Page 4140 - Week 13 - Thursday, 31 October 2013

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video

does continue to focus on the importance of early intervention, and I am pleased to be able to have the opportunity to talk about some of the programs on offer. Early intervention and prevention activities help children and young people and their families receive supports at the right time and right place so that they can have the best opportunities to grow, learn, develop and be safe and connected in the ACT community.

There is a growing body of international evidence on the importance of early intervention, and the programs being implemented in the ACT have been developed from that evidence base. Data collection from services that are being provided confirms that these programs are making a difference. Evidence suggests that the early years are critical for brain development, that quality early intervention programs can significantly improve the outcomes for young children as they grow and that therapy interventions with children in this age group can be especially effective.

Children experience rapid change and development between the ages of zero and eight, and they respond particularly well to intervention. For children with disabilities, the early years are critical for a number of reasons. Locally, nationally and internationally, provision of universal, early intervention services to children aged between zero and eight is recognised as important and effective in changing the life course of these children. The Productivity Commission’s report in 2011 on the NDIS acknowledged this:

Early interventions seek to reduce the impact of disability for individuals in the wider community, for example, by mitigating or alleviating the impact of an existing disability, and/or preventing deterioration in an existing disability. They may occur as soon as the disability is first identified or appears, when there is a discrete change in the disability, or at particular lifetime transition points.

This is why Therapy ACT programs provide an essential range of services for children and young people in Canberra. Therapy ACT provides services including speech pathology, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, social work and psychology interventions. For many families, this early intervention will form the basis of a positive start for life for their child, as they may not then need further assistance to fully engage with the community.

One program I would like to talk about is the new parent-child interaction therapy program being trialled at the Tuggeranong child and family centre. It certainly is based on good evidence. This program uses live coaching and involves the use of a one-way mirror, with trained therapists, social workers and psychologists who communicate with the parent via an earpiece. The parent is essentially taught how to ignore or better manage poor behaviours and to celebrate and encourage good behaviours. The program has been widely researched and is certainly getting off to a very good start in Tuggeranong, and the expected outcome from participating in the child-family interaction therapy is a significant improvement in behaviours and strategies for both child and parent.

The ACT trauma recovery centre is being informed by the current evidence on developmental trauma and attachment and will be guided by a reference group which includes a number of national experts. The centre, to be staffed by consultant

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video