Address details

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

Friday, 31 May 2013

Some people have been busy this week ...

Nice story and picture of Alannah McKeon and Rose Croxford in yesterday's Border Mail:

Alannah McKeown is proud. Not just because she recently won gold and silver in the pool at the state championships in Melbourne. And just not because she will now be one of four Ovens and Murray representatives at the Special Olympics Asia Pacific Games in December.

But because she will wear team Australia’s colours at the opening ceremony.
“I’m looking forward to meeting new people and feeling proud of wearing the green and gold,” Alannah, 17, said
... read and see it all here, in the Border Mail

More Success for The Interviewer
Bus Stop Films' most recent release, The Interviewer has been doing really well on the international film festival circuit, winning awards, and being screened in specialist and mainstream events.

This week, our very best wishes go with Gerard O'Dwyer, as he is nominated for another best actor award at the St Kilda Film Festival, in Melbourne:

Proudly presented by the City of Port Phillip, the 30th St Kilda Film Festival will draw to a close with the Closing Night Awards Ceremony, Saturday, June 1 at the St Kilda Town Hall to announce the winners in these categories as well as the 2013 Audience Award.

Gerard O’Dwyer – The Interviewer
John Batchelor – Huge
Millie Spencer-Brown – Blue Monday
Nicole Nabout – Treading Water
Steve Mouzakis – Joey

Visit the Bus Stop Facebook page to see how busy and successful the Interviewer team have been.

Events for June 2013

Richard and Estelle's Big Day Out
Down Syndrome NSW
Sunday 2nd June 2013
Five Dock

Free information sessions on individualised funding
Resourcing Families
Throughout June
Across regional NSW

Getting Started - workshopsMy Choice Matters
Thursday 6 June 2013  Hornsby
Thursday 27 June 2013  Newcastle

Dance to the Nines
Willoughby Council
Friday 7th June 2013

Nominations for NSW Don't Dis myAbility ambassadors close
Monday 10th June 2013

Proloquo2Go Workshop
12th June

Disability and retirement: Inclusive and active ageing - seminar
Centre for Disability and Research Policy
Friday 14th June 2013

Supported Living - webinar
Family Advocacy
Friday 14th June 2013

Down Syndrome NSW
14 - 16th June 2013
Personal Development and Sexuality forum
Family Planning NSW
Saturday 15th June 2013

My Choice, My Control, My Future: national conference
DisabilityCare Australia
23 – 24 June 2013

Supported Living Fund, Round 3 applications open
NSW Ageing, Disability and Home Care
24th June 2013

Effective reading and language instruction for children with Down syndrome - webinar
Down Syndrome Education International
26th June 2013

Thursday, 30 May 2013

Library Thursday, 30th May 2013: new book, 'Body Talk'

Body Talk: Teaching Students with Disabilities about Body Language written by Pat Crissey, published by Woodbine House, has just arrived in the library.

The book details how to describe and interpret emotions, facial expressions, posture, body orientation eye gaze, personal space, touching and gestures. Written as a guide for parents and educators, the book contains clear explanations and many practical activities. Crissey has been a special educator for over twenty years.

Down Syndrome NSW members can contact Jo via to arrange a loan.

Special iApps releases Android version of popular Special Words app

Special iApps has today released a new version of Special Words – suitable for Android devices.
Special Words is also available for Apple iPad, iPod and iPhone devices.

The Special Words app is designed specifically for children with special needs, including children with Down syndrome. It offers various combinations of picture and word matching exercises to support the teaching of vocabulary and sight word reading (picture-picture, picture-word, word-word).

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

2014 Calendar photos reminder, and Entertainment Books on sale

Siena and Jo have asked that we remind members who wish to see their photos in the 2014 Down Syndrome NSW calendar to please send them in as soon as you can - they are just about ready to begin designing and production so it can be ready in good time for sales.

