Tapping on a journey of learning and discovery
Understanding their community’s need for greater inclusion support, the team at Goodstart Tapping is on a journey of learning and discovery to offer more children the best possible start in life.
It is a journey that has won them a nomination for the Inclusive Practices Goodie award in Western Australia.
Centre director Claire Stannard explains, “One by one, families were entering our doors looking for help.”
Starting with weekly meetings with a local inclusion support officer, the centre has made improvements to the physical environment, secured funding and undertaken training to better support children with autism and cerebral palsy.
Like Alexis. Alexis has cerebral palsy and has been attending the Tapping centre for more than a year. She has therapy sessions at the centre with the support of her inclusions support educator, Kaye Thompson.
Ms Thompson helps the centre team to understand the strategies her health professionals' recommendations.
“We’ve all been on Alexis’ journey together from standing with her support frame, to the first few steps with it, and then holding our hands to walk a few more,” Ms Thompson said.
Alexis took her first, unsupported, steps at the centre earlier this year.
“When her parents arrived we shared the photo footage and there tears of happiness all around. It’s been such a rewarding journey – a real privilege for us.”
Alexis now lives out of the local area but continues to attend the Tapping centre because of what her mum describes as “the best care.”
The centre has built relationships with Goodstart’s inclusion team, the Autism Association, Disability Services Commission, and children’s individual health care professionals including paediatricians, occupational therapists and speech therapists.
Social inclusion manager Penny Markham praises the centre’s drive to meet the unique needs of children and families.
"The team at Tapping recognised a need in their community and went on a journey to plan for how they would address that need."
“They have multiple strategies in place to build on their knowledge, connections, referral pathways and practices to the pursuit of being a more inclusive centre.”
The centre’s community connection extends beyond support to children in the early years.
The team recently farewelled Leah, a young woman in the community who has secured paid work after volunteering at the centre for more than a year.
“Leah has Down’s Syndrome and came to us in 2017 looking for help to learn work skills. We got very helpful advice from the Goodstart safe work and legal teams and welcomed Leah into our centre every week,” Ms Stannard said.
“Her family are over the moon. They told us that it is down to the confidence and work skills that Leah’s developed here that made her move to her first ever paid job possible.”