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.

We are recruiting

CRU is currently recruiting for two full time positions.

We are looking for someone friendly, organised and energetic for our busy Administration and Reception role, and we are also looking for a full time Community Resource Facilitator to join our team here at South Brisbane.

This facilitator role will involve workshop and webinar delivery, responding to information requests and facilitating conversations and small groups. A key focus of the role is involvement in the School to Work Project  with the families of high school students to increase the chances of students with disability gaining meaningful employment.  The School to Work strategies include statewide workshop delivery and webinar presentations. Approximately half of the facilitator’s time will be spent on this project and the remainder on other projects within CRU.

For more information and details on how to apply, please click on the link for:

Administration and Reception Role

Community Resource Facilitator

Please feel free to circulate this to people who you think might have the skills needed and would also be a good fit with CRU.


CRU is coming to Central West Qld in October 2021!

CRU consultants Catherine Laherty and Jo Walters will be visiting towns in Central West Qld during the week of  11th – 15th October. Get in touch if you would like to meet with them in Clermont, Emerald, Barcaldine, Longreach or surrounding towns.

They will be offering a relaxed session on Supporting a Good Life – it’s not ALL about funding! for people with disability and family members, as well as one-on-one and small group conversations at other times. These activities are funded through a grant from the Department of Social Services, so there is no cost to attend or participate.

CRU consultants resource families and individuals with disability through information and conversation, encouragement and ideas for living good lives. Sometimes it’s good to get a fresh perspective! Catherine and Jo would love to talk with people about good and meaningful lives for people with disability – whether that’s about moving out of home, friendships and relationships, getting a job, being included at school, keeping people safe, or some nitty-gritty NDIS topics like the new Individual Living Options or self-management & directly employing workers.

They will generally be driving between towns in the morning and can be flexible around times and locations to meet with you when they get to your town, including in the evenings.

Please get in touch if you would like to know more, or to book in a time. You can email or call our office on 3844 2211, or register your interest using the button below.

Monday 11th October – Clermont
1.30pm – 3pm Supporting a Good Life (for another time, get in touch)
Clermont Civic Centre Supper Room

Tuesday 12th October – Emerald
10am – 11:30am Supporting a Good Life (for another time, get in touch)
Emerald Neighbourhood Centre

Wednesday 13th October – Barcaldine
1.30pm – 3pm Supporting a Good Life (for another time, get in touch)
Barcaldine Workers Heritage Centre

Friday 15 October – Longreach
9am – 10:30am Supporting a Good Life (for another time, get in touch)
Longreach Civic & Cultural Centre Thompson Room


Thursday 14th October hasn’t been planned yet – if you are in Winton or Blackall and would like to meet with them, please get in touch. Otherwise Catherine and Jo will spend more time meeting with people in Longreach or Barcaldine.

There is more information in the flyer (PDF or accessible Word). Please pass it on to people who may be interested and help us spread the word. We are planning to return in 2022, so don’t worry if you can’t catch us this time but let us know you are interested.

While our priority is resourcing people with disability and families, we expect we will have time too to meet with workers and people from organisations too.


Register here


For further information contact CRU on 07 3844 2211 or email

Families For Inclusive Education – Term 4

NEW inclusive education workshops for families with children with disability, are coming to Brisbane and the Gold Coast in Term 4.

There will be 2 FREE half-day workshops: ‘Inclusive Classrooms: All Children Learning Together’ will assist families become clearer about inclusion in the curriculum/academics of school for their children.

‘Inclusive Education: What it is and why it matters for your child’ is an introductory workshop, helpful for both families of young children about to enter school, and also families of older students who want to learn/revisit core knowledge about inclusive education.

Our NEW FULL-DAY workshop comes to the Gold Coast in term 4, to provide families with updated information on policies and legislation, and encouragement to continue pursuing their vision of high expectations for their child’s future.  See our Term 4 date claimer for more details.

From vision to inclusion: Advocating for your child at school

Thursday 4th November – GOLD COAST

Full Day Workshop – 9.15am to 2.30pm

3 children in school uniforms standing in front of three flags - Australian, Torres Strait and our indigenous flag. One of the children has a disabilityCome along and learn about:

Register here

Inclusive Education: What it is and why it matters for your child?

