BUSHkids Annual Report 2019-20

28 ANNUAL REPORT 2019–2020 CASE STUDIES FROM WARWICK BUSHKIDS TELEHEALTH Struggling Sarah* Six-year-old Sarah, her mum Ellen and dad Steve live in the Southern Downs. The family worked with Annelie and Hannah from our Warwick team via teleHealth for Occupational Therapy and Speech Pathology support. Sarah needed help with attention and concentration as she was falling behind at school. “Sarah was struggling and because of her age we couldn’t get other services,” said Steve. “The teacher recommended BUSHkids to us.” Sarah first met Annelie at school, then COVID-19 forced all appointments to be switched to teleHealth, which Sarah’s mum and dad were happy to try. Sarah had two sessions each week, one for helping her learn to concentrate with sensory processing strategies, the other for language and comprehension. Ellen and Steve had noticed a few things that weren’t the same as other children of Sarah’s age, thinking that some of her behaviours were typical for a girl her age. “They explained that there might be other things going on, and I was like that at her age,” said Steve. “It was all put into perspective for us, they helped us make sense of it all.” “BUSHkids’ support was really good, Annelie and Hannah made it easy for us to understand why they were doing the things they were with Sarah,” said Ellen. Both TeleHealth and using ZOOM were also new for Sarah and her parents, and, after a few initial hiccups with internet connectivity, it worked well for the family. “Sarah couldn’t wait to see Miss Annelie and Miss Hannah each week, and they both knew how to make the sessions fun. They could see when Sarah was getting a bit distracted and turned the activities into a game.” Each session, Hannah and Annelie worked with Sarah for a few activities, then spent time talking through the sessions with her mum and dad. They said that Ellen and Steve did a great job doing homework, and by the end of therapy were a lot more aware of Sarah’s challenges and knew how to best support her. Communicating with Edward* Edward, aged three, and his mother Amy worked with Warwick’s Speech Pathologist Hannah via teleHealth to help Edward’s communication and language. He is a shy boy, and didn’t speak much, even at his weekly family catch-ups with all his cousins. His mum was concerned that he wasn’t talking as well as other kids of the same age. “As an only child, I wasn’t sure if it was an issue or not,” said Amy. “I could understand most of what Edward was saying but the rest of the family could only understand him about 40% of the time. Edward would get frustrated when he couldn’t say words.” Edward and Amy had a block of teleHealth sessions with Hannah, and Amy said that after only two sessions, plus homework in between, she was noticing significant improvements in Edward’s speech. “The family noticed it quite quickly, I was expecting it to take some time, but after the second time with Hannah they could all understand him much better.” Amy also found having sessions via teleHealth suited Edward: “I wondered if there was going to be a difference between going in to BUSHkids versus teleHealth and it didn’t seem to make a difference. Edward was in his own environment and more comfortable and relaxed to just be Edward. Kids will open up more at home and be themselves which is what you need to help them.” Even long after sessions with Hannah had finished, Amy has noticed how Edward has grown in confidence and become a little chatterbox. “I was concerned he wouldn’t interact with his peers, and shyness was also an issue but I really wasn’t sure if it was his shyness or his difficulty communicating that was stopping him interacting with other kids. But at the shops the other day he was saying ‘hi’ to people walking by and to the cleaning lady, which was something he had never done before. The BUSHkids team in Warwick were great and have helped Edward so much.” “I would definitely use teleHealth again. It really helped Edward and I recommend it to other families.”

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