  •  Email your photos to, telling us who is in the photo and what is happening

2013 - 2014 Sydney, Sydney North and Sydney Greater West Entertainment Books
are on sale now! Enjoy the benefit of discounts and vouchers, and support Down Syndrome NSW at the same time.
  • Click here to purchase your  Entertainment Book

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Proloquo2Go workshops: Spectronics

Spectronics has signalled a new series of workshops around the new Version 3.0 of Proloquo2Go supporting use of iPads for communication:

Brisbane 12th June 
Sydney 24th July
Melbourne 31st July 

More dates and venues to follow

Supporting your family member’s personal development and sexuality in a positive way: Family Planning NSW forum

A forum for parents and carers of people with intellectual disability of all ages
Find out how to support your family member’s personal development and sexuality in a positive way.
  • Experienced presenters to answer your questions 
  • Meet other parents 
  • Free resource bag 
  • Family Planning NSW bookshop open 
Saturday 15 June 2013, 1.00pm - 5.00pm
Family Planning NSW
328-336 Liverpool Road, Ashfield NSW 2131

Attend 2 workshops, choosing from a range of topics
Cost: $15 (includes afternoon tea)

Who should attend?
Parents, foster parents, relatives and other unpaid carers of people with disability are welcome. The forum will address sexuality issues across the lifespan including childhood, adolescence and adulthood.

For further information, visit the Family Planning NSW website here.

Contact: Danielle Fehir, Health Promotion
T: 02 8752 4388     E:

Note: This forum is not intended for service providers. Please see Family Planning's website for information regarding professional education for disability workers.

Saturday, 25 May 2013

Weekend reading and viewing: 25th - 26th May 2013

My Perspective - Short List Announced!
Down's Sybnrome Association (London), 17th May 2013
My Perspective Photographic Competition for UK people with Down's syndrome has gone from strength to strength since 2010, with more than 250 entries this year. The 25 short-listed images have now been dispatched to the judges for them to score in order of personal preference and the winners will be announced on Thursday 6th June at The Orangery, Kew Gardens in London. The shortlisted images can be viewed on the DSA website.

Sarah's Kitchen Creations 
Sarah and Valerie Strohl, United Media Now, 21st May 2013
... a new (online) cooking show for your enjoyment and learning ... you will discover some nifty tricks you can use to help your child learn to be an aficionado in the kitchen. Better yet, the more comfortable you become using these methods in the kitchen, the more comfortable you will become using them throughout your day with your loved one. Sarah is a 14 yr old who has Down syndrome.

New (Kentucky) state law educates about Down syndrome
Harold Kleinert, Kentucky Voices:, 22nd May 2013
There is no event so momentous as the birth of a child, and there is no time when accurate information is more critical than when new or expectant parents receive a diagnosis of Down syndrome.

Read more here:

Are more babies with Down syndrome born to younger mothers?
Frank Buckley, Frank Talk (Down Syndrome Education International), 23rd May 2013
Although the chance of giving birth to a baby with Down syndrome begins to rise quite quickly for mothers aged over 30 years, in most countries it has traditionally been the case that more babies are born to younger than to older women. This was because, in general, many more babies were born to younger women than to older women. But, is this still the case?

Read more here:
(US) National Down Syndrome Society, (My Great Story Project), 21st May 2013
Jay Nothnagle, a 30-something-year-old bachelor ... lives in his own apartment, has a job, owns a pick-up truck and happens to have Down syndrome. Jay shows how getting his driver's license changed his life and changed others' perceptions.

Randee Dawn, Today, 21st May 2013
Dame Helen Mirren stepped forward to invite (Oliver) to the Gielgud Theatre to see her play the Queen -- and invited him backstage to share tea and cake and to meet the corgis who star in the play with her. There were even footmen. And naturally, she was in costume the entire time.

Divorce: Does "Down syndrome advantage" exist?
Maureen Wallace, She Knows: Parenting, 23rd May 2013
Can a child's extra chromosome exponentially strengthen a marriage? Research points to a lower divorce rate compared with parents of children with other disabilities and even couples whose children have no special needs.

Studio ARTES promotional video
Studio ARTES,1st May 2013
Studio ARTES is an independent non-profit organisation offering creative programs to aduts with disabilities in Sydney's northern suburbs. 3m 15s

NDIS: Intentional community up and running
Fran Kelly interviews Sally Richards, ABC Radio National Breakfast, 22nd May 2013
Earlier this month we spoke with Canberra mother Sally Richards, whose son Jackson has a profound intellectual disability, about her strong support for the National Disability Insurance Scheme. Twenty-seven-year-old Jackson has since moved out of home into a unique housing estate known as an Intentional Community, which could be one of the very first of its kind in the world. Click 'download audio'. 8m 38s 

2013 PossABLE IDEAS Expo workshop presentations
IDEAS, 22nd May 2013
A program of community and individual capacity building workshops to assist individuals, family members, professionals and the community understand the changing environment and the move to individualised funding and a person centred approach. Weaving through the streams of workshops is the recognition that safeguards need constant tending and understanding for self advocacy, and other protections should they be necessary. A compilation of some of the workshop presentations from the 2013 PossABLE IDEAS Expo workshop program (from the event in Newcastle, 3rd - 4th May 2013).

