Category Archives for "Disability"

May 16 2019

The Autism-Friendly Guide to Periods

The Autism-Friendly Guide to Periods
by Robyn Steward Feb 2019

Changes during puberty, such as the onset of periods, can be challenging for girls on the autism spectrum. Written from experience by an autistic woman, this straightforward guide to periods helps the reader to prepare in great detail, from hygiene to pain medication and sensory experiences to mood swings and includes step by step photographic instructions for personal menstrual care, useful for all girls and women.

(The Growing Space makes a few cents from any sale through this link – feel free to buy from here or anywhere else, or ask your local library to get it so you can borrow it!)

pic description: the book’s cover featuring the title “The Autism-Friendly Guide to Periods by Robyn Steward” in white almost chalk style writing, with young hand drawn head and shoulders images of a range of girls/young women each featured in a circle with a blur background scattered around the the edges of the cover, which also has a pink coloured strip down the left hand side spine.

May 16 2019

IKEA Hacks for Disabled People!

IKEA Hacks for Disabled People!

“The This Ables project was conceived to allow people with special (extra access! sic ed) needs to enjoy the quality of life provided by IKEA products.

As part of IKEA’s vision to “create a better everyday life for as many people as possible”, we joined forces with the non-profit organizations Milbat and Access Israel, that specialize in creating special solutions for populations with special needs and disabilities, and developed a new and revolutionary line of products that bridge some of the gaps between existing IKEA products and the special needs of people belonging to these populations.

It was important for us to create maximum access in every aspect of the project, from the designated site that we constructed for the project, that was adapted for people with disabilities, to the products themselves, some of which can even be printed independently in a 3D printer based on models that we have made available to the general public.”

There are some neat videos showing how some of the stuff can be used.

Pic description:
pic 1 is a black and white line drawing pic of a sofa with lift legs on a mustard yellow background and pic 2 is a grid with a list of 12 of the 13 new developments designed for greater physical access to their products

May 16 2019

About us – Video

VIDEO (3 mins) Ben has been working with graduate Film Maker, Lotte, to learn the skills of filmmaking. Ben’s NDIS plan funds her assistance to help him work towards his goals, and The Growing Space pays Ben for his finished work.
Ben worked to prepare the interview questions, set up the filming, and edit the final cut, adding in the cutaways he shot.
They also work on creative projects and both Ben and Lotte are learning along the way.
Here is Ben’s first commercial project – an interview with Alicia, one of The Growing Space’s Support Coordinators.
Stay tuned for more interviews over the coming year.
We hope you enjoy meeting Alicia and Ben!

Nov 16 2018

Making the most of the NDIS – BRAINSTORM!

Reagan is 16, and autistic. He uses his behaviour to communicate and is just starting to use an Augmentative and Alternative Communication device (AAC). He’s into watching the same bits of videos many times and has probably watched the Stuart Little movie many thousand times.

The NDIS has been a pretty good thing for Reagan and his younger brother Declan, who also has autism. It’s funded some pretty intensive work with his AAC device, and they have a fabulous support worker, Indianna, who’s been with the family for years (she’s even written a picture book based on the boys, called Quirky Quentin).

The motorbike

Over the past year, Reagan has shown more and more interest in Garry’s motorbike, and had started going on the back for short rides with his Dad. It’s been a pretty awesome bonding experience for the pair, as Garry’s interest in watching Stuart Little with his son waned many years ago.

In May, Garry and I sat down to nut out some ideas on how to make the most of Reagan’s NDIS plan. Traditional therapies weren’t helping with hygiene, nor his chewing. We started talking about what were Reagan’s genuine interests. When did they know he was feeling really good? And how could we make the most of that to help him reach his goals?

The motorbike. It was when he was on the back of the motorbike, away from his house and his little brother, with his Dad, on the back of bike on the road, that yanked Reagan’s chain.

We can work with that, I said.

The big idea

The idea ballooned and grew into a month long trip across four states and a sea.

Garry grabbed the idea, built a plan, bought a trailer and some more safety gear and last week they launched ASD and a Kawasaki with Reagan and a bunch of their friends at a local pub. They’ve raised more than enough money to cover the costs of the trip (the rest is being donated to CountMeIn, a not-for-profit aimed at encouraging Universal Design in public spaces).

Meeting with his NDIS Plan Manager as well as his me, his Support Coordinator, we brainstormed further ideas about how Reagan’s NDIS plan could be used to support the trip and Reagan’s goals.


So, how does the NDIS fit in to all this?

  1. Without NDIS, Reagan’s goals would never have been so clearly defined.
  2. NDIS paid for a Support Coordinator, who Garry used to help him think of creative ways to meet Reagan’s goals.
  3. NDIS funds were used to purchase most of an Apple Watch with falls detection and GPS, so if the unthinkable happens and they come a cropper, emergency services will be notified within a few minutes, or if Reagan and Garry get separated at a petrol station, or accommodation, Garry will be able to track Reagan and find him (and Chrissa can track them both from home! Many thanks to Apple for a generous discount)
  4. Funds from the NDIS are paying some family friends, who are coming to meet them half way through the trip, to watch Reagan for a weekend to give Garry and Reagan a short break from each other.
  5. NDIS funds were used for Reagan’s speechie to add a whole bunch of trip related PECS (Picture Exchange Communication Systems) to his AAC device, and to help build some social stories about using new toilets and sleeping in a different place almost every night.
  6. Funds from his little brother’s NDIS plan will be used to support Declan and his Mum, so he is well supported and she can keep working while Garry is away.
  7. NDIS funds from Declan’s plan will be used for him to have a weekend at short term accommodation so Chrissa can come and meet Reagan and Garry along the trip (Chrissa is already missing her big boys so much!) 

Kicking goals

They’re only at day five, and Garry and I have been on the phone tonight. They’re tired – they crash early each night, and Garry forgot his pillow, which sounded like the worst thing that had happened so far!

Reagan is ALREADY KICKING GOALS. Just a few days in, and his hygiene goals are getting smashed. Garry, despite his sore butt and aching bones, was just beaming on the end of the phone.

It’s working Sam”, he said.

As Garry broadcast at the pub last week, just a few nights before their adventure began – “This just wouldn’t have been possible without the NDIS”.

Indeed. Well done Reagan, and his family, and the NDIS.

Sam Paior

Director, Support Coordinator and NDIS Specialist, The Growing Space 

Board Member, CountMeIn Foundation 

Disability Advocate

Solo Mum of two sons with NDIS Plans