Engaged Learning Stories

Healthy Collaborations

 Engaged Learning category at the 2016 Engagement Awards with The Chancellor and Vice Chancellor

Ensuring the health and wellbeing of the local community is at the heart of learning for the Health Promotion and Primary Health Care students at Southern Cross University. Occupational therapy, speech pathology and podiatry students work on solving real world problems identified by the community.

Occupational Therapy students in collaboration with Autism Gold Coast investigated, researched and delivered a safe outdoor playground design for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Students used evidence-based research as a guide to create the playground with areas for quiet time, garden play and sandpit play.

Creating spaces where overcrowding, noise and bullying were eliminated and where activities built on the strengths of the children was essential. The playground design supported children in the learning of new skills and provided a range of sensory interactive experiences.

The student's successful research, design and funding plan, saw Autism Gold Coast awarded a $14,000 government grant to begin building the playground.

Further collaborations with Autism Gold Coast, saw the students work closely with families who were becoming concerned about the roll out of the National Disabilities Insurance Scheme (NDIS). Collaboratively they wrote, designed and produced a 'family friendly' booklet, as well as an audio book to help step families through the changes.

The booklet will ensure that families are well prepared and informed when the scheme is rolled out across the Gold Coast region. The booklet gives families the confidence and knowledge to manage the scheme and request the much needed services they need for their children.

The achievements in the Health Promotion and Primary Health Care unit were recognised at the 2016 Excellence in Engagement Awards, and received the Excellence in Engaged Learning Award.

Award Recipients:
Ms Maggie Scorey and Ms Yvonne Pennisi, School of Health and Human Sciences.

Award Citation:
For an inter-professional unit of study for Allied Health students that produced exceptional health project outcomes in collaboration with local community partners.

Award Recipient:
Ms Adele Suda, School of Health and Human Sciences

Award Citation:
For creating a real world environment for SCU students to plan, implement and evaluate health, social and environmental change programs to promote health and prevent illness.