Category Archives for "Disability"

Mar 27 2020

Staying safer in a Wheelchair – Tips for wheelchair users and those who love or work with them

Staying safer in a Wheelchair through COVID-19

Cleaning your Chair
Everytime someone different touches your chair, or you leave home or come back, you’ll want to have these bits cleaned with a proper disinfectant (baby wipes DO NOT CUT IT and will NOT kill the virus).

  • Joystick
  • Head controls
  • Mouth controls
  • Push handles
  • Headrest
  • Armrests
  • Side guards
  • Back of the wheelchair

  Cleaning Other Assistive Equipment and stuff
Don’t forget other equipment you might use, like:

  • Feeding and drinking equipment
  • Walkers
  • Crutches/sticks
  • Bathroom and other rails
  • Steering wheel and door buttons and handles on cars
  • Any equipment that you handle or put near your mouth
  • Oxygen tanks
  • Transfer seats
  • Medical stuff like bags/continence related needs
  • Medication or other items in your home
  • A backpack or purse that touches your chair


Staying Safe When You’re Out
You could think about:

  • If you have plastic gloves wear them when you are out of your home.
    • DO NOT Touch your face with the plastic gloves and always clean anything you have touched after you dispose of the gloves.
  • If you travel in a taxi or bus etc, do not touch anything metal and avoid touching anything except your wheelchair.

Don’t forget that these tips are all ON TOP OF all the precautions that everyone should be considering – like disinfecting doorknobs, keyboards, remotes, computer tablets/ipads, phones, fridge handles, cupboard handles, light switches, taps etc etc – this is NOT an exhaustive list by any stretch.

Maybe now is a good time to get some voice controlled stuff set up in your home – lights etc can all be run without having to touch anything and if you are a wheelchair user looking for more independence and light switches are hard for you, I reckon you could claim those light bulbs (available at hardware and office supply places and even BigW etc.) from your core NDIS funds if you are self or plan managed.

To download the poster, visit www.thegrowingspace.com.au/covid19

HUGE thanks to Yellow Submarine for the poster and info – they share some cool stuff, so worth a follow!

Pis desc: A meme in light blue with the following words and a checklist:

Crip the Coronavirus
Keeping safe from the Coronavirus
These parts of my wheelchair should be disinfected any time a new person comes into contact with my chair or when I leave and return from my home

Joystick
Head controls
Mouth controls
Head rest
Arm rests
Side guards
Back of the wheelchair
Push handles
Other

Remember – disinfect with a 70% alcohol based solution, wipe down anything you touch, including in the car, medications, equipment and purses, backpacks
Support workers, wear gloves during personal care

Yellow Sub Down Under logo and an image of Professor X from the X men, a white man sitting in a wheelchair with x shaped wheels

https://www.facebook.com/yellowsubmarinedownunder
Mar 22 2020

Top 31 Ways to use Support Workers while avoiding COVID-19

For some participants, personal care, lifting and other physical support needs means you can’t avoid having direct contact with support workers.

But there are many people in the NDIS, who don’t need that physical support. If you are one of those people, you can ask your support workers to help support you, but to work to not touch you or get close to you. Here are a stack of ideas. Please feel free to add your own to share!

The most important thing is to always make sure they wash their hands, really well, as soon as they arrive or meet you.

So, depending on your support needs, your worker could maybe:

