In Australia we pride ourselves on giving everyone a fair go.
But the reality is, we have a widening gap in developmental healthcare services in rural and remote regions that is disadvantaging our country children and communities every single day.
One of these children is Sam. Sam is six years old and goes to school in a small remote town in North Queensland.
When Sam started school last year, she was unable to speak in sentences. Because she struggled to express herself, making friends and joining in with the other kids’ games didn’t come naturally and was often left out. She quickly became withdrawn, didn’t want to go to school and struggled to communicate with her teacher or classmates.
Sam’s mum Michelle knew something wasn’t quite right with how her daughter was developing. She suspected Sam needed additional support, but she wasn’t sure how to determine which services she needed.
After speaking with their GP and Sam’s teacher, Sam was added to a waiting list to see a speech pathologist, but it was likely to be months or even more than a year before Sam would have the initial appointment.
Even then, the speech pathologist was located over a hundred kilometres away, making regular therapy sessions almost impossible to get to.