Episode 7- Speak Up and Advocate

Hosts Dr Lisa Interligi and Kristine Christopoulos chat with Bianca and Kelsey from the Youth Disability Advocacy Service on the rights of young people with a disability, the importance of speaking up and advocating to protect their human rights.

Speaker 1:                        Welcome to Loop Me In, the podcast community for parents and carers on raising children with disabilities. Join presenters, Dr. Lisa Interligi and Kristine Christopoulos and their guests on sharing experiences, information, and support ideas to help children with disabilities flourish. Loop Me In is brought to you weekly on platforms like Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Stitcher to name a few. You can learn more. Connect with the Loop Me In community and listen to more episodes on our website, loop-me-in.com.au.

Dr. Lisa Interl…:              Hi, Bianca and Kelsey. We’re really excited to have you here today. It’s a topic that we’re really interested in learning more about because it’s something that really didn’t cross our paths until we got a little bit older or more progressed with our kids, but certainly, it’s something that we wish that we probably knew earlier in our journey. Bianca, we might just start with you and ask you what is advocacy and how does it work?

Bianca:                             Yeah. Great. I’m happy to start. Advocacy is a process where you speak up for yourself and others to ensure that your choices and rights are respected and so that you’re treated fairly. So just to give you an idea, there’s two different types of advocacy. There’s individual advocacy and that’s when there’s usually a third party involved called an advocate and they step in and they advocate or they fight for your rights to make sure that you are treated fairly in the process, or if you’ve had a human rights violation that’s rectified. So it’s more individual advocacy, someone coming in stepping into your shoes and making sure that you’re fit, treated fairly. Then the second type of advocacy is self-advocacy. Self-advocacy is when there’s no one else involved. It’s just the person who’s being treated unfairly and it could be someone else or a service provider. That person takes it on themselves to step up and advocate for their own rights to make sure that whatever’s happened that may be wrong can be fixed. So yeah, it’s basically advocating for your rights to make sure that you’re treated fairly. That basically sums it up.

Kristine Christ…:             Yeah. And Kelsey, hi. It’s Kristine here. In your experience, what is the rights or entitlements that can be breached with young people with a disability, especially I guess when they don’t have their own voice?

Kelsey:                              I think one of the biggest ones that we work with is discrimination. People think discrimination is direct discrimination, but a lot of the time, it’s actually not allowing someone with a disability a reasonable accommodation to participate. In order for young people to participate equally in society, in school, in their workplaces, and with different services, there’s often adjustments that need to be made so that they can participate. A lot of the times, services won’t provide those reasonable adjustments, which is a form of discrimination, which I think a lot of people don’t realize. I think the main spaces we see that in is education and employment, also in housing and the right for a young person with a disability to choose where they want to live and how they want to live and be given the supports that they need so that they can live independently and participate in the community like non-disabled people can.

I think another major one, particularly in mental health, is the right to legal capacity. Oftentimes, people with disability have their legal agency taken away from them and other people make decisions on their behalf, which is a complete violation of rights because everyone has the right to have a say in decisions that affect them and make choices about their life and have freedom of expression and communication and all that kind of stuff. I think the biggest thing is that disabled people often aren’t given the freedom and the equality and the autonomy that non-disabled people are.

Kristine Christ…:             It’s very true. It’s even in relationships too. I was watching something recently where the family didn’t want their child, adult child to get married and that whole going down the line of, are they allowed to have children? Are they not allowed to have children? It’s a really difficult topic, isn’t it?

Kelsey:                              Mm-hmm. Yeah. That’s the thing. I think a non-disabled person is allowed to make mistakes and get in bad relationships and do all those things and no one questions or tries to stop them, but as soon as it’s a disabled person, it’s the assumption that they can’t make that decision or make mistakes as well.

Dr. Lisa Interl…:              It’s a bit like overprotection though, isn’t it really? I don’t know. When you have somebody with a disability, particularly that your child, you’ve grown up trying to protect them and then making that switch once they get to an age where they have that right as a adult is really hard to make that switch.

Kelsey:                              Mm-hmm.

