Blog Posts

Yana Kaneva – Social Educator

Social Educator

Yana is a first year Visual Communication Design student at the University of Newcastle.

She enjoys working with all kinds of people and is excited to have the opportunity to assist them in developing important everyday skills and gaining independence.

Being a Social Educator has brought Yana a great sense of accomplishment and is one of the most rewarding experiences, as goals and outcomes are achieved and exceeded.

Service Areas

  • In person:
  • Via TeleHealth: Australia Wide

Get in touch with Yana
Ph: 1300 222 767
Submit a referral – here

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Communicating with confidence!

Communication is a Latin word which means ‘to share’. It is the sharing of information between people. It includes the sharing of ideas, concepts, imaginations, behaviours and written content.

Simply defined, communication is the transfer of information from one place to another. It serves as a mean for connecting people and places.

Communication is a basic human right.

Speech Pathology Week from 23-29 August seeks to promote the speech pathology profession and the work done by speech pathologists with the 1.2 million Australians who have a communication disability. Speech pathologists work to ensure everyone can communicate with confidence.

Here are some interesting facts which are important to understand and think about:

  1. 1.2 million Australians live with communication disability;
  2. communication disability is largely invisible. Unseen and out-of-sight;
  3. more confident communication helps maximise educational, health and social outcomes; and
  4. communication is more than just speech.
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Nicole Ruhle – Support Coordinator

Support Coordinator

Nicole has worked across the disability sector for 8 years in a number of different roles – from direct support work, to management level roles overseeing service delivery.

She discovered her passion for Support Coordination amid this work, and feels it best represents both her skillset and her passion to empower clients in their decision making regarding their support needs.

Nicole has worked as a Support Coordinator for 2 years, including prior to the roll-out of the NDIS in South-East Queensland. As such, she has seen the NDIS in many different iterations and is familiar with the changing landscape it presents to both clients and service providers.

Nicole is excited to help clients and their families navigate their NDIS journey to ensure that they are living the life they choose.

Service Areas

  • In person: Brisbane and Sunshine Coast
  • Via TeleHealth: Australia Wide

Get in touch with Nicole
Ph: 0431 399 359
Submit a referral – here

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NDIS Plan Reviewing Process

As Support Coordinators, I reckon between the team, we have been involved in over one thousand plan reviews in our 5 years. There is a bit of a common theme that we have all noticed with the process after a plan is approved. It is so lengthy, not to mention how time consuming the review process itself is. It makes me wonder, is this being done intentionally so we just give up to save our sanity?

Let me explain why I am so frustrated.

I recently submitted a review of a reviewable decision which once that came around some three months later, we were told that an unscheduled plan review would be better. Forget the fact that I suggested this to the agency at the beginning but they told me to do a review of a reviewable decision instead… 

The reason for this review was because in our original review meeting, the planner who conducted the meeting left the agency so another planner stepped in and just put new dates on the old plan. The old plan was significantly out of date with completely inadequate funding due to changing needs.

Some many months later, we finally have the unscheduled review meeting. All information such as therapy reports, AT requests with quotes, CoS report and much more had already been sent to the agency. We’d done all the necessary groundwork. We have a great meeting, the planner listens, acknowledges the frustration in the whole process, says he has all the documentation and now has enough information to build the plan.  

A few weeks later, the plan finally comes back. At first glance I thought, yeah ok, this plan looks pretty good. And then, when I had a few minutes to spare, I started breaking down the budgets. The therapy budget was a bit short of what was recommended, but ok, I thought, I guess we can work with that.  My bigger concern was why couldn’t I find any equipment listed. There wasn’t any. No equipment was included. This has to be a mistake.

I follow up with the planner for an explanation.

He tells me: “Why would there be equipment when there is no report or quotes”.

My response:  “I sent them to you, I sent them to Enquiries, and the therapist also submitted them through their process with a receipt of acknowledgement from the NDIA two months before this unscheduled review even occurred, we also discussed it in our meeting”. 

His answer: “The plan has to be reviewed again… expect delays”.

You can understand by now how frustrated I am. I can’t believe it. It was quite evident that the planner was completely unprepared, did not read any of the therapy reports that were provided (well ahead of time) and just made decisions based on their own judgement of what they thought should be reasonable and necessary.

He gave no acknowledgment of his error and blame was just shifted to another planner. This is just not good enough. I am so sick of this happening continuously.

The worst part in this completely disorganised and complicated process is that it puts vulnerable people at even more risk of receiving inadequate support and lengthy delays which can lead to trauma, hospitalisation, neglect and so much more. Not to mention the stress of the whole process which is enough to send you up the wall. 

Get it right the first time, take responsibility for your actions and do better.