Wednesday 13th October – CRU OFFICE (South Brisbane)

Short Session – 9.30am to 12.30pm

two young girls in school uniforms standing a smile at eachother. One of them has a mobility aid.

Come along and learn about:

Register here

Inclusive Classrooms: All children learning together

Tuesday 26th October – Eaton’s Hill (Brisbane North)

Short Session – 9.30am to 12.30pm

A young man with disability smiling as his peers enthusiastically give him a high 5

Come along and learn about:

Register here

Further information and Travel Assistance

Regional families (who have a student enrolled in a Queensland State School and must travel to attend workshop) can apply for financial support to attend the closest workshop, or a Brisbane workshop if more convenient/cost effective.

To apply for this assistance, contact CRU on 07 3844 2211 or email

Fortnightly update – 5th August

Dear Friends and Supporters of CRU,

We hope you are staying safe and well, particularly if you are in lockdown or quarantine right now. We wanted to let you know the CRU office in South Brisbane is closed, though we are still contactable by phone, email and through our social media.

We appreciate there will be some confusion over which of our events will be going ahead with the current south east Qld Covid-19 lockdown. While we can continue with online workshops and webinars, at this stage we are assessing face to face events individually. We are being somewhat optimistic, with registrations open for most of our upcoming events. We understand why people may be reluctant to sign up for face to face events right now, but assure you that you will be entitled to a refund if they are cancelled, or if we change to online delivery or different dates. Please feel free to contact us if you have any concerns or would like to discuss.

We have information on:

This post contains links to the following date claimers:

Training and Consulting (Fee for Service)

Our expert consultants can provide a range of training, consultancy and facilitation services on a fee for service basis. These services are designed to inspire and encourage, while providing people, families and organisations with ideas and practical strategies to create change for themselves and the people they support.

We have an updated catalogue of services with information about how we can work with you (both face to face and online), and more detail is available our Fee For Service page.

Families For Inclusive Education (FFIE)

The Families for Inclusive Education Team are excited to announce NEW WORKSHOPS for Term 3 and 4:

“From Vision to Inclusion: Advocating for Your Child at School” will be delivered as a full day workshop  (9.15am – 2.30pm to suit school hours) at various locations across QLD.

“Inclusive Classrooms: All Children Learning Together”, and “Inclusive Education: What it is and why it matters for your Child” are shorter sessions and will be delivered as workshops and online.

Please see the FFIE Date Claimer for more information about these new workshops and further dates and locations.


Inclusive Classrooms: All Children Learning Together  – NOW ONLINE!

Online: Tuesday 10th August (7.00pm – 8.30pm)

Originally planned as evening workshop at the CRU Office on Tuesday 3rd August.

Due to COVID-19 lockdown this workshop has moved to Tuesday 10th August and will now take place ONLINE so we can take more registrations. 

This is likely the only online event on this topic in 2021.  Register here now

From Vision to Inclusion: Advocating for Your Child at School

Rockhampton : Friday 13th August  Register now- REGISTRATIONS CLOSING SOON  

We are still hoping to deliver this workshop, but are watching government directives carefully.  We will let registrants know immediately if this event needs to be postponed or cancelled.

Brisbane Metro/Carindale: Thursday 19th August  Register now

Toowoomba: Wednesday 25th August  Register now

Inclusive Education: What it is and Why it Matters for Your Child

Online: Tuesday 31st August  Register now

CRU Events

The events listed here are coming up to September. Face to face events may not be able to go ahead, we will keep people registered updated. Please see our Date Claimer for events planned through to October.

The Meaning of Advocacy

An Introduction to the Principles & Strategies of Advocacy for People with Disability & Families.

South Brisbane : Friday 13th August   Waiting list only

Starting to Talk About Belonging

This workshop explores what it means to belong and where to start in working towards it.

Sunshine Coast : Wednesday 25th August  Register now

Understanding Intellectual Disability (webinar series)

A series of three interactive webinars presented by John Armstrong on intellectual disability – what you always needed to know but were mostly never told!

