24/4

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October 2015 — Vol 24/4

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LINK: Advertorial

BUILDING BETTER LIVES FOR YOUNG PEOPLE IN NURSING HOMES Connection is a fundamental human need; it brings us together and underpins communities. Connection can also be a real game-changer for people living with a disability – smart technology can turn people’s lives around by increasing their independence, opening up social channels and giving them more control of their own health outcomes. The Summer Foundation, an Australian charity, knows this well. The team works at the intersection of connectivity and disability, enabling the next generation of housing and support services to transform lives through digital technology. Michelle Newland, a Summer Foundation Ambassador, has first-hand experience of what it’s like to live in an aged care facility. Michelle had just celebrated her nineteenth birthday when an asthma attack left her with a permanent and profound brain injury. Michelle’s care and support needs were so high when she was discharged from hospital, her parents were unable to look after her at home. Their only option was to place their daughter in a nursing home. Michelle’s mother Ann says, “The image of my 19 year old daughter in a nursing home still haunts me today. It was a very hard time filled with great sadness, immense stress, fear and loneliness. Every goodbye whilst Michelle was in the nursing home was heartbreaking.” There are nearly 600 people under 50 in Australia forced to live in nursing homes simply because there is nowhere else for them.

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Thirteen years after acquiring her brain injury Michelle demonstrates the potential of people with an acquired brain injury, along with the value of investing in them. Michelle’s parents worked hard to bring her home, and now Michelle is on the brink of taking another significant step toward independence – finalizing plans to move out on her own. Inspired by the technology incorporated into the Summer Foundation’s Melbourne housing demonstration apartments, Michelle and her family have included technology into the fit-out of Michelle’s new home. Difficulty with memory continues to be one of Michelle’s biggest challenges, so the technology prioritised to support Michelle’s independence in her new home is centred around safety

and security while assisting Michelle manage her daily routines. Michelle would never have realised her potential residing in a nursing home. It is sobering to consider that 200 other young people will be admitted to aged care in Australia this year with just as much potential as Michelle. Connectivity has tremendous capacity to enhance the independent living options of young people with disability. Technology has been incorporated into the Summer Foundation’s Melbourne demonstration housing project which can be viewed here via YouTube. To find out more about the work of the Summer Foundation visit www.summerfoundation.org.au

October 2015 — Vol 24/4


18-19 MAY 2016 MELBOURNE SHOWGROUNDS Epsom Road, Ascot Vale, Victoria

YOUR CHOICE, YOUR CONTROL Supporting inclusion and independence with Australia’s foremost exhibition of aids, equipment & allied services. On display will be the latest in aids, equipment and assistive technology, as well as options for mobility, services and lifestyles. The event is open to visitors of all ages, including those with a disability, seniors and their families, friends and carers.

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For more information phone 1300 789 845 or visit www.atsaindependentlivingexpo.com.au ATSA Independent Living Expo October 2015 — Vol 24/4

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LINK: Business

WRITING WITH IMPACT Whether you’re writing emails to colleagues, letters to your donors or programs for your clients, you want to make an impact. Professional copywriter Frank Chamberlin shares his tips on how to improve the impact of your writing.

no technical or pompous language that could confuse or intimidate. Brevity – we’re all pushed for time and a wall of text is just too daunting to read. Brevity allows your writing to move with agility. You should only give your reader the information he or she needs.

The first thing to think about when you sit down to write is your audience. From corporates to NFPs, you need to keep your audience in mind when you write. The next thing is to consider the four pillars that are essential to non-fiction writing. Clarity – clear writing is compelling. It gets to the point and has a logical flow. And it is easy to read and understand. Simplicity – this is achieved by writing in plain English. That means no182x120 jargon, 20150827 Link Disability Mag SEPT OL.pdf


Plan what you want your writing to achieve. Lead in with the most important information and close with a clear call to action. Break your writing up with sub-headings or bullets. This aids comprehension and makes your writing interesting and easy to read.

Humanity – when you write with humanity you’ll sound like a real person, speaking face-to-face with your reader. By writing in an active voice you give your writing energy and a conversational tone.

Write with passion. Not-for-profits typically have a very strong connection with their readers. Let your readers feel your passion for the cause and you’ll make a powerful impact.

So how can you incorporate the four pillars into your writing?

Finally, factor in time to re-read and rewrite.

