Casual Finance Officer

We are an incorporated association that works to ensure Isaac (a young man with a disability) lives the good life he wants. Our members are Isaac’s family and friends. Isaac is a delivery man, live band fan, gym member, car lover, Canberra Raiders fan, swimmer and keen traveler.  He is seeking a skilled and community minded Finance Officer to become part of his team to help him build and safeguard the good life he wants.

The goal of this role is to take away the workload and anxiety of financial management from the board, Isaac and his family and educate us in good financial management practices.

You will be required to manage

  • Xero configuration to enable us to track and report on spending against Isaac’s NDIS plan, incorporated association budget and his small delivery business.
  • Bank Reconciliation
  • Payroll
  • Superannuation
  • Business Activity Statements
  • Accounts Receivable
  • Accounts Payable
  • Reporting to our board and teaching us how to interpret reports
  • Annual returns

The role would suit a retiree or stay at home parent looking to be part of a little community doing good things and having flexible working arrangements.

We are looking for someone who:

  • Values inclusion of people with disability in our community
  • Is able to attend board meetings – 5 per year, usually on a Sunday
  • Is good at implementing automated systems that integrate with Xero and processes that reduce the workload on all involved
  • Is already familiar with or willing to become familiar with the National Disability Insurance scheme
  • Is familiar with Xero
  • Is able to explain financial reports in plain english
  • Is willing to become involved in our social events and become an advocate for Isaac.

If you have any enquiries please contact Sheree Henley on 0407305739 or

To apply please provide your CV and a cover letter to explaining why you think you would be a great candidate for this role.

Volunteer Role – House Mate and Home Maker – With Stipend and Free Accommodation

Isaac is a delivery man, live band fan, gym member, car lover, Canberra Raiders fan, swimmer and keen traveler.  He also has a disability and is seeking the right people to share his home with him. He is looking for two housemates who will help create a home where you and Isaac can live, relax, be yourselves and welcome friends and family.

As a housemate you will be expected to be home 7 nights out of 14 and one weekend per fortnight. You will be free to work in another job, study or do your own thing during the days.  We can be flexible with the hours you will be required to be home. We are also happy to negotiate holiday breaks.

Isaac has a microboard – a group of family and friends that have formed an incorporated association called Isaac’s Band of Brothers and Sisters Inc.  Their role is to help build and safeguard the good life Isaac wants and to provide housemates and other paid staff mentoring and support. The Band, as we are otherwise known, will provide you with training in how to support Isaac and mentor you in your role.  We have all the appropriate insurances and policies in place.

Isaac’s house is a fully furnished, 4 bedroom renovated home in a quiet street with a large entertainment deck. There is plenty of off street parking and is close to bus stops and shops.  It is opposite a park and near great walking trails around Mount Rogers.

Responsibilities of the role

  • live with Isaac and another housemate in his 4 bedroom house in the Belconnen area
  • share responsibilities of keeping the house clean, tidy and welcoming for family and friends to visit
  • coordinate house maintenance
  • mentor Isaac in how to do household chores
  • assist Isaac to get ready for his day
  • help Isaac to build good relationships with neighbours, family and friends
  • liaise with Isaac’s day support team to ensure he is safe and achieving his goal of living independently in an ordinary home in an ordinary street.

The ideal people we are looking for will be:

  • Experienced in sharing a home with friends
  • Clean, tidy and house proud
  • Good at building friendships and well connected to community
  • Skilled in cooking, gardening or house maintenance
  • A team player
  • Good at spoken and written English
  • Able to commit to a 2 year arrangement
  • Able to produce or apply for a current police check and working with vulnerable people card
  • Licenced to drive a car


You will be provided with a stipend of $532 per week and free accommodation. We will also provide free internet.  Each house mate will be responsible for 1/4 of the electricity and gas bills.

For further information

Please contact Sheree Henley on 0407305739 or

To Apply

Please complete the application form.


Job Development Worker

Isaac is a delivery man, live band fan, gym member, car lover, raiders fan, swimmer and keen traveler. He has a long term goal to have a full time, permanent, well paid job where he earns superannuation and is able to purchase a home. At the moment he has his own delivery business called Isaac Delivers and is looking for the right person to build more work opportunities.

