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.
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.
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
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.