[bactttoma] Re: [DBAust] Funds bid for those in a dark and silent world

  • From: steven taylor <steven_taylor10@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: bactttoma@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Mon, 3 May 2010 10:55:58 +1000

An inspirational story here.


On 03/05/2010, at 10:47 AM, Di and John wrote:

> Funds bid for those in a dark and silent world
> CAROL NADER
> May 3, 2010
> 
> Heather Lawson uses sign language with interpreter Dennis Whitcombe. Photo: 
> Angela Wylie
> 
> HEATHER Lawson lives in a world that is dark and silent. Born with Usher 
> syndrome, she was deaf at birth and her vision has since deteriorated to the 
> point where she is completely blind. She communicates through tactile sign 
> language. She softly covers the hands of an interpreter as they sign, then 
> responds with her own sign language.
> 
> Initially struck with grief and anger and fear when she completely lost her 
> vision at 28, she hasn't allowed living with deafblindness to stop her from 
> skydiving, jet-skiing, rock climbing, snow skiing and abseiling. She is also 
> determined to maintain her independence, living on her own and using a 
> communication book to help her get around on public transport.
> 
> ''I was adventurous but as my sight got worse and worse my other senses were 
> heightened,'' she said.
> 
> But Ms Lawson, 51, and others living with deafblindness need help for the 
> day-to-day things others take for granted. Activities such as shopping, 
> paying bills and going to the doctor all require the help of support workers 
> and family. ''Without a support worker, I'd be sitting at home alone, and 
> that would be frustrating,'' she said.
> 
> Ms Lawson is spirited and positive, with a dry sense of humour. But many 
> people living with deafblindness are isolated and suffering from depression.
> 
> Ahead of tomorrow's state budget, people working in this sector are hoping 
> for more funds.
> 
> State manager of National Disability Services, Rhonda Lawson Street, said 
> the sector has long been underfunded.
> 
> ''The funding isn't going far enough for individuals, particularly with 
> complex needs, to be able to purchase a range of services they require to 
> fully participate,'' she said. ''Services are stretched to breaking point 
> because they've been underfunded for years on end.''
> 
> Opposition community services spokeswoman Mary Wooldridge said the 
> government's own advice more than a year ago was that an increase in funding 
> was needed to maintain the level of services. ''People with disabilities are 
> not getting the level or quality of services they need due to the Brumby 
> government's chronic underfunding of the disability sector,'' she said.
> 
> Ms Lawson gets funding from the Department of Human Services to pay for time 
> with a support worker to help her with an activity of her choosing, and she 
> has to carefully budget that time.
> 
> She worries that others are waiting too long to get help: ''It's truly sad. 
> I think the government sweeps us under the carpet .''
> 
> She gets support from Able Australia, an organisation that helps people with 
> multiple disabilities. Chief executive Celestine Hare said deafblindness was 
> a little-known disability. ''We hear a lot about the single sensory, a 
> person being deaf or blind, but to even envisage that people are both, along 
> with an intellectual disability, is just incomprehensible.''
> 
> Some people with disabilities get their funding directly from the 
> department, like Ms Lawson, which enables them to decide how they spend 
> their money with different agencies. The amount of money they get depends on 
> their needs.
> 
> But this is still being rolled out and other people with disabilities still 
> do not get their funding directly.
> 
> A Department of Human Services spokesman said there were 1200 people on the 
> disability support register - the method the department uses to register 
> need and provide help.
> 
> ''We have shifted to self-directed support, giving people with a disability 
> the power to choose the support they want to receive, where they want to 
> live, what day programs they want to participate in,'' he said.
> 
> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
> 
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  • » [bactttoma] Re: [DBAust] Funds bid for those in a dark and silent world - steven taylor