I am spending this week wwoofing just outside of Cairns (well kind of in one of the suburbs). I am living with a nice lady called Vanilda, originally from Brazil, and we have spent quite a lot of time talking about cultural differences between Australia, Brazil and Britain so that has been cool.
I was supposed to come here and help in the garden and such, but I have so far spent most of my time showing this lady how to use the internet for research and fundraising. Despite using the computer and email often, she only has a basic grasp of the internet it would seem.
The current need to use the internet more effectively came about because one of Vanilda's grandchildren, a little girl aged 3, has recently been diagnosed with Autism. As any family would, hers want to research the condition and its treatments as thoroughly as possible. Vanilda has the most free time (with no full time job and other children to care for) and so seems to have taken a lot of this research upon herself.
The family want to implement a form of early intervention called Applied Behavioural Analysis (ABA), but because there is no NHS here, the way they need to go about organising the treatment and funding and such is more complicated than at home (and it seems it can be pretty complicated even there). There is some assistance with funding but the family will need to fundraise on top of this allowance in order that the little girl receives adequate treatment.
There is so much information out there and it must be really overwhelming when the diagnosis has been made. We got talking about this and Vanilda is saying to me well how are we supposed to know which therapists are best? who to chose? I have no idea but I have an interest in disability and know that there are help groups and information online for just about every condition under the sun so I asked if the family had managed to find any online resources or forums or anything like that? No.
I know almost nothing about Autism and nothing whatsoever about healthcare in Australia but when I mentioned that the information is online and that websites and social media and giving sites and such can be used to raise awareness and funding, understandably, Vanilda wanted to know how! So I have spent today trying to explain use of the internet and forums and blogs and YouTube and stuff. Undoubtedly I am going to spend tomorrow relaying the same information to the little girls mother, who is coming round in the morning for the purpose and is, apparently, not much more tech savy than Vanilda.
I am very happy to help and I suppose any information which builds on that which they already have is good, but helping out in the garden would definitely be a lot simpler and less emotionally charged!
Its just the sort of thing I would manage really isn't it, go to a place to do some weeding and somehow find myself wading through the extra complicated parts of the Australian medical system!