Family members and others make contact with us to strategise and receive information around matters relating to the interests of the person with disability on a confidential basis.
This has been a useful way for people who have attended our events or workshops to talk through information received on the day of the workshop or event and to receive additional information.
Recognising that telephone charges can create a financial barrier for people living outside of the Sydney metropolitan area, there is a free call 1800 number to call and discuss issues.
People can call or email as often as they need to, and this varies according to the nature and the level of complexity of the issue or issues.
Advice and discussion with families covers a wide variety of life experiences including: preparing a vision for the future, planning for starting school, working effectively with schools, considering leisure pursuits, transitioning from primary to high school, thinking about life after school, preparing to start work or interacting with employers, supporting a family member to develop relationships, planning the move from the family home, setting up a network of support and making long term plans around the person with disability.
Response to enquiries made by families has varied depending on the circumstances but has included:
- working with the caller to formulate a course of action
- sending resources such as articles or brochures to supplement knowledge and make the possibility of coming to an informed decision more likely
- providing contact details for other organisations where the information required is outside the areas of expertise of Family Advocacy such as legal matters
- completing research around an issue to ensure that the caller has the most up to date information or new perspectives about an issue
- making contact with a senior decision maker where an issue is of systemic significance
This contact, with a wide range and large number of callers from around the State, helps to inform Family Advocacy’s planning around the workshops and the resources that are likely to be most useful for families. It also helps the organisation to be aware of issues that may be of systemic significance – either within a region or across the State.
Some examples of the types of enquiries we receive:
- The sister of a man with autism was interested in what would happen to her brother when their parents were no longer alive. We discussed and strategised around planning for the future and provided a range of literature and contacts that would provide ideas and assistance.
- The father of a child with intellectual disability was concerned about the amount of support that his child would receive in a mainstream school setting. We discussed the funding process, how supports could be used and the relevant personnel that could provide assistance. We also spoke about relevant web sites and provided him with documents and articles that included details about support. In addition, we discussed examples of inclusion at school.
- A mother called to discuss her son with disability who it was alleged had been assaulted in a group home. We discussed who to contact, assisted with the drafting of letters, considered the appropriate outcome and discussed preparation for future communications.
- A parent of a man with intellectual disability called to discuss the Community Participation Program. There was a discussion of the funding levels, the process of appeal, dealing with service providers and a consideration of the questions that need to be asked.
- A mother of an adult son who is supported by a non government agency rang because she was concerned that he was being moved into inappropriate accommodation. A strategy was devised that included possible options. Meeting preparation was also covered with a consideration of who should attend, what materials to prepare and what information should be obtained before the meeting.