Tele-Therapy for Children

Tele-Therapy for Children
Organisation: Autism Spectrum Australia (ASPECT)
Contact: Rachel Kerslake

This project aimed to establish a collaborative model of tele-therapy for children on the autism spectrum who live in regional, rural and remote Australia.

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The Context

Autism Spectrum Australia (ASPECT) is Australia’s largest service provider to people on the autism spectrum. ASPECT has a specialised, evidence-informed schools program that is the largest in the world. ASPECT offers additional services such as information and advice, diagnostic assessments, behaviour support, parent and family support, and adult programs.

The Problem

Access to ASPECT’s specialised services in regional, rural and remote areas is hampered by workforce shortages and the cost and timeliness required to deliver these services.

The Solution

Under the IWF, ASPECT aimed to establish a collaborative model of tele-therapy for children on the autism spectrum who live in regional, rural and remote Australia which:

  • Provides a platform that promotes agencies and individuals connected to the child to work together at a local level with ASPECT providing the specialist intervention and support.
  • Tests technology as an effective solution using acceptability/satisfaction and progress against expected outcomes as measures of success  

Research literature supports multidisciplinary approaches to this cohort.

Expected Impact

ASPECT anticipated:

  • Increased reach for service delivery.
  • Better outcomes from service delivery.
  • Stronger support networks around the child and their family at a local level.
  • Increased support for local professionals such as educators, allied health and community workers.
  • Greater affordability for families than travelling to city

Stage and Spread

The project focused on western NSW and exceeded the expected ten participants in the pilot.

Lessons and Insights

  • Local agencies and individuals that are more confident and capable of supporting the child in the place they live and learn.
  • Reliable access to the internet.
  • Consistency in software product and version.
  • Comfort with technology.
  • Commitment to learning a new way of working for staff. 

Roadblocks and Risks

  • The amount of home data allowance for participants using their own devices needs to be considered.
  • Access to the Internet and speed in regional settings needs to be considered.