Hi. My name is Danielle, and I am a Speech Pathologist at Royal Far West.
I work remotely and am based in Broken Hill, Far Western NSW. I work in our Telecare for Kids program, providing services all over NSW to children with communication difficulties.
I have seen first hand how limited allied health services can be in rural and remote areas, so being able to provide a valuable and regular service to support children, families, schools and other clinicians is vital.
How long have you been with RFW, and what changes have you seen?
I have been working here for nearly two-and-a-half years − wow time really does fly when you are having fun! During this time I have seen the demand for Telecare grow as it becomes more widely accepted and supported. I have also observed schools wanting more support with literacy.
What led you to work at RFW?
I grew up in Nyngan, NSW, and was always aware of the amazing work of Royal Far West. I followed their work closely throughout university and my early career. RFW’s mission of getting services to kids who would otherwise not have the support they need in rural areas is also something that I have been very passionate about. When the opportunity arose for me to work remotely and remain in the bush, I was beyond thrilled.
Describe your typical day
A typical day involves Telecare sessions into schools right across NSW, from Cobar to Forbes to Narromine and beyond. I spend time preparing for these sessions. I work closely with the schools and parents to develop goals for the children to support them socially and with their learning. I spend time linking in with my team in Manly and other remote clinicians for supervision and other learning opportunities. The best descriptors of my day would be full and fun.
What’s the best thing about working with families from rural and remote Australia?
It is hugely rewarding. These children and families work so hard to achieve their goals and are so grateful for the services Royal Far West provides. There is never a dull moment and I love to know things like rainfall totals across the state or tracking a dust storm from Broken Hill, to Cobar, to Narromine to Manly!
What do you think makes RFW unique?
Royal Far West looks after its staff and ensures that we have the resources we need to complete our jobs. RFW is an innovative organisation always willing and wanting to try new things to reach more children who need us the most. The work is incredibly rewarding.
It can be easy to forget why you do what you do when the emails, paperwork and ‘To Do’ lists just keep growing. However, there are so many moments in this job when I reflect on my day and realise that I have the absolute privilege of having a positive impact on the lives of country kids, and I’m not sure if it could get any better than that!
Tell us about a family’s positive outcomes through working with RFW
I work with a young boy with a severe speech sound disorder. He can be understood by an unfamiliar listener about 10% of the time. This means that he has trouble chatting with his friends, telling his parents about his day and answering questions in the classroom. It impacts his social and learning opportunities significantly. He is a very determined boy and has a very supportive family and school helping him to complete his ongoing therapy.
I recently asked him if he is finding talking to his friends and family a little bit easier. With a huge smile he very proudly said, “yes, heaps easier and everyone can understand me better, even my Mum and friends have told me”. I had to pretend I had a bit of dust in my eye that day.
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