Tackling bullying one class at a time

Tackling bullying one class at a time

Schools are looking toward an inclusive future thanks to awareness program, ‘Different on the Outside but the Same on the Inside’.

Many of us saw the distraught video of nine year old Quaden Bayles and our hearts wrenched seeing the effect of bullying upon a young person. The video, which has been viewed 2.5 million times and shared by more than 65,000 people, highlighted how just damaging bullying can be and the dire need for education in schools.

Happily, Quaden’s story appeared to land on a bright note with support flowing in from around the world. But Quaden’s case is one in many, and bullying for people with a disability is overwhelmingly common and debilitating. 

Young people with a disability are more likely than their peers to have poor mental health[1] and recent research[2] suggests almost half of the poorer mental health we see in teenagers with a disability is due to bullying.

But a new program being delivered by Social Futures aims to tackle bullying head on.

The ‘Different on the Outside but the Same on the Inside’ program is the brain child of Social Futures Local Area Coordinator, Prue McCarthy. An educational inclusion awareness program about disability designed for children 8-11 years, this program has been received with enthusiasm by schools in Western NSW.

‘Different on the Outside but the Same on the Inside’ introduces young people to different types of disability. It uses activities and games to teach children empathy and help them to gain an understanding of what it is like to live with a disability. 

“I wanted children to realise that people with a disability are just the same as everyone else”, says Prue, “and I hope they can carry this awareness with them through to their adult years and onto the next generation. The best place to make change into the future is with the children of today.”

One of the features making this program so successful is the opportunity for children to interact directly with a person with disability and to ask them open and honest questions.

“’What the hardest thing for you to do with having a disability?’ they often ask”, says Prue “or I’m commonly asked if I ever wished that I weren’t born with a disability.”

“This is why I like the program so much,” states Prue. “Because I am a presenter with a disability walking into the class room, I get to observe the students that might be laughing at me. But by the end of the program it is these children that are asking most of the questions to find out more about me and my disability.”

“I had one teacher tell me about a student who was hearing impaired but too embarrassed to wear his hearing-aides. But after I presented that student went up to his teacher and said “I think that I might start wearing my hearing-aides so I can learn more.” ”

“I know I have done my job well when I see students write on the evaluation forms, ‘people with disabilities can do anything they want to’ ” smiles Prue.

The program is currently delivered across the Orange NSW local government area with Social Futures looking to expand to Orana far west.

If your school would like to be involved, contact Social Futures on 1800 522 679.

[1] https://miami.pure.elsevier.com/en/publications/mental-health-issues-in-children-and-adolescents-with-chronic-ill

[2] https://academic.oup.com/ije/article/47/5/1402/5066450?guestAccessKey=92b80704-1fbd-4548-b41b-1fdcc02acbaa

Tackling bullying one class at a time

Schools are looking toward an inclusive future thanks to awareness program, ‘Different on the Outside but the Same on the Inside’. Many of us saw the distraught video of nine year old Quaden Bayles and our hearts wrenched seeing the effect of bullying upon a young...

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Care factor makes all the difference for Rocky

In 1996, at 29 years of age, Rocky Mileto sustained a severe spinal cord injury from a tackle in a game of rugby union. “I had the ball, it was one on one. Just the wrong angle, wrong timing,” Rocky said. “It was that easy, that simple.  Most injuries, rugby or rugby...

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Muscular dystrophy won’t stop Lachie

It has been one year exactly since Lachlan Reardon got his first NDIS plan. Soon to turn 11-years-old, this local Mudgee boy has come a long way in a single year. Lachlan lives with mild muscular dystrophy. He has hyper flexibility and low muscle mass. He’s always...

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Everyone has ability. Everyone has a dream.

It has been just over a year since Ability Dreaming opened its doors and like any new business, there have been highs and lows according to Managing Director, Joel Everett. The first 12 months of any business is a notoriously difficult time for anyone, but adding a...

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Northern Rivers transport guides

Northern Rivers transport guides

If you are looking for information about transport options in the Northern Rivers including bus routes, community and medical transport, taxi, coach and other services that operate in your area, visit goingplaces.org.au and download the transport guide for your region.

We have just updated the transport guides for the Ballina, Byron, Clarence, Kyogle, Lismore and Richmond regions to ensure they have the most up to date information about available services. There is also a guide available for Tweed provided by the Tweed Shire Council.

You can also use the link to the NSW Trip Planner to plan journeys using public transport.

This going places website is part of Social Futures Transport Development Project, a regional initiative funded by Transport for NSW, focused on reducing transport disadvantage and improving access to affordable transport options for residents of the Northern Rivers.

