More disability supports for country families

  • Molly Serafin with her dog
    Molly Serafin
  • (L-R) Annabelle, Riley, Molly, Steve (Dad), Scarlet and Stevie Serafin
    (L-R) Annabelle, Riley, Molly, Steve (Dad), Scarlet and Stevie Serafin

Photos: Royal Far West

A $1.339 million grant from the New South Wales Department of Industry’s Disability Sector Scale Up (DSSU) will enable national children’s charity Royal Far West to expand its disability services.

Royal Far West’s Windmill program provides therapy including speech therapy, occupational therapy and psychology services as well as special education to children with National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) packages. Services are tailored to each child’s needs and offered at Royal Far West’s centre in Manly, Sydney, in community, or via telecare.

Thanks to the DSSU grant, children like Molly Serafin can access the services they need. Ten-year-old Molly, who was diagnosed at birth with Down Syndrome, lives with her mother Kellie, father Steve, and siblings Riley, Stevie, Scarlett and Annabelle in Yenda, some 20 kilometres from Griffith, NSW. Molly received her NDIS package this year, enabling her to enrol in the Windmill Program.

The Windmill Program was recognised for excellence and innovation by the NSW Disability Industry Innovation Awards in 2017, winning the ‘Innovation in Improving Outcomes for Children and Young People’ category.

Molly’s first visit to Manly is coming up, and with three sessions every day (two psychology and one occupational therapy) for five days, mum Kellie is looking forward to seeing the changes in Molly.

Kellie said:

“Being able to access Windmill through the NDIS funding is fantastic, as Molly learns best through repetition. We could not afford this level of treatment without the funding.

“There is no similar service anywhere near where we live that offers anything like the ‘one-stop’-shop’ offered by Royal Far West.

“Like any mum and dad, Steve and I want a wonderful future for all our kids. We want Molly to live her life as independently as possible, and we know that the communication and learning skills she learns at Royal Far West will set her up for success.”

Royal Far West CEO Lindsay Cane said:

“The grant is great news for country families who have struggled to access local services through their NDIS package. Our disability programs support children aged 2-12 years with conditions including autism, intellectual and psychosocial disability.

“We are expanding our workforce and investing in technology to support new delivery models that will bring specialist disability services to homes and schools using our expertise in allied health and telecare. We are also focusing on building strong local and community partnerships that will help us address unmet need.

“Building on experience from our current programs we plan to introduce new immersion programs in rural and remote areas where Royal Far West’s speech and occupational therapists, psychologists and special education staff will visit communities to deliver therapy services where they are most needed.

“We will continue to offer therapy intervention as intensive weekly blocks of therapy and support, and ongoing therapy programs, in person at Manly and via Telecare.”

More information on Royal Far West’s programs is available at www.royalfarwest.org.au or by calling (02) 8966 8500.

 

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