Isaac has a microboard – a group of family and friends that have formed an incorporated association called Isaac’s Band of Brothers and Sisters Inc.  Their role is to oversee and safeguard the good life Isaac wants. The Band, as we are otherwise known, will be your employer.  We are experienced in directly employing staff and have all the appropriate insurances and policies in place.

Responsibilities of the role

  • Support Isaac to get ready for work each day
  • Coach Isaac while on the job to develop skills in his current role as a delivery man
  • Build relationships between Isaac and the people he works with
  • Identify and translate Isaac’s interests and skills into possibilities for further employment
  • Conduct a discovery process to capture information and paint a picture of Isaac in words and images
  • Develop a plan for customized job development
  • Develop a job concept portfolio
  • Analyse the fit of customized employment to local Canberra businesses
  • Approach local businesses and negotiate possibilities for Isaac to be employed

Selection Criteria

  • Values social and economic inclusion of people with disability
  • Experience in teaching skills
  • Well connected to the Canberra business community
  • Experience in customer relationship building
  • Good documentation skills
  • Demonstrated ability to think creatively
  • Good coordination and administration skills
  • Has a current police check and working with vulnerable people card or willing to obtain them
  • A driver’s licence


The position is between 10 and 16 hours per week and will be paid on a casual basis between $41.33- $51.13 per hour depending on qualifications and experience.

It is anticipated that the role will be for 6 months with a possibility for extension.

For further information

Please contact Sheree Henley on 0407305739 or

To Apply

Please complete the application form

Applications close 24 May 2019

House Mates

Isaac is a 21 year old young man who lives in Canberra.

Isaac has a complex disability but his goal is to live in his own home where he can be king of his own castle, free to be himself and have spaces that nourish him, keep away stress, and provide him opportunities both for privacy and for socialising with family and friends.   Just like any other 21 year old. So Isaac is on the hunt for some housemates to share his sanctuary with him.

His current family home is perfect so he’s decided to kick his mum and dad out and be his own man.

Isaac’s house is a 4 bedroom home in Melba in West Belconnen.  It’s a very pretty suburb with leafy trees and lovely views.

The house has lots of space to hang out in and entertain guests.  It has a huge undercover deck out the back with tree top and mountain views.

His housemates will play a vital role in helping Isaac to live a good life that is typical of a 21 year old.   You will also be crucial to ensuring he feels safe and loved.

You will have shared interests with Isaac – particularly around his love of live music. He loves to travel to new places and see new things. He has some great friends that he hangs out with from time to time. He also loves the atmosphere at the footy too. Go Raiders!

Isaac has his own delivery business called Isaac Delivers

He also has a microboard called Isaac’s Band of Brothers & Sisters Incorporated. A microboard is a group of people who help him plan and build a good life.

We believe Isaac deserves the best because in life he can often be put last by others because of his disability. We use a person centred planning approach ensuring everything we do is around Isaac’s needs and wishes.  We also believe that he has the capacity to learn to be in charge of his own life so we are supporting him to make his own decisions.  We also believe in reciprocal relationships – where we all give and receive from each other and that includes Isaac too. He has lots to give to people.

We believe in tapping into the talents of our employees and crafting the role to suit them and Isaac.

Housemates will be part of a team of Isaac’s supports collaborating with each other and his microboard to build a good life for Isaac.

Your role will include providing some personal care, ensuring Isaac eats healthily, support him to learn household chores, monitor his health and wellbeing. But most importantly it will be to help him to build and strengthen friendships.

You might do that by keeping chickens and sharing the eggs, growing vegetables, setting up a street library or any other creative ideas of your own.

You need to have some shared interests with Isaac and be connected to groups in the community around these interests.  Groups like Fitness nuts, car clubs, the Canberra music scene, indigenous or other cultural groups, and the farming community – Isaac loves big farm equipment.

You will be a people person.  You’ll be good at making great personal connections. You will be respectful of others and be good at including people.  You will be good at organising social events.