Bianca:                             [inaudible 00:05:46]. It’s Bianca speaking. We see that a lot with parents and quite often, it doesn’t come from a bad place. It is that overprotection and that wanting to be a good parent, keeping their child safe. But quite often, what ends up happening is that they don’t realize that they’re actually breaching their own children’s rights in doing that. So sometimes, it’s even about educating parents or families.

Dr. Lisa Interl…:              Yeah. I think that’s really important. Then switching to the Royal Commission, because I think that that was because it’s really shocking to anybody who has care for somebody with a disability. The outcomes of that or some of the evidence was really shocking. Where is that up to?

Bianca:                             Yeah. We’ve had 2,886 submissions received from the public, which is fantastic.

Dr. Lisa Interl…:              Wow.

Bianca:                             Yeah, a really good response. The submission has published 10 issue papers and in those issue papers, they’ve highlighted what they think the main issues are. Were disabled people being abused, exploited, or neglected? They’ve asked the public for evidence or case scenarios highlighting where they think there’s gaps in that information. We’ve had 605 responses to that, which is really, really amazing. A lot of hard work from government agencies, the non-for-profit sector, individual businesses providing those responses. We’ve had 482 private sessions where individuals have been victims of abuse. They’ve sat down with a commissioner and had those one-on-one sessions telling their stories, which has been amazing and quite empowering because for a lot of people, sitting down and having those conversations is retraumatizing.

The fact that people are coming forward, raising their hands and saying, “Oh, hang on a second. I actually want to have that one-on-one session just to tell someone my story, how I felt, and to provide my own recommendations and how we should change the system,” is really empowering. Recently, the Royal Commission has published an issue paper, which I think is quite interesting. It’s basically focusing on change in the sector in terms of promoting quality of services, so focusing on appropriate safeguards and more of a focus on prevention rather than response, so ensuring better prevention and responses to abuse, neglect, and exploitation. But what’s really interesting is that the report highlights the need to identify factors that put disabled people high at risk and safeguards around that, but also educating service providers on how to promote and respect human rights. Because what’s happening is a lot of service providers are quite often witnesses of human rights violations, but they’re not educated, so they don’t understand that the conduct that’s occurred is actually wrong or illegal and then it goes unnoticed or unreported, which is quite concerning.

But something that I’ve even noticed in my submissions that I’ve assisted people with is that, and in this report, it also highlights it, is that there’s a need for more skilled workforce working with disabled people, because we’ve got a lot of people in the disability sector who aren’t skilled or don’t have the right educational background. A lot of submissions that I’ve taken, a lot of workers don’t understand how to work with someone with a disability, what reasonable adjustment should be provided. What’s really sad is there’s been a lot of complaints made where there’s a lot of workers who don’t have a strong understanding of English, so they could be witnesses to abuse occurring, but they don’t have the required understanding of English to appropriately document an incident report. A lot of incidents are going unreported and abuse is happening because of that lack of skills. I think that’s a really important paper that they’ve published and I’m hoping some good information comes from that in terms of responses.

Dr. Lisa Interl…:              Yeah. It’s such a complex area though, isn’t it really? That you’ve got bystander effect where people don’t think it’s their role to speak up or think that somebody else will speak up or are scared to speak up in case they lose their job or you’ve got power differentials of people with disabilities and maybe there’re carers who feel that they’re not in the powerful position in that relationship to be able to actually speak up. Then you’ve got language issues. You’ve got cultural issues. Well, it’s just so complex.

Bianca:                             Yeah, I completely agree. What’s really concerning is it’s more problematic in privately owned organizations because at the end of the day, if you make a report, that individual who owns the organization doesn’t want to get sued and sometimes, as sad as it sounds, it’s a moneymaking operation, so they don’t want to hear about those things and a lot of things get put under the carpet. Or people don’t want to miss out on promotional opportunities, so they don’t report because they don’t want to rock the boat.

