vol 31 / no 3
Novita News Issue 3, 2008
Connecting kids with their worlds
Melissa and Deanne in front of the Novita Christmas tree.
Madison and Chloe Inspiring Paralympians Max-a-million 2008 ‘A Thousand
Terrific Two Jay and Grace reasons to smile Thank Yous’ Cocktail
Party Award Winners
Seasons Greetings From The
Welcome to the Christmas edition including a formal black tie Wallman’s Lawyers.
of Novita news. I am pleased to function and a major public event Congratulations
report that Novita has achieved to engage our clients, staff and again to the award recipients.
much throughout the year. supporters. More announcements
will be made in the new year and We also presented Novita Star
A new vacation care program we look forward to celebrating this and Rising Star Awards to
known as ‘Teen-Zone’ specifically special occasion with each of you. several corporate supporters for
designed for teenagers with their outstanding support of the
a disability will commence in Speaking of special occasions, organisation throughout the year.
the summer holidays. Also, Novita held its annual, ‘A
from February 2009, we will be Thousand Thank Yous’, cocktail As we enter the festive season, I
providing new early intervention party in November. This event would like to formally express our
services for children aged 0 proved to be an excellent appreciation to all our sponsors,
– 6 years, diagnosed with autism opportunity for Novita to express auxiliary members, corporate
spectrum disorder. This service its appreciation to corporate and supporters and volunteers for
will provide these children and community supporters, and also supporting Novita throughout
their families with a broad range present awards to clients who the year. We look forward to
of therapy services specifically have achieved their personal best. continuing our life-changing work
tailored to meet their individual into 2009 and beyond.
needs. The Honourable Jennifer Rankine
MP Minister for Disability,
, On behalf of Novita, best wishes to
The new year promises to be a presented Novita client, Tom you all for the festive season and a
very special occasion for Novita. Goodman with the Minister happy new year!
It will be our 70th birthday and for Disability – Community
we plan to celebrate it in style. An Achievement Award and Novita
exciting calendar of events has
client, Daniel Bird was awarded
been planned to commemorate
the Wallman’s Lawyer’s Academic
this milestone of 70 years of Glenn Rappensberg
Achievement Award presented
‘caring for kids with disabilities’, CHIEF EXECUTIVE
by Chris Wellington, Partner
Celebrating 70 years of SA service
In 2009 Novita will celebrate While the nature of the services tie dinner to be held in June, a
70 years of serving the South provided has changed throughout community event - Walk With Me
Australian community. the years, Novita’s responsiveness - to be held in October and the
to the needs of children hasn’t, introduction of some special 70th
From humble beginnings in with innovations such as assistive Novita ambassadors.
1939, when it formed as the technology and medical advances,
Crippled Children’s Association including the therapeutic use of
to care for children with polio, the botox, all used to help make a
Novita News is published by Novita Children’s
organisation has grown to become positive difference to the lives of Services PO Box 2438 Regency Park SA 5942
a world leader in the disability field. children with a disability.
During that time Novita has To celebrate our 70th anniversary, T 08 8243 8391
provided assistance to thousands several celebrations are planned The opinions expressed in Novita News are those of the individual
of children and their families. during the year, including a black authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Novita Children’s
Services or the editor, unless stated. While every care has been taken
in the preparation of Novita News, the information contained within is
of a general nature only and does not constitute advice. No liability
is accepted for any errors it may contain or any damages or loss that
On the cover: may arise from the use of the information provided.
Deanne and her Mum Melissa sit next to Novita’s Regency Park Articles from Novita News may be reproduced in other forums,
provided the information is reproduced in full, with written
acknowledgement of its source.
Christmas tree, kindly donated by Jarrett Services.
2 Connecting kids with their worlds
Madison and her twin sister Chloe with their Mother Sarah.
This Christmas identical twins Madison and Chloe will celebrate by playing together for the first
time in their short lives.
