SCOSA Stampede (Spastic Centres of South Australia)

Scosa Stampede Fund Raising

scosa stampede attendees - plenty of people and chairs in Wellington squareJohn Duthie attended the SCOSA Stampede around the streets of North Adelaide, raising awareness and funds for the Spastic Centres of South Australia.  The Dignity Party raised $170 and there is still opportunity to donate.

John spent time talking to people about the Party, and listening to supporters of SCOSA about their involvement with the organisation.  Hundreds of people took part in the walk, which was noisy and colourful, and well accepted by the residents of North Adelaide.  The event was supported by SA Police as they ensured the marchers were kept safe, and the Minister.  John chatted with the new Minister for Disabilities in SA, Katrine Hildyard.



More about SCOSA Stampede

The 2km loop through the streets of North Adelaide is more than a fundraiser. It is a celebration of everybody’s abilities. It is walking, pushing a wheelchair, or using a mobility aid and making lots of noise. Support is required to promote a socially inclusive community for all living with disabilities.

SCOSA History

SCOSA started in similar ways to the ‘Dignity for Disability’ party, as parents of children with disabilities took action. The disability, in the case of SCOSA, was cerebral palsy. In 1946, a centre was established within the Adelaide Children’s Hospital. It was very disability unfriendly, as the lifts often broke down. Staff would often carry students up and down stairs.

In 1949, the centre moved to Kermode Street, North Adelaide. In 1950 the organiation was incorporated as ‘the South Australian Spastic Paralysis Welfare Association Inc’. In 1952, a new home was established in Woodville. The home offered additional services including occupational therapy, physiotheraphy and others.

Miss South Australia and Miss Australia

Over $87 million dollars of funding was raised by the Miss South Australia Quest from 1954 to 2000. Then political correctness and feminism dried up the funding. Therese Hicks was the last winner.

Contact John Duthie here and visit his personal site here.

Immersion Therapy – ABC Radio Adelaide

Immersion Therapy – an introduction

John Duthie and his son, Ben Duthie, at Immersion TherapyImmersion Therapy is described as “a world first way in which people with injury or disability can have access to movement and benefits like never before”.  John Duthie takes part in the therapy with Determined2 at the Adelaide Aquatic Centre, once a week.

Talking about Immersion Therapy on ABC Radio Adelaide

Peter Wilson, founder of the therapy, and John spoke to ABC Radio Adelaide, and the interview follows.  The leader of the Dignity Party, Hon Kelly Vincent MLC, and other members of the party use the services of Determined2.

My journey with Immersion Therapy

Imagine being paralysed from the chest down and loving food.  A strange question? Perhaps not, if you consider that the biggest muscles in the body are in the legs. Still confused? As I am unable to exercise using my legs, I have difficulties in keeping my weight under control. The only exercise I perform that physically exhausts me is Immersion Therapy. It mentally exhausts me too, as I swim 20-30 laps week, underwater with full scuba gear on.

More about the therapy

The program is a pool-based therapy for people living with injury or disability. It is a unique program that is not found anywhere else in the world. Currently, the therapy is available at two locations, Adelaide Aquatic and Port Lincoln Leisure Centres.

There are many improvements from participation in the therapy, that may include self-esteem, social skills, mobility and pain reduction.

Read about the pressure sore that kept me out of the pool for three months.

Contact John Duthie here and visit his personal site here.

Dignity Party candidates launched by Kelly Vincent in the lower house

Dignity Party Candidates Launch

In preparation for the SA election on Saturday 17th March 2018, Kelly Vincent launched 17 Dignity Party candidates in the lower house, including John Duthie in the seat of Torrens. Kelly mentioned…

“The growing size of our candidate teams over the years indicates how serious we are about maintaining and increasing representation for all.

“We are a political party offering a team that actually understands real South Australians. Dignity Party candidates know what it’s like to wait in an ED corridor for a hospital bed or be let down by a government service, and know what it means when you can’t pay your huge water or electricity bill.

“Our candidates are fighting for a better deal for South Australians that have been left behind; we believe in inclusion, diversity and justice.

“I’m proud to launch a group of candidates that represent the true diversity of South Australians. These are grassroots community campaigners that have lived experience of disability, are parent carers, work in the disability sector and have rich and varied life experience.

“I look forward to campaigning with this team, and other candidates to be announced in the coming months, in the lead up to Election Day in March.”

The lower house candidates

Many of the candidates were up for election in previous elections, including Joanne, Ben, Rick, Cathi, Ted, Nick and Phillip. There were many parents with children with disabilities, who knew the difficulties faced raising their family.

Contact John Duthie here and visit his personal site here.