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Keirki Kassas – Support Coordinator & Social Educator

Support Coordinator & Social Educator

Keirki started studying community services at TAFE and got a job in support work at the same time. She has loved every second of it, its challenges included! Keirki currently has her Diploma in Community Services and will be starting a Diploma of Mental health next year.

Since she was little, she always wanted to have a job in community services. Her goals are to work with people experiencing homelessness, domestic violence and people who have a disability.

Keirki was born overseas and that has allowed her to see many different cultures, learn how different individuals live, and taught her that differences are a big advantage to this world.

Her dream has been to empower people who identify as LGBT, young women, and support/advocate for anyone going through domestic violence and anyone who is struggling and needs that extra support and help! Sexual health is also an area of focus.


Service Areas

  • In person: Newcastle and Hunter
  • Via TeleHealth: Australia Wide

Get in touch with Keirki
Ph: 0422 819 981
Submit a referral – here

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Belinda Sawden – Support Coordinator & HR Support

Support Coordinator & HR Support

Belinda’s passion for community volunteer work led to employment opportunities with the Red Cross, Government funded youth engagement initiatives, Intensive Community based Support Work and most recently as a Support Coordinator.

The most fulfilling aspect of Support Coordination for Belinda is helping Participants and families make sense of their NDIS plan and gain more peace of mind through a greater sense of clarity and control.

With extensive experience in traditional business and administration, Belinda is passionate about excellence in service provision for the disability sector.  She is always looking for ways to develop herself, her knowledge and her services provision.  Belinda is passionate about her participants getting the maximum benefit from their plans.  Whether it’s thinking outside the box or applying grit to get the right answers, she’s in the NDIS boat with you all the way.

For Belinda, nothing is more fulfilling than connecting with others by asking questions and really taking the time to listen to their perspective, goals and requests.  Connecting in a genuine way and having the opportunity to be a source of support for individuals and families is an incredible privilege for Belinda as she knows the power of getting the right supports in place.

Ultimately, Belinda is driven by the belief that everyone has the right to be heard, receive excellent supports, and has the right to be at the centre of the decision making process in their life.

In her own time, Belinda loves to spend quality time with her husband, two children and having lots of laughs with family and friends.

Service Areas

  • In person: SE Queensland
  • Via TeleHealth: Australia Wide

Get in touch with Belinda
Ph: 0478 879 242
Submit a referral – here

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Find the Diamond in the Rough

If you are feeling pressured by another provider to move your Support Coordination to them, they are not an ethical provider. Sadly, this is very common. Providers that provide every service and want to monopolise and really need to stop trying to poach people and offer to do all their services. For many people, the benefits of having an independent Support Coordinator who does an awesome job greatly outweighs the service they are offering.

A message to these providers: “Next time, before you put a family in an uncomfortable position, how about you ask yourself who you are doing this for? Is it really to benefit the person? ” Integrity check needed!

I promise though, there are diamonds among the rough! :heart:

If you are unsure how to find the right Support Coordinator, or questions of what to ask, check out our blog.

Get in touch if you want know know more about us, why we are different – click here.

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Pandemic Support Tips

Tips for support coordinators and support workers during the Coronavirus pandemic

For those of us supporting participants at this strange time, it has become obvious that our jobs have become more intense and extremely necessary!

Participants are feeling this isolation heavily. I have had some weeks. It is becoming difficult for any of us practice the healthy strategies that we have developed over our lives to help us manage our mental health. with supporting their participants.

  • Telehealth or phone counselling may be one way that your participants can at least express their anxieties and stress
  • Exercise, support people to find ways they can move or at least be outside.
  • Yoga or gentle exercise via telehealth.
  • More check-ins. Participants will be needing more intensive support at this time.
  • Find services in the area that can deliver necessary items. There are some services that are using support workers to deliver food and essential items
  • Connect, encourage participants to connect with family members and friends, help them find ways to do this. Stay connected yourself, you will need support to keep assisting your participants.
  • If you find yourself struggling or anxious, reach out to someone who can help. It is going to be an unsettling period, don’t have expectations of yourself that are too high.

To get in touch with us, click here.

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Telehealth and its importance

The importance of Telehealth has been highlighted over the last few weeks. It was a bit hard to figure out how it would all work when our practice of supporting people has been face to face, this current circumstance has proven that we need to be creative in our communication. It is so important that the most vulnerable to isolation are the people that don’t get forgotten at a time like this.

Telehealth allows us to stay connected and can even be conducted without internet, if participants don’t know how to use a device or don’t have internet, they can still access services over the phone.

We have been conducting counselling, positive behaviour support, NDIS access support and even our support coordination using telehealth and finding it a great way to maintain contact and make sure that everyone is being supported. With this level of anxiety in the wider community, we need to stay connected with our participants and be aware of who is struggling.

To get in touch with us, click here.

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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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