The Good Life Newsletter Christmas Edition

music in parkHappy Christmas to you all and thank you for being in Isaac’s life

This year “The Band” will be celebrating Christmas and all the good things that have happened in Isaac’s life this year on Saturday December 5 at Hackett Music in the Park.  It’s one of Isaac’s favourite events.  Local musicians will be performing during the afternoon and into the evening, and Santa will be making an appearance too.

We would love it if you could join us – here is your invitation to put on your fridge – Christmas 2015

Together we have achieved many things for Isaac and he has given us many things back.  I think the highlight of the year for me was Isaac’s friend Connor’s speech at Isaac’s birthday party where he spoke beautifully about how Isaac has been a good friend because he is a good listener and that Isaac is actually quite smart.

It’s all the little things that you all do that add up and end up in moments like Connor’s speech.  Thank you everyone.

5 day PODD

I attended the advanced Pragmatically Organised Dynamic Display (PODD) workshop in Melbourne early in October. PODD is Isaac’s communication book. It was an awesome workshop where I learned more about helping Isaac to see his PODD as his voice.

Sadly for much of his life AAC has been used to tell him what to do or to enable him to request.  It hasn’t been about enabling him to say what he wants and its been tough to get to really know him.

The workshop was led by the amazing Gail Porter who has developed the PODD system over many years.  Thanks Gail for helping Isaac to have a voice.

Lately he has been enjoying the “Let’s Pretend” branch where he asks people to pretend to be all sorts of weird and wonderful things from snorting pigs to flying planes much to his amusement.  His sense of humour is starting to come out which is wonderful.

Branch page

One of the best things I got from the workshop was that one of the other participants showed me a fantastic resource – the periodic table of AAC.  It shows all the principles that need to be at play to help people learn to use AAC.

PODD Printing

It’s important that everyone around Isaac knows how to use his PODD which means we need to make lots of practice copies for people.  Lucky for us, our family members of Michelle and Gary Jackson has a printing business in Canberra – Tenderedge  Thanks guys for doing all that printing for Isaac.

Thanks to the NDIS, we have a copy of Boardmaker, a copy of the PODD files and a printer to print them.  Otherwise we would have to pay up to $800 per book to get them made.  I can understand why as they take many hours to make.

Michelle and I went down to the Cerebral Palsy Education Centre in Glen Waverley where the PODD course was run a couple of weeks after the PODD course to talk to the folks about how to construct the PODDs better and we got some great tips on how to make the PODD more robust.  Thanks to all the wonderful staff there who were so willing to share their knowledge and experience.

PODD construction

Join Isaac for a Sunday Afternoon Session at the Rose Cottage Inn

Isaac loves live bands so each Sunday afternoon from 1-4pm he has been going with Dan to the Rose Cottage Inn in Tuggeranong to chill out to some tunes.  I’m sure Isaac and Dan would love some extra company – love to see you there!


for sale

One day we would like Isaac to live in a home of his own and share it with some friends.  With this in mind we are looking to buy a 3 bedroom unit or townhouse next year that Isaac’s Brother Ben and his friends can rent from us where Isaac can have a room there to come and stay every second weekend so he can start experiencing having his own space away from the old folks.

So if you know anyone that has a place for sale let us know!

We have also been lucky to find Wayne Pratt who is helping us with our project for Isaac’s future housing.  Wayne works in the financial sector and has lots of contacts within the construction and land development industries.

You can read more about the housing project here.

Legal Matters

I have engaged a not-for-profit tax lawyer to help our microboard to determine how Isaac can be legally a member of his microboard, how it can have not for profit status and gift deductible status and what kind of structure we should put in place to become an employer of staff.

It gets a bit complicated when Isaac can be deemed to be getting pecuniary gain from his association.   It means that he can’t be on the executive and we can’t get not for profit status.  If Isaac can’t influence the decisions about his life that isn’t good.  The not for profit status will bring us a lot of tax benefits and an entitlement to a bank account that doesn’t charge fees.  Our lawyer seems to be finding a way around this so stay tuned.

