Never was picked up from respite, yes relinquishment is still happening

Over 50 families relinquish their children with a disability in Victoria every year is a very sad statistic. (Victorian Equal Opportunity & Human Rights Commission Report Desperate Measures-May 2012)

These kids are normally in their late teens, as they transition from school to “where to from here?”

It’s really important that we keep this topic alive, because it’s not going away.

The Desperate Measures Report mentions 23 potential risk factors for relinquishment, and I’ll put it out there & say, it wouldn’t be hard to add extra 10 in this current climate.

The key point to remember is that the National Disability Insurance Scheme was never attended to be a “fix for all”

I’m suggesting that greater engagement with the “new blood” coming into existing professions such as counsellors and social workers needs to happen.

Innovative organisations like “Microboards” could also be considered in some cases, look at their website for more information.

Relinquishment was suggested to my parents when I was born, by a nurse who said “there are special places for babies like this.”My mother quickly replied, “I know, its our home…”

Are We Listening to Words or Behaviours?

Do disability service providers try hard enough when getting feedback?

I’m suggesting more creative thinking is needed when communicating with individuals who are non-verbal or communicate in different ways.

I recently formed this view after a friend asked my opinion on how VALID’s Having a Say Conference went this year (a conference for people with disabilities within Australia).

I know it’s just a feeling, and traditionally we rely on evaluation forms being completed for evidence, but I personally felt that the conference had a real positive energy.

Service providers need to think “outside the box” when capturing feedback from those they are supporting who communicate in alternative ways.

We know that a person’s behavior can be a key element in communication, but let’s not just focus on “Behaviours of Concern”- there are other behavioural aspects & indicators that can still tell us a lot.

Like many of us, people who communicate in alternative ways often have a key person in their life that really has a sense of what’s going on and how they’re feeling.

Are we talking with these people?

What about the different types of communication aids that are used such as Comprehensive Expressive, Targeted Expressive & Visual Supports (see Scope for more details)?

I’m going to back off now because I’m sounding a bit academic and I fully respect there are gurus out there that all over this.

I’m just putting it out there to those service providers who may need to tweak their approach when getting real feedback from the people that they support.

feedbackwave

What’s App?

Every now and then I do a  brief “Disability App Scan” to see what’s out there.

The following 5 at first glance, seem to be quite interesting, however with all types of technology,  a bit of research is required.

You will notice I have included some Youtube clips to help you get a better understanding about these apps offer.

Hoping they are of interest to you? Let me know.

Be My Eyes

Be the eyes for a blind person in need of help remotely through a live video connection if you are sighted or be assisted by the network of sighted users if you are blind.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/be-my-eyes-helping-blind-see/id905177575?mt=8

https://youtu.be/Y7bxlR-MxxM

The National Relay Service

The app gives NRS users mobile access to a range of NRS services.

The app is a world-first in combining a range of relay calls and support functions in a single app for smartphones and tablets.

https://itunes.apple.com/au/app/nrs-app/id935552036?mt=8

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=au.gov.communications.nrsapp&hl=en

https://youtu.be/aTzOtdFGMVM

Avaz Australia – AAC App for Autism (Augmentative Picture Communication Software for Children with Special Needs)

Avaz is a full-featured, award-winning, research-based AAC app, that facilitates communication in children with autism spectrum disorders, Down sydrome, Angelmans syndrome, cerebral palsy, and other speech disabilities. Avaz is designed to make speech therapy more effective, develop the child’s language and improve his/her intent to communicate.

https://itunes.apple.com/au/app/avaz-australia-aac-app-for/id658814291?mt=8

Stepping Stones – Daily Routines

This simple app allows users to create visual guides – or ‘paths’ – using their own photos, so as to make sense of daily routines and schedules or stories. These visual supports help to increase the independence and flexibility that people with developmental disabilities can experience in their lives, as well as teaching essential life skills and assisting with sequential processing.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/stepping-stones-daily-routines/id673876719?mt=8

myAssessor

The myAssessor app enables My Aged Care assessors to undertake assessments where they do not have access to the internet. The app allows functionality from the My Aged Care assessor portal to be available on the mobile device, allowing the assessor to capture important client details, perform an assessment using an electronic version of the National Screening and Assessment Form (NSAF) and create a preliminary Support Plan.

https://itunes.apple.com/au/app/myassessor/id1001018890?mt=8

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=au.gov.dss.acg.myassessor

Samsung-DOWELL-App

Picture from http://www.androidheadlines.com/