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.

 

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.

The Good Life Newsletter May 2014

Isaac gives his mum away at her wedding

On March 8 David and I got married at home.  Isaac and his brother Ben walked her up the aisle and said I do when asked who gives this woman to be married.  For several weeks we had been reading a social story to Isaac about what would happen at the wedding walked (actually it was more like jogged)  up the aisle and pointed to the “I Do” symbol when asked who gives this woman to be married.

wedding

Finding a college for Isaac to attend next year

Over the next few weeks we will be deciding where to enrol Isaac for college next year.  We  are looking at Melba Copland Secondary College, UC Senior Secondary College Lake Ginninderra and Dickson College.  We want Isaac to have the opportunity to make friends with other  young adults in our local area, to be exposed to a variety of subjects and for those around him to have high expectations – it does less harm to presume he can than to presume he can’t and deny him the opportunity to try.

Learning to drive

Isaac’s friends the same age as him will all be looking at learning to drive so we thought we would like to give him the opportunity to drive something too and get around on his own a bit.  So we hired a mobility scooter for a month to see how he goes.   He has it at school and so far he is doing well.  he can go in a straight line and the next step is learning to steer.  We hope to buy him one eventually so if you can be on the lookout for a second hand one, that would be great!

scooter

Communication

Isaac is going well with his PODD communication.  We are working on requesting things he likes eg food and music and then teaching him how to use it to comment eg “I like this”

Myself and one of Isaac’s support workers from the Latitude Program are travelling to Melbourne to do a two day course on PODD.  I have also booked us a place on a course in Sydney in October to learn about RPM – Rapid Prompting Method which will also help us to help Isaac to improve his communication.

We are having a fun social gathering called “Chatterbox” where  any of Isaacs friends, family, circle of support members and support workers can come along and learn how to use Isaac’s PODD.  Speech therapist Tara Goli is going to provide some informal training in using PODD through some fun activities.  See upcoming events for further details.

wedding 2

Circle of support

Isaac has a group of friends who meet twice every school term over a cuppa at our house to talk about how we can build a good life for Isaac.  It is facilitated by Jan Yarrington who is a Life Coach and Occupational Therapist.

At the moment we are concentrating on getting to know Isaac and helping him to build and sustain his social networks.  We have been enjoying thinking of ways to include Isaac in the meeting.  Last week we played Simon Says with his communication symbols, which was quite funny.

If you are interested in coming along and being part of it that would be great.  We are always on the lookout for more people keen to help.

Upcoming Events

Chatterbox

When: May 24, 2014

Time:  10:00 am – 12:00 pm

Where:  Southern Cross Club Jamison, Bowman Street & Catchpole Street, Macquarie ACT 2614

Who: Anyone in Isaac’s network interested in learning to use his PODD communication system in a fun and informal way over morning tea.  Speech Therapist Tara Goli will be coming along to help us learn more about communicating with Isaac.

Isaac’s Pizza & Movie Nights

What:  Share some pizza or a plate of food and watch a movie.  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:  June 6, 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