Champion for the chil­dren


Shepparton News - - NEWS - By Tara Whitsed

The Wool­shed @ Emer­ald Bank was filled with emo­tion when the Sand­hurst dio­cese thanked pae­di­a­tri­cian Peter Eastaugh for his work in dis­trict Catholic schools.

For more than 30 years, the Shep­par­ton-based doc­tor has pro­moted the health and well-be­ing of chil­dren with med­i­cal con­di­tions and dis­abil­i­ties.

When he started work­ing in schools dur­ing the early 1980s he would com­plete just one ses­sion each term.

‘‘Now, with the es­ca­lat­ing needs of chil­dren, I’m in schools two days each week,’’ Mr Eastaugh said.

‘‘Our com­mu­nity has a prob­lem with kids’ out­comes.

‘‘We have an es­ca­lat­ing num­ber of chil­dren with ADHD and with autism, but in real­ity, no-one seems to be in­tent on try­ing to al­ter this.

‘‘Ev­ery­body is try­ing to deal with the prob­lem, rather than pre­vent it.’’

Mr Eastaugh has worked tire­lessly on preven­tion, de­vel­op­ing a strong con­nec­tion with dis­trict staff, stu­dents and their fam­i­lies.

Par­ent Maryan Bourke, who has two chil­dren on the autism spec­trum, thanked Mr Eastaugh for the im­pact he has had on her fam­ily.

‘‘I’ve got chil­dren at St Mary’s in Mooroopna and Notre Dame Col­lege,’’ Ms Bourke said.

‘‘For me, as an in­di­vid­ual, I didn’t feel like I was los­ing it.

‘‘He is some­one who is on my level and gave time for my chil­dren.’’

Catholic Ed­u­ca­tion Sand­hurst di­rec­tor Paul Des­mond pre­sented Mr Eastaugh with a recog­ni­tion award.

‘‘He is a man of an enor­mous rep­u­ta­tion and also of deep com­pas­sion and im­mense good­will,’’ Mr Des­mond said.

‘‘He has been an unrelenting champion of chil­dren and their fam­i­lies. ‘‘He does not judge. ‘‘He does not see any­one or any case as less wor­thy of his ex­per­tise.’’

Mr Eastaugh was hon­oured by the cel­e­bra­tions, which in­cluded a morn­ing tea and a spe­cial video pre­sen­ta­tion, filled with heart-felt mes­sages from prin­ci­pals, teach­ers, par­ents and stu­dents across the districts Catholic schools.

Pic­ture: Julie Mercer.

Ser­vice recog­nised: Catholic Ed­u­ca­tion Sand­hurst di­rec­tor Paul Des­mond pre­sented Shep­par­ton pediatrician Peter Eastaugh with a Sand­hurst recog­ni­tion award.

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