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Feb 21 2018

NDIS Reviews and Changes

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November 9, 2017

FREE TO READ: NDIS NUTS & BOLTS TIPS: Annual Reviews – All about therapist reports

So, the end date of your plan is coming!

(this is a bit of a long read, sorry)

First, I suggest that you set a reminder, or write in your calendar, a full THREE MONTHS before your plan expires. This should give you enough time to get the reports you need.

Reports are NOT needed for most core supports most of the time – so don’t worry about asking your support workers or taxi drivers to write a review of how you’ve progressed towards your goals. I wish I was joking when I write this, but I have experienced a planner requesting a written report from a support worker who worked two hours a week for a participant. Just so you know, if they do ask, then I suggest you ask them for a specific, relevant and reasonable reason to provide reports from your support workers, and if they can’t, then I would not be providing those reports until I’d spoken to someone higher up the food chain.

So, reports, generally speaking, need to be organised by you, or your Nominee, or, if you’re lucky, your Support Coordinator, for each of the therapists you have funded with your NDIS plan over that plan year – this means your psychologist, occupational therapist, physiotherapist, speech therapist, behaviour support specialist etc. – any allied health professional you saw on a somewhat regular basis, who has worked to help you toward your NDIS goals.Some therapists will write their annual reports at no extra cost, but most will charge you, at least one hour (and some much more!), so be aware that this will eat into your therapy budget and you should be aware and plan for that when figuring out your services and budget. (And, if you’re smart, ask about their report writing charges and have it included before your sign their service agreement).

I’ve seen hundreds of NDIS therapist reports from dozens of therapists in the past four years, and not all are equal! I’ve seen parents cry when an NDIS planner has read a report in a planning meeting and said “This really doesn’t help me at all”.You don’t want to be that crying person.

So, here are four things that I’m pretty sure the NDIS want to know at review time for most participants…

1. FREQUENCY OF THERAPY – How many sessions were actually provided during the plan year.

2. PROGRESS MADE – This means baseline and ACTUAL PROGRESS/IMPROVEMENTS – this DOES NOT mean “We worked on core strength and fine motor control” – but it DOES mean “Jonny is now able to feed himself soft foods using an adapted spoon without support for around half of his mealtimes” or “Sarah has increased her spoken vocabulary from 20 to 100 intelligible words over the plan year” or “Louise can now successfully and safely catch a public bus home from her dance lessons every Saturday”. Some therapists do excellent reviews with pretty graphs tracking progress etc. This is easier with some kinds of therapy than others.

3. NEW GOALS – While you probably have a good handle on your broad goals, your therapists often have good ideas about smaller, bite size goals to work on – like “Jonny will be able to eat clear soup with a spoon with only minor spillage” or “Sarah’s intelligible spoken vocab will increase from 100 to 300 words over the coming year” or “Louise will learn how to order a taxi using her smart phone and to pay for it using her debit card and taxi voucher without getting ripped off by the driver”

4. EQUIPMENT NEEDED – This one is important, because if the type of equipment is requested in your planning meeting and approved in your plan (actual formal NDIS prescriptions and quotes are not required at this stage, but can expedite the process if you already know exactly what specific item is needed), then you won’t have to suffer through a full plan review when equipment is requested in between plans. And trust me on this one, you DON’T want a review mid plan unless you really have to (and you could have many more grey hairs before you actually get that review).

5. FUTURE THERAPY RECOMMENDATIONS – with justifications of why you need it. This means evidence as above showing the progress the therapy is already achieving, as well as evidence of why they think future therapy will help you meet your goals.If your therapist provides you a review report that does not cover these basics then it pretty much falls on you to let your therapist know you need a report that tells the NDIS what they need to know to justify funding further therapy.Of course, none of this guarantees that your NDIS planner or LAC will actually read or consider the reports, but they certainly should, and if you don’t get the therapy you need funded in your new plan, if you request a review, at least those reports will be in your file and should then be reviewed by the next planner who does your unscheduled review.Good luck!

As per usual, this post is based on our experience as Support Coordinators serving loads of people with NDIS plans. It is NOT direct personal advice and may not be right for your personal situation, so always check with the NDIS in case there’s been changes and stuff.

