I love many aspects of my work at Hear and Say, however visits to regional and rural families, as a part of our dedicated Telepractice Program, is one of the highlights.
This is an opportunity for the team to travel to the homes of our families who live in more remote parts of Queensland, to find out how they are coping, meet other members of the family, their school or Kindy teacher and class mates, and have some fun in the comfort of their home. My trip this time covered more than 3000 kilometres including travelling from Toowoomba to Brisbane, flying to Longreach and then driving to Aramac which is 170 kms northwest of Longreach.
We laugh when we talk of international visitors who expect to see kangaroos hopping down the main street of Brisbane however at this visit, when I opened by motel room window, there were kangaroos hopping down the main street of Barcaldine. It was a reminder that I was a long way from the city – although sadly it is because there is no feed anywhere else due to the severity of the drought.
There were many highlights of my latest home visits, including spending time with Emily and her family who live on in the edge of Aramac (a small town of approximately 300 people). Six-year old Emily is new to Hear and Say, and this was my first visit. I was her Show & Tell for news at school that day, so we had fun doing that, and as part of that we explained to her class how her cochlear implant works. Emily links in with her Mum and teacher aide each week to do a Listening and Spoken language lesson with me, so it was lovely to be able to do this face to face. I was also able to spend time going through Emily’s speech and language goals with her teacher aide to help with planning activities for the other sessions they do together each week. Aramac State School have been so supportive of Emily’s Hear and Say program and are wonderful to work with.
It was wonderful to spend time with the whole family and to know that Emily is doing so well. Mum Kerrie has kindly shared some highlights of our time together below.
“Emily had really connected with Anna through our Telepractice sessions, so it was fantastic to be able to see her in person. Emily also loved showing Anna around her home and being able to share some of her most precious possessions with her. Emily was so proud to introduce to Anna to her class as well and she loved having her in the classroom doing activities with her.
This visit meant a lot to our family and being able to meet Anna face to face was lovely. It was very beneficial that Anna also got to meet the many important people who support Emily at school (teacher aids, Librarian, etc).
We are so very grateful for the fantastic support we have received from Hear and Say. Emily’s speech, confidence and social skills continues to improve, thanks to the Telepractice sessions she has participated in. She also adores Anna, which makes it a lot easier! Being so isolated, it also means a lot that assistance and advice is only a phone call or e-mail away, when we have concerns about anything really!
Everyone we have communicated with at Hear and Say has been so approachable and helpful and made us feel very much like we aren’t alone in this journey with Emily.”
Telepractice home visits are very expensive as they involve taking members of the clinical team away from our regular clients for up to one week, twice a year, as well as the cost of car hire and accommodation. We can only afford to make these trips with the support of funders such as The Bryan Foundation who are in their final year of a three-year grant. In closing I want to send a big ‘shout out’ to The Bryan Foundation, and all the other funders who help ensure Hear and Say can continue to support children like Emily.
Anna Warby, Listening and Spoke Language Specialist, Darling Downs