More NDIS Services, More Disability Supports for Country Families

Royal Far West announced it will scale up services to support country children with disability following a successful tender for $1.339m from the NSW Department of Industry’s Disability Sector Scale Up grants.

The charity appreciates the insights shown by Minister John Barilaro and the NSW Government in making these grants available to ensure more people in regional NSW can benefit from the NDIS.


Pic: Molly Serafin

Royal Far West CEO Lindsay Cane said, “This is great news for country families who have struggled to access local services through their NDIS package. Our disability programs will support children aged 2-12 years with autism, intellectual and psychosocial disability concerns, for example”.

Services are scarce in rural and remote communities with long waiting lists for paediatricians, allied health and mental health professionals.

Ms Cane said, “This grant will allow country families to get the help they need – we will implement new service delivery models to bring specialist disability services ‘to the bush’ – to homes and schools. We will use Royal Far West’s expertise in allied health and Telecare to support children and families.

“We will introduce new immersion programs in rural and remote areas and bring Royal Far West’s Speech and Occupational Therapists, Psychologists and Special Education staff to communities to deliver therapy services where they are most needed.

“And we will also be able to offer intensive programs for families in need at our Manly headquarters. Country families now won’t have to go without service.”

Royal Far West’s Windmill Program for Children with Disability was winner of the 2017 NSW Disability Innovation Award in the ‘Innovation in Improving Outcomes for Children and Young People’ category.

To access the Windmill Program, children need to be approved to receive NDIS funding.

The grant will enable children like Molly Serafin to access the services they need. Ten-year-old Molly lives with her mum Kellie, dad Steve, and siblings Riley, Stevie, Scarlett and Annabelle in Yenda, some 20km from Griffith, NSW.

Diagnosed at birth with Down Syndrome, Molly is adored by her family. She loves her cousins and her school friends, loves playing on the swings and swimming, watching movies, bowling and using her iPad. Her morning routine is pretty simple – get out of bed and ask for four slices of toast and Vegemite (it HAS to be Vegemite), or eggs on toast.

From six weeks of age Molly accessed early intervention, which stopped once she started kindergarten. Kellie explains, “Unfortunately Molly missed out on three years of early intervention from Kindy to Year 3, as we didn’t know what was available for her”.

Molly and her sisters catch the bus to Beelbangra Primary School every day, where she is now in Year 4. She loves school and adores her aide, “KayCat”, who attends all classes with Molly.

Through conversations with parents with children with special needs, Kellie and Steve heard about Royal Far West, and made their first appointment to access the Paediatric Developmental Program (PDP) in Manly.

Kellie explains their first visit, “It was wonderful. So wonderful. And so informative. It’s truly amazing”.

The family was thrilled when Molly received her NDIS package this year, as the funding enabled Molly to enrol in Royal Far West’s Windmill Program. Her first visit is coming up and with three sessions every day (two Psychology and one Occupational Therapy) for five days, Kellie is excited to see the changes in Molly.

Kellie explains the significance of the NDIS package, “Being able to access Windmill through the NDIS funding is fantastic, as Molly learns best through repetition. She will have this for five days in a row, and we will be able to follow this up with further visits or Telecare all funded by her package. We could not afford this level of treatment without the funding.

“There is no similar service anywhere near where we live that offers anything like the ‘one-stop’-shop’ offered by Royal Far West.

“Like any mum and dad, Steve and I want a wonderful future for all our kids. We want Molly to live her life as independently as possible, and we know that the communication and learning skills she learns at Royal Far West will set her up for success.”

Pic: (L-R) Annabelle, Riley, Molly, Steve (Dad), Scarlet and Stevie Serafin

Media: Deb Gibbons 0413 554 834, debg@royalfarwest.org.au

About Royal Far West

Royal Far West is a charity organisation that has been providing health services to children living in rural and remote Australia for 94 years. Royal Far West works in partnership with regional and rural families and their local health and education providers to complement existing services within their communities. http://www.royalfarwest.org.au/