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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.

Words from your President

I am writing this column fresh out of our 45th ASSBI Brain Impairment annual conference. Nominally held in Perth, the conference took place online due to uncertain COVID-19 related restrictions in Western Australia, limiting travel and gatherings of large crowds. But what a conference this was! The meeting was a resounding success, and I would like to congratulate the conference organising committee led by Janet Wagland and Michelle Kelly and supported by Margaret Eagers and MERS Events.

See news blog below or download the June Newsletterto read the full story from Prof Olivier Piguet

NEXT 60 min WEBINAR on 24th June 2022
Dr Kate Gould will be presenting a webinar entitled What are we doing to help people with brain injury stay safe online?  with Colin Brokenshire and Jao Caminati


Executive Officer's Report


You must be a financial member of ASSBI, be nominated by an ASSBI member and be seconded by an ASSBI Committee Member.

Cheers, Margaret Eagers, EO

ASSBI 46th Conference in DARWIN in May 2023
The ASSBI conference will be brought to you face to face in the Northern Territory by co-convenors Drs Barbra Zupan and Lizzie Beadle

We say goodbye and thank you to Jessica Barnes
and hello to Dr Elise Elbourne and Dr Sharon Savage

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 I'LL HELP


  • 1 Dec 2019 10:38 | Anonymous

    Our wonderful Social Media Officer Dr Lizzie Beadle has got married – congratulations Lizzie and Mark

  • 16 Oct 2019 11:44 | Anonymous

    In the October issue  of the Monash-Epworth Rehabilitation Research Centre they discuss the conferences that MERRC academics, clinicians and students have attended and presented at. They celebrate their award winners, and outline recent publications. Click here to view HEADlines for October 2019

  • 2 Sep 2019 12:00 | Anonymous

    We have a new helper, Matthew has been recruited to help Margaret keep the website updated and is doing a great job. He has also got us very close to having the Online Store ready to go.

            Signing in whether you are a member or not will give you the opportunity to update your own information including your email address. It will also give you access to Brain Impairment if you are a member. If you want to change your email address login with your old email address or email Matthew to change it prior to you logging in. https://www.assbi.com.au

            We would like to collect stats such as your discipline and where you come from to get a better idea of our community.

            When your membership is due you will receive a couple of reminder emails and you can renew and pay online by Visa, MasterCard and PayPal if you have an account. You can also transfer your fees via the bank – if you do this email Margaret so she can put your payment through. NO CHEQUES PLEASE.

    If you have anything you wish to go onto the site or have any feedback please email me at admin@assbi.com.au.

    Matthew, Webmaster’s sidekick

  • 2 Sep 2019 11:30 | Anonymous

    I am writing my President’s report for this issue of ASSBI’s Newsletter just as Brain Injury Awareness Week (19-26 August 2019) is drawing to a close.  Acquired brain injury is often thought of as synonymous with traumatic brain injury arising from an external cause, but it includes a wider range of neurological conditions, such as stroke, brain tumour, hypoxia, degenerative disorders, cerebral infections.  Raising awareness about brain injury is important.  As we know, acquired brain injury is often described as the “invisible disability” or the “hidden epidemic”.  If signs and symptoms of acquired brain injury are not recognised by the general public, then interactions with the public can be misinterpreted as antisocial (cf. impaired self-regulation), drunken (cf. ataxic gait and slurred speech), rude and crude (cf. poor social skills, tactless communication). 

    ASSBI uses a number of strategies to raise awareness.  Our Social Media team, headed by Dr Elizabeth (Lizzie) Beadle and Travis Wearne, has the most specific brief.   As Lizzie explains, “we recognize social media platforms as opportunities to engage not just the ASSBI community but also the public in general. One of the social media platforms we use is Twitter. Twitter is a ‘micro-blogging’ system where individuals can send and receive short posts. Twitter has become increasingly popular with academics, students, policymakers, politicians, and the general public. In healthcare, Twitter is used to connect researchers, health care providers, and consumers.”  Indeed, Twitter is popular, and it does connect. 

    As part of Brain Injury Awareness Week, Lizzie and Travis seized the opportunity to use ASSBI’s established Twitter platform as a way to connect with others on this year's topic of Brain Tumour Awareness. They asked one of ASSBI’s advanced student members, psychologist Lee Cubis, to “takeover" the Twitter platform for the week and discuss his research in brain tumour and engage the community more broadly.  Lee reported that the strategy generated conversations about acquired brain injury, and specifically brain tumour.  Importantly it facilitated direct connections between people with brain injury and researchers.  Lee commented that it “led to some good, meaningful conversations that I think both sides appreciated”. Lizzie and Travis are compiling a list of people who wish to assist with future “ASSBI Twitter takeovers”, so do contact them if you are interested.