Friday, 24 May 2013

Commentary on how the NDIS will work at the front lines

After the flurry of political activity and commentary as the NDIS and its funding was debated and legislated, this week has shifted to focus more on what its implementation will actually mean for  the everyday lives of people with disability and their families:
Damian Griffis, Ramp Up, 16th May 2013
For the NDIS to be a positive change in the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disabilities, that change must be driven by the community itself ...

New bid to address Indigenous disability
Thea Cowie World News Australia (radio transcript), 21st May 2013
Indigenous people with a disability face many barriers including the fact that their own languages don't even recognise the word. But after years of neglect Australia's first people are hopeful they will finally get the assistance they need.

Passive to active: NDIS shifts disability focus
Ya'el Frisch, Ramp Up, 22nd May 2013
Until now, Australians with disability have seemingly been cast in the role of passive welfare recipients, with little control over whatever support was available. With the National Disability Insurance Scheme, Ya'el Frisch hopes this role shifts to active empowerment, where people are able to imagine, enable and realise the life they want.

DisabilityCare now a reality but how can we protect its future?

Donna McDonald, The Conversation, 20th May 2013
(This) is the first time in Australian history that disability has been at the centre of a federal budget ... These days, nearly all countries have some type of public funding program covering different aspects of disability assistance. Approaches differ based on the economic prosperity and status of disability rights in individual nations. The lessons that can be learnt from abroad depend on what we want to learn.

The long wait to fix a very broken system

Kirsty Needham, Sydney Morning Herald, 19th May, 2013
It will be a frustratingly long wait before Sydney families living with disability can experience the promised safety net of DisabilityCare Australia. For all the legislation passed in Federal Parliament, the bipartisan funding commitments, and the public goodwill that has helped a 0.5 per cent rise in the Medicare levy pass so swiftly - without even a murmur of ''no new tax'' - it will be five years before the new era of services based around personal needs and goals will begin for Sydney residents with a disability.

DS NSW Family picnic: revised starting time

Please note that the starting time for the Down Syndrome NSW family picnic scheduled for Sunday 2nd June has been revised to 12.30 pm, at Livvi's Place in Timbrell Park, Five Dock

University of Western Sydney survey of parents with young children with additional needs

What is this study about?
The Australian Government will soon introduce the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). We think that most families will get information about the NDIS from websites. To make this as easy as possible we want you to tell us where you get information to help your child with additional needs, what you look for and how it should be set out.

Funding to do this study has come from the Practical Design Fund (Department of Families, Community Services, Housing and Indigenous Affairs).

Who is doing this study?
The researchers are Associate Professor Christine Johnston, Dr Danielle Tracey, Dr Fiona Papps and Sylvana Mahmic.

Early Childhood Intervention Australia (ECIA) is also helping with the study. If you would like more information please contact Christine either on or 02 4736 0782

Thursday, 23 May 2013

My Choice, My Control, My Future conference

DisabilityCare Australia is holding a two day conference in Melbourne.  It will feature speakers such as the Minister for Disability Reform Jenny Macklin and Disability Discrimination Commissioner Graeme Innes. Early bird registrations are now open. 

My Choice, My Control, My Future: DisabilityCare Australia
23 – 24 June 2013
Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre

The conference will bring together more than 1,000 Australians to discuss DisabilityCare Australia, the national disability insurance scheme.

The conference will provide a forum for people to share their unique experiences with disability, find out about the DisabilityCare, how it will work and how governments will help people and service providers transition to this new system of support.

