Currently, 12 students from Wandoan have access to the Health-e-Regions telehealth program. Each student has up to 10 sessions a semester. Through the program they are able connect to a speech pathologist or occupational therapist at UQ in Brisbane to help them in their learning development.
Leesa has been sitting in with students taking part in the speech language telehealth sessions since the program started at Wandoan State School in 2016.
She says it has had a positive influence on many students who needed additional support.
She easily lists several examples, including a young girl who can now confidently say words using the letter C and a young footy fanatic who learned to better understand the body language and emotions of his classmates and teachers through lessons using rugby league.
And it’s not just the kids who are learning from their involvement in the program.
“Obviously, there are massive outcomes for the kids while they are sitting in the room (with the specialists), but then I can transfer that information back down here (into the classroom),” she said.
“Through Health-e-Regions and sitting in on those programs, I’ve been able to see how to teach the speech.
“Because I work with the same kids, doing the same things, it’s a double hit for them. I can actually make sure we’re doing it properly.”
Leesa says this is absolutely having an impact. She’s feeling more confident in her interactions with the students and the students are more confident in the classroom.
She admits to being skeptical towards telehealth when Health-e-Regions was first being implemented but is a huge convert to the technology. It provides a level of access to specialist care that wasn’t previously available to many families.
“When we first started, I thought it would be an issue… but it works wonderfully. To think that we can access something that is 400km away, which is so worthwhile, it’s pretty mind blowing really.”
Health-e-Regions is a partnership between Shell’s QGC business and the University of Queensland’s Centre for Online Health. Wandoan State School P-10 is one of five schools across the regions where the program is available.