TADWA Connect Winter 2017


July 1st was an important day for the disability sector in Western Australia, with the expansion of the WA NDIS rollout to the Kimberley and Pilbara, and the remainder of the South Metropolitan region.

At TADWA we are continuing the process of transformation to meet the new challenges of consumer-directed care.

We are implementing a new ERP system to help streamline our operations, and we are increasing our investment in Research and Development so we can deliver on the incredible potential that technology offers for disability and aged care.

TADWA is unique in the way we can offer a complete range of custom solutions – from simple grab rail installations to entire bathroom or kitchen modifications, to home automation, custom mobility solutions and adapted recreation equipment.  Also unique is our combination of occupational therapists, working side by side with skilled trades and electronics technicians.

There is no doubt our sector is facing a great deal of change.  We’re up for the challenge!

I hope you enjoy reading about some of our latest projects and products, and encourage you to ‘Talk to TADWA’ if you have clients who could benefit from assistive technologies, home modifications or customised equipment.

Steve Pretzel


On May 1st TADWA welcomed our new CEO, Mr Steve Pretzel, following the retirement of long-time CEO Bob Whitaker.

In announcing the appointment TADWA Chairperson, Dominique Mecoy paid tribute to the legacy of Mr Whitaker:

“Bob has achieved excellent results for TADWA over many years of service, building TADWA from a fledgling concept into a well-established and successful organisation. Under Bob’s leadership, TADWA has grown and has been able to make incredible impacts upon the lives of many Western Australians from all walks of life.”

Incoming CEO, Steve Pretzel, has a background in marketing and technology and was the founder of a multi-award winning technology business.

Steve sees a positive future for TADWA: “The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and the amazing opportunities in emerging communications and assistive technologies now combine to position TADWA for an exciting new chapter of growth and expanded service to the community. We’ve got a great team at TADWA and we’ll be building on a strong base.”

Javelin chair designed for Paralympian

From the age of 10, Chris Barty has played almost every sport there is. “I am 28 years old and have always been interested in sport” says Chris. His parents always encouraged him to play and did not see his Cerebral Palsy as a barrier.
Chris is a Paralympian and competes with the Australian Paralympic Football Team, the Pararoos. Sport has played a very important role in Chris’ life, “It’s been massive. It has helped in a number of aspects. For a person with a disability it improves your physical ability and it becomes more for your body about what you can do, not what it can’t” says Chris. From a social aspect Chris says, “I’ve met some of my best friends playing sports. It sounds cliché but it’s a good way to keep in touch with friends”.
In 2014, the Paralympic Football program stopped receiving funding. But Chris still wanted a competitive outlet so he contacted the Paralympic Committee who put him in touch with Athletics WA.

With Athletics, Chris had the option of participating in a standing or sitting position event. Javelin was a seated event and for Chris competing sitting down was the way to go. To compete he needed a ‘throwing chair’ and it had certain specifications it needed to meet for competition.

He began looking for a place that could help design a throwing chair to meet the requirements for competition. “So this was fairly new to everyone involved. We had to ask what is it. And what do we need to get this built?” said Chris.
Chris turned to TADWA who he had worked with previously, “I had worked with Mary Ryan on another project and I knew TADWA was capable of doing the weird and wonderful. Also being a resident of Bassendean it was nice to keep it local” Chris said.

Chris worked with TADWA technicians to design the throwing chair and has been able to take the chair with him to trial at competitions and training. “I took it to the national championships in Sydney and had some feedback on what improvements could be made and TADWA were really good about making the changes. It has been a really good collaborative learning experience”.

The chair has been designed to be durable and light allowing Chris to move the chair around allowing him to be independent. Chris says, “It is important for me to have the frame because without it I would not be able to compete. It has been really important to be able to build with certain specifications. To work with an organisation like TADWA and to be able to trial the chair has been really really great. I would recommend TADWA to others”.

Chris is now working towards making the team for the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo. His advice for others wanting to participate in sports is, “more opportunities are available for people with disabilities to try sports. It has come a long way to be more inclusive and it is less scary than it used to be.

“If you see something you want to do just go do it”.

Photo: Mary, TADWA Technician with client Chris Barty working on the javelin throwing chair
Photo: Mary, TADWA Technician with client Chris Barty working on the javelin throwing chair

Latest TADWA designs

Laser-Guided Walker customised for a client with Parkinson's Disease to allow the client to see exactly how far to step

Laser-Guided Walker
Some people living with Parkinson’s disease experience ‘freezing’ which is a temporary, involuntary inability to move that most often affects walking. A client with this condition was assessed by a TADWA Occupational Therapist and Electronics Technician before a device was developed to fit her walker. The laser line produces a line on the floor to allow the client to see exactly how far to step. A metronome is also incorporated to provide a rhythm to walk to that has been shown to help when freezing.

