Sunday, December 10, 2023

Allied health care made a priority in rural Australian schools

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Therapy Connect, Media Release, 7 March 2023

Vulnerable school children in rural Australia are being given a vital head start in life with classroom access to online allied health, drastically reducing their long-term risks of unemployment, while developing social connections and supporting family dynamics.


Australia’s leading NDIS online therapy provider, Therapy Connect, is virtually stepping into the classroom, providing early intervention and diagnosis to children in remote communities and slashing years off patient waitlists.

It is estimated that around 180,000 children in rural NSW are in desperate need of childhood development services that are not available in their region.

The scarcity of support for these children puts them at serious risk of a life of disadvantage, some waiting years for a diagnosis and being developmentally vulnerable compared with city kids.

Therapy Connect has formed partnerships with schools across rural NSW, adding West Wyalong Public School to their roll call for 2023.

“Early intervention and having access to online care and support can determine the course of a child’s life, drastically reducing the risk of unemployment, while developing social connections and supporting family dynamics,” said Therapy Connect ECI Partnerships Manager, Kathleen Paige.

“The battle to access allied health services in some of the most remote schools across the country is a serious issue for many Australian families.

“In 2023, we are thrilled to provide our services to students at West Wyalong Public School, significantly reducing waitlists by around 18 months, and providing vital services that some of these children have never had access to.”

West Wyalong Public School Learning and Support Teacher, Anna Wheatley, said it was important for their high-risk children to feel empowered, that they are given every opportunity to thrive and that they aren’t disadvantaged because of their postcode.

“In Term 4 in 2022, we started working with Therapy Connect to support 12 of our primary school students, giving them virtual access to qualified practitioners from the classroom,” she said.

“Due to living in a rural community, many of these students hadn’t had access to vital services like occupational therapists or speech therapists. Others were waiting up to 18 months for a face-to-face appointment.

“Having online support in the classroom is also taking the pressure off the families, who don’t have to travel hours to access therapy. Early intervention and support for our students is helping their social interactions with fellow students and teachers, helping with their emotional regulation, as well as assisting with their overall learning, speech and writing.

“The positive outcomes are also evident beyond the school yard with our students being able to have ongoing positive interactions in our community and at home.”

Matching skill to need, Therapy Connect creates better outcomes for people living with a disability. Since 2015, it has linked 4,500 people living with disability to direct, online support from allied
health care professionals – saving more than 12,000 hours and over $2 million in NDIS funding each year.

Recent research by the University of Queensland has found online therapy to be highly influential in early intervention treatment for children aged 0-7 years, allowing parents to play a more active role in their child’s development.

To find out more about Therapy Connect, go to

Questions from Australian Rural & Regional News

Therapy Connect advised Australian Rural & Regional News that the schools it is currently working with are:

  • West Wyalong public school (NSW)
  • Merimbula Public School (NSW)
  • West Launceston Public School (Tas)
  • Young Public School (NSW) and
  • Murrumburrah Public School (NSW)

The best way to get in touch, for instance about help for your child, is to contact the Therapy Connect client services team on 1300 757 806 or fill out the registration form.

Therapy Connect advises that its client services team will contact the family or school within 24 hours.


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