Library Thursday, 23rd May 2013

  • The Shape of the Eye ebook

George Estreich’s book The Shape of the Eye has just been published in paperback and e-book formats. Originally published in 2011, this memoir is a work of creative non-fiction written by poet and stay-at-home father George, exploring the arrival of Laura into the family. 
You can read the Introduction  here. 
Now that the book is available in new formats, consider asking your local library to purchase a copy -  it is good to encourage public libraries to increase their  resources about Down syndrome available to the general community. DS NSW does not currently hold e-books, but we do have a copy of the 2011 hard cover edition of The Shape of the Eye available in our library, for members to borrow.

  • Down Synrome News Vol 36, Spring 2013, published by the (US) National Down Syndrome Congress, is now available onlineThis issue's main features are:

Managing Behavior in Children with Down Syndrome -  How Understanding Leads to Intervention: Sensory Considerations (Part 1)Mary Pipan, MD, Clinical Director, Trisomy 21 Program, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
Adorable, well mostly. Loved, absolutely. Frustrating, of course. Social, usually, but not always appropriately. Communicative, but not always easy to understand. Can be compliant, but “no” is a favorite word. Not quite“my way or the highway.” Flops and drops ... This article is available in both English and Spanish.
My First Voting Experience, Jenna Quigley
This year was my first time voting - and it was in the presidential election. 
Reviews of When Down syndrome and autism intersect; Lucky dogs, lost hats and dating don'ts; Try reading again: how to motivate and teach older beginners, age 10 and up; The boys' guide to growing up: choices and changes during puberty
... and further information about the NDSC 2013 Convention in Denver, Colorado.
An archive of past issues of Down Syndrome News isavailable here.

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Calling for professionals - share your experience with SAGE-ID?

On the Successful Ageing in Intellectual Disability Study's Facebook page 21st May 2013:
The Successful Ageing in Intellectual Disability study is calling for professionals who are involved in the care and support of people with ID or have experience of working with adults with ID. 
We are conducting focus groups, asking professionals to come together across service sectors and share their experiences of these issues. 
We hope that together we can build a complete picture of the needs of the ID and family carer population and generate ideas on how we can respond effectively to this ageing group of individuals. 
If you are interested in attending this discussion group, please RSVP to indicating your availability: 

Professor Cliff Cunningham 1941 - 2013

Carol Boys, Chief Executive, Down’s Syndrome Association in London has posted a tribute to Professor Cliff Cunningham (Liverpool John Moores University), psychologist, writer and researcher, who worked with children and adults with Down syndrome and their families for more than 40 years. Prof Cunningham died last week in the UK after a long illness.

Prof Cunningham was an advisor to the Board of Down Syndrome International - their information about his work is here.

If the person with Down syndrome you care for more than 20, it is quite possible that Prof Cunningham's book, Down syndrome: an introduction for parents and carers, was one of the first and most useful information sources you discovered. It was first published in 1982, with a third edition published in 2006.

His work will continue to be highly valued, and he will be sadly missed.

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Inner West social club: CatholicCare

CatholicCare has formed a new Social Club for people with disabilities over the age of 18 years old, that live with a carer, within the Inner West area of Sydney. 

Referrals will be taken to the end of May.
We will be taking small groups out into the community to the picnics, bowl
ing, arts and craft, cooking, clubs, putt putt golf, BBQ’s, movies, beaches, train and ferry trips and museums all these activities will be held across the week. 
We are aiming to keep activity costs as low as possible, however there will be a small cost involved in each activity to cover the price of entry, lunch or materials. The costs, time and date will be sent out on a quarterly calendar, then you will need to return to the office and then you will receive the confirmation of your activity choice prior to the first activity. 
We may not be able to offer you a place in every single activity, however we are we aim to offer an alternative activity where possible.
  • Contact: Terrie or Anela on 8778 4222 for more information.

NSW Carers Awards 2013

NSW Ageing, Disability and Home Care has announced that nominations for the NSW Carers Awards 2013
More than one in 10 people in NSW are carers. Carers can be anyone including parents, partners, brothers, sisters, friends, sons or daughters. They provide unpaid support to those who need it because of a disability, mental illness, chronic health condition, dementia or ageing. 
The 2013 NSW Carers Awards acknowledge and celebrate the significant unpaid contribution carers make to the person (or people) they care for and to the community.

Monday, 20 May 2013

Natalie runs 42k all the way for Down Syndrome NSW!