  1. meet you outside and go for a walk together, keeping a few metres apart
  2. sit outside, 2 metres apart, and learn to play an instrument together (like ukulele, or the recorder
  3. make and/or fly a kite at the local park
  4. leave your laundry outside the front door, and ask your support worker to pick it up, take it home, wash and dry, and then return it if they’re ok to do this
  5. get a free skype account and talk, and read books, help prompt or direct you with cooking something yummy, watch a TV show or movie at the same time as you, play online games together or even do your online shopping together
  6. take you for a drive (with you in the back if you’re not driving!) with the windows down and play the music loud and sing (this may not be a safe enough distance apart, however)
  7. help you find and collect some free or cheap basic gym equipment, set it up outside, and have the worker direct, from a safe distance, a great workout
  8. if legal and safe, have a fire pit set up and sit either side of it and tell ghost stories, or eat lots of marshmallows
  9. google outdoor yard pranks and have some fun with neighbourhood friends
  10. try geocaching
  11. sit across an outside table at home, and pain rocks, and then walk to a local park and hide them for others to find (google “painted rocks” to learn more)
  12. letterbox the neighbours with you and offer to walk their dogs for free or pay
  13. do your shopping and errands without you if you are at risk, so you are less likely to be exposed
  14. find a free or cheap outdoor table on gumtree or facebook, make a net from an old pair of stockings, grab some table tennis bats online and play ping pong outside in the driveway (or beer pong if you’re old enough and like beer as much as my son!)
  15. wash the car together, but always on opposite sides of the car, and wear gloves
  16. build a garden together and grow some food, herbs or pretty flowers
  17. have your worker help you facetime with your friends
  18. learn a new language together (maybe Auslan – sign language)
  19. tennis is a low contact game, and maybe renting a couple of kayaks or going for a bike ride could work to get outside
  20. remote art programs
  21. have them help you sort out a home budget
  22. check out the bazillions of online learning apps and homeschool resources
  23. do some virtual tours of some of the world’s greatest museums and art galleries
  24. play Pictionary or scrabble by zoom
  25. develop a daily routine and make some visual schedules together
  26. learn to do some outdoor household chores – like sweeping or picking up the dog poop
  27. teach the dog a few new tricks – tonnes of great YouTube videos to learn this
  28. learn a magic trick together
  29. but a cheap blind from the bargain bin, and see if you can borrow or score an old cheap projector, and set up an outdoor cinema at home for an evening – just keep those bean bags a few metres apart
  30. learn about botany, and collect samples from your local parks and build an album of dried leaves and flowers
  31. make a podcast remotely together

I’ve not included links for all of these – a quick google will probably get you a bunch of good answers!

This list was compiled, in part, with some ideas from the (awesome) people in the “NDIS Self-Managing Participants And Their Families” Facebook Group. Thank you for their brilliant ideas.

Feel free to share this list, with credit, but add your own ideas, too!

22 March 2020

Mar 22 2020

FREE COVID19 Webinar for NDIS Participants and Families

For disabled people and families – Practical strategies and ideas, led by Sam Paior – The Growing Space
1 hour on Wednesday March 25th

WA: 8:00AMNT: 9:30AMQLD: 10:00AMSA: 10:30AMVIC/ACT/NSW/TAS: 11:00AM

Book here now: thegrowingspace.com.au/covid19/ (Auslan Interpreter AND live captioning now booked!)


In this one hour Zoom webinar, we are not going to just tell you to wash your hands – you already know about that.
But we ARE going to go through ways to manage service providers and day options and ADE closures and talk about the big issues – and what happens if someone in my group home tests positive?
As well as ways to creatively utilise your support workers now that many recreation options are also closed.
We’ll also talk about related NDIS issues and options and ideas for looking after yourself and those you love.


We expect this to be the first in a series as everything is changing so quickly!


Many thanks to Disability Services Consulting for sharing their zoom webinar service with us to use.
pic desc: a blue confused looking icon of a virus with two sharp white teeth and googly eyes

Mar 19 2020

Support Co-ordination in a Pandemic – a practical checklist for Support Coordinators

Contact EVERY client and help them assess their critical needs, supports and ability to manage if/when it all goes pear shaped.

Here are the questions (reworded from our internal slightly to take out my swearing and add a few things I missed) our team are talking to our clients about.