Delivered by emergency caesarian unaided, or communicate joy like These small but steady changes
three months premature, the girls her sister Chloe, however, with the make Sarah’s heart soar.
weighed less than one kilogram help of Novita she is making great
each. Chloe rallied, but within progress. ‘Initially, Madison couldn’t do
hours their Mother Sarah, was told much. She’d lie on her back and
she should say goodbye to baby Since Novita came into their lives, Chloe would get frustrated that she
Madison as the valve between her Sarah says Madison’s progress couldn’t play with her,’ says Sarah.
heart and lungs was not opening has been ‘phenomenal’. ‘Her quality of life is so much
properly, resulting in a lack of better now.’
oxygen to her brain. Leaving Novita has provided Madison with
Madison in a coma. a standing frame and a pair of pink Sarah says her family wouldn’t
custom-made ankle foot orthosis have coped without the support of
‘I sat next to my tiny to help her stand and play at the Novita. ‘It brings me so much joy
daughter and prayed and same level as her sister, who has to see my girls playing together. To
hoped. I told her I would recently learnt to walk. me, Madison is still my beautiful
never ask her to do anything little girl who is every bit as special
again if she would fight as Bath time is now a source of fun as her sister.’
thanks to a special bath seat and
hard as she could,’ says
Madison is learning how to sit, in Won’t you please help Novita support
Sarah. children like Madison?
a ‘corner seat’ provided by Novita.
She has improved movement and Your donation could purchase a new
Madison survived, however, due
can roll independently, thanks therapy toy for the Novita Toy Library,
to the complications of the twins or fund the home therapy visits Sarah
to her Novita therapist and daily
sharing the same placenta, she eagerly looks forward to each fortnight.
physiotherapy with her Mum. Her It could even help us provide a standing
was left with cerebral palsy, which
fine motor skills have improved so frame like the one that has allowed
affects the way her brain controls Madison and Chloe to play ‘peek a boo’
much that she can now pick up
her body. for the first time in their short lives.
a tiny piece of pasta between her
fingers. To make your donation please phone
She has a complex series of Novita on 8243 8234 or visit our website
disabilities; she cannot stand or sit www.novita.org.au.
Novita Children’s Services 3
Going for Gold
Paralympian Jay Dohnt
South Australian Swimmer learn how to walk using prosthetic
legs. Later, as Jay attended
Jay Dohnt believes the
hydrotherapy and learnt to swim,
harder you work the luckier Novita then provided him with some
you get. This self-confessed specially crafted knee braces which
fitness fanatic wakes up at were made to help protect his
4am every day to complete knees as he knelt poolside.
a tough schedule of 10 While Jay was undertaking
swimming sessions a week a hydrotherapy program, he
and has his sights set on developed a love of swimming
Olympic gold. and a desire to compete at the
Paralympics. Jay Dohnt poolside at the Beijing Paralympics .
His hard work has paid off in many
Jay believes mental strength has
ways. Jay has been awarded the
Lions Club Children of Courage been the key to his success. He
Award, the Pride of Australia
Courage Award and has been
is philosophical about the loss of
his legs and his achievements. Hydrotherapy?
named South Australian Athlete of ‘If losing my legs was meant to
happen, maybe it was meant to Many of Novita’s clients incorporate
the Year. Following on from Jay’s
happen to me because I have the hydrotherapy into their regular therapy
success at the Paralympics in
ability to deal with it and just get on as it has many benefits, including
Beijing, where he won a Bronze
with things,’ he says. helping to reduce muscle spasm and
Medal in the 400 Metre Freestyle
promoting muscle relaxation, allowing
event, he has been awarded the
While in Beijing, Jay received many a greater range of movement.
Lions Club Children of Courage
Award. inspirational ‘Hero Messages’ from
Australia. Although this humble More than 230 children use Novita’s
young man believes he is just heated pools each week either in
Hard work is not new to Jay, who
doing what he loves, it was these group sessions or in an individual
had to learn to walk again after
messages that motivated him as he session with their therapist.
having both his legs amputated
waited to compete. Hydrotherapy provides children with
below the knee after contracting
an environment that helps them to
meningococcal disease at only 13
Jay wants to continue swimming safely learn new skills. It is also an
years of age.
and has his sights set firmly on the excellent way to work on sensory
London Paralympics in 2012, where activities and promotes water exercise
It was while working with the
he wants to win a gold medal. Not for fitness in later life.
