Australian Support Dogs ASDOG

Australian Support Dogs ASDOG
Beastie trying her best to impress but she’s not an assistance dog, she’s a hairy pal!

Australian Support Dogs ASDOG

Our own dog performs no assistance role, she is solely a loved family member. I have often said that she could open the fridge door and make a ham sandwich but only if it was for her own consumption! That’s her level of self interest. We call our dog ‘Beastie’ as she has a shaggy coat that along with her large size gives the appearance of being truely unruly. She is in fact a sweetheart but quite beyond training to assist anyone. I mention Beastie because she is my point of reference, she highlights to me the skills and obedience required to be an assistance dog. Assistance dogs are really rather special at what they do which is why I’m so supportive of this organisation.

Australian Support Dogs ASDOG is a not for profit organisation that raises, trains and places accredited assistance dogs with people with disabilities. Assistance Dogs learn an array of skilled tasks to give their recipients the remarkable gift of greater independence and enhanced quality of life.

I have met several assistance dogs alongside their owners and they make remarkable teams. With an assistance dog the owner can achieve a task or chore that eludes the individual alone. Task attempts and achievements all need a doggie treat but that’s a fair reward!

The support dog recipients that I have met have also commented on the companionship the dog offers as well as its task orientated skills. A dog is widely known as man’s best friend, an assistance dog becomes a working best friend as we succumb to their hairy charm.

Australian Support Dogs – What they do

ASDOG provides professionally trained assistance dogs to people with disabilities free of charge. Each puppy progresses through a 2 year training program to prepare them for their future role as an assistance dog. Beginning in the home of a volunteer puppy raiser, the assistance dog journey is founded on a happy home environment and an abundance of social opportunities! Dogs in training then participate in a 12 month advanced program of intensive obedience, skilled tasks and public access training before being matched with a recipient and undergoing the team training required for a proficient working partnership.

Australian Support Dogs – How they do it

ASDOG was established with the generosity of public donation and a compassionate and dedicated volunteer base. Today they continue their proud history of giving back to the community that supports them. ASDOG sincerely thanks its supporters on their website, supporters who give the puppies the rewarding opportunity of growing up to be accredited assistance dogs.

Monetary Donations

ASDOG could not raise and train assistance dogs without the support of the general public. With no government funding, community support forms the foundation of the organisation. Donations make it possible for them to continue this service provision for people with disabilities. Please donate here.

Further Reading – Not a dog blog

 Australian Support Dogs ASDOG
Good try Beastie, you’re a hairy pal !

The Inaugural Royal Rehab Alex Ommanney Prize in Social Work was awarded to Emily James

The inaugural Royal Rehab Alex Ommanney Prize in social work being  awarded to Emily James by Stephen Lowndes, CEO Royal Rehab.

This prize was awarded to Emily in 2018. I didn’t post the news initially but realised recently a delayed post took nothing away from her success.

Emily won the prize with an essay addressing how her experience would influence her practice as a Social Worker. Her writing is honest and insightful so I have inserted some snippets of her prize winning submission to raise awareness of a social workers role.

Social Work – Emily’s First Point

Following my accident I suddenly became part of a minority group, a group with barriers and began to start hearing the word ‘no’ more often. ‘No you can’t have that’, ‘no you can’t do that’, ‘no you can’t go there’. I have belonged to the world of disability for a minute compared to others, nevertheless I am already frustrated at the discrimination and oppression I have experienced and witnessed. In 2015, 18.3% (4.3 million) of Australians reported having a disability and within that population almost one in twelve reported experiencing discrimination based on their disability (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2016).”

Social Work – Emily’s Aim

In my future role as a social worker I want to work towards removing the ‘cannot’ and reducing the discrimination and oppression experienced by individuals with a disability.”

Social Work – Human Rights Model

Human services have greater emphasise on removing barriers to improve opportunities and access for all disabled individuals. This approach is known as a social or human rights model and is important because it prioritises societal change and empowers people with disabilities (PWD) to view themselves as citizens that face discrimination and not individuals that are sick and invalid (Shakespeare, 2014). Nevertheless discrimination and oppression remain and disabled individuals still experience inequalities in health, education and employment.”

Social Work – Client Driven

My belief remains in the importance of social inclusion policies and anti-oppressive practice that are client driven.”

Social Work – Moving Forward

Emily’s thoughts progress: “I must keep in mind that despite the work of disability activists, many of whom are themselves disabled, the Human Rights Model has been criticised for failing to consider the individual’s experience. Therefore, it is imperative that in utilising this approach I endeavour to include PWDs in the discussions around how the social and economic structures of their environment influence their experiences.”

Social Work – Emily’s Future

In the future as a social worker involved in rehabilitation, I will need to take a holistic approach to fully understanding the client’s current position and experience of oppression. Only then can I work in collaboration with the client to identify where the inequality they are experiencing stems from and what supports are available to them in order to meet the needs and goals identified.”

“In my future role I will have to work with the individual in order to help them deconstruct the view that disability makes you inferior or incapable. In addressing these disabling barriers by rebuilding their self-confidence, helping them access knowledge and building up their capabilities I can hopefully empower clients.”

Emily concludes: “As a social worker in this arena I will have to ensure I maintain a degree of distance when implementing the strategies agreed upon by the client, providing information and guidance and not completing tasks that the client is capable of doing themselves.”

social work

No-one stated it better.  Well done Emily – you are a worthy recipient of this inaugural award in Social Work.

social work

Happy World Social Work Day  – 19th March 2019

The World Social Work Day theme for 2019 is promoting the importance of human relationships.

Further reading : Everyday Caring 

Also see : Royal Rehab 

Emily bought a kitten!

I set out to blog about balancing life as a carer for Emily after her spinal cord injury. Having worked hard to engender self-worth and purpose into Emily – facilitating her choices and furthering her opportunities I could hardly deny her a companion cat! So Emily bought a kitten!

Emily bought a kitten

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Independence after SCI.

A tradesman reminded me how tedious it is being stuck indoors. It reinforced Emily’s independence after SCI as she left the house to catch a wheelchair accessible bus (M30) to Sydney University leaving me behind.

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Progress this year shows Emily blossom into post trauma independence and I celebrate !

Today is the anniversary of my 1st blog. I thought it fitting to reflect on the year; Emily’s progress, the subtle changes that experience has delivered to Emily and me, the evolution of our separate short and long-term goals. Continue reading