Feb 21 2018

NDIS Q&A: Sam Translates

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FREE TO READ: Posted on 17 November 2017

QUESTION: What is a participant’s statement of goals and aspirations?

NDIS: A participant’s statement of goals and aspirations should identify the personal goals, objectives and aspirations a participant would like to achieve in the future, with the help of the NDIS. The NDIA will adopt a strengths based approach in supporting a participant to identify their goals, objectives and aspirations. Strengths based approaches focus on untapped gifts, positive attributes and underdeveloped capabilities which can direct a participant’s future potential.

SAM TRANSLATES: In your NDIS Plan is a section called “My Goals” and these goals are the things you want to achieve in the short term over the life of your NDIS plan, as well as some longer term goals. The NDIS aims to help you reach your potential with their help, so think about what goals you need help with to make your life better.

QUESTION: Is there a way to confirm that forms and applications that have been sent in have been received and are being processed?

NDIS: We are implementing an auto-reply response for all information received by the National Access Team through the email address. We anticipate that this will be available in the near future.

SAM TRANSLATES: No But all our fingers and toes are crossed that one day, hopefully soon, there will be an auto-responder to your email that confirms we got your stuff so that at least you have proof you submitted it when we lose it after that.

QUESTION: Our family has been waiting over 50 days to hear back from the NDIS over our application for assistance for our two children. Is this normal?

NDIS: The national roll out means we are receiving a high number of access requests from people wanting to become NDIS participants. We are working hard to respond to access requests in a timely manner and continuously improve our processes. After you have submitted a valid access request form, the NDIA’s Operational Guidelines state we must respond within 21 days. A valid access request form means you have provided all relevant information and evidence in your access request form and live in an area where the NDIS is available. Importantly for families of children 0-6 years, Early Childhood Partners, will provide initial supports for children and their families/carers and assist to access appropriate supports and services for the child.

SAM TRANSLATES: Yes. We’re so darn busy it’s ridiculous. We are working our guts out but we don’t have enough funding or staff to help you as quickly as we’d like. We’re supposed to give you an answer in 21 days. If we don’t manage this, it’s not always our fault. Sometimes it’s your fault. We only have to stick to that 21 day thing if you provide extraordinary details and reports and assessments if there could even be a skerrick of doubt that you’re not eligible. (Sam adds: Like the person who was recently denied access because it’s a bit iffy whether being born without any eyeballs is permanent. That was probably some admin error though, and like we said, we’re really busy, so mistakes will happen sometimes)

QUESTION: What kind of things can be purchased with the Assistive Technologies budget?

NDIS: Assistive Technology (AT) is a term that covers a wide range of things from large print labels to shower seats, wheelchairs and car modifications. The NDIS uses the definition of AT provided by the World Health Organisation: Assistive Technology is “any device or system that allows individuals to perform tasks they would otherwise be unable to do or increases the ease and safety with which tasks can be performed.” For example, a car is not considered Assistive Technology, but modifications to the car to enable a person with disability to drive it might be considered Assistive Technology. There is some detailed information about Assistive Technology on this page of our website.

SAM TRANSLATES: Assistive Technology is all the “stuff” that lets you do the things you want and need to do but have trouble with, because of your disability. Like wheelchairs, and eye-gaze systems, and flashing doorbells and car mods. There’s more info at…/assistive-technology-faqs.html (The NDIS answer on this one is actually quite decent)

QUESTION: Who else has had an LAC review their PWD’s NDIS package? Should I be asking for a planner from NDIS to do the review? My son was not given supported co-ordination with his package and suddenly he has an LAC?

NDIS: Local Area Coordinators (LACs) are organisations who have partnered with the NDIA to deliver the NDIS. LACs have three key roles: • They will link you to the NDIS. For a majority of participants, LACs will work with you to develop your plan, help you implement and monitor how your plan is going, and review your progress regularly. • Link you to information and support in the community and mainstream services such as health and education, and • Work with their local community to make sure it is more welcoming and inclusive for people with disability. If you are in an area that was a Trial Site, a majority of participants will transition to work directly with LACs to review their plan. LACs will provide a single point of contact for NDIS participants and help you to develop, implement and get the most out of your plan. Planners are employed directly by the NDIA and have delegation to approve participant plans. They often work with people with increased complexities to develop their plan and they make informed decisions about supports with regards to NDIA legislation. Once a plan has been approved, a planner will refer back to an LAC or to a Support Coordinator (if this support is included in the plan) to help people start their plan. Find out more about LACs in your area on the NDIS website. Don’t worry if you can’t find a LAC near you yet. As the NDIS continues to roll out, more LACs will become available in communities across Australia.

