Sandpiper: Catholic Diocese of Sandhurst

WWW.SANDPIPER.ORG.AU DECEMBER 2019 18 If you have a story related to our Catholic community and disability that you’d like to share in Sandpiper, please contact me (Daniel Giles) on dgiles.disability. advocate@gmail.com or 0439 562 286 >> Disability inclusion Katherine Haggerty and her granddaughter share how attitudes to disability have changed across the generations regarding Damien, their beloved son and uncle. Generational attitudes changing F or generations, ‘Mentally Retarded Children’, as labelled at the time, were put into institutions and forgotten. In 1971, my 1-year-old son suffered brain damage as a result of open-heart surgery. I was told by a top specialist ‘Put him in an Institute and forget you had him’. I was labelled a ‘noncompliant mother’ for refusing to do so. The Disability Services Act of 1986, initiated major changes which acknowledge ‘Children with a Disability’. Institutions began to close, care became community-based, and families kept their children at home. We began to see people with a disability being accepted in the community with an increase in ramps, disabled taxis, handicapped parking spots etc. With other mothers we fought for changes including: • Readers and calculators in special schools for children ‘who cannot learn’ • Adult services that were block funded did not listen to families . They said, ‘if you don’t like what we are doing, take him out and send him somewhere else’. This meant losing funding and going on a wait list for up to 2 years. • Funding to be attached to the client – as in ‘Individual Support Packages’ (ISP) >> Cooking with the Saints Recipes for throughout the liturgical year. S t Francis of Assisi popularised the tradition of nativity scenes, which brings Our Lord’s birth in Bethlehem to our homes and public spaces. Building your own edible nativity scene from biscuits is a cute and easy activity for the whole family. Ingredients • Biscuits • Rectangular crackers • Coconut • Cream or powdered sugar • Tubes of coloured icing • Nutella spread • Any other additions to the scene... Method Partially dip the bisuits into the cream or mixed powdered sugar to resemble swaddling clothes. Use the coloured icing to draw faces and halos. Let dry. Place a generous glob of spread on a plate as a base for the cracker crib. Add the crackers, you may need to wet them to make them stick. Shred the coconut and sprinkle over the manger as hay. Add the baby Jesus biscuit to the crib and enjoy! Photo and inspiration from CatholicIcing.co Coming up - Nativity Christmas Cookies Now 33 years after the first Disability Services Act it is a new era with new problems as our ‘children’ are being placed into care because of ageing parents. Many are no longer able to attend church without the support from their families. Various parishioners have expressed fear because of inexperience with such issues as epilepsy. Epileptic seizures can be frightening to the inexperienced, so there have been some requests for them not to attend Church without support. By forming ‘Inclusive Committees’, parishes could develop practices which will welcome and support all people to participate in parish activities without creating distress to parishioners. We are finally seeing people with a disability not just being accepted but valued members of the community. In recent years there has been: • A person with Down Syndrome as king of Moomba • A person on the Autism Spectrum receive an OAM • Persons with an intellectual disability as guests of the Governor-General at Government House The introduction of the National Disability Insurance Scheme – NDIS is paving the way forward for people with a disability. Services are now being “client centred” and programs aim to meet the goals of participants. People with a disability are finally having a say, being heard, and appreciated. It takes two generations for community thinking and attitudes to change. As the second generation, my 17-year- old granddaughter has a completely different perspective – this is her story. I have been around people with disabilities my entire life having grown up around my Uncle Damien who has intellectual disability. I have learned a lot about acceptance, valuing people, their accomplishments and I only see people, not disability. I have met so many amazing people over the years through Special Olympics, the L’Arche group and my uncle’s activity programs that continue to inspire and amaze me with their unique talents, despite any intellectual or physical disability that sees them set apart from ‘normal’ people. My generation has grown up in a society where we learn to accept all people and we know that it is OK to be different. Now, when I introduce my friends to my Uncle Damien, there is no discrimination and he is just like any other person. Many people my age, are still not as comfortable around people with disabilities if they have not been exposed to it before, which is understandable. They accept my Uncle Damien, but they are often wary and unsure of how to proceed with conversation or how to react to his actions. I hope that I can work, along with other people like my grandmother, to make disability a thing of everyday life where people can be educated, understand what disability is and interact with people with disabilities so that we have inclusion, and everyone can be seen for who they are and not for their disability. Tree of Jesse Cookies - Advent T he Jesse Tree is an Advent tradition tracing the lineage of Christ. The oldest complete Jesse Tree is found in a stained glass window at Chartres Cathedral (pictured right). Families can decorate their Christmas Trees with the symbols of sacred history, leading to the Advent of Christ’s birth. Jesse was the father of King David, the royal family of Israel, from which Christ descended. Jesse is mentioned in Isaiah 1:11 - “A shoot shall come out from the stock of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots.” These cookies can be cut in the shape of a Christmas Tree and make for a wonderful dessert on Sundays during Advent, or as a treat during the “O Antiphons” during the final part of Advent. The cookies could also be used to cut out symbols for the different generations in the Jesse Tree, such as Adam’s Apple, Noah’s Ark, Moses’s Tablets, and the Star of David. Ingredients • 1 cup butter • 2/3 cup brown sugar • 1 egg • 1 teaspoon almond extract • 1/2 teaspoon salt • 2-1/2 cups flour • 1 cup oats Method • Blend butter, sugar, egg, extract, salt. • Add flour, mix thoroughly • Stir in oats. • Chill dough. • Roll out to 1/8 thickness. • Cut into the shape of Christmas Trees • Bake at 175 degrees, for 8 to 10 minutes. Damien Haggerty with Fr Ted Harte, his long time parish priest.

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