Jocelyn Neumueller – Democratising disability @ Open State

Open State with Jocelyn Neumueller

open state logoOpen State is an annual initiative to connect global and local leaders with South Australians, to explore new opportunities and address our state’s challenges together. In 2016, over 25,000 people attended 60 events. John Duthie attended “Democratising disability… taking control” and heard from speakers including Jocelyn Neumueller and Maurice Corcoran. They described their journey as a person with a disability, and the barriers they faced along the way.

Jocelyn Neumueller – the speech

Jocelyn had sudden paralysis as a young teenager and was only the fifth person in the world with this type of motor neurone disease (MND). Coming to terms with this was hard, so was the loss of the majority of her friends.  Jocelyn got back into education, and at age 15 started at university. She believes it is essential to belong and to help others and is involved with the Julia Farr Youth, Determined2, Starlight Foundation and Layne Beachley Foundation. Jocelyn’s main point was that regardless of your ability you can achieve goals. There also needs to be pathways and role models to help people with a disability to progress in life. Jocelyn’s future is uncertain as she is living with a degenerative illness but has a goal to represent Australia at the 2020 Paralympics and to continue her disability awareness and advocacy work. She also wants to find a cure for her disease via her medical research and to enjoy life.

Jocelyn Neumueller talking to the large crowd

More about ‘Open State’

The session explored barriers for people with disabilities. Everyone needs to be able to make decisions in order to take control of their situation. Sometimes people are not given the ability or the freedom to do so.

Some of the answers in the session covered the questions

  • How do you do it?
  • What are the barriers?
  • What will it look like in the future?

Contact John Duthie here and visit his personal site here.

International Carers Conference – Adelaide SA – 7th anniversary

The Conference

7th International Carers Conference logoJohn Duthie and his partner, Madie, were invited to join the table of Kelly Vincent MLC, leader of the Dignity Party, at the Gala Dinner of the 7th International Carers Conference. Carers Australia is the national peak body representing Australia’s carers. Their purpose is to “improve the health, well-being, resilience and financial security of carers and to ensure that caring is a shared responsibility of family, community, and government”.

The following statistics give a picture of the current status of care in Australia:

  • There are over 2.7 million carers in Australia that volunteer their time
  • If the carers were paid, it would cost over one billion dollars per week
  • The average age of a primary carer is around 55
  • The average income of a primary carer is 42% lower than non-carers

Joking about Dementia

john and madie at the international carers conference dinnerThe night involved speakers, a band, a stand-up comedian, and a three-course meal. Unfortunately, the comedian made jokes about people with dementia. John’s blog has something to say about this.

In summary, John enjoys hearing jokes. Steady Eddy was an Australia comedian with cerebral palsy, and Eddy told jokes about himself. If it is ok to joke about your disability, is it ok to tell disabled jokes about the impairments of other people?

Denise Scott at the Internation Carers Conference

Denise made jokes about her mother at the conference.  Making fun of her mother in order to get a laugh. Scott had previously told jokes about people with Asperger’s syndrome …

“I can’t stand people who say they are alcoholic or have mild Aspergers or celiac when the fact is they’re just plain old-fashion f***ed up people with a few behavioural problems.”

John believes the International Carers Conference should have done a little research.  And avoided a comedian, who makes fun of the people that carers are meant to be supporting. Not laughing at.

Contact John Duthie here and visit his personal site here.

Modbury Special School art auction night

Modbury Special School

John Duthie attended the Art Auction event at the Modbury Special School, representing the Dignity Party. The night was a celebration of the achievements of the students. The efforts of the school, teachers, and parents were also recognised. So many proud and happy faces joining together on a night that raised thousands of dollars for student equipment, including iPads.

The school recognises that each child has individual needs, abilities, and strengths. The learning environment and curriculum are personalised to suit the individual child. Modbury Special School provides structured teaching via Positive Behaviour Support, communication, sensory regulation and differentiation of curriculum.

The Auction

The principal, Cam Wright, acted as auctioneer. John selected and bid on a piece of art that will look great in his new house. The house will feature art, with all artists having a disability. The night ended with a silent auction, and the Adelaide Crows signed football sold for $85, and the Port Adelaide Power signed football sold for $200.

john duthie and the art at modbury special school

John was able to speak to parents about their children and the school. Every parent had a glowing recommendation for the school.

More about Modbury Special School

The following is from the school’s strategic directions for 2017-2019

Modbury Special School’s priority is the provision of the highest quality schooling for students with disabilities & complex learning needs focusing on effective personalised learning & development, family and community engagement and innovative teaching.

