Blog Posts

The Importance of Schedules – Density of Preferred Events

I previously wrote about the importance of having a schedule. Lets look a little deeper into this and talk about the Density of Preferred Events.

What does this mean? It’s simple, it refers to how often does someone participates in an activity of enjoyment of their choosing.

This might be participating in events like:

  • Hobbies
  • Fitness and health
  • Relaxation
  • Social – seeing friends

Imagine if your life revolved around appointments, grocery shopping, banking, work. I know I would get pretty shitty if it was me. And if I couldn’t simply say “I want to go and watch the new Jurassic Park that is out” or “I want to see the ocean,” perhaps I might get really agitated, especially every week was just filled with the same boring stuff.

There is a pretty good chance that if this is occurring, then the chance that perceived challenging behaviour is going to occur. Now we know that challenging behaviour actually makes a lot of sense, as long as we try to understand it right?

So if you know of someone, possibly who resides in a group home, and whose week can be pretty boring. Ask yourself, “What does their daily life entail?” “Are they doing anything for fun?”

No? Well how about increasing the number of preferred events, fill their schedule on activities that they enjoy doing, and I bet you will see a decrease in challenging behaviour, if this is the reason for it.  Not rocket science right? If the behaviour doesn’t change, you will need to investigate other factors such as:

  • Pain
  • Illness
  • Changes in staff
  • Changes in routine
  • Medication changes
  • Mismatch of the environment

So reflect on a persons schedule that you support, and ask yourself this; would you enjoy it?

Reflection is a vital component to positive behaviour support, and I will write about that in another blog.

My takeaway message:

Life is for living and having fun, we all have the right to be happy.

A favourite quote from one of my all time favourite authors is:

“Life is more fun if you play games.”
― Roald Dahl, My Uncle Oswald

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The Importance of Schedules – Positive Behaviour Support

Let’s talk about the importance of schedules for moment.

Besides the fact that being able to have choice and control, and make decisions about your own life is a basic right to communication…

We all keep some type of schedule to know what we are doing for the day, whether that be a:

  • Diary – my favourite, and I like to tick off things as I do them.
  • Calendar
  • Online
  • On phone

These schedules help us to remember:

  • What is happening,
  • Where we are going,
  • Who we might be seeing,
  • What time things are happening

For me, with a chaotic life of juggling toddlers, work, relationships and everything else that life throws at me, keeping a schedule for me gives me predictability, and by knowing what is happening in my day, I feel a sense of control.

Why should this be any different just because someone has a disability and may not be able to write their own schedules without support?

Ask yourself how you would feel if you didn’t know:

  • Who was taking you out for the day,
  • What you were having for lunch,
  • Who is supporting you to have a shower,
  • Who is helping you with the medications you need to take,
  • When you are going out to do an activity you enjoy

If a person is dependent on services, it is our role as service providers to help people understand how to predict their lives. Such intimate activities might be taking place such as showering and other types of personal care, the person has a right to know who the staff member is that will be supporting them with this.

As service providers, you need to ensure that staff schedules that you develop around a person’s services, are shared with the person receiving the service.

Please respect the people you serve, and give them the common decency to take control of their life, and make decisions about what’s happens with their day, including who supports them, where they go and what they eat. That sounds pretty simple to me.

My takeaway message: Treat people as you expect to be treated <3

For more information about our Positive Behaviour Support services, click here.

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Tune Review and what does it mean for the massive Conflict of Interest that is going on?

So I bang on about the conflict of interest constantly.

Just a reminder of what this is. This is when a provider is your Support Coordinator and any of your other supports. You can read my blog here about what is a conflict of interest.

So with the Tune Review out, I was somewhat happy to see the following amendment to the NDIS rules.

16. The NDIS Rules are amended to:

a. set out the factors the NDIA will consider in funding support coordination in a participant’s plan,

b. outline circumstances in which it is not appropriate for the providers of support coordination to be the provider of any other funded supports in a participant’s plan, to protect participants from provider’s conflicts of interest.

You can read the full review here.

Crossing my fingers, toes, eyes and everything else that I can cross, that this leads to providers actually offering choice and giving control to the people with the NDIS plan. Rather than the sense of entitlement many seem to have about someone else’s funding..