For more information about the Transport Development Project email [email protected]

Care factor makes all the difference for Rocky

Care factor makes all the difference for Rocky

In 1996, at 29 years of age, Rocky Mileto sustained a severe spinal cord injury from a tackle in a game of rugby union.

“I had the ball, it was one on one. Just the wrong angle, wrong timing,” Rocky said. “It was that easy, that simple.  Most injuries, rugby or rugby league injuries, are really simple.

“You could be in a car accident and roll 15 times and have a broken collarbone, but you bump your head playing rugby and you have this level of disability. And everything’s gone, nothing in the fingers, no feelings, no sensory or motor response. I can’t feel my legs, can’t move my legs.”

Over the past 23 years since his accident, Rocky has seen many changes in the disability support sector and has even been inspired to start a charity, Hearts in Union (heartsinunion.com.au), which supports people injured through playing rugby union.

Since joining the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) in June 2018, Rocky has been supported by Social Futures’ Local Area Coordination (LAC) program in his home town of Orange.

Now, as Rocky goes through the NDIS plan review process, he reflects on how his life has changed and what the NDIS has meant for him, his wife and their 12 year old twin sons. 

He reports that the care made available to him through his NDIS funding has been of great benefit to him and his family.

“The care is absolutely fantastic – you get more care,” Rocky said. “That is without a doubt better.

“If you’re not well and you’re in bed, you need someone to sit there just so you don’t have a blocked catheter and autonomic dysreflexia (a form of hypertension that can be life-threatening). To avoid that is really important – you don’t want to be on your own and not able to help yourself.

“Because the level of personal care I need is now fully funded, it allows my wife to go to work and that in turn reduces the financial pressure on us,” Rocky said.

Rocky is currently looking forward to undertaking some home modifications and receiving new equipment, especially his long-awaited bed – all funded through his NDIS plan.

“Because the level of personal care I need is now fully funded, it allows my wife to go to work and that in turn reduces the financial pressure on us”

Rocky

NDIS Participant

Using his NDIS plan

Rocky’s NDIS supports have helped her/him:

  • Access the personal care he needs
  • Free up quality time with his family
  • Reduce financial pressure on his family.

Social Futures is a National Disability Insurance Scheme Partner in the Community.
Our Local Area Coordination services connect participants to the NDIS in regional New South Wales.

To contact your nearest LAC call 1800 522 679

Read more participant stories

Tackling bullying one class at a time

Schools are looking toward an inclusive future thanks to awareness program, ‘Different on the Outside but the Same on the Inside’. Many of us saw the distraught video of nine year old Quaden Bayles and our hearts wrenched seeing the effect of bullying upon a young...

read more

Care factor makes all the difference for Rocky

In 1996, at 29 years of age, Rocky Mileto sustained a severe spinal cord injury from a tackle in a game of rugby union. “I had the ball, it was one on one. Just the wrong angle, wrong timing,” Rocky said. “It was that easy, that simple.  Most injuries, rugby or rugby...

read more

Putting family life back in the picture

Many people who have family members with disabilities experience the sadness and frustration of being so busy in their support roles that they can’t enjoy the pleasures of family life. For them, the benefits of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) can be...

read more

Muscular dystrophy won’t stop Lachie

It has been one year exactly since Lachlan Reardon got his first NDIS plan. Soon to turn 11-years-old, this local Mudgee boy has come a long way in a single year. Lachlan lives with mild muscular dystrophy. He has hyper flexibility and low muscle mass. He’s always...

read more

Everyone has ability. Everyone has a dream.

It has been just over a year since Ability Dreaming opened its doors and like any new business, there have been highs and lows according to Managing Director, Joel Everett. The first 12 months of any business is a notoriously difficult time for anyone, but adding a...

read more

Get new stories from NDIS Participants in your inbox

* indicates required



Putting family life back in the picture

Putting family life back in the picture

Many people who have family members with disabilities experience the sadness and frustration of being so busy in their support roles that they can’t enjoy the pleasures of family life.

For them, the benefits of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) can be truly transformative.

So it was for Narissa Phelps, whose son Joshua has lived with bipolar disorder from the age of 16.

“His condition came on when he hit puberty, and for the next 20 years until he joined the NDIS his life was incredibly restricted,” Narissa says.

“He experiences social anxiety and has never worked. He struggles with going out and rarely initiates activities on his own, including housework and meal preparation. Josh’s diet was both limited and poor.”

Joshua, who is now 37, is the eldest of Narissa’s children and lives close to her in the northern NSW town of Lismore.

“He lives in his own one-bedroom unit and for years it was up to family to keep him on track,” she says. “It was so hard to see him living in squalor, and he resented me trying to keep order and cleanliness in his life.”

Joshua’s journey since he joined the NDIS has been life-changing, both for him and his family.

“Now he has a support worker go around to his house three hours a day, six days a week. They help him with housework, work out weekly menus, take him shopping, play board games with him.

“His unit stays clean and he has several good meals a week. On top of that, someone comes over every night at 6pm to make sure he takes his medication.

“Every now and then support workers will take him out bowling or for a game of pool, which he loves. The workers are predominantly males around his own age, so he’s having fun with peers that he lacked previously.”

Joshua gets to have social time in the wider community while Narissa, her other son and Joshua’s father get to enjoy time with him free of distractions.

“I can finally enjoy a mother-son relationship,” she says.

Narissa’s personal experience has reinforced her sense that the NDIS has made “a huge positive difference” in the lives of many families that she knows.

“I’m retired now but I used to support students with disabilities at the school where I worked. I see my old students around town and it’s clear that they’ve blossomed so much under the new system.

“The NDIS has been very beneficial for me. The support I receive is great because I see someone regularly, and it means that I have company every day.”

 

Joshua

NDIS Participant

The NDIS provides Australians under the age of 65 with a permanent and significant disability the supports they need to live more independently and to increase their social and economic participation.

The NDIS has provided support to more than 104,000 people across NSW. There are more than 300,000 people who have benefitted from the NDIS nationally, including close to 100,000 people who have received support for the first time.

Social Futures is a National Disability Insurance Scheme Partner in the Community.
Our Local Area Coordination services connect participants to the NDIS in regional New South Wales.

To contact your nearest LAC call 1800 522 679

Read more participant stories

Tackling bullying one class at a time

Schools are looking toward an inclusive future thanks to awareness program, ‘Different on the Outside but the Same on the Inside’. Many of us saw the distraught video of nine year old Quaden Bayles and our hearts wrenched seeing the effect of bullying upon a young...

read more

Care factor makes all the difference for Rocky

In 1996, at 29 years of age, Rocky Mileto sustained a severe spinal cord injury from a tackle in a game of rugby union. “I had the ball, it was one on one. Just the wrong angle, wrong timing,” Rocky said. “It was that easy, that simple.  Most injuries, rugby or rugby...

read more

Putting family life back in the picture

Many people who have family members with disabilities experience the sadness and frustration of being so busy in their support roles that they can’t enjoy the pleasures of family life. For them, the benefits of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) can be...

read more

Muscular dystrophy won’t stop Lachie

It has been one year exactly since Lachlan Reardon got his first NDIS plan. Soon to turn 11-years-old, this local Mudgee boy has come a long way in a single year. Lachlan lives with mild muscular dystrophy. He has hyper flexibility and low muscle mass. He’s always...

read more

Everyone has ability. Everyone has a dream.

It has been just over a year since Ability Dreaming opened its doors and like any new business, there have been highs and lows according to Managing Director, Joel Everett. The first 12 months of any business is a notoriously difficult time for anyone, but adding a...

read more

Get new stories from NDIS Participants in your inbox

* indicates required



Muscular dystrophy won’t stop Lachie

Muscular dystrophy won’t stop Lachie

It has been one year exactly since Lachlan Reardon got his first NDIS plan. Soon to turn 11-years-old, this local Mudgee boy has come a long way in a single year.

Lachlan lives with mild muscular dystrophy. He has hyper flexibility and low muscle mass. He’s always struggled with lack of balance, which has impacted on his ability to play sport.

“Due to his condition, Lachie has never been able to ride a scooter or bike like other kids his age,” explains his mum Deborah.

“With his plan in place, Lachie has been seeing an occupational therapist (OT) and a personal trainer for a year now and he’s definitely improved,” she said.

“They are working on his core strength and he’s really been enjoying the personal training sessions.”

Lachlan’s main goals in his first plan were to tie his shoelaces, ride a bicycle and a scooter. One year down, and he has smashed all three! Tying his shoelaces – tick! Riding a scooter – tick! And now, just recently, Lachlan’s perseverance paid off when he learned the art of two-wheeled balance and started to ride a bike. Tick! Tick! Tick!

“It’s given him such confidence,” Deborah said. “He’s just so proud of himself, and of his achievements. As his parent, I thought he’d never ride a bike. I was nearly ready to give up.

“In our family we never say we can’t do something. We say, it’s something we’re trying to do. We might not be able to do it now, but one day we might be able to do it, and this experience has shown Lachie that this is very true.”

Lachlan goes to a mainstream school and earlier this year they had their first school camp.

“It was the first time Lachie has ever been away from home,” Deborah said. “He went for four nights and they camped by the water. At that point, Lachie was the only one out of the 100-plus kids attending who couldn’t ride a bike. Next year will be a different experience for him.

“I think he’ll really take off this year, just because his balance is better and his confidence has grown.”

“At the beginning I felt guilty about being on the NDIS because Lachie just looks like a normal little boy.

“Now I realise there’s kids on the NDIS with behavioural problems and other things you can’t see, and as he gets older I can see the huge difference having the NDIS plan will make.

Access to these treatments is going to make a huge impact to his quality of life. It will make all the difference,” Deborah said.

“In our family we never say we can’t do something. We say, it’s something we’re trying to do. We might not be able to do it now, but one day we might be able to do it, and this experience has shown Lachie that this is very true.”

Deborah (Lachie's mum)

NDIS Participant

Using his NDIS plan

Lachlan’s NDIS supports have helped him:

  • Learn how to ride a bicycle and a scooter
  • Learn how to tie his shoelaces
  • Improve his balance
  • Feel more confident

Social Futures is a National Disability Insurance Scheme Partner in the Community.
Our Local Area Coordination services connect participants to the NDIS in regional New South Wales.

To contact your nearest LAC call 1800 522 679

Read more participant stories

Tackling bullying one class at a time

Schools are looking toward an inclusive future thanks to awareness program, ‘Different on the Outside but the Same on the Inside’. Many of us saw the distraught video of nine year old Quaden Bayles and our hearts wrenched seeing the effect of bullying upon a young...

read more

Care factor makes all the difference for Rocky

In 1996, at 29 years of age, Rocky Mileto sustained a severe spinal cord injury from a tackle in a game of rugby union. “I had the ball, it was one on one. Just the wrong angle, wrong timing,” Rocky said. “It was that easy, that simple.  Most injuries, rugby or rugby...

read more

Putting family life back in the picture

Many people who have family members with disabilities experience the sadness and frustration of being so busy in their support roles that they can’t enjoy the pleasures of family life. For them, the benefits of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) can be...

read more

Muscular dystrophy won’t stop Lachie

It has been one year exactly since Lachlan Reardon got his first NDIS plan. Soon to turn 11-years-old, this local Mudgee boy has come a long way in a single year. Lachlan lives with mild muscular dystrophy. He has hyper flexibility and low muscle mass. He’s always...

read more

Everyone has ability. Everyone has a dream.

It has been just over a year since Ability Dreaming opened its doors and like any new business, there have been highs and lows according to Managing Director, Joel Everett. The first 12 months of any business is a notoriously difficult time for anyone, but adding a...

read more

Get new stories from NDIS Participants in your inbox

* indicates required



Everyone has ability. Everyone has a dream.

Everyone has ability. Everyone has a dream.

It has been just over a year since Ability Dreaming opened its doors and like any new business, there have been highs and lows according to Managing Director, Joel Everett.

The first 12 months of any business is a notoriously difficult time for anyone, but adding a disability into the mix brings additional challenges. A participant in the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), Joel is vision impaired and has a mild learning difficulty but that hasn’t stopped him from realising his dream of helping others to achieve theirs.

“Do you want to know how this all started? I’ll tell you,” Joel said. “I lost my eyesight five years ago. And instead of sitting and watching a wall, doing nothing, I wanted to help others do something.

“It’s called Ability Dreaming, because everyone has ability. And everyone has a dream.”

Ability Dreaming specialises in providing people with a disability in Orange and NSW’s central west with access to one-of-a-kind events, adventures and experiences. However, family, friends, and indeed anyone of any ability is welcome. And so far, Joel, along with his Ability Dreaming General Manager, Drew Kirby, are kicking serious goals.

Ability Dreaming was a finalist in the 2019 Outstanding Business Awards in Orange, having been nominated in five categories including Excellence in Microbusiness; Excellence in Health, Fitness and Wellbeing; An Experienced Leader (35 years +); and Excellence in Tourism and Accommodation.

When asked how it feels to be recognised for his work on Ability Dreaming after only a year in business, Joel beams: “It feels like we are on the right track. We want to be consistent, to constantly deliver that quality of service each year, that is our goal.”

And that’s not the only goal that’s being kicked. One of the many dream trips organised this year included a mystery visit to a rugby league match in Manly, Sydney where clients were able to meet with Manly legend Steven Menzies.

