One of the key services we provide at Royal Far West is our Telecare for Kids program. This nationally recognised program connects children across regional and remote Australia to allied health services, such as Occupational Therapy, via video-link, without needing to leave their local community.
In celebration of Occupational Therapy (OT) week, we spoke to our team of Occupational Therapists (OTs) and their clients to get to know what they love about our Telecare program.
What our OTs love about Telecare:
As OTs there are several areas of development that we support children and families with, including sensory processing, regulation and behaviour, fine and gross motor skills, play and self-care tasks. A question we’re often asked is “how do you do this via telehealth?” OT via telehealth (at Royal Far West, this is referred to as Telecare) can achieve most of the things we do in-person with children and families, with just a few adjustments and changes.
There are so many reasons the OT team at Royal Far West love working with children and families via telecare, including:
- Service delivery is not impacted by distance or location.
We are able to work with children and families in the environments most important, meaningful and familiar to them.
We use resources that are accessible, available and familiar to the child.
We are able to work closely alongside parents, carers and teachers to create best outcomes for children.
What the children love about Telecare:
Royal Far West OTs provide services via Telecare to children across New South Wales, Queensland and in some parts of the Kimberly in Western Australia. This year, in the lead up to OT Week, we’ve been asking the children we work with what they enjoy about our OT services via Telecare.
For some children, their favourite part is the opportunity to engage and spend time 1:1 with their carer or teacher. As Justin says, he likes OT because he gets to do “exercises with my teacher”.
For many, it’s the activities they engage in during OT sessions to build their skills. Emerson, Justin and Tate shared that they enjoy obstacle courses and core exercises with the gym ball to build their core strength and coordination. Skyla and Maddi shared that they enjoy an activity called “bubble monsters”, which many OTs in our team use to encourage deep breathing for regulation.
Other students enjoy OT via Telecare because they don’t have to leave school or home to access their sessions. As Malakyi says, “I like that I don’t have to go anywhere to do OT. I can do OT from the bedroom at home.”
At times, working via Telecare can bring its own set of challenges, but as our OT Alice identifies, it is absolutely worth it. “Telecare takes you into the child’s life. It connects you with their people and their context, and allows for flexibility to provide support to their caregivers and educators. Therapy happens in the home or school using the child’s toys and equipment, and in many cases continues to happen after the therapist signs off. The therapist is the facilitator while the child and the important people in their lives do the therapy. That is my favourite thing,” says Alice.