Rehabilitation Team at the Women’s
and Children’s Hospital that Jay first one to let an opportunity pass, he’s
also thinking about swimming the Hydrotherapy also:
became involved with Novita, which
English Channel while he’s there. •increases the blood supply to the
was instrumental in Jay’s recovery.
Jay would also like to become a muscles and increases
motivational speaker and write a muscle strength and endurance
Novita first provided Jay with a
book about his experiences. •increases heart rate which
wheelchair to begin his journey to
improves general fitness
•increases metabolic rate and activity,
leading to increased ease of joint
‘If losing my legs was meant to happen,
movement and flexibility
maybe it was meant to happen to me •decreases sensitivity of sensory
nerve endings, which reduces
because I have the ability to deal with it
pain sensitivity for children who are
and just get on with things.’ rehabilitating after surgery.
4 Connecting kids with their worlds
Grace’s 2012 Paralympic Equestrian Dream
Paralympics equestrian and physiotherapy, through an Grace was identified as a potential
Grace Bowman says Novita outreach program in her hometown paralympian talent early in her
of Kadina, to help her deal with the career but wasn’t expecting to
set her on a new path and challenges of using a wheelchair. compete until the 2012 games.
gave her new ‘shoes’ to Later, when she returned to school, She was ‘fast tracked’ by the
walk with, following a horse Novita worked with her principal National Coach to compete in
riding accident in 2002. and teachers to ensure she would 2008, an event she describes as
be able to move around easily and ‘the toughest thing I have ever
have access to the same facilities done’.
‘They were fantastic, they saved
as her classmates.
my mum and dad so much stress
‘I couldn’t believe I was there
and money – we relied on it,’ says
Grace. ‘They helped me start a amongst not only the best
equestrians in the world, but the
new life and I am grateful,’
best athletes in the world. The
Novita Children’s Services entered she says. Paralympics Village was amazing;
Grace’s life six years ago when she
there were 8,000 people there and
was in the Women’s and Children’s That new life included a new love I had never seen anything like it.’
Hospital recovering from a horse for horses that saw her become the
riding accident that left her with a youngest equestrian in the 2008 Grace was able to share the
severed spinal cord. Paralympics in Hong Kong, where experience with good friend and
she successfully represented paralympics swimmer, Jay Dohnt,
Initially Novita provided her Australia in three dressage events. who she met when they were both
with a fully funded wheelchair
in hospital at the same time. ‘I
met Jay when he had just come
in and was about to have his
legs amputated. He has the best
attitude and is a true inspiration
and a truly great person.’
Like Jay, Grace says her mental
strength is what keeps her
motivated. ‘The accident didn’t
change me,’ she says, ‘I am the
same person I was before my
accident, only now I just sit down.’
Grace Bowman has just finished
her Year 12 exams and hopes to
move to Adelaide and study Sports
Psychology while continuing
to train for a place on the 2012
Paralympics Equestrian Team.
Asked if she believes she will
represent Australia at the event
in London, her answer is simple:
‘Definitely,’ she says.
Grace and Yarra Valley Mount Batton training in preparation for the 2008 Paralympic Games .
Novita Children’s Services 5
Max laughing with his mum B-J at Barker Kindergarten.
Max-A-Million reasons to smile
Successful uses a gastrostomy (stomach Max is learning to use his ‘Talky
tube) instead of eating. Board’ to ask and answer
communication is the questions, comment and get
key - on many levels His need for stimulation, information. Currently the
- to keeping Max a coupled with his thrill-seeking board is used by his parents,
happy young boy. nature, has required a relentless
search for inventive ways to
specialists, kindy staff and
friends to help determine what
meet his needs and get him Max is trying to communicate.