Online Thursday 9th, Monday 13th & Wednesday 15th September Register now

Introduction to Facilitation for Peer Support course

A practical, applied course for people with disability & families wanting to learn how to facilitate peer networks.

Mixed mode: Brisbane  Friday 10th September, and online Tuesdays 5th October, 2nd & 30th November Find out more

The Meaning of Advocacy

An Introduction to the Principles & Strategies of Advocacy for People with Disability & Families.

Cairns : Saturday 11th September  Register now

Getting to the Heart of What Matters – a 2 day workshop for Support Workers

Brisbane: Friday 8th and Friday 22nd October Register now

School To Work

These workshops aim to inspire and increase the confidence of, and motivate secondary students with a disability and their families to make a start on the road to employment.  Work and contributing to society is important for everyone, and everyone can have a real job. ‘School to Work’ will help your secondary school student with disability and your family dream of work, and build confidence to explore what work might look like for them.

Please see the School to Work Date Claimer for details of dates and locations through to October.

School to Work Workshop : ‘Imagining, Discovering and Finding Work’

Gold Coast: 24th August                Register now

Other workshop locations for 2021 are Wynnum Manly, Ipswich, Cairns and Rockhampton.

School to Work Webinars:

Throughout August, CRU will replay the introductory webinar series for secondary school students with a disability and their families. The webinars have been developed with specific school year levels in mind and will include a Live Q&A session and be available to view up to 7 days after event date. The webinars will include relevant state-based information related to employment.

Years 7 & 8:

Imagining Work: Getting Started in Years 7 & 8

Online: Thursday 5th August 10 – 11am Waiting list only

Years 9 & 10:

Discovering Work: Getting Started in Years 9 & 10

Online: Monday 9th August 1 – 2.30pm  Register now

Discovering Work: The Next Steps Years 9 & 10

Online: Monday 16th August 1 – 2.30pm Register now

Years 11 & 12

Finding Work: Getting Started in Years 11 & 12

Online: Thursday 12th August 10 -11.30am Register now

Finding Work: The next Steps in Years 11 & 12

Online: Thursday 19th August 10 – 11.30am Register now


For more information on all CRU workshops, see the Events page on the CRU website, or click on the individual links listed above for each workshop.

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.

Webinar Series: Supporting People with Sensory and Movement Differences

The first page of the flyer for the event titled 'supporting people with sensory and movement differences - with respect, compassion, collaboration and respect
Click here to download the flyer (PDF)

CRU is very proud to be hosting the upcoming webinar series: Supporting People with Sensory and Movement Differences – with Compassion, Collaboration and Respect.

This series of webinars feature Kate McGinnity, Sharon Hammer, Lisa Ladson and Anna Nikolay from Wisconsin in the United States during May and June 2021.

The series will cover the topic of movement and sensory differences and disorder, how that affects people, and how they can best be supported, while the second webinar will address the use of video technology to support people creatively to increase their independence. 

The first webinar

We have extended the registration for the first webinar in the series: The Impact of Sensory and Movement Differences and Diversity on Learning, Behaviour and well, EVERYTHING! until Sunday night – and don’t forget if you can’t watch on the day,  do register anyway and we will send a link to watch a recording after the event. The live Q&A session is already sold out but you are welcome to put your name on the waiting list.

The second webinar

There was a glitch in the ticketing system for the second event on the 9th June : Lights! Camera! Autism! and more tickets to watch the webinar are now available – apologies if you weren’t able to register the first time round.  That Q&A session is also sold out.

We hope you will join us for this informative and helpful webinar series.

The Anne Cross Leadership Initiative

This webinar series is created as part of the Anne Cross Leadership Initiative which was created to honour the contribution of Anne Cross to Uniting Care Queensland during her years as the Chief Executive Officer.


Registrations closing soon for first Inclusive Education events of 2021

Registrations are closing for our first Inclusive Education Workshops for 2021!

Don’t miss the chance to learn more about what an effective inclusive education looks like and how to influence your child’s school experience.

Start the year armed with the most up to date information, a positive direction, and some new advocacy tools!

