Happy New Year!
We hope you had a very happy Christmas and are looking forward to a great 2016.
Isaac, his family and three friends Savannah, Shauna and Michael enjoyed a trip to Ballarat after our Christmas celebrations. We stayed in two apartments next door to each other. Isaac had a great time hanging out with people his own age and Mum and Dad enjoyed having some time on our own. Isaac particularly enjoyed going fishing at the local trout farm and hanging out in the spa at the hotel with everyone. As usual, he also loved the coat hangers in the cupboards and the tiles on the bathroom floor.
The year ahead..
Isaac’s Band of Brothers & Sisters Incorporated or “The Band” as we call it, works to build and safeguard a good life for Isaac where he has has choice and control and truly belongs in his community. We do that by tapping into our networks to find and bring about opportunities for Isaac.
This year we are focussing on the following goals:
- Isaac will be in paid employment 5 mornings a week that he enjoys, is based on his interests and skills and is highly visible and valued in his community
- Isaac will be experiencing university life – where he will be participating in social activities and enrolled in a unit as an audit student.
- We will be helping Isaac to continue to build his social networks and enable him to regularly participate in social activities with friends around his own age with whom he has shared interests
- We will also be helping Isaac transition to living in his own home with housemates and supporters.
- We will be looking for opportunities for the Band to be leaders in our local and interstate communities to support other families to build inclusive lives for their family member that has a disability.
Recruiting a mentoring team for Isaac
The Band has been working with the folks from Microboards Australia to develop a recruitment process for hiring a team of staff to work along side Isaac.
We hope to have a team ready to get to work by early April. We are not looking for disability professionals but rather people that have skills in technology, sports, music and social networking. If you know of anyone you think might be great let us know.
Last year at school
Isaac has gone back to college part time this year and will gradually transition out of school into the workforce – as a delivery man – and into further education as an Auditing student at the University of Canberra.
He is participating in several mainstream classes this term which is really exciting. Melba Copland College have been very collaborative and welcoming and I’m really thankful for their efforts to include him and help him learn.
This year he was able to participate in the swimming carnival, all be it for a short time as he appeared to not like the cold water!
Ben and Savannah rounded up their friends for afternoon tea and a chat about how they could help Isaac make more friends. They brainstormed some activities they could do and already have done some fun things like ten pin bowling, a games night and dancing at the Canberra multicultural festival.
Savannah set up a Facebook group where everyone shares ideas about social activities that Isaac could be included in and would enjoy and each month aim to all go out together with Isaac. They have also been thinking through what Isaac’s needs are and how to ensure he is safe and happy.
Isaac goes on the Speaking Circuit
2016 is looking to be a big year for Isaac as he has been invited to speak at a few places in Queensland and Victoria alongside me, his mum, about how we help him have a good quality life through the mechanism of a microboard and how we have leveraged the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) to enable this to happen. We also hope to be able to take along some of his friends and microboard members to share what they like about being a part of Isaac’s life as that will be quite powerful for others to hear.
So we are looking at helping Isaac to use powerpoint and switches to operate it and see how he likes standing up in front of a group of people to tell them about himself. We are also asking him what he would and wouldn’t like to talk about. He may not fancy it so we will see how he goes.
We have bought Isaac his own house! – It’s a beauty we call Beadlemania after the street its in. Ben, Savannah and friends will rent it and Isaac will have his own room there and will go and stay with them every second weekend to transition into one day moving out completely. We used the equity in our house to buy the property and it’s a beauty only two minutes away from where we live.
Our grander plan is to build a small intentional community where Isaac will live with friends and neighbours who keep an eye out for him and work alongside his paid supports to give him a life we he flourishes in the community. That’s going to take a lot of time and money and we haven’t quite worked out exactly how that will happen yet.
In the meantime we will work out a model for ensuring Isaac and his flatmates are all safe and happy. Community Connections is helping us as they have a lot of experience in home share for people with disability.
Transitioning to work
Isaac has been happily delivering unsold magazines kindly donated by Jamison Newsagency to lots of businesses around Canberra including the National Health Coop, Canberra Toyota, The Medical Specialists Centre in Jamison, Canberra Imaging Group, University of Canberra Health and Counselling and Gungahlin Medical Centre.
He seems to really enjoy it and is quite good at it. He gets the bag of magazines out of the car, carries them in, greets the receptionist and places the magazines in the reception area. He also removes all the old ones and takes them away to put in the recycling bin.
At the same time we are building a for profit business for Isaac where he can earn a wage and the business can be sustainable. We have used NDIS funding to pay a Anthony Burgess who is a business analyst to write a business plan and get the business up and running. We are modelling the business on Jackmail which delivers and picks up mail from the post office.
Bio Text is kindly helping us with developing the marketing for the new business.
Do you work at a local Canberra business? Can you help us with some market research for Isaac’s business?
Please complete this survey to help us understand how businesses currently handle their incoming and outgoing mail to make sure that our business idea will be viable.
Every Thursday afternoon from 4:45 Isaac is doing a group training session with a personal trainer at our house. We do a 40 minute circuit of exercises like pushups, squats, medicine ball lifts and boxing. Isaac is learning how to join in with us and really loves the music. He also thinks its hilarious to watch us all sweat and groan.
Come and join us for a set of pushups or two! It’s hard work but lots of fun and laughter.