  1. Do they know what this is all about – have families/carers explained the current situation? Here’s an easy English resource: https://www.thegrowingspace.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Easy-English-Coronavirus-TheGrowingSpace-2020.pdf and a social story: https://carolgraysocialstories.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Pandemics-and-the-Coronavirus.pdf
  2. Do they understand the risks for them (ie: are they at greater risk – smoker, lung concerns, diabetes, immunosuppressed for example – not an exhaustive list) – point them to official information sources https://www.health.gov.au/ and the COVID hotline: 1800 020 080
  3. Are they considering self-isolating and if so, what preparation has been done?
  4. Do they have a week or two of essential supplies – food, hygiene, cleaning
  5. Do they have a month of prescription medication and over-the-counter medication (don’t forget laxatives!)
  6. Do they have enough consumables – continence aids, wipes, catheters, feeling tube gear to last a month or so?
  7. What are their CRITICAL (could die without) support needs, and do the providers of these supports have a plan in place to support them?
  8. If they have significant critical support needs, is there a way a worker could move in a self-isolate with them?
  9. Can their family/informal supports cover if support workers are no longer available – what is the back-up plan if they’re not available?
  10. What are their plans for support if/when day options/ADE/school closes, or if someone in their group home gets sick?
  11. Have they consider having support workers doing as much work as possible outside with participants, keeping well apart if possible, and have they considered all the ways a support worker can help remotely to reduce risk (obviously this won’t be possible for everyone!)
  12. Do they have a cleaner and do they want to keep them on – consider only allowing the cleaner to use the participant’s cloths, mop, duster and vacuum to reduce the chances of spread.
  13. Handwashing – do they understand the protocol, and are they confident to demand this of workers – if self employing or contracting, do they know about the free training on offer – https://covid-19training.com.au/login.php and https://training.disabilityservicesconsulting.com.au/products/infectionfree and, could they put up a poster https://www.thegrowingspace.com.au/a-sign-for-your-door-or-workplace-covid-19/, and set up a handwashing station outside to use before anyone even enters the house? (no-one should share the handtowels which should be washed daily in 60deg water, or they could use paper towels potentially)
  14. NDIS – do they know about the changes – ability to rollover plans etc? Make sure you are well across the daily updates at https://www.ndis.gov.au/understanding/ndis-and-other-government-services/ndis-and-disaster-response#faq
  15. Check in on their mental health – this is a very stressful time for many – ask how often they’d like you to check in, and potentially refer/suggest support from mental health professionals
  16. Follow up with an email for those for whom it might be useful – outline the stuff they’re already doing to prepare, they stuff you talked about that they could action, and the things you’re going to do for them, as well as when you will contact them next (this email could likely work as your casenote).

Please don’t assume you know the answers to above without that direct conversation (where possible). I have been surprised by the gaps, and our support and ideas have been appreciated.

At The Growing Space, we have worked to assign each participant a risk level (A-D) to help us know when things get really bad, who is most at risk, based on the answers to these questions – it also means that if one of our team can’t work,  someone else should be able to quickly and easily pick up and follow up with those who need it the most.

And don’t forget – what is *your* plan for maintaining your mental health, and what is *your* back-up plan if you can’t look after your clients yourself?

Support Coordinators are not medical or legal professionals, so don’t cross those boundaries – be aware of your limitations and refer out as needed.

All the best during these tough times!

Copyright of The Growing Space 2020 – please share, but with credit and no edits. And remember – this is not medical or legal advice, and is very time sensitive – things are changing very quickly  – seek professional advice if you need it!                   March 20, 2020

pic desc: an illustrated green virus icon with an open mouth and scared looking eyes.

Mar 13 2020

A sign for your door or workplace – COVID-19

Feel free to download and use one of these on your front door – at home and your workplace to remind people to stay away if they’re sick, and to wash their hands as they come in.

You’re welcome to share these freely

Here is a .pdf version: https://www.thegrowingspace.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Do-Not-Enter-TGS.pdf

And here is a .jpg image version: https://www.thegrowingspace.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/BIG-PURPLE-DO-NOT-ENTER-SIGN-MARCH-2020.jpg

Mar 03 2020

Coronavirus/COVID19 Easy English Resource

This is useful for those with low literacy, intellectual or cognitive disability, learning disability, and for some from CALD or ATSI backgrounds. In the pdf each sentence below is accompanied by a relevant image. The language is simple and clear and accessible. The resource is five pages long and covers information about self isolation and business closures and distancing rules.

This handout is copyright of The Growing Space 2020. You are welcome to share, copy and distribute this handout whole, with credit and no edits. If you would like to publish this handout, please contact us at info@TheGrowingSpace.com.au for approval.

Dec 27 2019

Emergency and crisis phone numbers and helplines

Please download and print a pdf of this list to keep somewhere prominent in your home and workplace. You just never know when you need to call, for yourself, someone you love, someone you work with, or a stranger on the street.

Click Here: Emergency List to download and print here

The downloadable document linked above includes clickable links to phone numbers and websites for more than 40 Australian helplines under the following topics.

Emergency services

Alcohol and drugs

Crisis counselling

The National Disability Abuse and Neglect Hotline

Domestic violence

Eating Disorders

Gambling

Health

Homelessness

LGBTI

Men

Mental Health

Police assistance

Seniors

Sexual assault

Suicide prevention

Veterans

Victim/Survivor support

Women

Young people

Aug 25 2019

Joining a club!

