BUSHkids Annual Report 2020-2021

Filling the gap Prior to the roll out of the EarlyStart team, the work of our BUSHkids NDIS ECEI teams focused heavily on supporting children and families to access therapy supports via the National Disability Insurance Scheme. Although the reasons for this were largely outside of our control as an organisation, we wanted to do better. BUSHkids recognised that there was inequity between which of our ECEI teams had access to Allied Health services, and that there were no formal operational processes in place for Allied Health staff to provide support across regions. Where Allied Health services were available, waiting lists were long and retention of skilled staff was a concern. By identifying the gap, we were able to create the EarlyStart team to start to begin to fill it. Launching the team To launch the EarlyStart team, an orientation workshop was held in February 2021 at Central Queensland University, Bundaberg. The workshop provided a wonderful opportunity for the team to meet each other in person and begin to build a positive and collaborative team culture. The workshop included BUSHkids history and values, as well as learnings in early intervention best practice, transdisciplinary practice and teleHealth. Importantly, the workshop provided valuable training in new operational processes that would lay the foundation for team members to successfully provide coordinated and centralised services across all of our NDIS ECEI regions. The journey of a family Children with identified delays in their development are eligible to access support with the EarlyStart team via a referral from their BUSHkids NDIS ECEI regional team. Families are matched with their EarlyStart key worker based on their geographical location and the presenting developmental concerns of their child. Once matched, an EarlyStart key worker will meet with the family to discuss their concerns for their child in more detail. The key worker and parent/carer will make a plan together of what skills they would like to work on and how they are going to achieve them. Our best practice Early Childhood Intervention The EarlyStart team uses a best-practice model of support based on national guidelines published by Early Childhood Intervention Australia (ECIA). 1 • Family Centred and Strengths Based We recognise that parents and carers are central in a child’s life. We work alongside families to ensure we are respecting their priorities and choices in intervention for their child. We focus on what each child can do, rather than what they can’t, and use these existing strengths to support the ‘next step’ in a child’s development. 2 • Culturally Responsive We offer flexible and inclusive supports that respect each family’s culture, language and socioeconomic circumstances. 3 • Inclusive and Participatory We support children to participate in a meaningful way and feel accepted within their local community. 4 • Engage the Child in Natural Environments We support children to learn and practise new skills within their daily routines at home, childcare, school and out in the wider community. 5 • Collaborative Teamwork We utilise a transdisciplinary key worker model. A key worker acts as a single support person who walks alongside families, ensuring all decisions are made together as a team. Transdisciplinary means that our key workers each have a core set of early childhood skills that they can draw upon. Where needed, the key worker will incorporate the specialist skills and knowledge of other team members to help achieve the family’s goals. 6 • Capacity Building Practice We focus on building the knowledge and skills of the people who spend the most time with the child, particularly parents, carers and educators. We encourage joint problem-solving and reflection to help parents feel confident in continuing to support their child after their short term early intervention has ended. 7 • Evidence Based and Accountable Practice All of our team members are qualified Allied Health practitioners using intervention strategies that are supported by research and clinical reasoning. We support our team members with regular clinical supervision, professional development and transdisciplinary case discussions. 8 • Outcomes Based We set goals alongside parents and carers to ensure that we are working towards the things that are most important to them. Outcome measurements are used to make sure we are achieving what we set out to do and take the time with families to reflect and celebrate successes. C E O c o n t i n u e d A n n u a l R e p o r t 2 0 2 0–2 0 2 1 16

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