RISA Inc

Reflux Infant Support Association (RISA) inc

Who is RISA Inc?

The Reflux Infants Support Association (RISA) Inc is an Australian community support group that aims to encourage and give confidence and moral support to families of infants and children who have problems associated with Gastro-Oesophageal Reflux (GOR/reflux). It was formed in 1982 by a group of parents whose children suffered from ‘reflux’, and it continues to be run solely by volunteers who are parents of ‘reflux’ children. Those who have lived through the experience of caring for a “refluxer” can understand the anguish suffered by others and are best able to support these families. They are all too well aware of the effect it can have on both the child AND their family, and as a result, are all passionate about helping other Australian families cope with this sometimes insidious disease.

RISA Inc is supported by our Medical Advisory Panel, which consists of Paediatric Gastro-Enterologists, Paediatric Surgeons, several Paediatricians, an Allergist, and The Gut Foundation. We are thankful to them all for their support and advice in our endeavours, and we rely on them to ensure our information remains accurate and up-to-date.

We are also generously supported by Kimberly Clark, manufacturer of Huggies. Kimberly Clark have helped in many ways, including printing most of our literature, printing our quarterly newsletter and distributing it, improving our library resources, and providing publicity and support on their website.

Why the need for a support group?

The constant demands of a baby with ‘reflux’ may stretch the families’ patience and physical resources to the limit. Even if the ‘reflux’ is more of a nuisance than a medical condition, the child can be very challenging to care for, and an infant with ‘reflux’ may cause a lot of stress and concern within the family. Others will suffer from reflux that can be so bad it can take families to breaking point. Knowledge, understanding of the problem and support can help parents cope with a difficult situation, and enable them to make their baby more comfortable and manageable.

Parents of reflux children often believe they lack basic parenting abilities, and social isolation can also be a significant problem for parents of ‘reflux’ children. On top of all that, many find that their own families and friends offer them very little support or understanding.

How can RISA Inc help?

Support can give parents confidence in their own parenting ability, and provide hope that the situation can improve. Just being able to talk to someone else who understands what they are feeling, and what they are experiencing, is often a huge relief, and that in itself helps them feel more in control of the whole situation, and more able to cope. It offers enormous relief for them to know that reflux babies are often very high-needs babies, and that it isn’t unusual for family and friends to not understand how difficult and devastating this situation can be. It can help them feel that their situation is normal for ‘refluxers’, that they aren’t alone in this experience, and that they really ARE doing a great job at parenting their difficult baby. Sometimes parents of children with GOR need to hear those words before they can even start to believe that.

RISA Inc follows the guidance of our Medical Advisory Panel as we endeavour to keep our information as accurate and up-to-date as possible. There are a lot of misconceptions about reflux in the general community, and parents are often given conflicting advice. Having access to accurate information, and the confidence to trust their own instincts and parenting ability can help parents cope. It will potentially allow the family environment to be much more positive and nurturing so that every member of the family will have a far better quality of life.

What services are provided?

RISA Inc advises parents to seek a medical opinion, and then helps the family to cope with the day-to day pressures of living with a persistent refluxer. They offer a wide variety of support systems to be able to provide the necessary support to these families.

For non-members RISA Inc offers:

  • Telephone contact with other parents who have experienced reflux with their own child. The contacts take calls in their own homes. Callers do not require membership with their initial call;
  • A “Special Edition” newsletter for those whose child has been diagnosed with gastro-oesophageal reflux;
  • An information brochure for those whose child has NOT been diagnosed with reflux;
  • Coffee mornings;
  • Website;
  • Public education.

For financial members RISA Inc offers:

  • All the benefits as already mentioned, as well as:
  • Ongoing telephone contact for support;
  • An information booklet;
  • An invitation to join our online support groups for the duration of their membership;
  • Four “RISA NEWS” newsletters each year.
  • A library service;
  • Informal gatherings

How do I join?

Membership is $30 for 12 months membership.

Applications and payments can be made online at www.reflux.org.au/membership.php. Alternatively, the application can be sent to our postal address, along with a cheque or money order. Applications can be downloaded off our website, or can be found on page 2 of our Special Edition Newsletter, or on our Information Brochure.

Membership Renewals are $10 for each following year.

Donations

RISA Inc is a not-for-profit community organisation, and is a registered charity. All donations of $2 or more are tax deductible, and a receipt will be issued. Donations can be posted to us, or made online at the RISA website or on the Our Community website.

Further information

For further information, go to the RISA website or contact us by

  • Email: info@reflux.org.au
  • Telephone: (07) 3229 1090 (which at present is a Messagebank service. Please leave your details and a RISA Contact will get back to you)
  • Mail: PO Box 1598, Fortitude Valley, QLD 4006