Address details

Down Syndrome NSW
Level 6/410 Church St, North Parramatta
9am-5pm Monday - Thursday
T: 9841 444

Friday, 31 July 2009

Disabled Accomplishments: a new blog

Jodi, aka Jo-Blogs is a young Sydney woman who has recently set up a new blog, Disabled Accomplishments, where she plans to "help others with disabilities find answers and solutions to questions that might come up by sharing my personal experiences".

She has provided links to her employer, Nova Employment, and their video clips showcasing the service, and has posted some interesting advertising clips under the post headings "Reverse Discrimination".

Australia signs UN protocol giving right of appeal on migration

Disabled win right of appeal

Cynthia Banham. Diplomatic Correspondent
Sydney Morning Herald, July 30, 2009

Australia has cleared the way for people to take complaints about its disability discrimination policies to the United Nations – including prospective migrants with disabled children.

The Rudd Government will announce today that a year after signing the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities, it intends to accede to the Optional Protocol which establishes a complaints mechanism for breaches of the treaty.

People will only be able to take their complaints to the UN Disabilities Committee if they have exhausted all avenues of redress available in Australia.

The Attorney-General, Robert McClelland, will say in a speech today that ‘‘accession to the protocol … not only permits international scrutiny of our laws and practices, but also demonstrates our commitment to re-engage with the international community and to provide leadership in our region."

One potential area where Australia could come under scrutiny is its migration laws, which are exempt from its disability discrimination laws.

Article 18 of the UN Convention recognises the rights of people with disabilities to "liberty of movement, to freedom to choose their residence and to a nationality".

The Age (Melbourne) published a similar but longer article by the same reporter.

Thursday, 30 July 2009

Library Thursdays: My Friend Isabelle and Taking Down Syndrome to School

One of the best books to help preschoolers understand children with Down syndrome is My Friend Isabelle by Eliza Woloson (Woodbine House, 2003). It shows two children--one with Down syndrome and one without, playing together and enjoying their similarities and their differences. Now a new downloadable version by PicPocket is available from iTunes for the iPhone or iPod Touch. The pictures are true to the book and each word is highlighted as it is spoken to help early readers follow along. [This version is not available from the library.]
Click here for more information. 

Another book to help school-age children understand Down syndrome has arrived in the library this week--Taking Down Syndrome to School by Jenna Glatzer, illustrated by Tom Dineen (JayJo Books 2002). The pictures are a bit cartoonish and it seems to dwell a bit too much on differences that may not always apply, but it covers some useful material as well. It talks about the use of the word "retard" and gives tips for teachers as well as a question and answer section for children.

To borrow either of these two books, just email us.

Wednesday, 29 July 2009


for people aged 18-30 with and without disabilities

TUESDAY 18th AUGUST, 6pm – 9pm
$20 / $15 concession

10-14 Kensington Street
Chippendale NSW 2008

15 places only, the majority of which are for those who identify as disabled

RSVP by Friday 7th August to or 0403 532 838
Click here for a flyer, with further information about Margot Politis and her work.

Sports CONNECT disability services education resource

From NSW Sport and Recreation:

Further to our Sport CONNECT State Meeting conducted in March 2009, the Australian Sports Commission (ASC), in partnership with NSW Sport and Recreation (and other state/territories) are developing the Sports CONNECT framework, which aims to increase the participation of people with disabilities in sport across Australia.

To support this process, a Sports CONNECT education resource, specifically targeting the disability services sector, is being developed. The aim is to develop resource material that will assist practitioners and service users in accessing opportunities in sport and physical recreation.

The ASC has appointed Ken Black to develop the Sports CONNECT educational resource. It is important that disability service providers, parents, carers and participants have the opportunity to input their ideas and suggestions about the format and content of the education resource.

NSW Sport and Recreation are looking for around 6 to 10 people for each meeting (meeting 1 - focuses on disability services and meeting 2 focuses on parents/carers/end users).

The details for meeting are:

Disability Service Meeting
DATE: Monday 10 August 2009
VENUE: NSW Sport and Recreation, Ken Brown Rooms, 6A Figtree Drive,
Sydney Olympic Park
PARKING: enter car park at 6A Figtree Drive, take a ticket and it will be validated during the meeting
TIME: 10am start (morning tea will be provided)

Parents/ Carers/ End Users
DATE: Monday 10 August 2009
VENUE: NSW Sport and Recreation, Ken Brown Rooms, 6A Figtree Drive,
Sydney Olympic Park
PARKING: enter car park at 6A Figtree Drive, take a ticket and it will be validated during the meeting
TIME: 1:30pm start (afternoon tea will be provided)

If you are available and interested in putting an expression of interest in attending the meeting with Ken to guide and advise the formulation of this new resource, please contact Kelly Oldfield on the details below by no later than the 31 July 2009:

Kelly Oldfield
Project Officer, Community Sport and Recreation
NSW Sport and Recreation

Phone: (02) 9006 3806 Fax: (02) 9006 3880
Address: Locked Bag 1422, Silverwater, NSW 2128

Please note change of email address

Photography course: St Marys, September

Karelle Life Enrichment Service is offering a photography course to people with intellectual disability.