You will want to learn. You will be good at coming up with creative solutions to problems.  You can come up with your own plans and not need a lot of direction.  You will be curious and keen to try new adventures.

You will be good at keeping time.  You will be well organised.  You will be calm and able to manage stress well.  You will be tidy.

You will have successfully shared a house before and enjoyed the experience.  You will have some top tips for successful house sharing.

You will need to be up for having your photo taken and shared on Facebook because this helps Isaac to connect to his community.

During the week Isaac will need support from his housemates to get ready for the day in the morning and to have his dinner, relax and go to bed in the evenings. That will leave you free to work, study or relax during the day.

On the weekends Isaac would like someone to hang out with him, go out for some adventures and have the odd social gathering with friends.

You will share the role with one other housemate so you will have some mornings and evenings off each week as well as one day on the weekend.

You will also get 4 weeks paid annual leave and 2 weeks sick leave.

You will receive reduced rent.  The rent on Isaac’s house is normally $700 per week.  You and your other housemate will only need to pay $100 each.

As well as reduced rent, you will also have free internet.  You will need to share all other bills with Isaac and his other housemate.

Each house mate will receive an annual salary of $50,000 pro rata which includes superannuation and leave.  Plus additional benefits of free internet and reduced rent.

Plus of course, you’ll get to hang out with Isaac who is an awesome guy.

If you would like to become part of Isaac’s family of supporters please go to


Getting the Good Life Newsletter January 2017

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

We hope you all had a great Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Isaac’s Christmas celebrations went for several weeks beginning with the annual trip to Hacket Music in the Park with Anthony.  Then we had Isaac’s staff Christmas party when we hired a minibus and drove out to the Cotter for a picnic and secret Santa.  We also invited the Beadle Place neighbours over and enjoyed sharing good food and conversation.  Lucy took us all on our traditional Christmas Lights tour and she had lined up some spectacluar lights yet again for us to marvel at.  On Christmas day we had a lovely time celebrating with Ben’s girlfriend and her family.

Although 2016 wasn’t so good for celebrities, it was amazing for Isaac thanks to his fabulous microboard members and other unpaid and paid supporters.

Our major achievements were

  • Helping Isaac to learn to present to an audience using technology
  • Beginning the process of enabling Isaac to move into a home of his own
  • Starting up a small business based around Isaac’s love of driving in the car and his skills in following a routine and carrying bags.
  • Recruiting a team of awesome support workers
  • Learning how to harness the NDIS to build a good life for Isaac
  • Giving Isaac the experience of being a University Student
  • Winning the ACT Chief Minister’s Award for Excellence in Innovation in Inclusion

On the home front

We farewelled Fitzy and Patrick from the house and we welcomed Shayne, Tina and Adrian.   We have also welcomed the arrival of 5 chickens and they have been growing fast.  They have been named Roxy, Usain Bolt, Mary Poopins, Bobby flash and Charlie.  We are looking forward to eggs on toast and being able to deliver eggs to our neighbours.  We have even designed our own egg label!

Savvy’s veggie patch is about to provide lots of veggies to share around the neighbourhood too.

We have had several gatherings with the neighbours and it feels good to be part of such a friendly neighbourhood.

Merlin the cat is also enjoying being part of life at Beadle Place.

Isaac Delivers

In 2016 year we concentrated on setting up our business processes and helping Isaac to learn the ropes.  He’s become a champion at carrying the bag, using his ipad to speak with the receptionist and going up to the Post Office doorbell to let them know he is ready and waiting to collect and deliver the mail.  Isaac is also collecting flowers from his friend Anthony’s garden and delivering them to Lyneham High School to brighten up their reception area.

This year we hope to find more clients to work with.  He doesn’t do one off deliveries.  This is because it helps Isaac to build friendships and get to know the routine which reduces his anxiety and helps him to be able to perform the job better.

If you think you know of a business that uses a post office box and would like to use Isaac’s Business let them know about our website and facebook page.

