Initial Journey

 

Parents and caregivers who are just starting out on their new journey.

Regardless, there’s lots to consider at a time when you may still be processing or coming to terms with what this may mean for your child, as well as for you and the rest of your family.

EKF can help you access the services and supports you need.

 

EKF aims to contribute to better care outcomes for children and families.

Our support team at EKF can provide useful information to access on a range of issues – from seeking an initial diagnosis, discovering and accessing funding and other forms of financial support, learning how to advocate on behalf of your child, building a personalised support network to managing your own wellbeing and that of other members of your family.

 

Parents and caregivers who are just starting out on their new journey.

Regardless, there’s lots to consider at a time when you may still be processing or coming to terms with what this may mean for your child, as well as for you and the rest of your family.

EKF can lend you a hand through this challenging, but ultimately rewarding journey.

The process of seeking and/or receiving a diagnosis for your child’s condition is stressful and at times, you may feel overwhelmed with feelings of fear, isolation, frustration and grief.
But you are not alone. We are fortunate these days as Australians to always find help at hand. It’s important, in these early days, as you enter a new and unfamiliar world, and one in which you had never expected to be a part of, to reach out and access support to help you through this difficult time.

EKF can help you build your knowledge and confidence as a parent of a child with additional needs. We’ll try link you to services, support and other families who have and still travelling a similar path to yours. We’ll also help you understand how the health and support systems work, access early childhood intervention support, the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) where applicable, as well as other sources of funding for which you, your child and/or your family may be entitled.
EKF support team help you connect with or access:

  • Therapy providers and allied health professionals
  • Support workers
  • Aids and equipment
  • Options around education
  • Support for siblings
  • Counselling and mental health services
  • Recreation and time out for the whole family
  • Parent training and education
  • Transport options
  • Advocacy support.
  • Peer Support Groups to stay connected
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Our aim at EKF is to build strong, resilient families and supportive communities.
Caring for a child with additional needs is rewarding, however, there is no question that it can also be emotionally, mentally and physically demanding, especially in those early years when you may still be seeking answers and trying to build your knowledge.

Speak to your GP, a counsellor, the team at EKF or take a look at the list of ‘Useful Resources & Links’ for connection to support and services.
Your child’s diagnosis can mean something different for all members of your family with emotional responses and behavioural reactions varying widely.

Over time, your family will build their own kind of resilience but in the early days, try to:

Take one day at a time: Don’t overthink or second-guess how the future will develop. Try to keep things simple, focus on what you know and can do today. The landscape will become clearer as time goes on.
Stay optimistic: No one knows what the future holds - only that much is possible.
Keep the lines of communication open: Talk regularly about how you feel and encourage all members of your family to do the same.
Build networks: Identify the people and organisations that can support you and your family, albeit in many and varied ways.
Seek help: If you need help, ask for it. Talk to EKF who can connect your family with specific support services, including help for siblings.
Make time for family time: Look for activities and events for families raising children with additional needs in your local area.
The more you know about your child’s problem, the better equipped you will be to support them. You will feel more confident, empowered and able to make wise choices and advocate for your child.

If your child receives a diagnosis, access to services, support and therapeutic interventions will open up and help you set your child on a path to living their best life.

These might include:
  • Funding and other sources of financial support
  • Early intervention services
  • Learning and education support
  • Clinical and therapeutic services
  • Behavioural support
  • Advocacy support
  • Accommodations and disability provisions
Seeking a diagnosis often takes time but there are things that you can do in the interim to help you stay strong, connected and supported:

  • Continue to work with your GP and allied health professionals on each of your child’s symptoms or issues as they evolve. Have your child reviewed regularly and seek a second opinion if you feel it’s necessary. You can also ask your GP about accessing therapy services using Medicare rebates or alternatively, using private therapy services, such as a speech therapist, occupational therapist, physiotherapist or psychologist if applicable.

  • Consider (but do NOT wait) self-referral to your local Child Development Unit (CDU) who provides free assessment, early intervention and treatment services to eligible children. No referral or diagnosis is required.

  • Start exploring early intervention options. If your child is under seven years of age, you can contact and/or complete a referral form for EACH, Life Start or Northcott, who deliver Early Childhood Early Intervention (ECEI) support on behalf of the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA). Your child does not need a diagnosis or a referral.

  • Connect with others. You may contact EKF support team for more information. Join an early childhood playgroup. There are many available, specifically for parents of children who have or are showing signs of developmental delay, disability, behavioural difficulties and more.
If you are concerned about your child’s development, the first port of call is a visit to either your local GP.

 You know your child best. All children develop at different rates but sometimes delays or anomalies in development can be of concern.
Once you have a diagnosis, you are likely to feel a range of emotions, all of which will take time to process. At the same time, there are many things to learn such as how the health system works, assessing your child’s eligibility for funding, working out who to talk to and where to find information.

EKF’s team can provide you with information specific to your child’s diagnosis and help you find the support you need to get you on your journey.