Microboard to Recruit Isaac’s Staff

One day in the future Isaac’s Microboard will over see all of the management of Isaac’s NDIS funding – setting his goals, hiring and managing his staff and so on. But I’m not dead yet so we are going to start slowly.

Jaquie Mills from Microboards Australia is running a skype mentoring session for us this Thursday night at 7:30pm on how a microboard can assist in recruiting staff.  Can’t wait to get her great ideas.

Isaac enjoys 80’s Mania with Ben and friends

Isaac had a fun night with his brother Ben,  Ben’s girlfriend Savannah and other friends at the 80’s Mania show.  Isaac fitted right in with all the other ’80s tragics that came in their hundreds to the Woden Southern Cross club for an evening of unabashed nostalgia. Cutting Crew, Go West, Nick Kershaw and Paul Young sang out all their good old hits and a great time was had by all.

80s mania at 80s mania

Blue Mountains Retreat

Isaac’s microboard members Ben, Savannah, Jade (rocking her rainbow hair), Ange and Casey enjoyed a weekend in Katoomba in the Blue Mountains learning about Microboards from the best in the business – Jaquie Mills from Microboards Australia and Linda Perry from Vela Microboards in Canada.  The amazing young folks were led in some activities by another amazing young woman Anita Howard who is an experienced microboard member from Perth. I tagged along too and as always, I felt really blessed to have such good people around Isaac.

I think it’s essential to hang around other people who do this kind of work, share experiences and learn.  I’m hatching a plan for another retreat in Perth in 2016 and hoping to get some sponsorship to get us all over there to meet the wonderful families in WA doing great things through their microboards.

Anita and young people ideas microboards conference



Thanks to one of Isaac’s support workers – Josh – we have discovered another thing that Isaac enjoys – watching the Canberra Capitals!  He loved the lights, music and all the basketball action.  I loved it too I must admit.  So great to see Jess Bibby play the most WNBL games of all time.

So we will be becoming mad Capitals fans next season!

Isaac going into business

2016 will be a big year for Isaac when he transitions into work.  His microboard have been working hard to generate some ideas and find some opportunities for Isaac to explore potential work for Isaac.  The teachers at Melba Copland College have also worked really hard to help Isaac learn the skills of doing letter and magazine deliveries around school and at Kippax Health Centre.

We have used some NDIS funding to hire Anthony Burgess to do some business analysis work to help us set up a delivery business for Isaac.  Sally Richards has been kindly sharing her wisdom from her experience with Jackmail.

We think Isaac will enjoy being a delivery man.  He loves to ride in the car, is good at carrying things and enjoys doing short sharp tasks.

Support Worker Training Nights

We have had two training nights for Isaac’s support workers where we have practiced PODD and shared a few tips on keeping Isaac safe and happy.  Gail Bennell, Isaac’s speech therapist, has now moved to Canberra – Yay! – and she joined us at Ten Pin Bowling for some PODD on the spot training.  It was a bit noisy on the night and Isaac found that a challenge but after things quietened down he had a fun evening bowling with his microboard members that had joined us while his support team adjourned to McDonalds to continue practicing PODD.

PODD training 2 Bowling

PODD training

Isaac steps out in style

You may have noticed Isaac looking a little more stylish of late.  His microboard members Jade and Coralie went shopping for some more fashionable clobber for him.  Mums apparently don’t know best when it comes to buying clothes for their sons.

We had a lot of fun buying him all sorts of cool outfits.  Thanks again Jade and Coralie!


End of year holiday in Daylesford


We will be enjoying Christmas day celebrations at home in Canberra and then heading off to Daylesford in Victoria for a holiday.  We have hired a couple of apartments so some if Isaac’s microboard members and Ben’s friends will be joining us so both Ben and Isaac will be able to enjoy the company of people their own age instead of having to go on holiday with the boring old folks.

Happy Christmas!

You, the readers of this newsletter, are special to our family.  You have helped in lots of small but significant ways to give Isaac a good life.  We are so very thankful for your love and kindness.  A very happy Christmas to you all from Isaac and his family Sheree, Ben and David xxxx

christmas pic