Log in

Working together to improve the lives of people with brain impairment

What's Going On at ASSBI and around the world

This is where you'll find out what's going on at ASSBI, all the news on Brain Impairment and opportunities in other countries across the world.

For further information on the ASSBI Newsletter and how to sign up for your FREE copy click the link below.

For further information on the official ASSBI Journal, BRAIN IMPAIRMENT, please click on the link below.

Project Notes (referred to by Robyn in the Newsletter)

CYBERABILITY: Understanding, preventing and treating cybercrime after acquired brain injury

More people than ever are using the internet and social media for connecting with people, finding out information and entertainment.              
In community brain injury rehabilitation, online tools, apps and smartphone features can be extremely helpful. But like with other tools, its important to understand how to use them safely, and what to do if you need help. Unfortunately, there are individuals and organisations around the world that try to scam people out of money and private information. In Australia, $107 million was stolen through scams last year (Source: Scamwatch), and the number keeps growing. Scams can happen to anyone, even those who think they are switched on to this. Romance Scams are one of the most common types, and can cause not just financial loss, but significant heartbreak and distress. People with brain injury may be additionally vulnerable as they are often looking for social connection or a relationship. Once they have been scammed,
it can also be much harder to realise it was a scam and take steps to get out of it.

Dr Kate Gould is a Clinical Neuropsychologist and Monash University Research Fellow. Together with her client, Colin Brokenshire, Kate has been co-designing and delivering advocacy training about improving Cyberability after brain injury for the last four years. This work has been recognised by the ASSBI Clinical Innovation Award (2018). Funded by the Allen Martin Research Scholarship Award (2018) through the Summer Foundation, Kate is currently leading the Cyberability team in conducting a world first study into understanding and improving online safety after brain injury. Kate and Colin have joined with Anna Holliday from Li-Ve Tasmania and another consumer with lived experience, Alf Archer, to conduct an awareness building campaign on understanding, preventing and treating cyberscams after brain injury. Their series of workshops in Melbourne and Tasmania and webinar in July 2019 have been well received by the clinical community, with particular value placed on Colin and Alf’s stories of their own experiences with scams. Findings from their clinician survey and workshop evaluation will form the foundation of both clinical knowledge and practice in this new area, supporting people’s “cyberability” so that they can benefit from the safe use of technology in neurorehabilitation and their everyday life.

Pictures (L-R) Alf Archer, Dr Kate Gould, Anna Holliday, Colin Brokenshire

Words from your President
See news blog below

Lots of researchers NEED your help this quarter, have a look and see if you can help if you need help, email us and we'll post it here too


Information from your Student Ambassadors

Go to the Students Page

Report on the 2019 Conference from William Levack

Story boards from the ASSBI/NZRA Conference

Information on the 43rd ASSBI Conference


Information from the Editors of Brain Impairment
David Andrewes and Pamela Snow, both long-time founding members of ASSBI, tendered their resignation from the Editorial Board of Brain Impairment at the last EB meeting in NZ in May. The Editors, members of the Editorial Board, Executive Committee and members of ASSBI thank them both for their service. For more info go to BI page

Chief Executive Officer's Report

FREE THINGS! Now we've got your attention: we are offering a free month of ASSBI membership for September and October only. BONUS: if you're referred by a current member, both you AND the current member will get ANOTHER free month of membership! How good is that? CLICK HERE for membership: 

I’d like to thank Matthew for taking a pile of work off these shoulders, you are doing a great job Matt.

        We have a new ABSTRACT SUBMISSION PORTAL, we will now be using CVENT to submit abstracts. This means that we will be using the same system across abstract submission, registration and the APP. Look out for your email invitation to submit an abstract.

        Apart from ASSBI, The NR-SIG-WFNR and the CCD Bi-Annual Symposium are both opening their Call for Abstracts within the month  (go to World Events). Their conferences will be held in Austria and Melbourne in July 2020.

