30 Aug 5 Reasons Continuity of Care Makes a Difference for a Child with a Disability
A ‘single-point-of-contact’ therapist can work wonders for you and your child when your child has a disability. This service provider shows how.
When your child has a disability, it can mean taking them all over town for appointments with a long list of therapists and doctors. It’s tough on your child, and tough on you.
Noah’s Ark, a not-for-profit therapy provider for kids eight years and under with a disability in Victoria and the ACT, is making the process a lot less frustrating by appointing one therapist as a single point of contact for your family in your own home.
Known as a Key Worker, each therapist is a specialist in psychology, social work, speech or occupational therapy, education or physiotherapy. Not only are they experts in one field, they call on all the other health professionals on the Noah’s Ark team to come up with a cohesive plan for your child.
The pluses of a single-point-of-contact carer can be transformative:
- Your child gets to know their Key Worker, trust them and engage with them.
- You don’t need to repeat detailed progress reports to every therapist you see. It can be hard for you to recall what every health professional said to every other professional you see.
- Even though you know your child best, your Key Worker will see things you don’t see, and know to raise questions with other therapists about behaviours that you might not realise are significant. When every therapist your child uses gets the latest relevant updates from your Key Worker, they’re in the best position to give you good advice.
It can be hard for you to recall what every health professional said…
- Noah’s Ark Key Workers also see you in your child’s community like your child care centre, pre-school or school. They will observe your child’s behaviours or challenges at day care, and can suggest small improvements to the facilities that make a big difference to your child, like hanging a bag of toys on the wall to get your toilet-wary preschooler to use the loo. They will even sit in on school interviews to help secure a teacher’s aide, and provide training for your child’s teacher.
- And very importantly, in the whirl of diagnosis, behaviour challenges, medical treatment, or just the struggle to stand up for your child’s needs out in the world, they become part of the family.
Noah’s Ark’s Cait Brennan, Team Leader of the Eastern Team, says the goal is to identify a managed and manageable breakdown of what your child needs. “Our aim is to empower you with strategies and reachable goals in the often overwhelming process of helping a child with disability.”
This story is brought to you by Noah’s Ark, which operates in Victoria, the ACT and surrounds. It helps children with childcare or school readiness, positive behaviour, inclusion, speaking and listening skills with a range of recognised programs, and parent education and support. You can have visits in-home, online or at a local Noah’s Ark branch, and share stories and advice with other parents at group workshops. Families can self-refer to their services, 1800 819 140. Check out its website for books, research papers and videos showcasing families who have used the service.