Wednesdays from 9.30 - 12.30

Commencing Wednesday 2nd September

Factory Training Centre, Unit 2/86 Glossop St St Marys

Cost: $5 per week to cover printing materials


  • trip to the Jenolan Caves ($55) on 3/11/2009
  • 4 weeks of scrap booking a photo album for those most memorable
    shots ($30)

Selected works from each participant will be mounted and displayed as part of ‘International Day of People with a Disability’ celebrations.

"Karelle prides itself on innovation and creativity in service and program delivery for clients with an intellectual disability and the Photography Course does not skimp in this area at all. Applications are open now so take advantage of this great course!"

For further details and registration, contact

Karelle Life Enrichment Service Inc.
02 9832 1057

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

City to Surf update - 7 runners for DS NSW

Welcome, and many thanks to our 7th runner in the City to Surf to be held on Sunday week, 9th August, Andrew Rojas (click on his name to sponsor him, with proceeds coming to Down syndrome NSW)

Our other six registered runners are:

Each has set up an Everyday Hero page to accept sponsorships. Just click on their names. The training is getting very serious now!

Molecular genetic analysis of Down syndrome: a review of the research

David Patterson is a Professor and the Director of External Relations, Eleanor Roosevelt Institute, University of Denver (Colorado), and one of the world's leading researchers in the molecular genetics of Down syndrome. The journal Human Genetics has recently published his excellent review of current research on the 21st chromosome, and current thinking on the complex interactions that are emerging:

Molecular genetic analysis of Down syndrome, Human Genetics. Volume 126, Number 1 / July, 2009 (published online on June 13)

The abstract of the paper and Dr Len Leshin's very useful commentary are available on Dr Leshin's website Down Syndrome: Health Issues. The full text can be read or downloaded as either a .pdf file or in html, from the journal's web page.

Monday, 27 July 2009

Final report of National Health and Hospitals Reform Commission released today

After 16 months of submissions and deliberations, today saw the release of the final report the National Health and Hospitals Reform Commission.

Detailed analysis will be published widely over the next few days, as the potential impact on all Australians is assessed, and the Government's response emerges.

Jim Simpson at NSW CID has drawn our attention to these highlights today, that are of particular relevance to people with intellectual disability:

Our recommendations on major system redesign in Chapter 4 will tackle some other important service gaps, but will do so through more fundamental system redesign in how we rebalance our investment to provide better connected services that take us from ‘cradle to grave’. In particular, we noted in our Interim Report the stark health and access inequalities for the more than 300,000 people living with an intellectual disability. Many of our reform recommendations, such as voluntary enrolment with a primary health care service as their ‘health care home’ and the broad purview of health promotion and prevention, will assist. Access to specialist medical services is also a major gap to be addressed for people living with an intellectual disability. (p. 68)

Acting early to keep our children healthy is one of the most powerful investments our society can make. The evidence is overwhelming. If we act early, we can prevent or reduce the magnitude of many disabilities, developmental delays, behavioural problems and physical and mental health conditions. Providing a stimulating balance of quality antenatal and early childhood health services, community and education services is vital for all children. For the most disadvantaged families, a healthy start to life is equivalent to providing a lifeline to help lift children out of generational cycles of poverty and unhealthy environments and give them the best health and life opportunities.

Our recommendations for a healthy start involve ensuring that children get access to the right mix of universal and targeted service[1]], based on their age and their individual health and social needs. What this would look like is as follows: .....

  • Special needs: Children with particular health or developmental issues (as identified by the universal child and family health services or the family’s primary health care service) would be referred and eligible to get an enhanced package of care (for example, access to specialist services such as paediatricians, allied health, speech pathologists and other services required to manage disabilities or developmental delays). A care coordinator who is linked into a primary health care service would help support families of children with the most complex needs through coordinating and packaging the best range of services for these children and their families. (pp82-83)

We want to stress the value of prevention, health promotion and early intervention regardless of people’s age, health status or disability. It is important that everyone – including older people living in residential aged care or in the community, people with an intellectual disability, people living with a degenerative condition (such as multiple sclerosis) and people with other complex and chronic conditions – is given the opportunity to achieve their maximum health potential.(p85)

Recommendation 18:

We recommend that young families, Aboriginal and Torres Islander people and people with chronic and complex conditions (including people with a disability or a long-term mental illness) have the option of enrolling with a single primary health care service to strengthen the continuity, co-ordination and range of multidisciplinary care available to meet their health needs and deliver optimal outcomes. This would be the enrolled family or patient’s principal “health care home”. To support this, we propose that: there will be grant funding to support multidisciplinary services and care coordination for that service tied to levels of enrolment of young families and people with chronic and complex conditions; there will be payments to reward good performance in outcomes including quality and timeliness of care for the enrolled population and over the longer term, payments will be developed that bundle the cost of packages of primary health care over a course of care or period of time, supplementing fee-based payments for episodic care.

