Image from February 2021 Newsletter


Keep up-to-date. Read the latest news from IOE with the February 2021 edition of our monthly enewsletter.

Image from January 2021 Newsletter


Keep up-to-date. Read the latest news from IOE with the January 2021 edition of our monthly enewsletter.

Fred and his dog Gordon


Welcome to the new year. We can but hope that 2021 brings with it more opportunities and choices than the previous year.

2020 wasn’t all bad – my dog loved it! Gordon’s year consisted of a morning walk, breakfast, sleep, mid-day walk, sleep, dinner, evening run, sleep … repeat. There was a lot of pats, lots of meeting the neighbourhood dogs and lots of exploring new places.

My other 2020 highlights included the ranting Italian mayors yelling at their citizens to be safe, the random acts of kindness of people helping out – like the man who set up a grocery store at home so mother (who has dementia) could continue her usual routine. Then there was the person who went into a toy store in Brisbane and paid off all the lay-by debts ($16,000) in time for Christmas. The applause of health care workers at the end of their shifts in Spain; the singing in the streets in Italy; the distanced street dancing in England and the driveway ANZAC remembrance in Victoria.

2020 was a year where we discovered Zoom as a tool of connection. We had a 90th birthday and Christmas that zoomed family in Hong Kong and Queensland to include them in the celebration. Netflix did well; many discovered Schitt’s Creek as the best redemptive ‘hero’s journey’ tale ever told. We saw some hope for the future; South Australia was totally powered by solar energy for 24 hours. Then, a few days later 24 hours totally powered by wind turbines!

Adapt and Overcome

At IOE we witnessed the great work of our support workers continuing throughout the restrictions – dressed in their PPE space suits, their commitment and willingness to support families eased the challenges for many. We had our frequent flyers who flew to Orlando only to have the pandemic announced the day they left. They had a one day holiday then another flight back. Our group based programs ceased and the capacity to morph the service to provide connection with peers on line was a great achievement. We brought ‘rec-in-a-box’ packs, live music, Dungeons and Dragons and more into family homes. We witnessed leadership. Through coordinators supporting workers and families to navigate the challenges of COVID-19, to team leaders ensuring regular communication and connection with all team members and teams coming up with new ideas and ways to support people and families.

The Year Ahead

So to 2021 and whilst the world news to date hasn’t been great, we can but hope that we continue to achieve and enjoy whatever the year brings. There is hope that corrupt, racist, populist right wing governments have had their day; that there are more leaders that take responsibility rather than blame others; and that the essence of humanity (kindness, fairness and justice) continues to rise above the selfish, blame based culture that has been so much part of the mainstream discourse.

At IOE we are looking to start the year with a return to some group based services. Our camps and recreation groups are back, we are planning for activities – adult day service, Family Camps, sibling support, carer support groups, etc. all to return, albeit under the guidelines of COVID Normal. We may have to wait a little longer for all services to return but the anticipation will bring greater satisfaction!

2021 will bring what it brings. We will adjust, adapt and continue to focus on what we do … sort of exciting really!




Keep up-to-date. Read the latest news from IOE with the December 2020 edition of our monthly enewsletter.


A key role of the IOE Board of Management is to work with the Chief Executive Officer to set the organisation’s strategic direction. After successful transitioning to NDIS over the past two years, the board recognised early in 2020 that is was time to review these strategies for the next phase of development. Together the board began work on the Strategic Plan 2020-2023 project.
The aim was to create a formal, yet easy to understand strategic plan that would outline what IOE will aim to achieve over the next three years and beyond. After a competitive tender process, consulting firm Spark Strategy was chosen to work with IOE to facilitate the planning process with input from all levels of the organisation.

Through a process of review, consultation and discussion, the fundamental statements of the agency were developed and our BELIEFS, PILLARS and PRIORITIES were set out. These will define the agency’s activities and development over the coming years.
  1. Listen and Collaborate

    We work with the IOE community, not to or for them. Transparency, seeking feedback and ideas, and creating an open, welcoming environment.

  2. Financial Sustainability

    We are a for-purpose organisation, not a for-profit one. Yet we need to be financially viable to deliver services, and have the flexibility to innovate and invest, in support of our purpose.

  3. Adapt & Innovate

    We try new things, we learn and we move forward. It’s about looking for better ways of working, both big and small.

