Around 90 people each year sustain a life changing, traumatic spinal cord injury and spend from 6 months to over a year in the Spinal Injuries Unit at the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Brisbane.
With young people (under 25 years) making up the most admissions, we’ve spent 30 years developing the SEAT program to help students make safe choices, for life. The award-winning program aligns with the national curriculum and is offered at no cost to schools.
Our presenters are local community members with spinal cord damage and a passion for education. This means they are best suited to delivering informative and engaging presentations on topics including:
- Road and water safety
- Dealing with peer pressure
- Making positive lifestyle choices
- How the spinal cord works
- Disability awareness
SEAT makes available free teacher resources that align with the national curriculum.
We’ve also created a SEAT one page flyer you can print and share.
What the program covers
The SEAT program for secondary school students covers:
- the anatomy and physiology of the spine
- the effects of a spinal cord injury
- the difference between paraplegia and quadriplegia
- risk factors for spinal cord and other traumatic injuries
- safety messages aimed at preventing spinal cord and other serious injuries
- the lifestyle challenges that people with a spinal cord injury face
- the positive inclusion of people with a disability into the community
Year 6: Making smart choices
The upper primary program features videos with real life, high risk scenarios. These scenarios, and the resulting discussions, highlight the dangers of peer pressure and focus on key safety messages about the importance of wearing a helmet, checking the water before jumping in, and wearing seat belts, to name a few.
This program also demonstrates how people with paraplegia or quadriplegia do everyday things. Students watch and discuss videos showing how people who use a wheelchair drive a car, go swimming, exercise and more.
Years 4-5: Do the right thing
The Year 4 and 5 students learn how to identify hazardous situations and how to respond to unsafe and emergency situations. They discover how the brain and spine work together; the difference between paraplegia and quadriplegia; and how to stay safe when riding a bicycle or swimming.
A fun, interactive game “Ring the Harm Alarm” also helps to reinforce safety messages.
Years Prep-3: Play by the rules
The students learn which people and things make environments and activities safe. They are also encouraged to think about and demonstrate how to promote personal safety and the safety of others.
Animated characters Ella and Jack lead the way with entertaining games and activities. The Prep-1 variation of the program includes a game of ‘Simon Says’ that helps to explain the function of the spine and spinal cord. Years 2-3 play a safety-themed word game to reinforce key messages.
The Department of Transport and Main Roads supports SEAT via a Community Safety Grant. Because road trauma is the cause of almost half of all traumatic spinal cord injuries, road safety is an integral part of what we do.
The Motor Accident Insurance Commission (MAIC) is another long-time and valued sponsor of the SEAT program. In the past, MAIC has also donated funds for vital equipment and to produce Community Service Announcements dedicated to injury prevention.