1 year ago

inform issue 29 - Summer 2019

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In this issue of Inform we celebrate Dean


8 Feature Lifting and thriving Dean Clifford has spent his life defying the odds. He says it’s all a matter of knowing his limits but also pushing those limits. And it’s in the gym where he has found joy doing just that. ‘I've only been in the gym for the last 15 years or so, it was only something that we uncovered as a complete accident that I could lift these kinds of weights,’ Dean said. These kinds of weights include up to 150kg at a time. It seems improbable given how fragile Dean’s skin is, but he says the variation of movement in the gym is what makes it possible. ‘That's the bizarre aspect with my skin. I would class typing on the computer as more dangerous than being in the gym lifting weights. ‘It's all about knowing your limits’ ‘That's the thing that has all the medical world scratching their heads at, as to why I can continue to lift the kinds of weights that I'm doing and my body continues to thrive under the extreme training that I do yet I can sit and type and I'll end up with multiple problems on the tips of my fingers from typing away or if I try to walk for kilometres at a time then I'll end up with huge problems on my feet from the wear and tear. ‘It's all about knowing your limits and knowing how far I can push myself and knowing what's happening to my body. I'll stop in the gym the second I feel that something is starting to get damaged and then we'll work out what I need to do.’ The medical world might be shaking their heads, but Dean is nonplussed. For him, this is just his life. From the gym to the speaking circuit to the sidelines at Suncorp Stadium to see his beloved Brisbane Broncos play, and now with his role with DEBRA Australia, Dean will continue to defy the odds, to push the limits and to achieve big things. To contact Dean about motivational speaking, visit For more information about DEBRA Australia, visit *National Epidermolysis Bullosa Dressing (NEBDS) supports people with Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB) with subsidised wound dressings, bandages, and ancillary products. It is funded by the Australian Government and administered by Independence Australia.

NDIS Feature 9 Assistive Technology and the NDIS Assistive technology comes in a vast range of different sizes, shapes and colours. It acts as a bridge between you and your environment, often making what was inaccessible accessible. But where can you learn more about it and how can you include it in your NDIS plan? It’s an overcast afternoon in regional Victoria and Judi Potts is explaining how she makes a cup of tea. ‘When I'm making a cup of tea. I can't see the water. If it's a white cup, I can't see the water. If it's a dark cup, I can't see the water.’ A vision impairment poses challenges for Judi in the kitchen, but assistive technology has made a big difference. ‘So, I've got what's called a liquid level indicator.’ Judi holds up a little red box. It’s about the size of a matchbox. Three metal prongs extend out the top and down the side, two long and one short. She sits the box on the edge of the cup. As she pours hot water into the cup she explains how the prongs work. ‘That first beep that goes that tells me when the water is at a high enough level for milk to be put in the cup. When it's a steady beep, that means that the water has reached the top of the cup and you’re to stop. So, I can't overpour the cup and burn myself which is terrific.’ Assistive technology can play an important role in making the world more accessible. From power wheelchairs to liquid level indicators, assistive technology comes in all shapes and sizes. But what all assistive technology does is provide you with the means and supports to engage with your community, live independently, work or travel. Some assistive technology can be expensive or require customisation, while others are simple and can be brought straight off the shelf. Whatever your assistive technology needs might be, you may be able to access funding through the NDIS. Read on to learn more about what assistive technology is and where you can learn more, how the NDIA defines different assistive technology and what might be involved in including it in your plan.