Great Team
  • Increase diversity and inclusion at all levels
  • Invest in training and learning opportunities for existing and new team members
  • Develop a mentoring program
  • Protect our values and culture
  • Conduct an effective volunteer program that provides a range of options for volunteers to be engaged with the service
  • Develop a mix of casual and permanent positions based on individual choice and career paths.
  • Explore initiatives and partnerships with education and services providers to increase recruitment
Highest Quality
  • Ensure quality is part every member of our team’s role
  • A strong consultative approach with families, individuals and communities so our services are more relevant
  • Look for continual improvements and innovations in our services
  • Bolster our digital systems and capabilities, to enable a seamless and efficient service delivery experience.
  • Explore ways to meaningfully engage with those in our community who we don’t often or normally hear from.
  • Develop and strengthen our hub model.
  • Invest in our facilities, equipment and environmental sustainability as we grow
Increase Access
  • Grow current services and develop effective referral pathways to better meet community demand.
  • Listen to and communicate with all parts of our community so we understand their needs, and so they know about us and what we offer.
  • Deliver inclusive services that are responsive to cultural diversity, sexuality, and other demographic factors and life experiences.
  • Develop partnerships with groups or foundations to create and deliver services
  • Design and trial new services for children and young people with disabilities to address the needs of families and individuals.
  • Strengthen mutually beneficial collaborations with values-aligned service providers, both in the disability and other sectors.
The IOE Strategic Plan 2020-2023 was completed during the COVID-19 crisis period and was formally handed down, together with the Annual Report 2019-2020, at the annual general meeting on Tuesday 24 November 2020. As we come out of COVID-19, having been through one of the toughest challenges we have faced as an agency and a community, the Strategic Plan now paves the way for IOE to evolve and develop into the future.


Keep up-to-date. Read the latest news from IOE with the November 2020 edition of our monthly enewsletter.


Porn Is Not The Norm (PINN) is a multi-strategy initiative that seeks to prevent pornography’s harms to young people with Autism. The project aims to equip young people and their parents, carers and teachers to understand pornography’s prevalence and impacts, and how they can safely navigate healthy and respectful relationships.

Interchange Outer East (IOE) is proud to announce that the Porn Is Not The Norm project is a recipient of the 2020 Impact Grants Program scale grant from the Westpac Foundation. The 2020 Impact Grants Program supports organisations that are helping to protect and create safer communities for children in Australia, with a focus on helping prevent the sexual exploitation and abuse of children.

Over a three year period, PINN will help equip parents, carers, teachers and workers of young people with autism to understand pornography’s impacts on them and how they can address them. It will support them to have conversations that build young people’s critical skills about pornography and promote sexual safety and respect. 

Pornography and Autism

Pornography has become the default sexuality educator. This leads to serious implications for young people’s capacity to develop safe, respectful, mutual and consenting sexual behaviour. For young people with autism, pornography’s influence can be even more challenging.

Characteristics commonly found in individuals with autism such as social naivety, literal and logical ways of thinking, obsessive tendencies and difficulty interpreting social cues – can make this group extremely vulnerable to the impact of pornography. At its worst, pornography exposure can increase the likelihood of individuals becoming victims or perpetrators of sexual crime.

The Consortium

Following the success of preliminary parent and carer information sessions, a consortium was established to scale and expand this vital work nation wide. A consortium of parties with diverse and complementary expertise, resources and networks in areas including disability services, autism, pornography, violence prevention, resource development, training delivery and film production will deliver the PINN project over three years. Consortium members include:

Activities and Outcomes

Interchange Outer East, together with the consortium partners, are grateful for the support of the Westpac Foundation for this project. With $300,000 per year over three years, together with in-kind contributions from consortium partners, PINN will deliver of a series of educational events around Australia and develop online versions of the events. Several other components of PINN involve the development of autism-focused adaptations of successful resources developed through ITWT, including:

  • Education resources addressing pornography’s influence specifically for use with Autistic young people. Encompassing school, home and community settings, this will be modelled on ITWT’s school resource, In The Picture; currently used in over 300 Australian schools and organisations.
  • An autism-specific website, based on ITWT’s website;
  • A social media strategy building on the social media presence and contacts of all consortium members; and
  • High quality video components for each PINN element. This will build on ITWT’s extensive use of video, one of which has been broadcast in 35 countries.

Ultimately, a key anticipated outcome for the project is a reduction in pornography’s negative impacts on young people with Autism. A particular focus is the extent to which young people with Autism become victims or perpetrators of sexual crimes. This extends to the associated pain experienced by victims, perpetrators and their families.

Staying Informed

The project will sit within the Specialised Services Team at IOE for overall coordination. The project coordination team will share progress updates on the IOE website in its initial stages in order to share project social media and website details when they become available. We encourage all families, educators, carers and practitioners, as well as young people with autism to follow its progress. 

Porn Is Not The Norm has been made possible by a 2020 Westpac Impact (Scale) Grant. Find out more about other deserving 2020 grant recipients and projects HERE.


Keep up-to-date. Read the latest news from IOE with the October 2020 edition of our monthly enewsletter.