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

http://microboardscanberra.org.au/?ai1ec_event=retreat&instance_id=12

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 –

http://microboardscanberra.org.au/?ai1ec_event=retreat&instance_id=12

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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The Good Life Newsletter November 2014

Christmas Edition

Save the Date for Isaac’s Christmas Party  Sunday  14th December 12:00- 3pm  (Lunch) at Isaac’s House

xmas cracker

Isaac will be hosting the best Christmas Party you have ever been to so make sure you put it in your calendar!

There will be:

  • live music
  • Red & Green theme with fancy dress prize
  • Santa
  • fabulous food
  • lots of fun.

At Isaacs home – 14 Saville Close Melba

Transition visits to Melba Copland

Isaac has been for several visits to Melba Copland where he has par ticipated in some of the classes and met some of his teachers and fellow students.

He already seems to know the way around which is a good sign. Sheree met some other mums at the P&C meeting and found them very welcoming. She has also been to visit the Principal, his teacher, the executive teacher for learning support and the deputy principal to work out what success will look like. She is hoping to meet with the school counsellor and some Year 11 or 12 students to help kick of forming new social relationships.

Rapid Prompting Workshop

Sheree attended a three day workshop in Sydney recently on teaching people with autism academic skills, maths, reading and writing using Rapid Prompting Method. It was really amazing to see people with quite severe autism spelling, reading words and indicating that they had indeed understood what was being said to them. Sheree has bought the book and is reading and practicing so she can look at using it with Isaac.

rapid prompting

Musical Connections

We are still keen to find a band that rehearses at the same time and place where Iaac could go and and just hang out with the band members and listen. Also keen to find some great music venues that he and his friends could go to hang out. He enjoyed the George Harcourt Inn last week.

music

Isaac’s Band of Brothers and Sisters One Step closer to incorporating

Isaacs and his circle of friends have decided to incorporate and will be known as Isaac’s Band of Brothers and Sisters. Incorporating will mean that we will have a bit more sustainability and cudos amongst funding agencies.

Lucy has kindly taken care of the incorporation paperwork which she will soon submit. Very exciting. We could do with another couple of members so if you would like to join us in working out ways to give Isaac a good life, Contact Sheree. Sheree & Lucy with the incorporation paper work.

We are off to WA for a Holiday and need a support person for Isaac

From February 28 to March 13 next year Isaac, David and Sheree are off to Western Australia – part of this will be Sheree and David’s honeymoon in Busselton. 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

Isaac’s Band of Brothers and Sisters meeting at the George

supports for people with disability and building inclusive lives.

We are hoping to find a support worker to join us for the trip. Here is our itinerary:

  • 28 February Arrive Perth
  • 3 nights accommodation in Perth – explore Perth.
  • 3 March arrive Mandurah & drop Isaac and carer at Mandurah holiday park – other families from WA to join Isaac and carer for 7 days of fun by the sea.
  • 5 March Sheree and David go to Busselton
  • 12 March Pick up Isaac from Mandurah – 1 night’s accommodation Perth
  • 13 March fly home.

We will pay airfares and accommodation in exchange for sharing the care of Isaac. You don’t need to be trained or work for an agency. We manage the risk by choosing a person that we and Isaac knows and trusts and who has experience in taking care of him – the same as anyone would do if they were taking someone else’s child on a holiday with them. So if you are keen let Sheree know.

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!

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. We want each of them to have their own house and live in an ordinary community where they are well connected, belong and have something to give back to the community. Not separated in a congregated group home.

We are trying to work out a financial model that might allow our kids to own their own houses. We me with someone from the Dept of Human Services last week to talk about Disability Trust Accounts.

Sheree and David have been talking with a financial advisor too. It’s very complex but there is some hope that it might actually be possible.

Things we need help with

  • Finding a fellow Melba Copland college student with a driver’s licence that can take Isaac to school next year.
  • 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.
  • Send any videos or pictures you have of Isaac using his PODD to Sheree and I will share them on You Tube to help teach others how to model using his PODD.
  • Someone who would like to join us for our WA trip and support Isaac.
  • A band that might like to play at Isaac’s Christmas Part
  • We could do with another couple of members for Isaac’s Band of Brothers and Sisters Inc so if you would like to join us in working out ways to give Isaac a good life, Contact Sheree – shereehenley@grapevine.com.au 0407305739.

 

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The Good Life Newsletter August 2014

Isaac is off to Melba Copland for Year 11 & 12

We heard recently that Isaac is going to Melba Copland for years 11 & 12. It’s so great that Isaac can go to his local school where he can meet local kids who might just live down the road. Having social networks is so important for getting a good life. They help find you opportunities for work, leisure, a place to live etc.

