Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Purchase an Outcome Not an Outfit

Thanks to John for his latest post on individualised funding... you can find his blog here: http://www.johnmckenna.com.au/ 

People with disabilities and their families are becoming “Smart Shoppers”

When it comes to embracing individualised funding I feel pretty comfortable saying Victorians are leading the way.

Yes it’s new and different and of course there is a degree of nervousness in the air.

The word on the street is, you need to know which door to knock on, and remind them that you are shopping for the best deal.

A message I leave with people who have attended the VALID Individual Support Packages ISP’s workshops is that there are no experts so it’s crucial to talk to many people as possible.

The Department of Human Services Victoria have really ramped up their efforts in training facilitators as these are the folks that we should be turning to for guidance.

Peer support can be a great source of information which I strongly recommend.

On the 24th of Oct. 2011  the Peer-Support-to-Buy-Support group had their first meeting that was well attended.

The hot topic of the night was, direct employment, what’s it like? how much time does it take up? when are they rolling it out?
Direct Employment of carers will be rolling out as an option for those interested in Victoria 2012.
The next Peer-Support-to Buy-Support meeting is scheduled for 6th of December; check out the site for more information.

There are many other interesting initiatives  being planned by a variety of organisations designed to help individuals and families source appropriate supports.

I’m currently in discussions with an iPhone/Android application developer about an easy-to-use tool that will help locate value for money disability supports.

The Find-A-Carer website that I featured earlier (which has recently been revamped) is another great example of online assistance that is currently available.

So as we shop & haggle on price for Christmas gifts, keep in mind, much of the same approach can be used when purchasing supports from a disability service provider.

Take Control Buy That Outcome

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Racist on the Train

Thanks to Carl for his latest post... oh the perils of public transport!
People on trains are often a source of entertainment, insight, disgust and intrigue; sometimes all at once. They also present opportunities; I landed one of my jobs from a chance meeting on a train. Yet at the same time, I was also mistaken for a woman by a 13-year-old homeless boy who wanted my wallet. Passengers on trains also enjoy dishing out backhanded compliments, especially to those with a disability. I wrote about one such encounter in this blog post, and recently I had another run in with a passenger, yet this time the situation was even more bizarre.
Encounters on trains almost always start innocently enough; I wait at the front carriage, make eye contact with the driver, and watch them slam the ramp down as they sigh simultaneously. Then, as any modern man does, I try to avoid people and find a secluded corner from which I can fiddle with my smart phone. I must be an affable chap, as strangers often strike up a conversation with me. It's normally old men though, so maybe I should be worried instead of self-satisfied? Regardless, an old gentleman started talking to me, you know the stuff, everyday pleasantries. It wasn't a conversation that glued me to my seat (bad disability joke), but it was pleasant enough. The man took out his wallet and showed me a picture of his daughter. I feigned a genuine smile, which he bought. Then the conversation began to peter out as my enthusiasm waned. Then there was a pause, a pause five minutes long. It was sadly broken by this unpleasant non sequitur;
“Too many Muslims these days, aren't there?!” Now that is definitely a question no one wants to be asked, especially by a stranger in the confines of a train carriage. If I was drunk, I probably would have sworn at him. If I was exhausted I probably would have nodded, just to end the conversation. Isn't it funny how your morals (or at least an outward expression of your morals) can easily be compromised depending on the state of mind and body? Anyway, I wasn't drunk, nor was I tired, so my response was a simple “Pardon?”
“Too many Muslims! You know, coming on the boats and taking our jobs.” He pointed to the article on the front page of the Herald Sun he was holding, as I let out a sigh and thought of this:

I asked, “Did they take your job?” He replied, “No, I don't work.” Becoming increasingly agitated, I queried, “Did they take your daughter's job?” Again, he replied, “No, she doesn't work. They still take our jobs though!”
I didn't have the energy to reply, so I glanced down at my phone and pretended to be busy. There was another pause, until the silence was again broken by another gem of a statement;
“They also rape and kill women!” By this point I was becoming really annoyed, yet at the same time I honestly couldn't be bothered dealing with people so out of touch with reality. Again, all I could reply with was an exhausted “Pardon?” Looking like I needed some convincing, he stood up, pointed to an article in his paper and exclaimed, “The Muslims! They'll kill all our women!”
“What makes you say that?” I replied, as the racist pointed to the article in the paper, “This one, this one killed his wife!” I tried to explain that it was horrible, yet it happened in Saudi Arabia, not Australia, and the man wasn't an asylum seeker. Further still, it was one man who committed the atrocity, not the entire population. Perhaps unsurprisingly, my attempts at logic failed to convince the racist, as he continued to spout incoherent diatribe.
You mightn't believe me, but the conversation turned stranger still. I was treated to a nonsensical lecture about childhood memories, pertaining to various topics, including slug guns, icy poles, and how everything was cheaper back in his day compared to now. Then there was a quick rant about how Caucasians have bigger brains than people from Africa, and that the Muslim women who wear full headdress use it as a convenient excuse to shoplift from milk bars and banks, all to avoid detection.
Again, I'm not making this up. In fact, I don't think my imagination stretches that far into the depths of madness.
Luckily for me, I arrived at my stop, and as the train driver once again slammed down the ramp to allow me a swift exit, the racist wished me goodbye, to which I replied, “You’re an idiot, have a good day.”

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Close Your Mouth, Block Your Ears, Now Let’s Communicate……

Thanks to John for his latest post..... 

No longer should we  just watch wonder and guess.

There is now a AUSLAN training DVD that has the A to Z of signs and over 1,350 makaton signs (key word-sign and gesture)

AUSLAN is the sign language of the Australian deaf community.

The term AUSLAN is an acronym of “Australian sign language”, coined by Trevor Johnson in the early 
1980s, although the language itself is much older. (thanks for that Wikipedia)

On this training DVD each sign has a slow and normal speed so you can see how signs are formed, how they move whilst practising at the same time.

As my limbs are not AUSLAN friendly, I have not been able to embrace this language all that much, however have picked up a bit over the years, and think it’s a fantastic language.

Well done to Darren Roberts and the team at the Australian Auslan company, for producing this user-friendly training material, there are no more  excuses for those of us who think, “I don’t have time to attend classes”

I believe that all Australians need to make more of an effort to learn this unique language.
A presenter working with an AUSLAN interpreter

John's blog can be found here: