Newsletter nine: What can families do when ‘behaviour’ is catching everyone’s attention?

Newsletter nine:

What can families do when 'behaviour' is catching everyone’s attention?

School inclusion can feel very fragile when concerns arise about a student’s 'behaviour'.  CRU speaks to many families who are facing suspensions or exclusions, or who are worried about their child’s enrolment.  This newsletter is designed to provide helpful ideas on what might be behind a student’s 'behaviour' and what parents can do to shape different understandings and conversations.  We hope this information will also be helpful to professionals working with young people and their families.

Dr Michael Kendrick has said that: “Once people are labeled with words such as 'challenging' it will predict that the focus will be brought on their behaviour, because the behaviour is the thing that is catching people’s attention … My advice is not to think of people as having challenging behaviour at all, but rather that they be seen as people who are poorly served or whose needs are not met very well in their present situation”.

To quote Herb Lovitt “People with difficult behavior are social critics who tell us what we are doing wrong.”  We believe children will always do well when they can.  If there is ‘behaviour’, then we need to stop and listen to what a child is communicating, as they will be telling us what we need to do to include them – and indeed everyone.

An image of two pie charts with the titles 'reasons for a child's behaviour'. The first chart is titled 'what people think' and is filled with the category 'naughty and doing it on purpose'. The other piece chart has 6 categories and is titled what really is behind behaviour. The categories are equal and are: development, tired/hungry, anxiety, sensory processing, need connection and unment need.

Image Source:  The Therapist Parent.

CRU believes that:

  • All children have the same need to belong, to feel safe, to feel valued and included by their peers and by their school communities.
  • All children, indeed all human beings, will communicate their feelings, and unmet needs, in the way that they can.
  • As adults, we can do better to support young people to understand their own needs and feelings, and communicate these in more positive ways.

Dangerous Words

The danger in labelling something as 'behaviour' is it immediately limits everyone’s ability to relate to the person who is 'behaving'. Too often, we do not stop to ask: Why is this child acting that way? What are they needing? What can I do to help?

It stops people from listening to the child who is already feeling unheard.

Emma Van der Klift, internationally recognized neurodiverse speaker, author and disability activist refers to the unhelpful tendency to label individuals – both children and adults - as being ‘manipulative’, ‘resistant’, or ‘seeking attention’.

“The problem with these words: manipulation, resistance, even the idea of doing things for attention…makes the person sound like it’s all they ever do, and not only that, it doesn’t tell us anything useful.”

Emma Van der Klift

Emma maintains that these words are a signal of the frustration of the teaching or support staff, but by locating the problem solely in the child who is needing support, it limits the possibility of finding useful ways forward. You can view her video presentation titled ‘Three Dangerous Words’ in the behaviour section of our Inclusive Education Resource site.

What can we do as parents?

As parents, receiving the dreaded ‘behaviour phone calls’ from school can be distressing and overwhelming.  When those calls start to become frequent, accompanied with escalating distress in the child and in the severity of punishment, it can be hard to see a way forward.  CRU has many helpful resources already on our website, but here are some top tips for where to start:

Get informed

It can be helpful to know the tools and resources that The Department of Education have developed to guide schools in their approach to ‘behaviour’.  Please note that schools will have their own policies and approaches, so getting to know your school’s framework and policy will be important.

The Department’s Autism Hub hosts a free functional behaviour assessment tool on their website.

It is designed to prompt family members and professionals to think about what occurs before and after a ‘behaviour’ to understand what function or role that behaviour may have, and what strategies may be useful to help reduce or replace that behaviour.

The Department has also published a factsheet Prevention and de-escalation of risk behaviour fact sheet (pdf) and have available a collection of new resources for parents.

Other resources are in development, so please contact CRU for a fuller guide to materials.

Our tip: Questions to ask school when you are informed of ‘behaviour'

* try to keep conversation objective (focus on facts not emotions)*

What, where, when, who? :

  1.  What is my child doing?
  2. When is this happening?
  3. Where is it happening?
  4. Who is with my child?
  5. What happens before?
  6. What happens after?

Then… take some time!

“I would like some time to think and to talk with my child.”

Families know their child best; this concrete information and your knowledge of the child can help you figure out what is going on for your child, so you can share this with the school.

Keep expanding your understanding of ‘behaviour’

As our child’s advocate, it is important we get clear about seeing past 'difficult behaviour', in order to look for messages of unmet need.  David Pitonyak unpacks what these messages could be in his article ‘Notes for Parents’ (PDF).

Remember that your child’s behavior has meaning.  Finding out what your child needs is the first step in supporting your child, and the people who love your child, to change.

David Pitonyak

Here are just a few different tools available to parents and schools to help your child think about what is happening for them, and how things could be made better at school for them.

  • Is it Sensory or is it Behaviour? is an article written by an Occupational Therapist to work out what might be helpful if you are unsure if it’s ‘sensory or behaviour’.
  • What gets labelled 'behaviour' that isn't is a short video we released earlier this year, in which behaviour consultant, Ann Greer, describes sensory and movement differences in children that get mis-labelled as ‘behaviour’.
  • Identify your School Triggers (PDF) is a self-reflection tool to help students and/or their parents and caregivers identify their ‘triggers’ at school.

Our tip: Questions for parents to consider

When this ‘behaviour’ occurs:

  • What is my child’s experience?
  • What is my child feeling?
  • What need is not being met? *

Was there something/ someone that made them feel uncomfortable?

Was there something they did not understand?

Was there a demand or challenge that they do not yet have the skills to meet?

* Don’t overlook the ordinary needs of any child – to be valued, to belong, to have friends, to experience success, to have age appropriate choice and control, or for their opinion on the situation to be heard (even if they lack the words to express that verbally).

REFRAME, or ‘RESTORY’, the behaviour

In a situation where our child’s actions are described as ‘challenging behaviour’, it is important for us to stand strong in our advocacy, and support them to communicate the real human story of their experience.

We must reframe the picture that is presented to us, to support our children, and to support their school to see our child’s perspective.  We must help others never lose sight of the child and their perspective and well being.

Julie Causton and Kate Macleod state we must ‘restory’ the behaviour:

 “All kids want to do well because they want love, belonging and understanding.  It is up to us to restory our student’s challenging behaviour in order to help them succeed, feel loved, and feel understood.  Certainly, it’s what we'd want someone to do for us.”

(From ‘Behaving to Belonging : The inclusive art of supporting students who challenge us’ by Julie Causton and Kate Macleod)

Image Source: North Star Path

Our tip: With your Child

When your child is calm ask if they are okay to talk. Empathise first, listen, tell them what you have observed (without judgement) then ask for their thoughts on the situation.  Work together on planning solutions.

Even where your child has limited effective communication, think about:

  • What words or other strategies (e.g AAC) does my child need to express themselves to get their needs met, or to name and express their feelings next time?
  • How will my child be successful in communicating this next time the situation occurs?
  • Who at the school can ensure this will happen?
  • How can I help the school to tune into my child’s communication including non-verbal signs and the 'behavioural whispers'?
  • Document and share with the school key information, e.g. the signs my child is becoming uncomfortable, what helps them to feel safe and regulated, and what to avoid. 

A black and white photo of Dr Martin Luther King with a quote from him in text over the image. A riot is the Language of the unheard.

Tip: Don’t overcomplicate with tools and strategies – focus on regulation and relationship first!

An image of an upside down triangle. It has the words (bottom to top, small to large). Regulate, Relate, Reason.

Image source:  Bruce Perry, Beacon House (PDF).

He’s confident, he’s happy, and he’s part of the class

CRU believes that too often when 'behaviour' is catching everyone’s attention, we can lose sight of the importance of supporting students in ways that are consistent with full inclusion and participation.  When we focus on 'managing behaviour', we lose the opportunity to focus on the supports and adjustments students need to do better.

This year we released this video that shares the story of a family’s vision for their son, their belief in his potential and an unwavering conviction to his inclusion at his local primary school.  This video shares how a school team transformed Nathan’s experience in his year 4 class through investing in their relationship with him, and nurturing his place in the class as an independent learner.   Instead of a focus on behaviour and risk management, there was a focus on planning for inclusion – with amazing outcomes for Nathan.

The problem with punishment

CRU is concerned that many approaches to dealing with 'behaviour' are reactive, not based in evidence, and have serious immediate and long-term detrimental consequences for students with disability.

Recent data shows that children with disability continue to be suspended and expelled from Queensland schools at a disproportionate rate when compared with children who do not have disability.  This discussion paper from QAI evaluates the current systemic responses and makes recommendations for reform.

A black and white photo of a bearded man smiling. It includes the text quote by Michel Tremblay: If we can look at others with curiosity rather than judgement, then we will rediscover the tenderness within ourselves.

For further reading:


Video series “Supporting people with sensory and movement differences” available for rent

Dear Friends and Supporters of CRU,

We are excited to let you know that the webinar series “Supporting people with sensory and movement differences”, has now been converted to an on-demand video series, available to rent via the CRU website.

Thank you for the feedback you gave us on the importance and impact of these sessions. We have been able to negotiate with our presenters to find a way that this content can continue to be available, and we hope you will find this useful.

We hope that you will find this a useful and flexible resource.  One you can use to share information and strategies with your family and wider support network, or perhaps to use as part of staff training and development?

This is a new concept for CRU, along with our use of Vimeo as the platform you will use to buy and view the videos. So if you have any questions or need assistance, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us for support.

Video 1: An introduction to sensory-movement differences and diversity

How movement and sensory differences and disorder affects people, and how they can best be supported.

Video 2: Lights! Camera! Autism!

The use of video technology to support people creatively to increase their independence.

The series

This series has been designed for family members but is relevant for friends and paid supporters to watch as well. The series was initially offered through the support of the Anne Cross Leadership Initiative, sponsored by Uniting Care. Collectively the presenters Kate McGinnity, Sharon Hammer, Lisa Ladson and Anna Nikolay have a broad range of experience in education, coaching and consulting and a commitment to demystifying the experience of people who live with autism or movement or sensory differences.

For more information please visit the Videos On Demand (VOD) section of website.


He’s confident, he’s happy and he’s part of the class.  Building relationships for successful inclusion.

We have produced this 25 minute video because when a student’s behaviour is catching everyone’s attention, school inclusion can become very fragile. It is distressing for everyone, and unhelpful patterns can get established, including the student becoming isolated, stigmatized, punished and excluded. We are sharing this story because we believe that every child can thrive in an inclusive classroom with the right supports.

Read more... (new page)


FFIE Newsletter 8: Focus on inclusion and first nation students and families

The cover of the newsletterAcknowledgement of Country:  CRU respectfully acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as Australia’s first peoples and the traditional owners/custodians of the land on which we work and live. We pay respect to Elders, past and present, recognise the significant contributions of our First Nations people, and seek relationships based on recognition, reconciliation and  justice.

This special edition of our Families for Inclusive Education newsletter focuses on intersections between successful inclusion for students with disability and inclusion for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students.

We are excited to share a family story of a young North Queensland student, Kassidy, who became the Indigenous captain of her primary school, and who also happens to have Down syndrome. As a proud ambassador for her Torres Strait Islander culture, Kassidy has had many opportunities to contribute to her school community, and develop her own leadership skills.

Kassidy’s story exemplifies the truth that we all have multiple identities, and that school inclusion can provide ways for those identities and strengths to be valued.

We also share reflections from our CRU team about two powerful learning experiences. The first was CRU’s collaboration with Central Queensland colleagues from the Department of Education, Cindy Willett and Barb Carroll, who helped to bring together a Yarning Circle in Mackay, attended by many of the Community Education Counsellors (CECs) and others working with First Nations families and students.

The second was a powerful session at CRU’s Peer Support training event where well-respected facilitator/educator Fiona Bobongie led a facilitated conversation for volunteer Peer Support contacts to expand cultural awareness and be sensitised to experiences, challenges and strengths of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families.


Supporting People with Sensory & Movement Differences – with Compassion, Collaboration & Respect

The banner of the webinar. The text is repeated in the post below.

The manner in which a person handles incoming information is paramount in determining the most successful supports for an optimally independent, rich and full life. How do we get there? Let’s go together!

Join us in this explanation and video demonstration of what occurs for individuals with sensory and movement differences and diversity.

Based on the work of Leary and Donnellan (2012), we’ll use this understanding as a cornerstone for determining learning and behavioral approaches that are COLLABORATIVE and SUCCESSFUL for some of our most complex learners.

Replay of the first webinar now closed

The replay of this webinar is now closed.  You are welcome to register for the next webinar in this series below.  The even is titled Lights! Camera! Autism! and is on the morning of the 9th of June.


The presenters

Kate McGinnity, M.S.

A phot of Kate McGinnity, smiling warmly

Kate is an international presenter and author as well as a nationally recognized consultant/coach and teacher in the field of autism.  She has over 35 years of experience working with individuals with autism and their families.  During her tenure as a teacher, Kate was recognized as the National Teacher of the Year by the Autism Society of America.

She is currently involved in private practice providing training and consultation/coaching to professionals and parents as well as counseling and yoga to individuals on the autism spectrum.  Kate has taught graduate level autism related courses, through a variety of universities.

Kate is the co-author of the following books, all available through CBR Press: “Walk Awhile in My Autism” (2005);  “Lights! Camera! Autism! Using video technology to enhance lives” (2011); and “Lights! Camera! Autism!2 Using video technology to support new behavior (2013).”   She is committed to bringing her passion and compassion to every aspect of her work and life.

Anna Nikolay

A photo of Anna Nikolay, smiling warmly

Anna Nikolay is a special education teacher and Autism consultant in Wisconsin. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2018 with degrees in Elementary and Special Education and has taught special education in Wisconsin since then.

Anna was selected early in her career to be a member of an esteemed group of colleagues on a district wide autism support team, co-leading the team after her initial year on it.

Anna develops and presents trainings for staff and families on a variety of autism and other special education related topics. Anna is known for her ability to collaborate with individuals and students who cross her path. In 2019 Anna started her Autism consulting business Nikolay Consulting, LLC to help support and amplify voices of individuals with Autism.

In 2020, Anna started in the Education Policy and K-12 Leadership Master’s program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Useful Resources

Videos

These videos were included in the webinar:

Books

There was a number of books mentioned in the webinar.  CRU has the following books for sale in our Online Store.  Click on the images below to find out more.

Another book, which CRU does not stock, is by Judy Endow - Paper Words:  Discovering and Living with My Autism (external link in new tab).

Autism sensory movement differences
Lights Camera Autism
Lights Camera Autism 2
Walk Awhile in My Autism

CRU sharing information: NDIS consultation, new worker screening & Down Syndrome conference

Dear Friends and Supporters of CRU,

As well as keeping you updated with CRU events, from time to time we like to share information about other events that are happening that we think might be of interest to you. Please see below for information on the New Worker Screening for Self and Plan managed NDIS participants, details of the Down Syndrome QLD Conference and find out more and have your say about proposed changes to the NDIS.

Webinar: New worker screening for self-managed & plan managed NDIS participants

From 1 February 2021, a new National Worker Screening system began in Queensland. New workers for registered NDIS service providers, working in risk assessed roles, will need to obtain a worker screening clearance. But what will the new system mean for people who are not using registered providers?
Join CRU, QDN, ADA, and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Disability Network of Queensland (ATSIDNQ) for a free webinar to find out what the changes mean for self-managed and plan managed participants and their families.

Endless Possibilities Practical Inclusion Conference
Down Syndrome Queensland

Members of CRU’s Families for Inclusive Education Project team are excited to be presenting at Down Syndrome Queensland’s Endless Possibilities Conference being held in Brisbane – and live streamed – in early March. For families and teachers, the conference will provide practical ideas, strategies and tips to achieve Inclusive Education.

8am – 4:30pm (Qld) March 4, 2021

Victoria Park Golf Club, Herston, Brisbane (and live streamed). Separate Parent and Teacher streams are being run.

Click here for the program and full list of topics/speakers, and to find out how to register.

Have your say on proposed changes to the NDIS

The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) is proposing a number of significant changes to the way the NDIS works, and is asking for feedback about these changes. We encourage you to take some time to understand what is being proposed and think about what these changes might mean for you or your family. There is more information, including discussion papers and FAQs on the NDIS website.

You can provide feedback on any of the proposed changes, in written, audio or video format. Consultations close at 10am ADST Tuesday 23rd February.

CYDA information sessions on upcoming NDIS Changes

Children and Young People with Disability Australia (CYDA) is holding online information sessions on the proposed NDIS changes, and seeking feedback on the changes through surveys. There will be a session and survey for parents and caregivers, and a session and survey for young people with disability who have hand experience with the NDIS.

 


Upcoming Project: From School To Work

 

Banner image. Hands holding up a sign that reads coming soon. Text: From school to work. Text: Join our mailing list to keep up to date on this upcoming project

In the second half of 2020, CRU – Community Resource Unit (QLD), Family Advocacy (NSW) and Imagine More (ACT) will start to work together on a new three year project to support young people with disability and their families to engage with employment.

This program aims to inspire, increase the confidence of and motivate students with a disability and their families to make a start on the road to employment.

We’ll be holding introductory webinars and in-depth workshops for each of the following groups:

  • Imagining Work for students in Years 7 and 8
  • Discovering Work for students in Years 9 and 10
  • Finding Work for students in Years 11 and 12.

We’ll share information about the dates and times of these webinars and workshops soon.  The information contained in the majority of the webinars will be the same in Queensland, New South Wales and the ACT. However some of the content delivered will be specific to the state or territory it is presented in to ensure we cover local schemes and issues.

CRU will be with you on this journey to encourage and support so that your high schooler with disability and your family feel empowered, and you can take action towards employment!

If you would like to join the mailing list and be kept up to date with the details of this project, please add your details to the form below.  If you are not a family member but a keen supporter of a person with disability and are interested in this topic, you are also most welcome to join our mailing list.

School to Work
This will help us as we plan for our workshops

As with the general CRU mailing list, we won’t share your information with anyone else and you can unsubscribe at any time.

In the meantime, if you have any questions about the ‘From School to Work’ project or other aspects of what CRU has to offer, please email cru@cru.org.au


New Edition Launched. CRUcial Times 56: Creating a Home, One Person at a Time

We are very pleased to share with you the latest edition of CRUcial Times. This is our 56th edition and it explores the idea of creating a home, one person at a time.

The cover of crucial times 56
Click to download

The authors in this edition do not try to gloss over the challenges of establishing a real home for a person with a disability , or of supporting someone in this task. The stories are practical and real, and a common theme from all our authors is that a real home is more than just a physical place, and absolutely worth the effort required.

After the last edition of CRUcial Times looked at how a home can be a foundation for a life in community, in this edition we wanted to showcase some examples of how people have gone about being supported to live in their own home. Home is such an important topic because our home is a central part of our lives and deeply connected to our identities. While secure housing is linked to our ideas of safety and security in life, to feel at home also requires a feeling of control and the freedom that comes with privacy and with intimacy.

We would like to thank the authors, Sue Boyce, Bronwyn Moloney and Bronia Holyoak for sharing their stories and experiences for this edition, and to Jeremy Ward for generously allowing us to include an edited excerpt from his book. In a shameless cross promotion, Jeremy’s wonderful book The Shouted Goodbye is available for sale in the CRU bookshop. In the book Jeremy goes into more detail about the strategies that enabled his daughter to live in her own home.

We also thank the organisation TASH in the United States for permission to republish Patricia Fratangelo’s article on life sharing, and Parity magazine, published by the Council to Homeless Persons, for permission to republish Cameron Skinner and Deb Rouget’s article A Home of My Own.

If you would prefer to have a hard copy mailed to you then please let us know and we will happily arrange for that. We do not routinely do large mail outs these days as many people prefer to receive material electronically, but we are more than happy to post you a copy if preferred. If you are having accessibility issues with the attached file, then please find a version with simplified formatting on our website. If you need the articles in this edition in a different format to make them more accessible then please get in touch and will we arrange this for you.

You are welcome to share this edition of CRUcial Times on to anyone you think may be interested and don’t forget there are 55 previous editions of CRUcial Times available on our website.


Support from Families for Inclusive Education for families moving to Learning at Home

We hope that you have enjoyed a happy and safe Easter.

As you will now be aware, the government has announced that when school goes back next week, most students will be moving to Learning at Home for the first 5 weeks of Term 2 (to be further reviewed).  This will be a big change for families and students and so we thought it would be helpful for us to be in touch with you about CRU’s plans and also to provide you with some important links to resources which can assist you.  We know there is a lot of information out there – so we hope to not overwhelm you with too much information.

While we know that schools will also be communicating with you with more specifics and tailored resources – we also know that school responses are likely to vary considerably.  While many families will be looking forward to the opportunity to spend more time at home with their family, this won’t be without its challenges and juggling, and could feel quite overwhelming – particularly given loss of other routines and supports, and general anxiety about the impact of COVID-19.

Individual consultations

We hope that as with any big transition that you are able to prioritise taking care of each other – including Mum and Dad! – and being led by the bigger long-term vision – even if it is harder to act on many of those dreams right now!  Without taking away from the challenges, this provides a time to take stock and even to get to know your child as a learner and therefore to be clearer about their strengths, passions and what supports work for them.

While this is the hope, we know this isn’t straightforward and want to reassure you that CRU will continue to support families though our individual consultation service – phone/email or zoom consults are possible by emailing EducationProject@cru.org.au or by phoning 3844 2211 and a consultant will get back to you.

This will be valuable for families knowing where to start in their transition to home learning!  Please remember that while the Families for Inclusive Education Project focuses on issues around inclusive education, CRU generally supports people with disability and their families, so if you have a question relating to other issues (e.g. NDIS or supports during this time), we may be able to assist you by linking you with another CRU team member.

Webinar

As already announced on our date claimer, we will be hosting a webinar at 10.30am on 11th May on the topic of Communication with the School: Building a Foundation for Partnership.   It will include suggestions both for “ordinary” times as well as during this current context.   Given the new technical restrictions, we will be offering a recording and zoom session at a different time slot the following week – more details to follow.

Additional resources for families

We will also be:

  • Launching web resources for families
  • Offering group zoom conversations for families to learn about helpful resources, offer strategies, and support each other
  • Offering online learning versions of our workshops – in flexible formats
  • Sharing family stories and examples of inclusion in different formats
  • Continuing to support family to family peer support connections.

More information will follow, with specific dates and links for the zoom conversation and other online learning.

Department of Education Resources

We also want to draw your attention to the resources being made available by Queensland’s Department of Education:

Australian Coalition for Inclusive Education

CRU is a member of the Australian Coalition for Inclusive Education which has produced a very valuable resource for families leading home learning at this time. It has lots of interesting links for stimulating learning for all ages and interests.  There is also great information on how students can be socially connected during these unusual times.

CRU is interested in hearing your feedback about what additional supports would assist you to navigate the current challenges, and the Department of Education is seeking feedback from us on how learning at home is progressing, even in this preparatory phase.  Please contact us by phone or email if you would like to provide this input or need assistance.

Children and Young People with Disability (CYDA)

As well, Children and Young People with Disability (CYDA) is collecting national data and you may want to contribute through completing CYDA’s survey of young people with disability and families.  This survey will remain open during the COVID-19 crisis.

We hope you are able to enjoy the slower paced school holidays – and look forward to supporting you over the coming months.  Hang in there!


Videos from Disability Royal Commission event with CYDA now live

These videos were filmed by Community Resource Unit Ltd. (CRU) at a joint event held with Children and Young People with Disability Australia (CYDA) at Common Ground on the 18th February 2020.  The videos can be viewed on the playlist above, or can be viewed individually in our videos page.

This event discussed the Disability Royal Commission (DRC), its interest in education of children with disability and how people can share their stories with the Royal Commission.

CYDA has created a workbook to assist families as they prepare submissions around education.  Download the workbook here (MS Word).  They also have created some factsheets which we have linked to below.

Here is a list of links that relate to these videos:

CYDA

Disability Royal Commission (DRC)

Queensland Collective for Inclusive Education (QCIE)

Support for people making submission


CRU and CYDA Disability Royal Commission workshop – towards transformation in inclusive education

This event was filmed by Community Resource Unit Ltd. (CRU) at a joint event held with Children and Young People with Disability Australia (CYDA) at Common Ground on the 18th February 2020.

This event  discussed the Disability Royal Commission (DRC), its interest in education of children with disability and how people can share their stories with the Royal Commission.

CYDA has created a workbook to assist families as they prepare submissions around education.  Download the workbook here (MS Word).  They also have created some factsheets which can be viewed on their website.

There are additional links to useful websites in the descriptions of each video.

Read more... (new page)


CRU and CYDA Disability Royal Commission workshop – towards transformation in inclusive education

CRU is delighted to be working with CYDA (Children and Young People with Disability Australia) to co-host this workshop on Tuesday 18th February from 9.30am-12.30pm (morning tea provided).

Please arrive from 9am for a 9.30 start. The workshop will be held in the Gambaro Room, Commonground, 15 Hope Street, South Brisbane.

Bookings are essential for catering and venue purposes; please register your interest here:

Click here to register

This workshop will be an opportunity to learn about the Disability Royal Commission and how to have your say on the issue of education. For some of you this is of current concern and for others your son or daughter may have already graduated but you may have a story that you would like to tell.

The workshop will provide information about:

  • The current Royal Commission,
  • Practical tips and
  • Support to prepare your own submission if you would like to do so.

The aim is to help students and parents to feel more confident about contributing their experiences and insights in order to guide the work of the Royal Commission.

On the day, there will be the opportunity to prepare (or at least begin to prepare) a submission – either a written or a video submission. Frequently asked questions will be addressed and you will have some opportunity to hear about other work being undertaken to promote inclusive education through engagement with the Disability Royal Commission.

Advocates from QAI and also SUFY who have funding to support individuals and families to tell their stories, will also be in attendance.

If you are not able to attend due to distance or competing commitments, let us know as we will distribute information following the event and CYDA may be able to resource you further.  CRU also intends to offer further workshops later in 2020.

Parking will be paid on-street parking (4-9 hour parks are available in the following streets – Hope, Montague, Merivale, Cordelia, Russell Streets) or you can park at the Queensland museum. Hope Street is very accessible for public transport – an easy walk from the cultural centre busway and South Brisbane stations.


Families for Inclusive Education – Date Claimer, Term 1 2020

Dear friends,

Last year, CRU was delighted to offer 20 workshops across Queensland for families of Queensland school students with disability as part of our Families for Inclusive Education Project proudly supported by the Queensland Government, Department of Education.

We are excited to announce our workshops for Terms 1 & 2 2020.

 

Term One Dates

The cover for the 2020 term 1 date claimer for the families for inclusive education project
Download here

Registrations are open for our term one workshops:

The workshops help families to learn more about inclusive education, including what inclusive education looks like and how it benefits your child, and how, as family member, you can develop a collaborative relationship with your child’s school to improve their educational experience.

Supported Attendance for Regional Attendees

For regional families, we want to draw your attention to our final half day version of Setting the Direction for Success (Richlands, Brisbane West) on 27th February, the day before one of our follow up workshops Working Effectively with your Child’s School (Chermside, Brisbane North) on 28th February.

We have intentionally scheduled these workshops back to back for those regional families who have not been able to attend our workshops so far.

If CRU is not offering workshops at a location closer to you (ie you don’t live in or very close to Townsville, Rockhampton, Toowoomba or SE Qld) and your child is currently attending a Queensland state school, you can apply for support (travel costs e.g. petrol, airfares and accommodation) to attend the workshops on 27th and 28th February by filling in the application form below.

Download the Travel Support Request Form here

We will be able to assist with logistics and transport to the venues. (These supported attendance is also available for all our workshops, e.g. for people in Nth Queensland to travel to Townsville).

Newsletter and resources

We are pleased to share our second newsletter on how to promote and defend a vision of inclusion.  We hope the newsletter resources will strengthen and embolden you as you prepare for another school year.  Some of the messages are around high expectations and your child’s right to a quality inclusive education; that your child has gifts and strengths and will be an asset to the school; that you hold a natural authority as their advocate; and encouragement to link with others to stay strong in your advocacy efforts.

In preparation for return to school, you may also want to revisit newsletter one and our webinar!

In addition to the dates/locations on the date claimer, we will also offer an evening session in Brisbane (at the CRU office) on Monday 23rd March with an abridged version of Setting the Direction for Success.  More information will be available soon but if you want to receive a reminder about this session, please email educationproject@cru.org.au.

As well, our second webinar will be held early in Term 2 on the topic of Communication with School – Building a Foundation for Partnerships.

We very much look forward to connecting with families in the school years in 2020 and remember we are available for individual consultations.   We hope this coming school year will be a wonderful year of fun, friendship and learning for your child.

If you are not the parent of a school aged child, please spread the word or check out our other events.


News and Christmas wishes from our CEO

Christmas festive banner with the words merry christmas with best wishes from all at cru

Dear Friends and Supporters of CRU

I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for your support of CRU during 2019 and to wish you a happy Christmas and a safe and relaxing holiday period.

Last Friday we received an early Christmas present, with the news that we have been successful in securing some funding from the NDIA for the next three years. This funding, known as Information Linkages and Capacity Building will enable us to continue to work across the state, offering workshops, webinars, leadership development and other small projects.

The focus of this funding is capacity building for people with disabilities and their families, so it does not replace all that CRU was doing and we will continue to seek funds from other sources. This funding gives us a more secure base from which to do that.

You will know from my previous updates that over the past few years, we have been working hard to navigate this transition from secure and flexible state funding to the new competitive world of the NDIS and that at times, our future has been very uncertain.

It is a huge relief to the Board and Staff of CRU to receive this news and very exciting to be able to now plan for longer than a few months at a time. It is due to begin in April 2020 so stay posted for lots more information in the New Year.

The cover of the advance notice document
Download here

We had already been planning for 2020 – please download our advance notices and a flyer for our first workshop for 2020, which is a two-day Social Role Valorisation workshop on the Gold Coast. Our workshops on Inclusive Education will continue until May and a date claimer for those is included in the advance notices above.

Thank you to all those who took the time to fill out our recent survey. We have not seen the results yet but expect a report from the third party consultants early in January.

We have just updated the CRU website to make it more accessible so if you have time to have a browse over the holiday period we would welcome any feedback.

The CRU office will be closed from this Friday 20th December and will reopen on Monday 6th January.
2020 is already shaping up to be a busy and exciting year and we look forward to continue working with you to achieve our mission of full and meaningful lives for people with disability.

With best wishes
Margaret


Why we need a vision for inclusion

The Families for Inclusive Education Project is a CRU initiative funded by Queensland Government’s Department of Education to help families develop a clear vision for their child’s school years, learn about inclusive education policies and supports, and develop advocacy skills and peer support networks.

This newsletter explores how a positive vision can build a strong foundation for inclusive education.

Navigating the school years when your child has a disability can be daunting – so we encourage families to keep believing in their child, their gifts and strengths and their right to belong and contribute.

Stand Strong - our schools and communities are better when everyone belongs

Early in Term 4 we hosted a webinar on Planning Successful Transitions, which builds on the themes of this newsletter.  The webinar can be viewed in full on our website.

We can also offer individual consultations/ conversations if you want to explore these ideas or other issues more deeply.  Please call or email us for a conversation, to request information, or to be linked to a family with similar experiences.

Click here for upcoming events for this project

Group of boys in school uniform talkingLindie presenting at a day 1 workshop

What is a vision and how can we use it?

Gina Wilson Burns

So the things in Mac’s vision are things we want for any child, it’s just something we’ve intentionally articulated.

The vision allows us to test things against it and see whether we are staying on the right path.

(Gina Wilson Burns, Mac’s mother).

See Mac's vision in action at 19 Stories of Social Inclusion.

One page profile for Kindy student Ellie Stafford

Crafting your vision for inclusion

Resourcing Inclusive Communities (RIC) has a practical and in-depth workbook for Creating a Vision Statement.  They provide examples of people’s visions and family stories about using a vision statement to pursue inclusion.

American mother Tiffany Stafford has a step by step guide on How to Make a One Page Profile, Ellie Style.  While there are many ways to capture your vision, a one page profile can be an easy way to share your child’s strengths, interests, and vision with friends, family and schools.

To craft the good life, we need to do the hard work on clarifying and sustaining our vision of what we want, not what others  tell us are the limits of what is possible. 

If we try to choose in a vacuum, not knowing what it is we really want,  others will choose for us

Jeremy Ward, Parent advocate

Connecting with others

QCIE logo dark and light brown lines and circles in a circleQueensland Collective for Inclusive Education (QCIE)

QCIE is a group of families who promote inclusive lives for their children with disability and work together to make inclusive schools a reality for all.  They offer ‘coffee and chat’ gatherings where families can meet to share knowledge and experiences.

The QCIE Peer support Network is their closed Facebook group for families to learn and share experiences.

Learn More

All means all logoAll Means All: Australian Alliance for Inclusive Education

Highly recommended for practical resources, past submissions and Facebook groups for parents and educators.

All Means All offers resources For Parents and For Educators that include Inclusion Toolkits, resources, Facebook groups for discussing how to make inclusion a reality for all students.

Learn More

What do we mean by Inclusion?

In this edition of CRUcial Times, people reflect on what inclusion is, what it isn’t, and why it’s vital to know the difference.

The cover page of crucial times edition 51: What do we mean by inclusion?
Download here

There are 55 editions of our publication,
free for download on our website.

Inclusion 2.0:  Teaching to diversity

In this video, Canadian educator Shelley Moore discusses the need for a shift from: "How do we support disabilities in a classroom?" to "How do we support a diverse classroom?" and the benefits this has for all students.