“They were so excited. Our clients got to experience seeing the Manly team warm up right down there with them on the field, and they met with the cheerleaders and mascots and had their photos taken. We even had tickets to the members’ lounge at the Parramatta Eels club for one match.

“We also went to the Lindt Chocolate Factory and to Palm Beach where they film Home and Away. We all got to go into Alf’s Bait Shop – everyone was rapt. It was such a highlight.”

Other dreams have included close encounters with animals at Dubbo Zoo where clients patted reptiles and got close and cuddly with koalas. There have been trips organised to the Disney on Ice Show, to Disability Expos, to the go-karts, to Parramatta Bank West Stadium for the very first match there against the West Tigers, and to the Bathurst 1000, which was a particular highlight.

“Our clients were allowed into the pit area so they were close up to the action. One client got to meet a couple of the drivers. It was amazing! They were speechless. They couldn’t stop talking about it.”

That is exactly the response that Joel and Drew are looking for.

“This is what we’re about!” said Joel. “Giving people opportunities to live life to the best of their ability and live outside their comfort zone. Not many people have these opportunities. But we can provide them. Both for clients and their families.

“We are able to cater for plan-managed and self-managed NDIS participants. In fact, many of our clients are participants in the NDIS. We really appreciate the support the NDIS has been able to give us.”

Joel is also supported by the NDIS, which he says has been invaluable for him to operate his business. An NDIS-funded support worker assists him with everyday living, and also supports him to research business opportunities, attract sponsorship, build a website and get the word out – all difficult things for Joel to do unassisted given his vision impairment.

NDIS funding has also provided Joel with assistive technology which allows him to read and type out letters and emails.

As with any regional small business, Joel and Drew face many challenges. Currently they are surviving on the time and skills of six volunteer staff, and they hope to register for charity status soon. Transport and accessibility in regional Australia has also been a difficult hurdle to overcome.

“One of our biggest issues is finding the right transportation. We’ve had to hire buses, but they’re not even wheelchair accessible, which is embarrassing. We want to be able to offer everyone a unique experience, not just a select few. I know what we’re looking for. We just need a few investors to back our dream. We’re working really hard on that.”

The future is looking bright for Ability Dreaming as it plans an exciting year ahead, including taking a tour over to the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics for which they are currently seeking sponsorship.

“You don’t want to be 90 years old with regrets. Live right now. That’s what I am doing. And that’s what we are helping others to do also.”

Ability Dreaming has already attracted strong local community and business support for their venture and are keen for more. To help Ability Dreaming make dreams come true, contact Joel at [email protected] – it will make his dream come true too.

“You don’t want to be 90 years old with regrets. Live right now. That’s what I am doing. And that’s what we are helping others to do also.”

 

Joel

NDIS Participant

Using his NDIS plan

Joel’s NDIS supports have helped him:

  • begin his business
  • improve communication
  • spend time in the community
  • realise his dream of granting dreams to others

 

Social Futures is a National Disability Insurance Scheme Partner in the Community.
Our Local Area Coordination services connect participants to the NDIS in regional New South Wales.

To contact your nearest LAC call 1800 522 679

Read more participant stories

Tackling bullying one class at a time

Schools are looking toward an inclusive future thanks to awareness program, ‘Different on the Outside but the Same on the Inside’. Many of us saw the distraught video of nine year old Quaden Bayles and our hearts wrenched seeing the effect of bullying upon a young...

read more

Care factor makes all the difference for Rocky

In 1996, at 29 years of age, Rocky Mileto sustained a severe spinal cord injury from a tackle in a game of rugby union. “I had the ball, it was one on one. Just the wrong angle, wrong timing,” Rocky said. “It was that easy, that simple.  Most injuries, rugby or rugby...

read more

Putting family life back in the picture

Many people who have family members with disabilities experience the sadness and frustration of being so busy in their support roles that they can’t enjoy the pleasures of family life. For them, the benefits of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) can be...

read more

Muscular dystrophy won’t stop Lachie

It has been one year exactly since Lachlan Reardon got his first NDIS plan. Soon to turn 11-years-old, this local Mudgee boy has come a long way in a single year. Lachlan lives with mild muscular dystrophy. He has hyper flexibility and low muscle mass. He’s always...

read more

Everyone has ability. Everyone has a dream.

It has been just over a year since Ability Dreaming opened its doors and like any new business, there have been highs and lows according to Managing Director, Joel Everett. The first 12 months of any business is a notoriously difficult time for anyone, but adding a...

read more

Get new stories from NDIS Participants in your inbox

* indicates required



Delivering services around COVID-19

Social Futures is committed to the continuation of delivering support services in a safe, practical and innovative way while navigating COVID-19.