Working Effectively with your Child’s School (9.15-2.30pm) will be held at Cleveland on Friday 19th February covering topics like how to recognise and advocate for good inclusive practice, reasonable adjustments, overcoming roadblocks, communication tips and advocacy.  A Department of Education representative will describe resources available and answer questions.

Our final half day introductory workshop Setting the Direction for Success will be held at Coorparoo on Tuesday 23rd February provides an overview of the fundamentals of inclusion and how a positive vision is a potent tool for successful goal-setting and advocacy.

In the words of one parent: “Highly, highly recommend.  Changed my world, my perspective and most importantly my son’s world

Printed resources for ongoing learning are provided at both workshops and there will be lots of opportunity for supportive conversations.

We are running our ‘Working Effectively with Your Child’s School‘ workshop at the following times and places:

Regional families in other locations than those listed above are encouraged to contact us to enquire about travel sponsorship.

October update from our CEO

It has been a busy few months at CRU as the team has settled back into working mostly at the CRU office with occasional days working from home. As you know we have offered a number of webinars and online workshops and we are just about to start offering some face to face events for the first time since March.  We have lots of safeguards in place –and we are starting by booking small numbers to allow plenty of space and we are booking venues that are easy to cancel if needed.

The Families for Inclusive Education project have organised workshops here at CRU, and at the Gold Coast, Rockhampton and Toowoomba.

  • Setting the Direction for Success EVENING, at the CRU Office, South Brisbane: Tuesday 27th October, 6.15pm to 8.30pm – click here to register

 Please note: The ‘Setting Direction for Success’ workshop is our ONLY evening session this year and particularly relevant if you are new or newish to inclusive education.

 Working Effectively with Your Child’s School, to be held in:-

CRU is also delighted to be able to offer workshops in these three locations where we had to cancel workshops earlier this year. A reminder that families in South West Queensland and Central Queensland who can travel to Toowoomba or Rockhampton, can apply for financial support with travel and accommodation to attend.  Contact us for more information by emailing

Getting to the Heart of What Matters, for support workers will be offered at the CRU office this week and next.  Numbers are limited and this workshop filled very fast so if you wanted to attend but were unsuccessful, please join the waiting list as that gives us a good indication of interest. We hope to offer it again before the end of the year.

We are testing the waters on face to face events and will re-evaluate before we plan for workshops in 2021.

Workshops, Online Workshops and Webinars

We will also continue to offer webinars and online workshops during the rest of 2020. When CRU refers to a webinar we mean a seminar type session, to a large audience that we record and Q&A is conducted through the chat function.  The online workshops are more interactive with a small group of people and are not recorded. You will still need to register for these online events, as places are limited.

If you are at all concerned about how to participate in an online event, please let us know and we can arrange a practice session before the event.

 The Families for Inclusive Education project have three more online conversations planned:

  • Using the Human Rights Act to Protect the Rights of Students with Disability  – Wednesday 21 October click here to register
  • The How, What and Why of Authentic Inclusive Classroom Learning  – Tuesday 3 November click here to register
  • Taking Stock and Aiming High: Preparing for the 2021 School Year (evening session) – Tuesday 17 November click here to register

There will be flyers coming out soon with details of more online workshops and webinars including sessions on Safeguarding and Succession with Dr Michael Kendrick. This first round of online events are all free of charge. In the future, CRU will continue to offer a mix of free events and fee paying events depending on what we have been able to attract government subsidy for.

New Book

Book cover of an older woman smiling. Includes the text: Ageing and the good things in life: the application of social role valorisation to supporting people as they age. Editors: Ronda Held, John Armstrong, Raymond Lemay and Susan ThomasWe are excited to announce the release of a new book Ageing and the Good Things of Life: The Application of Social Role Valorization to Supporting People as they Age.

The book contains contributions from 14 key thinkers about ageing and Social Role Valorization (SRV), and includes never previously published chapters by Dr. Wolf Wolfensberger.

The book is edited by Ronda Held, John Armstrong, Ray Lemay & Susan Thomas, and published by Valor Press in Canada. CRU will be one of the Australian Distributors and it will also be available through Belonging Matters in Melbourne.

