We provide each family with one of our highly qualified, caring and compassionate staff members who act as a key worker and a single point of contact. This person works in partnership with the family to develop a plan that will support their child’s growth and development while considering the needs of the whole family. Each key worker is supported by the skills and experience of the Plumtree team.
We provide practical services and support to children and their families, helping them to enjoy and use the time they spend together every day as learning opportunities. We provide education, therapy, information and training in a variety of settings—mostly in the home, and also at the child’s preschool, childcare centre or school, and our Marrickville centre.
We are experienced with helping families direct their funding packages to best achieve their aims.
We value and embrace diversity, acknowledge each family as unique, yet provide a high quality experience for all.
We believe that every child can participate in family and community life, and that families—the most important influence in a child’s life—can make this happen with the right support.
Your family is at the centre
At Plumtree, we base our services on family-centred practice which is the gold standard in early childhood intervention. This recognizes that each family is unique, that the family is the constant in the child’s life and that they are the experts on their child’s needs and abilities. You and your family work in partnership with Plumtree, to make informed decisions about the services and supports you receive. In family-centred service, the strength and needs of all family members are considered.
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Key workers are professionals and part of a team
A Key Worker is a member of our team of professionals who works closely with you and your child and gets to know you well. Your Key Worker is trained and experienced in working with young children who have developmental concerns. She might be a speech pathologist, an occupational therapist, a physiotherapist or a teacher. Whatever her background she will work with you on what is most important to you. She will listen to what you want to achieve and help you to plan goals. during weekly visits she will join with you in putting ideas into practice. Then she will talk with you about what went well, what might be helpful next time and what to try in between visits. The Key Worker is backed up the whole team at Plumtree. Team members constantly share their skills and ideas with each other and they can draw on each other to assist when needed.
For more information about key workers, click here.
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Planning plays a part in getting the right things in place for your child and family
At Plumtree, we ensure that the support we provide to your child and family is relevant and effective, by developing an Individual Family Service Plan (IFSP).This is a planning process that helps everyone to work in a coordinated way to meet your needs.
You decide the goals that reflect your family’s concerns and priorities. Working in partnership with you is the key to a good plan and we can assist you with setting goals that are practical and achievable. We encourage and support you to take an active part in coordinating the planning, as this is an important skill for the future.
A meeting is often held to bring everyone together for planning. You can choose where to hold this meeting and you also decide who to invite. You can also decide when to have a fresh look at the plan, to evaluate how things are going and make changes if needed.
Families usually have this meeting once or twice a year to keep everyone focused on what will make a difference.
‘I feel that my key worker is always monitoring my child’s progress but she also recognises that it’s not only about my child. We work well together. She’s very flexible and always happy to change the plan. My son absolutely adores her and has a very good rapport with her which is so important. When she comes to our home we always feel it’s worthwhile.’
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Learning through everyday activities
Children learn best through everyday activities as this way, they have lots of opportunities to practice the skills they need. Children experience natural learning opportunities through play, everyday routines like bath time and mealtimes, and interactions with parents and other care givers. Play is recognised as one of the most important ways for children to learn and develop. We work together with you to explore play experiences and find these natural learning opportunities in your day.
Being a part of the community
Every child has the opportunity to make a unique contribution and to participate in family and community life. We support the inclusion of children with additional needs in:
- Family activities both inside and outside of the home with family and friends;
- Community settings such as playgroups and other age appropriate recreational activities such as swimming and dance classes;
- Mainstream early childhood programs such as preschool or child care; and school.
Inclusion is important for learning, because children learn how to participate more independently when they are around other children who are doing those things. Inclusion is a major form of early intervention and is supported by research. It is also important for your family to continue to be a part of your usual networks and communities. If you need some assistance with getting out and about, Plumtree can work with you to try practical ideas and provide support to keep family routines going.
For more information see the Statement on the Inclusion of Children with Disabilities.Click here
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Individual funding to help support your goals
At Plumtree, we believe that families should have greater control over the services they receive. One way that this can happen is when families are in charge of some, or all, of the money that is allocated for their child. Some families can access initiatives through FaHCSIA (Better Start and Helping Children with Autism), which give them choice on how allocated funds are spent.
Plumtree also offers a small flexible funding package as part of one of its programs called Plan and Do. This offers an additional way in which families can make choices about how funds are used. We help families to learn from using their individualised funding through exploring:
- How to identify what could make a difference to their family,
- What kinds of community activities they could choose to participate in, and why;
- How to plan for changes, or
- How to find resources and equipment.
- To hear families talk about their individual funding click here for our Family Stories project.
‘I think the flexible funding is really beautifully managed. I liked the way we were encouraged to use the funding creatively. When it wasn’t our cash it encouraged us to be more courageous and take risks with trying the ballet lessons. We wouldn’t have tried it otherwise.’
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We embrace diversity
We value the cultural and linguistic diversity of our community and strive to make Plumtree welcoming to all. Our staff speak over 10 languages and we can work with interpreters or bilingual workers when needed.
We acknowledge and respect the history and cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and their right to cultural identities. Plumtree reaches out to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families, children and communities.
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You make the difference
Families spend the most amount of time with their child and the quality of these daily interactions makes a significant difference. We work in partnership with families to find ways to include more of these interactions in daily routines. Research supports these tips:
- Respond to your children’s initiatives;
- Engage with your child by doing what they want to do;
- Support what your child can currently do;
- Respond frequently to your child’s attempts at communication so that they feel like successful communicators (rather than asking test questions, asking them to do something they can’t do or teaching them concepts).
‘Plumtree helped me to trust my own knowledge about what my child needs and I realized that I didn’t have to spend lots of money to make a difference for my child…I could do a lot myself.’