Recommendation 24:

We recommend that universal child and family health services provide a schedule of core contacts to allow for engagement with parents, advice and support, and periodic health monitoring (with contacts weighted towards the first three years of life). The initial contact would be universally offered as a home visit within the first two weeks following the birth. The schedule would include the core services of monitoring of child health, development and wellbeing; early identification of family risk and need; responding to identified needs; health promotion and disease prevention (for example, support for breastfeeding); and support for parenting. Where the universal child and family health services identify a health or developmental issue or support need, the service will provide or identify a pathway for targeted care, such as an enhanced schedule of contacts and referral to allied health and specialist services. Where a child requires more intensive care for a disability or developmental concerns, a care coordinator, associated with a primary health care service, would be available to coordinate the range of services these families often need.

Sunday, 26 July 2009

UK wedding - happy news

As a counterpoint to some of the grim events of the past week, here is news of the wedding of two young people with Down syndrome, celebrated recently in the UK - something we are hearing about more frequently.

Saturday, 25 July 2009

Troubled week in NSW and South Australia

The gap between individuals' and families' needs and disability support services has been highlighted by two incidents occurring this week in NSW and in South Australia, with previous incidents in NSW coming to light, according to ABC News reports yesterday (24/07/2009):


Artworks in the limelight
Tracey Findley, Hornsby and Upper North Shore Advocate, Thursday 23rd July 2009

Handmade paper works of art will feature for the first time at Sunshine Homes' annual art exhibition.

Touch will include a variety of artworks created by the clients of Sunshine, a Pymble-based organisation that supports people with intellectual disabilities.

Gerry Foo, manager of fundraising and community engagement, said works of art from Sunshine's own papermaking studio will debut at this year's exhibition.

"Our papermaking studio is overseen by a staff member, but the works are entirely done by clients who reduce paper to pulp and from there create exquisite cards, gift-wrapping tissue and bookmarks for sale," she said.

"The process is fascinating and we're very proud to have our own studio and of the clients who participate in it.

"This year, they have extended their creativity to contribute artworks to the exhibition."

Touch opens on July 31 at Ku-ring-gai Art Centre, 3 Recreation Ave, Roseville. It runs until August 21. Funds raised from art sold will go to clients and the ongoing work of Sunshine.

Welcome to Holland - Chinese translation

The Chinese Parents Association - Children with Disabilities has recently helped us out with a Chinese translation of “Welcome to Holland” by Emily Perl Kingsley. We are grateful for their help and collaboration in supporting families from Chinese backgrounds.

A number of resources about Down syndrome are available in Chinese. Arabic and Vietnamese, from our website, under the "Information" menu. Click on the "Arabic, Chinese and Vietnamese" resources sub-menu.

The Chinese Parents Association can be contacted on 02 9718 0236 or

Friday, 24 July 2009

Reminder: registrations for Numicon workshops close 27th July

Don't forget that registrations close on Monday 27th July for Margi Leech's Numicon workshops for teachers and for parents in Sydney, Canberra and Brisbane during August.

Dates, locations and links to fliers with registrations details are here.

These workshops are presented by Numicon NZ

Adolescent with complex disability assaulted

A very serious and disturbing attack, occurring in a NSW respite facility, has been reported on a 15 year old girl with a complex disability. The young woman was extremely vulnerable and was severely injured. It is reported that the person who attacked her was a 22 year old who also has an intellectual disability.

The respite facility is operated by the NSW Department of Ageing, Disability and Home Care.

The incident highlights very significant concerns about the provision of appropriate respite for children and adults, quality of supervision, safety and even the impact of privacy policies and law on what her family is allowed to know about what happened.

News reports include responses from the Minister for Disability Services, DADHC Director-General and the Opposition Spokesman on Disability.

Addition - The Minister for Disability Services (Paul Lynch) issued this media release today, 24/07/09:

Investigation into Bomaderry respite incident

Minister for Disability Services Paul Lynch said an investigation would be undertaken into the actions that led to a serious assault at a Bomaderry respite centre this week.

Mr Lynch said mistakes had been made that should not have happened.

“The actions that led to this terrible incident will be thoroughly investigated,” he said.

“The Director-General has stood aside two senior managers with oversight of respite care in the region pending a thorough investigation,” Mr Lynch said.

An initial report is expected to be available within a fortnight.

“Both myself and the Director-General are extremely disturbed by what has happened,” Mr Lynch said.