Dr. Lisa Interl…:              Yeah. I think it’s absolutely really hard. I remember we had one situation with Louis where he was bitten on the face when he started school and that was okay, but then the school was going to punish him and put him in the corner. I had to advocate on his behalf because he was basically wasn’t speaking very much at all and it wasn’t appropriate, I didn’t think, to actually punish him for telling people to go away because he was quite scared after he got bitten on the face. But what I found was there was really a difficulty because the school had basically stacked the room and had like 15 people in the room against me advocating on Louis’ behalf. I think in those circumstances, it’s really hard to try and bring forward an issue that you might have where A, you think that there’s not a lot of places that the child can go because they have a disability and then you’ve got all these therapists and specialists in the room who are basically stacking the conversation against you.

I think that that happens quite a lot, that parents or carers are in a position where they really just can’t voice their opinion and they’re not heard effectively on behalf of the child. I think that’s when an advocate is really useful, particularly if you don’t have English as a first language or particularly if you don’t feel like you have an understanding of the system, but you just know something’s not quite right.

Kristine Christ…:             Yeah. Especially also, I think, because some of the parents have some sort of disability themselves, so then they wouldn’t be able to speak in a room and advocate for their child. It’s a really hard one, isn’t it? Kelsey, how challenging is it and how important is it for people with a disability to speak up when something’s not right?

Kelsey:                              Yeah. I think it’s extremely challenging. Like we’ve discussed a little bit, it’s terrifying for anyone to speak up when they feel like they aren’t being treated fairly especially when, like you said, Lisa, there’s power differentials in schools, in workplaces, in whatever the space is. When there’s that power dynamic, a young disabled person often doesn’t feel confident or comfortable enough to speak up and say what they need or what they deserve. It’s scary, I think, but it’s really important because throughout time, the way disability has been framed, it’s been framed as an individual problem within that person, that we should feel sorry for that person and that person just has to live with the disability and the difference. But really, a disabled person is human like everybody is and they have the same rights as everybody else.

If we continue to let these violations happen and let people get away with violating the rights of disabled young people, it just reinforces that cycle of, well, they’re not going to speak up so they won’t get a job, so they can’t work, so they can’t earn money, so they can’t do anything and it just creates this whole thing of blame when if we can stand up for rights and we can say, “No, I’m a human being. I deserve to be heard. I deserve to have access to a job,” and you can create an environment that is accessible and inclusive, then it will allow disabled people to survive and to thrive and to be part of the community like everybody else is.

I think it’s hard because there’s so much bureaucracy and like we were talking about before, it’s so hard to understand what your rights are. If you don’t have legal knowledge, you don’t know a lot of the time what the legislation says. When someone’s telling you that you can’t do something, if you don’t have that knowledge, you’re just going to think, okay, I can’t do it. I think that’s why it’s hard because if you don’t know what to say, if you don’t know where to go, it’s really hard to stand up for yourself. But that’s why I think it’s important so that people learn and that we can overcome some of these barriers that just reinforce that marginalization.

Dr. Lisa Interl…:              If you are going to self-advocate, what are some tips that you’ve got for people?

Bianca:                             Bianca speaking. I’ll answer that. I think familiarizing yourself with policies and procedures. Whatever it is that you’re advocating against, familiarize yourself with the rule process. If you think that your rights are being breached, what rights are being breached? How are they breached? I think it’s so important, and people often forget this, but start collecting evidence. If something’s happening at a school, collect your emails. If you’ve had a meeting and you think that you haven’t been treated during that meeting, after the meeting, go and write some notes. If you don’t have capacity to write, tell someone who can do it for you or record things. Keep a trail of what’s going on, but I think even if you don’t feel comfortable seeking support from another agency or even an advocate, getting in touch with an advocacy organization and being upfront like, “Hey, I want to do this on my own. What do you think? Can you provide me with some resources, information? What do you have for me? Is this something common?”

Because I think quite often, people don’t understand because they’re not familiar with the process. I’m the only one going through this. That causes low self-esteem and in some cases, even paranoia like, is it me as the parent? Is it me? Am I overreacting? Or even the disabled person, if they’re on their own and they don’t have the opportunity to have a parent supporting them, maybe it’s just me and I should be quiet. So I think getting in touch with organizations that can assure you that, “No, you’re not the only one. This is actually a systemic issue. It’s happening to other people,” is quite comforting because it gives you, I don’t know, the self-esteem to keep going and a sense of community because you’re not the only one and you know that there’s other people that this is happening to.

