13 year old Novita client, Zoe Armour, has been enjoying the benefits of receiving individualised speech pathology services with her therapist, Jana Karakasilis, since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Zoe’s mother Sarah says that these services have been incredibly beneficial to continue working on Zoe’s goals.
“Individualised services at Novita are centered on meeting each client’s goals, strengths and needs in a way that everyone is comfortable with, recognising that the service may look different for each person,” says Jana.
“They can access their therapy in a way that’s specific and tailored to them and it can continue to be revised over varying points in time.
“We can provide individualised services in the home, at one of our hubs, via telehealth, or through written programs as we have been doing with Zoe.”
Jana and Zoe have been working together for a number of years now, so continuing to change Zoe’s support to reflect her needs has been an important part of her being able to reach her goals.
“Jana has been able to create programs that incorporate Zoe’s interests and strengths while focusing on her speech goals,” says Sarah.
“One of them has been slowing down her words so we can understand her and also talking in sentences with the correct words in sequence.
“A lot of the program has been asking Zoe questions about the activities we have done and she’s been able to recall information quickly and at times used her imagination!”
“Online therapy has worked so well” – Sarah Armour
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Zoe was receiving support from Jana at Novita’s Regency Park location, however for the last seven weeks Zoe has been isolating at home owing to the rare syndrome and low immunity that she and her sister Lucy live with.
Lucy also has severe asthma which means that both sisters are in a high risk category.
“Being able to maintain Zoe’s therapy program during this time has been very beneficial for working towards achieving her goals, continuing the relationship with Jana and also have something to do,” says mum, Sarah.
“Zoe has enjoyed it, I actually thought she would struggle doing therapy online but it’s been a really positive experience. The written programs are easy to follow and Zoe and I can read them together and the activities are easy to do at home.”
“The process was easy from our perspective, we talked about what things Zoe enjoys and Jana tailored the program to meet her needs.
“Zoe is completing activities that include making items which she can play with at the end of the session, for example, play dough and sensory bags.”
Jana has been working with Zoe for the last few years and is accustomed to allowing Zoe and her family to give activities a go and if they don’t work, make changes to suit not only Zoe and her needs, but to help Sarah and the rest of the family work on the program.
In Zoe’s case, Jana has designed an individually tailored booklet of activities to ensure Zoe can keep reaching her goals whilst not being able to attend appointments at Novita’s office, engaging Sarah to support Zoe to complete the activities successfully – all designed around Zoe and her family’s needs.
“I think Zoe’s ability to concentrate and be involved with online learning has improved and because a lot of it is fun, she’s enjoyed it,” says Sarah.
“Zoe’s reading has improved dramatically” – Sarah Armour
Sarah encourages family members or carers who are thinking that an individualised service would be beneficial to talk to their therapist and discuss the options and give it a go because, “you may be surprised at how well your child does, even if you think that they won’t be interested – the progress Zoe has made with her reading has been fabulous.”
“We are grateful for the opportunity and to continue the therapy using technology and written programs,” says Sarah.