Disability and Health Show Plenty to Digest

Dunedin-based social service organisation Disability Information Service (DIS) is using radio as a means of reaching a wider audience for advice about disability and health related matters.

Short bulletin The Digest is a regular feature of the Monday edition of Otago Access Radio’s OARsome Morning Show. The spot will include notices from the many community organisations in the Otago health and disability sector that contribute information for distribution by DIS, via email and newsletter.

Newly appointed DIS executive officer Debbie Webster said the opportunity to talk about the many events, workshops, conferences and classes on offer was a way of making information more accessible.

“Not everybody can access online material or read the printed version of the many notices we get. Being able to also use radio is really valuable.”

The programme would provide DIS with a platform for discussing its wider role in the region. Not aligned with any particular provider of health and disability services, the organisation was able to provide free and impartial advice on the wide range of resources, community groups and “natural supports” that were available.

“We are kind of like the Citizens’ Advice Bureau to the health and disability community. We join the dots, break down barriers and connect people to the services and information that will help them through whatever they are facing.

“Questions can be as simple as where do I get a mobility parking sticker for my car to identifying what supports were available for a child with an intellectual disability who is leaving school, or how best to manage a chronic health condition that has become quite disabling.”

Helping people navigate systems and funding streams so that they might access the support they required was a key role for DIS, as was the sale or hire of living aides, wheelchairs and continence products from its office at Dunedin Community House.

“There’s certainly plenty for us to talk about. We’re excited to get started.”

The Digest airs on the OARsome Morning Show on Mondays at 9.10am on OAR 105.4FM and 1575AM, and live and podcast from www.oar.org.nz.

Photo: Informed: Disability Information Service manager Debbie Webster (left) and information consultant Emma Brockie present The Digest on Otago Access Radio.

 

Radio Show Promotes Self-Help Health Resources

A new Otago Access Radio show is promoting access to reliable, evidence-based self-help health resources.

Listen Yourself Well is presented by Sophie Carty and Rebecca Llewellyn, members of WellSouth Primary Health Network’s health promotion team whose role it is to take a preventative and proactive approach to the health needs of the people of Otago and Southland.

Rebecca said the radio show took inspiration from WellSouth’s Books On Prescription programme, which launched in Central Otago libraries in 2011 as a collection of self-help books that could be prescribed by GPs, counsellors and other health professionals to patients who “needed a little bit of extra support”.

“This year, we expanded, rebranded and relaunched the programme with three streams. We have books, which you can get from a library, audio-visual resources available online, and apps for digital devices. You can now read, listen and tap yourself well.”

The books, podcasts and apps covered a wide range of health topics, from depression and anxiety to diabetes and heart disease, as well as “lifestyle” resources that addressed breastfeeding, food choices, relationships, alcohol and smoking.

Each episode of Listen Yourself Well would highlight an item from the WellSouth collection, all of which had been reviewed and recommended by experts in the relevant field. Interviews with health professionals would add specialist knowledge and a local context.

Sophie said the aim was to encourage listeners to see that the healthier choice was often the easier choice.

“We hope the show will be an interesting and informative look at a range of physical and mental health issues, and the resources, services and community-based initiatives that exist to support people with mild-to-moderate health problems.

“Health is much more than what you do as an individual. It’s about your family, whanau and wider social networks.”

Listen Yourself Well airs Thursdays at 1pm and Saturdays at 12.30pm on OAR 105.4FM and 1575AM, and live and podcast from www.oar.org.nz and iTunes.

Photo: The healthy choice: WellSouth’s Rebecca Llewellyn (left) and Sophie Carty host Otago Access Radio show Listen Yourself Well.

Listen to episodes from this series

Love Affair with Braille leads to Multi-Platform Radio Show

Dunedin woman Julie Woods’ love affair with braille has led to an innovative podcast series, radio show and YouTube resource that takes a fun approach to learning the tactile reading system for the blind and visually impaired. More on that, later . . .

 

The Braille Biscuit Show, a 26-episode series supported by The Blind Foundation, airs at 10am on Tuesdays on Otago Access Radio, with replays on Saturdays at 8am. It is podcast from the station’s website, with YouTube clips of feature braille-education segments available on YouTube.

 

 

Julie, a motivational speaker and coach, is known as That Blind Woman. In 1997, at age 31, she was diagnosed with inflammation of the retina due to an unknown virus which left her legally blind. Preferring initially to focus on computer and speech recognition technology to aid with communication, she turned to braille in 2001.

 

“It was a goal I set myself, to make a positive change, and I quickly fell in love with the code,” she says. “I was reunited with the written word and was able to once again read, this time with my fingers. It was truly liberating.”

 

But it wasn’t just the code that captured Julie’s imagination. The story of Louis Braille, the Frenchman who lends his name to the system of small rectangular blocks that contain tiny palpable bumps, also intrigued her.

 

“Louis Braille lost his eyesight by age 4, due to an accident. At the age of just 15, he developed his code, which has transformed so many lives.”

 

The Braille Biscuit Show includes interviews with visually impaired and sighted people who use the braille system, readings in braille, music from musicians who are blind or have low vision, and quotations from deaf-blind American author and political activist Helen Keller.

 

And Julie has a special companion alongside for a programme segment that explains the braille system.

 

The Braille Biscuit Monster, a hand puppet with an appetite for the chocolate biscuits Julie uses to spell out each letter of the alphabet, makes appearances in weekly audio and video features of the show.