But I think yeah, strength in numbers, so connecting with people that can help you, getting that education and the resources, doing even some googling. There’s so many great organizations that have developed amazing resources, that if you feel embarrassed or not ready to connect, you can go and just do a quick google, see what you have to find. There’s a lot of fact sheets. I know the DARU, the Disability Advocacy Resource Unit produces all this great information. So stuff like that, but I think speaking up, because if you don’t call it out, it’s going to happen to someone else. You know what you have to think at the end of the day? Okay, it’s happening to me now. Maybe I have the voice at the moment to do something, so I’ll go and do it. You’re not going to be the only parent whose child goes through this. I think helping people understand that the more that you are quiet, the less likely that change is going to happen.

So if you stand up for your rights now, in a way, you may be empowering someone else because by you doing that, you could be influential in terms of changing some sort of process that can stop the discrimination or the human rights violation from occurring. So yeah, I think the biggest thing for me is collecting your evidence, getting advice, and connecting with the community that’s going through the same thing. There’s heaps of Facebook pages where people are ranting on about similar issues. You don’t even have to comment. Just have a read, because at the end of the day, anyone can be an advocate. I think you’re doing more damage to yourself as a parent or as the person going through it if you don’t speak up because it’s not good for your own self-esteem and your own mental health. At the end of the day, the world’s not perfect, so you’ve got that opportunity to create that change. So I say, yeah, keep going.

Dr. Lisa Interl…:              That’s really a good advice. I think that’s where Kris and I landed on in developing Loop Me In, is that there’s power in the community of parents and carers that often, you think that you are the only one and then you share it with somebody, another parent or another person with a disability and you share your experience and you find out that maybe they might be going through similar things. That’s the whole premise of what we’re trying to do, is develop that community of people that can share experiences and feel like they’re not isolated or alone in their journeys.

Bianca:                             100%. Yeah, that’s great advice.

Kristine Christ…:             And Bianca, who can be an advocate? Do you think a parent should be the advocate for the child with a disability or the adult with a disability?

Bianca:                             Yeah. I think-

Kristine Christ…:             [Inaudible 00:21:25] hard one, isn’t it?

Bianca:                             Yeah. To answer the first part of your question, anyone can be an advocate. You don’t have to have any kind of qualification or educational background. What I would say is the most important thing that an advocate needs is courage, courage to stand up for someone else. Because at the end of the day, you will be put in quite confronting situations because people don’t like to be told that they’re wrong or they’ve done something bad to another person. So courage to stand up for someone else. If you are the parent and you are advocating for the young person, I think one thing that you should really consider is, are you able to separate yourself from being that overprotective parent who may, I don’t know how to explain it, but may overextend themselves to breaching their child’s rights, not intentionally, but just, “Oh, I want to be this protective parent,” but then sometimes, what comes from that is that the child’s or the young person’s voice isn’t being heard? What do they actually want?

Sometimes, you got to have dignity of risk. Like Kelsey said before, people have the right to make their own choices and sometimes, they’re not the best choices, but they’re their choices. I think if you’ve got the ability to separate that and listen to your child’s voice, then I would say you could be an advocate. Some parents are the strongest advocates, but if you can’t or you are worried or that sort of thing like maybe what I want will overtake what my child or the young person wants, then I would say, reach out and get an advocate because you don’t want to be that person who’s breaching your child’s rights and adding to that. But if you can separate that, then some parents who are amazing advocates and then who go on and get jobs as advocates in the field because they’ve just got the experience.

But yeah, if you are someone who wants to get into the field and upskill yourself and you don’t have qualifications, a lot of helpful qualifications would be to have, and these are just from advocates that I know, a lot of people have legal background, psychology background, social science, human rights experience in the disability field. But then you’ve got people who have no experience at all, but who are really strong advocates because they’ve got the lived experience. They’ve grown up their whole lives fighting the system, and because of that, they’ve got all this incredible knowledge and they use that to advocate for other people and are really strong in what they’re fighting for. I hope I’ve answered your question.

