A new health project aiming to enhance the development of children to ensure they reach their full potential is being rolled out in schools across the north west.
The initiative, which is now under way, involves local primary schools and Western Health Trust staff working more closely together through play.
The new ‘RISE’ (Regional Integrated Support for Education) project involves a wide range of healthcare professionals from teams within the Western Health and Social Care Trusts.
These include areas such as speech and language therapists, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, behavioural therapists, clinical psychologists as well as therapy assistants.
Such professionals are now attending all primary schools across Northern Ireland providing a range of multidisciplinary child-focussed programmes.
The teams will deliver training, advice and support for parents and education staff, and provide integrated early interventions for children, on a group or individual basis, depending on the needs of the children.
The service ensures better outcomes for all children and any barriers to their learning are addressed as early as possible in the classroom.
Activities delivered through play include Listen and Move, Captain Cool, Chill Times, Sounds Fun, Pencil Skills, Body Awareness and Physical Education, through which the teams identify the areas where children are struggling and provide joint ideas and intervention to support them in their learning.
The RISE project has been developed and funded in partnership by the Health and Social Care Board, Public Health Agency and Education Authority.
Speaking at the launch Fionnuala McAndrew, Director of Social Care with the Health and Social Care Board, said: “The service will identify and support children who may only need that initial help, or to identify children who even with that support, need to be supported further, within the Health and Social Care and Education systems.”