Cheers, Margaret Eagers, CEO

NEWS Article
We are featuring the winner of the Douglas/Tate Prize for 2018 in this issue

ARTICLE  2018 Volume 19, Special Issue 2 (Mild Traumatic Brain Injury) Brain Impairment
Theadom, A; Barker-Collo, S; Greenwood, A; Parmar, P; Jones, K; Starkey, N; McPherson, K and Feigin VL on behalf of the BIONIC Research Group

Do Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Severity Sub-Classification Systems Help to Identify People Who Go on to Experience Long-Term Symptoms?

What the study is about

Up to 95% of traumatic brain injuries (TBI) are classified as being of mild severity. Whilst many individuals who have sustained a mild TBI recover naturally within a few days to weeks, up to half of those affected can experience persistent symptoms and difficulties participating in everyday activities.
Consequently, there is a need to unravel the wide heterogeneity in mild TBI and identify people who are more likely to need clinical treatment to facilitate their recovery. The challenges are that classification systems need to be easy to implement within a busy clinical environment, capture the full breadth of possible presentations and have high predictive validity. This study aimed to identify sub-classification systems for mild TBI and to determine their utility in predicting outcome.
What we did

We conducted a systematic review to identify mild-TBI sub-classification systems published until March 2016. Systems were included in the review if they graded mild-TBI into two or more categories, were an independent system (the most up to date version of a system was used) and did not require specialist physical assessment or MRI or CT scans (which would not be feasible to implement in a community setting.
We classified a sample of 290 adults who had experienced a mild-TBI according to each of the identified sub-classification systems based on their medical records at the time of injury. Assessment data on reported post-concussion symptoms experienced at 1-year post injury collected as part of a previous research study was then extracted for these participants. A series of ANOVAs and regression models were used to determine whether each sub-classification system could distinguish between outcomes.
What we found
Nineteen different subclassification systems were identified as part of the review. The proportions of mild-TBI participants classified into the different sub-classification grades varied considerably between different systems. The systems were based on a range of factors including period of loss of consciousness, worst Glasgow Coma Score and acute symptoms such as headache, amnesia, vomiting and confusion.  Only one classification system by Saal et al (1991) was able to significantly differentiate the experience of post-concussion symptoms 1-year post injury. However, the findings did not remain significant following correction for multiple comparisons and inclusion of socio-demographic and contextual factors in the regression model. Results from this study reveal that current sub-classification systems based on initial level of consciousness and acute symptoms fail to identify those most at risk of experiencing longer-term post-concussion symptoms. Other factors such as psychological and pre-injury variables may have more influence on longer-term outcomes from mild TBI and need to be explored.
The authors would like to thank the Health Research Council of New Zealand who funded the initial
recruitment and collection of data of the mild TBI sample.


  • 6 Dec 2018 12:12 | Anonymous

    Please meet Clementine Ming De (明德) Hobday. She was born on 6th December at 3.15am weighing 3.15kg and 53cm in length. Some of us are more sleep deprived than others at the moment but we are all doing well!

    Click here for a photo of our newest Student

  • 4 Dec 2018 08:59 | Anonymous

    As another impressive year of ASSBI activities draws to a close, I find myself thinking about learned societies and associations like ASSBI. I know, I can hear you all thinking: “Get a life Jacinta!” but wait I do have a reason for this musing. I know in our time poor 21st century existence, we have to be canny about what we do and don’t choose to be involved in and learned societies are one of those things. So how do you decide about being involved?  Of course you go to the literature (yes there is an evidence base) and it identifies the reasons/benefits for being involved, so you can weigh up the organisation/s you’re thinking about.  And when we do that, ASSBI and our past and previous years’ activities clearly tick the box for 10 of the most highly sort after benefits of professional organisations (Goolsby & DuBois, 2017).

