Tuesday, 7 August 2018

We want a Level Playing Field


A situation in which everyone has a fair and equal chance of succeeding.

Has anyone who has a disability or looks after a family member with a disability noticed how there are different rules for them than for everyone else?

When Miss Chloe's dad committed suicide a few years back, his superanuation group were not going to give her what was rightfully hers, because she was 18yo and I was not her legal guardian. I called the VCAT to inquire about the process. When it was described, I was mortified and disgusted...talk about degrading and humiliating! When I mentioned this to the lovely man from VCAT, his response was: 
"Families of people with disabilities are GUILTY UNTIL PROVEN INNOCENT
Seems they are the only demorgaphic in Australia to have this honor! 
Because SOME people rip off their loved one  with a disability...
Some people in general society murder and rob others,but that doesn't change the premise of innocent till proven guilty for the rest!
Needless to say, I am still not her legal guardian!

Fast forward to recent times...NDIS times
Now this is an organisation that has successfully removed any semblence of fair play when it comes to the people they are supposed to be helping.
  1. They have changed the concept of 'Fair & Reasonable' from being about the participants needs  to being about how fair & reasonable it is to the NDIA.
  2. No participant is allowed a copy of what is being submitted from the plan to the  NDIA.
  3. No participant has the right to refuse their plan and be reinstated with their previous supports     (they can appeal, which can take up to 6 months) but they still only have what NDIA has given them.
  4. They refuse to give the participants any information on how they arrived at a plan that is nothing like was talked about in the meeting, when the participant needs to appeal or have a review done.
  5. You never, ever get to speak to the same person twice and you never get the same information twice! The running joke around the ridges is:               If you don't like the answer, just call again!
Now they have created a new policy: A participant is not allowed to record their planning meeting, about themselves for their own personal records
Frightening, considering the police have informed us:
ANYONE is entitled to do this, as long as they let everyone in the room know they are recording it. If the planner is uncomfortable, NDIA must supply another planner....
  BUT the NDIA doesn't care about this entitlement, They have said no and that is that. So now there is absolutley no way for a participant to even know what was discussed in the planning meeting if they need to appeal or have a review!  YET, the NDIS has all the information when making their decision on the blind request for review....

Apparently, we are allowed to take notes, but it is very hard to scribe a 2.5 hour meeting and are the planners going to sign off on the notes so the participant has a record that they are true and correct?    
Hummmm, we shall see..........

The time has come for participants to stand up against the inequality and demand we get given the same rights as everyone else.
The Federal Government needs to take some responsibility here and make the NDIA allow participants the right to have access to all the information they need when needing to submit a review or appeal.


Wednesday, 11 July 2018

A Leaf out of Bunnings Book

 Ahhhh Bunnings, a massive business with almost as big a heart!

Now this is NOT an advert for Bunnings, but  more so a pat on the back for a huge organisation that a massive amount of good to the local communities.

Anyone who has visited Bunnings on a weekend knows all about the Sausage Sizzles. 

But Bunnings does sooo much more for the locals.

The Bunnings Community Involvement approach is built on the principal that they are part of the local communities in which they operate.They focus their efforts on giving meaningful support where it makes a difference.

And what a massive difference they make!
Here are but a few things each Bunnings store does in their local communities (other then Sausage sizzles):
Returned service men and women
  • Allow Community groups/Charities to run cake stalls, 
           tin rattling and raffles in-store

  • Participate in needed projects at communities sites ( ie: create playground for kinders etc)  hands on                               senior citizens

    • Donate items for raffles etc
    • Create and host regular free, in-shop projects for speciality groups ( people with disabilities, children etc).
    • Have a Community  groups/Charities awareness day,where these organisation have an opportunity to speak about what they do and raise community awareness and some money.
    • Have events to celebrate and thank Community groups/Charities and give them valuable networking opportunities.
    • Promote the Community groups/Charities who are hosting the sausage sizzles on their website 

    There would be much less need and much more equality, dignity and connection!

    Community groups and Charities would not have to be constantly begging for basics and looking for grants and donations.
    It is time for the big organisations in our local communities to start meaningfully putting back into their communities and truly become a part of their local communities. Lets Change


    Image result for begging

                                                                          To this

    Related image

    To learn more about iDareU go to:
    www.idareu.org.au  or like us on

    Monday, 4 June 2018

    NDIS - How did they get it so wrong?

    We are a huge supporter for the CONCEPT of the NDIS.
    It is supposed to bring respect and dignity to people with disabilities and their families.
    And enabled these people to lead a better life with choice and control.

    Sadly, the NDIS is bringing frustration, bullying, crisis’s and suspicion to this group. As if they didn't have enough to deal with before!

    No-one could have envisioned a system worse than the old system, but boy, the way the NDIS is operating, this is exactly what has appeared for way too many people. They are randomly stomping on vulnerable peoples lives and making a huge mess.

