Partnership promotes positive communication outcomes for Euston pre-schoolers.
Recently LiveBetter partnered with online speech therapy clinic, Pop Family, to provide free speech assessments to pre-school age children in Euston, a small town on the banks of the Murray River and about an hour’s drive from Mildura, Victoria.
It was crazy three days involving complex travel logistics – the three Pop Family speech pathologists (colloquially known as speechie’s) flew into Melbourne from Queensland and NSW early Easter Monday morning. From there they boarded a small plane which flew them to Mildura, where they drove the final one-hour leg of the journey. And they were just getting started!
Over what was a gruelling, and yet remarkable week, each day kicked off at 7am, when they prepared for the day’s clinic, ensuring in advance that each child who attended was matched with the speechie, assessment activities, and games most suited to their individual needs.
There were three therapists to thirty -three children and the days were long, with each assessment taking about ninety minutes. As you can imagine, coffee was a critical component.
The work being undertaken by LiveBetter and Pop Family is serious stuff – there are significant barriers to accessing speech pathologists for children living in regional and remote areas, and this contributes to greater gaps in not only their communication skills, but their social skills and their overall educational outcomes.
According to LiveBetter’s Philanthropy & Partnerships Manager, Kellie Martin, “The link between speech therapy, successful communication, and positive life-long outcomes for people is well documented. Without speech intervention, a child who has communication challenges is more likely to have educational difficulties and less positive peer interaction.”
Despite the seriousness of the endeavour, the Pop Family speechie’s are trained to engage with pre-schoolers in a relaxed, fun, and positive way. The children loved the whole assessment process, with Pop Up Pirate being the hit of the week!
Parents were thrilled to finally be able to access some support for their children, with local Dad, Brett, saying, “ It means everything to me that my little boy can get the help he needs because you came here.”.
It’s hoped that by participating in the clinics, Euston parents will better understand speech therapy, and the many ways it can support their child’s development.
As Euston Pre-school supervisor, Monique Mezzatesta says, “Our families don’t know what they don’t know! Often parents know their child needs additional supports, but they don’t know who to ask for help.”
So, where to from here?
Pop Family will complete each child’s report and then send it to their family, complete with recommendations, and referrals. LiveBetter will compile a directory of useful resources to accompany the reports, and, most importantly, each of these children will be better placed to achieve their full potential as they grow and learn.
The LiveBetter partnership with Pop Family has been a full year in the planning; three exhausting but inspiring days in the execution; and now, it’s back to the drawing board for the LiveBetter Partnerships team as they begin to plan for next year’s LiveBetter Pop Family Clinic.
You can find out more about Pop Family and the work they do across regional Australia here.