Here is a list of handy phrases for community organisations and sports clubs to use when a disabled person or a family with a child with disability comes to enrol in your program/scouts/ballet class/choir/soccer club/karate club etc.

– Welcome. We’re looking forward to having you in our group!
– I haven’t had a child here with xxx before so I need to learn more – let’s figure it out how to make this work together. 
– Let’s give this a go and see how we can make it work.
– What do I need to know to make this a success for you/your kid?
– What is your advice on how we can make this work?
– How can we really include you/your child in our club/class? Are there things we can change to make an easier transition?
– We will find a way
– What is the best way to communicate with you/your child?
– We are learning how to be better at inclusion
– Hi! I’m glad you’re here!

No photo description available.

–pic desc: Four circles filled with coloured dots representing people. 
The first circle, labelled “Inclusion” show all the different coloured dots mixed up inside the circle.
The second, labelled exclusion has all the green dots inside the circle, while the fewer red, yellow and blue dots are outside the circle.
The third, labelled Segregation, has a big circle filled with green dots and next to it is a smaller circle filled with red, yellow and blue dots.
The last circle is labelled Integration, where a small circle filled with red, blue and yellow dots is inside of a larger circle filled with green dots.

Aug 16 2019

Everything Is Awful and I’m Not Okay: questions to ask before giving up

Are you hydrated? If not, have a glass of water.

Have you eaten in the past three hours? If not, get some food — something with protein, not just simple carbs. Perhaps some nuts or hummus?

Have you showered in the past day? If not, take a shower right now.

If daytime: are you dressed? If not, put on clean clothes that aren’t pajamas. Give yourself permission to wear something special, whether it’s a funny t-shirt or a pretty dress.

If nighttime: are you sleepy and fatigued but resisting going to sleep? Put on pajamas, make yourself cozy in bed with a teddy bear and the sound of falling rain, and close your eyes for fifteen minutes — no electronic screens allowed. If you’re still awake after that, you can get up again; no pressure.

Have you stretched your legs in the past day? If not, do so right now. If you don’t have the spoons for a run or trip to the gym, just walk around the block, then keep walking as long as you please. If the weather’s crap, drive to a big box store (e.g. Target) and go on a brisk walk through the aisles you normally skip.

Have you said something nice to someone in the past day? Do so, whether online or in person. Make it genuine; wait until you see something really wonderful about someone, and tell them about it.

Have you moved your body to music in the past day? If not, do so — jog for the length of an EDM song at your favorite BPM, or just dance around the room for the length of an upbeat song.

Have you cuddled a living being in the past two days? If not, do so. Don’t be afraid to ask for hugs from friends or friends’ pets. Most of them will enjoy the cuddles too; you’re not imposing on them.

Do you feel ineffective? Pause right now and get something small completed, whether it’s responding to an e-mail, loading up the dishwasher, or packing your gym bag for your next trip. Good job!

Do you feel unattractive? Take a goddamn selfie. Your friends will remind you how great you look, and you’ll fight society’s restrictions on what beauty can look like.

Do you feel paralyzed by indecision? Give yourself ten minutes to sit back and figure out a game plan for the day. If a particular decision or problem is still being a roadblock, simply set it aside for now, and pick something else that seems doable. Right now, the important part is to break through that stasis, even if it means doing something trivial.

Have you seen a therapist in the past few days? If not, hang on until your next therapy visit and talk through things then.

Have you been over-exerting yourself lately — physically, emotionally, socially, or intellectually? That can take a toll that lingers for days. Give yourself a break in that area, whether it’s physical rest, taking time alone, or relaxing with some silly entertainment.

Have you changed any of your medications in the past couple of weeks, including skipped doses or a change in generic prescription brand? That may be screwing with your head. Give things a few days, then talk to your doctor if it doesn’t settle down.

Have you waited a week? Sometimes our perception of life is skewed, and we can’t even tell that we’re not thinking clearly, and there’s no obvious external cause. It happens. Keep yourself going for a full week, whatever it takes, and see if you still feel the same way then.

You’ve made it this far, and you will make it through. You are stronger than you think.

https://eponis.tumblr.com/…/everything-is-awful-and-im-not-…

Pic desc: a glass of water on a blue background

Image may contain: drink
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