Born in 2004, Max has dystonia
communicating. They rely on Max’s eyes to gaze
– athetoid cerebral palsy which
or focus on one of the board
eventuated at the time of his
Max currently doesn’t have symbols such as ‘yes’ and ‘no’,
birth. At just two weeks old, a
functional speech, but he can ‘good’ or ‘bad’, ‘watch TV’, ‘go
magnetic resonance imaging
communicate in many other to bed’, and ‘play with toys’ to
scan detected an injury to
ways thanks to the support establish what he wants.
the part of his brain that co-
of his family, Novita Speech
ordinates movement and a
Pathologists Amanda and ‘His inability to communicate
specialist at the Women’s and
Tamara, and his determination. verbally is particularly difficult
Children’s Hospital told Max’s
for all of us,’ says Max’s Mum
parents about Novita. A few
Using facial expressions, body B-J, who presented Amanda
months later Max became a
language, vocalisation, ‘Big and Tamara with the initial
Macs’ (switches/buttons with concept of the ‘Talky Board’
recorded messages) and his and worked with them on its
Max has been admitted to
‘Talky Board’ (a whiteboard development. ‘Yet he is striving
the Women’s and Children’s
combining both symbols and to do all the same things as
Hospital 35 times. He requires
words) Max now has greater other four year olds.’
assistance in almost every
opportunity to tell his family,
aspect of his life as he is unable
friends, teachers and specialists,
to walk or sit independently and
what he wants, thinks and how
Connecting kids with their worlds
Amanda and Tamara see Max ‘I feel like an advocate for Max’s
and B-J at least once a week needs, it’s very much within my
and stay in touch through email role to ensure he participates
and phone conversations. ‘Good well in school. I have organised
communication, trust and respect to attend school meetings and
are the cornerstones of the support Max and B-J,’ says
good relationship we have with Amanda.
Max’s therapists,’ says B-J. ‘This
has enabled us to talk openly, B-J is hopeful that Max will one
to challenge concepts, push day be able to sit at a computer
boundaries and aim for innovative communication system, operate
solutions.’ a mouse through the calibrated
movement of his eyes, print his
‘Novita has opened homework and use email. ‘I’m
also hopeful that he will use
up a world of his experiences to embrace
communication compassion and assist others
possibilities for wherever he can,’ says B-J.
us, inspiring our
imaginations and ‘Novita has been
nurturing our a huge part of our
Using his ‘Big Macs’, Max can family. We have been
press buttons to project a
recorded message such as ‘yes’
supported on what
or ‘no’ to talk with friends and has been a tough
In 2005 Max’s Mum, Dad, Aunty participate in games. ‘When you journey and have
and Grandfather attended the see him happy at kindy, you think,
learnt so much. We
‘It Takes Two to Talk’ program “brilliant, success”,’ Amanda says.
at Novita. ‘Max’s parents have have formed strong
worked really hard, they’re highly Max’s next big challenge is his relationships with
trained now,’ says Amanda. successful integration into school. Max’s therapists
‘Our job is never finished. Max will
Committed to Max and his leave a lasting imprint on his kindy, and greatly value
family, Amanda and Tamara have now we hope to emulate that at their passion and
worked extensively towards Max’s school as well,’ says Amanda. commitment.’
successful integration at Barker
‘Max has had a very successful
introduction into kindy. We
integrated Max’s communication
methods and techniques so that
all the teachers and kids get a
chance to use symbols and can
communicate with him. He’s happy
and loves kindy,’ says Amanda.
Max wants to participate with his
kindy friends like any other four
year old. He likes to join in group
time and be involved in outside
Novita Speech Pathologists, Amanda and Tamara
communicate with Max using his ‘Big Macs’ and ‘Talky Board’.
By supporting Novita, you are supporting South Australian kids like Max
Novita Award Winners Wins Minister’s
The Minister’s Achievement Award
is presented to an outstanding
Novita ‘all rounder’ who has
demonstrated a commitment to
personal independence, taking
part in community activities and
really ‘connecting with their world’.
The Award was presented by
the Minister for Disability, The
Honourable Jennifer Rankine, MP .
The 2008 recipient is Tom
While Tom has cerebral palsy it has
not slowed him down.
Tom completed Year 12 at
Pembroke School, where he
resided as a boarder, demonstrating
his determination to live as
independently as possible.
He is also a keen and accomplished
Novita Award Winners Tom Goodman and Daniel Bird celebrate their success in 2008 . sportsman, and a world traveller.
He has travelled the world alone to
meet his parents in locations such
as Dubai and Hong Kong.