Write shorter sentences of varying length. These sentences should then form shorter paragraphs than what you’re used to. 28/08/2015 3:14:37 PM

Frank Chamberlin runs a copywriting and training consultancy, Action Words. www.actionwords.com.au









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October 2015 — Vol 24/4

LINK: Music

MUSIC FOR THE EYES Attending a performance of Handel’s Messiah is a traditional way for many people to start their Christmas celebrations. This year that experience will be accessible to Australia’s deaf community for the first time, thanks to a coproduction between the Sydney Philharmonia and Accessible Arts. Link music writer Anthea Skinner spoke to Alex Jones, the director of the production’s signing choir. This world-first production of Handel’s Messiah, to be held at the Sydney Opera House, features a signing choir performing in Auslan (Australian Sign Language) working alongside the traditional choir and orchestra. “No other Messiah productions have had Auslan incorporated in the performance. This is a first,” says Alex. “The experience will be new for many returning Philharmonia fans where their eyes will be exposed to a new element of Messiah. This will be a visual Messiah version with signing translations, which move rhythmically to Handel’s chords.” This production will greatly increase access for deaf audiences to this quintessential Christmas experience. “Often the deaf community do not have an opportunity to attend events like this and to make this accessible for deaf and hearing people is rare,” Alex says. “Audiences who can hear appreciate the music, especially Handel and the 400-plus choristers, but for deaf people they miss this. The signing choir will be able to deliver this level of appreciation to the eyes of the deaf community as opposed to the ears.” Before rehearsals could begin, the lyrics of the Messiah had to be translated into Auslan. “This was extremely challenging,

October 2015 — Vol 24/4

The Sydney Philharmonia Choir

we had to unpack each song’s meaning as well as incorporate the emotional tone of the song itself,” says Alex. “It has layers we aim to deliver with how lyrical the words are when aligning to the music. Each chorus may have different tempo and interpretation - we need to stay true to this interpretation as well as delivering Handel’s intent of each song.” The translation process began by creating a glossary of the words in the score. Alex and his colleague, Michelle from Auslan Stage Left, then studied and unpacked the meaning of each of the 83 words from the lyrics. They then filmed translations for each word, often with three or four varying interpretations. This visual glossary was then used as a reference to be incorporated into the translation of each song. “It takes about one to one-and-a-half hours to make a draft translation of each song,” says Alex. “The rough translation will be taught and choreographed with the signing choir.

Over time, the translated choruses will come alive with their own tempo, mood and expression, bringing the audience a visual version of the story.” “Given how complicated the vocal ranges are, the signing interpretation and choreography will deliver this through a range of visual elements such as repetition of signs, use of facial expression and use of space.” The Sydney Philharmonia and Accessible Arts hope to make this interpreted production an annual event. If you are a fluent Auslan speaker who lives in Sydney and would like to be involved in next year’s production, contact Accessible Arts via www.aarts.net.au Handel’s Messiah will be performed at the Concert Hall, Sydney Opera House, on December 3, 5 and 6. For tickets visit phone (02) 9251 3115 or visit www.sydneyphilharmonia.com.au

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LINK: Business


MICHAEL FORWOOD, CORA BARCLAY CENTRE Tell us about the Cora Barclay Centre. The Cora Barclay Centre helps children who are deaf or hard of hearing to learn to listen and speak, so that they can attend mainstream schools and go on to further education, apprenticeships and lead a life of social and economic independence. Permanent childhood hearing loss is a common disability in children affecting 3 babies per 1000 live births of whom 1 per 1000 live births are identified through the Australia-wide newborn hearing screening program. Interestingly, around 95 per cent are born to hearing parents – so the diagnosis comes as an unexpected shock. The Centre is celebrating its 70th anniversary in October - how has the treatment of children who are deaf or hearing impaired changed over this time? Seventy years ago it was virtually impossible for a deaf child to learn to speak. Children were diagnosed late (2-3 years of age); hearing aids were primitive; and the science of teaching deaf children to talk was in its infancy. Characteristically, deaf children learnt to sign to communicate, attended special schools for the deaf, and faced huge lifelong challenges in education, employment and social inclusion. Seventy years on we have early diagnosis through universal newborn hearing screening; comprehensive early intervention programs for pre-school children; incredibly sophisticated and sensitive hearing aids for children; and Cochlear implants which give profoundly deaf children sufficient hearing to develop fluent speech and language. Hearing-impaired children who attend listening and spoken language early intervention centres are able to develop fluent speech enabling them to attend mainstream primary schools. Furthermore,

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Cora Barclay Centre CEO Michael Forwood with Victoria, 3.

