If there’s one word to describe being at the recent Source Kids Expo, it’s energising.
Yooralla had many of our services represented at the two-day event, with staff providing information to parents, carers, children and young people, connecting with potential and existing clients. It was also great to meet up with other service providers and to see the innovations that are contributing to the disability sector.
What is the Source Kids Expo?
The Source Kids Expo is an annual event supporting families of children with a range of disabilities. The 2022 Expo hosted over 150 disability product and service providers at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC) on 18 and 19 June and is the first time it returned to Melbourne since COVID-19.
For kids, the Expo was an inviting, colourful environment with many things to see and try. While the space was filled with the sounds of activity, accessibility was also considered with a sensory zone and chill out area provided.
Showcasing Yooralla’s point of difference
Yooralla Connect Manager, Stephen Ward attended the Expo with Yooralla staff from Yooralla Connect, Wizzybug, ComTEC, ASW and Community Inclusion teams.
“The Expo was a wonderful opportunity for Yooralla to showcase our range of services and keep up to date with what clients, families and carers are seeking,” said Stephen.
Our Yooralla stand was well attended with around 500 people visiting us. Visitors to the Yooralla stand were engaged in discussion, information sharing, received some great giveaways and were able to access a broad range of skills and knowledge from the Yooralla team.
Wizzybug meets its audience
Our Wizzybugs were in action and were trialled by a few kids. Physiotherapist, Claire Georgiadis and Occupational Therapist, Victoria Barling took the Wizzybugs for a wander around the Expo, engaging with people as they went.
Claire found the Wizzybugs to be a great icebreaker and observed parents and children appearing to be more relaxed after having the opportunity to have a chat about their options.
“I had a chat with a family whose son had been diagnosed with autism the day before the Expo. They were completely overwhelmed, but stayed a while in our booth as their little one was engaged with the bubbles and gifts we had on the stall,” said Claire.
“I was then able to introduce them to a Speech Pathologist and provide flyers for all the services we provide.”
Claire was also aware of the Wizzybug’s ability to interest even the youngest of visitors.
“A shy three-year-old boy with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy came out of his shell when he saw ‘Wizzy’ making sounds and noises and was keen to sit in and have a go,” said Claire.
ComTEC Assistive Technology
Senior Occupational Therapist, Ania Ciechanowski demonstrated the use of a range of ComTEC switch adapted toys, early level communication devices and large format, colourful keyboards and mouse options. Ania gave children in prams and wheelchairs an opportunity to try the switches.
“A star of the show was Terry the switch activated Pterodactyl. A few times he was relegated to the scary toys corner, but many children were delighted by his squawk and walk,” said Ania.
Ania also brought the crowds in with her ingenious use of a bubble blower, which made kids of all ages smile.
Senior Group Manager, Community Access, Julie Gray had many enquiries about Yooralla’s Community Hubs and Community Inclusion services in all regions.
“School Holiday services and Social Groups also received plenty of interest,” said Julie.
Building on long term engagement
Physiotherapist, Grace Yao works with children and young people up to 18 years of age as part of Yooralla’s ASW North team. Grace had an opportunity to speak with parents who had been involved with Yooralla for many years receiving support for their children who were now adults.
“The highlight for me was meeting some families (both past and present) who came by to say ‘hello’,” said Grace.
“People said they liked Yooralla because it provides services across all ages and offers so many programs. They tell us they find it relevant and meaningful.”
Yooralla’s great reputation brought people to the stand and once they arrived were often surprised by the diverse programs and possibilities. Others were interested in employment opportunities at Yooralla.
Speech Pathologist, Jo Shugg enjoyed meeting families and speaking about how Yooralla works in the Key Worker model with children under the age of 6.
“This approach means we can support the child and family in their home and community settings in a way which incorporates their goals into their everyday routines,” said Jo.
“I think having time to hear about what we can offer in the relaxed Expo setting with so many other families looking for the same information, really helped take some of the stress and pressure away.”
Jo also noticed many current and previous clients visiting the Yooralla stand to catch up with staff.
“One young man was very excited to drive his powered wheelchair over and tell us he had started learning to drive years ago in the Wizzybug!” said Jo.
Positive feedback about Yooralla
We were encouraged to hear positive feedback from potential clients about Yooralla’s presence at the expo. Comments ranged from people saying that we were approachable, that we took time to chat and answer questions and that people were impressed by the broad range of services we offer. People were also impressed that Yooralla provides a full range of services from childhood to adulthood.
Providing information and building connections
Our Yooralla Connect team are in the process of following up with the people who expressed interest in our services. Stephen Ward found the Expo to be a great starting point for many.
“The Expo attracted a younger group who were beginning to access the NDIS and we were able to have discussions around planning meetings and preparations,” said Stephen.
“We’re looking forward to more opportunities to engage and highlight Yooralla services later this year.”
For more information, please see the full list of services at yooralla.com.au or contact Yooralla Connect email@example.com 1800 966 725.