Multidisciplinary Services

What’s going on at Eat Speak Learn?

You may have noticed some changes at Eat, Speak, Learn this year. We have branched out to become a team that includes six different allied health disciplines and a team of Allied Health Assistants. Our Belconnen Clinic now provides:

  • speech pathology
  • occupational therapy
  • physiotherapy
  • psychology
  • exercise physiology
  • dietetics and nutrition

Why go multidisciplinary?

The introduction of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) service model in 2014 for the ACT and the privatisation of the disability sector changed the landscape significantly for the way in which people with disability accessed services in the ACT. How a service was accessed depended on whether it was covered by education, health or the NDIS. This has proved to be a mine field for many families and resulted in many services operating independently of each other despite the vision of successive governments for the industry to provide a collaborative model.
The consequence of changes in the industry for families has been that many are accessing multiple services across multiple providers rather than accessing a one-stop shop. For children, attending multiple therapy appointments each week indefinitely is not always beneficial. They may be working on so many different goals and be supported by so many providers that the tangible benefits of therapy are lost. The child may develop therapy fatigue or the family may struggle to recognise progress or comprehend achievement.

The drive for becoming multidisciplinary lies in Eat, Speak, Learn’s purpose, which is to make life easier for children with additional needs, and their families. We know that accessing services from one location reduces the administration burden and travel time for families and we know that a co-ordinated multidisciplinary team delivers a more holistic therapy program with better functional outcomes. Our approach is to use a multidisciplinary team and goal-based intervention, to amplify therapeutic outcomes so that children spend less time in therapy and more time living their lives.

How do we do this?

A therapy journey is ultimately an outcomes based journey that Eat Speak Learn takes with the client and their family. Our service model is intentionally designed to ensure goal setting is meaningful, outcomes are measurable and progress is celebrated.

In a multidisciplinary model, it is critical that our structure facilitates consultation and collaboration between therapists for a holistic intervention approach. If you think about it, no activity we do during our daily life is purely a speech skill, fine motor or gross motor skill. Talking, walking, eating, writing, all require the different systems of our body to be working together. A multidisciplinary team looks at an activity from all the perspectives and ensures the root of the difficulty is correctly identified and effectively addressed. No time is wasted on an ineffective intervention or persisting with a program that isn’t working.

A holistic approach needs team members to be communicating and consulting with each other. This will happen between and outside of appointment times. It empowers the lead practitioner to be taking a holistic approach and it is likely to reduce the number of individual appointments required with each discipline. It allows combined appointments with therapists if necessary. What it looks like is a request from us to you for non-face-to-face collaboration time. This time is well worth it and allows the face-to-face time to be holistic and effective. Non-face-to-face time allows:

  • sufficient thought into what is being overlooked or what needs to be changed if a child is not progressing
  • measurement of progress
  • program review to progress skills and keep evolving with each achievement
  • communication and education of those involved in caring for your child in the community like teachers, coaches and extended family members.

There can be a perception that non-face-to-face activities waste NDIS funding and reduce the therapy time for a child. The truth is, there is enormous therapeutic value in non-face-to-face activities and we are passionate about changing the narrative for the people we work with.
Holistic and effective therapy time can only occur from a combination of face-to-face and non-face-to-face activities. Non-face-to-face activities make the face-to-face time more effective.

What are the ultimate benefits to clients?

Effective planning and collaboration can bring so much value to face-to-face sessions and increase the rate of skill development. More skills, developed over fewer face-to-face appointments allow the child to spend more time living their life and less of it in therapy sessions.

The Eat Speak Learn approach is intentionally designed to deliver superior results, with less cost, by using holistic multidisciplinary goal driven intervention.

To find out more, contact us today!

Author – Carolyn O’Mahoney

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