the vast majority of students we support complete Year 12 and go on to university or other further education. Tell us about Loud Shirt Day. Loud Shirt Day was created in South Australia about 15 years ago and has spread across Australia, New Zealand and more recently into North America and the UK. In SA we have raised over $500,000 since it started and nationally over $3 million. We still rely heavily on community support as even with government funding there remains a 42 per cent shortfall in money needed to support the Centre. What has been your organisation’s experience with the NDIS? The Cora Barclay Centre is located in the SA NDIS Children’s Services Trial Site and we now have over 100 children with funded plans in the Scheme. It has been a steep learning curve for everyone but our experience of the NDIA has been overwhelmingly positive. Our services fall within the Early Intervention part of the

Scheme which, I think, in policy terms, is a bit less straightforward than the main part of the scheme for people with lifelong, permanent disabilities and the need for ongoing supports. We have had to address issues such as eligibility, scope of services, duration of services, and pricing and funding. The NDIA has been attentive to all points of view and responsive to evidence and cogent argument in a very practical way. So far the main challenge has been the substantial increase in time and resources associated with implementing a new scheme. What advice do you give to parents of children who are deaf or hearing impaired? Families are quite often in shock when they come to us as their child’s deafness is more often than not a completely unexpected event. So their greatest needs initially are for counselling and emotional support; accurate and easy to understand information about the nature and implication of their child’s hearing impairment; and, above all, hope. The

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Cora Barclay Centre has a very sensitive and structured approach to welcoming new families so that they feel supported and not overwhelmed as they come to terms with their child’s disability.

support from business, philanthropic bodies and the general public; and finally the most amazing achievements of the children both in early intervention and in their Year 12 school results.

How long have you worked for the Cora Barclay Centre and why do you like working there?  I’ve been CEO for nine years and before that I was on the Board for a couple of years. My Aunt Elizabeth Forwood was involved in setting up the Centre in the 1940s (when her third child was born profoundly deaf as a result of rubella during pregnancy), and I was approached to help the Centre through a difficult patch arising from a rapid growth in numbers from the newborn screening program combined with extremely limited government funding.

Considering the disability support industry in general, what are the top three challenges facing the sector? Firstly, rolling out the NDIS to the estimated 460,000 eligible participants by 2020 in a way that honours the fundamental principles of participant choice and control; reasonable and necessary supports; and effective, evidenced-based and costbeneficial early intervention. Secondly, to entrench and safeguard the culture of the NDIA as a listening, responsive, practical, innovative and (hopefully) non-bureaucratic organisation. Finally, to phase-in the new ‘competitive market’ arrangements in a way which facilitates the survival of the many existing not-for-profit disability services providers whose presence will be essential for consumer choice.

I’ve found it deeply satisfying here because of three things: the extraordinary commitment of our families, staff and board; the wonderful financial and in-kind

If you were Prime Minister for the day, what one thing would you introduce or change to benefit people with disability? I would enact legislation to guarantee indexed NDIS funding until 2030, coupled with an Innovation and Change Fund, to provide certainty in funding for a long enough period for the new Scheme to be truly bedded down. The second focus would be the introduction of a legislated scheme to increase workforce participation for people with disabilities. Thirdly, a public awareness campaign regarding the social and economic impacts of hearing loss and the need for a national strategy to address this. Currently 1 in 6 Australians suffers from hearing loss and this will become 1 in 4 by 2050. Loud Shirt Day is on October 16. Visit www.loudshirtday.com.au or www.corabarclay.com.au.

• • • •

ABN 18 068 557 906 | A Company Limited by Guarantee | Registered Charity | *Names changed for privacy | FAF_15_00250

October 2015 — Vol 24/4

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LINK: Books

BOOKS & PUBLICATIONS Understanding Autism

I will not kill myself, Olivia

Leading Australian experts Professor Katrina Williams, from Melbourne University and the Royal Children’s Hospital, and Professor Jacqueline Robert, chair of the Autism Centre for Excellence, have written a great reference for parents and carers of children with autism. Understanding Autism explores everything from the causes of autism to how it manifests at the various ages and stages of a child’s life. Drawing on the authors’ years of clinical experience as well as the latest research, it also covers the importance of self-care for parents, how to cope with common problematic behaviours, conditions that can often appear in conjunction with autism (such as anxiety and depression), common health issues, and how best to manage the child’s transition to adulthood. It includes case studies that provide practical examples for parents and their families, and empowers parents to assess the relevance and credibility of new information so they can focus on strategies that offer the best outcomes for their children.

