Free training for Tasmanian health professionals to support safe transport for children with disabilities

Tasmanian health professionals can now apply for free enrolment in a first-of-its-kind training course to improve road safety for children with disabilities and medical conditions.

The Department of State Growth Community Road Safety Grants has funded 40 places for eligible health professionals in the new online training course Transporting Children with Disabilities and Medical Conditions.

This includes five places for therapists at St Giles, a Tasmanian disability support provider based in Launceston, Burnie and Hobart.

Mobility and Accessibility for Children in Australia Ltd (MACA) launched the online training course in mid-2022 to build the knowledge and confidence of allied health professionals responsible for assessing and prescribing for children’s motor vehicle transport needs.

Children with disabilities and medical conditions often require specialised support for transport and in some cases are unable to travel in ‘off the shelf’ car seats. Health professionals work closely with families to assess children’s transport needs and prescribe appropriate strategies and vehicle restraint products.

In MACA’s national survey undertaken in 2021, only 16% of allied health professionals reported that they had considerable knowledge or skill in addressing car seating needs of children with disabilities and medical conditions.

MACA Chief Executive Helen Lindner said in less than a year since it was launched, the training was already making a difference for families.

“We have received an overwhelming response from allied health professionals who are telling us that they feel more confident, equipped and supported in their clinical decision making since completing the training course,” Ms Lindner said.

“This is leading to better outcomes for families and reducing NDIS funding wait times for special purpose car seats, which are needed by some children with disabilities and medical conditions for safer and more comfortable travel."

Lisa Mulvey, Occupational Therapist at St Giles, said MACA’s training course - and the post-course networking and support it provided - was invaluable.

“Undoubtedly, the transport needs of children with disabilities and medical conditions is an area that has been under researched and confusing for families and professionals,” she said.

“The training course by MACA is the first of its kind and I would consider it a necessity for any therapist who is supporting children with disabilities and medical conditions to travel safely in vehicles."

The course features contributions from esteemed experts in child restraints, research, road safety and health, and participants learn how to embed safe transport planning into day-to-day practice. Participants receive a copy of the MACA Guide, Australia’s leading prescribing resource.

MACA’s training course was developed with funding from the Australian Government Department of Social Services.

Round one applications for the fully funded places are open until Friday 14 April 2023 and will be allocated through a simple Expression of Interest process.

Eligible Tasmanian health professionals are urged to apply online as soon as possible, as the free enrolment will end once the places have been filled.

For more information, please visit the website

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