Kristine Christ…:             Yeah, no, absolutely. Because I think sometimes as a parent, it is difficult to slow down and just listen to what the other people are saying. Yeah.

Bianca:                             Yeah. And it’s hard as well because you’ve raised that child and you’ve seen what they’ve gone through and that sort of thing, so I guess there’s more of an emotional connection there.

Kristine Christ…:             Absolutely.

Bianca:                             Yeah. Stress from the parent. You just want the best. I just want my child to grow up in a world where they’re treated fairly and stuff like that. But I would say there’s even advocates for parents like Parents Victoria. If you feel like, oh, okay, maybe I need an advocate to help with this whole process, reach out to organizations like them as well. But I do think parents have a really important place in the advocacy process because a lot of times, young people or disabled young people don’t have the ability to take notes or record things or maybe they don’t have the knowledge to realize what’s going on, so the only witness there is the parent who’s in the background writing notes or sending emails to the advocate. So if you feel like maybe it’s not my place or sometimes it can be triggering, get an advocate on board and you could work alongside them. There’s always a place for everyone.

Kristine Christ…:             That’s really a good point. Yeah, that’s a really good point.

Dr. Lisa Interl…:              What are some of the examples? Can you give me examples of where people engage with an advocate?

Bianca:                             Yeah. Like what Kelsey said before, disability discrimination is a big one. Recently, since the lockdown, had a lot of cases where young people are being treated unfairly in the mental health system, not being provided with choice and control in that process. A lot of NDIS, NDSP complaints from Kelsey. Do you want to speak more about that, Kelsey? Do you have any ideas or?

Kelsey:                              It’s so varied. There’s so many different examples of reasons why people get an advocate. Sometimes it’s not always that a human right has been violated yet, but it’s that they know that maybe there’s a meeting coming up or something where decisions are being made and they want to have a say in it and the space where that discussion’s happening isn’t accessible, so having an advocate to, I guess build up those self-advocacy skills as well within that person and then inform them of their rights and inform them of the different decisions that they can make and then they feel more comfortable going into the space and speaking about what they need. I think a lot of education ones, particularly during lockdown as well. I think education and disabled young people has always been an issue, but even more so now that we’ve got remote learning happening all the time. There’s so many varied ones. I’m trying to think.

Dr. Lisa Interl…:              Kelsey, what would that look like with remote learning and education and somebody with a disability? Give me an example what a breach would look like.

Kelsey:                              For example, if a young person with a disability normally has reasonable adjustments in place at school, so that might be that they have a certain amount of one-on-one time with a teacher or they have visual cues, which help them to communicate with their peers and the teacher, a lot of those things now that we’re into remote learning are just disappearing and teachers aren’t always ensuring that those reasonable adjustments are upheld while a student is learning from home. I think what I’ve noticed is there’s an expectation that there’s a bit of work sent out or that the teacher is teaching and everyone is just expected to do it in their home and that’s it. But disabled young people’s disability doesn’t go away just because they’re not at school. They’re still going to have additional needs. They’re still going to require additional support and it shouldn’t be on the parents that are at home with them to homeschool them and teach them this stuff that isn’t designed for them.

I’ve had young people that the teachers have said it’s too much work to create adjustments on this piece of work for every young person, so just do what you can, which that’s a violation because it’s still an education and that young person needs to be able to participate and adjustments need to be made so they can participate. It shouldn’t just be do what you can. It’s too much effort to make different pieces of work when we’re all working from home.

Kristine Christ…:             What about with the NDIS, what have you seen with that?