 

“Braille is for young and old,” says Julie. “And braille is fun. I’m looking forward to introducing listeners to braille, and to the story of the young French boy who made an impact on the world. That’s inspiring, because we all have the potential to make a positive impact on the world but I don’t think we often see ourselves in that way.”

 

Click here to listen to podcasts from this show

Brain Health Focus of Radio Show

Brain health and support for those living with a neurological condition is the focus of a new programme on Otago Access Radio.

Fortnightly show Head Space is presented by the Otago Neuro Interest Group, comprising representatives from Alzheimer’s Society, Brain Injury Association Otago, Epilepsy Otago, Stroke Foundation, MS Otago and the University of Otago Brain Health Research Centre.

Alzheimer’s Society Otago manager Julie Butler said the group formed out of the desire of member organisations to provide information and education to people in the wider Otago region.

“With the complexities involved with understanding brain injury and disease, memory loss or neuropathic pain, how and where to get information can be overwhelming at the time of diagnosis.

“We recognised our resources were being squeezed. By combining resources and working together, we hope we can reach more of our community than we ever have before.”

Head Space was a forum for member organisations to talk in plain language about the services they offered, to air conversations about brain health and research, and to publicise public events and seminars. The show added to the “education toolbox” that included the Mega Brain inflatable walk-through exhibit that had proved popular with children and adults alike during Brain Awareness Week in March.

The brain was the most important organ in the body, Ms Butler said, but many people were “blasé” about brain health.

“If you think about all the health messages we’ve received over the years, everything seems to be pretty much from the neck down, with the exception of oral health.

“People tend to think that because the brain is surrounded by this thick skull, it’s quite safe, when in fact it isn’t. It’s amazing how easily it can be damaged.”

Head Space airs every second Tuesday at 12.30pm on OAR 105.4FM and 1575AM, and live and podcast fromwww.oar.org.nz.

Photo: Brain power: Neuro Interest Group members (L to R) Lynne Stewart (Epilepsy Otago), Julie Butler (Alzheimer’s Otago), Cathy Matthews (Brain Injury Otago) and Dr Louise Parr-Brownlie (Brain Health Research Centre) present Head Space on Otago Access Radio.


 

Radio Show on ABC’s of Conscious Living

Dunedin-based clinical psychologist Dr Kumari Valentine has created a radio series around the power of choice.

Otago Access Radio show The Conscious Adventurer was intended to help listeners become more aware of their thoughts, actions and behaviours, Dr Valentine said.

“I really believe that we’re at a time when more and more people are wanting to think about their choices. So we talk about the ABC’s of conscious living – becoming aware and attentive, ‘being’ rather than thinking; and conscious, compassionate choices.”

The show’s title encouraged listeners to view as an adventure the things in life that might otherwise be considered a struggle or challenge.

“We can go into these situations with openness and curiosity. How we see things affects how we respond and react to them.”

Dr Kumari’s PhD and clinical work explored rumination, a form of brooding that acted “like yeast to dough” for those who were prone to over-analysing their problems. That led to an interest in mindfulness, a mental state achieved by focusing awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations.

Radio complemented the online and CD resources Dr Valentine was creating to support her clients, and anyone else with an interest in conscious living.

“I’m on radio because I strongly believe there is a message that I feel drawn to be part of, which is about being aware and compassionate, being gently with ourselves, with each other and with our planet.”

The theme for last month’s episodes of The Conscious Adventurer was Food Conscious July, focusing on food choices and becoming more “food-aware”.

The Conscious Adventurer airs Tuesdays at 12pm on OAR 105.4FM and 1575AM, and live and podcast from www.oar.org.nz. Replays go to air Fridays at noon.

Photo: Making compassionate choices: Dr Kumari Valentine, pictured here with son Ant, hosts The Conscious Adventurer on Otago Access Radio.

A Voice for the Disabled

Noteable Radio – Every second Tuesday, 1pm

The voice of the Dunedin disability community just got a little louder, with a new radio programme providing a platform for discussion of issues affecting disabled people.

Otago Access Radio show Noteable Radio is presented on behalf of Disabled Persons Assembly (DPA) by the organisation’s regional kaituitui/community networker Chris Ford, with assistance from DPA Dunedin president Phyllis McPherson.

Mr Ford had returned to access radio after a long absence, having previously hosted a disabilities-focused programme with the station when it was known as Hills AM. He was looking forward to raising DPA’s profile through the new show.

“I’m glad to say that DPA is the voice of disabled people, both locally and nationally, though some people in the disability community don’t know who we are and what we can do for them,” he said.

DPA’s achievements included a successful drive for New Zealand to lead negotiations on the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and playing a role in the development of the New Zealand Disability Strategy, launched by the Government in 2001.

At a local level, DPA had established positive working relationships with the Dunedin City Council, Otago Regional Council, Southern District Health Board and business community, Mr Ford said.

He had recently completed DPA’s submission to the DCC’s long term plan, supporting retention of Dunedin’s physio pool and the Taieri Community Facilities Trust’s bid for part-funding of a new aquatic complex, as well as offering feedback on the city’s new cycleways.

“We also want to acknowledge the council’s role in re-establishing the Disabilities Issues Advisory Group, which we pushed for alongside other organisations such as CCS.”