Dementia Action Week

Dementia is a complex condition that affects an individual’s memory, thinking, and behaviour. The condition is marked by the gradual loss of cognitive functions and can cast a shadow on the lives of those it touches. This process can interfere with daily life and activities, creating challenges that extend beyond memory alone. 

But the impact doesn’t stop at the individual – families find themselves learning to embrace the unexpected. Caregivers, often family members, become the architects of patience and understanding. The shared laughs and stolen moments of clarity become the building blocks of resilience. Society, too, learns the importance of compassion and accessible support systems. Dementia isn’t just a personal challenge; it’s a communal responsibility to ensure that every person, regardless of memory’s whims, continues to be valued and included. 

Dementia doesn’t discriminate, and neither do we. Our services are designed to be inclusive and accessible, ensuring that everyone, regardless of their background or abilities, receives the support they deserve. At LiveBig, diversity is our strength, and we are committed to fostering an environment of acceptance and understanding. 

At LiveBig, we are here to walk this journey with you, to embrace the uniqueness of every individual, and to demonstrate that a life with dementia can still be a life lived to the fullest. 

Accessibility Series – When Accessibility is Music to our Ears

You can’t stop the music – but sometimes a lack of access can stop us getting to the music, especially if it is outdoors. Thankfully a host of music festivals now cater to people living with all sorts of disabilities. If you love your music, here are some events to check out.

Ability Fest

Easily the top of the list is this one-day music festival designed for people (age 18+) living with disability.

Ability Fest aims to promote diversity and inclusion and raise money to empower young people with disabilities to achieve their ambitions.

It was launched by the Dylan Alcott Foundation and the Untitled Group. Wheelchair sports star and 2022 Australian of the Year Dylan Alcott is a big music fan who has even been known to crowd surf in his wheelchair.

The festival features specifically designed infrastructure for all levels of ability – including elevated viewing platforms and accessible pathways, ramps, and bathroom facilities – plus Auslan translators on stage, quiet zones for sensory sensitive patrons, support dog accessibility and free tickets for carers. All event staff are provided with disability inclusion training.

The 2021 event at Melbourne’s Alexandra Gardens featured high-profile artists Alex The Astronaut, Ebony Boadu, Inkrewsive and Peking Duk who all donated their time – along with the venue and organisers – to raise $400,000.

Another festival is planned for Melbourne in 2023. 

Check out Ability Fest’s Website.  

Falls Festival

The annual Falls Music Festival is held in various locations around New Year and caters to people living with a disability. It recognises Companion Cards and provides disability amenities along with accessible parking and wheelchair access in some parts of the venue. Specific access arrangements can be made with organisers.

Falls Festival will be held in Melbourne on December 29, 30 and 31; in Byron Bay on December 31 and January 1 and 2; and in Fremantle on January 7 and 8.

It features headline acts including Arctic Monkeys, Lil Nas X, Chvrches, Ocean Alley, Spacey Jane, G Flip, Pink Pantheress and Amyl And The Sniffers. 

Learn more at Falls Festival’s Website.

Tamworth Country Music Festival

A regular fixture on the calendar for any country music fan, TCMF is running from January 13 to 22, 2023 with plenty of access for people living with a disability.

The event features an accessibility map on its main program, with disability transport and parking facilities and accessible toilets throughout the Festival precinct.

Tamworth Regional Entertainment and Conference Centre, Tamworth Town Hall and Capitol Theatre have designated accessible viewing areas for patrons, while Toyota Park main stage features two large screens.

Find out all information on CMF’s website

Mitchell Creek Rock ‘N’ Blues Festival

Over three days from 15-17 September 2023, this blues festival features more than 120 artists on a private property at Mary Valley in the Noosa Hinterland.

It is a disability friendly event with designated access and viewing areas in performance venues, along with camping areas with disability access hot showers and toilet facilities.

All you need to know can be discovered on there website.

We can help

At LiveBig, we are all about helping people with a disability live their best life. Find out more about the many ways in which we can help and support you to do whatever you want to do.

Accessibility Series – Cheering On Your Favourite Team!

Australia is a nation of sports lovers. There’s no denying that! Our last article provided tips to help you plan a trip to the snow. This month, we look at the different sporting events people with disability can get involved with.

If you’re a person with disability looking to get a little more active as we approach spring, it may be worth checking out Disability Sports Australia (DSA). DSA is dedicated to enabling people with disability to be more active. You can look for a new sport you may like to try or find service providers that offer your favourite sport. Or you can use the NDSP National Referral Hub (NRH) to help you find a sporting club or activity right for you.