Modbury Special School is an educational centre for students with intellectual and associated disabilities. The school has an enrolment of approximately 160 students ranging from reception to year 12. Modbury Special School has classes across four sites. These include Modbury South Primary and Highbury Primary Schools catering to primary students in a mainstream setting; and the Pathways Program at Modbury High School focusing on post-schooling opportunities. The original Modbury Special School site gives students access to purpose-built teaching and learning spaces, living skills, art, gym/hall facilities and a sensory room. This site also provides programming options for students with higher levels of educational and sensory need. Due to the complex needs of students, Modbury Special School has developed positive working partnerships with families, agencies, community and higher learning educational centres.

Contact John Duthie here and visit his personal site here.

Ten Gigabit City – Australian Computer Society (ACS)

Ten Gigabit City

arial view of adelaide - ten gigabit cityJohn Duthie and Diana Bleby attended the ACS (Australian Computer Society) lunch at the Stamford Grand Hotel. Following lunch, John had opportunities to speak to a number of senior ACS members and leaders. The topic was the ten gigabit city plan, as well as reminiscing about the early days of the internet. Such as paying Ozemail $5 an hour for a 24K connection.

World leading smart cities like Barcelona and Singapore have been reaping the benefits from gigabit capacity for years. Adelaide is becoming a Ten Gigabyte city too. It will provide businesses with a CBD-wide network. Avoiding contention and congestion on the internet. The speed will be about 1,000 times faster than the national average. And 100 times faster than Australia’s NBN. It has the potential to provide opportunity and creativity never before seen in Australia.

Contact John Duthie here and visit his personal site here

Peter Greco Radio station 5RPH (Vision Australia Radio)

John Duthie spoke to Peter Greco on 5RPH about Ticketek and the problems with booking accessible seats.

Peter Greco: Well, John Duthie is a member of the Dignity Party and John has been trying to get tickets to the AFL finals, John welcome to you.

John Duthie: Hi Peter, how are you?

Peter Greco: Pretty good, are you a little less frustrated today than you were during the week?

John Duthie: A little bit, but the problem with Ticketek has been happening for a long time.

Peter Greco: Indeed, so what happened? You’re a person that goes on a regular basis to the Adelaide Oval?

John Duthie: Yeah, I am a life-long Port Adelaide supporter.

Peter Greco: Good man

John Duthie: Yep, and I use a wheelchair, there are other people that use the wheelchair spaces they’re actually accessible spaces, so there’s a number of locations around Adelaide Oval where we can sit, probably about 50 or 60, it’s really good and during the regular season I sit just behind my Power friends and the finals come up and I would like to sit with them again, but that’s when I ran into a few problems.

Peter Greco: And of course that’s part of the fun of it going to the footy with friends, I mean the whole day out is about that isn’t it, the game is important but being there with people who are of like-mindedness is very important too.

John Duthie: That’s right, it’s much more fun going to the football with friends.

Peter Greco: So, what happened? Obviously during the week tickets went on sale for the finals, so it’s a clean stadium, everyone starts from scratch.

John Duthie: Yeah, I contacted the Port Adelaide Football Club for advice about sitting with my friends and they advised to call the Ticketek Special needs hotline and I’ve called this number before, so the timeframe for calling them was between 9 am and midday, so I started calling at 9 and no answer, so I tried again, but the problem is I tried a total of 200 times and I got 90 minutes through the window and I could see on Facebook that people using the online system to book tickets, which people who need accessible tickets cannot book online, they were getting the tickets okay, and I tried logging in and just having a look to see what sections were available and I couldn’t get any cheaper seats from that point on because they were all being sold and it was getting impossible to try and get 8 people sitting together, so I decided to stop calling the special needs hotline and just order all the tickets online, so we got our tickets but they were more expensive and I couldn’t sit with my friends.

Peter Greco: Which I guess as we said earlier is part of the appeal of the day. So why can’t you book online as a person with a disability?

John Duthie: You just can’t go online and book the accessible spots around Adelaide Oval, so, Ticketek would have to make some changes to the system to allow the accessible locations to be booked but then there has to be a safeguard in place to make sure that only people who have accessible needs actually get those spots.

Peter Greco: So in other words, you’ve got to provide proof of identity in the sense that you’re a person with a disability to book that seat, but if you’re a member and you’ve been sitting in that seat, and booked it before with that particular agency, you’d think they’d have records of the fact that you’ve proved your ID in the past.

John Duthie: Yeah, they should know that I’m in a wheelchair, and they should also know that I’ve got a carer as well that comes free with the companion card system, so when I booked the tickets just then, I had to pay for the carer as well.

Peter Greco: And normally the person with the companion card would go for free.

John Duthie: Yeah they come in for free, but Ticketek did eventually refund the money, but it would have been better if I didn’t get charged in the first place.

