The Healthy Kids Bus Stop recently visited Bowraville and Toormina, offering free developmental screening and health check-ups to 76 local children aged from three to five.
An allied health team screened and assessed the children's oral health, vision, hearing, nutrition, language and speech development, and fine and gross motor skills development.
Of the 76 children screened, 62 required referrals in one or more areas, including 29 for dental, 27 for occupational therapy and 20 for speech therapy. Several other issues were also identified during the 361 individual screenings.
"What an awesome experience. We were given such excellent professional advice. We gained so much information to help us make future choices for our son. We definitely recommend the Bus Stop to any family who want to get a range of health checks ticked off," Kimberley, mother of Nate, said after the pair visited the bus.
Aimed at improving the health and wellbeing of children through the early detection of lifestyle risk factors, delayed development and/or illness, this award-winning program was delivered through a collaborative partnership with the Mid North Coast Local Health District, Ronald McDonald House Charities, community service organisations, preschools and local medical services. Invaluable support was also provided by the Mazda Foundation.
Generously hosted by Bowraville Church Hall, the unique Bus Stop program provided families a friendly 'one stop shop' setting with access to a variety of health disciplines and professionals, all in the one location.
"Identifying children's developmental issues before they start school is critical to their life trajectory, and this program identified children who will benefit from extra support and early intervention to maximise their opportunities at school,"Royal Far West community programs manager John Reid said.
"It was a great commitment by the local health staff and a terrific example of integrated care between different stakeholders and organisations. There are many complicated health needs amongst children, and groups working together to find the best find solutions is a very powerful model."