BUSHkids Annual Report 2019-20

ANNUAL REPORT 2019–2020 TOPIC SECTION 53 MOUNT ISA • KINGAROY LOCATIONS This has enabled the team to develop warm referral pathways for families, being invited to attend joint team meetings, playgroups and the Ngukuthati Centre for much fruitful collaboration. During the COVID-19 restrictions the Mount Isa teams continued to deliver services to families and the community via teleHealth. Although many families had positive experiences with teleHealth, some were unable to engage with us due to lack of access to reliable equipment and internet; these families were prioritised once the Centre reopened to provide themwith face- to-face (F2F) support. Mount Isa • Case study 1: CAHS (OT) Helping reluctant cutters Children are often referred to BUSHkids OTs for difficulties with fine or gross motor skills which are impacting their schoolwork. When kids find holding a pencil, forming letters and fine motor tasks a challenge, it’s no surprise they develop a disinclination to write. Identifying these ‘reluctant writers’ and planning therapy that reduces tabletop work and engages the child through their interests has been essential in supporting families in Mount Isa. Therapy for six-year-old Jaden* has been focused on improving his fine motor strength and coordination. Jaden has ongoing difficulty with using scissors; his mum said he refused to use scissors at home and became upset during cutting activities at BUSHkids. However, Jaden’s mum embraced the concept of routines-based intervention, looking for opportunities within the family’s everyday activities to encourage him. She was able to use her own expertise as a hairdresser to tailor home practice for Jaden, allowing him to practice his cutting skills on a hairdressing mannequin. This really engaged him and a new-found desire to practice at home supported Jaden’s overall improvement in cutting skills, as well as offering opportunities to improve overall coordination and strength to support his fine motor skills beyond using scissors. Mount Isa • Case study 2: CAHS (OT) Helping reluctant writers Seven-year-old Kevin* was referred for OT support to improve his handwriting, which was slow and laborious because of his difficulties in forming letters. Kevin’s incorrect letter formation was longrunning, and he had previously received support at school from BUSHkids. From the OT’s first session, it was clear Kevin did not enjoy writing tasks and found them an unpleasant chore. Developing a tailored intervention plan around Kevin’s love of Pokémon became the key to engaging him in therapy! In sessions, Kevin and the OT worked together to develop resources and therapy specific to each letter. Rather than “around the ball and up the bat” the verbal prompt for ‘d’ became “around Dragonite’s belly and up to his head, then down to his tail”. Kevin was able to practice his writing between sessions with a scrapbook with a new Pokémon each day to write about and show in his regular OT sessions. Kevin handwriting has improved massively, but most of all his enthusiasm in sessions and willingness to practice at home has changed writing from a chore to a pleasure. Mount Isa • Case study 3: CAHS (multi) Managing Max’s Meltdowns Four-year-old Max* was referred to us for support with emotional regulation and speech difficulties. His mum and Kindy teachers reported having great difficulty managing his “outbursts” and “meltdowns” and expressed concerns regarding his social development and reluctance to take part in most activities. Max’s therapy sessions with our OT and SP commenced during the initial COVID-19 lockdown and were initially delivered via teleHealth. These were consultation-style sessions with Max’s mother, as Max was very hesitant to engage with the therapists via the video link. However, teleHealth offered a ‘fly on the wall’ opportunity to observe Max and his mother interact, and even observe him during a “meltdown”. Despite not being in the room, the OT was able to provide Max’s mum with almost- realtime ‘in the moment’ tips, techniques and strategies to manage his upset and then provide recommendations to support Max’s self-regulation and behavioural expression moving forward. Since then, Max’s mum says there has been a significant and ongoing improvement with not only his emotional regulation but also her ability to manage his meltdowns using the strategies provided via the teleHealth service. Max is participating more at kindy, trying new things and starting to engage with the other children. Following the return to F2F therapy, Max was excited to see the BUSHkids OT and SP in person! His mum credited some of this to the creative and engaging strategies used during his previous teleHealth sessions to build rapport with Max – such as drawing his favourite toys on the digital whiteboard, playing hide-and-seek and reading books together. Kingaroy • CPSS The staff now run five playgroups across the region and actively take part in local community groups such as the Under-4s Network , the 4610 Partnership and the Local Level Alliance meetings. Services necessarily went virtual during COVID-19 lockdown and our staff stepped-up their work supporting parents by ZOOM and over the phone. Relationships are key to the CPSS program and our aim was to maintain and to help underpin these throughout the COVID-19 lockdown period; through hard work this was a goal the Kingaroy team was able to successfully deliver! We were delighted to add Nicole Deed to the team as an EIF earlier this year, which has strengthened the team. Nicole had been a local kindergarten early educator, and since joining has made excellent connections with all of the early years centres in the region. Nicole knows from experience it can be daunting working in rural communities and has been keen to support those centres. Kingaroy • ECEI – see Hervey Bay https://bit.ly/2UPh2no

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