Strong Voices

Empowered Lives

July 20, 2021

It’s interesting to think now and then about the idea that the next generations will grow up to do jobs and have experiences we haven’t even thought of yet.

This edition of ‘Strong Voices’ contains some great examples of young people breaking barriers, challenging stereotypes and cutting their own paths in the world.

May 4, 2021

Wellington IT student Evie Randall went public about her struggle to find work. It worked. She had so many replies she had to call her job coach.

Evie, a ‘straight A’ student, had been rejected for more than 40 jobs. Her disability was standing in her way. She has autism and was non-verbal until about four or five. Later, at high school, she was diagnosed with ADHD and anxiety.

Evie is her own best advocate. She’s smart, hardworking and clear about where she is headed. All she needed was a chance to prove herself. 

May 4, 2021

IDEA Services has now held more than 40 community workshops around the country for families and friends of the people we support, as part of the National Services Review.

The workshops give family and whānau the opportunity to learn more about how IDEA Services operates and to give their ideas about how our programmes could work better. Many are co-hosted by an IDEA Services Area Manager and an IHC Association Chair, and are facilitated by external consultant Connect+Co.

May 4, 2021

Hidden around Virginia Lake in Whanganui are specially decorated stones designed to intrigue and inform people about a rare genetic syndrome known as cri du chat – or cry of the cat.

They have been hidden by Rachel Dempsey, a local woman who wants to help people understand cri du chat, which affects her and around 20 others in New Zealand.

May 4, 2021

Autism researcher Hannah Waddington is looking for 48 Wellington families to take part in a study to test the limits of a play-based therapy that is achieving great results for young children.

Hannah, a Victoria University of Wellington educational psychologist and senior lecturer, is looking for families with children between the ages of one and four-and-a-half years to be part of the New Zealand-first clinical study.

She says a child may already have a diagnosis of autism, or a parent or guardian may suspect their child is showing signs of autism.

May 4, 2021

Associate Housing Minister Poto Williams took a look at some new Accessible Properties (AP) houses in Manurewa earlier this year and used them as a backdrop to talk about improved protections for tenants.

It gave tenant Tracey Harris a chance to show off her new home in Tokatoka Lane, Manurewa and talk to the Minister.

“I’m privileged to be in a brand-new home, and it was great to show her through,” Tracey says. “She was just amazed at my whole house.”

May 4, 2021

Disabled tertiary students now have a voice on campuses around the country with the birth of the National Disabled Students’ Association (NDSA).

Spearheading the move is Victoria University of Wellington law student Alice Mander, who has drawn together a national executive of disabled student leaders from Otago Polytechnic, the University of Auckland, the University of Canterbury and the University of Otago.

May 4, 2021

A Victoria University of Wellington researcher used a team of observers to evaluate the impact of music therapy on children with autism in her latest research project.

Findings from the study by Associate Professor Daphne Rickson reinforce the view held by many music therapists and families that music therapy provides a range of benefits for children with autism spectrum conditions.

May 4, 2021

KiwiSaver rules now guarantee that people with four life-shortening congenital conditions can withdraw their savings early.

The four conditions are Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, Huntington’s disease and fetal alcohol spectrum disorder. An alternative withdrawal process is available for those with other congenital life-shortening conditions.

Announcing the move at IHC National Office in February, Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister David Clark praised Tim Fairhall and his mother Joan for their advocacy, which led to the law change in 2019.

May 4, 2021

A new category in the IHC Art Awards this year is giving young artists with intellectual disabilities the opportunity to win on a national stage.

The Youth Award is for entrants between 13 and 17 years. These artists are also eligible for the People’s Choice Award and the overall award.

Entries for the IHC Art Awards 2021 are now open. They close on 31 May and the gala awards night will be held at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa in Wellington on 30 September.

May 4, 2021

Bus fares will be free for disabled people in the Bay of Plenty by July.

The Bay of Plenty Regional Council decision follows a move by the Waikato Regional Council, which made fares free for people with disabilities in 2019. The service was extended to carers at the end of 2020.

In the Bay of Plenty, people with permanent mobility impairments will be eligible for free fares on all regional-council-contracted urban and inter-regional bus services.