About SpinChat

The SpinChat program aims to raise awareness, promote prevention and educate secondary students about spinal cord injury. The program sees young people with a spinal cord injury (SCI) and in wheelchairs, visit high school students* to talk about life before their injury, the cause of their injury, and life since. A strong focus of the presentation is on risk minimisation and the consequences of careless or high-risk activities such as dangerous driving or diving into shallow waters.The SpinChat program is now in its third year, and has visited over 15,000 Victorian secondary students so far.

The facts

The statistics around spinal cord injury reveal just how important programs such as SpinChat are for secondary school students:

  • Those at highest risk of suffering a spinal cord injury are aged between 15-24 years old (80% male, 20% female)
  • The most common causes of spinal cord injury are preventable
  • There is no cure for a spinal cord injury
  • 350 to 400 new cases of spinal cord injury are reported in Australia each year; that’s more than one every day

With high school students amongst those at highest risk of acquiring a spinal cord injury, the SpinChat program aims to convey to students the only way to prevent a spinal cord injury is to minimise risk.

What to expect

Typically, a SpinChat session lasts between 45-60 minutes. However this can be tailored to suit your specific timetable requirements. Sessions include a short introductory DVD, the speaker sharing their personal story and experiences of spinal cord injury, and time for questions from students. Accompanying the program is a teacher’s pack containing extension activities, a speaker biography and further information about spinal cord injury.

 *Note – while the program is aimed at year 11 students, the program can be tailored to other year levels