Child therapy provided by an experienced team in a fun therapy space. peech therapy, OT, Psychology, Music Therapy, Groups at Ormond & Moonee Ponds. At Sensational Kids we recognise the value of every person and are guided by our commitment to excellence and leadership in the area of child therapy. Our dedicated and experienced team works closely for optimal outcomes for your child.
It’s never fun having to pack away toys and stop playing. Even sometimes simple things like putting our shoes on is a struggle! These difficulties with transitions can feel like they go on forever and become a routine part of every day.
As parents and therapists we say to ourselves we’ll stay calm, we won’t get frustrated and we won’t raise our voice. More often than not, the clock starts ticking and we fail.
So why not make transition time, music time?
Music is a fun, naturally engaging medium for kids but that’s not all. Here’s why sung transitions may be the way to go:
Research has shown that the neural pathways and connectivity for song processing remain intact within the ASD mind. As a result, sung instruction is better integrated than spoken directives. This results in an increase in social skills and activity engagement
Music is naturally motivating it releases “happy chemicals” within our systems. This leads to increased alertness, mood and an enhancement of memory. So rather than transitions being a stressful time, music can help soothe these difficult emotions and create positive connections between tasks and songs
A steady tempo and musical structure can also help calm our kids through the difficult emotions that may come with transitions
No more constant nagging! Sung instructions give us structure to phrase our requests creating consistency, time and space needed for a busy mind to process the task at hand.
Kid’s songs are simple and repetitive. Naturally most kids learn their first words through this manner and as such sung transitions can lead to an increased understanding of language
Kid’s songs are easily adaptable to the changing environments or needs (e.g. “This is the way we put on our shoes” can easily be changed to “this is the way we put on our bag.”)
No one can sing a kids song in an angry tone. (Have you ever tried? It’s near impossible!) This keeps you calm, which will in turn keep your little ones calm.
So let’s stop parroting instructions and becoming increasingly frustrated with each other. Instead let’s make transition time a fun and a positive space for the whole family!
Want more information?
Book in with our music therapy team if you want more information or help in supporting your child in understanding instructions and transitions through the fun medium of music.
Music Therapy is available at both Ormond and Moonee Ponds clinics and fully funded under NDIS.
For further information on Music Therapy, call our admin team or check out our webpage to find others ways music therapy may support your child.
Difficulties with production, known as speech sound delays, are very common in preschool and school aged children. It can be hard to know how best to help your child while you are waiting for an appointment with a Speech Pathologist. Here are my top tips in how to support your child in everyday conversation:
Build Confidence The most important thing is to maintain or increase your child’s confidence. You can do this by not talking about your child’s speech in front of them, making sure others are not imitating or teasing, and by praising your child sincerely and openly every day.
It’s very noisy in here! Background noise, such as TV, radio and washing machines can make it especially tricky for kids to tune into sounds and learn from other people talking. A good rule of thumb is to pause the T.V. or music when talking, and then press play when you’re ready to listen or watch again.
Can you hear me? About 30% of children with speech sound difficulties have had recurrent glue ear which compromises hearing. Listening with glue ear is like trying to listen under water – not one bit easy! It is important to get your child’s hearing checked if your child has difficulties with speech sounds.
Play with Sounds A great way to help children develop speech sounds is to play with sounds. Fun activities include singing or reading rhymes and leaving off the last rhyming word to see if your child can fill it in, clapping or stamping out syllables like e-le-phant, and playing I spy something that rhymes with….
Watch and Learn Children learn from listening and watching their parents. Sitting face to face so your child can watch your mouth will help them learn how you make the sounds.
Repeat Repeat Repeat Think about a time you were learning a different language at school. Now imagine you were being constantly corrected – how would that feel? I know I would think ‘let me finish!’ or ‘give me a break, at least I’m trying’. Try focus on listening to the message your child is telling you, rather than how they’re saying it. Instead of correcting them, get in the habit of repeating back correctly so they hear the right way to say it. Here’s an example:
Child: Look daddy there’s a tat
Parent: yes there’s a cat! He’s a stripy cat. I like stripy cats. Hello little cat!
Child: me too I love tats!
In this example the child has heard the ‘right’ way to say cat four times, but has not felt corrected or wrong, and most importantly the conversation has continued.