Daniel Bird Wins Wallmans Award
In his younger years he managed
The Wallmans Lawyers all his energy into achieving the to ride his bike to school. More
Academic Achievement Award grades he needs to succeed recently, he has succeeded as a
recognises the consistent in Year 12. He is so focused, cross country runner and tennis
academic excellence of a he has even put his sporting player - he has even mastered a two
Novita client over the age of 10. activities on hold for the year. handed serve. Additionally, Tom is
a member of the Australian Junior
This year’s winner is Daniel He is a brave and optimistic Paralympics Soccer Squad.
Bird. young man who is willing to
share his experiences in order As part of his Year 11 studies, Tom
Daniel completed Year 12 to advocate for others living elected to do work experience
this year at Charles Campbell with cerebral palsy, and to help at Novita. He organised his own
Secondary School, and he has them to succeed – just as he transport, undertook administrative
study at University firmly in his has. duties and assisted with client
sights for next year. related tasks at Novita’s Paradise
Daniel is an inspiration to office. Tom was diligent, hard
Daniel has cerebral palsy. He everyone who knows him. working and a sheer delight to have
has faced a number of learning The Wallmans Lawyers in the office.
and physical challenges. Academic Achievement Award
is well-deserved recognition for Tom and his mother have shared
Daniel tires easily and often his outstanding efforts. their story with parents of children
needs to sleep before being attending a Novita early intervention
able to tackle his homework; The Wallmans Lawyers program. His story of determination
such is his dedication to his Academic Achievement Award and achievement is an inspiration to
studies. was presented by Chris other families.
Wellington, Partner, Wallmans
Despite these obstacles, Daniel Lawyers Clearly Tom Goodman is a young
has persevered and is putting man with limitless potential.
8 Connecting kids with their worlds
Novita Star Awards
The 2008 Novita Star Awards acknowledge the outstanding contributions of
some of Novita’s generous long-term corporate sponsors. This year, the Telstra
Foundation and the Lions Club, District 201 C1 both received Star Awards.
Awarded a Novita Star
The Telstra Foundation has been awarded with a Novita Star
for their support in the development of the E-Mentor Program,
aiding teenagers with acquired brain injury.
Presented by Novita President, Professor Andrew Downing, at Novita’s Annual
‘A Thousand Thank Yous’ Cocktail Party, Telstra Group Manager Corporate
Responsibility, Maria Simpson, accepted the award on behalf of the Foundation.
‘It’s wonderful to receive such positive and public thanks for the work the Maria Simpson from Telstra accepted
Telstra Foundation does to help connect children with each other and their the award from Professor Andrew
Downing from Novita.
communities,’ she says.
The E-Mentor Program connects teens with acquired brain injuries with their peers and the wider community
through specially trained Novita ‘e-mentors’. Teens and their mentors communicate via innovative electronic
communication techniques such as mobile phones, SMS, e-mail, internet chat rooms and online forums.
The e-mentoring relationship helps these teenagers develop the skills, knowledge and motivation they need to
participate fully and successfully in their personal, academic and professional lives. By providing a variety of
communication options, teens with any disability, in any location, have full access to the program.
‘The E-Mentor Program is a fantastic example of how telecommunications can be used to help solve complex
social issues,’ says Ms Simpson.
Novita Chief Executive Glenn Rappensberg says teenagers living with disabilities can often find themselves
feeling lonely and socially isolated. ‘Thanks to the generous support of the Telstra Foundation, Novita Children’s
Services is now reaching out to these teens through the E-Mentor Program,’ he says.
Lions Club District 201 C1
Awarded a Novita Star
Novita has honoured the Lions Club, District 201 C1 with a
Novita Star for helping to make the dreams of mobility a reality
for many Novita kids.
Also presented by Novita President, Professor Andrew Downing, at the ‘A
Vaal and Ray Dix from the Lions Club Thousand Thank Yous’ Cocktail Party, the partnership was deemed as a perfect
accept the award from Professor example of community spirit at its finest.
Andrew Downing from Novita.
District 201 C1 has made a significant contribution to the Australian Lion’s Mobility Foundation through their annual
community fundraising initiatives, including Lion’s Christmas cakes and mints. The Foundation works towards
ensuring children with disabilities can access a walker that best meets their needs.
Novita Children’s Services 9
In recognition of the contributions of our newest corporate partners, Novita awarded four
Rising Star Awards at the annual ‘A Thousand Thank Yous’ Cocktail Party.