    Benefits of Society Membership

    • Continuing education
    • Electronic newsletter
    • Society journal
    • National conferences
    • Student membership
    • Networking opportunities
    • Practice resources
    • Members-only resources
    • Awards and Prizes
    • Fellows programme
    Our professional development programme offers members across disciplines numerous opportunities to participate in ongoing education and even to do so at your leisure with workshops available to download as video files. Not only do we have our electronic newsletter but also a website packed with easy to access benefits including our journal Brain Impairment, now in its 19th continuous year of publishing high quality papers, and our ASSBI resources to support effective practice. We have run 41 national conferences and this year we Connected and Collaborated in Adelaide thanks to the brilliant conference team led by Liz Williams. Next year we look forward to the 42nd Annual Brain Impairment conference held in collaboration with the New Zealand Rehabilitation Association (NZRA) as the inaugural ASSBI NZRA Trans Tasman Conference. William Levack with his outstanding team have put an exceptional Call to Action programme together to entice us all to participate, network and socialise in Wellington.

    Student membership with substantially reduced dues and conference fees, the opportunity to contribute as student ambassadors and team leaders, and the array of student prizes we offer make ASSBI a particularly student friendly option for students across health professions. Our awards and prizes extend well beyond students to clinical practitioners (Early Career Clinical Innovation Award) and active researchers (annual Douglas and Tate journal prize for the best research paper). We maintain strong connections with international bodies reflecting similar missions to our own including the NZRA, the International Neuropsychological Society (INS) and the Neuropsychological Rehabilitation Special Interest group of the World Federation of NeuroRehabilitation (WFNR). So in short ASSBI is a great place to feel at home and reap the benefits that have been tailored just for you!

    The success and warmth within our society rests with numerous people and special 2018 thanks go to many of you. These include the amazing executive and committee members; our corporate partners Shine Lawyers who continue to give us such valuable support, the 2018 and 2019 conference committees; the outgoing student coordinator Ann Huang, her incoming counterpart Jonathan Reyes, and the student team leaders and ambassadors; all the contributors to our rich and varied workshop and webinar programme for 2018; and then of course there’s Margaret, our CEO without whom the ASSBI years would have long ago drawn to a shuddering halt!

    Warmest ASSBI wishes for the holiday season and a new year full of pleasant surprises all round!

    Best wishes to you all,
    Jacinta Douglas, President

  • 4 Dec 2018 08:57 | Anonymous

    Most people have been informed about their abstract submission and I'm just waiting for a few replies then the programme will be online and registration will open. I'll email you an invitation to register as soon as I can.

    Margaret (CEO and PCO)

  • 4 Dec 2018 08:55 | Anonymous

    ARTICLE (epub 2018; doi:10.1080/09602011.2018.1488746) – Neuropsychological Rehabilitation

    Tate RL, Wakim D, Sigmundsdottir L, Longley W.

    Evaluating an intervention to increase meaningful activity after severe traumatic brain injury:  a single-case experimental design with direct inter-subject and systematic replication. 

    What the study is about

    Many people with severe degrees of traumatic brain injury (sTBI) have limited participation: less than 50% return to work and around 80% show reduction in their leisure activity.  Our systematic review (Tate, Wakim & Genders, 2014) also showed that very few programmes are available to address non-vocational activity and occupation for people with sTBI who cannot return to work.  This study aimed to develop such a programme (which we called the Programme for Engagement, Occupation, and Activity, PEPA), and evaluate its efficacy.   The PEPA is a goal-directed intervention which comprises three stages: (i) in the initial set-up stage people with sTBI and clinicians work collaboratively to develop three goals in each of the domains of leisure, lifestyle and social; (ii) the next stage comprises 15 weekly, face-to-face, 1-hour sessions and between session homework; (iii) the final forward-planning stage commences in sessions 14 and 15, together with two booster sessions following programme completion. 