Remember, it is not OK if:

  • your support coordinator has referred all your services into their own organisation, unless this is something that you have asked for.
  • come plan review, you have nothing to show for the funding that was spent, because your support coordinator just referred you to their own service to help you find a job, and all you have to show for it is a crummy resume. But somehow $5k worth of CoS funding was used, along with another 5k of Finding and Keeping a Job.

We would love to hear if you have any other examples when the conflict of interest has meant that your plan has been spent with nothing to show for. We need to show this so that the NDIA and the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission really understand what is going on.

Read our recent story here about how life changing it can be when you have the right support coordinator – A Place to Call Home blog.

Get in touch if you would like to know why our Support Coordinators are different.

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Scanning Documents with your iPhone

This tip saved me so much time!

Besides not having to go to Officeworks and try and figure out how to use their self service, it also meant that people didn’t have to worry about getting important documents to the NDIA without a scanner, or printer, or an NDIA office nearby, let alone the costs of using a place like Officeworks.

So next time you need to give any important information to the NDIA, follow these steps and email through!

I have to find out the android equivalent! Keep you posted.

 

  1. On your iPhone, tap the Notes app and create a new note.
  2. Tap the plus (+) symbol or the camera symbol you can see above the keyboard.
  3. From the choices on offer, select Scan Document.
  4. Line up the document area to be scanned and when ready, press the shutter button on your phone.
  5. Tap save when done and it is saved in a note.
  6. You can either leave it there in Notes, or if you want to send it onwards, tap the Share button in the top right of the window and select the desired application to receive the scan. For example, tap Message, Mail or Facebook icons to share it to these apps.
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A Place to Call Home

When you have the Right Support Coordinator the results can be life changing.

We have been fortunate enough to have Anne as a Support Coordinator on our team for the last few years. With vast experience in the disability sector, Anne’s passion for equality and human rights is nothing short of inspiring.

Anne has been working with Sally as her Support Coordinator to find suitable accommodation. Sally has been residing in an aged care facility, which we all know is not the right place for people who are younger with a disability. Anne, forming a strong team around Sally who have all worked together to find the right place for Sally to call home, and most importantly, with Sally at the centre of the decision making process.

Anne’s efforts have been amazing, and even the NDIA took notice and wrote an article about it 😊

Above is a picture of Sally and Anne ❤️

We are glad to hear that you are enjoying your new home Sally 😊

Thank you Anne, for all that you do for us and the people you support ❤️

You can read our blog about the importance of finding the right coordinator, and our tips on how to find one!

Get in touch if you would like to know more about us.

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TTP and how this affects you and your funding

TTP stands for Temporary Transformation Payment.

As of July 1 2019, NDIS Registered providers who provide Attendant Care and Community Access Support, have the option of increasing their hourly rate. So an hour that normally would cost $52.85, the increased rate takes it to $56.81. That’s almost a $4 an hour increase, that’s huge! Now, plans that were already in place had their funding automatically adjusted to allow for this increase.

However, any new plan, and when I say new plan, I mean ANY plan that is being built, whether it’s a first plan or a fourth plan, HAVE NOT had their budgets increased.

Say what???

Why not? Well the NDIA reckon that people should be able to negotiate a lower price with their service providers.. And that people can just change providers if they don’t like the increased charge..

I call this bullshit. Perhaps if the scheme was 15 years old and a smooth ride for people, there was a competitive marketplace, and in rural and remote areas, people had more choice than just one provider. Or a scheme that people do not have to fight tooth and nail for every bit of support they receive, then yes, perhaps people would have the strength to do this, or the confidence to address their provider and negotiate a better rate.

So ultimately, what does this mean? Well until the NDIA realise how unfair, unjust and just plain ludicrous this is, it means that you can either:

  • Pay more for your supports and that means you will have less supports for the duration of your plan,
  • Try and change providers – but I warn you that the majority of providers have increased their cost, and I am talking even the big massive providers with big bucks in the bank!
  • Ask for a plan review – because this is such an easy and speedy process…

You can read more about it on the NDIS website: https://www.ndis.gov.au/providers/price-guides-and-information/annual-price-review

What are your thoughts? Or has this already affected you or someone you know? Give us a comment on our Facebook post to say how you feel about this.

