HEALTHY BUS STOP TO VISIT LAKE

(Left) Jack checking out the big choppers. (Right) Elijah during his vision test. Image: Contributed.(Left) Jack checking out the big choppers. (Right) Elijah during his vision test. Image: Contributed.

By Melissa Blewitt

The Healthy Kids Bus Stop will be delivering Free Health Checks for Children in Lake Cargelligo on the 23 to 25 February.

The award-winning developmental screening program Healthy Kids Bus Stop is returning to Lake Cargelligo to help improve the health and wellbeing of children aged 3-5 so they start school ready to learn.

In partnership with the Murrumbidgee Local Health District and Ronald McDonald House Charities, with support from Danks Trust and Royal Far West, free child health checks will be delivered at Lake Cargelligo Central School from Tuesday, 23 February to Thursday, 25 February.

The Healthy Kids Bus Stop program will be adhering to the NSW Government’s COVID procedures, and all parents attending the school premises need to be aware of any protocols set by the school.

Identifying children’s developmental issues before they start school is critical to their life trajectory, and this program will help identify children who will benefit from extra support and early intervention to maximise their opportunities at school.

The Healthy Kids Bus Stop program is fun and interactive, with children hopping on and off each ‘bus stop health station’ throughout their assessment.

“The comprehensive health stations include screening and assessment for oral health, hearing, food and nutrition, language and speech development, and fine and gross motor skill development.

There’s also a general Child Health Check, which assesses each child’s immunisation status and developmental milestones,” Royal Far West’s Community Programs Manager John Reid explained.

Each child’s assessment takes a couple of hours to complete, and each child must be accompanied by a parent/guardian throughout the assessment. Between health stations, children visit the play area while parents and carers are given the opportunity to consult further with the multidisciplinary health professionals and collect health promotion materials.

Children requiring further assessment will be referred to appropriate local services, and those with complex needs may also be referred to Royal Far West’s Paediatric Developmental Program.

Children must be registered to attend the Bus Stop. This can be done at https://www.royalfarwest.org.au/programs/healthy-kids-bus-stop/ or by calling the team on 0408 555 249 for more information.

The Bus Stop visited Lake Cargelligo in 2017 and 2019. Of the 84 children screened in 2019, 74 required referrals in one or more areas, including 55 for speech pathology, 40 for occupational therapy, and 24 for hearing during the 439 individual screenings.

To help support children in rural and remote areas of Australia, please call 1800 500 061 or go to the website www.royalfarwest.org.au