If you’re more a spectator than a participant, that’s ok too. You can enjoy your favourite game in many ways, whether you’re passionate about Premier League netball, Australian Football League (AFL) or the National Rugby League (NRL).

So, grab your favourite Guernsey, beanie and scarf and head out to cheer on your favourite team.

Supporting your favourite AFL team

With finals season underway, there are an exciting few weeks ahead. If your team made the finals, make sure you head to the ground to cheer them on!

Several clubs are leading the way in removing barriers and making AFL games accessible for all. St Kilda, Hawthorn and Geelong have sensory rooms at their home grounds. The quiet, dimly lit rooms allow families to escape from the noise and overwhelm of the crowd and sirens. This enables the family to remain at the game and enjoy the atmosphere in a calmer environment.

A sensory room is planned as part of the Docklands Stadium upgrade, and the AFL is considering sensory rooms for other venues.

The AFL website has a complete list of stadiums with links to each stadium for you to confirm accessibility features.

Cheering along at the NRL

As with AFL, finals fever is upon us. If your team is in the finals, Austadiums list each club’s home ground with links to the individual stadium.

If you’d like to play rugby league, the NRL All-abilities program runs competitions for all abilities.

Shooting for goals at netball

Though the Premier League season finished in August, there’s still an opportunity to support state-based competitions. If you’re in Victoria and not ready for the season to end yet, you can cheer on the teams in Netball Victoria’s State Finals, including mixed all-ability teams.

The finals are played from Friday, 30 September, to Sunday, 2 October, at the State Netball Centre, Parkville.

A-League saves you from winter sports withdrawal

If you suffer sports withdrawal over the summer off-season, don’t be sad! Football Australia has announced the A-League 2022/23 dates, starting in October. You can view the match calendar here. Austadiums list the match venues with links to each stadium to check accessibility.

 

Check back with us next month for the next LiveBig accessibility segment.

Moving from Awareness to Action with Disabilities

Disability awareness means educating people regarding disabilities and acknowledging the impact that societal attitudes and inherent stigma and discrimination have on the lives of people with disability. Raising awareness is an important part of establishing inclusion for people with disability. However, it is important that we don’t stop at awareness and progress to action in order to create lasting change.

Acknowledging misconceptions

There are many misconceptions surrounding disabilities. For example, many people assume that all disabilities are visible. In reality, 90% of the 4.4 million people with disabilities in Australia are living with an invisible disability (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2020). When someone has a disability, it means that a person has a mental or physical impairment that can restrict their ability to participate in everyday activities.

Raising awareness

Awareness creates empathy- when we attempt to understand each other it stops that stereotyping mindset and helps create inclusive and safe environments. By self-educating, we can find ways to create change and spread the word to others.

There have been an increasing number of awareness days including World Autism Day and International Day of People with Disability, that aim to increase knowledge of these disabilities and break common misconceptions. However, it is simply not enough to only acknowledge that discrimination against people with disabilities is wrong. There must be a greater awareness within each person to distinguish between good and poor practices.

 

Taking the next step

Raising awareness is hugely important, but the next step is embedding it in your culture and committing to change.

It is important that communities and businesses develop Disability Action Plans that encourage, recognise and promote an active commitment to eliminating disability discrimination and that ensure effective supports are in place to do so. Focusing on inclusion and universal policies requires cooperative efforts within communities and society at large.

International Day of People with Disability

IDPD aims to increase public awareness, understanding and acceptance of people with disability and celebrate their achievements and contributions.

Through the work we’ve done at AimBig Employment and LiveBig (both part of the Arriba Group), we have a unique perspective on the challenges and adversity faced by individuals living with mental health and physical disabilities.

We are currently partnering with a variety of businesses and community organisations across Australia to host morning teas and start a conversation about how together we can support and advocate for people living with disability.

For businesses, our AimBig experts will enter the workplace and discuss how employers and employees can create an inclusive and supportive workplace environment. This also includes highlighting the employer’s responsibilities in making reasonable adjustments in the workplace, covering adjustments during recruitment, in the workplace and in technologies.

In the community, our AimBig experts can talk about the opportunities we offer for the education and advancement of people with disability. We offer free, specialised training courses to job seekers and participants to receive qualifications in retail and hospitality. Our LiveBig specialists can also provide an overview of the allied health and assessment services available for people with disability.

The International Day of People with Disability is a great learning opportunity, providing a chance to reflect on how you can better advocate for and treat people living with disability. If you would like to attend an event or host one for your business or community, register your interest via the link below.