Thank you Natalie Bartolo, for your support of the work of Down Syndrome NSW, and our best wishes for your preparation and training and for the Marathon:
I am going to be running in the Gold Coast Marathon on 7 July 2013. It has given me the opportunity to raise funds for Down Syndrome NSW.
You can support Natalie and her fundraising for Down Syndrome NSW here.

On Down syndrome-Autism dual diagnosis

Theory of Mind: Having Empathy and Sympathy for Others
Bill Nason, Autism Discussion Page, posted Friday 17th May 2013
From a developmental model, like DIR (Greenspan), theory of mind comes from back and forth, affective interaction between the parents and child. It is the early interactions of parent and child engaging in emotion based, back and forth, interaction that invites the child to begin to look for, and read the feelings, perspective, and intentions of the other person. From there theory of mind grows further in pretend play with the parent, where they are acting out roles of the characters.

Down Syndrome-Autism Connection
This is a US based organisation, whose activities include global outreach through social media:
Welcome to our new BLOG...where families and their supporters will post their stories, challenges and triumphs with the Down Syndrome-Autism Connection™ family.
Come and join us.  Share your experiences.  Educate the world.  And join a community of people who have definitely walked a mile in your shoes.
Down Syndrome-Autism Connection and the (US) National Down Syndrome Congress are offering a DS_Autism track, for the first time, as part of the highly regarded NDSC annual Convention in Denver, Colorado in July this year.  Read more here, on the NDSC website. Papers and recordings from the Convention will be available to those unable to attend, shortly after the event.

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Weekend reading and viewing: 18th - 19th May 2013

Sophie's candid camera and pluck moves Gillard to tears
Dan Harrison, Sydney Morning Herald, 16th May 2013
She is the girl that brought the Prime Minister to tears. Twelve-year-old Sophie met Julia Gillard when she announced her plan to increase the Medicare levy to help pay for DisabilityCare.
Sophie, who has Down syndrome, saw the Prime Minister again later that week when, with Victorian Premier Denis Napthine, she signed an agreement to roll out the scheme across the state. A budding photographer, she asked the Prime Minister whether she could take her photo.
And check out Julia Gillard's new profile photo on Facebook: This photograph was taken by Sophie Deane, a 12 year old girl from Melbourne with Down Syndrome.
Craig Wallace, Ramp Up, 15th May 2013
Craig Wallace reflects on the "hope, reward and opportunity" offered by the 2013/14 Federal Budget: One of the best things to happen to disability over the last few years has been seeing our transformation from a single issue group wallowing at the margins of progressive politics to a bipartisan movement with champions across the Parliament.

A moment in time
Every Australian Counts, 16th May 2013
This week our government passed legislation that will deliver secure, ongoing funding for the National Disability Insurance Scheme, now known as DisabilityCare. Together we have changed our country for the better, for good. Watch and share this video today to celebrate this moment in history.

Christine and Erin
Christien Regan, NSW Council on Intellectual Disability
On the 12th October 2002, just as Bali was being bombed, my beautiful daughter with Down syndrome was having a devastating stroke. Prior to the stroke, Erin was a vital young woman of 25 years.
More in the NSW CID series, 'Real Stories' can be read here.

Different Sneakers
Jessica Melville, (US) National Down Syndrome Society
At 17 years old, Jessica discovered she was pregnant with a baby (Jaylin) with Down syndrome. This is the story of how she came to terms with the diagnosis that changed her world. 
Video, and a link to an expanded written version.

The Junction House Band: 25 years and still rocking 
Accessible Arts, 16th May 2013
Started by residents of The Junction House, a non-residential community centre for adults with a mild intellectual disability, the band is notable for having three founding members still in the lineup. Vocalist Brook Crowley, pianist Albert Blackley and Tony Elkins on bass have been with the band for over 25 years. Acoustic guitarist Nina Gotsis (who has Down syndrome), violinist Rebecca White and Greg Chui on electric guitar complete the current lineup.

Heart Surgery, Down Syndrome And A Graphic Novel
Chip Reece, Bleeding Cool, 13th May 2013
In 2010 I would have laughed myself into a coma had I been told I would be writing a comic book. Actually, the truth is I didn’t do much laughing at all, because it was the scariest year of my life. That was the year we found out my unborn son would have a congenital heart defect, and several characteristics common with Down syndrome ... 

