Northcott Innovation is currently collaborating with Refugee Health NSW, Northcott and AbilityMade, to provide digitally fabricated AFOs (ankle foot orthotics) for children with disability who have recently come to Australia as a refugee. This 3D printed custom-made orthoses service uses leading edge technology, cutting the time between assessment and fitting as well as creating a more child friendly experience.
Refugee Health NSW aims to protect and support the health of refugees and asylum seekers. Among their clinical programs, the Refugee Health NSW program offers health assessments for newly arrived refugees settling in the Sydney metropolitan region.
Some refugees arrive in Australia with pre-existing disabilities. More often than not, such individuals have had inadequate or no therapy prior to their arrival in Australia. War and conflict have severely disrupted health systems in their countries of origin, and aids and appliances to support their activities of daily living and long term rehabilitation are generally unavailable.
Refugee children require formal assessment and diagnosis after they arrive to enable access to NDIS. In our experience the waiting times for NDIS plans, and then for receiving actual services, is lengthy.
To access this service children first need to connect with a Refugee NSW medical practitioner. If appropriate, then Refugee NSW medical practitioner will assess and prescribe an AFO, forwarding the referral to Northcott Innovation. Northcott Innovation then work alongside the Northcott Orthotics team and AbilityMade to book the child for the assessment and fitting of a 3D printed AFO.
Dani is a 7-year-old boy of refugee Iraqi background, who has been in Australia since 2017. Dani, who has recently been diagnosed with Spina Bifida, came through as a referral from Refugee NSW, needing orthotics for both legs.
For some children this is the first opportunity they have ever had to be fitted with any device, and it greatly assists their mobility and earlier participation in their new communities. There is no other service in NSW that offers this speedy and innovative solution.
Multilingual videos have also been created (Watch them here) to support parents and carers. This is best practice when dealing with families from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, and supports the parents in caring for their children.