SAM TRANSLATES: The government cut our funding and decided to outsource most of our planning and follow-up work to contractors, called “Local Area Co-ordinators” or LAC’s for short. They are supposed to help develop your plan, and send it off to an NDIS “Planner” who actually works for the government and makes the decisions on whether or not to approve all the bits of funding. The “Planner” is also called a “Delegate” which is another name for “Gets to decide your funding fate”. Then the LAC is supposed to help you understand and use your plan, but they often know less than you do which can make this quite difficult. If you’re *really* lucky, you’ll get funding for a Support Coordinator to help you with this stuff, but if you do, good luck finding one without a waitlist. Not everyone has their plan prepared by the LAC – some participants with very “intensive” needs may have their plan prepared and approved direct by an NDIS planner. Each area has their own contracted LAC “partner”, unless they don’t yet. But they will. Chill out dude.

QUESTION: Do Centrelink and NDIS use two different systems of diagnosis?

NDIS: NDIS funded plans are separate to any other support that people may receive from other government services such as the Disability Support Pension, Carers Allowance or Health Care Card. The only funded support that will change as a NDIS participant is the mobility allowance. NDIS plans are goal orientated, and will provide support to access and connect with other services that can help you to achieve better outcomes in life. In terms of providing evidence (medical or otherwise) to support an application for eligibility in the NDIS or a Centrelink program or service, whilst there is likely to be similarities, they operate differently and have separate criteria and separate application forms. For further information on eligibility criteria for the NDIS, go to the Accessing the NDIS page of the website (external link). For further information on eligibility criteria for supports and services provided by Centrelink, go to the Centrelink page of the Department of Human Services website (external link).

SAM TRANSLATES: Yes. Being on the Disability Support Pension does NOT mean you are eligible for the NDIS, and being on the NDIS does NOT mean you are eligible for the DSP. Their eligibility criteria is different, and less than half of people on the DSP will be eligible for the NDIS, so you will need to fill out different forms and meet different criteria for both if you need both. Luckily the NDIS forms are NOWHERE near as horrible as the Centrelink DSP monster forms which make little sense to most people and make nearly everyone cry. If you are on a Centrelink Payment or Allowance, two things will change – your Mobility Allowance from Centrelink will stop (but may well be replaced in your NDIS plan) and if you get the Continence Aids Payment Scheme (CAPS), it will also stop but your continence related needs and supplies should be appropriately funded in your NDIS plan. Here are some links to find out more about the different eligibility processes for DSP and NDIS.…/access-requirements.html

Feb 21 2018

NDIS Admin Tips

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October 29, 2017

According to the last NDIS Quarterly Reports Only 52% of NDIS Plan Budgets are actually spent in South Australia, and the number isn’t much higher interstate!

I have a few theories about why, including lack of support coordination, peer groups and LAC assistance, and a huge lack of participant training, support and advice on using the funds. That’s one of my “missions” if you like – to use this page to help people with disability and their nominees make the most of their funding to live good lives.

Last month, more than 120,000 people across Australia saw posts on The Growing Space. Thanks to you all for spreading the word and sharing the joy. 🙂

New NDIS Quarterly Reports will come out in just a few days. The info in these reports is fascinating and well worth a look, with much of the data presented in graphs, so you don’t have to be a whizz at numbers to understand.

Here’s the blurb from the NDIS website:

“Quarterly reports Each quarter the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) prepares a report on its operations for the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Disability Reform Council in accordance with section 174 of the National Disability Insurance Scheme Act 2013. These reports are known as quarterly reports.