Tea Time
Dave Hingsburger, Rolling Around in My Head, 17th May 2013
We had our tea, I had gone with a friend from work, and chatted in the cafe. It was full of sound and laughter and great good spirit. My tea was good. The whole experience was better.

Human Rights Commission lobbying for legal reform for intellectually disabled
Nance Haxton, The World Today (ABC Radio), Tuesday, March 5, 2013
The Human Rights Commission is lobbying the country's top lawmakers for national reforms that would allow people with an intellectual disability to give evidence in court proceedings. Many cases of alleged sexual abuse against disabled people in Australia don't proceed to court, because people with an intellectual disability are often seen as unreliable witnesses.

Friday, 17 May 2013

'Finally a more caring, equitable approach'

An opinion piece from Community Disability Alliance Hunter:

Linda Hughes and Catherine Mahony, Newcastle Herald, May 15, 2013

It’s hard to remember a time when disability was in the headlines as often as it is these days.

Even better, it’s featuring in a good news story of bipartisan support for a social reform that will dramatically and positively change the lives of over 400,000 Australians.

... In less than two months, DisabilityCare will become a reality, which Hunter residents with disability and their families will be among the first to experience. ... For the people with disability and families whom (the Prime Minister) has met, as well as for thousands of Hunter residents, the National Disability Insurance Scheme will change lives in ways we have not yet begun to imagine

Free information sessions on individualised funding: regional NSW

Free information sessions, presented by Resourcing Families:

"Individualised Funding in NSW - What could it mean for you?"

Tuesday 4th June Wagga Wagga
Wednesday 5th June Queanbeyan 
Thursday 6th June Mittagong 
Friday 7th June Bankstown
Tuesday 25th June Tweed Heads
Wednesday 26th June Lismore
Thursday 27th June Grafton
Friday 28th June Armidale
For further information visit the Resourcing Families website

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Arts news

Teaching Creative Arts in the Special Needs Classroom
Only 50 spaces are available at this accredited teachers' professional development day - a partnership between Sydney Opera House, the Museum of Contemporary Art and Accessible Arts, so book early!

Monday 15 July
Sydney Opera House and the MCA.

You will discover how dance, music, theatre and visual arts can unlock your students’ learning in stimulating and enjoyable ways and learn practical strategies to incorporate the arts into your classroom practice. 

Performance in the Gallery - Hawkesbury
A series of ten workshops held for people with mild to moderate physical and intellectual disabilities during school terms. Covering a wide range of skills including sound making, gesture and action, movement and stillness, and performance making with text, workshops are held in the fun, friendly and stimulating environment of the Hawkesbury Regional Gallery, surrounded by art.

Registration for terms 3 and 4 now open. 

Ablefest - Call for Entries
Parramatta Council is seeking to increase positive media images of people with disabilities. We’re looking for short films that promote positive perceptions and the rights of people with disabilities.

Films can be a satire, drama, comedy, action, animation, or documentary etc., so long as they fulfil this requirement.

Entry deadline 4pm Thursday, 19 September, 2013
Accessible Arts Annual Report - available online
Accessible Arts is the peak arts and disability organisation across New South Wales. 
Its 2012 Annual Report is now available for download. Chairperson Emeritus Professor Sharman Pretty is impressed by the depth, breadth and reach of our organisation ...

Library Thursday 16th May 2013

If only there were a way of being in New York City at the end of May to attend the Sprout Film Festival ('a showcase of films featuring people with intellectual disabilities') at The Metropolitan Museum of Art ...

We received an email from Welcome Change Productions drawing attention to a series of “poetry videos” from Sprout, some of which have been uploaded to You Tube - start with Hold Me Down , written by Cam Lasley, a New Yorker with Down Syndrome. You can read an interview with the founder of Sprout, Anthony Di Salvo here.

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

2013 - 2014 Federal Budget and the NDIS: content and commentary

Image: NDIS Overview - DisabilityCare Australia, p 2

Every Australian Counts campaign, 14th May 2013
The Federal Government handed down its Budget on Tuesday 14 May. In it Treasurer Wayne Swan outlined the Government’s plan to fully fund the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

John Della Bosca, Every Australian Counts Campaign Director, said:
“The Budget rights a wrong that has existed for decades. Australia has failed people with a disability and those who care for them. Tonight’s Budget demonstrates that we are a nation that does what is right. 
“Tonight’s Budget makes the dream of the NDIS a certainty.”
People with Disability Australia, 14th May 2013
People with Disability Australia welcomes the Government's commitment to lock in full funding for the NDIS through a commitment of $14.3 billion of new money over seven years to move to full implementation of the scheme by 1 July 2019.

