The Good Life Newsletter June 2015

A special mother’s day

 It was an extra special mother’s day this year when Isaac, Ben, Ben’s gorgeous girlfriend Savannah and David took me out for breakfast at Tilley’s in Lyneham. It’s not always easy going out somewhere as Isaac finds the noise over stimulating and he gets a bit over excited. He’s been known to have some challenging behaviours such as drinking other people’s orange juice and standing on tables. I’m always conscious of Isaac’s public image. I want people to see his abilities and good qualities. That’s a bit hard to do when he is swinging from the chandeliers.

In our little cosy booth at Tilleys with the mood light, 1920’s music and good company, he was able to cope well and enjoyed celebrating with us. It was one of my favourite outings.

Apple Day at Loriendale Orchard

Isaac and his “Band” took a drive into the country to discover the delights of freshly picked orchard fruit at the Apple Day at Loriendale Orchard. We all enjoyed the choirs whilst sitting in the shade of some trees. Most of us took home one of the highly sought after apple pies.

It was wonderful to see Isaac with his band members enjoying the music and using his PODD communication book to talk about it. I’d been to the Apple Day several times over the years and never really had the opportunity to relax and enjoy it as I needed to make sure Isaac was ok. This time I could relax and enjoy myself too and appreciated having a group of people to support Isaac to enjoy himself.

Pizza and PODD

David, Jessica, Michelle and Gavin joined us for Pizza and a lesson in how to use Isaac’s PODD communication book. Speech therapist Harriet Korner came down from Sydney to help us learn more about how to use it with Isaac. It’s really important that Isaac has lots of competent communication partners around him so that Isaac can learn from their modelling. The more people he sees using it with him the more likely he is to use it too. PODD can provide a way for Isaac to better express his personality through a wide range of communication types, including requests, greetings, comments, questions, opinions and more. Being able to communicate is key to him having choice and control, friends, work and other things that make up a good life. Watch out for the next PODD night and come and join us if you would like to learn more.

Save the date for Isaac’s 18th birthday

We are going to have a party for Isaac for his 18th birthday on Saturday evening August 15. Save the date!

Have you been to a good party lately? What was good about it? Got any ideas for Isaac’s birthday?

A weekend with friends and family

On July 4-5 David and I are hoping to have a weekend away with a bunch of friends and we would also love it if Isaac could have a lovely weekend with friends and family too while we are away.

While we do have some money in Isaac’s NDIS plan to pay support workers, we would like to supplement this with him having some time with his family and friends who love him and know him the best.   We also know that just because a support worker may have qualifications, they won’t necessarily take better care of him. We like to safeguard Isaac by ensuring he has family and friends visit him and spend time with him to make sure he is being well looked after and is happy.

So if you have some time over the weekend of July 4 -5 and would like to come over and spend a little time with Isaac let us know by filling in our survey

ACT Government invites Isaac to participate in community campaign

Isaac has been invited to participate in an ACT Government community campaign to help him achieve some of his goals. It will work on the same principals as the state of ambition campaigns in the United Kingdom – where young people describe their goals and ambitions and the support they are looking for to achieve them on a website. Community organisations and businesses then respond and offer support.

Isaac the college student

Isaac is very much the college student now. He is getting out of the car, carrying his bag and his PODD book and finding his way around the building with his support worker trailing him 10 metres behind.

His teachers have been working really hard to help him to learn and to become a valued and connected citizen and are seeing some successes. He is about to do work experience delivering things and watering the plants at Kippax Health Centre. We are also exploring the idea of him becoming involved in the Disc Jockey program at school. I’m so thankful for their efforts.

A house for Isaac

Myself and the two other mums who have been working with me on getting a house for Isaac and their boys met with Joy Burch – Minister for Disability and also the head of Housing ACT and the head of Disability ACT to talk further about the progress of our housing proposal. It boils down to money of course so we need to persuade the ACT government to allocate money and land to us. That’s not going to be very easy.

Rapid Prompting Method

Isaac and I attended the Rapid Prompting workshop in Sydney. Isaac did really well on the first day – he listened to the therapist talk to him about the layers of rainforests and when he was asked to identify words that described the layers he was successfully able to identify most of them. Unfortunately for the remaining two days he was frustrated with it and didn’t want to participate. I came home feeling a bit overwhelmed. Like everything this will take a significant amount of work.

I have given Isaac’s teachers information about the method and they are going to give it a go at school.

David and I are going to look at a few ways we can implement it at home to build his literacy skills.

Microboards Canberra Retreat

Microboards Canberra families enjoyed fun recreational activities as well as workshops that focussed 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 was held on April 10 -12 at the beautiful Warrambui Retreat and Conference Centre at Murrumbateman.  Isaac enjoyed riding on the mini bus and met up with his lovely friends Teaghan and Veronica for a swim.  Jan and Lucy from Isaac’s “Band” joined in on the fun and got to know Isaac a little better.

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