October 9, 2023
8 minute read

Revolutionising Early Intervention: The Explore Learn Move Initiative

Unlocking a brighter future for Australian children: Explore Learn Move's groundbreaking approach to early intervention is bridging the healthcare gaps that leave families waiting for months. Join Amy Oman, a passionate occupational therapist, on her mission to make quality therapy accessible to all families.
Revolutionising Early Intervention: The Explore Learn Move Initiative
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Published on
May 14, 2024

In Australia, a staggering 1 in 5 children aged 0-5 face developmental concerns, a challenge made more daunting by the national shortage of allied health professionals. This shortage significantly hinders families' access to essential therapeutic support, often leaving them with prolonged wait times before they can receive intervention support. At Explore Learn Move, our unwavering mission is to dismantle these barriers and make evidence-based early intervention accessible to all. 

On top of long waits for therapy, access to more traditional modules of therapy such as one on one is requiring remote families to travel for an hour or more to access these services in clinic settings. Telehealth has gone some of the way to bridge this gap and allow therapy to be delivered in the homes of families. However, due to the shortage of allied health professionals, many families have to alter their routines including taking time off work and missing kindergarten/ daycare days to ‘fit in’ around their therapy appointment. 

Tell us more about the market or the impact of this problem - why is it important

The recent NDIS report has highlighted that a significant number of 173,461 children have either been referred to or are presently accessing therapeutic supports in Australia. Concurrently, the World Health Organisation has projected a shortfall of 10 million healthcare workers globally by the year 2030, emphasising the critical need for innovative solutions in the healthcare sector.

Furthermore, there exists a noticeable discrepancy in the NDIS engagement between First Nations children and their non-Indigenous counterparts, particularly within the age group of 0-6 years. First Nations children in this age group are 54% less likely to be on the NDIS, whereas the figure stands at 32% for non-Indigenous children, revealing an evident gap that demands urgent attention and intervention.

Adding to these complexities, approximately 28% of the Australian population, comprising around 7 million individuals, resides in rural and remote areas. This demographic confronts unique challenges due to their geographic isolation, often leading to poorer health outcomes compared to those living in metropolitan regions.

These compelling statistics have served as the driving force behind the establishment and development of Explore Learn Move, compelling us to proactively address the existing gaps and inequities. By acknowledging these critical factors, we have tailored Explore Learn Move to effectively cater to the needs of these vulnerable populations, striving to bridge the existing disparities and provide equitable access to quality healthcare and resources.

Can you briefly introduce yourself and your clinical background?

My name is Amy Oman, and I am a paediatric occupational therapist. My decision to pursue this career was driven by a profound desire to make a positive difference in the lives of children and their families. Motivated by a strong commitment to seamlessly integrate evidence-informed practices and extend support to rural communities, I persistently strive to achieve the best possible outcomes for the families I serve. This passion has deeply influenced my career aspirations, compelling me to consistently challenge myself and grow into the most impactful therapist I can be. Throughout my journey, I have had the privilege of exploring my entrepreneurial spirit, embracing various enriching opportunities along the way.

What was the catalyst moment to start your innovation?

Explore Learn Move was sparked from the drive of wanting to provide greater access to evidence-informed early intervention. Due to long waitlists and current therapy limitations moving away from best practice principles, young children and their families can be faced with 6-12 month, and in some instances up to 18 months, for access to allied health professionals. Unfortunately, the more remote a family lives the longer the wait to access therapy as well as being faced with increased challenges accessing child therapy services. To bridge this gap, I teamed up with some incredible therapists to start producing resources that can be accessed by families anywhere, anytime. 

Can you share a personal or professional goal that you have been hoping to accomplish as a result of your participation in AUSCEP, and how does this goal along with your motivations?

I am on the mission to spread Explore Learn Move throughout Australia and become a household name and resource for early years families. One step at a time I will continue to collaborate and partner with individuals and communities to share this mission. AUSCEP has been supporting the future development of Explore Learn Move and helping us become the resource we aspire to be. 

What do you believe are the most critical healthcare challenges today, and how can programs like this help address them?

My knowledge sits within the allied health and early years sector. AUSCEP has been an incredible program to help me think critically, broaden my knowledge base and provide learning opportunities across other healthcare domains. Personally, I would really like to see all children and their families have access to allied health supports to build parent capacity and child development. 

How has the program helped you gain clarity on the intersection between your clinical practice and your entrepreneurial aspirations, and what impact has this had on your motivation?

I am absolutely in awe of the AUSCEP participants and mentors. AUSCEP has been an incredibly valuable program that has helped progress my passion. Allowing me to build my confidence, work towards achieving my vision and learn that I have the thoughts and problem solving skills to be an entrepreneur. 

Any advice for clinicians interested in healthcare entrepreneurship?

Find programs like AUSCEP, embrace the learning opportunities that come with it, and be inspired by those around you.

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