The Short Street Crew go on safari!
A holiday is something most people will experience often in their lives and it should be no different for people with a disability who have significant health support needs.
I am proud be able to write about a fantastic group of people we support who all have significant health and medical support needs due to their epilepsy. Seizures are a regular occurrence, having a very real impact on their experience of day to day life.
10th November 2014 will long be remembered as the day the Short Street Crew finally had their first ever holiday!
We started off bright and early on Monday morning. There were a few stops for sightseeing. We assured all people we support that we were able to take our time and enjoy our views along the way.
By the time we got to Dubbo everyone was getting excited as they explored the hotel rooms before retiring to bed early to be fresh the next day.
Over the next few days the Short Street Crew went on safari through Dubbo zoo and learnt all about the wildlife, getting up close and personal with the giraffes.
Marianne was thrilled to hear the zoo keepers tell us one of the giraffe’s names was Mara, which sounded so similar to her own name. Marianne and Muoi explored the Japanese gardens, talking in the culture and appearing to show a real appreciation for the place.
Not everyone was so interested in going on the outing to the Japanese gardens, and the flexibility of the Short Street support team ensures that everyone was able to choose their own activities. While Moui and Marianne were enjoying the gardens, Dina took Andrew and Patrick to see the planes at Dubbo airport.
The whole crew explored Dubbo Gaol, taking in the history, Andrew wasn’t too keen on the tour so was able to come in by himself at a later time and enjoy the tour-even sitting and watching a documentary on the Gaol with the Short Street support staff.
Throughout the trip, the quality of each person’s individual experience was at the front of the mind for the support team. They ensured that even though it was a group holiday, each person had a truly memorable holiday that catered to their unique needs and wants.
This was a huge task for all the staff involved, as well as the team leader who was determined to make this happen.
We have received some really positive feedback from our customers' support networks and have passed on their thanks for all the staff who made this possible.
In addition to thanking the Short Street support team as a group I would like to mention Stephanie Palad RN and regional manager Jo Kernot in particular for their contribution towards the planning and ongoing support that ensured that this idea of taking the Short Street crew on holiday was a fantastic success.
Picton Day Options - spending our fundraising money
The team from Picton day options raised $850 from our recent Bunnings sausage sizzle.
Our plan was to be able to raise enough money to renovate our sensory garden.
This is what we’ve done so far . . . .
We purchased a swing chair.
Organic soil was purchased to fill our newly renovated raised garden beds.
The garden beds were made out of benches which weren’t being utilised.
We took the wood off the tops and repositioned it to make raised beds allowing everyone to be involved in the gardening project. We painted them green and filled them with organic soil.
Picton sand and soil kindly donated some seedlings to get started. Thank you!
We’ve almost got enough left for our pizza oven which will help us to expand our Friday cooking program and begin a sensory bread making activity!
Ruby Murton joined DSA’s Transition to Work at Moss Vale in 2012 and despite craving routine, Ruby is constantly changing her weekly agenda to fit in her many vocational and self development activities.
Within 4 months of joining TTW, Ruby had commenced a TAFE course in Commercial cookery, another course in Bakery and a work experience placement at We Know Pets in Bowral. Initial feedback from her employer was very positive and within months we were discussing paid employment options.
Ruby now works at We Know Pets three mornings a week and is still pursuing her hospitality interests by continuing her Commercial Cookery studies. This year she has even added a Retail and Beauty Course to her agenda, she’s a very busy lady!
Ruby also gives back to the community. She spends some time on weekends working in the kitchen at a retirement village, she volunteers at Meals on Wheels with TTW and she recently participated in the Special Olympics Choir event in the Southern Highlands.
The community in which Ruby lives is regional and gaining employment can be difficult as many in the community have limited, if any, previous experience working with someone with a disability.
Despite these potential barriers, Ruby is helping to demystify the stigmas by getting involved, working hard and striving for success.
Jason Dam (left) and Ruby Murton (right) joint winners of the TTW Job Seeker of the Year Award for 2013
Jason loves to try different things
Jason Dam came to DSA’s Transition to Work in 2012 as a very talkative and energetic young man, he has improved his communications skills through participation in the award winning SoCS program developed at Redfern TTW.
Jason has maintained work at a busy Thai restaurant in Newtown and he has been able to apply some of the practical skills he learnt through SoCS in his workplace. By working on developing his communication skills with TTW Jason has improved relationships with his employers and coworkers and earned a promotion. Jason is now working in a customer service role, taking and making drink orders in the restaurant rather than being behind the scenes in the kitchen.
Jason has identified his work goal as slowly moving into the IT industry.
Working towards this, he has completed a TAFE certificate in IT hardware and maintenance and he has also obtained work experience through DSA working to further develop his IT skills.
In 2013 Jason undertook two further work experience opportunities, one with Goodwill Freelancers, where he has been working with the team to upload information to a range of websites that have been developed for government and not for profit organisations.
John’s goal realised
John has always wanted to take the train to Melbourne. Train and tram travel has been his goal for many years, and DSA was able to support John to travel to Melbourne.
A member of DSA staff assisted John in finding information about how to travel to Melbourne on the train and how much it costs. We ran a weekly program for John to plan his trip and he was so delighted we would hear him telling everyone that he was going on a trip to Melbourne.
DSA staff travelled with John on the train all the way to Melbourne. To John’s delight they even stayed in a hotel with a tram stop right out the front. John rode the trams for the two days he was there and loved it. And didn't want to come back!
The first thing he did on returning was to ask about going again next year.
Sigmund’s life goal was to milk a cow
Sigmund regularly attends the DSA Day program at Picton and identified to DSA staff that a major goal of his was to milk a cow.
DSA contacted a local farm, Mowbray Park, and set up an outing that would help to achieve his goal.
Pat, a staff member who has supported and worked for many years went along with Sigmund. Sigmund was very excited and so was Pat. She picked him up from his house and off they went to Mowbray Park to milk the cows.
Sigmund was offered morning tea before heading out to meet the animals. He milked Rosie the cow and was a "natural". The farm staff said he was very gentle and milked like a professional.
Sigmund was surprised that the milk was warm on his hand and was absolutely delighted to have milked a cow and achieved a lifelong goal.
Assisting Ruby and her family
Ramesh and Layla have a 4 and a half year old daughter, Ruby. They noticed Ruby showing signs of delayed speech development and some behavioural outbursts, among other issues. Ramesh and Layla take Ruby to their Paediatrician who refers Ruby to DSA Psychologist and DSA Speech Pathologist for Autism/Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) Assessment. Ruby's assessments are returned to the Paediatrician for a diagnosis. Ruby is diagnosed with Autism.
Ramesh and Layla contact the Autism Advisory Service.
Ruby is accepted into the Dept. Families, Housing Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (Fahcsia) "Helping Children With Autism" initiative.
Through DSA, Ruby accesses Speech pathology and Psychological Services for Early intervention with her Fahcsia funding. The family can access the additional 20 sessions under Medicare as they require them.