“I am assured the Department will provide whatever support it can to the young girl and her family,” he said.

“Every effort must be made to restore confidence and trust in our respite care service,” Mr Lynch said.

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Research sheds lights on cause of some chromosome disorders such as Down syndrome

Scientists have a better understanding of what causes an abnormal number of chromosomes in offspring, a condition called aneuploidy that encompasses the most common genetic disorders in humans, such as Down syndrome, and is a leading cause of pregnancy loss.

...... The research sheds light on the genetic underpinnings of aneuploidy, a condition marked by having an abnormal number of chromosomes. It is the underlying cause of many genetic diseases – such as Down syndrome, Edwards syndrome, and Patau syndrome – as well as many cases of pregnancy loss.

Click here to read the EurekAlert! published on 17th July 2009, and here for the online publication in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science of the United States of America, with links to purchase the full text of the research report.

Library Thursdays: Winter movies

What could be nicer on these cold winter evenings than curling up on the sofa and watching some great films from the Down Syndrome NSW Library? We have collected a few gems that are definitely worth an evening in.
They include several short films: Yolk, Be My Brother (on the Tropfest DVD), Boundless which have been previously blogged about.
The library also has some feature length dramas-- Afterlife and Mr. Blue Sky
Afterlife (directed by Alison Peebles, starring Lindsay Duncan, Kevin McKidd and Paula Sage) is the story of a woman who is dying of terminal cancer. She has a 21 year old daughter who has Down syndrome and she is trying to decide what will happen
 to her daughter after she dies. She does not want her to go into an
 institution, but her son seems to be her only option. Her son is a 
journalist who has been career plans which do not include his sister. It brings up some deep issues but there are plenty of light, funny scenes. Highly recommended.
Mr Blue Sky (directed by Sarah Gurfield, starring Richard Karn and Mary Kaate Schellhardt) is about a young woman with Down syndrome who marries an old childhood friend who stands to lose his job as a teacher because he does not have a disability. This film is a bit syrupy and preachy but the ideas are interesting.

If a night in with these films sound good to you, email us to borrow any of these films.

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

News releases from NSW Minister for Disability Services

The NSW Minister for Disability Services, Paul Lynch reported in a media release on 10/07/2009, on progress in providing 300 new supported accommodation places for people with disabilities in NSW through projects to be started within the next three months.

This media release from 21/07/2009 reports on two new group homes in rural locations highlighting their "sustainability features".

This media release from 21/07/2009 reports on a a new initiative in which Aboriginal cadets are working in disability fields.

Buddy Walk – Newcastle

The date for Buffy Walk - Newcastle 2009 has been confirmed:

Sunday 18th October 2009
- around the beautiful Newcastle foreshores

Contact Priscilla on 02 9683 1900 or for further details

For all Buddy Walk - Australia 2009 events, see here.

Speech and Language Resource Guides from NDSC and Dr Libby Kumin

The following Speech and Language Resource Guides for individuals with Down syndrome have been generously provided to the US National Down Syndrome Congress (NDSC) by Dr. Libby Kumin and Loyola College of Maryland, and NDSC has generously posted them to their website. Dr Kumin is the author of a number of highly regarded books and DVDs on Speech and Language development in people with Down syndrome of all ages, and one of the world's leading researchers and clinicians in the field.

These are short guides, with references to more comprehensive information sources:
The NDSC website is a rich source of specific information for parents and professionals, and well worth book-marking. In Depth Parent Resources on other topics are located here - some are relevant only to the US, you will easily see which ones they are. Those under the link "DSN articles" are reprinted from the NDSC newsletter, Down Syndrome News (our library includes a print subscription).

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Meeting the Needs of People in Large Residential Centres - a Report by the NSW Ombudsman

This brief snapshot of the review and key findings was supplied by the NSW Ombudsman's Office.

Over 6000 people with disabilities in NSW live in the care of disability services, and a significant proportion, 28 per cent, live in residential centres. Residential centres, formerly known as ‘institutions’, accommodate people with disabilities in congregate settings. Large residential centres house more than 20 people on the one site.

Almost three-quarters of the people who live in residential centres live in the nine large residential centres that are operated by the Department of Ageing, Disability and Home Care (DADHC).

In 2008, the NSW Ombudsman conducted a review to establish how well the individual needs and goals of 60 people with disabilities living in DADHC’s nine large residential centres were being identified, met, and reviewed. The review looked at areas such as decision-making and choice, communication, health care, behaviour support, day programs, community participation and integration, leisure and skills development, finances, and relationships.

The NSW Ombudsman has now publicly released the final report from this review.

The review identified that important needs of individuals in DADHC large residential centres were not being identified or met. Of particular significance were unmet needs and goals regarding residents’:

· involvement in decisions that affect them;
· ability to communicate with others and have their views heard;
· participation in, and social integration into, their community; and
· opportunity to develop and practise life skills to increase their independence.

