A Bright Future for Jaxson

It’s often not an easy road finding the right supports or the right support team for a child with a disability.

Meet Jaxson, a happy go lucky five year old boy who loves to jump, run and climb and is happiest amongst his peers at his local mainstream kindergarten. Jaxson was diagnosed with  ASD Level 3 (autistic spectrum disorder) when he was 2 years old, and since then has also been found to have sensory processing disorder, is non-verbal, and also has ADHD.

Jaxson’s mother, Sandra, speaks candidly about the roadblocks she and her partner have experienced the last few years with many mainstream services not meeting Jaxson’s needs.

“Being in a mainstream setting is where Jaxson is most happy however he wasn’t getting the support he needed and I felt lost and didn’t know where to turn. I heard about Myhorizon’s Early Intervention Services last year and decided to give them a call. After speaking to the team there, I finally felt like I found someone who could offer some understanding and options for the first time. I ended that call with tears of hope.” Said Sandra.

Myhorizon was able to provide a range of educational resources for Sandra and her family to learn about Jaxson’s diagnosis and possible treatments and therapies available. The Early Intervention team were then able to schedule time to observe Jaxson in his kindergarten environment and give feedback as to what best supports were needed for Jaxson in that setting.

“This was a game-changer for Jaxson and us as a family. It gave us hope and a path forward and options where we were at a point where we felt like we had no options.” Said Sandra.

Myhorizon’s Early Intervention team developed a tailored program for Jaxson which included an integrative support approach. Using a combination of therapies, Sandra quickly saw improvements and progress in Jaxson’s everyday skills.

“Jaxson is completely non-verbal but it doesn’t mean he isn’t vocal. Getting an appropriate communication pathway for Jaxson has been quite difficult, however working with the Therapists at Myhorizon has allowed Jaxson to trial a communication device where he can push buttons on a special device to speak to us, which is usually very expensive and out of reach for a lot of families so we’ve been extremely lucky. It’s been a huge thing for Jaxson as a person and the people trying to communicate with him. We are also currently trying to explore a further trial with an eye-gaze component just to see if that helps him communicate any better.” Said Sandra.

Sandra and her husband Lee, have also benefited from the MyTime Respite  sessions held through Myhorizon where they’ve been able to meet and talk to other parents with similar experiences. “It’s so good just to have that support, someone to talk to, someone who knows and understands about your child’s disability. We went through a stage of being very alone and finding it very difficult to self-educate over Jaxson’s diagnosis and difficulties, and getting to meet other families. Not all kids have same disabilities and not all kids have same struggles with the same disabilities, but it’s been great meeting other families and other kids and it’s been great doing it in a supportive setting.”

Sandra has recently worked through the NDIS planning process with Myhorizon’s team and is awaiting Jaxson’s new package like many other participants, so Jaxson’s supports can continue. “I initially found the whole NDIS process confusing and overwhelming but the Early Intervention team at Myhorizon helped us through it all and made sure I had all the right information ready.

“Finding the Myhorizon Early Intervention team has been one of the main positives of our journey with Jaxson. It’s been the most helpful in a therapeutic and personal level too.” Said Sandra.

When asked what Sandra’s ultimate long-term goal is for Jaxson, she wants what any parent wants for their child,

“I’d love for things to be made more accessible in the community for Jaxson and other individuals like him. I want him to experience his educational journey with his peers. That’s where he’s happiest and thrives the most. And long-term, I want him to have the opportunity to live independently and have a job one day, whatever that may be.”

Click here to find out more about Myhorizon’s Early Intervention Services.

Traditional Crafts Supporting Kids with Disability

Traditional crafts from Rita’s cart at Myhorizon Capalaba are still proving a popular retail item with locals these days, and are funding new resources for kids with disability.

Rita Morris, a long-standing member of Myhorizon, still contributes her time and energy into the not-for-profit organisation where she has set up her own cart at the Community Centre on Runnymede Rd selling her crafty wares all for a good cause.