Isaac on a delivery run

Isaac on a delivery run

Isaac’s A Team

We welcomed an awesome team of support workers whom The Band has recruited.  Microboards Australia mentored us in the recruitment process and we now have a fabulous team:

Dan – Support Worker and Health & Safety/Assistive Technology Guru

Fiona – Support Worker and Isaac Delivers Manager

Josh – Support Worker

Jake – Fitness coach

Mary-Caitlin – Literacy coach

Manon – Support Worker and Social Connector

Tina – live in over night support worker and house mate

Christmas party with the A Team

Decision Support

We have also made a little ground on helping Isaac to become a decision maker.  Tina Dowse from ADACAS helped us to learn about supported decision making.  We are working with Isaac’s Dentist Dr Peter Wong on how we can support Isaac to understand the risks around dental surgery and help him to indicate if he consents or not to having a medical procedure.  We are doing this because we are unsure if Isaac has the capacity to understand or not and it would be terrible to take the choice and control away from him if he did have the capacity.  There is much more work to be done but we have started.

No More School

Isaac has now officially left school and it feels like the end of an era.  Isaac celebrated it at the School Formal where little birds tell me he was the best dressed guy in the room.  He also proudly received his certificate at the Presentation Night.

It’s been an interesting journey for Isaac and us, his family. In the beginning separate, specialist education settings were the only thing that seemed on offer to us.  We didn’t know that Isaac could attend an ordinary school.  His experience at these specialist schools was a good one – lots of talented and kind teachers but he was surrounded by other students with equal challenges who couldn’t provide him with good models on how to act and learn.  Nor could they afford Isaac the opportunities that come through friendship networks because of their own social isolation.

For the secondary years of his education we chose inclusive mainstream settings because we thought it important for Isaac to leave school with social capital – being known in his community and having friends that can support him in his life – and we have achieved that.  We also felt that Isaac would be surrounded by other students modelling how to learn and act and we saw lots of glimpses of that too – Isaac heading off to class unaided by any paid support workers, just surrounded by his class mates.  We also felt Isaac had lots to teach the other students that don’t have disabilities and his teachers and they have benefited from Isaac’s presence in their lives.

Thank you to all his teachers over the years, you have been very important in Isaac’s life and we are grateful for your help.  I hope Isaac has taught you something too.

Isaac and Cameron’s UnConvention

To kick off 2017, Isaac and his network of paid and unpaid supporters will be joining Cameron, his family and circle of friends at a retreat which we have called an UnConvention.  Here we will be doing some planning for 2017 and learning about some key topics that are important to Isaac and Cameron such as how to support them to have safe friendships, learning to communicate in social settings, promoting Isaac and Cameron as valued people, understanding behaviours that others can find challenging and more as well as participating in some fun activities.  Interested in attending – best get in quick as registrations close on Jan 6.  Read more about it and register here

We won two awards this year!

Isaac’s Band of Brothers & Sisters won the ACT Chief Ministers Inclusion Award for Excellence in Inclusion.  Our drumming club also won the runners up award for the best new club at the University of Canberra.


The Good Life Newsletter October 2016

We are on the hunt for new Board Members

Like with all boards,  Isaac’s Band of Brothers & Sisters needs to be refreshed from time to time as existing members get busy and have to focus on other things.

So if you, or anyone you know would like to be on the board please let us know.  You can learn more about what’s involved here.

Our Annual General Meeting is also coming up on November 10.

Outgoing board members Rob and David

Outgoing board members Rob and David

Isaac votes in Federal Elections

Isaac’s family and friends with a keen interest in politics created some picture resources that we used to explain to him what some of the key policies each of the parties where focusing on.  Then we asked him to put the parties in order of which he liked the best.  We did this several times and on each occasion he picked a similar order.
We also developed an aided language board with pictures so that Isaac could answer the questions that the electoral commission staff would ask him.  On the day he did really well and answered all the questions and watched curiosly as I transferred his picture ordered vote onto the ballot paper.  He carried the ballot paper over to the ballot box to post his vote.

We are not sure if he really understood but we figured he would be no less well informed about his vote than many other people voting that day!

Learning about the parties in the election and what they stand for

Learning about the parties in the election and what they stand for

Cheering for the Raiders

Isaac has been a champion Canberra Raiders supporter this season.  He’s been learning to stay for the whole match, how to talk about the football with his PODD communication book, how to do the Viking clap and who the best team in the universe is – go Raiders!  Look out for him in the 2017 season.