Danny Baker’s debut novel was inspired by his own struggle with depression. It tells the story of Jimmy Wharton, a perfectionist studying commerce/law at Sydney University who falls victim to depression when he can’t live up to the impossibly high standards he sets for himself. His illness leads to a downward spiral into booze and drugs, which then puts his relationship with the love of his life, Olivia, under pressure.   “I had the same character flaw as Jimmy,” says Danny. “Growing up I was something of a perfectionist, driven to succeed at everything, which nearly destroyed me.” Now aged 26, Danny is in a much better place thanks to the therapy he received after recognising his depression and focusing his energies on writing. In 2014 he established the Depression Is Not Destiny Foundation, which shares lots of free information and resources, and doubles as a crowdfunding platform for those seeking help with the costs of their therapy.




The Mindful Home

Starcrossed Ex-Link editor Carla Caruso has a new romantic suspense ebook out, with an astrology twist. Fledgling romance author Simona Gemella is hoping the rugged wilderness of South Australia’s Kangaroo Island will help reignite her creative spark after her husband walked out. She’s joined her best friend, Nessie, on a health and wellness retreat at a mysterious old manor on the island, run by an astrology guru. Though Simona’s sworn off men, she can’t help being distracted by a darkly dangerous man with a scorpion tattoo - Denham Cobalt - who’s also staying at the manor. Then strange things start to happen, including uncanny accidents and even a possible murder. It all culminates at a masquerade party on the night of a total lunar eclipse. Will Simona survive - with her heart intact? www.harpercollins.com.au/9781460705629/star-crossed

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Craig and Deirdre Hassed want us to have a home that leaves us rested, more fulfilled, happier and healthier. Their new book The Mindful Home aims to help readers achieve a happier and more fulfilled life by creating the home they really want and need. Part self-help book, part decorating guide, The Mindful Home looks at the philosophy of mindfulness and the mindful home before examining the household’s most critical spaces - those for leisure, socialising, quiet, storage and outdoor living. The book explores light and colour, and gives lots of tips and guides on how to create a mindful home. “How we use the space, whether we leave it clear or cluttered, how it is all organised, what surrounds it and what we put in it, all have significant effects on how we feel within that space and what we do when we are in it,” says Craig. Available November 2015. www.exislepublishing.com.au

October 2015 — Vol 24/4





a smart way to make a smart way to make relay calls relay calls

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find out find out more: more: www.relayservice.gov.au www.relayservice.gov.au A phone solution for people who are deaf A phone solution people who are deaf or have a hearing orfor speech impairment



or have a hearing or speech impairment

October 2015 — Vol 24/4

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Youth for Change: Creating a Better Future 2–4 October; Brisbane, QLD ww.youthforchange.create.org.au

Australasian Society for Intellectual Disability(ASID) Conference 11–13 November; Melbourne, VIC www.asid.asn.au/conferences

NDS Disability & Diversity Conference 2015 8–9 October; Alice Springs, NT www.nds.org.au/events

R U OK? Fun Run – City2Sea 15 November; Melbourne, VIC www.ruok.org.au/fundraising Australian Association For Research In Education (AARE) Conference 2015 29 Nov–3 Dec; Fremantle, WA www.aareconference.com.au

New World Conference: Disability in the 21st Century 27–29 October; Brisbane, QLD www.ndis.gov.au/NDIS-new-worldconference-2015

International Day of People with Disability 3 December; Nationally Check the official website for events in your state www.idpwd.com.au/3-december/ calendar/ The Australian Stop Domestic Violence Conference 7–9 Dec; Canberra, ACT www.stopdomesticviolence.com.au

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NEW RELIEF FOR SKIN CONDITION A new therapy to treat severe psoriasis, a debilitating skin condition, has been listed on the PBS. Cosentyx (R) (secukinumab) works to interrupt the inflammatory cycle that triggers psoriasis - an autoimmune disease that causes skin to grow too quickly, resulting in thick, scaly and inflamed areas of skin. Sydney-based dermatologist Dr John Sullivan said Australians with severe psoriasis often experience serious and ongoing flare-ups of red and inflamed skin across different parts of the body. “Many of these people may be eligible for treatment with Cosentyx, which is a new class of medicine that blocks a specific protein that triggers the underlying inflammation responsible for psoriasis,” he said.

Dr Sullivan highlighted that while the goal of treatment is to clear the skin, psoriasis is far more than a cosmetic issue. “This is an illness with a profound

psychological and social impact. People with psoriasis are often stigmatised and report high levels of depression and anxiety,” he said.

BRAIN ‘ON-OFF’ SWITCH DISCOVERED IN MICE Research being conducted by Belgian scientists into brain plasticity may help improve patient susceptibility to sensory prosthetics such as cochlear implants and bionic eyes.