    Because of the insane staffing caps the Gov has put on the NDIS, planners are bullying clients, treating them as a pest, insisting on meetings happening – whether the participant is ready or not – just so they can TRY to reach unreachable KPIs and burning out.

    There is no follow-up for a participant or their nominee once they have completed the planning meeting.
    On many occasions, they don't even get a copy of what the LAC is going to submit! 
    The next piece of communication is when they receive the NDIS approved plan and it is final unless you submit a review!
    So the participant has no right to see whether the LAC has correctly captured their situation, they don't sign off on the plan, they have no safety net if the plan is completely inadequate ( if they were already getting funded services) and they are not entitled to see the paper trail to see where the failure came from when preparing a review...

    LAC’s are discouraging self-management.  Annual reviews are falling short of participant needs (even when the previous years funding was all used up). There is no consistancy from one planner to the next.


    It is not that hard to do better, and it won’t even cost anything – in fact, if the NDIA includes the participant/ nominee more the planning process, there will be less reviews and that will mean less money being spent and less staff hours being spent on reviews that could easily have been prevented.

    We don’t need another crisis driven disability sector.

    If you need any help with your plan, contact iDareU at: connect@idareu.org.au

    Monday, 26 March 2018

    Carers are not machines

    With the advent of the NDIS, it seems the unpaid carers are not being recognised to their vital role in caring for their loved one.
    The NDIS is all about the person with the disability and their needs and this is a good thing.
    To begin with, the planners and NDIA didn't take the welfare and well being of unpaid carers into account at all.
    They realised, rather quickly that if they do not look after this group, people with disabilities are going to cost Australia millions more then it is now, due to carers not being able to manage or cope.

    In saying this, unpaid carers are treated like machines....
    • No you are not entitled to timeout from your duties as a carer...
    • What do you mean, you need  time with your other family members?
    • Why should you have down time for yourself?
    • Of course you can't have a holiday without our loved one with a disability.....
    • You are lucky you get anything.......
    And the list goes on........

    I find it interesting how many people leave the industry after a certain amount of years, due to carer burnout, yet they don't truly get that unpaid carers don't have the  luxury of leaving in spite having carer burnout ( unless they relinquish their loved one).

     Isn't it time the unpaid carers are truly recognised and rewarded for what they do for this country?

    Isn't it time the carers are included as part of the solution - not seen as part of the problem?

    Even machines break down, if they are not well maintained

    If the NDIS & Governments continue to only pay lip service to the unpaid carers, the NDIS will go from a preventative program to a crisis program very quickly and we are back to the dirty old system we had before. But worse, because we spent all this money on the NDIS to have..the same old, same old...

    We need to ensure the carers are well supported whilst carrying out their selfless duties


    Monday, 29 January 2018

    We all need time with our mob

    Have you ever noticed how sometimes, out of the blue, we feel a need to contact someone - a family member or an old friend; attend an activity or an event, which simply makes us feel good for no reason other than it just does?

    Humans are known to be creatures of a pack and so by nature, we don’t operate well in isolation.

    The emergence of NDIS, seems to have created a tendency for one-on-one (individual) support, where a person with a disability is being taken out from their group setting to receive one-on-one support instead.

    Don't get me wrong here, one-on-one support is wonderful and many people with disabilities can learn quicker, have access to the community around them easily and, with more dignity when receiving this type of assistance.  There is also the benefit of more flexibility as activities can be tailored to a person’s needs and passions.

    However, the biggest problem with one-on-one support is the tendency for isolation to creep in, as there is no avenue for interaction with like-minded people.  This lack of interaction, makes it difficult for such individuals to develop socialising etiquette with others, namely members of the public, and could eventually cause mental health problems.

    I tend to see it as spending time with their 'mob'.  We all know there is just something about this that makes people feel wholesome including people with disabilities.  They don't have to be with their 'mob' all the time and it doesn't have to make sense to anyone else...but they do need this time.  Be it once a week, thrice a week, or even once a month.......

    We often hear from families with intellectually disabled children, that one of the issues their children face when attending mainstream schools, is difficulty in making ‘real’ friends among their peers.  We need to find a way to give these children an opportunity to spend time with their 'mob' and create a sense of belonging among them.

    Chloe Dymond has a candid way of introducing herself when asked where she is from - she always responds saying she 'Comes from Down Syndrome'.  I simply love this phrase, as I think it gives her that sense of belonging, and I visualise “Down Syndrome” as just being another country, with people of different views and cultural backgrounds.  Similar to how many immigrants build a sense of belonging through community centres that reflect their ethnic origins and have a tendency to gravitate to suburbs where people from their country of origin  tend to reside.

    Chloe needs to spend time with people from her ‘country’ to feel connected to the world.

    I hope the NDIS does not take away these people’s opportunity to 'recharge their batteries' with their mob and further reduce opportunities for the general public to engage with people with disabilities, and learn from them.  Collectively, families who have people with disabilities, need to work together to create a healthy lifestyle balance, for the people we care about, as well as play our role in educating others on creating an inclusive society.