Supporting the Canberra Raiders

Supporting the Canberra Raiders

Pizza and PODD

Every three months or so we are going do a Pizza and PODD night where we play games using Isaac’s PODD so that we can become more fluent in using it with Isaac.

We had a fun time playing PODD Bingo where we had to combine symbols to make sentences and work out what you could say and how you would say it on the PODD.

Playing PODD Bingo

Playing PODD Bingo

Supported Decision Making Training

Tina from ADACAS came along to provide Isaac’s microboard with some supported decision making training.  She helped us challenge the idea that we must know and understand everything to be able to make a valid decision.  Many of us just make decisions based on a gut feeling without really knowing all the pros and cons.  I know I didn’t understand all the fine print on my mortgage documents!

So it’s important for us as Isaac’s microboard members to assume that it is possible for Isaac to learn to make decisions and we must give him lots of opportunities to learn how.


Supported decision making training

Beadlemania News

Isaac has been spending increasing amounts of time at his house – Beadlemania.  He is now spending every second Friday evening and Saturday with his housemates.  His eyes light up when we tell him he is going to stay at his house.  It’s so awesome to see him so happy to have time away from his parents and hang out with friends.  Such a different scenario to the days of going to respite care.

Sadly we have had to say goodbye to two house mates as they are moving on to other things but we now have Shane and are on the hunt for a fourth flatmate who will also have a paid role as a casual support worker .

The housemates have been busy in the garden putting in a community vegie patch.

Recent additions to the animal menagerie are some little baby chickens which we hope will all be girls and lay lots of eggs for Isaac and his housemates to eat and share with the neighbours.  You can follow the adventures of Isaac and his fellow Beadlemanians on Facebook.

Isaac had a fabulous 19th birthday party at Beadlemania with family, friends and housemates.  His cake was made by the mum of one of Isaac’s support workers and was a really big hit.

Isaac delivers has two paying customers

Isaac delivers is Isaac’s start up delivery business.  He now has two paying customers –  Marymead and Hire up.  He has a great new uniform which was kindly donated by The Uniform Shop at Kippax.  He continues to do his magazine run until he has no time to deliver them.

Isaac Delivers will provide a professional business delivering cost-effective and reliable services to its clients.  Through this business, Isaac will be seen as a worker who performs a legitimate, useful and valued role. Customers can expect a professional and reliable service.

Isaac enjoys working in his business – he loves driving in the car with the radio going and the regular routine of meeting people.  It’s a work role that is valued by people in the community and that helps him to be perceived by others as contributing and skilled rather than dependant and incapable.  It provides him with continued opportunities to learn and develop life skills.  He is also highly visible in the community which means that he has many people keeping an eye out for him and making sure he is safe.

Isaac in his new uniform

Isaac in his new uniform

We are raising money for a car

Isaac needs wheels for work!  Isaac Delivers will be more viable if we can buy him his own car and not have to pay a fuel allowance if his support workers use their car – it  is really expensive.

Ideally we would love to buy him a little electric car to zip around in with his support workers and have it painted in blue with his logo on it.

You can help us by donating or spreading the word to your family, friends, neighbours, work colleagues and so on.


Our New Team of Support Workers

Isaac now has a team of fabulous support staff – Josh, Dan, Manon and Fiona.  Thank you to the microboard for helping with the recruitment and thank you to Microboards Australia for providing us with some excellent recruitment coaching.

Isaac's support team meeting

Isaac’s support team meeting

It’s not all beer and skittles

I don’t want to paint a “Pollyanna picture” of building a good life for Isaac as something that has been quick, easy and always successful.  It has been none of those things. Nor has Isaac’s disability somehow lessened.  We are still faced with huge hurdles to work around every day.

We still don’t always get a full night’s sleep.  We still have mountains of clothes to wash.  We still have to prepare special meals for Isaac. We still struggle to think of places we can visit as a family where Isaac will be happy and not become anxious and fall into behaviours that others find challenging. We still struggle with medical issues.