“After a while, the whiskers of the mouse – its sense of touch – step in as well. After a couple of weeks, the ‘lost’ area in the brain is entirely reclaimed and its brain activity is almost as high as it was before.”

Professor Lutgarde Arckens and Dr Julie Nys, from KU Leuven, have discovered a molecular on-off switch that controls how a mouse brain responds to vision loss.

This phenomenon, whereby the brain responds to sensory loss by combining input from several sensory systems, is known as cross-modal neuroplasticity.

The research has found that when the switch is on, the loss of sight in one eye will be compensated by the other eye, but also by tactile input from the whiskers. When the switch is off, only the other eye will take over.

The researchers also discovered that cross-modal plasticity is age-dependent in an unexpected way. “In adult mice both the remaining eye and the whiskers compensate for the lack of vision in one eye,” Dr Nys said. “But in adolescent mice, only the functioning eye takes over. And yet, you would expect more plasticity in younger animals, because the brain undergoes major transformations during adolescence.”

“When a mouse loses sight in one eye, the remaining eye starts sending additional signals to the area in the brain that used to be served by the lost eye,” Dr Nys explains.

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The study also showed that the adolescent response can also be triggered in the brain of adult mice. “When you expose adult mice to darkness before removing their eye, they recover differently: their other senses take over to a smaller degree, similar to what happens in adolescent mice. The brain’s response, in other words, rejuvenates when adult mice spend time in the dark.” “Adolescent and adult mice have the same brain structure, so that cannot explain their different responses to sensory loss. Instead, we discovered a molecular on-off switch that controls whether or not the whiskers take over.” The research was published in The Journal of Neuroscience.

October 2015 — Vol 24/4

NEW NEBULISER COULD REVOLUTIONISE DRUG TREATMENT A revolutionary nebuliser developed by RMIT University researchers could one day deliver life-saving drugs and vaccines traditionally given by injection. 

including people with lung cancer whose poor survival rates have stayed stable despite significant therapeutic advances in recent years.

Cheap, light-weight and portable, the advanced nebuliser delivers precise drug doses to patients with life-threatening or debilitating lung conditions including cancer, tuberculosis, asthma and cystic fibrosis.

“Anything we can nebulise, we can potentially deliver,” Yeo said.

The Respite TM nebuliser also has the potential to be used to administer insulin to people with diabetes or to painlessly vaccinate infants currently subjected to needles. Professor Leslie Yeo (pictured), Director of RMIT’s MicroNanophysics Research Laboratory, said the Respite technology had the potential to revolutionise how patients were treated with drugs,

“The problem with normal puffers is that only 30 per cent of the drugs actually get to the lungs, the rest is lost in the mouth – which isn’t a problem if the drugs are cheap but is when they are expensive. “The most important aspect of our device is that it does not require inhalation to generate the aerosols as with the ubiquitous inhalers, which can be a problem for people already suffering compromised lung function.” Yeo said traditional inhalers also require hand-breath coordination to use and

elderly and very young patients must be taught to avoid misusing.

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October 2015 — Vol 24/4

linkmagazine 55

CULTURALLY COMPETENT New South Wales and ACT disability support provider Northcott hosted the inaugural Cultural Competency in Disability Conference on July 29 and 30. Attracting nearly 200 delegates, the event was held at Northcott’s North Parramatta head office. 1. Northcott CEO Kerry Stubbs introduces Minister for Disability Services John Ajaka to some of Northcott’s Transition to Work clients. 2. Kerry Stubbs with delegates at the 2015 Cultural Competency in Disability Conference. 3. Natalie Juresic from DiverseWerks speaks to delegates about the ‘Engaging CALD Carers’ tools as a part of the www.diversityindisability.org website.



21 YEARS OF CARING Community Care Northern Beaches (CCNB) celebrated its 21st birthday on September 10 with a party at the International College of Management in Sydney. Guests enjoyed a keynote address by Petrea King, chief executive of the Quest for Life Foundation, and a performance by entertainer Tom Burlinson. 1

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1. Joy Read from Department of Family and Community Services with Martin Dempsey and Tanya Travers-Smith from the Department of Social Services. 2. Petrea King, CCNB chair Cecille Cooper and chief executive Sarah Brisbane. 3. Entertainers Darryl and Harmony Lovegrove. 3

October 2015 — Vol 24/4

We Are You.

Josh Anderson TiLite VP of Product & Brand Management WE USE THE CHAIRS WE BUILD. Listen to Josh and the TiLite team talk about why TiLite’s TiFit wheeled prosthetics are so critical.

HEAR OUR STORIES. TiLite.com/TiFitStories

available at


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