Rita has raised nearly $2000 just from her craft cart alone which was able to fund a new early childhood motor development program now used by Occupational Therapists at Myhorizon’s Ian McDougall Centre. The new tool allows therapists to provide both an in-depth assessment and training of gross and fine motor skills for children from birth to 5 years of age.

“This new resource not only gives our assessments more credibility for families to receive their NDIS funding, but also allows our therapy team a more consistent way of measuring a child’s developmental milestones and identifying the additional support and skills they may need”, says Ruby Ryan, an Occupational Therapist at Myhorizon.

Rita generously donates all her craft’s profits back to the Myhorizon’s Early Intervention programs to help kids with disability access important programs and resources, giving them more learning opportunities and supports they need to reach their potential.

“In the early days, there weren’t any programs around to support kids with a disability, but now there is more opportunity for children with a disability to get the support they need from services and programs like the ones offered by Myhorizon’s Early Intervention team” says Rita.

Rita speaks gratefully about Myhorizon for the support they have given her son Christopher over the years who has a disability, and wanted to return some of the support and generosity through fundraising from her crafts, kindly donated by herself and other members of the Redlands community.

“I’ll never be able to pay back Myhorizon for what they have done for Christopher over the years. This is my small way to give something back to the organisation”, says Rita.

You can find Rita’s Cart at Myhorizon Community Centre, Runnymede Rd, Capalaba, at the entrance to The Bush Pantry Café, where you can browse her selection of handmade items, novelties, and children’s clothing, open 8.30am till 2pm Monday to Friday. For more information on Myhorizon’s Early Intervention services, click here.

Ben making strides under the NDIS

With many participants awaiting the introduction of the NDIS from 1 July in south-east QLD, there are some already reaping the benefits of this new disability funding scheme.

Meet Ben, a playful and energetic 6 year old boy from Cornubia, just south of Brisbane. Ben was diagnosed with autism when he was two and a half years old. Originally from Bowen, a regional town in North Queensland, Ben’s family decided to move to Brisbane in early 2017 so they could access more supports and therapies needed not only for Ben, but for the entire family.

Ben is currently receiving funding under the NDIS which pays for his various therapies including occupational and speech therapies, an essential part of Ben’s weekly progress.

When speaking to Ben’s mother Kim, it’s immediately evident how passionate Kim is about getting the support and tools Ben needs.

“My biggest goal for Ben is to have him improve his communication skills, but also for him to ultimately be happy in his own skin, however that may look” says Kim.

Kim was referred to the Early Intervention Team at Myhorizon’s Ian McDougall Centre by a friend and hasn’t looked back.

“Coming to Myhorizon was the best thing I ever did. Geraldine, Kylee, and the staff have been wonderful. Myhorizon is more than just a centre, they actually care. There’s nothing that they won’t go out of their way to help me with” says Kim.

Myhorizon’s occupational therapist visits Ben’s regularly at his school to provide him with therapy in his own school environment. “This makes things so much easier for us” says Kim.

“It’s sometimes hard to know what is typical 6 year old behaviour, and what is autism. One day you’ll have a good day, and the next day may not be so good, but he is definitely making progress. He is becoming more social, more coordinated and generally more settled in his own skin” says Kim.

“Myhorizon even manage my NDIS funds for me. I give them the bill and they take care of it which takes a load off my shoulders because I don’t have to worry about invoices or people getting paid” Says Kim.

When asked what advice she would give someone currently working through their NDIS planning, Kim recommends that being specific with your requirements and being prepared is key for your NDIS meetings.

“Arm yourself with information and look to organisations like Myhorizon to walk you through what you need to do” says Kim.

For any NDIS advice or more information about our various services catering to all life stages from birth, right through to adulthood, contact Myhorizon on 07 3824 7007 or leave an email enquiry for us using the contact form on this website.

Myhorizon Wins Australia Day Award

The annual Redland City Australia Day Awards were held last night (Tuesday 23rd January 2018) at Alexandra Hills Hotel where Myhorizon were honoured as winners of the ‘Community Organisation Award’.

