Animal lovers Telepractice sessions a roaring success

Animal lovers Telepractice sessions a roaring success
Posted on Mon 20 Apr 2020

Written by Tina Wild 


Being an animal lover myself, it was a privilege to participate in a recent Animal Campaign Workshop, one of CPA’s exciting youth programs. 

CPA has transitioned this youth program – along with many others – online to ensure clients with disability continue to receive services and support while staying at home. Youth Coach and ex-veterinary nurse, Julie Ross-Edwards, invited me to join a session so I could really understand how the program can be delivered via CPA Telepractice, and see firsthand how participants feel about their new virtual environment. 


Adapting to a virtual world 

With the program already five weeks in before coronavirus restrictions began, the students had formed firm friendships, and were so engaged in the topic they didn’t want to stop the program. So the program delivery moved online, using CPA Telepractice. While the 10-week program originally involved one four-hour, in-person, session each week, these were reduced to two-hours per session to better suit the online format. Aside from that, it was great to see the program had adapted easily to online delivery. 

“I’ve been really impressed with how well they’ve coped with the transition and using the Telepractice technology. Many of my clients find change particularly difficult, so this is incredibly positive,” says Julie Ross-Edwards, CPA Youth Coach. 

During the session I attended, participants said they found the technology simple, and was not a barrier to their enjoyment of the program. I learnt that using various technology platforms was already part of the program, helping students to expand their communication skills. 

“One of the benefits of Telepractice is getting more experience with using technology, which is an essential skill for everyone. We teach participants how to use various technology platforms, such as Skype, apps, online games, as well as Telepractice, via the healthdirect platform.” 

“Also, the way we communicate online can be different than in person, so the participants are learning the nuances of communicating via different formats,” says Julie. 


One of the biggest teaching challenges Julie finds, is getting the students to communicate with each other. This is a common problem, where a young person is often able to communicate more easily with an adult than with their peers. Julie coaches students to overcome these social challenges through positive reinforcement, encouragement, and using specific techniques. Activities include using interactive drawings on the whiteboard, interactive quizzes and sharing of video clips. These techniques can often be used via Telepractice to achieve the same outcomes that would be seen face-to-face. 


Building skills on- and offline 

During the online session I was lucky enough to join, I met three young ladies in their 20s – Kaitlin, Catherine and Julia. They share a passion for animals and animal rights and would like to develop employability skills in this area. Everyone introduced themselves, told me about their pets, and what they’d learned on the program so far: why animals are abused, how charities help them, and what considerations are required during the decision-making process of becoming a pet owner. 

The group then asked me questions they’d prepared together about my dogs, two cheeky Cavalier King Charles. This formed part of their core skills development: to connect with unfamiliar people, gather information, improve their social and communication skills, along with problem solving and negotiation. 

Prior to the transition to CPA Telepractice, the group visited the Cat Protection Society to learn more about animal welfare. The group asked the Society what they could do to help, and in response they produced a poster and designed a charity collection tin cover. This helped them engage in the different stages of problem solving and apply new ideas to design and development of these resources. 

Kaitlin, who has a particular interest in horses, organised a virtual meeting with The Winged Horse Equine Welfare Inc. Organisation. This activity involved practising her social skills using different modalities and building a network of contacts with animal welfare organisations. Carolyn Bischof, President and Founder of the organisation commented that she loved having the Skype video call with Kaitlin.

“I took Kaitlin on a virtual live tour of the sanctuary, where she asked great questions, including what is the hardest part of my work, and lots of questions about individual horses. 

I think the virtual live tour was very beneficial, as I was able to provide a personal experience, reflecting on challenges, and introducing Kaitlin to a wide range of the sentients we have in care. Kaitlin and the other students are also preparing resources for us, which is a great honour,” says Carolyn. 

We’ve developed a range of workshops for our clients as part of our CPA@Home service, ensuring you stay supported, entertained and educated from the comfort of your own home.

Chat to our team now on 1300 888 378 to see how our online workshops could be beneficial for you or your child.

Fri 18 Dec 2020
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Related Services

CPA Telepractice gives you the flexibility to access services online, via your desktop computer, laptop, or any other mobile device.

Do you have a road map for your future? Our youth coaches will support you to identify your needs, set goals and plan the way ahead.