We are still wounded by the comments and actions of others that stem from an unconscious belief that Isaac has less value.  We are still frustrated by the way our community sometimes doesn’t even think about how they might include Isaac.

We feel let down by the lack of interest in helping Isaac to have a good life by those we had hoped would be there for him. We feel hurt when we invite people to social activities with Isaac and nobody shows up. We feel frustrated that giving Isaac a good life is seen by some as lying solely in the realm of paid services and not with his friends, family and wider community.

It would be very easy to give up.

But the freely given support of the people who are involved in Isaac’s life is treasured.  It has led to achievements I talk about in this newsletter. The smallest wins give us enormous pleasure. They keep us going. One foot in front of the other.

Sometimes its lonely and tough

Sometimes its lonely and tough




The Good Life Newsletter May 2016

Isaac’s Housemates Move In To Beadlemania

housematesIsaac’s housemates Patrick, Michael, Ben, Savannah, 3 cute pet rats and a kitten called Merlin have moved in to Beadle Place – otherwise known as Beadlemania.  To celebrate, family, friends and neighbours were invited to an afternoon tea for a grand tour and to get to know each other.

All the flatmate mums were also invited over for a lovely mother’s day lunch.  It felt like we were all one big family – a nice feeling.

Isaac will be learning what its like to move out of home and live independanty by staying at Beadlemania every second weekend.  We have been planning what will happen when Isaac comes to stay. A few key things are that:

  • Isaac will be an equal flatmate, not the landlord.  So Isaac needs to learn how to help out with the chores.
  • The flatmates will mostly be like ordinary flatmates and not carers.  So they will do things like cook shared meals, go on outings together, hang out at home, keep an eye out for each other’s welfare just like ordinary flat mates do.  They will not find themselves doing many carer type things very often like personal care or giving medication unless that is something they and Isaac are wanting to do.
  • Paid supports will also support Isaac to be a good flat mate as well has handling the carer type tasks.  Isaac’s support workers will need to help Isaac to learn to do chores, pick up after himself and not leave the lights on or the front door unlocked.
  • The flatmates will not have their lives constrained. Flatmates should still be able to fulfill commitments like working or playing sport.  There will be times when they will need to be around but these will be fun times.

This is going to be a bit of a journey for us all and its wonderful that these young people are so keen to be involved.

Isaac is going to vote in the upcoming election

Isaac is going to vote in the upcoming election.  This is his human right but its going to be tricky.  We are doing lots of practice around voting and will be visiting the Australian Electoral Office Education centre.  There is very little information about supporting people with an intellectual disability to vote on the Electoral Commission website.  Perhaps they think people like Isaac don’t understand voting and therefore shouldn’t vote. I say who knows?  and he should be given the opportunity to try. After all who does know everything about all the candidates and their policies?

I’m nervous about what the experience will be like.  I don’t want him stopped by people at the poll booth.  I’m not sure if his support workers or family or friends can assist him to vote.  So I’m off to the Electoral Office to see if they can offer some guidance and support to help the day run smoothly.

Isaac Delivers

Isaac continues to enjoy delivering magazines to doctors surgeries and car dealerships. We are finding the next hurdle of developing the business into a paid service quite a challenge. We need assistance to find businesses willing to pay for Isaac’s services.  He can collect and deliver anything that is:

  • light weight
  • easy to carry
  • is regular and not a one off

So this could be:

  • mail
  • magazines
  • coffees
  • food
  • spare parts
  • etc

We need someone who is good at talking with businesses about what Isaac can offer.  I find it too hard – its too emotional for me.  When people say no, its very hard to cope with because it means so much to me for him to have a paid job.

If you know anyone who has experience in business development, we would be quite willing to pay for them to engage with businesses to help us find clients willing to use Isaac’s services.

Isaac delivers logo

Isaac’s delivery business logo

Personal Training

Personal training is on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 7-8pm at our house.  It’s lots of fun and Isaac keeps us moving by being the music man.  You are very welcome to join us – its $20 per session.


