The Early Childhood Intervention Infoline provides a telephone information service on early childhood intervention services within New South Wales, for families and carers of young children with developmental delays or disabilities, or professionals working with them.
Contact details and services provided by early intervention services are available by calling the Early Childhood Intervention Infoline on: 1300 656 865.
Gowrie NSW has been contracted by the Department of Ageing, Disability and Home Care (DADHC) to provide telephone information to families with children who have a developmental delay or disability, aged between zero to six years.
Early Childhood Intervention is the term used to describe the services and programs available to families of young children who may have a disability or a developmental delay.
- Disability is a physical, sensory, intellectual or behavioural impairment that affects the child’s development.
- Developmental delay describes a young child who is not achieving new skills within the expected age range.
There are many different types of early childhood intervention services that are available to families. These can include physiotherapy, speech pathology, occupational therapy, psychologists, social workers, doctors, audiologists to name a few.
Early childhood intervention services are offered in a variety of different forms including home visits, where a professional visits the family at home to provide advice, support or therapy services. Some services are centre-based, where the child and parent attend a program based outside the home. Services can also be provided in early childhood settings such as long day care centres, preschools or hospitals.
Who calls the Early Childhood Intervention Infoline?
Callers to the Infoline include parents, family members, childcare professionals, teachers, therapists, medical specialists and other professionals.
Many of the callers to the Infoline are parents. However a number of calls are from professionals looking for further support for their clients.
A large percentage of parents call the Infoline because they have a concern about their child’s overall development, or suspect that their child has a more specific problem. Some parents call the Infoline after they have received a diagnosis for their child and want to find out more information about where to go for support.
What information does the Early Childhood Intervention Infoline provide?
When a caller makes contact with the Early Childhood Intervention Infoline, they will speak directly to an early childhood professional who understands the situations parents may be experiencing and who can provide information and contacts for relevant services.
An example of a typical call made to the Infoline:
“My son has just turned three years old and I am really worried because he doesn’t seem to be using many words. My friend has a child of a similar age, and he is using lots of words and talking in sentences, where can I go to get help?”
In this instance, the early childhood professional taking the call will ask if the parent has taken their child for a hearing assessment, as problems with hearing often impact on children’s speech development. If not, then they would provide contact details and phone numbers for services that provide hearing assessments.
If the parent has already taken their child for a hearing assessment and there are no problems with the child’s hearing, then the caller would be referred to a speech pathologist for a speech assessment. The information provided to the caller will vary according to the individual needs of the caller and is treated as confidential.
Occasionally a distressed parent or family member may call, who may have just received a diagnosis for their child. The early childhood professional assisting the caller can inform them about contact details of support services, but is not a trained counsellor. If a caller is distressed and with their permission, they can be transferred to the Parent Line on:1300 1300 52, where they can talk to a trained counsellor over the phone.
Quite a significant number of callers state how confusing it is to find the right place to go for help, and the Infoline certainly helps families to find the most appropriate services to support their child.
The Infoline also has an information brochure Are You Worried? which is available in ten languages other than English, including Arabic, Chinese, Dari, Korean, Pushto, Samoan, Tongan, Turkish, Urdu and Vietnamese.
These brochures are available for distribution to childcare services, early intervention services, and any health service wanting to assist a family who may have a child with a disability.