Meet Cristina, ESIP Coordinator

Apr 23, 2024

Rocky Bay staff members Kelly-Anne and Cristina at the Telethon grant breakfast. They are smiling at the camera and holding a sign with the Rocky Bay and Telethon logo.

Last week, we were thrilled to receive the exciting news that Rocky Bay has been selected as a 2024 Telethon grant recipient, ensuring the important work of our Early Start Intervention Program (ESIP) can continue. To celebrate this milestone, we chatted with Cristina Lee (pictured right), our ESIP Coordinator, who attended the Telethon breakfast where our beneficiary status was unveiled.

Read on to discover more about Cristina and the importance of ESIP.

How long have you worked at Rocky Bay? And how long have you been working in your field?

I began working at Rocky Bay as a Physiotherapy Consultant (Fellowship) and Advanced Clinician Paediatric Physiotherapy in March 2020. I added the role of Early Start Intervention Program (ESIP) Coordinator when the program commenced in January 2021. I have worked as a Physiotherapist in the area of Paediatrics for the past 14 years across the disability, community and private practice sector. I completed my Masters in Advanced Health Care Practice (Paediatric Physiotherapy) to earn my title as a Paediatric Physiotherapist in 2021.

Describe a typical day in your role?

As ESIP coordinator, my day consists of processing new referrals and answering queries related to the program. I attend initial home visits to meet new families entering the program and support staff working within the program to ensure we are embedding best practice principles for working with young children and families into our program and supporting them to work towards their goals. I am also currently undertaking my PhD, so a lot of my time, in addition to managing the program day to day, is spent planning and developing research proposals and plans for future studies with my research supervisors at Curtin University.

Why is the ESIP program so important?

ESIP provides multidisciplinary support to young children aged 0-5 years old, living in the Perth Metropolitan area, who either have a diagnosed rare or genetic disease or chromosomal abnormality or children who are displaying signs, symptoms and risk factors associated with rare disease. ESIP provides these children and their families with access to intensive Occupational Therapy, Speech Pathology and Physiotherapy within their home environment. For a lot of our families, we are the only therapy support that they can access as they are not yet NDIS participants or require further assessment and investigation before they can be deemed eligible for this scheme. We work with families in a capacity building model to ensure they have strategies and activities they can embed in their everyday routines when spending time with their children that will help them to work on their goals. Our program is important because there are currently no other services and supports available specifically for children living with rare disease in a best-practice model of care. We also support families in the pre-NDIS phase of their journey. We can help them develop goals they would like their child to achieve and provide assessments and supporting documentation when it comes time for their NDIS meeting. This ensures they can access funding and support to give them the best chance of making gains during a critical period in their lives.

What do you love most about your role?

I love making a difference in the lives of young children and their families, and ensuring that they feel supported in a time often filled with uncertainty if they are in the process of receiving a diagnosis or undergoing genetic testing. I love seeing caregivers feeling empowered and confident to come up with amazing strategies and activity ideas to work towards their child’s goals. Being given the opportunity to work with beautiful young children and their wonderful families feels like a privilege.  

What do you love to do in your free time?

In my spare time I spend time with my husband and two young children. We like to go to the beach, park, take the dog for a walk and catch up with friends and family. I also love to run and exercise when I get a spare moment and have a bit of a shopping addiction.

What are three things you can’t live without and why?

1 My family – I love having a young family, watching them grow, and develop and spending time with them

2 Coffee – This is definitely a necessity with two little ones running around and soon a third to join

3 Travel – I enjoy travelling and exploring new places around the world and in WA.

Head to our dedicated ESIP page to discover more about the life-changing work of ESIP:

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