All Posts tagged disability

Royal Commission: People with Disability to tell their story

Royal Commission: People with Disability to tell their story

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse are seeking lived experiences of child sexual abuse from people living with disability.

All survivors are encouraged to tell their story. Legal, financial and counselling support is available to enable people with disability to share their experiences of child sexual abuse that occurred where government and private institutions were responsible for children.



Resources and Contact Details

Royal Commission Website/People with Disability

Telephone: 1800 099 340


Mail: GPO Box 5283, Sydney NSW 2001


There is also a National Relay Service for people who are deaf or have a hearing or speech impairment.

Find out more about the NRS at

Calls can be made by TTY on 133 677 or Speak & Listen 1300 555 727





Challenging the Beauty Myth

Challenging the Beauty Myth

If there’s one short film you should see this year (or any year) it’s this one. Four minutes 29 seconds and Boom!…in touch with humanity, celebrating difference, challenging stereotypes.

Pro Infirmis are a European disability advocacy agency and they commissioned this film for International Day for Disability 2013 - that’s about all we know, mainly because we don’t speak Swiss-German and the website doesn’t sprechen Sie Englisch.

Fortunately for us, this film transcends language barriers. Shop mannequins never looked so good!



@PWDAustralia - Australia’s peak advocacy body for people living with a disability

@ArtsAccessAust - Arts and Disability in Autralia



Because Nobody’s Perfect


New Website: Intellectual Disability & Ageing

New Website: Intellectual Disability & Ageing

Australian Catholic University Professor Ruth Webber and University of Wisconsin-Madison Professor Barbara Bowers have combined 10 years of research in the creation of a website on Intellectual Disability & Ageing. Both said they were delighted and surprised by how far the results of their research had reached. Professor Bowers is the Associate Dean of Research in the School of Nursing at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and holds an honorary appointment as an Adjunct Professor at ACU. She is developing a revised version of the website for the State of Wisconsin which has mandated that all carers working in the field of Disability and Aged Care services are to complete the training developed by the two professors.

In 2010 Professor Webber, Professor Bowers and Professor Christine Bigby from La Trobe University received an Australian Research Council-funded Linkage Project  Increasing organisational capacity of community residential units to facilitate ageing in place for people with intellectual disability. The project led to the development of a training program and manual for staff working in the aged care and disability services sectors, with a particular focus on ageing residents with intellectual disability.

Previous research projects had found that due to a lack of training and resources, carers were sending people to nursing homes prematurely because they were afraid of not being able to provide adequate levels of care. The project set out to give staff resources and training to support residents staying in their group home longer. The Victorian Department of Human Services (DHS) was impressed by the project results and saw that the training programs and manuals had the capacity to reach a broader audience. In 2012 DHS Victoria gave Professor Webber and Professor Bowers the funding required to develop a training and educational website. All three researchers have extensive national and international experience in the issues surrounding aged care, such as public policy, the professional development of carers, and caring for people with intellectual disability and each has conducted acclaimed research on the aged care sector.

The Intellectual Disability & Ageing website aims to increase organisational capacity of community residential units to facilitate ageing in place for people with intellectual disability.

Useful websites

Intellectual Disability and Ageing 

Victorian Department of Human Services (DHS)

Aged Care Australia - My Aged Care





Transition from Community to Nursing Home Care



Can Twitter be a Partner in Recovery?

Can Twitter be a Partner in Recovery?

Partners in Recovery: A Model for Collaboration Coordination Integration

Around one in three Australians will experience mental illness at some stage in their life. Mental illness is the largest single cause of disability. Around 600,000 Australians experience severe mental illness and some 60,000 have enduring and disabling symptoms with complex, multi‐agency support needs.1

Addressing severe and persistent mental illness requires a complex system of treatment, care and support, requiring the engagement of multiple areas of government, including health, housing, income support, disability, education and employment.1

What is Partners In Recovery?

Partners in Recovery (PIR) aims to support people with severe and persistent mental illness with complex needs - and their carers and families - by coordinating services across multiple sectors. The aim of PIR is to streamline systems to work in a more collaborative, coordinated, and integrated way.

PIR aims to support the multi‐service integration needed to ensure services and supports are matched to people’s need. In doing so, PIR hope to facilitate better coordination and access to the clinical and other services and supports needed by people who are suffering from severe and persistent mental illness.1

Key Objectives

The ultimate objective of the PIR initiative is to improve the system response to, and outcomes for, people with severe and persistent mental illness who have complex needs by:

  • Facilitating better coordination of clinical and other supports and services to deliver ‘wrap around’ care individually tailored to the person’s needs;
  • Strengthening partnerships and building better links between various clinical and community support organisations responsible for delivering services to the PIR target group;
  • Improving referral pathways that facilitate access to the range of services and supports needed by the PIR target group; and
  • Promoting a community based recovery model to underpin all clinical and community support services delivered to people experiencing severe and persistent mental illness with complex needs.1,2

How social media can help promote PIR?

In the techno age, social media tools offer a powerful way for health professionals act as a public voice for health. Although the type of online conversations and shared content can vary widely, health professionals and health organisations are increasingly using social media as a way to share journal articles, post updates from conferences and meetings, and circulate information about professional opportunities, health initiatives, funded programs and upcoming events.

The Partners in Recovery program is fundamentally a network of community services and health organisations that have been brought together to advocate on behalf of people with persistent and severe mental illness. For this reason PIR is perfectly placed to utilise social media for networking and information sharing opportunities with community, health and mental health advocacy groups. Initial social media connections would include members of the PIR Network Organisations and area-based health consortia.

