We continue to work with you: Plumtree Online

Plumtree is committed to working in partnership with you to achieve your child’s goals, even when we cannot meet with you face to face.

Working online is a well-established practice, and we have rich experience to draw on here at Plumtree. Plumtree has been offering ‘parent only’ sessions for the past year, and most of these sessions are held by phone or using an online platform such as Zoom. We are now building on this and our other experiences to offer a broader range of online services for you to choose from.

For the safety of families, staff and the community, Plumtree is moving to online services only from Monday, 30 March. The way we work with you may change in the coming months, but what we do has not changed. We are here to work with you to deliver the best outcomes for your child and family. 

What will online services look like?

We can meet with you by phone, and if you do not have an internet connection, we will use those phone calls creatively so that you get the best out of them. Please let us know if you do not have access to the internet.

The internet adds another dimension – it enables us to see each other! You can show the therapist what your child is doing in real-time. For example, you can position your phone or tablet so that she can watch your child doing an activity. Then you can talk about how it went, and brainstorm ideas for next time – just like you might do in a face to face session.

 As well as having your child on screen, you can share lots of visual information in an online session. For example, you and your therapist can:

• Look together at videos of your child and talk about it – you might like to send the videos to your therapist ahead of time so that she’s already had a look. This is a great strategy because you can show your therapist exactly how things are at the most relevant times. 

• Look together at resources and discuss how to adapt them to your child’s needs

• Look at spaces in your home to brainstorm ideas for play

• Share some notes on your screens to keep track of our ideas for the week ahead.

What equipment will I need?

For an online session, you will need:

• A phone or tablet with an internet connection. You can also use a personal computer or laptop, as long as it has an inbuilt camera or external webcam. A mobile device will give you more flexibility to be where your child is. 

• The free Zoom app downloaded onto your device. Don’t worry if you don’t have this – you will be guided through this process when we send you an invitation for your first online session. 

Your therapist or Keyworker will phone you before your first online session to make sure you have all the information you need. In this phone call, you will plan what you will cover in your first session. We recommend that the first session is a Parent Only session, so get your children occupied, grab a cup of tea and settle down somewhere comfy with your phone or tablet. On Zoom, you can even set a background so that the viewer can’t see what is behind you!

How will my therapist interact with my child?

Some children will be interested in their therapist’s presence on the phone and will happily interact with them. Other children might be less engaged with what the therapist is saying and doing. When this is the case, your therapist will coach you as you play with your child, guide their behaviour and or navigate through everyday routines. You will interact with your child with your therapist’s support. Research shows that building your skills and confidence will result in better long-term outcomes for your child, by supporting you to make the difference. 

What will happen in the sessions?

Together with your therapist or key worker, you will make an ‘agenda’ for your sessions, so that they focus on what is most important to you. Most sessions will involve a mix of activity time with your child and Parent Only time, and you can plan this mix to suit your child and family. Some sessions may be completely Parent Only, because there is so much to talk about, or you want to talk without your child listening in. 

Here are some ideas for topics that you might talk about in online sessions:

· Successes and achievements of the past week – it’s more important than ever to celebrate these!

· Challenges faced in the past week

· How to move forward when something feels “stuck”

· How to guide my child’s behaviour at a particular time of day (such as mealtimes)

· Progress towards my NDIS goals

· Setting new short term goals that we can achieve in the next couple of months

· How can I teach my child to [insert new skill here]?

· Who can help me with [insert concern here]?

· Ideas and plans for the coming week

There may also be topics to discuss relating to the Coronavirus and the current changes in everyday life, for example:

· How do I keep my child occupied while there are no playgroups or other activities to go to?

· How do I home school my child, if schools are closed?

· How can we organize space to meet everyone’s needs if the whole family needs to be at home?

· How can I answer my child’s questions about Coronavirus?

· What are the options for using my NDIS funds in this new situation?


These topics are examples, and your agenda will be unique to you. There will be plenty to talk about, and the scope is even wider if your therapist is also your key worker.


Quick Q and A

Q:          Will online sessions use my NDIS funds?

A: Yes, we will charge your NDIS funds at the usual rate, minus any travel charges.

Q:          Will a Zoom session use my internet data?

A: Yes it will. If your data is running low, you can switch a session from video mode to audio-only. Or you could turn off the video function when you are just talking with your therapist. We recommend that you use Wi-Fi if possible. If you have limited data, please discuss this with your therapist/ key worker. 

Q:          Can I use my NDIS funds to purchase more data?

A: If you are self-managed and the data is for the purpose of working towards your NDIS goals, the answer is yes because it is reasonable and necessary. We do not know yet whether the NDIS will approve the purchase of data for NDIS managed participants. 

Q:          What if I try it and it doesn’t seem to work. Can I go back to face-to-face sessions?

A: Plumtree will resume face-to-face sessions when we are advised by NSW Health guidelines that it is safe to do so. In the meantime, please talk through your concerns with your therapist. There may be changes she can make so that the sessions meet your needs. You are also welcome to phone the office and talk to a Manager. 

The success of online services depends on full and open communication from families and staff alike. Plumtree is still here to work in partnership with you to achieve your child and family goals. We are in this together!

For more information about how to continue your services with Plumtree talk with your Key Worker/Therapist or contact our Client Relationships Manager elif@plumtree.org.au 

If you are not currently with Plumtree as your Registered Provider of Support but would be interested in talking to us about how we can work together with you, please contact elif@plumtree.org.au Plumtree provides services using a Key Worker model. 


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Explore some programs and services