Click here to download the press release from the publisher, Valor Press, more detail on this book, or you can purchase it via our online bookstore.

Other News

I wanted to  also draw your attention to the launch of the “From School to Work” project which will run a series of webinars starting 16th November.

This initiative is to equip high school students and their families with information and inspiration to seek employment.  Gina Barwell-Pickup has joined Jen Mouritz from CRU to work on this important project which will resource high school students and their families to think about and seek out employment.

If you wish to join the dedicated mailing list for this project please sign up on the From School to Work page.

We have also had some other new staff join us. Kelly Harrison is working with Danielle Mason on the Fee for service arm of CRU and Diana Kerr, Trish Murdoch and Trish Feehely have joined us in a casual capacity.

The Families for Inclusive Education Project newsletter is designed to provide an overview of key trends and issues impacting on inclusive education, but most of the featured organisations are independent of CRU.  You can contact them directly for more information on

At the Annual General Meeting this Wednesday, Fletcher Tame and Luke O’Sullivan who have served as Directors on the Board for the past five years will not be renominating. I want to acknowledge their contribution through a very tumultuous five years and thank them for their commitment to CRU.

While there has been lots of change behind the scenes at CRU, we remain, as always interested in the things that make life better for people with disability. We are happy to take a call if you want to talk something through – just give Kim and Kerrie a call and they will put you through to the right person.

Thank you for your support, encouragement and patience as CRU develops new ways work with you.

With best wishes


Margaret Rodgers │ CEO

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.

Update from CRU : Thursday 21st May 2020: Information and Resources

This information was shared via a CRU email on Thursday 21st May 2020.

If you would like to join the CRU Mailing List, please complete your details here


In January the Everyday Practice website was launched. This initiative is conducted by Amergin and QDN, and CRU is a member of the steering group. This week, Everyday Practice added content on: Complaints and Incident Management, Privacy, Consent and Record Keeping, What a Best Practice Provider Looks Like. Click on each link, or go to the Everyday Practice website by clicking on this text.


A recording of the FFIE webinar ‘Communication with School – Building a Foundation for Partnerships ‘ on Monday 11th May, is available on CRU’s YouTube Channel by clicking on this text.  A copy of the slides used during the webinar are available by contacting CRU.

CRU FFIE consultants are available for individual consultations to assist people to take the ideas in the webinar or any aspect of Inclusive Education for their child further. Contact the CRU office to connect with a Consultant.


Last week, the NDIA updated their COVID-19 FAQs to say from May 9 it is allowing greater flexibility in Core for people who are Agency managed or plan managed, meaning you can use all four funding categories flexibly (Assistance with Daily Life, Assistance with Social & Community Participation, Transport and Consumables which includes low cost assistive technology) without needing a plan review.

For participants who do not receive a period transport payment, you are able to using funding flexibly across all Core support categories, including transport. If you receive a period transport payment, the NDIA says this will continue and this funding is not flexible. The NDIA says this change to flexibility is planned to roll out for self-managed participants in June.

The NDIA has released some new COVID-19 related Information Packs available on their website. Click on this text to link to the Information Packs. They bring together NDIA information around particular themes, including Early Childhood & Early Intervention, Fraud, Privacy & Cyber Security, Self-Management, Low Cost Assistive Technology and applying for the NDIS during the pandemic.


Edition 3 of Connect, the newsletter from the Disability Royal Commission has now been released. Access the newsletter by clicking this text to link to the website.

In this edition, Healthcare experts shed light on issues facing refugees, the experiences of people with disability in employment, meeting Ismail, and information about legal advice for people who want to share their story with the Royal Commission.


The Council for Intellectual Disability has created an easy English guide to the COVIDsafe app.

Click on this text to link to the information.


The Australian Government established the Disability Information Helpline to provide people with disability accessible information, counselling and outreach services if they are concerned about, or affected by coronavirus (COVID-19).  It can help families, carers and support workers, too. The Helpline number is 1800 643 787. You can click on this text  or visit the website to get more information about, and other ways to contact the Helpline.

