Feature article Health

Dyslexic children can have fruitful and gifted lives


Andrew has five children; two of his sons have been diagnosed with dyslexia. He and his wife realised that both boys needed assessment as they were falling behind at school, specifically in reading and writing. Four years ago, his then nine-year-old son Jude, already diagnosed with ADHD, found out he also had dyslexia. His seven-year-old brother Kevin was likewise identified with dyslexia a year ago. Dyslexia is not a disease; it is a brain-based condition often inherited. Children with the disorder have trouble reading, converting letter symbols to their correct sound (decode) and spelling, converting sounds to their valid written…

Meals are much more than calories


WORLD Food Day, an initiative of the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, aims to tackle and eradicate hunger worldwide, is celebrated globally on October 16. According to a government paper Identifying and responding to food insecurity in Australia released in 2020, estimates suggest between 4 per cent and 13 per cent of the general population and 22 to 32 per cent of the Indigenous population, depending on location, experienced food insecurity. Food insecurity is being without reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food. FareShare, a not-for-profit organisation, rescues surplus food and cooks free, nutritious…

Heart Foundation says women over 45 need Heart Health Check


IN December 2018, what started as heartburn within minutes became mortally serious for Sharon Kort. She began to lose feeling in her arms while filling her car with petrol after a hard gym session. “By the time they were making my coffee I was dry reaching; the lady behind the counter said I was grey [and] really dripping in sweat,” Mrs Kort said. “She just mouthed ambo to me and I just remember nodding.” In the ambulance, paramedics tried to fix monitors to her skin but the sweat was so profuse that nothing would stick. “Even then I was thinking…

Cancer Council works towards making Gabi’s wish come true


TODAY is Daffodil Day and Dawn Cunningham, diagnosed with breast cancer in 2011, is on a mission. She is honouring her late son and mother’s memory, who both passed away from cancer, to encourage Australians to donate to Cancer Council to fund life-saving cancer research. Ms Cunningham, from Torquay in Victoria, lost her only son Gabi to Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma when he was just 14-years-old. “He was taken away from me after only 14 years,” she said. “It was much too short a time, but they were the most precious years of my life.” She finds August difficult as it is…

Aphasia: a little known speech condition that cripples lives


Speech Pathology Week, from 22-28 August, aims to raise awareness of communication disability for the 1.2 million Australians who struggle to converse. SEVENTY-year-old David George*, a retired naval architect of 45 years, suffered a stroke during his sleep.   The next morning he was on the phone with his son. His wife, Michaela, noticed his garbled speech and rushed him to hospital. “I experienced no pain,” Mr George said. “I just had a sense of total confusion. I didn’t know who I was or where I was; it was very scary.” Mr George now suffers from aphasia, which affects a…

You don’t have to have an addiction to have an overdose


SUSAN* had a two-year-old daughter when her partner died from an accidental overdose 20 years ago. Every accidental overdose death is preventable is the mantra of International Overdose Awareness Day, an annual global event held on Tuesday 31, August. The Day is for people like Susan who have lost a loved one, friend or family member to remember them and to work on reducing the stigma associated with drug-related deaths. Susan said it was tough to deal with her devastating loss and lied about his death, saying he was killed in a car accident. “The thing I’ve found over the…

Hope for healing anxiety lies in therapy, not just medication


ANXIETY Disorders Week, which commenced on Wednesday, 4 August, aims to raise awareness of these debilitating conditions and learn from people who suffer how best to offer help, support, and treatment. Lyn English is a long-time health and mental health consumer consultant. In 2020, she was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia for years of service to groups like the Mental Health Coalition of South Australia, having contributed as a board member since 2004. Lyn’s decades of selfless dedication to the cause of high-quality, dignified mental healthcare make her a living national treasure. But what sets her apart…