The Direct Support Workers Conference (DSW Conference) 2023 has concluded, with more than 180 attendees from across Queensland showing up for two days of learning and skill-building.
Designed to further the careers of support workers in the disability and mental health sector, the conference theme was to ‘learn, lead and deliver’.
Multicap Group CEO, Joanne Jessop expressed her gratitude for frontline staff taking time out of their busy weeks to further their knowledge for the benefit of those with disabilities.
“The Conference covers each of the theme areas ‘Learn, Lead, Deliver’ and ensures support workers will be successful in their roles, and enable them to contribute to the important work around systems reform,” said Joanne.
“Together we have a responsibility to champion high-quality care and support services. The attendees decision to give two days of their valuable time to attend this Direct Support Workers Conference, knowing they had so many other choices they could have made, is a great statement about the value each of them has placed on being able to learn, lead and deliver.”
The conference kicked off with a keynote speech from Seamus Evans: TV host, radio personality and comedian.
Seamus, who lives with Tourettes syndrome, motivated and inspired delegates with his story of how he turned his flaw into a superpower, and tips for how to support people who are neurodiverse.
Channel 7 ex-journalist, Kim Skubris was MC for the duration of the conference, and ran a panel discussion for people to discuss what they need from a support worker.
Chris Timperley, Office of the Public Guardian gave an insightful speech about supported decision making framework in guardianship.
Tracy Mackey, NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commissioner, presented about how to elevate participant rights through safe and quality supports.
Delegates also heard from Professor Karen Nankervis and Dr Maria Vassos, from the University of Queensland, discussing evidence-based practice and why we should care about evidence.
Interactive workshops played a big role in the conference, providing delegates with the opportunity to use their hands in learning how to better support people.
Workshops included music therapy for emotional regulation, an arts workshop using clay to work together, an interactive game-making workshop, and more.
Delegates even got to use Lego in a workshop, which demonstrated how to break large tasks down into small, easy-to-follow steps.
Saminda Balasuriya from QUT spoke about emerging technologies being developed to help people with an intellectual disability.
One of the other keynote speakers was Dr Dinesh Palipana OAM: doctor, lawyer, disability advocate and researcher.
Dr Dinesh shone a spotlight on how we can all create a more inclusive world.
Those hungry for more knowledge were able to get a taste of what it would be like to study a Diploma of Disability Leadership with the University of New England.
Dr Jeffery Chan, National Senior Practitioner, NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission, spoke about eliminating restrictive practices: a human rights regulatory approach.
Delegates also heard from Multicap’s own: Kimberley Skinner, Manager Positive Behaviour Support, and Charles Holzheimer, Regional Manager Critical Support Services.
The duo presented about taking evidence to action and how to enhance people’s quality of life.
There were lucky door prizes and giveaways from sponsors and exhibitors, adding an extra element of fun for attendees.
Find out more about the 2023 conference program here and watch this space for news of when the 2024 conference will take place.
The DSW Conference is hosted by Multicap alongside Open Minds, Abourwell and Allinto.
The conference has been running for 7 years.