The quarterly reports provide the COAG Disability Reform Council with information (including statistics) about participants in each jurisdiction and the funding or provision of supports by the NDIA in each jurisdiction. The NDIA provides these reports to COAG at the of the month following the end of each quarter by 31 January, 30 April, 31 July and 31 October”…/information-pub…/quarterly-reports

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Feb 21 2018

Finding and Choosing Supports

FREE TO READ: Choosing a Therapist for your Child: Ten things to think about, talk about and ask!

October 22, 2016

1. What is your therapist’s experience and specialty interest? Ask your potential therapists how long ago they graduated, check that they are registered with the appropriate body (more info at and what they’re really good at. A speechie may have graduated twenty years ago, but if they’ve only worked in aged care until this year, they may or may not be a good fit for your child. And a recently graduated OT may not have the skills to support your child’s behaviour needs, but maybe they have a senior therapist supporting them well? Ask questions!

2. Where does your therapist work? Therapists can work from a clinic base, in your home, at the playground, or in school. Purely clinic based work may not give your therapist a good idea of the challenges you have at home, and often children’s behaviour and needs are quite different in different places. If you have other kids, it might be really valuable for your therapists to see that interaction at home, and it might save you some stress getting the kids off to appointments. Some schools in SA are no longer allowing therapists in to work with children, so check with your school. And if your therapist can work with your child at school, do they pull them out of the classroom, or work with the teacher to make sure their work carries on for the rest of the week!

3. How does the therapist communicate with you? Does your therapist give you written “homework” after each visit, and is this useful for you or does it just sit on the fridge? What is the best way to share information with *you* and is the therapist willing to do that? There’s not a lot of point in a speechie visiting your child at school for a session every fortnight if you don’t know how to reinforce and carry on the work for the rest of time!

4. What does your therapist charge? Ask you therapist what their charges are – do they work with your child for a full hour, or 30 or 45 minutes? Do they charge travel time? Do they charge mileage costs? What are their charges for reports and assessments and is that included in the regular visit fee or is it extra? Also ask if they require up-front payment if you are Plan or Self managed. Here’s some information on provider travel for Agency managed NDIS plans:

5. How long is their waiting list? Many therapists have waiting lists – ask how long it’s likely to be for your therapist of choice. The waiting list may be short if they’ve just hired a new therapist to add to the team, but make sure you check out if their new therapist has the skills (or are well supported by seniors) and personality that you feel will work well with your child – don’t just go by the “brand” of the company or organisation.

6. What extra qualifications do they have? Some therapists have extra qualifications and actively engage in ongoing professional development, and are members of professional associations – I know a few OT’s who are also qualified in Circle of Security, and a Counsellor who is also an art therapist, and some psychologists qualified in equine therapy. You might even find a physio with training in Feldenkrais, so do ask! You might want to ask whether they have regular supervision or peer support.

7. What intensity and frequency of service is best for your child? Sometimes a short burst of frequent intensive therapy and practising time can do more to help reach a child’s goals than a regular fortnightly slog, but sometimes children need that regular consistency and slow relationship building. Ask your therapist how they work, and whether they (with you!) have any capacity for an intensive burst – these can be especially helpful during school holidays etc, so if you are working parents, you might have an opportunity to be more involved in your child’s work.

8. What is your therapist’s “exit strategy”? The ultimate goal of therapy (and parenting!) is to do themselves out of job! Talk to your therapists about how they measure progress, and at what point they think they may no longer be needed, or maybe only needed on an occasional consultative basis. I don’t know about you, but I certainly don’t think I’d like to have therapy three times a week for the rest of my life!

9. What is their approach to treatment and teamwork? I see too many children trot off to their individual therapy sessions each fortnight or week, with very little, if any, interaction between therapists. Yes, it *is* really important for your speechie and OT and counsellor and psychologist and physio etc to connect, and it might be up to you (or your support coordinator if you have one) to demand (and set up) those meetings, even if it is a bit like herding budgerigars! You might want to check if your therapist is OK with this. Have a think about group work too – children can learn an awful lot from being together, and so do parents – maybe a mix of group and 1:1 will help your child meet their goals much better than 1:1 only! If your therapist doesn’t do group work, can they point you in the direction of others who do? Also ask about their theoretical approach to treatment – this is especially important when seeking a psychologist’s support. There are many quality evidence based practises, and your psychologist should be able to explain some of these to you, and provide evidence of how well they work so you can make an informed choice.