    What we did
    We conducted a series of single-case experiments, using a multiple-baseline design across behaviours in seven participants.  In this design, data on the primary outcome variables (in this case, the three target behaviours in the areas of leisure, lifestyle and social) were collected frequently, both during the 5-week pre-programme baseline and throughout the 15-week programme.  In this way, the participant serves as his or her own control.  The participants all had sTBI, and a range of cognitive and behavioural impairments, including clinically significant levels of apathy (lack of interest, enthusiasm for everyday activities).  None of the participants was working, but all lived in the community. Four participants were functionally independent, but the remaining three had substantial support needs which were provided by family.

    What we found
    Data were evaluated using structured visual analysis, supplemented with statistical analysis.  The PEPA was successful for six of the seven participants.  It was particularly effective for participants meeting their goals in the lifestyle and leisure areas.  Results from this study show that the PEPA is an effective intervention for increasing goal-directed activity levels in people with apathy after sTBI.

    The study was funded by the Lifetime Care and Support Authority of New South Wales, Australia, and the NHMRC Centre for Research Excellence in Psychosocial Recovery after TBI.  We acknowledge the advice provided by Dr Michael Perdices on data analysis, and the contributions of Ulrike Rosenkoetter, Janet Doubleday, Dr Amanda Lane-Brown, and Michelle Genders in the conduct of the study.

  • 4 Dec 2018 08:52 | Anonymous

    ASSBI and Corporate Partners Shine Lawyers recently partnered to host a series of workshops on the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) with a focus on eligibility, funding and appeals.

           The NDIS commenced its roll out in July 2016 to improve the wellbeing of those living with disability. With its introduction into different states, region by region over a period of time, and varying approaches to eligibility and funding, the scheme has raised many questions. The workshops were designed to equip ASSBI members and other health providers with a better understanding of the NDIS, explaining the levels of support available for clients and patients, and providing an opportunity for participants to raise questions.

           Nickelle Morris, Special Counsel from Shine Lawyers (who spoke in Brisbane) shared her views:

    “We received great feedback from the day including the information shared on case studies which provided insight on what is and is not acceptable by the Scheme and also the tips and tricks shared by Brooke Kooymans from a practical perspective.  Many attendees spoke about the delays with NDIS and the difficulties they’ve experienced dealing with the system. Through educating providers on the processes and procedures, we want to be able to reduce some of this frustration. Several participants commented that they walked away with some crucial learnings, which is really promising to hear.” 

    Libby Callaway, is a registered occupational therapist, and director of Neuroskills Pty Ltd. At Monash, (who spoke in Melbourne) also shared her views:

    It was fantastic to collaborate with Shine Lawyers and ASSBI to deliver an interdisciplinary workshop on the NDIS. As a clinician working with NDIS participants who is also a researcher leading investigations on NDIS policy and implementation, I was pleased to contribute my knowledge to assist workshop attendees to translate NDIS policy into practice. It was also great to be able to provide practical resources for clinicians to use when working with NDIS participants with acquired brain injury.

    Each workshop followed a two-prong approach, with legal experts from Shine talking through the applicable legislation supported by a sample of case law from reviews and appeals. This practical approach resonated with attendees as it put the aspects of the legislation into context. The second segment then provided a detailed practical explanation of the processes involved for health providers who are working with NDIS participants; this included a range of practical tips and tricks.

           The information provided at each event the country has been very well received by those in attendance. On behalf of Shine Lawyers and ASSBI, we’d like to express our sincere thanks to all of our presenters who generously gave up their time to deliver the workshops.  

           If you are interested in knowing more about the information discussed during the workshops please do not hesitate to reach out to Shine Lawyers.