    Speaking of Twitter, readers should know about a mixed-methods study hot off the press (published in the June issue of ASSBI’s journal, Brain Impairment) by ASSBI member, Melissa Brunner, and her colleagues (Bronwyn Hemsley, Stuart Palmer, Leanne Togher and Stephen Dann), entitled: ”If I knew what I was doing on Twitter then I would use it more”: Twitter experiences and networks of people with traumatic brain injury (TBI) (see DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/BrImp.2019.12).  Of course, the issue of cyberbullying is a down-side of social media and has had currency in the recent press. People with brain injury may be particularly vulnerable to cyberbullying - see also Melissa’s associated paper (Int J Lang Comm Dis, 2019, 54(2), 221-223) which, inter alia, discusses risks of social media.   Our ASSBI colleague in Melbourne, Dr Kate Gould, has been working with clients on the issue of cyberbullying and she runs advocacy training on the topic (see this Newsletter for further details). 

    Social media stands in contrast to scientific journals which generally provide very limited and not readily accessible opportunities for consumers to join the conversation.   It provides powerful ways for researchers and clinicians to engage with and hear from consumers in an informal environment, as well as for consumers to have a voice and share experiences with each other.  And as this report shows, ASSBI and its “rising stars” are at the very forefront of important work in this area.

    My very best wishes to you all,

    Robyn Tate


  • 2 Sep 2019 11:19 | Anonymous

    Our website has been improved to provide more information about all our products (check it out!) and to make it more accessible to people searching for evidence based resources on-line.  We have now introduced PDF versions of most of our products for local buyers as well as overseas. These cost less than the printed versions making them even more affordable. With 10% off for ASSBI and INS members, there is simply no reason not to stock up!

    We are also excited to announce the publication of TBI ConneCT.  This program is based on the very successful TBI Express program but is suitable for use with individuals.  We have another manual in the works: PEPA – for assisting people with ABI increase their activity levels and meaningful goals. Watch this space as it will be available soon.

    In another initiative, we have partnered with eValorix, a Canadian on-line company, to sell our MEC manual. Hopefully, this will provide a greater reach for this ASSBI Resource and is a toe in the water for us in terms of trying out international distribution networks. 

    Last but not least we are now selling MP4s of previously recorded Workshops and Webinars  - have a look

  • 2 Sep 2019 11:08 | Anonymous

    2017 and 2018 Workshops and 2019 webinars are available for download as video files


    Jessica Trevena-Peters, Jennie Ponsford, Adam McKay, Dana Wong and Neera Kapoor have all presented full day training workshops and 90 min webinars late in 2017 through to July 2019.  If you missed this Continuing Education the first time around and would like to access it now please go to the website and order one or all of them. Alinka Fisher’s workshop will also be available shortly. CLICK HERE TO BUY

  • 1 Jun 2019 11:04 | Anonymous

    We are very pleased to announce the appointment of new Associate Editor of Brain Impairment. Dr Cynthia Honan from the University of Tasmania has joined the Editorial team and we look forward to working with her alongside our other Associate Editor, Petrea Cornwell.

    The next issue of Brain Impairment due for publication in September will be a special issue on Brain Impairment in Indigenous Populations. Dr India Bohanna, our guest editor, has compiled a series of cutting edge research papers from Australia and Canada addressing contemporary issues for Indigenous people with brain injury. This special issue will be the first of its kind and ASSBI members are encouraged to check the Table of Contents when they arrive in your in box.

    Grahame Simpon & Jenny Fleming

  • 1 Jun 2019 11:04 | Anonymous

    Nicci Grace welcomed Marlon into the world last month. Congratulations from all of us here at ASSBI

  • 1 Jun 2019 08:28 | Anonymous

    It is a great honour, and with such pleasure, that I take on the presidency of ASSBI.  In so doing, I thank my predecessor, Professor Jacinta Douglas, under whose sage stewardship the Society has flourished.   She has also been a wonderful role model while I wore my ‘training wheels’ during my two-year term as president-elect of ASSBI. 

    Let me introduce myself: I initially worked in clinical practice as a clinical neuropsychologist at Lidcombe Hospital in Sydney for 15 years, before moving to the University of Sydney where I held academic appointments;  first, in the Department of Psychology for 7 years and subsequently in the Faculty of Medicine at the John Walsh Centre for Rehabilitation Research for the past 20 years.   I have been a member of ASSBI since its inception in the 1970’s, and together with Jacinta Douglas, was founding co-editor of the Society’s journal, Brain Impairment, for 16 years.

    Thinking about the early days of ASSBI, I still vividly remember attending the very first two-day Brain Impairment Workshop organised by Dr Kevin Walsh in 1976 and held in Melbourne, where I was introduced to the fascinating world of neuropsychology.  There were several annual two-day meetings, which subsequently became the ongoing yearly conference.  The first workshop was a mega-dose from the Melbourne heavy-weights of neuroanatomy, neuropathology, neurology, and neuropsychology … and some very medically-oriented rehabilitation.  The second conference spread its wings, with an invited keynote speaker (Professor Arthur Benton, USA; followed the next year by Professor Jacques Barbizet, France), allied health representation, and inter-state speakers - and that conference format has served ASSBI well for the subsequent 40 years.  Over those years, an interesting observation is how the conferences have gone from a largely neuropsychological diagnostic perspective to a broad-based, multi-disciplinary society that embraces rehabilitation.  I, for one, like that development!