10. Will the therapist help train your support workers? Chances are that for many children (and certainly adults), their support workers and parents will spend more time with the person with disability than the therapist. Is your therapist willing to work with your support workers to develop an individual program to build on therapy work outside of therapy visit hours? Can a physio give suggestions and support on how to encourage and practice skills at a playground, or in the back yard? I often suggest that the babysitter, grandma, or a support worker come to therapy sessions with parents and child to learn how to continue the good work.

Don’t forget, a therapist who works with your child one hour a fortnight is only with them .6% of their awake life. The other 99.4% of your child’s waking hours are with you!

And remember – with NDIS you *can* change your therapists!

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Feb 21 2018

NDIS Planning

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October 9, 2017

FREE TO READ: Little NDIS Tip for your Planning Meeting

When you have your NDIS planning meeting, or your review meeting, write down on a piece of paper your chosen method of money management for your plan and hand it in writing to your planner – this will hopefully reduce the significant number of planner/LAC errors in setting up the money management for people with disability and their carers.

I request Self Management please.

or I request Plan Management please.

or I request Agency Management please.

Maybe even take a photo of this piece of paper in the LAC’s hands, or a selfie with you handing it over? Though that may sound a little cheeky/obnoxious, I’ve seen so many plans come back with money management not as requested and LAC/planner denying the request was made…

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August 14, 2017

FREE TO READ:Top Ten NDIS Pre-Planning Tips –Sam Paior Sunday Mail, 14 August, 2017 pg2-3 of NDIS liftout

1. Keep a log or journal of your disability related needs over a week – write down everything you do or spend that you would not do or spend if you were not disabled. Give a copy to your NDIS or LAC Planner at your planning meeting.

2. Bring a copy of any recent reports or assessments from allied health professionals to your planning meeting, but don’t worry if you don’t have any – there’s no need to go and pay for extra reports before your planning meeting.

3. You generally don’t need guardianship or administration orders if an NDIS participant chooses someone to be their nominee. The NDIS recognises natural relationships with rare exceptions.

4. Think about goals that expand your world – try a new sport, join a new group, think about getting a job or starting a business, or moving out of home. Have two goals for the next year, and one or two longer term goals to include in your plan.

5. Decide how you want to manage the money in your plan before your planning meeting – Agency Managed – less hassle but less choice, Self-Managed – more hassle but more choice, and Plan Managed – less hassle and more choice. Plan Management can’t be denied to any participant/nominee who asks for it and the funds for it are on top of your regular plan funds.

6. Have a think whether you need or want someone to help you manage your NDIS plan – a parent, sibling or unpaid carer you trust. Ask them before your meeting if they are happy to be your nominee.

7. Your planning meeting can be done by phone, at the NDIS/LAC offices, out in the community, or in your home. Let your planner know what works best for you.

8. Join a peer support group, or join a peer community online (there are a lot of great groups on Facebook) to find out more about the NDIS.

9. At the start of your planning meeting (or sometimes before, on the phone) you will be asked a bunch of questions designed to figure out your levels of disability related needs. Make sure you concentrate and answer thoughtfully. These questions are a big part of what decides your funding levels.

10. Write up two weekly calendars – one of your activities and how your life looks now, and one of how you would like it to look if you had the funding you need. Give a copy of each to your planner.

Feb 21 2018

Health and Behaviour

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FREE TO READ: What are Positive Behaviour Supports – PBS?

August 18, 2016

I think these terms get thrown around a fair bit without a really strong understanding of what they actually mean. I’m guilty of this myself, but since working with a bunch of families and children facing some pretty gnarly behavioural challenges, I’m learning more everyday.

So, in layman’s terms, what is PBS? It’s a multi step process that starts with an evidence based (we have lots to prove it works) way of collecting and analysing information for each individual, about the reasons and triggers for their behaviours, and what the person is communicating through the behaviour. Once that info is collected and understood, PBS works to help that person to find less damaging ways to express themselves, and alternative ways to communicate needs and frustrations.

It also works hard to improve the life of the person, because often lousy behaviours are a way to say “I’m bored” or “I don’t like this activity” without using words (All behaviour is communication!!).

