Meet the Team: Hannah

Hi, my name is Hannah, and I am an Occupational Therapist (OT) and Multi-Disciplinary Team Leader in Schools & Early Years Services (SS & EY) at Royal Far West and absolutely love what I do!

What does your role involve?

Although the juggle of roles can be challenging at times, I enjoy the variety in my workload. I’m particularly passionate about supporting and empowering clinicians in the School Services & Early Years program to work toward their learning objectives, career goals and to feel fulfilled in their day to some capacity. I feel very lucky to be working with such inspiring people.

What Aboriginal Country do you live/work on?

I live on Cammeraygal Country. It is a beautiful area with lots of bushland and water.

How long have you been with Royal Far West?

3.5 years!

Have you seen any changes in the sorts of issues children have during your time at Royal Far West?

I have worked across all the programs at RFW so reasons for referral do vary and there are many factors including whom the referrer is, the age of the child, the developmental age and the list goes on. In the SS & EY’s program, I have noticed some educators and teachers appear more confident with knowing when to refer and what discipline to refer to. The clinicians are very skilled in getting to the very bottom of understanding the child and supporting those around the child to understand their strengths and differences. This is a crucial part of our role.

What led you to work at RFW?

A very good friend of mine has a brother who accessed our services when he was in primary school. Now an adult, he has reflected on the support that was provided to his family at the time and is very appreciative, given how remote and isolated they were with no access to local services. Still to this day, his hometown (8 hours from Sydney) has very limited services. This, along with many other reasons, lead me to the organisation.

Can you describe your typical day?

No day ever looks the same, it can vary depending on the time of year, the program’s needs, the team’s objectives, and the immediate urgency of some tasks. My ideal day is where I can link in with members of the team, have productive conversations in meetings and make innovative and meaningful steps to support our service delivery.

What do you love about working with families from rural and remote Australia?

Knowledge is so important, and we are always learning and taking on new information from our families, from the communities and the schools we work with. It is an incredible honour to ensure our families voices are heard and supported at the highest levels. I am grateful, that our rural and remote families are willing to share their experiences with me and this makes me a better person and clinician.

What do you think makes RFW unique?

The mission! It resonates with me. The work we do is profoundly significant, meaningful and purposeful.

Can give us an example of a family’s positive outcomes through working with RFW?

How do you choose just one story? There are many! One that particularly stands out to me is a time when I worked with a refugee family who were forced to leave their country because of war and violence. They spoke some English. We engaged a translator through the school and the family were eager to participate in parent sessions which involved lots of listening… and more listening. The members of the family had been through so much to be able to live in Australia and their main goal was to provide a safe home and the best education for their children. A very special family to me and people I will remember forever. There are many families we work with who are in a similar situation, either displaced in their own country or fleeing from a town they once called home.

Where’s your country? – Where do you feel most connected to?

Outdoors surrounded by nature – I find the grandness is so compelling. Sitting in open green spaces, bushwalking, hiking, swimming, picnics and finding the best coffee are some of my top favourite things to do.