Sorby Adams AV Style
Sorby Adams Wines joined the AV Style has supported Novita
Savings & Loans Mighty River for the past three years,
Run as a participant in 2007 providing audio-visual and
and has since donated more staging requirements at all our
than $12,000 worth of wine to major events, including Convoy
the event. In addition, Novita for Kids and the Savings &
is pleased to announce that Loans Mighty River Run. In the last year alone, AV
Sorby Adams Wines has committed to supporting Style has donated more than $10,000 in ‘in-kind’
this exciting event for the next two years. Owner and services to our kids. Managing Director, David Jose,
Winemaker, Simon Adams, was there to accept the was there to accept the Rising Star Award on the
Rising Star Award on the night. night.
St Peter’s College CMV Group
Earlier this year St Peters The CMV Foundation
College students sold began its relationship
wristbands in different House with Novita just this year,
colours to students at their with a $30,000 cash
Sports Day Carnival to raise donation to our much
money for Novita’s kids. This cherished event, Convoy
successful initiative raised for Kids. Now a major sponsor, CMV has confirmed
$2000. Headmaster, Phillip Grutzner, accepted the its support for Convoy for Kids in 2009. CMV also lent
Rising Star Award on behalf of the College. a helping hand by distributing Convoy information
throughout their service centres.
Carols by Candlelight
Sunday 21 December
Entry via gold coin donation
Get into the true spirit of Christmas as you join hundreds
of families in Elder Park to light a candle and sing your
favourite Christmas carols, while raising money for Novita,
the Cora Barclay Centre and the Women’s and Children’s
Did you know - Almost two tonnes of candles
are melted by Carols by Candlelight every year.
10 Connecting kids with their worlds
Members of the Rainbow Committee with guest
Auxiliary members presented Years of Service MC, Michael Keelan, guest speaker, Joyce
awards at Novita’s 2008 Auxiliary Conference. Dorothy Warren OAM and guest auctioneer,
Sharon Grey from Jock Gilbert Real Estate.
Bingo locations and session times
British Workingmen’s Club
11 Davis Street, Wingfield
Tuesdays • 7.30pm to 9.30pm
Thursdays • 10.30am to 11.30am
• 12.30pm to 2.30pm
• 7.30pm to 9.30pm
Marion Sports and Social Club
Sturt Road, Marion Magarey Medallist Russell Ebert, John Inge,
former SANFL Coach Doug Thomas and Magarey
Wednesdays • 11.30am to 1.30pm Medallist Barrie Robran at the Novita Sports
Fridays • 7.30pm to 9.30pm Challenge Foundation’s Roast for Doug Thomas.
Regency Park Centre
171 Days Road, Regency Park
Wednesdays • 7.30pm to 9.30pm
Fridays • 7.30pm to 9.30pm
Saturdays • 6pm to 7pm
• 8pm to 10pm
Sundays • 1pm to 3pm
• 4pm to 5pm
• 6pm to 8pm
Novita Bingo Team dressed Novita Bingo Team dressed
For more information contact Liz on (08) 8243 8240 for The Festival of the Boot. for Talk Like a Pirate Day.
Novita Children’s Services 11
Novita Children’s Services is a recognised
leader in the provision of therapy,
equipment and family support services to
more than 1300 South Australian children
living with disabilities and acquired brain
While it costs millions of dollars to provide
our life-changing services, they are
provided free of charge to the children
and young people we serve.
Novita receives almost 55 per cent of its
funding from the South Australian and
Australian Governments. The remaining
funds are generously donated by our
loyal supporters and the South Australian
Your donation will help Novita to continue
to ‘connect kids with their worlds’.
Novita Children’s Services
PO Box 2438
Regency Park SA 5942
08 8243 8243
171 Days Road, Regency Park
1300 NOVITA (1300 668 482) or
Donations of $2 and over are tax deductible.
Please make cheques payable to Novita Children’s
Services ABN 47 993 053 341
Novita Children’s Services will record your personal information for the
purposes of communicating with our supporters. Your information is
strictly confidential and will not be disclosed to any third party. Please
contact our Marketing Department on 8243 8229 if you have any Novita News December 2008
queries. ARBN: 132 952 106