The Good Life Newsletter February 2015

Happy New Year!

It’s that time of year where we reflect on our achievements and disappointments and set new goals. Last year our goals were to:

• transition Isaac to an inclusive mainstream college setting

• help Isaac to consolidate his friendships

• help Isaac to go to events with unpaid supports

• begin planning where Isaac will live in a few years

• identify what kinds of work Isaac might like to do when he finishes school

• work out how to further improve Isaac’s circle

• get incorporated to become a microboard

Isaac and his Band of Brothers and Sisters Inc have achieved all of those things which is fantastic!

We are going to set new goals at our next gathering on Sunday February 8.

A fabulous Christmas Party

Isaac’s Band of Brothers and Sisters Inc helped to organise Isaac’s Christmas party which was lots of fun. We played our reindeer race game, ate lots of delicious food that people brought to share and sang some Christmas carols around the piano led by some of Isaac’s church friends.

singing at the piano

Isaac arrives at his school formal with a gorgeous young lady

Isaac going to a school formal with a beautiful young lady on his arm was something I had hoped would happen but secretly didn’t believe it would. It was so awesome when the lovely Teaghan invited Isaac to join her. Teaghan and her mum organized a fire truck for them to arrive in which Isaac thoroughly enjoyed.

formal

Isaac is now a college student

Isaac has had his first few days at Melba Copland College. With the exception of refusing to get out of the car each morning, he seems to be going well. We think he is refusing to get out of the car because he loves the car not because he doesn’t like college. He got out quick smart when the Deputy Principal opened the door!

We will need to start building some more friendships with the other students. Jan Kruger from Imagine More is helping us to work with the school on “a bunch of mates” where other young folk gather at lunch time occasionally to hang out, have fun, get to know each other and Isaac and organise some after school activities.

Musical Connections

As you know Isaac is a big music fan. We have discovered that he particularly likes Michael Buble.

Anthony took him along to the Hackett Music in the Park event again this year and a good time was had by all. Some of the musicians took a shine to Isaac and danced with him.

We also took Isaac to the Carols by Candlelight in Melbourne at Christmas and he absolutely loved it. He remained glued to the speaker where we were sitting. It was very loud!

Anyway, if any of you are planning on going to a music gig this year let us know if you would like to take Isaac along. We can arrange a support worker to go with you if you are feeling a bit unsure of how to support him.

Isaac’s friend Teaghan is going to join us in WA

Isaac’s friend Teaghan is going to join us on our trip to Western Australia. We are looking at spending some time with some other folks in Perth from Youniverse – www.youniverse.org.au who do some great work around building natural supports for people with disability and building inclusive lives. We will also be visiting a speech therapist – Alicia Gorman – who has a lot of expertise in helping people with complex communication needs to make informed decisions. This will be really important for Isaac so that we can be sure he has as much choice and control over his life as possible.

There is still time to book a flight if you would like to join us and meet some other amazing families in Perth who are helping their kids with complex needs build inclusive

Isaac’s Ice Cream

We are experimenting with some small business ideas for Isaac when he finishes school. He has been helping me make some Ice Cream by adding some yummy extras like violet crumble, nuts and cherries. I’ve packed them up in little containers and taken them to work and they seem to be quite popular. People are suggesting new flavours too. So if you have an idea let me know.

Some examples are:

  • Malteezers, maple syrup and hazelnuts
  • Mars bars and macadamias
  • Bounty chocolate bars and almonds

making ice cream

Giving Back Housing Project

As you may know, our family and two other families are working together on an innovative housing project for our sons. Our boys will each have a home of their own in separate locations within a new suburb that is built around social sustainability principles – lots of shared spaces and pedestrianized areas, parks, cafes etc, that allow people to gather and meet regularly. Isaac is going to have a music performance space, Jake is going to have a mens shed and Brandon is going to have a games room. They can each invite neighbours over to share these spaces.

We are working on the idea of the ACT Government giving us the land, we contribute some money and we find some equity partners to help us fund the remainder. Bank MECU have some really low interest rates for people with a disability – www.bankmecu.com.au

Rapid Prompting Method

A qualified Rapid Prompting Method therapist is running some workshops in Sydney in April and we have Isaac signed up. We are hoping he will learn some literacy and numeracy skills through these sessions. He will have 6, 20 minute sessions with the therapist so it will be really interesting to see how he goes. It wouldn’t surprise me if he knows how to spell. Of course this costs a fortune but we are hoping the NDIS will cover the cost.

Retreat

Microboards Canberra families are running a retreat for families of people with a disability and their microboards, circles of support or friendship networks.

Participants will enjoy fun recreational activities as well as workshops that focus on ways to work with unpaid friendship networks to build a good quality, ordinary and included life for their family member with a disability.

It will be held on April 10 -12 at the beautiful Warrambui Retreat and Conference Centre at Murrumbateman.

Interested in coming along as part of Isaac’s gang? We’d love to have you join us. It will be awesome fun and really inspiring. Further information can be found at

Home

Need your mail collected or your cat fed?

Don’t forget that Isaac likes to help collect mail and feed cats when people are away on holidays, so if you would like to have him come over and do that for you let Sheree know.

Need your car washed?

We still have some car wash vouchers if you would like to take Isaac out for a car wash – he really enjoys going for a drive and you get to have a free car wash!

Upcoming Events

Sunday February 8 at 3 – 4:30pm – Isaac’s Band of Brothers and Sisters Inc Meeting at Isaac’s House

February 28 – March 13 – WA Trip to visit Youniverse families

April 10 -12 – Retreat at Warrambui –

Home

Things we need help with

  • Finding a fellow Melba Copland college student with a driver’s licence or who is keen for a
  • lift in the morning with us to support Isaac to arrive at school and get out of the car!
  • Finding a place where the same people gather regularly to enjoy music where Isaac could
  • come along and enjoy it too with his friends and also make new friends.
  • People to join Isaac’s Band of Brothers and Sisters Inc who would like to get to know Isaac better and help him to have an included life.
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