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April 2019

Child psychologist with a little girl, a child draws

Empowering you to remain your child’s best advocate

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Autism Awareness Month aims to improve the lives of all Australians on the autism spectrum and the families who love them.

Gippsland Lakes Community Health (GLCH) is a registered NDIS provider and supports the mission of Autism Awareness Australia by empowering parents and carers to continue to be the best advocates for their children, through the provision of quality information, resources and programs.

With the support of the Primary Health Care Network, GLCH provides an Autism Diagnostic Support Service in Lakes Entrance, to help children, parents and health professionals with the diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder. In response to a referral from your paediatrician, this service takes a multi-disciplinary team approach, which involves play-based formal observation to gain a comprehensive understanding of the child’s skills and areas of difficulty.

GLCH’s team of qualified, experienced and friendly practitioners provide support and assistance for families who need help navigating challenges related to autism. This expert allied health team includes clinical psychologist Wayne Burgoine, speech pathologists Lyn Nicol and Sarah McKenzie, and occupational therapist, Ainsleigh Whelan.

Sarah has been providing speech therapy to Jonathon – a happy and energetic three-year-old – for around 12 months now.

“We originally came to GLCH for speech therapy, due to his delayed speech,” explains Jonathon’s mum Rebecca “and it was a bit later when he was diagnosed with autism. But since we’ve been coming, his speech has progressed a lot.”

Vicky is mother to a cheeky three-year-old named Seth, who was diagnosed around 1.5 years ago. She says, “We started off in the early intervention program at GLCH due to his delayed speech and limited vocabulary. After around six months he was diagnosed with autism, as well as possible ADHD and sensory issues.”

As a result of his weekly speech pathology sessions with Lyn and fortnightly occupational therapy with Ainsleigh, Seth has also made excellent progress.

“The staff are really good,” adds Vicky. “They inform me of everything I need to know and are always suggesting ways to help both Seth and me.”

Autism Diagnostic Clinic Advertisment [Apr 2019]

Disabilities Team

NDIS boosts local employment opportunities

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The roll-out of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is in full swing throughout East Gippsland, which is resulting in the reshaping of existing services for anyone with a disability or a psychosocial condition.

In some instances the NDIS provides increased funding to individuals, enabling greater access to support services. Of course, this also provides significant employment opportunities for local businesses.

Shelley Wormald, Manager of the NDIS team at Gippsland Lakes Community Health (GLCH), said “We’ve been inundated with requests for services. We expected to continue to provide support services to the clients we were already involved with and predicted we may add a few new clients; however, in this first two months of the rollout we’ve actually increased our new clients by around 70 per cent, as well as seen an increase in the amount of funding available to our existing clients.”

The majority of services requested relate to daily living or social and community assistance. Chris Tipa the Executive Manager of Aged and Disability Services Unit at GLCH said, “We’re in a great position now to be able to welcome more people into our organisation. Along with the changes taking place in the Aged Care sector, the NDIS is also changing the way we deliver supports”.

“Unfortunately,” he adds, “we’ve also seen that some of these changes are causing confusion within the community. So here at GLCH we’re committed to making sure that the information and services we provide remain simple and easy to understand.”

GLCH provides a broad range of in-home services to people with a disability, as well as allied health and paediatric therapies, and social support services. There are currently numerous opportunities to join the GLCH team in these areas, with more vacancies being added all the time.

“I’m excited about the opportunities that are being created for East Gippsland – both now and in the future,” said Ms Wormald. “We’re always on the lookout for people who have a passion for helping people, so if that sounds like you then get in touch with us.”

“And of course,” adds Mr Tipa, “if you require services or clarification understanding the NDIS then please contact us as well.”

To find out more contact our disabilities team on 5155 8300 or follow Gippsland Lakes Community Health on Facebook.

Pul Rehab

Breathless? We may be able to help you…

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Do you suffer from breathing difficulties such as chronic bronchitis, emphysema or chronic asthma?

“Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease” (COPD) is an umbrella term used to describe this group of conditions that obstruct airflow in your lungs and make it difficult to breathe.

Unfortunately, diagnosis often occurs in the later stages because of the 1 in 7 Australians aged over 40 years who has COPD, at least 50 percent do not know they have it. This means they’re not taking the early steps to control their symptoms or to slow down the progress of this potentially disabling condition.

Breathlessness and coughs are the key symptoms of COPD, which can both slowly creep up on people. In the early stages, you may find it difficult to run to catch the train or play with young children, but these symptoms can worsen over time to the point where everyday tasks such as hanging out the washing or walking to get the mail feel challenging.

Unfortunately, people who have chronic lung conditions are often less active, which results in reduced fitness and decreased muscle strength. However, with regular exercise, such as walking or cycling for more than two total hours each week, you can improve your health, feel better, keep well, and increase your likelihood of staying out of hospital. Exercise can also enhance the strength and health of your heart, as well as the muscles in your body, arms and legs. It can also help improve your breathing, clear sputum from your lungs, reduce breathlessness during daily tasks, and increase the number of activities that you can do each day.

In addition to exercise, the symptoms of COPD can be controlled, and the ongoing damage can be slowed, through actions such as quitting smoking, better understanding your medicines, maintaining a healthy diet, discussing immunisation options with your doctor, and enrolling in a Pulmonary Rehabilitation program.

“Pulmonary Rehabilitation” is a exercise and education program that teaches you about your lungs, how to exercise, how to undertake activities with less shortness of breath, and how to live better with your lung condition.

GLCH in Lakes Entrance delivers a Pulmonary Rehabilitation program commencing with an initial assessment by an exercise physiologist or physiotherapist. To find out whether this program could help you better manage your breathlessness, contact our Complete Therapies team on 5155 8370.