RIDBC buildingIt was a fortuitous conversation at the AG Bell conference in 2014 that first sparked this addition to my trip. I met the amazing Trudy Smith, who seemed to have the most brilliant technology solutions for distance training, and a savvy eye for making sure it was affordable. She said I should visit and she would happily talk me through it, so, 18 months later, I did. I’m not sure if she thought the therapist from England was going to make it to Australia to follow up on that one!

RIDBC supports an amazing 1500 children and professionals across Australia and so have become experts at making technology do exactly what they need it to. There are aspects of their operation which will be difficult to replicate due to the different sizes of our organisations (a designated IT team for distance therapy), but there are equally things we can learn. I was shown their setup for distance therapy – something we primarily operate over Skype rather than with designated video technology kit, and the difference in quality of signal and in the interactions as a result of the setup they have is vast. See to the right a photo of the set up.

RIDBC technology

I was able to see videos of the therapy in action, including ‘multipoint’ sessions – they had a Christmas party last year where 15 families could sign in and have their children celebrate together across Australia! Another great trick I learned was to have a ‘document reader’ camera which lets you show a book or an audiogram to a family, which sounds much better than holding a piece of paper up to the camera as we often find ourselves doing. Capabilities like this need a designated system, and it’s something we’re really hoping to get funding for at AVUK.

Then it was up to RIDBC’s Renwick centre, which provides a range of courses, seminars and workshops over distance, many of which are accredited for continuing professional development for AVTs. Their technology means that they can have the highest calibre of speakers deliver training from where they are based, and it is simply controlled by the Renwick centre.   Trudy, who is the manager of continuing professional education kindly allowed me to sit in on a session being beamed live around the world and to see how they were utilising the relatively cheap programme through which they run it. This is definitely an alternative technology we can look at for the distance mentoring and training that we run for therapists across the UK and Europe. It was encouraging to see that, in this area, good solutions are beginning to be developed, and I’m looking forward to trialling them at AVUK.

This post was written by our Clinical Lead Rosie as part of her research trip to Australia and New Zealand, thanks to the Winston Churchill Memorial Fund. Read more:

First stop: Brisbane – Hear and Say

Travels of an AV therapist

Follow Rosie on Twitter @RosieQuayle for all the latest updates.