REGISTER YOUR INTEREST NOW >> 

Supporting your support network

What is a support network?

A support network includes the family, extended relatives, friends, community groups and carers of people living with disability. Support networks are crucial in the ongoing care and development of individuals receiving specialist therapy supports.

Why are support networks important?

Supports networks provide the essential daily care and sustenance enabling people with disabilities to thrive between their scheduled therapy sessions.

At LiveBig, we understand the importance of support networks, and work to support them in every way we can. This involves working with the individual but also their family and other carers to establish a holistic approach to health and wellbeing that will give the best quality of life.

Involving the entire family or support network in care

Using a combination of assessment, education and targeted activities, a LiveBig allied health therapist is able to guide the person with disability, their parents, carers or even an entire classroom, through structured sessions aimed at building everyone’s capacity.

LiveBig involve entire families or others in the support network to increase quality health outcomes. Participants in a therapy session are able to watch, learn, play and get feedback to support ongoing practice and repetition of specific skills.

What does this look like?

This might look like playing a game that practices physical co-ordination, creating a safe space for expression or even shifting perspectives and thinking differently about challenging situations.

The role of the therapist is ultimately to empower a participant and their network to build skills that lead to sustainable outcomes and eventually make their services redundant.

Making learning fun

A speech therapist, for example, can introduce a role play to a classroom that practices use of visual clues in communication. While targeting a participant who needs to increase their use of eye contact and gesture, the therapist is able to build the capacity and skills of everyone in the classroom and support effective and meaningful exchanges of information between the participant, their peers and teachers using a system based on universal teaching and learning.

An occupational therapist working to build a participant’s bilateral co-ordination might introduce a throwing and catching game with a sibling or parent that feels more like fun than a gross motor exercise.

Families and caregivers share success

By maintaining the focus of an activity at the group level, rather than the target participant, learning and effort is shared and supported. Families and care givers become an integral part of the process of teaching and learning, as well as sharing the success as goals are achieved.

Celebrating the small wins

Positive reinforcement is possibly the most critical part of the therapy journey. Celebrating the small wins is particularly important in creating momentum towards the achievement of a specific therapy goal. Therapy sessions are often great opportunities for recognising and celebrating a person’s progress.

LiveBig therapists can provide insights and suggestions on how to do this based on a tailored reward program designed around individual goals and interests. They can provide support networks with a range of positive feedback strategies including praise, immediate reward and non-immediate reward.

Get started today.

Finding activities for kids with disabilities

What activities are right for your child with disability?

Having a disability doesn’t mean your child should miss out on fun activities. Activities like dance, sports or learning a musical instrument are building blocks that can set children up to succeed. The difficulty is finding something your child is both interested in and can sustainably enjoy, whether they have a disability or not.

There are many more factors to consider when choosing an activity if your child has a disability. For example, many children with autism dislike loud noises. Knowing this, group sports like soccer with lots of shouting and whistles might not be suitable for them. If they’re still interested in sports, you could consider rock climbing or tennis that have much less background noise and more space, so they’re more likely to enjoy themselves.

Finding the right activity will involve trial and error. Here are some other tips to help you in your search for the right activity.

Ask your child what they want to do

Asking your child what they’re interested in is a great way to get them engaged in the activity from the beginning. Giving your child options for activities they can choose from involves them in the decision-making process. You may need to try a few different types of activities to get a sense of what they like doing.

Consider your child’s strengths and abilities

Along with asking them what they’d to do, consider your child’s strengths and weaknesses. Consider what they’re good at and what might not be suitable due to their disability. They’re likely to get frustrated if they’re not able to do the activity, so this is important! You might even want to enrol your child for a few classes to start off with to see if they enjoy it.

Look into programs designed for kids with disability

Depending on your location and your child, programs specifically designed for kids with disabilities are available and might be the best option for your child. These programs often have staff trained in care for children with disabilities and include a safe environment where your child can be themselves.

Speak with the organisers

Check with the activity organisers to find out what it involves, and how it could be modified to suit your child. Is it an inclusive environment? Do the instructors/teachers have experience or training with children with disabilities? Again, you can negotiate enrolling in a few classes to start off with to see if your child enjoys it.

Speak with your child

Speaking with your child about what they’re going to be doing and showing them pictures or videos about what their new activity looks like can help take away some mystery. Explaining where they are going, who will be there and what’s going to happen is helpful for any child starting something new, especially for children with disability who are used to being in familiar environments.