Update from CRU : CRUcial Conversations Podcast Series

This information was shared in a CRU Email update on Wednesday 13th May 2020

Last year CRU released a series of podcasts featuring stories of grass roots leadership and change in the disability community in Queensland. With the pace of life slowing for some people during this time, it may be an opportunity to re-visit, or listen for the first time to these ‘CRUcial Conversations’.

There are seven podcasts in the series: five feature leaders from the disability community in Queensland, opening up and sharing their own very personal stories. There is also an introduction podcast, talking about the purpose of these crucial conversations, and reflecting on the stories you will hear. The final podcast is a conversation between Karin Swift and Lesley Chenoweth, discussing the messages of the series with journalist Nance Haxton.

The podcasts are really easy to listen to – the series can be found wherever good podcasts are found – iTunes, Spotify, Google Podcasts and countless others. You can click on this text to access the podcasts. There are more detailed instructions on how to listen below.

  1. Josey McMahon and her twin sister Cathy grew up in a large family in rural Queensland until Cathy moved to live in an institution where she remained for 47 years. This is the story of how Josey reconnected with Cathy and helped her to reconnect with the wider world once again. At its heart this story is about personal change, reconnection and the power of family.
  2. Margaret and Jeremy Ward have been active members of the disability community in Queensland since the 1980’s. In this story they share the personal struggle for their daughter Mena to attend the local school alongside her peers, describing the importance of clarifying their vision; learning about new ways of doing things and getting the right people around the table to help make it happen.
  3. Anne Cross is the founding director of CRU and the recently retired CEO of Uniting Care Qld. Anne’s career coincided with various developments that have come to define our understanding of professional services and their place in people’s lives. Her story is an example of how skilled and committed professionals can partner with people with disability and their families to create change.
  4. Leanne Burke’s leadership has been in quietly and consistently demonstrating what good quality service looks like. Guided by the example of her first teacher, her big sister Maria, Leanne is committed to creating the best life for the people she works with. In sharing what she’s learnt, Leanne challenges many common assumptions of how to serve people well and what leadership looks like.
  5. Kevin Cocks. Since acquiring his disability in his early 20’s, Kevin has engaged in disability advocacy, co-founded an innovative service, won a class action to change the Australian Building Code and served as Queensland’s Anti-Discrimination commissioner. In this podcast, Kevin reflects on his earlier life and some of the ways he was active in cutting new paths for himself and on behalf of all people with disability.


The three main ways to find the podcasts are:

  1. If you have an iPhone, CRUcial Conversations is available through iTunes (just search for the title), or you could click this text and it will do it for you.
  2. If you are not an iPhone user then click here for Spotify, or click here for Google Podcasts.
  3. You can also listen to the episodes on our website if you follow this link to our website. The page also includes more detailed instructions on using iTunes, Spotify and Google Podcasts.

These podcasts were funded by the Anne Cross Leadership Initiative, which was established in 2017 to honour the contribution of Anne Cross to Uniting Care Queensland during her years as the Chief Executive Officer.

CRU staff are still available to provide support via phone, email and zoom to people with disability and their families. There are a variety of ways that CRU can provide this – either through one of our particular projects or through a Fee for Service arrangement.

If you need some information, a sounding board, are experiencing issues with NDIS or formal supports, or just want to use this downtime to do some dreaming/planning for you or your family member, please contact us on 3844 2211 or . Our Admin staff will link you with the best person to talk to.

Update from CRU : Wed 6th May : Information and Resources

This information was sent in a CRU Email update on Wednesday 6th May 2020.


With all of the information being circulated at the moment, and in the busy-ness of peoples’ lives we thought it might be helpful to pull some of the information together into one place.

This week we are drawing from a very broad range of interest areas so and hope there is something here for everyone.


Communication with School – Building a Foundation for Partnerships Webinar, with the CRU Families for Inclusive Education Project Team

Effective parent and school partnerships may be more important now than ever. This webinar will give parents an opportunity to refocus their vision and goals for their son or daughter, and to explore effective communication and collaboration skills that can lead to achieving the best outcomes for their child. Effective advocacy strategies will be explored, including tips specific to email and phone communication.
Registrations closing Friday 8th of May for the LIVE session of the Webinar on Monday 11th of May (11am – 12noon), or the RECORDED Session on the 18th of May.
Please click on this text to register.
Note: For anyone who has not used ZOOM before, please let us know if you require ‘technical instructions’ and we can happily send these out to you.


