Senator Conroy launches telepractice guide in an Australian first

Senator Conroy (right) with (r-l) co-authors, Melissa McCarthy, Jan North and RIDBC Chief Executive, Chris Rehn.

On Monday, 10 December, Senator Stephen Conroy, Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy launched a book at the Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children (RIDBC) which will give organisations the tools they need to get started and deliver a high quality telepractice service.

Purchase RIDBC Teleschool: Guiding Principles for Telepractice here.

In an Australian first, RIDBC Teleschool: Guiding Principles for Telepractice, presents a model of telepractice aimed at delivering services to remotely-located families which are equal to those provided in metropolitan areas.

Children with hearing or vision loss require consistent, quality, early intervention to achieve the best outcomes – whether they are learning to listen and speak with the aid of a cochlear implant or learning braille to ensure success at a mainstream school.

“Though RIDBC Teleschool, RIDBC has reached hundreds of children with vision or hearing loss across Australia via high quality in-home videoconferencing since 2002,” said RIDBC Head of Educational Services, Melissa McCarthy.  “The book being launched today outlines the practical guidelines which have developed this service into a world-leading model for telepractice.”

“As the National Broadband Network (NBN) is rolled out across Australia, RIDBC will be able to provide a far more reliable, extensive and cost effective service for children with vision or hearing loss – where high quality images and sound can be produced on every occasion.  This is essential in order to provide the same level of support as in-person consultation,” said Ms McCarthy.

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

Senator Conroy said that it was great to see organisations like RIDBC embracing what fast broadband has to offer and providing practical advice to maximise its benefits.

“The NBN’s reach, reliability and high speeds will allow for all Australians to have services like those provided by RIDBC at their fingertips, no matter where they live,” Senator Conroy said.

To purchase the book online follow this link.

RIDBC is Australia’s largest provider of services for children with hearing or vision loss, assisting thousands of children a year across Australia.  As Australia’s premier provider of training and education for professionals in the field of sensory disability, RIDBC ensures that services delivered throughout government and non-government organisations remains cutting-edge.

 RIDBC relies heavily on fundraising and community support to be able to continue to make a difference in children's lives.  In order to maintain its intensive educational and research programs, the organisation needs to raise approximately $2.5 million every month.