Dubbo Primary to benefit from speech pathologists

DUBBO primary school students have the full attention of a team of speech pathologists who won't rest until they've helped those in need.

The health professionals from Royal Far West assessed 48 students from four schools at Dubbo and Wellington last week, but that was only the start of their care and efforts.

The speech pathologists and students are part of a pilot project that provides comprehensive and regular speech, language and communication therapy to regional and remote areas without the need to travel.

Without it, some children may never be able to say what they need or want, or express their thoughts or emotions, even as adults.

Those vital communication skills were assessed at Buninyong,

Dubbo North, Dubbo West and Wellington public schools last week in a clinic space that is the first of its kind in Australia.

The speech pathologists rolled into town aboard the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile, funded by the children's charity for Royal Far West's use.

Royal Far West speech pathology team leader Craig Fairweather was enthusiastic about bringing the services "out from Manly" where they were normally based.

Each child in the Come N See pilot would not only receive two one-hour assessments, but also, where necessary, tailored therapy via software especially designed for the purpose, and training to school staff and parents, he said.

"Some Royal Far West services have done outreach before, but it's been four times a year," he said.

"We want to increase the contact to fortnightly sessions, of usually 30 minutes."

Dubbo State MP Troy Grant met the team of therapists and inspected the care mobile during its visit to Dubbo North Public School.

"Royal Far West are piloting the Come N See program, which offers a complete face-to-face assessment program and provides therapy for children in partnership with education," Mr Grant said.

He was impressed by the pilot, which used technology to deliver an individual program of therapy each fortnight to a child's school.

"I'm pleased to see that 48 children from Dubbo West, Dubbo North, Buninyong and Wellington public schools are being assessed," Mr Grant said.

The care mobile will continue its journey to more western area schools this week and therapists will assess another 38 students.

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