Partners In Recovery Roll-out

The Partners In Recovery Information Paper1 describes the PIR Operational model:

  • Suitably placed and experienced non-government organisations will be engaged in Medicare Local geographic regions to implement PIR in a way that complements existing support and service systems and any existing care coordination efforts already being undertaken.
  • PIR organisations will undertake a number of tasks, including engaging and joining up the range of sectors, services and supports within a region from which individuals may need assistance. They will work to build partnerships, establish (or improve) collaborative ways of working together, and establish the framework to oversee implementation of the initiative at a local level.1

If connecting a range of sectors, support services, advocacy and crisis-care groups is the principal aim of PIR, then strategic and responsible social media messaging is one of the most effective tools to achieve this aim. If used effectively, Twitter engagement for the  Partners In Recovery program promises sustainable and long-lasting local, regional and community connections that have the potential to achieve and enhance PIR aims.

Disseminating PIR Information

When the Medicare Local Partners In Recovery Organistaion (PIRO) begin rolling out the PIR program they will host a series of forums around the local region (as a part of the PIR Communication Strategy) presenting information to consumers, carers, service provider staff, and others on:

  • What PIR is;
  • The importance of partnerships to the success of PIR and how the partnerships would be established, used and governed;
  • The critical role of consumers and carers in the implementation of PIR within the region;
  • The critical role of service providers within the partnerships and the benefits to be gained by active and sustained participation;
  • The target population profile within the region; and
  • The referral pathways into the initiative.3

Who are the state/territory based PIR Consortium members?

There are a number of sectors central to the success of this initiative including primary care (health and mental health), state/ territory specialist mental health systems, the mental health and broader NGO sector, alcohol and other drug services, and income support services, as well as education, employment and housing supports.

Organisations listed under Medicare Local Regions funded under stage 1 of the Partners In Recovery program, with existing Twitter accounts who are actively engaging with their local and regional communities include:3

Medicare Locals

ACT Medicare Local (783 Twitter followers)

Central Adelaide and Hills Medicare Local (389)

Central Queensland Medicare Local (209)

Country North SA Medicare Local (579)

Eastern Melbourne Medicare Local (1,237)

Hume Medicare Local (312)

Hunter Medicare Local (1,007)

Illawarra Shoalhaven Medicare Local (399)

Inner West Medicare Local (430)

Metro North Brisbane Medicare Local (731)

Murrumbidgee Medicare Local (361)

Northern Medicare Local (497)

South Eastern Melbourne Medicare Local (567)

Southern Adelaide – Fleurieu – Kangaroo Island Medicare Local (243)

Western NSW Medicare Local (375)

West Moreton-Oxley Medicare Local (650)

Wide Bay Medicare Local (685)

Medicare Local Twitter engagement potential:  9,454


Community Organisations and Stakeholders

Alzheimers Australia (3,747 Twitter followers)

Anglicare  (1,896)

Benevolent Society (2,721)

Care Connect (1,171)

CQ University (459)

Curtin University (10,782)

Lifeline (7,684)

Mental Health Association (4,170)

Mind Australia (863)

Mission Australia (10,898)

Red Cross (11,894)

Schizophrenia Research Institute (1,201)

Schizophrenia Foundation of NSW (881)

Queensland Alliance of Mental Health (2,030)

Royal Flying Doctors Service (3,417)

Rural Mental Health (5,003)

St Vincent De Paul (2,583)

Salvation Army (9,045)

Uniting Care (2,946)

University of Western Sydney (4380)

YWCA QLD (846)

Stakeholder Twitter engagement potential:  88,619


Strategic Networking using Twitter

While the PIR roll‐out model may vary across regions depending on need and context, the common feature of all models will be the engagement of suitably placed and experienced non‐government organisations (PIR organisations) to deliver PIR across Medicare Local geographic regions: these will be the mechanism that helps ‘glue’ together all the supports and services the individual requires. PIR organisations will work at a systems level to drive collaboration, bringing together senior representatives from agencies with key responsibilities for the PIR target group. They will direct the strategies needed to achieve better coordinated services to improve overall outcomes for individuals referred to and accepted into the program.3

The Partners in Recovery model promotes collective ownership and encourages innovative solutions to ensure effective and timely access to the services and supports required by people with severe and persistent mental illness to sustain optimal health and wellbeing.1

Social media, in particular Twitter, has the potential to tap into existing networks at the local level while delivering innovative mental health solutions for people with severe and persistent mental illness. Daily, there are thousands of tweets from mental health organisations, drug and alcohol services, public housing, mental health advocacy groups, community and carers groups and health care stakeholders who are consistently sharing relevant, evidence-based mental health information. Many of these tweets are drilling down to the coalface, disseminating community service, and crisis-care information that can, in turn, be picked up by local networks and shared with mental health consumers on the ground.

Having explored the existing Twitter engagement potential of PIR organisations with over 98,000 active social media users, the question e-GPS would like to ask is: Why wouldn’t PIR consider engaging Twitter to maximize the accessibility and uptake of this invaluable program?  


What next? 

Wondering how best to utilise social media to assist with the roll-out of the Partners in Recovery program? e-GPS can help.

Contact us or find us on Twitter @eGPSolutions



1. Department of Health and Ageing: Partners in Recovery Information Paper 1, July 2012.

2. PIR Initiative website

3. Partners in Recovery Case Study Systems Perspective, July 2012.

4. Department of Health and Ageing Website – Partners in Recovery Stage 1


Image source: Blog: Nathan Coates Journalist


Social Ability: Reviewing Access to Social Media

Social Ability: Reviewing Access to Social Media

Ever wondered how people with a disability access social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin?  Unless you have a disability, the thought is unlikely to have crossed your mind. But if you have vision impairment, hearing or developmental difficulties, experience seizures, or mobility issues, you may have experienced varying degrees of frustration trying to access user-friendly social media sites.