New technology benefits rural kids

Jun 14, 2013
The following article was published in The Ridge News. Lightning Ridge, NSW

The ongoing expansion of the National Broadband Network across regional and remote Australia will bring many new possibilities for people who have not had access to high speed Internet before.

A new pilot program VidKids has already began to utilise the improved internet connections in regional Australia. 

“By matching specialist allied health professionals with children who are vision or hearing impaired, families are receiving regular consultations in their own homes via video conferencing,” said Jennifer Smith, VidKids project manager. 

“The results are promising and parents are thrilled that they don’t have to take long trips to the city for their appointments.”

Samuel Chatfield, from Dubbo, is four years old. 

He was diagnosed with a profound hearing loss at birth, and received bilateral cochlear implants when he was 10 months of age. 

“The VidKids program means we can access the specialist services provided by The Shepherd Centre in our own home,” Samuel’s mother, Larissa Chatfield said. 

“It’s great because you don’t have to travel to the cities as often and it means Samuel can develop his listening and spoken communication skills in a familiar environment.”

This national pilot is open to children between 0 and18 years who have significant vision and/or hearing loss and live in outer regional and remote areas. 

Interested families and health professionals should visit the VidKids website,, for full details and guidelines to enrolment. For further media information contact Jennifer Smith, VidKids Project Manager on 03 8378 1245 or email