There is a shortage of paediatricians in regional areas and children are being left un-diagnosed with behavioural issues until they are adults.
To create change in regional areas, Royal Far West CEO Jacqueline Emery and Regional Education Commissioner Fiona Nash will be attending Narromine Public School for a special visit on Monday, July 24.
The event is aimed to highlight the critical work RFW is doing in the Dubbo area and surrounding regions, as well as shed light on the alarming shortage of paediatric appointments state-wide, which is having a profound impact on families in rural and remote areas.
In an interview with the Daily Liberal, Ms Emery, spoke passionately about the challenges faced by children and families in the region.
"We've always worked with children with complex developmental challenges, but the additional stresses families have faced in recent years have exacerbated a lack of capacity for families to best support kids with developmental challenges," Ms Emery said.
The increased complexities faced by families have led to a surge in the demand for paediatric services, which has put additional strain on an already "dire" situation.
As Ms Emery pointed out, almost every paediatrician across the state in rural and remote areas has either closed their books completely or has an 18-month to four-year waitlist.
The scarcity of available paediatric services is taking a toll on families in Narromine and neighbouring areas.
For many families, even getting a referral to a specialist is challenging due to the limited availability of paediatricians and GPs. This leads to delays in getting the necessary support and assistance for children with developmental challenges.
The impacts of the shortage are particularly evident in schools. Children with developmental challenges often struggle to communicate, leading to frustration and exclusion from social activities.
"We see the kids that haven't had that support and they're getting into school and they're bullied or excluded or have meltdowns or outbursts because they're so frustrated because they can't be understood," Ms Emery said.
"In some cases these issues can be addressed when you've got the parents and their teachers on board...it just seems perverse not to be able to provide these supports and really nip it in the bud before it becomes something much more complex."
Royal Far West has been working closely with Narromine Public School for the past nine years, using telehealth services to provide regular support to students in need.
While telehealth has been a great solution, Ms Emery emphasised the importance of face-to-face interaction to understand the local community context and to build strong relationships with parents and teachers.
Teachers at Narromine Public School have played a crucial role in identifying students who require additional support and intervention.
It's often the school, the parents, the kids and all of us working together as a team which leads to the best possible outcomes for the kids.- CEO Jacqueline Emery
"We work with teachers and provide them with strategies that are specific to that child's needs," she said.
"With Narromine, our longest serving school, they've built telehealth into their curriculum."
Ms Emery said at Narromine there were a set of twins where one couldn't speak and the other would speak for them, but since working one on one with Royal Far West, they've had "the most amazing outcomes".
"All we're really doing is lending a helping hand with our expertise and knowledge around healthy development and childhood development," she said.
"It's often the school, the parents, the kids and all of us working together as a team which leads to the best possible outcomes for the kids."
Ms Emery said she was thrilled Fiona Nash would be visiting Narromine so she can see the work in action and then create change.
"We've been engaging with Narromine for all these years so now showcasing that to her, is amazing because teachers are the unsung heroes because they are often the ones dealing with these health issues," she said.
"They sometimes say to us 'we're educators, we're not health professionals' but they're the ones that actually pick kids up that are struggling, so all credit goes to them."
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