These are important human rights that underpin disability services legislation and standards, and DADHC policies. In reality, what these shortcomings mean is that the ability of these individuals to have control over their own lives and to fulfil their potential is restricted.

The gaps between the requirements and practice in these critical areas raise questions about the adequacy of DADHC’s current individual planning process for meeting the individual needs and goals of residents. They also raise questions about whether it is possible to uphold these fundamental rights within large residential centres.

The NSW Ombudsman’s recommendations from the review and DADHC’s response to the draft report are available to download. A full copy of the Review of individual planning in DADHC large residential centres report is available here , and a summary report is available here.

The NSW Ombudsman will monitor DADHC’s progress in relation to the recommendations, including the development of the department’s action plan and its implementation.

For further information regarding this release please contact Kathryn McKenzie, Senior Investigation and Review Officer, on 02 9286 0984 or email

Monday, 20 July 2009

Spark Festival - September

There's a lot going on in the arts in the coming weeks, and here is another major event, advertised on the DADHC website today:

Spark Festival - a creative arts festival for people with disabilities, hosted by JunctionWorks

The Tops Conference Centre
Stanwell Tops

9th - 11th September 2009

  • A Comedy of Bits & Pieces
  • African Drumming
  • Sing the Spirit of SPARK
  • Masquerade Art
  • Circus Theatre
  • Making a CD
  • The Tall & Short of a Story
  • Deadly Moves Dance Workshop
Click here for a flier with further details of cost and other arrangements for participants.

RSVP: 7th August 2009

Enquiries: 02 9606 9628

The event is supported by the NSW Government and the Department of Ageing, Disability and Home Care.

A blog milestone and a talented young woman

Our visitor counter reached 10,000 overnight (that's since the end of November 2008) - thanks for reading!

There is, as always, much good reading in the Accessible Arts July Newsletter, including a short profile, accompanied by a beautiful photo of Rachel Murphy from the Illawarra:

" In October last year, Rachel Murphy played Hermia, a lead role in "A Midsummer Night's Dream," performed by the Altogether Drama Company based in the Illawarra and presented at the Illawarra Performing Arts Centre." Click here to read the full piece (you need to scroll down a way).

Family Advocacy workshop in Gosford: After School, What Then

Family Advocacy has advertised an additional workshop in this series, to be held in Gosford

Sunday 23rd August 2009

- register before Thursday 16 July 2009

(see this post for July dates throughout the metropolitan area)

The focus of the day will be on the system of funding and support - Commonwealth and State Government responsibilities and non government service providers approved to support school leavers, including:

  • achieving a positive future for young people leaving school
  • what other young people have achieved with their funding
  • levels of funding and how it is allocated
  • the different forms of support arrangements that are available
  • how to make informed choices about the future
  • government guidelines and how they affect school leavers

Cost to attend: $10.00 per person (GST inclusive and covers morning tea, lunch and materials)

DS NSW members who have attended this workshop previously highly recommend it.

Click here for the flier

Phone: 02 9869 0866 or 1800 620 588 (NSW non metro callers)

Family Advocacy's publication Families for Change, Winter 2009 (Vol 3, Issue 8) addresses the theme "Life After School .... An Opportunity for Work, Growth and Dreams", including three articles by families currently negotiating this stage of life. Recommended reading.

Saturday, 18 July 2009

"There's something happening across WESTERN SYDNEY"

Thanks to Alison Richardson (Creative Programs Coordinator, Western Sydney - Accessible Arts) for alerting us to this handy blog about arts events and opportunities across Western Sydney. You can subscribe via the button at the top right, for email alerts about new entries as they are posted.

There's lots to do, see and participate in.

Friday, 17 July 2009

“Too Many Doctors” – Drama by Company of Actors with Disabilities

Based on Moliere's imaginary invalid, this drama by Harriet Dexter is adapted / directed by Caroline Downs.

Starring: Barry Brodie, Caroline Leafe, David Brazel, Janet Bedford, Jo Rix, Nicholas Lewis, Prashanth Ramasubramanian, Tarryn Taylor, Timothy Harrison,Tim Stephen.

It follows the life of an elderly hypochondriac, his roughish servant, numerous doctors, gold digging wife and loving daughters.

Full of wit and slap stick humour this production is performed by actors with a disability who have attended drama classes since February this year.

Funded & supported by Help St Foundation & Lane Cove Council.


Lane Cove Senior Citizens Centre, 180 Longueville Road, Lane Cove.

