Bottom-Up Schools: Using technology in rural and remote schools to support child regulation for improved learning and social outcomes

Ms Dagney Hopp1, MS Rebecca Hammond1, Ms  Kim  Casburn1

1Royal Far West, Manly, Australia


Every year, hundreds of country children with limited access to local allied health services benefit from Royal Far West (RFW)’s multi-disciplinary model of care for behavioural, learning and mental health disorders.

Because of the challenges in accessing consistent allied health services in some country areas, strengthening capacity of rural and remote communities to support child development is a key strategic pillar of RFW’s work. Schools, and in particular teachers, are increasingly playing a role in this day-to-day support. Technology is an invaluable modality for ensuring equity of access to professional development opportunities for rural and remote schools.

RFW’s specialist multi-disciplinary paediatric team have developed a NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) accredited, technology delivered Capacity Building Program. The modules are based on latest evidence and include live feedback sessions with senior Allied Health Professionals to build learning and practice in key areas of child development, behaviour and mental health. One of the most successful Capacity Building packages are Occupational Therapist-led Regulation modules. These modules focus on regulation including sensory, emotional, environmental and relationship mechanisms that impact and underpin child behaviours and outcomes in school. RFW’s Senior OTs work with school staff to identify what they are doing well, as well as thinking through new strategies and techniques to apply across the whole school. These strategies can support schools to build safe and supportive school environments with a bottom-up approach to supporting children at all developmental stages.

Presenters will share about the development and success of the Occupational Therapy Regulation modules.


Dagney Hopp is a Senior Occupational Therapist and Team Leader of Occupational Therapy, Dietetics and Orthoptics at Royal Far West. She works as a clinical lead in the multi-disciplinary paediatric team, providing both in-person and telehealth assessment, therapy and capacity building services for children, families, schools and communities in rural and remote Australia. Dagney’s paediatric specialisation has been developed through her previous roles as Senior Occupational Therapist at a number of mutli-disciplinary paediatric health and education practices. Dagney’s skills as a collaborative, multi-disciplinary team provider have a strong focus on addressing childhood trauma and regulation issues.

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