Peter Greco: Now you received some publicity during the week about this issue, do you think things will change? I mean obviously, too late for this year because the game is very shortly going to be on etc, but it doesn’t seem too big a thing to do particularly with technology and the things that are around these days for next time tickets like this go on sale for it to be a bit of a smoother process.

John Duthie: Yeah, I don’t think it’s a very difficult computer system change, I’ve been involved with updating computers systems all my life until my accident and it’s not very difficult, the difficult thing was making sure that tickets go to the right people, so there has got to be a way of identifying people with accessible needs, and I think it should be something as simple as the person supplies a doctor’s report to the booking agency and from that point onwards they’re marked on the system as needing accessible seating.

Peter Greco: So you do it today 1st of Sept sort of thing and then from this day forward John Duthie or whatever number he may be in the system if he books it then we know he needs an accessible ticket.

John Duthie: Yeah that would be the way to go.

Peter Greco: Well, John good luck with it I hope at least Port win next Saturday night for your sake as an enjoyment factor and also reward for the amount of effort that you’ve put in, so 200 times you tried ringing in those couple of hours or more.

John Duthie: Yep, I just kept hitting redial and redial and I couldn’t get through.

Peter Greco: And so the tickets actually cost you a little bit more than they would have as well.

John Duthie: Yeah, we were hoping to get some of the cheaper tickets behind the goals which were available online at the beginning of the window but you know 90 minutes in they were all taken, so it cost my friends and myself a bit more to go this time.

Peter Greco: Now John before we leave, we’ll chat to you again, because all being well you’re hoping to be a candidate for the Dignity Party in the Lower House, and we’ll chat about why you’ve decided to do that but you’ve got a birthday call you’d like to give out.

John Duthie: Yeah, it’s my son Ben’s 18th birthday today, so Happy Birthday Ben.

Peter Greco: Terrific, is he a Port supporter as well?

John Duthie: Of course he is! It’s a tradition in the family.

Peter Greco: What a silly question that was, John thanks for speaking to us, good luck, and we’ll speak again soon and good luck on Saturday night as well.

John Duthie: Okay, thank you.

Peter Greco: John Duthie from the Dignity Party there telling us about his difficulty accessing tickets for the football, and it doesn’t seem like a terribly outrageous request to be making.

Contact John Duthie here and visit his personal site here.

AFL accessible ticketing problem on ABC Radio Adelaide

AFL accessible ticketing

John Duthie spoke to Ali Clarke and David Bevan, ABC Radio Adelaide, on behalf of the Dignity Party. John spoke about the problem with AFL accessible ticketing. He attempted booking AFL tickets for wheelchair accessible seating, both via Ticketek’s website and the Special Needs hotline. The transcript follows…

Bevan: Good morning John Duthie … what was your experience in the last 24 hours?

John: Well firstly I normally sit with my group of walking friends in the eastern wing and it’s great sitting next to them, so I started calling Ticketek at 9 am.  And after about 200 phone calls I was halfway through the three-hour window. And I knew at the same time that non-accessible fans were able to get their tickets, waiting only 10 to 15 minutes online. So then I decided to book online with the eight barcodes, but by then the cheaper seats had gone, and it was getting harder to find eight seats together, and I didn’t want to let my friends down. So it only took me a few minutes online and I managed to get eight seats in the southern stands. But being upstairs I can’t sit with them.  So yeah, I had quite a few problems yesterday and I still can’t sit with my friends.

Clarke: So John I will point out that you are in a wheelchair and that’s what makes it hard then for you to sit with your friends. So the actual way that people that need help or have special needs to get these tickets and they’ve been directed to, is to try this hotline.

John: Yeah, I asked the Port Adelaide Football Club how I can sit with my friends, and they said to call the Ticketek Special Needs hotline. So I did, but you know, the online system doesn’t allow people with accessible seating requests to book online, so [unclear] anyway.

Clarke: And is part of that because they have to have a companion, be able to sit with them, or to be able to have other seats around them so you can have eight or nine people that you want to sit with?

John: Well it’s just not possible to book online if you’ve got accessible seating requests. So … fans in wheelchairs are either missing out on tickets or paying more or not being able to sit with their friends.

Clarke: I just can’t understand though why people in wheelchairs can’t book online? Why is that?

John: I’m not exactly sure … it does require some system changes and some checks and balances are placed to ensure that people who don’t need seating requests don’t get them.

Clarke: Okay … I hope somehow that there can be an easier way to get people to the football. Thank you for your time.

Thank you.

The audio of interview about AFL accessible ticketing

Contact John Duthie here and visit his personal site here.


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