    NOTE from ASSBI: If you are interested in buying an MP4 of any of the 4 Workshops email Margaret at admin@assbi.com.au

  • 3 Sep 2018 13:00 | Anonymous
    Welcome to September, so called because it was the 7th (septum) month of the 10-month Roman calendar that then became the 9th month of the 12-month Julian calendar when Julius Caesar added 2 more months, Jan and Feb, in 45BC. Why you ask, is Jacinta waffling on about calendars and months in the ASSBI newsletter? Well I don’t know about you but from my perspective, time now flies by so quickly that I reckon it’s about time we added another 2 months to the end of the calendar!! We could call them farbehindber and caughtupber! By the way, I think that Margaret, our CEO extraordinaire, already has 2 months hidden away somewhere because she ensures ASSBI has so much to offer our membership in any given year.

    Back in July, the real 7th month of the year, ASSBI members were out en masse showcasing ground-breaking research at the Neuropsychological Rehabilitation Special Interest Group (NR-SIG) meeting of the World Federation of Neurorehabilitation (WFNR) and the International Neuropsychological Society (INS) meeting in Prague. It never ceases to amaze me how impressively our doctoral candidates, and early, mid and established career researchers perform on the world stage – congratulations to all those who yet again demonstrated excellence in their fields.

    At the same time in Prague, ASSBI took the opportunity of entering into a formal agreement with INS by signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the two organisations. During the closing ceremony of the Prague meeting, myself as president of ASSBI and Keith Yeates as president of INS signed an MOU reflecting our societies’ mutual commitment to working together on matters of common concern and in the public interest. Indeed the Constitution of ASSBI and the Bylaws of INS share mutual objectives which include both organizations’ emphasis on multidisciplinary membership and the importance of their scientific, clinical, and educational missions and the MOU provides us with a framework to support ongoing cooperation.

    Thinking about our organisational partnerships, brings me to an important reminder: our 2019, 42nd Annual Brain Impairment conference will be held in Wellington in collaboration with the New Zealand Rehabilitation Association (NZRA) Biannual conference as the inaugural ASSBI NZRA Trans Tasman Conference AND the call for abstracts is now open. Our theme is A Call for Action, so take action now and submit you abstract HERE

    While we don’t have those extra 2 months I fantasised about at the beginning of my September President’s words, we do have plenty of upcoming activities and opportunities to keep members super active including 4 upcoming workshops on the NDIS (Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney), the 2nd (Sept) 2018 issue of Brain Impairment, resources to download or purchase and abstracts to submit.

    Best wishes to you all,
    Jacinta Douglas, President

  • 1 Sep 2018 11:12 | Anonymous

    The Call for Abstracts for #assbinzra2019 is now open, there are changes to how you submit so PLEASE go to the CONFERENCE SITE and read the Call for Abstracts thoroughly prior to submitting. We will be closing submissions on 19th October so don't delay submit today!

  • 5 Jun 2018 09:17 | Anonymous
    Every day we grieve the loss of our loved one, yet they survived the crash

    With the permission of her inspirational client, Shine Lawyers’ Solicitor Laura Hadfield has written this eye-opening article discussing what life can look like for families when a loved one has suffered a life-altering event. Bundaberg woman Rhiannon was kind enough to give an insight into her tragic accident, and the tough journey she has been on ever since. With the help of Shine Lawyers she is making progress, but it’s a path she never imagined her life would take. Click here to read Laura’s story.  

  • 5 Jun 2018 09:06 | Anonymous
    Back in the March edition of the newsletter, I began this column by commenting on the numerous exciting events ahead for 2018 including our 41st Brain Impairment Conference in Adelaide. Now in June, I can begin the column by reflecting not only on the wonderful success of the conference but also the enjoyment of Connecting and Collaborating that accompanied the event. Truly enormous thanks are due to Liz Williams and her team who worked tirelessly to produce a fabulous multifaceted experience for delegates. We had the privilege of being part of the “This is me” art exhibition which profoundly set the scene for the conference through sharing the work of South Australian artists and their stories of living with brain impairment. The artwork created such a strong feeling of connection and permeated the entire event. Caleb Rixon’s powerful personal keynote address set the programme proper off to an exceptional start from the insider’s perspective – wisdom and entertainment so skilfully crafted! Through workshops, keynote addresses, how to sessions and platform, datablitz and poster presentations, research, knowledge and skills were there to be sampled across the broad range of ASSBI interests. 