Becoming a Better Communication Partner for Someone with Communication Needs

Dr Jane Remington-Gurney has developed an online, self-paced communication partner training course.
“Do you interact with someone who has a complex communication need? Are you frustrated by not being able to communicate smoothly with this person? Do you feel that your interaction is just a series of questions and answers rather than a conversation? Chances are that the person you are supporting shares your feelings of communication frustration. Only too often training courses for communication partners deal with one specific product or tool and leave you wondering about the big picture and how you develop their communication partner skills.”
Please click on this text to go to the website for more information or to register.


Universal Design in Housing

The Centre for Universal Design Australia has launched our new FREE e-learning course on universal design in housing.
“Home is the foundation upon which society functions and yet Australia still does not have a mandated minimum standard of universal design for dwellings. The course shows how housing fits into a broad policy context ; digs deep into the statistics to determine ‘need’; and assesses the current compliance context. Home Coming? provides a knowledge and evidence base to understand how housing contributes to economic, social and human rights outcomes in Australia and how a lack of mandated standards are affecting Australia’s productivity and prosperity.” Click on this text to find out more or register.



CYDA Annual Survey

Children and Young People with Disability Australia (CYDA) is conducting their annual survey on education issues and we would encourage you to make a contribution.
In the past, the CYDA surveys on education have produced important snapshots of the issues faced by students and their families which is able to inform systemic advocacy issues, highlighting the gap between what students and their families need and should be receiving in line with their human rights, legislation and policy – and what they experience. Obviously in noting good examples of inclusive education and supports, it also points to ways forward for systemic reform.

This annual education survey of young people and families is focusing on the COVID-19 environment this year. Please share widely with your networks as CYDA is keen to hear from as many young people with disability, and families, as possible. Click on this text to go to the online survey.



Disability Royal Commission Newsletter, Edition 2 of CONNECT

Edition 2 of Connect, the newsletter from the Disability Royal Commission has now been released.
You can read the newsletter by clicking this text to link to the website.
This edition looks at the awareness and recognition of the rights of people with disability.
The DRC want to learn more about the level of awareness that people with disability, and the wider community, have about the rights of people with disability. They are also interested in attitudes towards people with disability, and want to know more about how those attitudes develop and what can be done to change them.


We hope you find some, or all, of the this information helpful and that you continue to keep safe during the COVID-19 distancing measures.

CRU COVID-19 Update

Dear Friends and Supporters of CRU,

In response to the declaration of COVID-19 as a global pandemic, and the resulting escalation of public health measures to slow the spread and impact of this virus, the CRU office will close on Friday 20th March at 5pm.

The CRU team will continue to work remotely and we are available via our usual telephone, email, website and social media contacts. We might be a bit slower to respond but we will get back to you as soon as we can.

If you had booked into a CRU event please note that we have cancelled or postponed all events between now and the end of May. All registration fees will be fully refunded.

That’s as much as we know at this stage – we will let you know more when things become clearer. I wanted to share with you a quote that I saw this morning.

“And the very last thing we need right now, is a mindset of mutual distancing.
We actually need to be thinking in the exact opposite way:
Every hand that we don’t shake must become a phone call that we place.
Every embrace that we avoid must become a verbal expression of warmth and concern.
Every inch and every foot that we physically place between ourselves and another,
must become a thought as to how we might be of help to that other, should the need arise.”

Rabbi Yosef Kanefsky

With warm wishes for your continued good health throughout this time,


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:


Disability Royal Commission (DRC)

Queensland Collective for Inclusive Education (QCIE)

Support for people making submission

Two Seven Steps to Self-Direction workshops announced

Believing a good life is achievable is an excellent place to start.

The Seven Steps to Self-Direction workshop offers a practical framework for intentional thinking and planning about how to achieve a good life; a way of translating thoughts and dreams into do-able actions.