Give yourself plenty of time to get there

When you’re caring for a child with disability, things can sometimes take longer to do. This is especially true for bigger activities that you may need different clothes or equipment for. Allow extra time to get to your activity, especially if it’s one of your first sessions.

Start small

It’s normal for parents of children with disability to be unsure about the idea of adding something new into their routine. It can be daunting for children in unfamiliar environments, especially if your child has a disability and are used to their daily routine. Start with one class and see how it goes. You can then add it into their schedule once they get used to it. By starting small, anxiety for parent and child can decrease, making for a more enjoyable experience overall.

Services Now Available Through RMReach Telehealth Platform

What is the RMReach telehealth platform?

The RMReach telehealth platform is a user-friendly, digital application which allows LiveBig qualified consultants to provide remote assessments, therapy and training services across Australia. Our goal is to ensure that vital therapy services continue – helping you, your family member or your client to achieve goals at a time and location that suits you.

The RMReach telehealth platform enables suitable service delivery, webinars, training, video demonstrations and virtual meetings through an easy-to-use online video conferencing and meeting application, Lifesize.

In the current environment where people are limiting face-to-face contact or for people in remote locations, the RMReach telehealth platform is an ideal digital, value-for-money alternative. Efficient and effective communication between therapists, people with disability and their support network has never been easier.

The RMReach telehealth platform can help you with:

  • Structured language and speech support
  • Reading and writing
  • Sensory integration
  • Individual capacity building
  • Social and conversation skills
  • Mealtime review assessments
  • Training and coaching for careers and support staff
  • Functional Assessments
  • Housing Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) and Supported Independent Living (SIL) Assessments
  • Assistive Technology
  • Home Modifications advice

Does it work?

Our telehealth consultations have been a real hit. We continue to receive positive feedback from participants, parents and carers, who tell us the continuation of therapy through these difficult times is particularly helpful for maintaining skills and supporting resilience.

Is it suitable for me?

We recognise that telehealth isn’t always a suitable replacement for hands-on treatment and may not be appropriate for everyone. However, it’s essential to continue with therapy wherever possible. That’s why we work with each client to understand their telehealth preferences, review confidentiality issues and confirm accessibility to make sure the service is suitable.

Telehealth is an effective means of continuing therapy services and is recommended by the following highly recognised industry organisations:

  • National Disability Insurance Agency
  • Allied Health Professionals Australia
  • Occupational Therapy Australia
  • Australian Psychological Society
  • Dieticians Association of Australia
  • Speech Pathology Australia

How do I access the RMReach telehealth platform?

When booking appointments, your consultant will give you access to the RMReach telehealth platform via Lifesize and provide you with the necessary support to get connected. All you need is an internet connection and a phone, tablet or PC. The environment for your consultation should be set up similarly to the room you would normally use to meet your therapist. For longer-term therapy programs, LiveBig will assist with device access where possible.

What are the benefits?

  • Easy to use, feature-rich online application accessible from multiple devices (phone, tablet and PC)
  • Secure, real-time screen and content sharing
  • Reduced travel costs
  • Broad coverage for regional and remote areas
  • Greater accessibility and convenience for clients
  • Increased service frequency
  • More efficient service delivery time frames (leading to reduced duration of sessions)

Welcome to the New LiveBig Website

Understanding the NDIS can be confusing. The people behind LiveBig have a tonne of information about the NDIS and how to simplify the process of accessing therapy services and supports for people with disability. So, we wanted to combine this knowledge into one resource and share it with you.

We created this website for people with disability seeking information on therapy services for themselves, people seeking information and support on behalf of their loved ones, and NDIS local area coordinators / support coordinators and other referrers seeking support for their clients.

At LiveBig, we provide allied health services including physiotherapy, exercise physiology, occupational therapy, speech pathology and psychology. Through this website, we will always be transparent as to whether we can provide NDIS therapy services in your area. We currently provide services face-to-face in the Sydney and Melbourne metropolitan areas and remotely through the RMReach telehealth platform Australia wide. We will provide in-person services nationally post-Coronavirus from mid-to-late 2020. You can find out if we service your area by accessing our service finder tool.

We will keep this website updated regularly, so make sure you check back every now and again. So that you don’t miss any important information, you can subscribe to updates through our Big Life newsletter. Here we will post about any NDIS related changes, helpful advice and positive news stories. We also wanted to tell you a little bit about LiveBig, why it was established and our people.

We hope this website helps you to make sense of the NDIS and piece everything together.

If you have any questions about the NDIS process, the services we offer, or anything else, you can submit an enquiry or contact us.

Make an enquiry
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