BUSHkids Annual Report 2020-2021

Good news story • 1 Kyle* was referred for support by the EarlyStart team due to delays in his communication, self-care skills and emotional regulation. His access to the community was also impacted by a severe anaphylactic allergy to ants. Kyle was supported by speech pathologist Anna and occupational therapist Brooke. During his STEI period, Kyle learnt to use a visual schedule to manage his afternoon routine. He was also supported to use a social story in preparation for attending community locations where there would be ants, such as the local park and Australia Zoo. Most significantly, Kyle learnt to self-settle to sleep at night and his mother wrote to the team, “I deeply appreciate you [Brooke], Anna and BUSHkids …These have been huge achievements for our child.” Good news story • 3 Tom* was referred to the EarlyStart team due to delays in his communication and attention. His family was reluctant to try teleHealth after a past negative experience, but agreed to try a one-off session with speech pathologist Cass while they waited for availability of face-to-face services. After one session, Tom’s family decided to proceed in full with teleHealth-based supports. He engaged so much better than they had expected and, most importantly, really enjoyed it. He is currently making great gains in both his speech and language skills. Good news story • 2 Sophie* was referred to the EarlyStart team due to delays in her communication and ability to process sensory information. She had lots to say, but her speech was hard to understand, and she would often become upset at being unable to share her message. Despite lots happening in her family home, including FIFO work and a new baby sibling being born, Sophie made great progress. She is more confident communicating and can even say her dog’s name! The key worker walks alongside the family to implement core early childhood strategies into the home and other natural settings of the child. Where needed, the key worker can draw on the clinical expertise of other members of the EarlyStart team. For example, where the key worker is an occupational therapist, they may draw on the support of a speech pathologist to support modelling of early language skills to help achieve plan goals. After three to six months of support has been provided to the family, the goals are reviewed and the progress we have made together is celebrated with the family. At the end of their short term early intervention (STEI), children may be ready to transition back into community-based supports, or may require assistance to link with longer-term assistance via the NDIS. Working as a ‘virtual team’ The EarlyStart team uses teleHealth technology to ensure that all children can access the STEI they require, regardless of where they live, and uses lots of tips and tricks to make teleHealth a fun and engaging experience for children (and us!). Games and interactive progress charts, colourful backgrounds, ‘green screens’ (for displaying different backgrounds) are among the techniques employed. (Some EarlyStart team members have even been known to perform ‘magic’ in their teleHealth sessions! As well as using technology to support families, the EarlyStart team also use technology to support each other, meeting as a virtual team each week to share wins and learnings, and to receive updates on any new operational processes. The EarlyStart team also utilises virtual transdisciplinary case conferencing monthly, where BUSHkids professional leads join us to support problem- solving for complex developmental concerns. 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 17

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