Delivering remote services to children with in rural or regional Australia

Teleschool session via videoconference.Investment in technology and infrastructure has enabled RIDBC to reach more children and reduce the burden of distance and travel on families.

Through innovative tele-practice solutions, RIDBC is able to deliver services to families in rural and regional Australia which are equal to those provided in metropolitan areas.

RIDBC is leading the way in remote service delivery so that children with hearing or vision loss can receive the consistent, quality early intervention critical to achieving the best outcomes – wherever they live in Australia.

RIDBC Chief Executive, Chris Rehn, said tele-practice has been key in improving access. He says the possibilities for its use are constantly expanding as technological capacity increases. 

“In addition to RIDBC Teleschool, which has provided education and therapy to hundreds of children with vision or hearing loss across Australia via high quality in-home videoconferencing since 2002, almost all of RIDBC’s comprehensive suite of services is now available remotely.”

Investment in technology and infrastructure has enabled RIDBC to reach more children and reduce the burden of distance and travel on families who have a child with a hearing loss and live outside the major cities.

“In such a vast country, families who have a child with a disability can feel isolated not only from service providers but also from other families who share similar challenges. With the right technology and methodology, tele-practice can help overcome this isolation and reach more families than ever,” said Mr Rehn.

Providing innovative solutions to ensure families in country areas are not disadvantaged is a priority for RIDBC.  Remote cochlear implant mapping (programming the implant), is just one example of this.

“Up until just this year, a child would stay with us in Sydney for up to three months during cochlear implantation and subsequent mapping and rehabilitation,” said Mr Rehn.  

“We have reduced the time spent away from home to just three weeks. In an already difficult time for families, this significantly reduces stress caused by time away from work, other siblings and family members.”

RIDBC has also just concluded an exhaustive two year study which has shown that remote access technology can be used to assess hearing in children as accurately as conventional face-to-face assessment.

Tele-audiology is another way in which RIDBC is helping to revolutionise the way in which services are delivered, with more timely service provision being made available in remote locations.  Qualified and experienced professionals will be able to access more communities and therefore more children in need.