Each year Redland City Council recognises residents and community organisations through these awards where they acknowledge members and organisations in our community who have made outstanding contributions to promote the welfare and wellbeing in the Redlands.

Myhorizon has been part of the Redlands Community since 1981 and today supports more than 2000 people with a disability, with a passionate and dedicated team of over 240 staff.

The prestigious award was graciously accepted by Myhorizon CEO, Joe Gamblin on behalf of the entire organisation.

“This award is a wonderful recognition of the leadership at Myhorizon over many years and the contribution made by all the staff. It is great for the organisation to be recognised in this way and it is a strong reflection of goodwill and acceptance of people with disability within the Redlands community.” said Joe.

Myhorizon sincerely thanks the Redlands community and all who took the time to nominate the organisation for these awards, and congratulate all the other worthy nominees and winners on the night.

(Photo: Myhorizon CEO, Joe Gamblin, and Redland City Mayor, Karen Williams)

Generous Contributions to Early Intervention

The humble story of how Myhorizon first began is an inspirational one, where a group of dedicated parents were united by a common purpose – creating a better life for people with disability through education, employment, and community connection opportunities.

One of those dedicated founding parents was Rita Morris who says that back in 1981, there weren’t any local groups in the Redlands who could provide the support and opportunities that she wanted for her son Christopher, and so decided that together with like-minded parents would create their own organisation.

Rita speaks gratefully about Myhorizon for the support they have given her son Christopher over the years and wanted to return some of the support and generosity. So earlier this year, the idea of ‘Rita’s cart’ was born. Having a space at the new Myhorizon Community Centre at Capalaba where Rita could sell her goods to patrons of the Bush Café, staff, and general public visiting the centre, meant that she could donate her profits back to the organisation, specifically to the Early Intervention programs offered at Myhorizon.

“I’ll never be able to pay back Myhorizon for what they have done for Christopher over the years. This is my small way to give something back to the organisation” said Rita.

The design and construction of Rita’s Cart was kindly built by the wonderful members of Alexandra Hills Men’s Shed, who donated their time and materials to build Rita a custom made cart to sell her treasures. When approached to take on this project, long-time Men’s Shed member Damian Malone, was more than happy to contribute with the help of his fellow members, as he had a personal connection to Myhorizon.

“I decided to take on this project at Myhorizon because they previously provided my son and my family with a lot of support and information we needed through their Baby Bridges program. We wanted to do something to give back.”

Myhorizon presented Alexandra Hills Men’s Shed with a certificate of appreciation recently for their kind contribution to the construction of the cart which they completed in June 2017. Since opening the cart, Rita has sold many handmade pieces and novelties and already raised $1000 to donate back to Myhorizon.

Rita’s generous ongoing donations to Myhorizon’s Early Intervention Service contributes to important programs for children with development delay or disability, giving them more learning opportunities and supports they need to reach their potential.

“In the early days, there weren’t any programs around to support kids who had a disability, but now with more funding and help available, there is more opportunity for children with a disability to get the support they need from programs like the ones offered by the Early Intervention team at Myhorizon” said Rita.

You can find Rita’s Cart at Myhorizon Community Centre, Runnymede Rd, Capalaba, where you can browse her selection of handmade items, novelties, and children’s clothing, open 8.30am till 4.30pm Monday to Friday.

(Photo: Alexandra Hills Men’s Shed members Damien Malone, Les Burrell, and Michael Gleeson accepting their Certificate of Appreciation from Myhorizon; and Manager of ‘Rita’s Cart’ – Rita Morris)

Fulfilling a Community Vision

Myhorizon proudly celebrates the official Grand Opening of their brand new purpose-built facility in the heart of Redland City.

From L-R: Raymond Walker; CEO of Myhorizon Joe Gamblin; Redland Council Mayor Karen Williams, His Excellency the Honourable Paul de Jersey AC, the Governor of Queensland; Vice President of Myhorizon Louise Dudley with the official plaque presented to Myhorizon Community Centre.

