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Innovation Poster Session HRT1215 – Innovation Awards Sydney 11 th and 12 th Oct 2012. Parent Education Workshops Targeting Early Intervention & Prevention of Speech and Language Delay in Children Presenter: Megan Free. Hospital Code Name:. KEY PROBLEM.

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Innovation Poster Session

HRT1215 – Innovation Awards


11th and 12th Oct 2012

Parent Education WorkshopsTargeting Early Intervention & Prevention of Speech and Language Delay in ChildrenPresenter: Megan Free

Hospital Code Name:

key problem

Increasing numbers of children with delayed speech-language development

Increasing waiting lists for services in the community on the Gold Coast

No staffing increases in over a decade

What are the implications of this key problem?

Early Identification and intervention

Children are not being identified nor receive the necessary intervention prior to entering school.

Cost efficacy

More cost effective to intervene in early childhood to prevent problems from developing than try to “fix” problems later (A Healthier Future For All Australians, Interim Report Dec 2008).

School readiness

14% of school aged children do not have sufficient speech and language skills to access the curriculum.

Level of communication skills Academic success

aim of this innovation

Parent Education Workshops for children 0-4 yrs, focusing on health promotion, prevention and early intervention will:

Increase service capacity

Increase service efficiency (families are not required to become clients of the service to attend)

Involve vulnerable children and “at risk” families via ‘soft entry‘ option

Reduce waiting times for families

Empower parents as

“experts” on their own children

the natural teachers of communication skills

advocates for their children

Reduce the long term costs of childhood communication delays/disorders through prevention, early intervention and increased community awareness.



  • Australian Early Development Index (AEDI 2008) Gold Coast, up to 20 000 children experience a developmental delay.
  • Our referral patterns indicate that the great majority of families are not accessing our service (or other available services) for developmental support.
key changes implemented

A suite of 2 Parent Education Workshops was researched, benchmarked and established:

“Toddler Talk” – a two part workshop for caregivers of children under 2½ years of age.

Session 1: 2 hour education workshop with caregivers, targeting typical development, risk indicators and strategies/ techniques for strengthening communication development

Session 2: 1 hour playgroup session with caregivers and child, targeting implementation and demonstration of strategies and techniques, and ways to incorporate activities at home and childcare. This session also provides the opportunity to identify and triage children requiring further services

“Kids Talk” – a one session workshop for caregivers of children aged 2½ to 4 years.

This session covers typical communication development, red flag indicators and strategies / techniques for strengthening speech and language development and preparing the child’s communication skills for school.

All workshops are delivered by Speech Pathologists.

key changes implemented1

The workshops are aimed at caregivers and parents, however are open to extended family, child care staff, Department of Community Services staff, Child Health Nurses and other key people in the lives of Gold Coast children.


Developmental Paediatricians

Child Health Nurses

Paediatric allied health teams

Griffith University Speech Pathology Department

Attendee satisfaction surveys completed at every workshop – to ensure content meets consumer need and to allow for continued development of the programme (annually).

outcomes so far

The number of attendees at a parent education workshops (PEW) in 2011 was: 720

The average time (from point of referral) for a family to

have contact with a Speech Pathologist has decreased from

>4 months to < 1 month.

Service capacity has increased with no staffing increases:

Previously, approximately 400 children received speech

pathology support over 12 months

Currently, 720 early intervention services

can be provided through PEWs

Parent Satisfaction Surveys indicate:

over 99% of attendees “agreed” or “strongly agreed” they received the information they were looking for;

Over 97% of attendees “agreed” or “strongly agreed” they could implement strategies learnt and felt the resources provided would help their child

lessons learnt

Ensuring caregivers have the skills to identify communication delays earlyand implement strategies to promote development is essential in the prevention of speech and language difficulties.

Parent Education Workshops have been an effective method of:

Providing preventative speech pathology care and health promotion

Reducing the number of children presenting with delays at a later age

Targeting vulnerable or ‘at risk’ families who may not otherwise access public health services

Identify children requiring speech pathology (or other service) support at an earlier age

Reducing waiting times for families to access age appropriate and child specific information

Increasing staff capacity

Future development of this innovation will include:

Continued development of the workshop content and format, in accordance with evidence based practise and attendee feedback

Investigate potential expansion into other community sites to increase the potential attendees (i.e. Indigenous community centres)