A custom step-up stool with hand rail was designed for our Bunbury client which allows her to independently complete transfers onto her bed.

Custom Step-up Stool
A custom step-up stool with hand rail was designed for our Bunbury client which allows her to independently complete transfers onto her bed. The custom stool with hand rail was designed to suit her needs allowing her to continue to use the same bed she shares with her husband.

Custom folding steel kitchen bench designed for a client so she can independently complete meal preparation tasks while sitting in her powered wheelchair or walker.

Custom Folding Steel Kitchen Bench
This custom folding steel kitchen bench which allows our client to independently complete meal preparation tasks  whilst she is sitting in her powered wheelchair or walker.

Cook ‘n’ Eat Club enables people to cook again

Participants enjoyed cooking, learning, and socialising at the first Cook ‘n’ Eat Club session in Collie.
Participants enjoyed cooking, learning, and socialising at the first Cook ‘n’ Eat Club session in Collie.

TADWA and Community Home Care (CHC) are holding a Cook ‘n’ Eat Club designed for older people who are interested in cooking or those who are affected by functional changes such as, impaired upper limb function, stroke, arthritis, Parkinson’s Disease or reduced balance and mobility.

The Club provides people with skills and strategies in cooking that can be transferred to their home environment. Each session is held by an Occupational Therapist who utilises various aids, equipment, and technology that enables participants to cook independently.

The one day a week course (running for seven weeks) is held on Fridays from 11.30am to 3.30pm at the Living Well Social Centre, 7 Vernon Street, Collie.

Grill’d Local Matters

Grill'd Local Matters community donation

We’ve been selected to participate in Local Matters at Grill’d Midland this July!

Local Matters is the Grill’d community donation program that sees each Grill’d restaurant donate $500 back into the community every month. The donation is split between 3 local community groups $300 / $100 / $100.

How you can help?
We’d love your support in receiving the highest $300 donation! Simply head to Grill’d Midland during July for a burger and pop your Local Matters token in our jar. The group with the most tokens at the end of the month receives the largest donation.

It’s a simple (and delicious) way to show your support!

You’ll find us on a jar at Grill’d Midland, Shop T053A, Midland Gate Shopping Centre 274 Great Eastern Hwy Midland.

TADWA Team attend the HBF Run for a Reason

TADWA team at the finish line of the HBF Run for a Reason
Photo: TADWA Team at the finish line of the HBF Run for a Reason

The HBF Run for a Reason was held on Sunday 28 May 2017 with over 35,000 people braving the cold!

Well done to the TADWA team who completed the run in various distances and speeds to raise funds for the Freedom Wheels program.

National Volunteers Week

TADWA CEO Steve Pretzel handing volunteer John Smith an award for his 10 years' service as a volunteer with TADWA
Photo: Volunteer John Smith congratulated by CEO Steve Pretzel for his 10 years’ service as a volunteer with TADWA

TADWA celebrated National Volunteer Week with a morning tea to honour the commitment and hard work of each of our wonderful volunteers.

A special congratulations was made to volunteer John Smith on his 10 years’ service with TADWA!

Thank you to all of our volunteers who give up their time and skills to make a difference to TADWA and our clients.

Tim Hammond MP visits TADWA

Tim Hammond MP visits the TADWA Bassendean workshop with TADWA staff
Photo: Tim Hammond with TADWA staff on a tour of the Bassendean workshop

Tim Hammond, Federal Member for Perth, recently visited the TADWA Bassendean office to learn about the range of  services we provide to our clients.

Mr Hammond had a tour of the workshops and spent time chatting with our TADWA staff and Board Members.

Thank you to Mr Hammond for taking the time to visit our office and meeting with our staff.

Upcoming Events

Logo for the Occupational Therapy Conference 2017

Occupational Therapy Australia
27th National Conference and Exhibition 2017

19-21 July 2017
Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre

The Occupational Therapy Australia biennial National Conference has established itself as the must-attend event for occupational therapists working in a variety of sectors. The Conference is expected to attract around 800+ delegates from across Australia, New Zealand and internationally.

The exhibition will be open to visitors of all ages, including those with a disability, seniors and their families, friends and carers on Friday 21 July 2017 between 10.45am – 12.15pm.

Logo for the Care and Ageing Expo 2017
Care and Ageing Expo  
29-30 July 2017
9.30am -4.30pm
Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre

The expo will showcase products, services, information and education to enable you to compare the market and make an informed choice around the many aged care options.

Freedom Wheels Grants Available

Do you know someone with a disability who would love a bike but cannot afford one? Thanks to generous donations to the Freedom Wheels program, there may be funding available to cover all or part of the costs for a customised bike.

Talk to TADWA on 1300 663 243 today.