I know there are some very good teachers at Melba – Ben went there. I am looking forward to meeting them and working out with them what the next two years might look like for Isaac.

There is no special needs transport bus to take him to school next year so we are on the hunt for a year 12 student at Melba Copland that has a driver’s licence that wouldn’t mind picking up Isaac and taking him to school each morning. We can pay for some of the petrol J so if you know anyone that might like to do that for Isaac, let Sheree know.

Pizza Nights

Isaac’s Pizza nights are proving to be lots of fun. We made our own pizzas again at the last one which was fun. Isaac’s brother Ben made some weird and wonderful combinations.

The next one is Friday September 5 – hope to see you there.

pizza

Musical Connections

As you will all know, Isaac loves music. So I am looking places where the same people meet to listen to music on a regular basis. The goal of this is to give Isaac some fun listening to music but also to build some relationships with people who might then be interested in being in Isaacs life. They might like to help to find him some work in a place that involves music or be the person that picks him up and takes him to listen to music. It might be a choir rehearsal, someone’s back shed where a band rehearses, a regular orchestra performance, a café that has regular music gigs etc.

We took him to the Beyond Q Bookshop last weekend and he seemed to enjoy it. We had fun too. A fascinating place. I imagine going with a group of people plus Isaac would be fun so if any of you might like to take him there for an hour on a weekend every now and then let me know.

beyond q

We are off to WA for a Holiday and need a support person for Isaac

From February 28 to March 13 next year Isaac, David and Sheree are off to Western Australia – part of this will be Sheree and David’s honeymoon in Busselton. 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 are hoping to find a support worker to join us for the trip. Here is our itinerary:

  • 28 February Arrive Perth
  • 3 nights accommodation in Perth – explore Perth.
  • 3 March arrive Mandurah & drop Isaac and carer at Mandurah holiday park – other families from WA to join Isaac and carer for 7 days of fun by the sea.
  • 5 March Sheree and David go to Busselton
  • 12 March Pick up Isaac from Mandurah – 1 night’s accommodation Perth
  • 13 March fly home.

We will pay airfares and accommodation in exchange for sharing the care of Isaac. You don’t need to be trained or work for an agency. We manage the risk by choosing a person that we and Isaac knows and trusts and who has experience in taking care of him – the same as anyone would do if they were taking someone else’s child on a holiday with them.

So if you are keen let Sheree know.

Isaac’s Birthday Coast Trip

We had a fantastic time at the coast for Isaac’s birthday. We played Putt Putt golf, ate fish and chips, went to Birdland where everyone including Isaac enjoyed patting some wombats and snakes.

mini golf

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! 

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.

We meet with the ACT Government’s Innovative Housing Unit last week and met some great community members with good ideas about how we might finance and build the project. It will be a 5 year thing, but we are excited. We call it the Giving Back Housing Project because each of the boys will have a space in their house that they can invite community members to come and do an activity around a shared interest. Isaac will have a music space where he can invite people to come and listen to a band play. Another young man will have a tool shed and the third young man will have a games room. This way they can give back to the community and have lots of opportunities for forming connections with neighbours.

Upcoming Events

Chatterbox

When: October 2

Time: 7:00pm – 9:00pm

Where: Isaac’s House – 14 Saville Close Melba ACT 2614

Who: Anyone in Isaac’s network interested in learning to use his PODD communication system in a fun and informal way. Speech Therapist Gail Bennell will be joining us via Skype to help us learn more about alternative communication

Isaac’s Pizza Nights

What: Share some pizza or a plate of food and watch a movie, play some games and just hang out. Isaac’s support worker will be there to support Isaac for the evening. David and Sheree will go out and enjoy some much needed together time.

Who: Isaac’s school friends, circle of support members and other friends.

Where: 14 Saville Close Melba

Time: 6 – 9 pm

When: First Friday of Every Month: July 4, August 1, September 5, October 3, November 7, December 5.

Lift? : Need a lift to and/or from Isaac’s house? Call Isaac’s Mum Sheree on 0407305739

Things we need help with

  • Finding a fellow Melba Copland college student with a driver’s licence that can take Isaac to school next year.
  • 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 go as a group to Beyond Q Bookshop for a coffee, a chill out to music and a wander amongst the maze of interesting second hand books and take Isaac too.
  • Send any videos or pictures you have of Isaac using his PODD to Sheree and I will share them on You Tube to help teach others how to model using his PODD.
  • We are looking for someone to join us for a trip to WA to share Isaac’s care.
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