    From the sole event of an annual conference, ASSBI has blossomed into a vibrant, multi-faceted organisation. ASSBI members are continually coming up with innovative ideas that generally take off like a rocket, such as the burgeoning ASSBI Resources, initiated and fostered by Professor Skye McDonald.  This repository now boasts numerous treatment manuals and tests, which aid evidence-based clinical practice. Another example is the BRAINSPaN brain-child of Drs Dana Wong, Emmah Doig and Joanne Steele.   Their community of practice, initiated in 2017, has been enthusiastically received, with a membership of some 700.  Dana and Joanne gave an inspiring presentation at the recent ASSBI conference, encouraging us all to consider more regular postings to increase engagement. 

    And speaking of annual conferences, wasn’t the recent inaugural combined meeting of ASSBI (42nd conference) with the New Zealand Rehabilitation Association a resounding success!  Convened by Professor William Levack, and held in a remarkably windless Wellington, New Zealand, the conference was a wonderful mix of keynote speakers, workshops, how-to sessions, platform presentations data-blitzes, and posters, student events and awards, and of course, lots of opportunity for networking.  And not forgetting those fascinating story-boards!  The ASSBI Fellowship of Professor Tamara Ownsworth was announced at the conference.  Congratulations, Tamara!  

    As you will read in the Newsletter, there were a number of changes to the composition of the ASSBI Executive Committee at the AGM.  Now that I am president of ASSBI, Jacinta has moved to the position of past-president, and Tamara who previously held that position has moved to Committee member.   We are delighted to welcome Professor Olivier Piguet as president-elect of ASSBI, Ms Miriam Poole as Treasurer and Drs Lizzie Beadle, Travis Wearne and Barbara Zupan as Committee members.   Dr Michael Perdices and Professor David Copland stood down from the Executive Committee and we extend our sincere thanks to them for their work for ASSBI during their tenure.

    ASSBI wants to encourage and harness the multitude of talent held by members of the Society.  In that context, if you have ideas on contributions or innovations, I’d love to know about them.  My door is always open.

    My best wishes to you all, Robyn Tate, President  

  • 4 Mar 2019 11:28 | Anonymous

    Welcome to our first newsletter for 2019 and my last as President of this wonderful society. To get our brains buzzing I thought it would be fun to start with a quirky quiz. But before we embark on that quirky quiz, here’s a wee dose of useless knowledge on the origin of the word ‘quiz’.

    • Fanny Burney (the English satirical novelist) appears to be the first to have used the word ‘quiz’. She used it to describe ‘an odd or eccentric person’ in her diary entry for 24 June 1782. Unfortunately, I don’t know who she was talking about, do you?
    • In 1790, children playing with a yo-yo-like toy were playing with a ‘quiz’.
    • Use of ‘quiz’ meaning to question or interrogate emerged in the 1850s and gave rise to today’s use of the term to describe entertainment based on a test of a person’s knowledge.

    So with this questionably interesting background knowledge, we are now here at the 2019 ASSBI Quiz, the ultimate test of the ASSBI member’s contemporary knowledge.

    Question 1: Which country has the highest animal to human ratio in the world?

    Question 2: What is the southernmost capital city in the world?

    Question 3: What country was the first to give women the right to vote?

    Question 4: What city was the world’s first to build a fully fenced urban ecosanctuary?

    Question 5: What country is the first in the world to see a new day?

    Question 6: What city will hold the best conference in the world in May 2019?

    Question 7: Have you registered to be at the best conference in the world in May 2019, in the southernmost capital city in the world and the first to build an ecosanctuary, in the first country to give women the vote and the first to welcome a new day?

    Having masterfully navigated your way through my quizzical method to remind you to register for our inaugural ASSBI and NZRA Trans-Tasman Conference in Wellington, New Zealand, I hope your answer to question 7 is Yes I wouldn’t miss it for the world! or No but I will be registering before the earlybird deadline on 31 March because I wouldn’t miss it for the world! It will be so lovely to see you there!

    As we accelerate through the year and the decade, I am struck by the many challenges faced by the people I work with who are living with the consequences of severe brain impairment, many of whom are negotiating the changing service sector defined by the National Disability Insurance Scheme. In this challenging context, our conference theme certainly strikes a powerful chord of relevance. The conference theme centres on the World Health Organization's Rehabilitation 2030 strategy: A Call for Action. This theme highlights many issues including raising awareness about rehabilitation, making rehabilitation accessible and affordable, meeting unmet needs, reducing health inequalities, and providing effective, responsive services. It reflects the importance of working collaboratively, proactively and creatively and making a difference across practice, service and political spheres. ASSBI continues to support us in facing these issues through many of our endeavours from professional development through research dissemination to resource production. So don’t forget to keep an eye on our website to stay up to date with ongoing developments in all of these areas through the year.

    In closing, I hope the year has started and continues to progress well for you all.

    Warmest wishes,
    Jacinta Douglas, President


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