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Jan Murphy: The Champion Centre: Westfield Local Heroes 2019

Devoted therapist helps children reach their potential

Wise. Compassionate. Benevolent

Jan Murphy has devoted her working life to ensuring children with disabilities can achieve more than anyone thought possible.

In her forty years with the world-renowned Champion Centre, she has been instrumental in developing successful early intervention programmes that have supported more than two thousand children up to the age of six.

The centre helps children with complex disabilities such as Down syndrome, autism spectrum disorder, dyspraxia and global developmental delay.

Jan started at the centre as a speech and language therapist and is now the clinical practice manager. She and the team look beyond the disability of each child to find their untapped potential, with the outcomes often surprising the children and their families.

“We see a positive impact every day. Parents reflect that they feel better able to help their children develop and learn,” says Jan.

She feels honoured to be named a Westfield Local Hero. “My work is about removing the barriers and allowing people to step through and belong. But I am part of a whole group of people, colleagues, families and amazing children, who are all heroes,” Jan says.

“This recognition shows the community wants to honour these children and their families.”

In her leadership role, Jan supports the team of health professionals, early intervention educators and support workers to coordinate their care and communication with families.

The results are impressive, with more than nine out of ten children successfully moving on to their local school.

“We believe that every child, regardless of disability, has the fundamental right to reach their full potential; physically, intellectually and socially,” says Jan.

Westfield Local Heroes are nominated and voted for by their communities, with the three top finalists per Westfield centre each awarded a $10,000 grant for their affiliated organisation.

The centre will use its grant to provide further support to the children as they move into their pre-school and school communities.

“For us it’s gold,” says Jan. “It means we can provide these communities with educational resources developed over many years and based on what we have learnt from the children.”

__For further information on the Westfield Local Heroes program, click here. __

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