DisabilityCare Australia Report Released
ACAP’s Dr Fiona Papps is part of a research team investigating the support of young children with disabilities and their families under DisabilityCare Australia.
The team will soon release their report ‘Getting the best from DisabilityCare Australia: Families, Information and Decision Making’, the result of an ongoing project funded by FaHCSIA through the Practical Design Fund.
The study seeks to determine how to best provide information to families of young children with disabilities to enable them to effectively utilise the DisabilityCare Australia funding model. In particular, it considers how the internet may empower such families to make effective decisions about their childs’ care.
The study found the key source of information for parents about their child’s disability to be ‘Professionals’, with ‘the Internet’ as the second most popular source of information and ‘other parents of children with additional needs’ as the third.
The importance of a reliable internet connection for families accessing DisabilityCare Australia was highlighted. 99% of parents surveyed said they used email, with 89% using facebook and 98% having internet access at home. Only 1% of families surveyed said they don’t use the internet at all, a percentage considered to be significant enough that online skills training is recommended.
Respondents indicated that DisabilityCare Australia information needed to be accessible and easy to understand (as well as available in multiple languages), but also that the funding model used needs to be both transparent and flexible in terms of families’ needs and circumstances. The need for a ‘coordinator’, case worker or other central point of contact for their child was also stressed by many respondents.
The researchers now hope to use their findings to develop online modules to support families and carers of children with disabilities in making decisions about service delivery. Although the exact content of the modules has yet to be decided, the modules will be interactive, contain video material and allow their being dubbed into other languages. The Early Childhood Intervention (ECIA) website is currently the planned host for the modules.