Kelsey:                              I think one of the biggest things with the NDIS is just not giving the supports that people require. It’s so difficult to, I guess, prove how a support is going to be reasonable enough and necessary enough for the NDIS to fund and for that funding to be related to the goal and that goal related to a disability. There’s so many different check boxes that you need to check off to be able to prove that you deserve something and I think that’s really hard because it’s very deficit-based. The language when we do NDIS meetings and plan reviews, you have to say, think about you on your worst day and you have to really put that young person in a negative light. That’s how it feels like, you’re putting them in a negative light because you have to point out what they struggle with so that they can get support, which that’s not a strength-based way of working and it’s really hard for people, but that’s the only way we can get support.

The government only wants to give a finite amount of support to people and we need to be able to prove that you have something that’s a barrier to you to be able to get that support.

Dr. Lisa Interl…:              Yeah. It’s really hard. I think going through that initial application to get NDIS funding and then to do your annual planning, you always go out of those meetings feeling really low as a parent and I’m sure as an individual, because it is about trying to put forward the worst case scenario and it’s just a really negative experience.

Kelsey:                              It’s awful. The young person has to come in there and prove themselves, prove that they need things to get support and have access. I just don’t think that should be the way because human rights say that we all deserve equal access, so why does a disabled person have to prove that they need extra to be able to participate when a non-disabled person doesn’t have to prove that?

Kristine Christ…:             Yeah. We actually had a guest a couple of weeks ago, Allie. We asked her, what do you want to see in the future? And she said, “I don’t want to have to say how my disability is, whether it’s severe. I just have a disability and that’s all I want to be able to say.” She finds that quite challenging when she goes with her mum.

Kelsey:                              I think that’s a really common thing for a lot of people because in some spaces, they’re seen as too disabled and they can’t participate and their disability is a barrier. But then at the same time, in other spaces, they’re not disabled enough to get what they need and it’s really disheartening, I think, because you feel excluded. Like there’s nowhere that you fit in if you’re being told in one respect that you’re not disabled enough and then somewhere else you’re being told you’re too disabled. It’s just that constantly having to prove and tell your story over and over again. It’s exhausting for people.

Dr. Lisa Interl…:              Can you tell us a bit about your organization? So it’s the Youth Disability Advocacy Service, is that right? Is that YDAS, you call it?

Bianca:                             Yeah. That’s the acronym. We provide an individual advocacy service, that’s the team that Kelsey and I are a part of, for young people aged between 12 and 25. What that looks like is a person will connect with our service with an advocacy issue. We’ll take them on, allocate them an advocate, and then the advocate will go through their goals with them and provide advice and develop a plan on how they’re going to achieve those advocacy goals or rectify the issues that they’re experiencing. Then the advocate will go and represent them in that process, but taking into account their willing preference and what they want. During that process, their aim is to eventually educate the young person who comes through so then they have their own skills or they know where to go in the event that the advocacy service finishes at a point and it was to happen again.

We try and upskill them so by the time they leave the service, they’ve got the skills and resources to stand on their own two feet if they can and advocate for themselves. But we also have a variety of other programs as well. We’ve got a young leaders program. It’s a free online leadership program. Kelsey’s also involved in it. She might be able to speak a bit more about it, but for disabled young people, educating them on how to be leaders in the space. We’ve got the map your future program. It’s a program that’s also online and it helps young people set goals and connect them with the right supports to achieve those goals. Then we’ve also got the together training program. It’s a training program that focuses on access and inclusion and upskilling the use sector on how to make a more accessible and inclusive place for disabled people. Kelsey, do you want to add anything to that or?

Kelsey:                              No, I think you covered it really well. A lot of the work at YDAS that we do is with the young person. All our work is youth-centered. Even if a worker or a parent contacts us asking for advocacy support for their child, where possible, we always try and speak to the young person as well to get an understanding of what they want. We do a lot of direct work with young people. We also have some really excellent people in our team that I think don’t get enough credit that do a lot of systemic advocacy. That’s like policy work and taking some of these stories that we hear on a day to day basis and putting them in reports and giving those reports to government bodies and high-level policy people and making sure that those stories are heard so that hopefully, there is systemic change and these barriers are overcome.

We don’t need to have those individual advocacy conversations all the time because the whole system’s changed instead. But yeah, I think there’s lots of things we do at YDAS. YDAS is mostly all disabled people staffed and yeah, we work with disabled young people. It’s strength-based. It’s empowering. We want to see more disabled people thrive in the community. That’s our main focus.

