The project involves inviting geographically isolated families who have a child with a severe disability to attend a five day residential camp in the Hunter area of NSW. The families can access the Newcastle based specialist dental, neurological and other vital specialised medical care that is not available in rural communities. Four camps will be conducted each year. The families will be accommodated at Myuna Bay Recreational facility in Lake Macquarie near Newcastle. Each family will be allocated a trained volunteer advocate from the Hunter for the week. The role of the advocate will be to assist the families with daily activities, accompany them to medical visits, advocate for the families to the program co-ordinator, and to ensure that the families understand the different aspects of the program as it unfolds. The local GP for each child will develop a care plan under the Enhanced Primary Care model to identify what appointments are needed in the Hunter during the residential. All facets of the program will be overseen by the Project Co-ordinator.
Aims 1. Improved access to dental medical and allied health services for 20 children with disabilities who live in a rural communities (annually).
Newcastle has specialist services with vast experience in addressing the needs of young people with special needs. These services are rarely available in remote areas. With a planned approach to their consultations, the most appropriate services can be accessed to assist the child with their special needs.
2. Create support networks for 20 families with a child with a disability living in a rural community (annually).
The families will be accommodated in a facility that provides private rooms and bathrooms and common recreational areas. All meals will be fully catered. Since each family will have a child with the same disability, a program can be developed that will focus on improving the families understanding of that disability. It will encourage an exchange of information between the families so that they may assist each other in managing family issues.
3. Improve the resilience of 20 families with a child with a disability living in a rural community (annually).
Since each family will have a child with the same disability, a program can be developed that will focus on improving the families understanding of that disability. Importantly, through involvement in the SNUG program, a network of support for the various family members can be constructed for the future.
4. Educate 20 undergraduate students (volunteer advocates) in understanding the unique issues faced by families with children with special needs (annually).
The volunteer students will be nearing completion of their undergraduate studies in fields that relate to children with disabilities such as speech pathology. They will live with a family with a child with a disability at Myuna Bay Recreational Facility during the six day residential programs. The live-in volunteer program will allow the undergraduate to gain unique insight into the lives of the children and their families. The volunteers will be educated by the Family Action Centre and professionally supervised throughout the program.