“Maxi Kids: Strengthening, building and caring for rural and remote children”

Elizabeth Whale

Marathon Health 106 Talbragar St, Dubbo, NSW, 2830, elizabeth.whale@marathonhealth.com.au

Maxi Kids is a six week health promotion and intervention program for children aged between 3 and 7 years of age. Maxi Kids assists parents and carers, early childhood educators, early childhood teachers and health staff discover each child’s strengths and areas of need for intervention specific to their developmental ages and stages and health development using the medium of play.

Facilitated by an Allied Health Assistant under the remote supervision of an Occupational Therapist, children are screened in the domains of gross motor, fine motor, visual perceptual, auditory processing, and social skills. The program is tailored to the individual and the identified needs of the child and implemented at weekly intervals within school and preschool environments. Parents, carers, early childhood educators and teachers, and the child’s General Practitioner are informed on and included in the child’s direct and broader healthcare specific to an individual’s needs. These supports and intervention directly affect the child and indirectly affect parental and stakeholder capacity and caregiving environments.

Early findings for the Maxi Kids program have identified significant improvement on individual assessments pre and post program. The Maxi Kids program January to June 2015 delivered 8 programs to 25 children with 83% of participants obtaining a score of 100% in their developmental and health screening indicators post program. Customer satisfaction surveys have universally and overwhelmingly identified as “highly satisfied” with the program content, outcome and service delivery. The program often identified as “brilliant”, “awesome” and “wonderful” when asked for further comments or feedback.

Biography

Liz Whale has worked in the paediatric health, education and welfare domains for over 16 years. Liz was the project lead for the Coonamble Desert Pea Media – Tin Town Trackers Projects 2013/2014, showcased at the 13th National Rural Health Alliance Conference in Darwin 2015 and has contributed significantly to the design and development of a multidisciplinary, multiagency whole of child health, development, assessment and pathway to care program recognised by the 2014 ACI NSW Rural Health and Congress Award for Innovation and the 2014 NSW Health Secretary Award for Integrated Care.