Regional and remote Australia will have access to specialist services and therapies for children with hearing and vision impairments through the National Broadband Network (NBN).
With an investment of $4.9 million over three years to deliver the Remote Hearing and Vision Services for Children Initiative, the online video-based program will improve access to qualified allied health and education services to remote areas.
The federal government currently provides almost $580000 to the Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children for the Teleschool initiative, which the latest investment is an addition to.
Minister for disability reform, Jenny Macklin said a child with a disability can have ‘real time’ support and advice through these online services if there is no specialist where they live.
“A child will be able to meet with a speech pathologist in Brisbane and have a therapy session online through this new video conferencing service,” Ms Macklin said.
Parliamentary secretary for disabilities and carers, Jan McLucas said the funding would deliver early intervention for children with disabilities.
“It’s critical that we support children with hearing or vision impairment as early as possible, because without it, they are more likely to fall behind at school and miss key development milestones,” Ms McLucas said.
The government already supports 100 children, with the initiative delivering services to an additional 125 children in regional and remote Australia.
According to Ms Macklin and Ms McLucas, a “competitive tender process” will deliver these services shortly.
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