When (all at 7.30pm except Sunday):
Preview Tue 21 July
Premiere Wed 22 July
Performances Thu 23 July & Fri 24 July & Sat 25 July
Closing Night Sun 26 July @ 6pm

Preview $10 adults /$5 concession /child
Premiere & Performances $17 adults / $8 concession /child
Ticket price includes lucky door prizes from local services

Bookings are essential so phone Amber Figura of Recreation Rendezvous Inc on 9420 8555

Thursday, 16 July 2009

Library Thursdays: Friendship Resources

There is an interesting article on friendships for children with disabilities by David and Faye Wetherow on the Apraxia-KIDS website. This topic is of concern to all parents. The article discusses what makes friendships grow and gave some good suggestions to help. Among these are creating opportunities for children to be around other children, having time to connect, finding shared interests and choosing a conducive place. The article also mentions creating Circles of Friends (see library resources below) as well as supported networks for adults with Down syndrome discussed in an earlier blog. From Downs Ed is an article (Special at school but lonely at home: An alternative friendship group for adolescents with Down syndrome by Jeanne D'Haem) about going beyond a Circle of Friends at school and creating a community circle. Also from Downs Ed in our library we have in the Issues and Information series: Social development for individuals with Down syndrome - An overview. I am looking forward to the completion of the publication of Social development for each age range.

Another look at friendships for children with special needs is: Delicate Threads by Debbie Staub. It tells of 7 different friendships in an inclusive school between children with developmental disabilities and mainstream classmates. It is interesting to look at each of the different friendships to see what makes each work and what makes the friendships that break down do so.

Other Friendship resources:
Circle of Friends DVD by Inclusive Solutions
Creating Circles of Friends: A Peer support and inclusion workbook by Colin Newton
Peer buddy programs for successful high school inclusion by Carolyn Hughes and Erik Carter
Kids with Down syndrome: Staying healthy and making friends DVD by Will Schermerhorn
It's so much work to be your friend: helping the learning disabled child find social success by Richard Lavoie
Also of interest may be the upcoming Making Friends Workshop in Albury

If you are would like to borrow any of these resources discussed above or anything else from the library, please just email us or call.

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Annual Special Children’s Christmas Party

Dream Media & Promotions'

will be held at

10.00 am – 3.00 pm Wednesday 2nd December 2009

Rosehill Gardens, Rosehill

The Sydney Special Children’s Christmas Party is an event for children with special needs, aged 1 – 14 years, and their families, giving children with special needs the opportunity to interact with other children and families that face similar challenges in a fun filled day.

This year’s event will again be a carnival, with lots of rides, roaming performers, games, treats, a full stage show with celebrities and best of all – Santa will be there!

Please return the request form with all areas completed in full – Down Syndrome NSW members can download the form directly from here, or from the DS NSW website or you can contact Priscilla (ph. 9683 1900 or email ) for an emailed or print copy.

To avoid disappointment, please return your request as soon as possible. All tickets will be sent in September / October 2009.

Ever After Theatre Company: How to Handle a Fractured Heart

A brand new theatre work made by Sydney's longest running ensemble of people living with disabilities, the Ever After Theatre Company

How to Handle a Fractured Heart

Friday 7th August Premiere: 7.30 pm

Saturday 8th August Matinee: 2.00 pm

PACT Theatre
107 Railway Parade Erskinville

Tickets $15/$10 Concession

Ph. Sue: 9555 8988 ext 2;

Softball NSW: Stanhope Cup

Softball NSW invites people with a disability of all ages to participate in the Stanhope Cup.

Every Sunday from 2 August 2009 till 27 September 2009; 10am start

Blacktown Olympic Park, Eastern Road, Rooty Hill

You are welcome to pass this infomration on to anyone who may be interested

For more information, flier and registration form: please contact Cathy Kerr on 9677 4006 or

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

QSWWA Mid-Year Charity Event: 29th July 2009

The Hughenden
14 Queen Street

6.30 pm, 29th July 2009

Your hosts are Saxon Graham and Paul Jones

  • Featuring Luxe Duo: Patrick Franklin and Catherine Jefferies

  • Winner of Best Actor, TropFest (in Best Film): Gerard O'Dwyer

  • Special Guest: Craig Wing, Patron of Down Syndrome NSW

Major Raffle: NRL football jersey - signed!

Tickets $39.00 (inc meze plate and a glass of house .....)

For further details and to purchase tickets, call 02 9363 4863

Click here to download poster

Supporting Down Syndrome NSW

Down Syndrome NSW is only able to do provide our current range of services with of the financial support of our members, friends and the wider community - we are very grateful to other groups who choose to make us beneficiaries of their fund-raising efforts. Our tghanks to the Queen Street and Woollahra West Association on this occasion.

Monday, 13 July 2009

Morgan's Wonderland - an innovative venture in Texas

One of our members has drawn our attention to the development of Morgan's Wonderland in San Antonio, Texas, an outdoor recreation park, with facilities adapted to accommodate people with a very wide range of special needs (for physical, cognitive and sensory support), enabling them to have fun outdoors, along with family and friends.