"This is an important moment for Australians with a disability and provides a lifeline to around 460,000 people with disability and families mired in crisis," said People with Disability Australia President Craig Wallace.

"We now call on the coalition to support a permanent levy flowing into a secured fund as a way of safeguarding the scheme and ensuring that it continues to grow and manage growing future demand for disability services," said Mr Wallace. "We cannot afford a return to the rationed system which kept 600,000 people in poverty and locked out of employment."

"The creation of this investment fund growing over ten years will raise $20.4 billion and the future of the fund is linked to the future of the NDIS and the future sustainability of the financial arrangements with the states," said Mr Wallace.

People with Disability Australia supports the linking of these payments to the performance of states and territories in delivering the NDIS and extending coverage across their eligible populations and calls upon Western Australia to sign onto the scheme and meet the conditions so that Western Australians with disability can access this additional support.

"Deloitte Access Economics report has identified a $43 billion dollar increase in GDP if Australia increases the participation rate by around one third," said Mr Wallace. "There is a very clear return to the Australian people and the money invested will go directly to disability care and the spending will be transparent."

Case study: family with disabled children
Sydney Morning Herald, 15th May 2013
'It does give the security my kids need.'

Tips and tools for living with celiac disease

May is Celiac Awareness Month in the US. Joan Medlen, dietician, parent and author of The Down Syndrome Nutrition Handbook, is contributing through her blog, or you can request email alerts:
Awareness about celiac disease is especially important for people with Down syndrome and those who support them. Regardless of family history, it’s a possibility for everyone with Down syndrome. 
With that in mind, I’ve decided to share a tip a day in the month of May about Celiac disease and its treatment, a gluten-free diet. 
... read more here, at Down Syndrome Nutrition

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Hands Can Talk: Proloquo2go workshops

Are you interested in attending a Proloquo2Go workshop? Hands Can Talk has some coming up and you must book in to attend. 
  • see the new features, hear the new Australian children's voices
  • see how Proloquo2Go works with Scan switch. 
  • learn how to navigate your way through Proloquo2Go, 
  • set up a user 
... and much much more.

MAY 15th 9.30am to 4pm 
Learning Links Mt Pritchard 
$50 each BYO lunch. 
Some places still available

MAY 25th 9.30am to 4pm  
North Rocks
$50 each BYO lunch.
2 vacancies only

MAY 28th 9.30am to 4pm 
$60 (lunch included).

Enquiries and booking: Aileen Ryan at Hands Can Talk, 02 9824 8332

Two nomination processes now open: one NSW, one national

  • Nominate a NSW Don't DIS my ABILITY ambassador for 2013
Nominations are open from 9.00am Monday 13 May until midnight Monday 10 June. 

Each year, a number of people are selcted to be ambassadors for the  NSW Don’t DIS my ABILITY campaign. Ambassadors support and strengthen Don’t DIS my ABILITY by serving as the voice of the campaign to the community. With help from campaign staff, ambassadors communicate key campaign messages, share personal stories, and ultimately raise awareness of the abilities and achievements of people with disability.
  • National Disability Awards 2013
The 2013 National Disability Awards will take place in the Great Hall at Parliament House in Canberra on Tuesday 26 November 2013. 
Nominations in nine categories are now open and are scheduled to close on 5pm AEST Friday 28 June 2013.

Monday, 13 May 2013

Northern Territory signs up for the NDIS

All in, except Western Australia:

Image: Every Australian Counts campaign, 11th May 2013

Down Syndrome NSW Family Picnic Day

Keep the first Sunday in June free as Down Syndrome NSW will be hosting a traditional picnic in the park for people with Down syndrome and their friends and family. All ages welcome.

Bring along your picnic paraphernalia - rugs, baskets and food to share. This is an informal, free community event and a great way to connect with other families, catch up with old friends and make new ones.

10am - 2pm, Sunday 2 June 2013
Timbrell Park, Five Dock (Sydney)

It would be helpful for us to have an indication of numbers of people likely to attend, so that we can make any necessary arrangements. Please contact