It has been a rewarding journey for Myhorizon to proudly fulfil a community vision after many years, with the opening of their state-of-the-art Community Centre. The event was held on Friday 20 October 2017 at Capalaba, where His Excellency the Honourable Paul de Jersey AC, Governor of Queensland, officially opened the impressive new facility. 

Redland City Council Mayor Karen Williams also attended and spoke at the event, and was joined by approximately 200 attendees including local council representatives, government members, and Myhorizon clients and staff.

The multi-million dollar flagship centre on Runnymede Road, next to Indigiscapes, boasts a range of high quality services and purpose built facilities, all designed to support the ongoing needs of people with disabilities in the local community.

CEO of Myhorizon, Joe Gamblin thanked those in the community that supported and contributed to the magnificent community facility, including Redland City Council, Ian McDougall Trust and Redland Foundation.

“What we’ve created has made a real difference to the lives of hundreds of people with disabilities. It has been so rewarding to be able to build on the hard work of our founders and grow the organisation to where it is today, supporting thousands of clients across the state, with the help of so many wonderful people. This ceremony is a wonderful celebration of this rich history and the important work Myhorizon undertakes in the local and wider community” said Mr Gamblin.

Mayor Karen Williams also spoke to the values shared between Myhorizon and Redland City Council. “The Myhorizon community centre shows just what can be achieved when the community comes together, shares a common vision, and gets down and makes it happen. It’s an important, productive and valued community asset and is a true reflection of Myhorizon’s commitment to continuing its important work in the region and council’s support of such services” said Mayor Williams.

Myhorizon employs over 240 passionate staff members across 11 different centres (located from Wynnum through to Tweed Heads).  “Our amazing team actively works with 2000 people with disability, from the earliest stages of life through to adulthood” said Mr Gamblin.

Myhorizon’s specialty service areas include Support Coordination, Plan Management, Independent Living, Lifestyle services, Employment & Training and Social Enterprises, as well as Early Intervention services operating out of the new Ian McDougall Centre within the same new facility. This was named after the late Redlands philanthropist whose trust has supported a range of local causes. The Ian McDougall Trust made a $450,000 donation to the early Intervention Centre which is a fantastic place tailoring support to meet the needs of children with disability.

The new centre also doubles as an entertainment venue for public hire with modern event spaces and meeting rooms perfect for corporate meetings, community events, and weddings.  The centre’s new cafe The Bush Pantry is open to general public and offers great coffee, refreshments and light snacks, and takes advantage of the picturesque surroundings of Redlands’ Botanical Gardens.

To speak to the friendly staff at Myhorizon and learn how our services can support you, call us on 1300 MYHORIZON today.

Gymzoonasium is coming to Capalaba

Myhorizon’s Early Intervention Team will deliver a unique Gymzoonasium physical activity program from next week.

Kylee Honeyman, Manager of Myhorizon’s Ian McDougall Centre, said Gymzoonasium was all about getting kids involved in physical activity that is fun and inclusive.

“The idea is for young children to learn about their bodies by engaging in animal inspired movement that encourages and builds core strength, flexibility, and coordination”.

The program is unique to the Redlands and offers participants a range of benefits including improvements in well-being and gross motor skills, balance, and social skills development.

Gymzoonasium is being offered on Tuesdays from 3:30-4:15pm at Myhorizon’s Ian McDougall Centre within its Capalaba service hub for a cost of $7 per session.

For more information or to register, please phone Myhorizon’s Early Intervention Team on 07 3824 7007.

Myhorizon Events: NDIS for Kids

Myhorizon will be hosting a special information event with occupational therapy specialist and lecturer Dr. Adele Suda for parents in February.

The event to be held at Myhorizon’s newly minted Ian McDougall Centre for Early Intervention at Capalaba will cover topics related to early childhood intervention supports, the NDIS, and family-centred advocacy, support and direction.

