KU Annual Report 2010 - Page 7

Making the KU Difference For families Larraine Brown & Bernadette Mitchell Coordinators, KU Starting Points In 2010 the award for Making the KU Difference for Families was awarded to two worthy recipients who lead KU’s two Starting Points programs. KU Starting Points offers early intervention and support to families who have young children with disabilities or high support needs. The program includes play sessions for children, support groups for families and home visiting programs. Speech pathologists and psycholo gists provide additional specialist support for families in partnership with the teaching staff and other agencies. families in advocating for their children. Her work is often publicly recognised by local dignitaries and politicians. Bernadette Mitchell has been the Coordinator of KU Starting Points Penrith since it began in 2003. Bernadette embodies the spirit of the KU Difference as her work in Western Sydney has a positive impact on the lives of children with additional needs and their families. Bernadette describes her program as a great “starting point” for enhancing children’s development and supporting families. Although her program operates from a shared community hall, Bernadette has created a play-based program which offers a wide range of learning experiences, specifically designed to encourage development in all areas, including movement and muscle control, communication, thinking and understanding, social skills and awareness. Bernadette displays exceptional commitment and has supported families in making connections with professionals in the area, to assist them in achieving successful outcomes for their children. Larraine Brown has been the Coordinator of KU Starting Points Macarthur for many years and is held in high esteem by families and other early childhood professionals. With a strong and unfailing dedication to children with high support needs, and their families, in the Macarthur area, Larraine provides support to families right from the time a child is diagnosed with a disability and is referred to the program, often at birth. Local pediatricians say the most valuable resource they can give a family in this situation is Larraine’s mobile phone number. In her nomination, Larraine was recognised for her efforts ‘over and above’ her role, often visiting children in hospital when they are unwell and comforting families. She works hard in supporting the very successful fundraising events the families organise for the service and supports the Thumbs up from KU families • 98.4% of parents would use or recommend a KU service • 4 out of 5 parents were highly satisfied with the: • Educational program • Communication about their child’s day and development • Centre staff’s helpfulness and professionalism • Management of the centre “The teachers’ commitment to each individual child and their specific development is amazing. They really care about the children and their family, and do their best to help each child reach their full potential.” Extract from 2010 KU Parent Exit Questionnaire 115th Annual Report 2010 7