by Merlin Nathan
It is as always, a privilege and a joy to assist with the creative, energising work of the Palestine Children’s Relief Fund (PCRF) at the coalface. This is too, with the monetary and emotional support of the Australian Friends of Palestine Association and its members.
The last 2 visits have challenged my expertise and experiences as an Occupational Therapist.
I have had to set myself the target of completing in the months since my return, three-course updates in the fields of General Occupational Therapy, Paediatrics and Autism. Clinicians working in the PCRF supported programs are seeking validation and/or further education.
Soon after my last visit to the various centres I distributed a questionnaire. I received and was able to ascertained their various assessments and review mechanisms of their treatment programs. This was to establish any commonality and ascertain their experiences across the various centres.
Their responses were varied as expected as education, training, experience, expertise and ongoing education were reflected in their answers.
The 7 primary centres that PCRF have their sponsored children for rehabilitation had these varying responses.
· All had Occupational Therapy (OT) and Physiotherapy (PT) and 2 centres Speech Pathologist (SPT) services
· Only three centres with OT services and 5 centres with PT used standardised assessments
· Frequency of assessments were excellent, so too Family and Team meetings
· Family education and content, expectations of families, staff and therapy interactions varied within centres. Confirming my observations at visits and feedback from staff. This has impact on a child’s progress.
· With outpatient therapy the importance of carry over and promotion of treatment strategies in the home environment is very crucial
An imbalance in some spheres has had me select an educational program trying to address my perception of needs.
Most centres including family members too, have continuously requested for further knowledge and education.
The flexible program developed will meet the needs of staff and family in attendance. My primary focus will be on the changed/changing focus of the interplay between family and staff expectations and demands within any area addressed.
The program developed will be at least over 3 days. This is to meet the unplanned mixed audience. Flexible issues/topics will be addressed on the day, and will have terminology, language and depth to match attendee’s. Much planning and work ahead and expectations to meet.