When: Monday 28th February

Where: Myhorizon’s Ian McDougall Centre, 1-15A Runnymede Road, Capalaba Qld 4157

Time: 10am-12pm

RSVP: Please email Kylee Honeyman, Ian McDougall Centre Manager, on khoneyman@myhorizon.org.au to register your attendance.

More information about the speaker: 

Adele Suda is a Senior Occupational Therapist and Lecturer with over 20 years experience working with children, adolescents and families (B.App.Sc. OT; Grad Cert. Counselling; PhD Candidate).

She is registered with AHPRA and the Australian Occupational Therapy Association.

Her career has focused on working with neurological/cognitive impairments such as Autism Spectrum Disorders, Cerebral Palsy, ADD/ADHD, Learning Difficulties and Sensory Processing Disorder.

She is highly experienced in developing and implementing child/family centred evidence based interventions.

Adele has worked in a number of settings including Alice Springs with indigenous communities and Newcastle Child and Family Health Network. She owned and directed a private paediatric practice on the Gold Coast QLD for 10 years.

Adele’s passion and enthusiasm for working with children, adolescents and families, has developed through working as a clinician, lecturer at Southern Cross University and also as a researcher.

Adele is also the mother of a child with support needs and has advocated for him for over 10 years through school, community and service provision.

Adele is the founder and director of Caring About Families, and works in partnership with children and their family members to plan, set goals, and create a meaningful and purposeful life.

Adele is a Lecturer at Southern Cross University in the School of Health and Human Sciences where she teaches on the Occupational Therapy program. She is also a PhD candidate with the University of Sydney studying the perceptions of family well-being for families who have a child with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

She is also a committee member of Autism Gold Coast Inc., actively increasing awareness and support for those with ASD in the community.

Remote communities connecting up

Families of children with disability living in Emerald, Barcaldine, and Longreach are set to benefit from our Early Intervention service’s new telehealth delivery option.

Telehealth, the use of telecommunication techniques for the purpose of providing telemedicine, medical education, and health education over a distance, will allow Myhorizon to connect with communities needing disability support services that would otherwise miss out due to the prohibitively long distances they would need to travel to access traditional bricks and mortar providers.

Geraldine McKinnon, State Coordinator of Myhorizon’s Baby Bridges Early Intervention Therapy Programme, will visit Emerald on September 15 with Baby Bridges occupational therapist Adele Suda to talk to families about the program at our Children’s Therapy for Remote Communities Forum.

Fore more information or to register for the forum during Disability Action Week, read the full article in CQ News:

Myhorizon pilots new telehealth program for families in remote areas

Myhorizon will trial a new technology-assisted early childhood intervention support service for families in Longreach and Emerald.

Geraldine McKinnon, State Coordinator of Myhorizon’s Baby Bridges early childhood intervention program, said the new program would help young parents in remote areas access vital support services such as occupational therapy, Auslan, speech therapy, children’s yoga, picture exchange communication and physiotherapy that would otherwise be unavailable to them due to distance.

“Our Early Intervention service is constantly innovating to better support families of children with disability throughout Queensland,” Ms McKinnon said. “By harnessing phone and video technology we will now be able to extend the benefits of our Baby Bridges program to children and parents who can’t attend our service centres in person”.

Myhorizon CEO Joe Gamblin said the new program would contribute to Myhorizon’s vision to create equality of opportunity for people with disability throughout the state.

“The pilot program is a natural extension for our existing early intervention service and speaks to Myhorizon’s strong ability to respond to local community disability support needs across Queensland”.

A research collaboration with Southern Cross University’s School of Health and Human Sciences is also potentially in the offing, providing additional opportunities for the program to address the dearth of evidence-based research in the area of disability and wellbeing that will be critical to designing successful support programs under the NDIS.

For further details about the program please contact Geraldine McKinnon, Baby Bridges State Program Coordinator on 07 3824 7007 or gmckinnon@myhorizon.org.au.