    I would also like to congratulate all our award winners announced at the conference. Our award winners are typically selected from an amazing field of candidates and this year was certainly no exception. ASSBI congratulations go to our 2018 winners.

    • ASSBI Early Career Clinical Innovation Award: joint winners Rebecca Andrews and Kate Gould.
    • The Douglas Tate Award for the best research paper published in 2017 in Brain Impairment was a tie between Renee Roelofs for her paper Roelofs, R., Wingbermühle, E., Egger, J., & Kessels, R. (2017). Social Cognitive Interventions in Neuropsychiatric Patients: A Meta-Analysis. Brain Impairment, 18(1), 138-173. doi:10.1017/BrImp.2016.31 and Nicholas Ryan for his paper: Ryan, N., Mihaljevic, K., Beauchamp, M., Catroppa, C., Crossley, L., Hearps, S., Anderson, V. (2017). Examining the Prospective Relationship between Family Affective Responsiveness and Theory of Mind in Chronic Paediatric Traumatic Brain Injury. Brain Impairment, 18(1), 88-101.
    • The Kevin Walsh award for the most outstanding Masters student: Kelly Stagg for her presentation “A scoping review of the working alliance in acquired brain injury rehabilitation”.
    • The Luria Award for the most outstanding doctoral candidate: Lee Cubis for his presentation “The importance of staying connected: mediating and moderating effects of social groups on psychological wellbeing after brain tumour”.
    • The Travel Award for students: Liz Williams for “Getting on the same wavelength: Clinician’s perspectives of the therapeutic alliance in community brain injury rehabilitation”.
    • The Mindlink Brightwater Award for Interdisciplinary research: Glenn Kelly for “The Building Bridges project: Linking disconnected service networks in ABI and criminal justice”.

    Now from looking back to our 41st conference it is time to look forward to 2019 and Wellington, NZ where we will be holding our 42nd Brain Impairment conference in collaboration with the New Zealand Rehabilitation Association (NZRA) Biannual conference as the inaugural ASSBI/NZRA Trans-Tasman Conference. The 2018 conference report and details for 2019 can be found on our website https://assbi.com.au/ASSBI-Conferences There is much else on offer as the year progresses so be sure to check out the professional development section of the newsletter.

    Learned societies like ASSBI are as strong as you the membership and particularly members who take on a significant role in the continuing work of the organisation. Prof David Shum is one of these generous colleagues and it is with sadness that I acknowledge David’s resignation from the ASSBI executive committee. David has made a substantial contribution to ASSBI over many years across multiple roles including that of President and former associate editor of Brain Impairment. David’s contribution to the work of ASSBI is acknowledged through his recognition as a Fellow of the society. David is returning to Hong Kong and while we will sorely miss him here in AUS, we look forward to our continuing connection and collaboration with him in Hong Kong.

    Warmest winter wishes to you all,
    Jacinta Douglas, President

  • 4 Jun 2018 15:41 | Anonymous
    Elizabeth Hill is a Speech Pathologist and PhD candidate at Curtin University in WA. she is is looking for people to complete a survey entitled:The assessment and management of discourse-level deficits in paediatric brain injury: a survey of current practice in Australia, New Zealand, UK, USA, Canada, and the Asia Pacific please CLICK HERE for information on the survey then click on the link.

    Survey link: https://tinyurl.com/ybm9662v


e: admin@assbi.com.au
t: +61 (0)425 220622

PO Box 64, 
NSW 2031

About the Society

Working together to improve the lives of people with brain impairment.

ASSBI is a multidisciplinary society dedicated to improving the quality of life of people with brain impairment and their families. 

Social Media &
Student Contact

Copyright © 2017 ASSBI
Website design: Advance Web Design
Privacy Policy | Terms of Use

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software