Allied health students prepare for practical experience through CQU's community outreach program

21 January 2022

The CQUniversity Rockhampton Health Clinic is kicking off 2022 with free allied health screening services for children at the Rockhampton Children and Family Centre.

As part of their studies and under the supervision of clinical educators from each discipline' third- and fourth-year students completing degrees in speech pathology' occupational therapy and physiotherapy will spend up to 10 weeks providing screening assessments' education and intervention for children between two and five years old attending the Rockhampton Children and Family Community Playgroup.

CQUniversity's Occupational Therapy Clinical Supervisor Belle Keen said the screening assessments will determine whether the children are reaching their development milestones prior to commencing prep or primary school.

"The screening assessments will provide parents and guardians with a detailed report outlining the findings and relevant recommendations'" Ms Keen said.

"The students will also provide education and recommendations to the Rockhampton Children and Family Centre staff."

These activities are part of CQUniversity's community outreach program which commenced in early 2021.

"The community outreach program is a fantastic initiative. It provides our students with the practical experience they need to refine their skills and it enables us to deliver these services to people who otherwise may not have access to them."

Fourth-year Bachelor of Speech Pathology (honours) student Anna Ferguson said the program has become something she is very passionate about.

"My passion for this program stems from its multidisciplinary nature'" Ms Ferguson said.

"This is beneficial as it encourages parents and guardians to seek knowledge specific to different developmental areas without feeling pressure or judgement.

"It also presents a great opportunity for students to share their knowledge with other students in different disciplines' which I think is important as it allows each student to broaden their knowledge for the benefit of the families that attend the group.

"The program has even sparked my interest in other areas such as paediatrics' especially with children with disabilities."

Fellow fourth-year Bachelor of Speech Pathology (honours) student Kiara McKay said the program provides students with the opportunity to interact with children from diverse backgrounds in a naturalistic way.

"The program allows us to build connections with children and guardians and provide them with trusted advice and therapy that they may not have access to'" Ms McKay explained.

"I am excited to observe how our regular attendees have progressed in their communication skills compared to last year."

Rockhampton Children and Family Centre' also known as Bidgerdii Community Health Service' work with families with children aged between zero and eight to ensure they can access services of early childhood education and care' child and maternal health' and parent and family support.

The CQUniversity Health Clinic is a public access clinic with state-of-the-art health facilities that offers allied health services. They allow a practical learning environment for third- and fourth-year allied health students to deliver a range of services to members of the Central Queensland region.

CQUniversity also has Health Clinics in Mackay' Brisbane' and Sydney.