A PBS plan will give concrete ideas and ways to prevent, reduce and respond to specific and general challenging behaviours across all areas of life, and if it’s used consistently – at home, school, respite etc etc., it can make a HUGE difference in the person’s quality of life.

PBS doesn’t happen overnight. It can be a long, hard (and not cheap) slog for everyone – especially for the person with challenging behaviour, but the results will be much longer lasting and far more worthwhile than the older punishment based ways of managing behaviour.

NDIS funds can be used to develop a PBS Plan and implementation.

Here’s an awesome little six minute video from BILD UK that explains it better than I just did! Enjoy!

INFO: Calm in Crisis

B1 - Behaviour Calm in Crisis Kluth TGS

Adapted from: P. Kluth (2010).

“You’re Going to Love This Kid!”: Teaching Students with Autism in the Inclusive Classroom (Rev ed.). Baltimore: Brookes.

This article is from the website of Dr. Paula Kluth. It, along with many others on inclusive schooling, differentiated instruction, and literacy can be found at Visit now to read her Tip of the Day, read dozens of free articles, and learn more about supporting diverse learners in K-12 classrooms.

I walked into a fifth-grade classroom and saw a student with autism sprawled out on the floor. The classroom paraprofessional was standing over the boy, warning him, “Get up now or you won’t get computer time.” The boy began crying and then biting his hand. The paraprofessional’s voice became louder and more stern, “Get up now. Time to make a choice. You can choose to stand up or you can choose to lose your privileges.” This was a hard scene to watch; the situation was difficult to begin with but was made more challenging by the actions of the adult. Her words, tone, and posture drew more attention than was necessary to the child; did nothing to calm the young man; and undoubtedly, made the situation more problematic, not less.

Contrast this with another scene. Recently I was visiting a friend at the preschool where she teaches. As I walked in the front door I immediately heard the piercing wail of a young child. I couldn’t yet see the child, but any teacher or parent hearing this wailing would recognize it as “the real thing”. In other words, these screams did not belong to a child who was merely tired or cranky. These sounds belonged to a distressed, scared, frightened, angry, or otherwise wounded child. I listened for the teacher’s voice. Was the child being punished? Was someone scolding him? Was he even with a teacher? I began to walk faster.

As I rounded the corner, I saw a boy screaming and kicking on the floor. A teacher stood next to him, talking to him softly. I immediately understood why I didn’t hear her voice amidst the screams; she was talking to him but she was whispering. I stood watching them from a distance, touched by this gifted teacher’s poise and grace. The boy’s sobs subsided as she gave him a short hug, stroked his back, and continued whispering to him. She had a compassionate look on her face and her body communicated acceptance.

After about three or four minutes the child was calm and the two stood and walked back into a classroom. For the rest of the day I thought about how calmly and gently she had treated his crisis.


Consider the last time you lost your temper. Did you yell? Scream? Cry? Did you say things you would later regret? How did you feel when you were engaged in these behaviours? Embarrassed? Furious? Lonely? When most of us are in this type of crisis we need gentle support to calm down. We may need to take a short walk, curl up with a favourite book, find a place to be alone, or call someone who will listen as we share our struggles. In other words, we need support, understanding, and time to gather our thoughts. Students with disabilities certainly deserve the same attention and care that we might give ourselves.

This also means that an individual experiencing stress will most likely not be helped by approaches that are aggressive or lack sensitivity such as:

  • Loud voices; Negative statements or threats (e.g., “You had your chance”, “You made your choice, now you need to leave class”);
  • Taking away preferred or comforting materials or activities;
  • Physical redirection;
  • Angry tone or body language; and
  • Punishments (e.g., “You just lost a sticker on your behaviour chart”).

One of the most important skills a teacher can have is the ability to be calm and comforting in a crisis or “meltdown” situation. A comforting teacher may hug or hold a student or she may simply share encouraging words. Being comforting might also include touching the student’s hand, arm, or back in a reassuring way, asking them how they want to be helped, singing a favourite song, repeating a calming phrase, or simply keeping one’s own body relaxed.

