Delivering innovative services
Six-year-old Thomas has severe autism and is non-verbal. New people and situations can be extremely distressing for him. Before his mother Georgina was referred to Northcott’s Transdisciplinary Early Childhood Intervention Service, the family was struggling and needed support.
“We started with Northcott about a year ago. Tracy, our keyworker is just amazing. Thomas has improved so much,” says Georgina.
Through Northcott’s Transdisciplinary service, families are linked with a keyworker who works directly with them and their child to identify needs and supports that will assist with early development. The keyworker connects the family with other allied health specialists as required.
For customers like Georgina, who lives in a regional area, occupational therapists and speech pathologists can be hard to find, or often change regularly.
“Before Northcott, almost every time Thomas had a session, he was confronted with a stranger. That was really distressing for him,” Georgina says.
Northcott’s telepractice service connects regional customers with therapists in Sydney who provide a consistent and high quality service. Customers and therapists are linked via video conferencing equipment in the customers’ home or another comfortable setting. Our therapists observe the child and provide support and guidance for the parents and keyworker specifically targeted at the child and family’s needs.
For Thomas and Georgina, being able to connect with the same occupational therapist through the telepractice sessions has been crucial for his development. Being able to hold the sessions in a setting where Thomas is comfortable has also significantly improved his behaviour.
“The video sessions offer a level of continuity and control that works for Thomas and us. He is used to the equipment and because the routine is the same, even if the therapist changes, it won’t be so distressing for him and we all get a better outcome,” says Georgina.
“For Thomas, the potential for growth and development [through the telepractice sessions] is huge.”
To read more stories like this and to learn more about Northcott’s services click here to view our most recent annual report.