Being clear on these benefits can help families in their advocacy.

Inclusive schooling is an educational movement that stresses interdependence and independence, views all students as capable, and values a sense of community.

Paula Kluth

Stop-press: Paula Kluth will be a keynote presenter at Illume Learning’s Australian Inclusive Schooling Conference.  12-13 March 2020.  Brisbane

This project is proudly supported by the Queensland Government through the Department of Education.

The Department of Education website outlines its commitment to Inclusive education through its inclusive education policy.

 

Community Resource Unit Ltd - CRU (logo) Bright colours expanding from central point with the words Community Resource Unit Ltd, Expanding Ideas; Creating Change


Seven Steps to Self-Direction – Cairns

Join Sharon Bourke in this one-day workshop to explore a practical, values-based framework of self-direction, and how to develop supports that work respectfully and constructively together. Now OPEN for registration.

How have other people made self-directing work?
This one-day workshop explores a practical, values-based framework of self-direction, and how to develop supports that work respectfully and constructively together.

The seven steps provide a simple, helpful guide that can be worked through, or started at any step. This workshop draws on the resource developed by Griffith University (Dr Margaret Ward) as part of the NDS Innovative Workforce Fund Project.

Self-direction has been found to give greater choice and control, and more effective and flexible use of available formal and freely-given support. Good support requires the right people to provide the right level of support at the right time.


September update for the Families for Inclusion Education project

Dear Friends of CRU,

Registrations are now open for a number of our Term 4 workshops being delivered as part of CRU’s Families for Inclusive Education Project. See below for our date claimer or click here for the latest updates on all the project is doing.  The workshops and other aspects of the project are designed to assist family members of students with disability across Queensland to be informed and confident so they can work as respected and valued partners in their child’s education.

Read more... (new page)


Date Claimer released – Sept to Dec 2019

CRU are pleased to release our Date Claimer for the remainder of 2019.

New workshops are now open for registration. Please see the date claimer or the event page for more information

The reverse side of the Date Claimer lists the Term 4 workshops planned as part of our Families for Inclusive Education Project, which are all open for registration.

We will keep you updated as more events go live, or by subscribing to the CRU Facebook page you will receive live updates.

An accessible word document version of the Date Claimer is available here.

image of the date claimer
Click to download

CRUcial Times 55: What it means to create a home

The cover of crucial times 55: what it means to create a home
Download here

In this, our 55th edition we have returned to an exploration of what it means to create a home.

Generally we think of home as a safe and secure place to be oneself and from that security take up opportunities to work, study or contribute to community, so we think it’s important to consider why a real home is so often out of the reach of people who live with disabilities. This topic has been the theme of previous editions of CRUcial Times and in some ways nothing has really changed about the fundamental importance of home and how essential it is. What we need to consider to assist someone who lives with disability to create and sustain a home hasn’t changed much either. However, the introduction of the National Disability Insurance Scheme in Australia means that for the first time having enough funded support to move into a home of their own is a real possibility for many more people with disabilities.

With many people being offered only accommodation or a bed in a house we thought it was timely to return to the topic of creating a home to ensure that houses do become homes and do offer the comfort and security required to be a Launchpad into the rest of life.

Read more... (new page)


CRUcial Conversations Podcast

CRUcial Conversations Podcast

Two clay figures talking with the words above crucial conversations cru.org.auCommunity Resource Unit has a long history of curating stories of meaningful and positive change for people with disabilities and their families. To date this has been via written articles, books, conference presentations and videos.

Today we are pleased to announce the launch of our new podcast series:

CRUcial Conversations:  Five stories of grassroots leadership and change in the disability community in Queensland.

Read more... (new page)


Follow up resources from our Employment For All event with Michael Callahan

Here are some resources to follow up from the Employment for All seminar, held on August the 15th, 2017.

Michael Callahan (and related) Resources

Michael Callahan has written extensively on Customised Employment and related topics.  He has many of them can be found on the Marc Gold & Associates website.  This includes articles, forms, guides, examples and presentations from Michael.  There are literally dozens of papers here so we encourage you to explore this website.

You may have seen three books on the table that Michael brought with him.  He will be selling e-book versions of these through the Marc Gold & Associates website soon.

Read more... (new page)


New Opportunities: Wisdom from the NDIS trial sites

These videos are from footage taken our our “New Opportunities for a Good Life: Experiences from NDIS Trial Sites” events.  These one day forums, held in Toowoomba, Brisbane, Rockhampton and Hervey Bay showcased stories by and about people with disabilities and their families who have been involved in various NDIS trial sites from across Australia.

Read more… (new page)


Aoife O’Toole: Agency Transformation

The ‘Agency Transformation’ events held throughout October were designed to assist managers and other key decision makers to think through the core requirements for authentic service transformation so that services would be individually tailored and designed to assist people with a disability to live better lives.

Read more… (new page)