Kawana Ther­apy Cen­tre is now open

Vi­tal ser­vice ex­pands reach

Maroochy Weekly - - NEWS -

NICKI But­ler has come a long way in the two years she’s been re­ceiv­ing ther­apy.

Now, ac­cess­ing the es­sen­tial ser­vice that helps her grow with her mo­tor plan­ning dis­or­der has just got a whole lot eas­ier for the four-year-old from Cur­rimundi and her fam­ily, with the open­ing of a new Chil­dren’s Ther­apy Cen­tre at Kawana.

“We’ve been go­ing to the Ther­apy Cen­tre in Nam­bour for about two-and-a-bit years,” her mum Heidi said.

“It’s been a re­ally amaz­ing sup­port for all of us,” she said.

“Kawana is so much more ac­ces­si­ble for us and there would be a lot of peo­ple who would re­ally ben­e­fit from hav­ing a cen­tre here.”

The new cen­tre opened its doors on Mon­day.

An­other change has been made that will make ac­cess­ing ser­vices like speech and oc­cu­pa­tional ther­apy, phys­io­ther­apy and psy­chol­o­gists for chil­dren eas­ier.

Chil­dren’s Ther­apy Cen­tre chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Deb­bie Blumel said the De­part­ment of Dis­abil­ity Ser­vices was now en­cour­ag­ing the cen­tre to “re­verse re­fer” chil­dren who were seek­ing as­sess­ments and ther­apy, which would cut the time fam­i­lies spent wait­ing for treat­ment.

“There’s no time de­lay, there’s no wait list for Chil­dren’s Ther­apy Cen­tre

All the re­search ev­i­dence points to the pos­i­tive out­comes of early in­ter­ven­tion.

be­cause my board has for­ward-funded a num­ber of ther­apy po­si­tions so that we have the ca­pac­ity to see those chil­dren im­me­di­ately,” Ms Blumel said.

“So we have many ap­point­ments avail­able im­me­di­ately to of­fer pro­fes­sional ther­apy ser­vices and group pro­grams to these chil­dren that have been on wait­ing lists.”

She said cut­ting wait­ing times would make a “dra­matic dif­fer­ence” for fam­i­lies.

“If chil­dren can be­gin ther­apy be­tween birth and age six, while their brain is still de­vel­op­ing, while they are ex­pe­ri­enc­ing dra­matic growth and try­ing to achieve new mile­stones, the ear­lier they can get ther­apy the greater the im­pact,” she said.

“All the re­search ev­i­dence points to the pos­i­tive out­comes of early in­ter­ven­tion.

“Ev­ery time a child waits on a wait­ing list for a year it’s neg­a­tively im­pact­ing the po­ten­tial of that child to have the best out­comes.”

And if re­verse re­fer­rals made it eas­ier to ac­cess ther­apy, Ms But­ler said so much the bet­ter.

“We went though years of test­ing and hospi­tal trips and spe­cial­ist ap­point­ments and there’s so much you’re so wor­ried about as a par­ent,” she said.

“At that stage that it’s all too much, ev­ery­thing is too hard.

“If they can sim­plify the process that’s great.”

PHOTO: WAR­REN LY­NAM

TRANS­FORM­ING LIVES: Nicki But­ler, 4, and Sa­mara Boisen from the Chil­dren’s Ther­apy Cen­tre.

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