Self-direction has been found to give people with disability and their families greater choice and control, and more effective and flexible use of supports. Good support requires the right people to provide the right level of support at the right time. ‘Seven Steps’ can help you think creatively about how to make this happen.

Presenter Sharon Bourke has rich lived experience in supporting people with disability to live a good life.  As a family member she has hands-on experience of self-directing supports alongside her son, Dan.

As well as the chance to focus on the person and their vision and dreams, you will learn more about how to make a good match between the person and supporters, the ingredients of good support, building relationships of trust, and how to solve problems quickly and creatively to make support relationships sustainable.

Previous attendees have said:

“Using a good process to understand people – who they are, what is important to them etc.”

“It was brilliant. Well moderated by Sharon whose insight was astonishing. Very beneficial”

“Love the openness and honesty of the event”

Come along with your team if you can, but come, and start working through the ‘seven steps’.


Monday 2nd March 2020
South Brisbane, CRU Office
Find out more information and register here

Gold Coast:

Thursday 23rd April 2020
The Glades Golf Club, Robina
Find out more information and register here

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

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

Event Update

Dear Friends and Supporters of CRU,

Please find below an updated status on CRU events happening between now and the end of 2019.

While many of the workshops are coming to a close for 2019, we are busy making plans for another full program to start the year in 2020 and will release the new Date Claimer as soon as more details are available.

CRU Workshops

Self-Management : Confident, Connected and In Control

Presented by Catherine Laherty & others

The final Self-Management: Confident Connected & In Control workshop for this year will take place tomorrow at North Lakes.

The aim of these workshops are to build the confidence of people to self-manage their NDIS supports. Repeat workshops are being planned for 2020.

CRU 2019 Annual General Meeting

CRU’s 2019 AGM will take place at 5.30pm on Wednesday 27th November in the CRU Office, Level 2/43 Peel Street, South Brisbane.

Everyone is welcome to attend, however you do need to be a current financial member of CRU to exercise voting rights.

Towards a Better Life: Exploring SRV with regard to People who are marginalised

Presented by Jane Sherwin

2020 dates for Gold Coast and Mackay workshops are currently being planned. We will keep you updated as soon as those are available for registration.

Implementing and Reviewing Your NDIS Plan

Presented by Jen Mouritz

  • Implementing Your NDIS Plan – from Goals to Action
    Brisbane : 3rd December
    Register for this event
    This workshop will help you better understand your NDIS plan, provide strategies to help you get started to achieve your goals, and consider ways to design and sustain supports to ensure a “good fit” for you and your family. You will look at ways to direct supports for a good life, including recruiting the right staff for the role.
  • Reviewing Your NDIS Plan – Record, Reflect, Plan
    Brisbane : 11th December
    Register for this event
    The second workshop is for people who want to get prepared for their annual NDIS review and get clear about the goals they would like to see into the future.

Getting to the Heart of What Matters – the Role of a Support Worker (Support Worker Training)

Presented by Suellen Welch
Brisbane : 5th December
Register for this event

The role of a support worker is complex and multi-faceted. Paid staff can make a significant contribution to a person’s life – enabling the person to live a rich life and pursue their own unique goals and dreams.

This full day workshop will be an opportunity for support workers to critically reflect upon the essential purpose of their role, the values that drive “support”, and the sorts of relationships which are core to supporting someone well, particularly in relation to valued roles and community belonging.

Families for Inclusive Education Project workshops

Presented by CRU

CRU has been funded by the Department of Education to deliver workshops across Queensland under the Families for Inclusive Education (FFIE) project.

These workshops are an opportunity for families to reflect on their long-term vision for their family member – and how the school years can become a pathway to that positive, rich, included life.

While the 2019 workshop program has now concluded, the 2020 program of events is currently being planned and details will be soon be available.

In the meantime, if you weren’t able to tune-in to the webinar that took place on 14th October, the presentation slides that were used are available to downloaded here, or you can watch the recording here on our You Tube channel.

For more information on all CRU workshops, see the Events page on the CRU website,
or click on the individual links listed above for each workshop.

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 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.

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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)