Calling out for support for Siblings Aust

I have received an urgent campaign letter from Kate Strohm of Siblings Australia, desperately seeking support for this wonderful organisation. Siblings Australia is in danger of being unable to continue its work, due to loss of funding by the government. Siblings Australia really performs a wonderful service for siblings of all ages of special needs individuals, it would be a tragedy to see this much needed service suffer. Please read the following letter and information, and please help if you can:


Please send this through your networks and apologies for cross postings.

I am writing to ask for your support, leading up to this year’s Federal election. Once again, Siblings Australia is at risk of being unable to continue its important work in supporting siblings of people living with disability or chronic illness. I am asking that you write letters to your local and/or national parliamentarians telling them why sibling support is important.  

In the twelve years since the establishment of Siblings Australia, the organisation has gained a national and international reputation. However, we have faced many hurdles, none more devastating than the loss of funding when the new ALP government came into power in 2007. Since then we have continued to carry out a number of valuable projects to support siblings, families and providers despite severe resource restrictions. However, Siblings Australia is not able to continue this work without proper resources. It would be shameful if this experience and expertise were to be lost.

We are very fortunate to have recently had Families Australia support our efforts by including Siblings Australia in their election proposals. You can read the National Action Plan for Siblings, and a Briefing Paper about the work of Siblings Australia, here. You can see the details of all the Families Australia’s 2010 election proposals, including those relating to siblings on their website. We now need your support in this campaign.

Please feel free to write your own letter but, in order to make it easier, a pro forma document to guide this letter writing campaign in support of Siblings Australia is included below, which you can adapt as you wish to suit your own situation/experience.

We suggest you email any or all of the below parliamentarians, and any others that you wish (you can cc them into one email):

  1.  Chair, Senate Community Affairs References Committee, Senator Rachel Siewert (AG, WA)
  2. Chair, House of Representatives Standing Committee on Health and Ageing, Mr Steve Georganas MP  (ALP, Hindmarsh, SA)

3.       Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FAHCSIA) The Hon Jenny Macklin MP (ALP, Jagajaga, VIC)


4.       Minister of Health and Ageing, The Hon Nicola Roxon MP (ALP, Gellibrand, VIC)

5.       You may also like to cc your local Member (see list here) and also Siblings Australia.


We appreciate any advocacy efforts you are able to give in order to ensure our ongoing commitment to siblings. If you would prefer to not receive correspondence from Siblings Australia in the future please click here


Kind regards


Kate Strohm                                                                                                                                                      

Executive Director

Also included with the letter was this information:

pro forma email (to be adapted and copied as you wish)


I am writing to support the 2010 election proposals put forward by Siblings Australia and Families Australia and also the Siblings Australia National Action Plan for siblings.


Siblings Australia is the only organisation in this country that is focussed on addressing the unique concerns of brothers and sisters of people with special needs; including chronic illness, disability and mental health issues. However it needs resources in order to continue.


 [if you wish, INSERT HERE a paragraph from your own experience (personal and/or professional) about the needs of siblings, the outcomes if support is or is not available and the impact and importance of Siblings Australia OR DELETE THIS SENTENCE.]


Siblings are too important to ignore, not only for their own sake but also for the sake of their brother or sister with special needs.


Can you please assure me that you will consider very carefully the proposal put forward by Families Australia/Siblings Australia for a national co-ordinating organisation to continue this important work?


I look forward to your reply.

Yours sincerely…


Blog – half way there

Half way through the year already – it’s incredible how fast time flies when life is so hectic. So we’re nearing the end of the financial year and school holidays, and there’s only 6 months til Christmas – sorry, didn’t mean to scare you!

So close to school holidays, and I must say I am really looking forward to 2 weeks at home with my kids. 2 weeks when I don’t spend the day running from appointment to appointment, in between school pick up and drop off, all the while with a toddler in tow.  I always make sure my kids take a break from Speech, OT and anything else during school holidays, we all need it. And hopefully they go back with a fresh outlook, and positive approach.

This week I must say I felt very let down by ‘the system’.  I’m sure it’s not unusual to be let down by Government Departments, I know I’m not the only one, but I sure felt like I was this week. Funding to which my child is fully entitled, and we have recently received, is now in danger of being pulled, because of someone’s ineptitude in that particular department. Typo perhaps? I don’t know, but I felt very upset, and very disillusioned.  

I feel like my child is now going to be robbed of the countless hours of much needed therapies, because if the funding is withdrawn my family simply cannot afford the therapy needs of two children with ASD. Not as much as they both need anyway.We have been plodding along the last few years concentrating on one child at a time, swapping therapies regularly so both got some therapy time. But we are at a point where their needs have increased dramatically, and they need more intervention. So if we lose the funding for one child both children would need to sacrifice and share the therapies on a much less regular basis than they desperately need. I feel it’s as though I have to decide which child to ’save’ first.

So, I cried plenty of tears this week, in frustration, anger and sadness. Now, I can only hope that it can be sorted out and my child doesn’t have to miss out because of something out of our control, because someone made a mistake. I would love to hear from other parents and carers who have similar situations, I’m sure there are plenty of stories just like mine. 

Onto something a bit lighter…This month has seen lots of events take place, including Medical Research week, MND Global Awareness day, and who could forget International Whores Day – yes, you read right.  June has also seen many new products added to the website, including the Chewlery necklaces, Flexi cut cups, School Smart loop Scissors ™ and the Emotions set of 6 play glasses, to mention a few. There will be more new products in the coming weeks and months, as promised!

July looks set to be busy with events, and the beginning of the new financial year. Also, keep your eye out for our ‘Christmas in July’ competition. Details will be available soon. 

Have a wonderful holiday with your special children – enjoy the time with them!


21st June

 Today, 21st June,  is Motor Neurone Disease Global day. Motor Neurone Disease is a debilitating disease, with no known cure, and affects approx 1400 people in Australia. Every day at least one person dies from MND and at least one person is diagnosed with MND in Australia. Events will be held globally, including a Walk to d’feet MND in most states in Australia this weekend. Support a worthy cause!

Now available

The newly arrived products are now available on the Products page. Take a look at the School Smart Scissors™, or the Emotions glasses,  the Chewlery necklaces (don’t pay $19.95 or more elsewhere!), and more. Happy shopping!

Just arrived!

A shipment of new products has just arrived, and will be available on the website in the coming days. These new products will be available along with all other items in our Products page.

Sensory Modulation workshop

If you are attending the Sensory Modulation workshop with Tina Champagne in Brisbane next week 9-11th June, I will see you there on Wednesday the 9th!  Special Needs 4 Special Needs will be supplying products for the seminar, and will have a display with all our current products to view, touch and test. See you there.

New products just added!

New items have just been added to the website, including visual toys such as Flashing Sticks and Cololurful Windmills. View all products including the new items on the PRODUCTS  page. Don’t forget, there will be more new products arriving soon, including Sensory brushes, School Smart Scissors (with spring back blades) and more.