Early Intervention


Samaritans Early Intervention in Newcastle, the Hunter Valley, Mid North Coast and the Central Coast region offers a program to support children with disabilities including autism and developmental delay with an NDIS plan

The Early Intervention team (sometimes called EI) supports children and young people with a disability and their families by delivering their NDIS packages. The Early Intervention Team is a multi-disciplinary team of caring professionals.

We work closely with individuals, families, schools and the community to facilitate inclusion in all settings and to ensure the children and families achieve their goals.

We have a team of Speech Pathologists, Psychologists, Occupational Therapists, Physiotherapists, Accredited Educators, Counsellors, Social Workers as well as Support Coordinators ready to work with you.

We primarily support children between the ages of 0-12 years and their families in Newcastle, Lake Macquarie, Maitland, Central Coast and the Mid North Coast. 

Our services are flexible and tailored to suit your family needs. Support can be provided in your family or home or in the community as required.

Our teams are based at Bateau Bay (Central Coast), Telarah (Lower Hunter), Taree (Mid North Coast) and Woodrising (Newcastle/Lake Macquarie).

Photo: Newcastle and Lake Macquarie Team
Photo: Lower Hunter Team

Photo: Central Coast Team

Get in touch with our Early Intervention Team on 1300 656 336 or email supportadvisor@samaritans.org.au. 

What is Early Childhood Intervention?

Early Childhood Intervention means doing things as early as possible to work on your child’s developmental, health and support needs. Early Childhood Intervention services offer individualised targeted support to children and their families. The benefits of Early Intervention services include the promotion of development, well-being and community participation for the child and their families.

What do Speech Pathologists do?

Speech Pathologists assist people who have challenges communicating. This may include difficulties with speaking, listening, understanding and/ or using language, reading and writing, developing social skills, stuttering and using their voice. People who experience difficulties when eating or swallowing food and drink safely can also be assisted by a speech pathologist.

Speech Pathologists can:

  • evaluate and diagnose speech, language, communication, and swallowing disorders
  • treat speech, language, communication, and swallowing disorders through improving skills and providing strategies to support communication and swallowing in different environments
  • provide training and education to family/caregivers and other professionals
  • work collaboratively with professionals from many other disciplines.

What does an Occupational Therapist do?

Occupational Therapists (OTs) assist people of all ages with difficulties associated with fine (eg handwriting, use of cutlery, tying a shoelace) and gross motor skills, balance, muscle tone and strength, body awareness, motor planning, visual perception and visual motor integration, sensory integration and related behaviours. They work with people to develop the skills or put in place the strategies needed for everyday activities at home, in school, at work and in their community. This may involve recommending adaptive strategies, equipment, home/vehicle modifications and assistive technology.

OTs support children and families to be successful in their everyday routines and focus on developmental activities including play and self-care skills such as toileting, bathing, dressing, functional mobility/transfers, and feeding. OTs can help with preparing a child for school and then assist the child to settle and work in the classroom, by supporting them to learn how to interact with their friends at school. They can assist the child to access the curriculum and/or the school environment and can also help parents by providing strategies for dealing effectively with caregiving challenges and family life.

What does a Physiotherapist do?

A Physiotherapist works with people who have difficulties with posture control, movement and coordination. These difficulties might be due to problems with muscle tone or strength, movement control, motor planning, balance or fitness. Initially, a physiotherapist can help babies and children develop their motor skills. For people with ongoing motor difficulties, a physiotherapist can provide strategies and equipment to help people access their environment and be comfortable throughout the day.

 What does a Psychologist do?

A Psychologist can support people with a disability to develop their social skills and build relationships, regulate their emotions and manage their anxieties. They can assist families and carers with behaviour support strategies, to manage meltdowns and tantrums and to follow routines.

 What do Counsellors do?

A trained counsellor will listen with empathy and provide strategies to promote positive mental health. They use a range of counselling approaches to assist clients with personal or psychological problems, at all times demonstrating respect for client’s beliefs, values and uniqueness. Counselling provides clients the opportunity to focus on feelings, experiences or behaviour, with the goal being to facilitating positive change.

What do Social Workers do?

A Social worker supports people with disabilities and their families in a range of different ways. They can support with individual planning, counselling, coordination and case management. Their goal is always to empower people to identify their needs and achieve their goals.

What does a Support Coordinator do?

A Coordinator of Supports is there to help people with disabilities use their NDIS support budget to achieve their goals. They assist people by helping them understand more about their NDIS plan and by teaching people how to find what supports and services are available, how services work and how to assess what services provide. Coordinators of Support can teach you how to engage and negotiate with services, arrange assessments and evaluate the progress towards your goals. They can help you gather the information needed and prepare for your NDIS plan review.

What Does an Accredited Teacher or Key Worker Do?

A Key Worker is one of the professionals working with a family who has been appointed to be the main contact person for the service. The aim of the Key Worker is to make working with the service as easy as possible. Your Key Worker will work in partnership with you to plan and coordinate the supports necessary to meet the goals you have identified so they can support you through the NDIS process, including helping you prepare for your review.