The NW Communication Coordinator Network has launched into another year – its seventh year of operation! Over that time, 17 adult disability Day Services from across the North West metropolitan region of Melbourne have participated thus far. We congratulate and thank those day services for their demonstrated commitment to enhancing participation of people with complex communication needs.
On average we have around 10 – 12 day services participating each year, which typically covers around 800-900 clients!
The Communication Coordinator Network is a capacity building initiative for day services to embed a whole of service approach to providing inclusive communication environments for people with complex communication needs. The NW Regional Communication Service ( NW RCS) Speech Pathologists support and mentor the Communication Coordinators, who in turn become the on the ground agent of change in developing a ‘culture of good communication practice’ in their respective Day Services.
Places in the Network are limited based on the capacity of the part time funded Speech Pathology positions and so only a couple of new services each year have the opportunity to join.
This year we welcome Plenty Valley Disability Services and Scope Northern Districts to the Network. We look forward to continuing to work with
– Araluen , ACES Nth – St John of God, ACES West- St. John of God, IDV, Autism Plus, Distinctive Options and Milparinka Communication Coordinators
– Have a mandatory day off line each week to devote to the role
– Attend initial intensive training in communication, leadership and change management – our newest Coordinators have just completed this this week!
– Attend monthly Network meetings for resource sharing and
PD facilitated by the Speech Pathologists
– Develop a Service Communication Plan – to highlight goals of the service to work on
– Receive ongoing mentoring and site visits from the Speech Pathologists for support
– Coordinate service wide quality improvements in provision of inclusive communication environments
We’ve seen innumerable benefits and outcomes embedded into the way
communication is supported within participating day services including
– Shifts in staff attitudes and approaches to supporting
communication and participation throughout someone’s day
– Large numbers of new communication aids developed and used
– Increased independence of people when provided with the right communication tools for the environments they engage in
– Reductions in incidents and behaviours of concern reported
– Policies and procedures developed to support communication initiatives and communication being recognised by Boards as a key ‘ strategic direction’
With the impending introduction of the NDIS, consideration of how to monitor appropriate standards of service provision to people with disabilities will be even more paramount.
NW RCS is currently developing a draft document for its Network regarding ‘Communication Standards for Disability Day Services’ which in addition to supporting participating day services with actions to undertake, we hope will ultimately provide a means to provide recognition to those day service working ‘in partnership’ with our service to provide best practice support to individuals with complex communication needs.
By Kym Torresi