Harry’s Story

Harry's Story
Posted on Fri 8 May 2020

Harry lives north of Coonamble, in Outback NSW. Like lots of country kids, he has to travel long distances to see health professionals, including his Speech Pathologist, Amy.

The closest large town is Dubbo, a 2 ½ hour drive away. It’s where his family do their ‘big shops’ and it’s also where they visit the nearest Cerebral Palsy Alliance centre.

You see, Harry lives with severe cerebral palsy. It affects his ability to move his arms and his legs, and he needs full support for his daily activities. He uses a wheelchair to move around, and an eye gaze computer to communicate with friends and family.

With Dubbo 2 ½ hours from home, and a typical speech-therapy appointment lasting 45min, Harry with his mum Kim have a 6 hour round trip ahead of them when they need to visit Amy for therapy.

They all meet 2-3 times each school term, where Amy supports Harry’s ability to use his eye gaze device. Whether Harry and Kim drive to Dubbo, or Amy drives to Coonamble, a lot of time is taken simply getting to and from their destination.

Thankfully, with access to Telepractice, Harry can now see Amy throughout the term without anyone needing to jump in a car.

Telepractice (also known as telehealth) allows children and adults in rural and remote areas to access face to face therapy without the need to travel vast distances. It’s just like being in the room with a therapist, but instead, they meet via online video.

Before they started using Telepractice, Kim sometimes found it difficult needing to wait for each appointment with Amy. Now, they can meet more regularly and Kim can have all of her questions answered.

“It’s been really good, because we’ve been able to sit down together, and talk face to face.” Kim, Harry’s Mum

For therapists like Amy, Telepractice allows her to keep a close eye on Harry’s progress and make sure he is getting the support he needs.

“The best part of my role is having the opportunity to support kids like Harry meet their goals. Building a rapport and trust with families is incredibly rewarding and knowing I have played a small part in their success is hugely fulfilling.”  Amy, Speech Pathologist

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the difficult decision was made to stop all face to face therapy on Friday, 27th March. It means traditional therapy has had to move online. Telepractice allows our therapists to continue supporting children and adults with disability, but some families are missing out.

You can help provide Telepractice Support Kits, valued at $2,500 each, by donating online today. 

You are invited to participate in an online survey about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on your child with a neurodevelopmental disability or rare genetic disorder.