The Good Life Newsletter March 2015

A fabulous time in Western Australia

A fabulous time was had by all in Western Australia.

Sadly poor Teaghan was sick so couldn’t join us – we missed you Teaghan! Fortunately we made another fabulous friend in Farrah whose sister used to be in Isaac’s class at Cranleigh School.

We stayed in Fremantle for the first 4 days where we had fun watching the sun set over the ocean, meeting Quokkas on Rottnest Island and meeting up with other families who have Microboards who live in the area.

I was able to meet up with Susan Stanford who is the catalyst for Youniverse – and she and other Youniverse members were able to mentor me in person a little more on running a microboard. It’s not easy and it’s not fast but they can do amazing things.

Isaac got to meet Alicia – a speech therapist – who specializes in helping people with complex communication needs to understand the process and decision making and make decisions for themselves. We practiced telling Isaac about why we wanted to make a video of him using his PODD and asking him if he was ok with that. We also practiced using a talking mat where Isaac could tell us what he liked and didn’t like using symbols. For the first time we noticed that Isaac has a little tiny nod for yes – it was amazing to see. Isaac loved talking with Alicia as she spoke to him like she would speak to anyone – in a way that presumed he could understand. His face lit up.

Farrah soon got to know Isaac and how to support him and she enjoyed hanging out with him and the WA clan at a house right by the beach in Mandurah. They enjoyed some daily outings and lots of people were able to use Isaac’s PODD with him so he had some great modelling.

dinner in wa

podd with matt

Join Isaac and the Band at Apple Day at Loriendale Orchard

Saturday 28th March 2015 1.30 – 5.00 pm

“Isaac’s Band” will be taking a drive into the country to discover the delights of freshly picked orchard fruit. We will be enjoying a range of organic foods – crepes served with Loriendale apple sauce and Devonshire teas served with delicious scones, muffins or cakes. No doubt Isaac’s favourite part will once again be chilling out to the background music provided by local musicians and choirs. We will be able to buy organic produce from local producer stalls: farm vegetables, dried fruit, toffee apples and honey. My favourite is watching the pressing of fresh apple juice on the wooden apple press from the 19th century.

Want to join us? We are happy to car pool or just meet you there? Get in touch with Sheree if you would like to join us – 0407305739. Don’t forget to wear your Band T-shirts.

To get there travel along the Barton Highway, north of Canberra and turn right at Spring Range Road (2km north of border between ACT/NSW)

More info at

apple day


Band T-Shirts $25

If you would like to order a “Band” t- shirt just email the quantity, ladies or mens, and size – s,m,l,xl, xxl, xxxl and transfer $25 into the following bank account:

BSB: 112-908

Acc No: 432 402 572

Account Name: Isaac’s Band of Brothers and Sisters Inc

tshirt f

tshirt b

Chatterbox – a Communication Group

Starting in second term – Tuesday 28th April, every Tuesday Evening from 7-9 pm we are going to run a PODD session with Isaac and his communication partners at our house. We will do lots of fun games and learn how to use PODD together. It will just run throughout the school term.

We also want to extend it to doing some literacy with him – spelling, reading, writing. We are hoping to bring in some experts to help us too.

Learning PODD is like learning a new language so Isaac needs to be surrounded by people who know how to use it. If others don’t use it, neither will he. Why speak French when you are in Australia?

We welcome anyone who is interested in helping Isaac to learn to communicate to come and join us. No problem if you can’t come every week either.

There is lots of research on the need to model aided language – PODD is a form of aided language. Here are some key ones.

Drager KDR; Postal VJ; Carrolus L; Castellano M; Gagliano C; Glynn JThe Effect of Aided Language

Modeling on Symbol Comprehension and Production in 2 Preschoolers With Autism American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology (AM J SPEECH LANG PATHOL), 2006 May; 15 (2): 112-25. (41 ref)

Wood, L., Lasker, J., Siegel-Causey, E., Beukelman, D., & Ball, L. (1998). Input framework for augmentative and alternative communication. Augmentative and Alternative Communication, 14, 261–267.

Elder, P., & Goossens’, C. (1994). Engineering training environments for interactive augmentative communication: Strategies for adolescents and adults who are moderately/severely developmentally delayed. Birmingham, AL: Southeast Augmentative Communication Conference Publications.

After School Swimming

Next school term I am going to organise a support worker to take Isaac swimming and I’d love some other friends to come along with him. The support worker can pick up Isaac and possibly his friends from College, take them to the CISAC pool, get Isaac dressed and undressed, use his PODD communication book, teach the other kids how to communicate with Isaac, do some fun structured and unstructured activities in the pool eg floating, kicking, duck diving, throwing a ball, playing with a noodle etc


We have completed our NDIS plan for Isaac which is now in for review. As well as the usual supports such as respite and linen service we have asked for support for the following initiatives:

• Swimming with friends once a week

• A bunch of mates program at school

• Chatterbox PODD and literacy sessions each week

• Support to help him learn to independently get ready for school

• Work experience support

• Microboard mentoring

• Housing project coordinator

Watch this space to see how we go.

Pizza Night Revival

I’m planning on reviving the Pizza and movie night with Isaac’s friends. The NDIS money can be used to support that. We will start that up again next term on the first Friday of the month.


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.

rapid prompting

Registrations for the Retreat Close on March 25

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. We have some funding to cover your costs. So if you fancy having a weekend or even just an afternoon out in the lovely Murrumbateman countryside please contact Sheree on 040730739 asap.

Further information can be found at


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

Saturday 28th March 2015 1.30 – 5.00 pm Apple Day

April 6-9 Rapid Prompting Method Workshop

April 10 -12 – Retreat at Warrambui –

Things we need help with

  • 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.
  • People to join our Chatterbox group
  • Swimmers to go swimming with Isaac
  • Folks to join us at the Apple Day

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