The thinking behind the park is not to segregate people with disabilities, but to address current inequities - the brochure states that "...... currently, less than 10% of those with disabilities participate in daily outside recreation". The facilities appear to be very well thought out, and could provide inspiration for the development of more accessible recreation spaces on a smaller scale in local communities, as well providing a very special "one off" experience. Local San Antonio residents will have regular access, as entry will be free.

The large park is part of an even larger leisure and sporting complex, scheduled for opening early in 2010. It has been financed by a generous philanthropic donation, supported by local government funding, and further fundraising.

Take a look at the Morgan's Wonderland website to see the scope and nature of the facilities, and if you happen to be visiting the US, and Texas in particular, you might check it out and report back on how you enjoyed it.

Friday, 10 July 2009

Indoor Netball for children and teens with disabilities: Penrith

Indoor Netball NSW has scheduled a new activity for children and adolescents with disabilities:

Penrith Indoor Sports & Recreation, Jack Williams Drive, Penrith

Fortnightly on Saturdays from 2:30pm – 3:30/4:00pm

Starting in first the week of September and going until March 2010 with a break over Christmas.

Boys or girls with a disability (but not a physical disability i.e wheelchair) from about 8yrs old to early 20s.

Cost - free (uniforms provided)

Players will be coached in the rules of netball and have opportunities to have a game. Experienced coaches will be following a modified netball program as developed by the University of Victoria.

Anyone interested can contact Sue Barnett (secretary of Indoor Netball NSW) on

Thursday, 9 July 2009

Library Thursdays: See, Sign & Say Series

Last year Tara Hearne & Aileen Ryan produced some beautiful books on various subjects with a picture, word and sign on each page. Now they have updated these books with bright and expressive photographs and added more titles. Titles include: Primary School, Colours, Alphabet, Pre-school, Baby Animals, Animals, Objects, Opposites One, Opposites Two, Verbs, Emotions/Feelings, Teen Feelings, Directions, and Food. 
These would be great books for any young child and even nicer for those who are learning Makaton signing. Aileen has kindly donated a set to the Down Syndrome NSW library.
If you want to borrow any of these, just email us.

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

More City-To-Surf supporters for DS NSW

We now have six runners fund-raising for Down Syndrome NSW in this year's City-to-Surf classic, on Sunday 9th August. Click on their names below to go to the Everyday Hero pages, and pledge your support

We thank them for their generosity and the work they are putting into their preparation and performance - run well and enjoy the race!

Workshops in the Arts for People with Disabilities: Granville and Ermington

WAPD holds four weekly drama/dance workshops catering for clients with varying physical and intellectual disabilities. The program focuses on improving and developing skills in movement, drama, dance and singing, and each ninety minute workshop consists of a wide range of theatre sports, games and dances.

Different classes cater for people with moderate to severe disabilities, and those with mild to moderate disabilities.

Click here for the WAPD website for further details of classes at Granville and at Ermington, information about the program and the tutors, and enrolment forms.

Workhshops in the Arts for People with Disabilities is an activity of Riverside Theatres, Parramatta.

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Penguin Party: fundraiser in Coffs Harbour, 18th July

Click here to download the flier for The Penguin Party - a fundraiser for Down Syndrome NSW in Coffs Harbour, organised by Leila Sweeney.

If you live on the Mid-North Coast are lucky enough to be visiting - join in the party!

18th July at the Coffs Hotel

Contact host at

Far North Coast: Coffee Morning for Parents, Families, Friends and Carers of people with Down syndrome of all ages

When: Wednesday 19th August 2009

Time : 10.00am - 12.00 pm (Approx)
Where : House With No Steps, Wardell Rd, Alstonville

Gold coin donation requested to help cover morning tea

RSVP : Wednesday 13th August 4pm

Trish 0411 693 127 or email

Monday, 6 July 2009

Changes to Carer Payment (care receiver under 16 years).

Along with other organisations, we have been asked to help circulate this information through our networks, by the Australian Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA):

Are you looking after a child under 16 with severe disability or severe medical condition?
If so, you may be interested to know about some changes to Carer Payment that take effect from 1 July 2009.

Carer Payment provides income support to carers who, because of the demands of their caring role, are unable to support themselves through substantial paid work. Carer Payment is income and assets tested and paid at the same rate as other social security pensions.

The most important change is to the way qualification for Carer Payment is assessed. The new method that will be used from 1 July 2009 looks at the carer’s total care load.

Other changes include:

  • recognising more situations when carers will receive the payment, such as caring for:

- one child with severe disability or severe medical condition
- two or more children with disability or medical condition
- an adult with disability and one or more children with disability or medical condition

  • the payment will be available to eligible carers who are looking after a person for a short period of time, that is at least three months, but less than six months
  • more sensitive and generous arrangements for carers of children with a terminal illness
  • removing the 63 day limit on hospitalisation
  • automatic Carer Allowance for carers who qualify for Carer Payment
  • a wider range of health professionals to complete medical forms.

