The Healthy Kids Bus Stop visited Hillston and Hay last month, offering free developmental screening and health check-ups to 67 local children aged from two to six in a friendly ‘one stop shop’ setting with access to a variety of health disciplines and professionals.
Aimed at improving the health and wellbeing of children through the early detection of lifestyle risk factors, delayed development and/or illness, this award-winning program was delivered through a collaborative partnership between Royal Far West, the Murrumbidgee Local Health District and Ronald McDonald House Charities, with additional audiometry and speech services provided once again by The Shepherd Centre, and generous support from the Corella Fund.
Hillston Central School and Hay Public School generously hosted the Bus Stop in their towns, and other key partners included local preschools, schools, councils and community service organisations. The program is a collaborative exercise to benefit young children within the community at no cost to their parents/carers.
Over the three days, 222 screeners in child health checks, hearing, oral health, speech and language development and fine and gross motor skill development were carried out on the children, with 54 children requiring referrals in one or more areas, including 29 for Occupational Therapy and 24 for Speech Therapy.
Royal Far West Community Programs Manager John Reid highlights the importance of parents following up all the professional referrals and states the high level of response from the previous Bus Stops in this region represents the level of community support in getting the children into services, with 74% of referrals being taken up by parents and their children subsequently being connected with services.
John said, “Identifying children’s developmental issues before they start school is critical to their life trajectory, and this program will help identify children who will benefit from extra support and early intervention to maximise their opportunities at school.
“Royal Far West enjoys the opportunity to support the great work of the Local Health District, as well as the preschools, schools and community service organisations. It is a truly integrated program and the whole of community’s commitment ensured the success of this event.”
Take a look where our Healthy Kids Bus Stop is heading next!