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Teaching Skills for People with Disabilities – Review and Monitoring

NDIS funding focuses a lot on capacity building, and we often see that there has been limited capacity building, due to the wrong supports in place. Skill instruction for people with disabilities is a specialist skill. It cannot be assumed that support workers have the necessary skills and experience to achieve learning outcomes for people who as adults have not yet acquired important living skills.

In the last two weeks we have looked at:

Today we are talking about Stage Three – Review and Monitoring

This super important step helps you to reflect on what worked, what didn’t and what can be done better or differently in the future.

It is important to know for people with disability, skill acquisition and retention can take long periods of time but there will be incremental gains and these should be celebrated by the team. Reviews need to occur with the person and support workers.

This stage includes reliability testing or questioning of staff in relation to the program to ensure staff are following program as much as possible, but also for program designer to note any feedback, suggestions for practice improvement and monitor the individual’s behavioural responses in the learning environment.

It is really exciting to see adults gaining completing tasks that they value and lead to greater independence and social outcomes.

I recommend you start small and have reasonable expectations and trust your learner and those that know them.
Question to consider, are your support workers helping you to build skills in the areas of your choice?

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Teaching Skills for People with Disabilities – Program Implementation

NDIS funding focuses a lot on capacity building, and we often see that there has been limited capacity building, due to the wrong supports in place. Skill instruction for people with disabilities is a specialist skill. It cannot be assumed that support workers have the necessary skills and experience to achieve learning outcomes for people who as adults have not yet acquired important living skills.

Last week we looked at Designing the Program to suit a person’s individual needs.

Today we are talking about:

Stage Two – Program Implementation, putting the program into action!

With the designed skill program , run through the task with the person.

Take notes on what level of prompt was required and the response.

The benefit of having a written program is that it will be more consistently applied by various workers with greater reliability and consistency. This is important, as support workers will do things differently and have different expectations of the learner.

The program will also feature in the person’s routine. There will be a minimum number of times the task will be performed daily/weekly.

Notes should be taken consistently throughout the program to support review time, so that changes can be made, but importantly, so successes can be identified.

Next week we will look at the Review and Monitoring Stage.

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Teaching Skills for People with Disabilities – Program Design

NDIS funding focuses a lot on capacity building, and we often see that there has been limited capacity building, due to the wrong supports in place. Skill instruction for people with disabilities is a specialist skill. It cannot be assumed that support workers have the necessary skills and experience to achieve learning outcomes for people who as adults have not yet acquired important living skills.

It is also important to ensure your focused support is a skill that the person wants and is motivated to learn. It should have an outcome that provides plenty of opportunity to practice and use. It should also provide the scaffolding for future learning, and have a practical, social and community aspect for the person.

There are three important areas to learning:

  1. Program design,
  2. Program implementation, &
  3. Review and monitoring.

Today we will focus on Program Design

With the person, set goals and outcomes. Sometimes the skill or goal identified may be broken down into smaller ‘chunks’. You will know once you have had a good chat and looked at planning goals previously set.

It is important to know how the person best learns. We know completing tasks in natural environments work best but don’t rule out role plays, social stories and other resources to aid learning. Prompt hierarchies and reinforcement schedules are also to be considered in program design as you get to know your student or learner.

Baseline is established by observing the person attempting the task steps and you will need to adjust program steps to suit. One of the best ways to design the skill program is to complete the task yourself, being very aware of all steps and equipment/items required to complete it. For example, making a cup of tea. Write down every step and items required to make the cup of tea and then adapt to suit the learner.

Next week we will look at Program Implementation.

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We also provide Positive Behaviour Support

Communication is a human right, and when there are barriers to being able to communicate your wants, your needs, your choices and goals, this can lead to many overwhelming feelings of anxiety, frustration, anger and stress.

We work to understand your needs and to help you communicate these.

We know that people living with disability are often silenced, and we want to ensure you are not further silenced by hearing you, listening to you, and understanding what is going on in your world.

We welcome families insight, for families often hold crucial information that helps us develop the best strategies and interventions.

We also educate your support networks to build them to understand how to help you communicate, and support you to have true choice and control over your life. We know how important it is for your support network to be able to self regulate themselves, in order to be able to provide the best support to you.

We see behaviour as a strength, a way that a person expresses their feelings, to be able to communicate what they need to. We will work with this strength.
We will do our best to hear you, to listen to you.

Get in touch if you would like to learn more.
You can make a referral here.
Check out more about our approach to behaviour support here.

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