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Working together to improve the lives of people with brain impairment

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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.


Our friends at @The Brain Injury Association of Tasmania are launching an amazing project and initiative to assist people living with brain injury.
The National Assistance Card has key information about a person with brain injury, their disability related difficulties and ways they can be assisted.
The card can assist people with brain injury to feel more confident in everyday social situations, reduce the need for cardholders to continually explain the effects of their brain injury and increase community understanding of brain injury.
BIAT is currently accepting expressions of interest for the National Assistance Card ahead of its release in early December. 


Words from your President

It gives me considerable pleasure to start this entry with some good news. It looks like the wish expressed in the closing paragraph of my last ‘Word from the President’ was granted: With the help of a sustained and combined effort to promote the importance of COVID-19 vaccination and expanded infrastructure at multiple levels (federal, State, communities), the proportion of people fully vaccinated is reaching levels (80-90%) that are the envy of many countries around the world (although with considerable variability between urban and regional/remote areas). As a result, people living in Australia are slowly enjoying renewed freedom. Freedom to travel, freedom to engage in physical, social and sporting activities, and, most importantly, freedom to meet with loved ones, friends and families face to face. For many, it will also be the first opportunity to travel overseas and come back without having to quarantine in over 600 days.

 See news blog below or download the Newsletter to read the full story from Prof Olivier Piguet

Dr Dana Wong is now Associate Professor Dana Wong

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

Executive Officer's Report

Nominations are now open for ASSBI Committee, Treasurer and Secretary

 This link takes you to a nomination form. You have to be a financial member of ASSBI and be seconded by a financial member of ASSBI. To nominate for Secretary you have to be a resident of Victoria.

Cheers, Margaret Eagers, EO


  • 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

  • 17 Dec 2018 12:15 | Anonymous

    The conference programme is now online and REGISTRATION is open. CLICK here for more information

  • 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


e: admin@assbi.com.au
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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. 

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