Strong Voices

Empowered Lives

May 26, 2022

It’s hard to avoid discussions about the cost of living now. The Consumer Price Index has just hit its highest level in three decades – it’s costing more and more to fill up our supermarket trolleys, our cars and, quite simply, our family members.

December 1, 2021

Families shut inside in Auckland and Northland have had some online relief during their extended COVID-19 lockdown, with Auckland-based music therapist Ahjay Stelino taking his sounds and skills directly to families with disabled children.

December 1, 2021

David Simpson had the ground cut from beneath him when his Kaiapoi home was destroyed in the first Christchurch quake. Then the ground shifted again.

Just over two years ago David’s life started to unravel. He split up with his partner of 17 years, and in early 2020 he lost his job and his driver’s licence after an accident in his truck.

Without the stability and support of a partner and a job, David found himself struggling to manage everyday life. A Christchurch community worker contacted IHC Family Liaison Sheridan Myall and asked her to get involved.

December 1, 2021

Two teenage high-school students have taken top prizes in the IHC Art Awards 2021 with works that give voice to their deepest feelings.

Danni-Lee Kokiri, 18, from Lower Hutt, won first place in the IHC Art Awards for 2021 and a $5000 prize for her mystical painting The Chakra Forest. Interviewed after her win, the Taita College student said the trees made her want to fly over them.

December 1, 2021

This summer Trudy and Paul Masters are expecting their first banana harvest from their rural block near Whangārei.

But there is more at stake for the couple than wanting to join Northland’s recent enthusiasm for growing the fruit.

The Masters moved north from Auckland in 2016 in search of an easier place to care for Ben.

December 1, 2021

The Wallaces’ five-week-old baby girl, Edin, was in Starship children’s hospital in Auckland with unexplained seizures.

Her mother Karen was by her side. Edin’s father Rob was nearby in Ronald McDonald House with her two brothers, Ben, 6, and Ryan, 4. Whatever was going to happen to Edin, the Whangārei family was going to face it together.

“Life got flipped upside-down very quickly for us,” Rob says. Edin was in the grip of infantile spasms, or catastrophic childhood epilepsy, which is drug resistant and associated with a range of other conditions.

December 1, 2021

Autistic people are participating in a University of Canterbury project to highlight their priorities for future autism research.

This year researchers have been talking directly to autistic people and the autism community to find out what is important to them.

Working with a $29,000 grant from the Health Research Council, the research team ran a series of focus groups between May and July to gather views and is now casting the net more widely with a nationwide online survey.

December 1, 2021

Across the IHC Group, it’s extremely important for us to protect our colleagues and the people we support from COVID-19.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, particularly in our services, we have taken advice from the Ministry of Health as alert levels have changed on everything from social distancing and more stringent cleaning to mask use and more flexible work schedules.

In late October the Ministry of Health published a Health Order that made it mandatory for certain health and disability workers to be fully vaccinated.

December 1, 2021

Ask Carlos Biggemann what needs to change in the world, and he starts with global issues – war, poverty and the destruction of the rainforests – before coming to his disability.

This doesn’t mean attitudes to disability are any less important to him. Carlos, a 30-year-old Dunedin photographer and poet, says he has to prove himself every day of his life.

December 1, 2021

The Ministry of Health has announced changes to disability-funded carer support. Carer support claims are going online in early 2022

This should make life easier and means claims will be processed faster. Families can still claim carer support using the present paper-based system. 

December 1, 2021

A trial Companion Card programme is enabling people with disabilities to take part more easily in activities in Palmerston North.

The digital card is for people who are unable to access ticketed events and venues without a support person, which means paying the extra cost of a second ticket.

The Companion Card programme was launched in August through a partnership between Mana Whaikaha, a government disability support system, and Palmerston North City Council.