Dr. Lisa Interl…:              That’s fantastic. I’ve never heard of that before, but I think it’s a great service and I think it would be great for more parents and carers, particularly to understand human rights and particularly human rights of people with disabilities. As you said before, you could google that. I guess there’s Human Rights Commission that you can look at and there’s lots of places that you can find more information just to educate yourself.

Bianca:                             Yeah, or even give us a call. We’re happy to have a chat, but yeah, the Australian Human Rights Commission if you wanted to know about federal discrimination law. If you’re looking for something more state-based, the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission. If you’re looking for legal services, we would say probably Villamanta Disability Rights Legal Service or the Human Rights Law Centre does some fantastic work.

Kristine Christ…:             Yeah, that’s fantastic. It’s great to have organizations like yourself for parents and for the young disabled people that have a voice and want to talk to someone.

Bianca:                             Yeah. Definitely. It’s really important, I think, yeah.

Dr. Lisa Interl…:              Well, thanks for sharing your expertise with us today. We really appreciate it. We’ve learned a lot ourselves. We look forward to perhaps speaking to you again. Maybe when the Royal Commission gets a bit further down the track, it might be worth having another chat to see how that pans out.

Kelsey:                              Yeah. Appreciate it.

Bianca:                             Yeah. Sounds great. Amazing. Thanks for having us. Thank you.

Kristine Christ…:             Thank you, ladies.

Bianca:                             Thank you. Bye.

Kelsey:                              Bye.

Dr. Lisa Interl…:              Thanks. Bye.

Speaker 1:                        Thanks for being part of the Loop Me In community today and joining our conversation on raising children with disabilities. Join us for the next episode on some of your favorite platforms like Spotify and Apple Podcasts. If you would like to support us, please recommend the Loop Me In podcast to your network of parents, carers, and providers. If you would like us to cover a topic or invite a guest to chat, please email us at contact@loop-me-in.com.au or go to our website at loop-me-in.com.au. If you’ve got any feedback, please let us know so we can improve and cover issues you want.

And of course, if anything in the podcast today has raised concerns for you, you can contact Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636 or Lifeline on 13 11 14.

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Season 1

Episode 1 – Fun and Independence

Hosts Dr Lisa Interligi and Kristine Christopoulos talk with Dean Cohen, CEO Flying Fox, about the importance of developing independence skills and having fun! Flying Fox provides camp experiences for young people with disabilities.

Season 4

Episode 6 – Dad Talking Dads

Rob Hale host of podcast Dad-Ability joins Dr Lisa Interligi and Kristine Christopoulos to explore experiences of dads of children with all types of disabilities. Rob shares about his personal emotional journey with raising his son Leo, and how this brought him to a breaking point. Rob has used this to connect and support other fathers. This is a special conversation not to be missed.

Season 4

Episode 5 – Talking ADHD

Hosts Dr Lisa Interligi and Kristine Christopoulos chat with Professor Mark Bellgrove about ADHD – what it is, how the condition is diagnosed, gender differences and heritability. Mark is Director of Research at the Turner Institute for Brain and Mental Health, and a Professor in Cognitive Neuroscience at Monash University.

Season 4

Episode 4 – Golf Glue

Darrell Dalton, ex nurse for acquired brain injury and senior PGA member, turned running the largest golf program for people with intellectual disabilities.
Not-for-profit Golf Programs Australia Inc is also an affiliate of the Special Olympics program. Darrell is joined by partner Michelle to chat about how the program works, the health and social benefits of playing golf.

Season 4

Episode 3 – Special

Hosts Dr Lisa Interligi and Kristine Christopoulos welcome Melanie Dimmitt -broadcaster, journalist and editor Melanie is a mum of two and author of her book ‘Special ‘ in which shares the raw experience of coming to terms with her son Arlo’s cerebral palsy diagnosis. Melanie also works for HireUp as an advocate and produces a magazine The Blend Lifestyle for the tube feeding community.