Some teachers insist that it is best to be firm so that students “don’t get away with” behaving in a way that is seen as negative or disruptive. This punitive approach almost always serves to distance the teacher from the student and certainly fails to strengthen their relationship. It is ironic but true that the more a teacher may try to control a situation, the more out of control that situation may become.

In contrast, adopting a cooperative and compassionate orientation can help avert crisis or at least help to deescalate a difficult moment. While a student experiencing challenging behaviours might need to know how the behaviour is being interpreted or might benefit from information or teaching related to the behaviour, it is seldom (if ever) appropriate or useful to intervene in these ways while the behaviour is taking place.

When a student is kicking, biting, banging her head, or screaming, she is most likely miserable, confused, or scared. The most effective and the most human response at this point is to offer support; to act in a comforting manner, and to help the person relax and feel safe. Teaching can come later. In crisis, educators must listen, support, and simply be there.

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Feb 21 2018

Education and Schooling

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FREE TO READ: TIP: A letter to my child’s teacher for the new School Year

January 13, 2016

A Letter to my teacher

Schools love getting these letters about our kids at the beginning of the school year! Here’s a draft for you to cut and paste and edit as you like.

It’s just a starting point, but might give you some ideas!

Dear Mr/Mrs XXX,

I am xxxx’s Mum who will be in your class this year and I’m looking forward to working with you this year. I thought I’d give you a brief outline of who xxx is, and some info that might help you have an awesome year together.

1. Stuff I’m *really* into:

2. Things that really motivate me/ and ways to get me to be engaged/involved:

3. Stuff that scares me:

4. About my stamina:

5. Stuff I’m really good at:

6. Areas I’d most like to improve:

7. Interesting quirks of mine – sensory issues etc:

8. Health issues you should know about and how they affect xxx at school:

9. How to read/prevent/manage a meltdown:

10. Ideas for minimising behaviours that aren’t helpful at school:

11. A bit about my family, pets etc, and what we did in the holidays:

12. Other professionals in my life you may wish (and have my permission) to contact at some stage include:

What to expect from me: I am a pretty involved parent. I like to know what’s going on at school, but I don’t want to interfere with your job. I want you to know I am available by phone/email/text/carrier pigeon and hope and expect to be contacted with your queries, and absolutely as soon as anything looks like it might be hitting the fan. If you would like support from a therapist (OT/Speech etc) please let me know and I will do my best to make it happen.

What I would love from you: The sooner I know about any behavioural issues that are emerging, the better I can support you and we can be on the same page at home and school. I can support you by following through and using the same language and agreed consequences (including rewards) to help xxx make the most from school and friends.

Do you prefer email, phone, or a drop in before/after school to stay in touch? I’d also like to set up a face-to-face meeting half way through first term so we can check in, and one each term after that.

Can I also ask you to keep an eye out for which other kids in the class my kiddo is making a connection with, as I’d like to setup some playdates etc., but it’s hard for me to know which relationships might be good to encourage.

Thank you in advance for your work this year. I know that xxxx will need more of your time and energy than some of the other kids, but I want you to know I am grateful and my guess and hope is that you and xxx will grow and learn together this year, as well as have great fun!

Many thanks, Xxxxxxx

My email address is:

My Phone number is:

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Feb 21 2018

Centrelink and Other Services

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FREE TO READ:INFO: Discount flights!!!

January 7, 2016

PWDA (People With Disability Australia) are now administering the Qantas Carer Concession card (it used to done by NICAN but they were defunded) so you can now get a renewal or apply for the first time if you haven’t already.

The card is a little more expensive than it used to be ($50 for 3 years) but it is available again!

The card effectively gives a person (or child) with disability (who *needs* assistance *while* actually on the plane) AND their Carer 30% each off *any* domestic Qantas flight – including all sale fares – (or 50% if you fly business class).

You have to book any tickets via Qantas on the phone – do read the link to learn the fine detail. If you have a Companion Card, just attach a copy of it to your application for guaranteed approval.

This does NOT include any discount for international flights. When you book, check the fares online first and make sure they do NOT charge any phone booking fees as you can’t book online. If your operator questions this, or whether it applies to discount fares, just ask them to check with a supervisor and all should be solved! Happy and safe travels!