The running of SchoolKit Clinics is guided by a set of six foundation principles. These principles address the expectations and obligations of the many different parties involved. It is essential to the success of SchoolKit Clinics that all professional personnel involved fully understand the foundation principles and are committed to them.
Foundation Principle #2 – Building Capacity
All agencies involved in providing services to support young people with intellectual disability and their carers and families maximise the opportunity to build their capacity and provide ever-improving standards of care and service.
Increasing the capacity – the practical ability – of all parties involved in a SchoolKit Clinic increases the likely success of the care strategies agreed between them. As all parties learn and deepen their understanding of the many and various factors that determine the quality of life for a child or young person and their family they become more and more effective at addressing their needs and finding solutions that will work for them.
The SchoolKit Clinic model piloted through the Metro-Regional Intellectual Disability Network sees staff from the Kogarah Developmental Assessment Service – specialists in intellectual disability services – working in conjunction and collaboratively with primary and community health services. The overall aim is to improve quality of health care.
Through education, sharing patient care, effective communication and modelling, which together build knowledge, experience and deeper understanding, the pilot has succeeded in building the capacity of mainstream health services who do not work primarily with people with disability.
The Metro-Regional Intellectual Disability Network model relates directly to New South Wales Health’s Service Framework to improve health care of people with intellectual disability. It contributes towards New South Wales Health achieving its stated aims to:
- Promote a broader understanding of the health needs of people with intellectual disability and their right to effective services and care; and
- Improve the quality, range, consistency, accessibility and integration of services necessary to meet the health needs of people with intellectual disability.
The New South Wales Department of Education and Communities is also committed to building the capacity of mainstream schools to provide better learning and support for students with disability, learning difficulties or behaviour support needs through a strong focus on professional learning and support for teachers and other staff.
Schools for specific purposes (SSPs) are centres of expertise and can provide knowledge and resources to support mainstream schools. They can also provide invaluable advice about working with families of students with special needs.
Drawing on that experience and extending SchoolKit Clinics into support classes in mainstream schools creates the opportunity to build the capacity of teachers and other school staff to more effectively educate and support students with disability.
As the majority of students with disability attend mainstream schools, these schools might also consider introducing SchoolKit Clinics, for the same reasons.
- Read the brochure ‘Service Framework to Improve the Health Care of People with Intellectual Disability’ (July 2012) at the New South Wales Health website.
- Read more about special schools acting as centres of expertise at the New South Wales Department of Education and Communities website.