Therapy Fun – training for volunteers
Wongan Community Care (WCC) is a grassroots, not-for-profit, community organisation that began over 40 years ago and was originally established as a support organisation for people with disabilities or those who are living in disadvantaged circumstances in the central Wheat belt region of WA.
Since 2012, WCC have formed a collaborative & philanthropic partnership with the Wongan Hills Therapy Group, which mobilizes a team of trained volunteers to run a number of projects in the community. A number of projects are coordinated by the Therapy Group and supported by WCC.
In particular, a weekly group programme known as Therapy Fun that reinforces essential therapy goals, is based at the local school and is provided free of charge to children with disabilities, developmental delays and special needs.
WCC have been receiving more and more referrals to this flagship programme for children who have significant speech and language delays as well as global development delays. The majority of these children are not being seen by a speech pathologist or occupational therapist as the cost is beyond the reach of the majority of disadvantaged families that WCC supports. Public services are oversubscribed and therapists can only offer one appointment a term at best.
WCC feel the only way to get these children the critical support that they need is to train WCC volunteers as Therapy Assistants, something they have been gradually doing over the last 5 years. They have volunteers who come from professional backgrounds as teachers, a music specialist, psychologist, speech therapy student, as well as volunteers who just love supporting at-risk children in the community.
While their volunteers all undertake training multiple times each year, WCC feel that “on-the-job” training with qualified therapists will be highly effective in up-skilling their volunteers quickly and effectively, with the opportunity to practice what they are learning immediately with the students that they work with each week.
- intensive training for all those who work 1:1 with students during weekly Therapy Fun programme (volunteers, parents & education assistants)
- up-skill selected volunteers effectively and over a relatively short period of time
Training will be provided by a Speech Pathologist and Occupational Therapist from a visiting professional therapy service. WCC programme coordinators will attend the training with a view to being able to replicate it in the future, following a Train-the-Trainer model, so that the long-term effectiveness of the funding is multiplied.
- An Occupational Therapist will provide on-the-job training for a team of 22 volunteers, parents & education assistants who are currently all involved in providing 1:1 support to 20 students ranging in age from 3-14. The training will take place during the weekly Therapy Fun sessions that are held at the local school.
- A Speech Pathologist will provide on-the-job training for a team of 22 volunteers, parents & education assistants who are currently all involved in providing 1:1 support to 20 students ranging in age from 3-14. The training will take place during the weekly Therapy Fun sessions that are held at the local school.
- 22 volunteers, parents & education assistants will learn skills and techniques that can be used to support students with special needs and disabilities, whether in the Therapy Fun program or in any other role or setting (classroom, home, playgroup).
- 20 students will receive direct targeted intervention from a speech pathologist and occupational therapist over a period of 5 months.
WCC applied for a grant of $2,000 to cover:
- 20 x 30-minute sessions with Occupational Therapist @ $100/hour = $1000
- 20 x 30-minute sessions with Speech Pathologist @ $100/hour = $1000
The UCF board was pleased to approve this small grant application from Wongan Community Care.