Isaac working out with friends

Isaac working out with friends

Experiencing University

Isaac has had a great first semester joining in with the UC drumming club.  We are hoping to continue the club next semester.  It’s proving expensive so we are looking at ways of running the club more cheaply – perhaps buying our own drums and using Youtube as our teacher.

We are also looking at Isaac experiencing being part of a class and I have been exploring setting up a literacy group where Isaac, teacher education students and Isaac’s support workers and friends can come along and learn together about literacy. Hopefully this class will be up and running in semester 2.

We are looking to hire teachers that are experienced in using the 4 blocks literacy framework to teach the class so if you know of anyone get in touch.

Public Speaking

Earlier this year Isaac did some speaking at a forum for people who are transitioning into the NDIS up in Toowoomba and Brisbane.  Isaac, his brother Ben, friend Savannah, support worker Jade, step father David and myself all presented.  Isaac has a little powerpoint presentation and uses big buttons to change slides.  He is still learning about presenting and we were really pleased that he was able to show a few of his slides before wanting to leave. We are talking with him about how important it is to be able to help other people by sharing his story.  He seems to be a bit nervous about public speaking – and so are we!

Trip to Perth

I had a great trip to Perth recently to visit the folks from Microboards Australia.  They kindly shared what they are doing over there with regards to alternative communication, housing, positive behaviour support and literacy.  I was particularly interested in the literacy group and how several young men with complex disabilities are learning to read and write when others might have given up on them. Its slow and steady work but the young men have gone from not wanting to be in the room to enjoying two hours of writing and reading activities.


Hang out with Isaac over a drink and some live music at Westside Acton Park on Sundays from 1:30 – 3:30

Each Sunday afternoon Isaac loves to hit Westside Acton Park – where all the big yellow shipping containers are.  So if you fancy an afternoon of music get on down there and hang out with Isaac – he’d love to see you there.

The Good Life Newsletter February 2016

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.


Chillin’ in the spa on holiday in Ballarat

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!

Social Group

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.

facebook page

Social group facebook page

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 are purchasing some switch adapters like this to help Isaac to use Powerpoint to do presentations

Isaac’s house

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.


Isaac’s house in Charnwood

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.

Isaac greets the receptionist

Isaac greets the receptionist

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.

Fitness group

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.

Isaac working out with friends

Isaac working out with friends

Media Release – Isaac’s Band of Brothers & Sisters Inc Turns 1!

With the coming of the NDIS the climate is increasingly focussed on funding and paying for professional support.   In such a climate it is important to remember that what actually creates safe and secure futures for our sons and daughters is social connection and freely given relationships.

Isaac’s Band of Brothers & Sisters Incorporated (otherwise known as The Band) is a microboard – an incorporated association that works with Isaac, his family, friends and the wider community to enable Isaac (a young man with a severe disability and complex needs) to have a typical, socially included and quality life.

It’s understood that Isaac’s Band of Brothers & Sisters is the first Microboard to be operating in the ACT and is now turning 1 year old.

We will be celebrating Christmas and our first anniversary out and about in the community at Music in the Park at Hackett on Saturday December 5.
Some of our achievements in our first year of operation have been:

  • Exploring the business model for a mail and magazine delivery business for Isaac
  • Identifying work experience opportunities for him
  • Building Isaac’s friendship networks who have in turn enjoyed the several opportunities to hang out with him or go on outings such as music concerts.

microboard meeting

Isaac’s mum Sheree Henley says “I am so thankful to have a group of people to help me generate ideas and make them happen.  Creating an ordinary life where Isaac is fully included and truly belongs in the community is so much harder to do on my own.”

Lucy Gledhill who is a microboard member says “Isaac has taught me so much.  He has taught me not to have any limiting beliefs and that’s helped me with my own daughter. When she says she wants to do something I have learned to say why not and lets plan how this might be able to happen.”

Microboards originated in Canada around 30 years ago.  See Velacanada and were first established in Australia in Perth by Youniverse.  Microboards Canberra was established in October 2013.  They operate under a set of core principles to ensure that the person with the disability is given choice and control and their human rights are protected.

For further information please contact:

Sheree Henley
Mob: 0407305739