Further information
From 1 July 2009 for information about rates, other available assistance or your potential eligibility you can:

  • visit the payment page on Centrelink’s website
  • telephone Centrelink on 13 27 17 or for TTY service 1800 810 586
  • visit your nearest Centrelink office.

Do you have feedback about these changes?
If so, you can email the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs at or write to:

FaHCSIA - Carer Reform Implementation
PO Box 7576
Canberra Business Centre ACT 2610

All feedback will be acknowledged and carefully considered in our review of Carer Payment over the next 12 months.

Triple P (Positive Parenting Program) - free course for parents of children 0 - 5 with additional needs

A FREE group course for parents with children aged 0-5 years old with additional needs

Practical solutions to common parenting problems
The Triple P positive parenting program can help you find ways to deal with difficult behaviours and support your child.

Triple P is an evidence-based program (backed up by over 25 years proven clinical research) so it works for most families.

Triple P can help you:

  • create a stable, supportive, harmonious family environment

  • teach your children skills to get along with others

  • deal positively, consistently and decisively with problem behaviour

  • encourage behaviour you like

  • develop realistic expectations of your children and yourself
    take care of yourself as a parent.
Every Wednesday, starting 5 August 2009 (four-week program), 5:30 – 7:30pm

Waverley Council’s Family Day Care Centre
25 Ebley St, Bondi Junction 2022

RSVP by Wednesday 15 July

CONTACT Paul Berchtold: PHONE 9310 6300 ; EMAIL or

FACILITATORS Steve Cato (Speech therapist, DADHC) and Paul Berchtold
(Case Manager, DADHC), whose areas of expertise include working with children
with additional needs and challenging behaviours.

Supported by Waverley Council and NSW Dept Ageing, Disability and Home Care

Numicon Training in Sydney, Brisbane and Canberra: August 2009

Numicon is a multi-sensory approach to teaching mathematics for all children, but especially for those with learning difficulties. Margi Leech will be in Australia providing training for parents and for teachers during August.

Please note these are not DS NSW events - any enquiries should be directed to the contacts given in the relevant fliers.


Workshop 1 - for all parents, teachers,

9.30 am – 4.00 pm, Monday 3 August, 2009

Workshop 2 - a workshop for training teachers to become Numicon trainers
9.30 am – 1.00 pm, Tuesday 4 August, 2009

Venue for both days: St Lucy’s School, Wahroonga

Registrations close 27th July 2009

Click here for the Sydney flier for further details


Workshop 1 - for all parents, teachers, educators
9.00 am – 3.45 pm, Wednesday 5 August, 2009

Workshop 2 - a workshop for training teachers to become Numicon trainers
5-8 p.m, Wednesday 5 August, 2009

Venue for both events:Turner School, Turner, ACT

Registrations close 27th July 2009

Click here for the Canberra flier for further details


Workshop 1 - for all parents, teachers, educators
9.30 am – 4.00 pm, Friday 7 August, 2009

Workshop 2 - a workshop for training teachers to become Numicon trainers
9.30 am – 1.00 pm, Saturday 8 August, 2009

Venue for both events: Grange Bowls Club Brisbane

Click here for the Brisbane flier for further details

Registration for Brisbane workshops: via Numicon NZ website only.

Contact Margi Leech at Numicon NZ: or via

Saturday, 4 July 2009

Performers for Professional Integrated Dance Performance Company

From Accessible Arts Newsletter, June 2009:

Call Out : Sydney : Open : Expressions of interest sought by Sydney based movement teacher, choreographer and divisor of new dance work from artists wishing to develop a new integrated Dance Company.

This new group will work on a weekly basis, progressively developing skills in physical performance and material creation as led by Margot Politis and other professional guest collaborators. The intention is to work over time towards regular performances of created material. These performances may include workshop showings, participation in short-works performance programs and eventually stand-alone company performance.

The short-term purpose is to provide professional working and performance opportunities for local artists interested in collaborating in an inclusive and accessible setting.

Click here for further information and contact details.

Restructure of NSW Government Departments and agencies - where will Disability Services fit?

Under the restructure announced recently by the Premier, the existing 160 NSW Government agencies are combined to create 13 ‘super-departments’ which in turn are grouped into 6 ‘Policy Groups.’ There remain 23 Ministers assigned to various policy areas within the super-departments.

The NSW Department of Ageing, Disability and Home Care has been amalgamated into the NSW Department of Human Services, as part of the Social Development Policy Grouping.

The Department of Human Services will be headed by Ms Jennifer Mason, formerly the Director General of the NSW Department of Community Services. The Department of Community Services (DoCS) and the Department of Housing will also be grouped in Human Services.

View a diagram of the new super agency alignment.

Sources: PWD E Bulletin, Issue 54, June 2009; NSW Carers ebulletin, June 2009