Walcha will have paediatric occupational therapy services from May this year, following an announcement yesterday by Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall of a ground-breaking new $229,851 three-year program at Walcha Central School.
Occupational therapy is used primarily to assist children with sensory processing issues, handwriting challenges, emotional regulation, and school readiness. Any children living in the Walcha local government area will have access to the services. Mr Marshall said occupational therapy services are much-needed in the community and vital for many students to get the most of their school learning.
“This innovative solution to a local problem will have long-lasting benefits on the youngsters, and their parents, who now be able to access these services in Walcha three times each year over the next three years.”
“This is a great initiative and will help build confidence and skills in children for their everyday life – whether it be handwriting in class or catching a ball in the playground.”
“Bringing the services to Walcha will ease the burden on families, so they don’t have to travel vast distances or wait for months on end to access these important services.”
Walcha Central School P&C Association President Olivia Nivison welcomed the funding and said local parents could be waiting up to 18 months to see a paediatrician or travel two to three hours for an appointment to see an occupational therapist.
“Walcha families and educators will now be able to access services and support that can make a real difference in their child’s everyday life,” Ms Nivison said.
“Our three-year project will co-ordinate and provide access to occupational therapy programs in a timely manner at no cost to families.”
“We anticipate that many local families will access the free screenings that will be available for their children.”
“I would like to highlight the amazing work of Student Support Officer Karen Barnes in securing this funding.”
Happy Dots, a specialist paediatric clinic in Newcastle, will send two occupational therapists to Walcha, three times per year, for a series of one-week intensives commencing in early May.