Veronica Bestall has a vision. A vision to create more awareness of the benefits Art Therapy provides for understanding emotions, being fully self-expressed, processing grief and trauma and developing healthy social skills. Storypark is helping her do this.
Veronica shared with us how she is using Storypark to support children with ASD and anxiety who attend art therapy sessions at her practice on the Gold Coast in Australia.
“I have been using Storypark for several years. Initially, I used the app to document the learning stories that I would write for families that engaged me as a Nanny. Together with my fine art background and qualifications in childcare, using the app and providing this service made me stand out in the crowd and the busy professional families that I worked for really appreciated the care, attention and education I was providing for their children in their absence. They also enjoyed sharing these stories with overseas relatives.
During this time, I was bringing all my previous experience together and retraining as an Art Therapist. I qualified and opened my practice in September 2017.
My niche clients are children with ASD and anxiety. To keep up with the children’s progress and supporting parents who entrust their children to my service without them in the room, I decided to use Storypark for clients. This had benefits that I had not seen initially… such as parents sharing the information about the sessions with other professionals that the children saw on a regular basis.”
It is not only families that Veronica is sharing, connecting and communicating with on Storypark. Psychologists, speech therapists and occupational therapist, as well as GP’s, are now able to be part of the ongoing supervision of each child’s progress.
Veronica has found that as she documents the art therapy sessions, she is inspired by ideas and goals that she will use in workshops as well.
“I usually write ‘notes’ during each session, if I write them up in Storypark I can add more detail as I recall it straight after the session, if I relied on my ‘notes’ and referred to them during the child’s next session, there would not be enough information for me to make much sense of it. Typing my ideas is a much quicker process (and tidier) than writing them.
I also use the app to ‘introduce’ myself when I call on other professionals, sharing what I do as an art therapist.”
“Working in an aged care residence I have also considered using Storypark to document the group session experiences offered to the elderly residents. Currently, I send out a report and email it.
I really enjoy highlighting my use of Storypark as an art therapist. I feel it adds a level of professionalism and progressiveness that set my business apart from other art therapists.
When looking at different documentation platforms, the ease of use and the cost-effectiveness of Storypark won out for me. Also, the first childcare centre in Australia that received an “Excellent” accreditation status in Australia was using it… and I figured they had investigated it extensively.”
“One child that comes to Art Therapy is cared for by Children Services and lives in a share house with 4 different carers and a case manager. They have implemented behaviour strategies as a result of sharing information on Storypark about the child’s art therapy sessions and are looking at her mental health in a completely different light.
As my message and philosophy evolves and becomes more measurable, I will create my own learning tags in accordance with the objective that I value in my practice. Currently, I am using MTOP to tag outcomes for the children. I have recently started adding NDIS care plans to include in the parent goal section of the app as a reference for me when considering activities for the children.”
When considering the various people and agencies that make up the support network for children with additional learning needs, it is easy to see that communication and sharing of information are of utmost importance. It is also easy to see how miscommunication and a lack of continuity in different learning contexts can be detrimental to a child’s development. An increasing number of therapists and specialists like Veronica are using Storypark to engage with families, ensuring better outcomes for children.