Did You Know About NSO???

Did you know about the Non-School Organisation Program?
The CHILD Association has had ongoing support from the Non-School Organisation Program (NSO) to support the important work carried out by the Let’s Talk Outreach team. The NSO’s charter is to:
The Non School Organisations Program provides financial assistance to help improve the educational opportunities, learning outcomes and personal development of children with a disability.
The program is managed through the Strategic Governance Group chaired by Mr Geoff Rowe and administered by the department.
The Strategic Governance Group has representation from Education Queensland, Queensland Catholic Education Commission, Independent Schools Queensland, and both small and large disability service providers.
Funds are provided through the submission process, to non-government, not-for-profit, non school organisations to support educational programs for children with disabilities with significant education support needs.
These services are provided in early intervention and school settings.
In 2011 a review of this valuable service was undertaken and this is its findings:NSO1

NSO2

NSO3

NSO4

Each year the Let’s Talk Outreach team corresponds with all Members of Parliament both federal and state to inform them of the current status of our service and to address some of the issues that are raised in the reveiw.  Each year our service continues to grow in numbers as demonstrated by the following data:

 

 

Year

 

No. of students seen

No. of schools visited

No. of days of travel

 

2009

 

115

49

50

 

2010

 

209

67

94

 

2011

 

212

70

100

 

2012

 

308

102

105

 

Of concern to our organisation is that there has been no increase in the funding to the Non-School Organisations (NSO) Program (this includes no CPI increase) over the last 4.5 years.  As a result, although more children have been seen over the last 4.5 years and the number of referrals to our service has increased, we are unable to continue to expand at this rapid rate as we cannot afford to increase staffing or the resulting travel costs.

 

Today in classrooms across Queensland, there is a group of children who are battling to access the curriculum and who are being left behind academically, socially and emotionally.  These children have a disability known as a Primary Language Disorder (PLD).  It is a developmental disorder that affects how children understand, think about and use language.  It is the primary impairment that contributes to restrictions on an individual’s well-being and participation in everyday activities.  In many cases, these are the children can be the behaviour problem or the child that ‘flies under the radar’ in the classroom.  Either way these children, as a result of their disability, are more likely not to perform well academically and this includes NAPLAN testing.  Additionally, studies have shown that these children have difficulty with finding a job or securing further education once they leave school.  Alarmingly, a high percentage of young people who are incarcerated have a language disability, as studies both in Australia and overseas have shown.

 

One way to assist these children, their teachers and their families is through the Let’s Talk Outreach Service which is a part of the CHI.L.D Association.  In 2012, the Let’s Talk Outreach team worked with 308 children in 102 schools.  The Let’s Talk Outreach team works with schools across all three educational sectors – Education Queensland, Catholic Education and Independent Schools.

 

Each year the stories from parents and teachers continue to highlight the inequity faced by their children in accessing the school curriculum.  From the process of  Speech Language Impairment verification, which is arduous and cumbersome at best, through to accessing therapy support and finally providing appropriate and timely intervention, schools, parents and the children are put under increasingly rigid and rigorous process.  Ultimately, the question is asked, “Is it worth it?” particularly when you consider that the process for verification requires a review at a minimum yearly and at a maximum every 3 years.

 

Each year the services we provide continue to grow as a result of a lack of services in many areas across the state.  Our core business, as per the Non-School Organisations service agreement, includes:  The provision of outreach services, for children and young people who have severe speech and/or language impairments and associated learning and related disorders, through the provision of education-based, multidisciplinary support services and advisory consultation to enhance both the program delivery and the educational outcomes for the child within their educational program.

 

In 2012, the outreach team completed 105 days of travel over 34 weeks including 38 days in Brisbane metropolitan schools, 9 days (2 weeks) in Greater Brisbane schools and 56 days (14 weeks) in Rural and Isolated Centres.  At the end of each visit, schools received comprehensive individualised reports outlining recommendations and resources, for each child seen, to assist the teacher with their planning and teaching.  The outreach team consists of three members including a full time educator, a full time speech and language pathologist and a part time occupational therapist, and is supported by other experienced professionals, including a psychologist and physiotherapist, employed by the CHI.L.D Association.

 

In 2012, the Outreach team’s additional services included:

  • Investigation of post school options for students with PLD;
  • Provision of tertiary student placements;
  • Community meetings in rural centres addressing concerns with regards to lack of services;
  • Addressing network meetings of professionals;
  • Providing Professional Development to staff and professional groups;
  • Networking with other organisations;
  • Distribution of a parent newsletter;
  • Collaborating with government services;
  • Development of resource packages;
  • Teleconferencing with schools;
  • Advocacy for parents;
  • Recommendation re: National Curriculum and implications for children with a language disability.
  • Current Information Technology considerations for school to assist children with a primary language disorder.

 

One of the major concerns for teachers and parents is the lack of post school options for children with PLD.  In metropolitan areas there are some services to assist with the transition from school, however the more rural and isolated you become, the fewer resources are available.  Alarmingly, the anecdotal evidence suggests that post school adolescents are finding it difficult to be a productive member of our society and are not in paid employment, are not attending a centre based day program and are not completing any further education.   Most stay at home either by themselves or with a family member.  Providing appropriate support for all children with a primary language disorder will assist them to maximise their potential and find a productive place within our society.

Anecdotally and alarmingly, teachers talk about the increase in children presenting in Prep / Year 1 with a language disorder.  How many of those children are given the support they require to actively participate in the curriculum and gain academic success?   Our service provides some support however there is a large and growing group of children which requires more than our organisation can currently provide and there are limitations to the local services that are available.

 

The Let’s Talk Outreach service, through the CHI.L.D. Association will continue to provide the services outlined above.  Our organisation is the only one of its type in Australia and has a lead role in providing support, advice and recommendations for all sectors of education and government, so that an appropriate response can be devised to address this issue. This is occurring on a local, case by case basis however more needs to be done.

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