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Home » Future of Healthcare » Meeting diverse needs of people with a disability through interdisciplinary support

Rory Kiely

Senior Social Worker, Enable Ireland

Interdisciplinary teams are offering a wide range of support to children and adults across Ireland with disabilities.

Children and adults with disabilities across Ireland often face a diverse range of needs. While supporting individuals and their families can be challenging, it is also highly rewarding.

Interdisciplinary teams supporting children with disabilities

Rory Kiely is a Senior Social Worker with Enable Ireland, a national voluntary organisation providing services for over 13,000 children and adults with disabilities and their families.

He works on a team alongside physiotherapists, occupational therapists, speech and language therapists, positive behaviour specialists, psychologists, nurses, early child care workers and paediatricians, supporting children up to 18-years-old with complex needs.

“The kind of support depends on each child,” he explains. “One child could have needs that require input from a full interdisiplinary team while other children may just require physiotherapy support.” He has worked on the Children’s Disability Network Team in Sandymount, Dublin for 18 months where onsite facilities include a preschool, school, a hydrotherapy pool, assistive technology and a Seat Tech Posture and Mobility Service.

Holistic understanding of disability

“We look at disability from multiple perspectives,” says Kiely. Teams work to gain a holistic understanding of the child, from communication or physical movement, family dynamics or whether they are receiving the correct benefits and entitlements. The team work with the family to identify their priorities and set goals.

“We hear the voice of the child and family as the team works to achieve those goals,” he adds. Individualised support plans for each child and family highlight those goals. The social work role could involve, but not be limited to, emotional and practical support, conflict resolution, advocating for the child/families rights or signposting to different services in the community.

We look at disability from multiple perspectives.

Professional development

Kiely says working with Enable Ireland is highly satisfying, particularly when a family feeds back on gains, enjoyable workshops or interventions that have supported them through a tough time.

Enable Ireland supports professional development and facilitates training to upskill staff, such as training for autism or support for siblings of people with disabilities. “It’s a great place to work because it is family-centred and child-centred,” he insists.

“We are open to developing and expanding services, so there is always room for new ideas from people to enhance services.” With a supportive management style, Enable Ireland is recruiting for various clinical, therapy and support roles across child and adult services.

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