Kid Time Encourage your child to mix with other children as much as possible – children learn a great deal from each other.
Take the time to talk Try make time every day for a calm, enjoyable activity with your child where they can play with you and learn from you. Examples include using pictures to make up a story together, painting, playing a board game or baking. These individual activity times, even if only five minutes long, are really helpful for young children to learn about speech sounds and feel confident in their ability to communicate.
Interpret Usually, you as the parent understand your child’s speech best. On the other hand, it can be particularly tricky when your child speaks to a new person such as your friend or a new teacher. It is OK to interpret for your child in these situations. This will let the conversation flow with the new person, will stop your child from experiencing conversation break down, and will help your child build confidence. From your little one’s point of view, mum and dad are simply just in the conversation too!
To wait-and-see or to not wait-and-see? At different ages and stages it is perfectly normal for children to make sound substitutions. The tricky part is figuring out if it is age appropriate or not. Additionally, some substitutions can be a red flag that the difficulties are unlikely to go resolve naturally. This is where your Speech Pathologist can help figure it all out. Well-meaning family members might say things like ‘boys just learn later’ or ‘my daughter was like that and grew out of it’. Whilst some children might ‘grow out’ of these delays, many do not, and it is difficult to predict who will and won’t. The safest option is to book an appointment with an experienced Speech Pathologist who can do an assessment and clarify all of this.
Sinead Ryan is one of our fabulous Speech Pathologists who works at our Ormond practice. Sinead has a special interest in speech sound disorders.
Before anything else, we would like to welcome you to Sensational Kids! Since you are currently reading this entry, you have probably already spoken to one of our clinical administrators to book your initial appointment. Whether it is with an occupational therapist, speech therapist, music therapist or psychologist, first appointments are always about getting to know you and your child!
To ensure that we all breeze through this initial meeting and for you to get the most out of it, we have listed down a few things that you need to know about your first visit.
You will be filling out a child waiver form which could take 5-10 minutes.
Before you meet your therapist, our receptionist will ask you to complete a waiver form where you need to jot down pertinent information about you and your child. It also details clinic policies and asks for your consent on important matters. We strongly suggest that you come to the clinic at least 5 minutes before your scheduled appointment so it does not consume any of your initial session time.
Appointments are normally 50 minutes long.
It sounds short, doesn’t it? But, you will be surprised at how much you, your child and your therapist can actually do and discuss within this period. However, there are special cases when sessions are longer than that. This will be discussed with you by your therapist.
For occupational therapy and speech therapy initial appointments, parents are encouraged to bring their child along with them. OTs and STs use this time not only for parent interview but also for clinical observations and/or formal/informal assessments with your child. On the contrary, psychology initial appointments are for parent/s only.
There will be lots of questions!
First appointments are aimed at knowing you and your child better. Therefore, your therapist will be asking lots of questions about your child’s medical and developmental history, home and school behaviours, participation in different activities, and more. If your child has had assessments done previously, kindly bring the reports with you as your therapists will surely inquire about the results of these tests.
You are encouraged to ask questions, too.
Your therapist could be using jargon which you may not be familiar with – feel free to ask for more information if anything is complex or unclear. To complement your discussion, your therapist can also print out info sheets for you to take home.
First meetings are the best time to ask your therapist about future sessions. Questions we often hear are – “Do you want me to join the therapy session or do I wait outside?” “What things can we do at home until our next appointment?” “Is a home/school visit possible?”
You will be working with your therapist on coming up with a plan.
Depending on what has been accomplished that day, your therapist may recommend a second meeting to complete assessments. Goal-setting is also another point of discussion between you and your therapist. If you have any concerns about schedule, frequency of sessions or financial plans, it is recommended that you inform your therapist about them so you can jointly design a plan that will work best for you and your child.
We look forward to seeing you at our Ormond or Moonee Ponds clinics!
Are you the parent of a child who is struggling at school? There are some areas like art, sports, music, technology that they do well in however other more traditionally academic subjects which involve lots of talking and discussion are far more difficult for them? You may also find that they find it difficult to follow conversations and you sometimes find it hard to understand what they are trying to explain to you. It’s possible that your child may have ‘Specific Language Impairment’.
What is ‘Specific Language Impairment’?
Specific language impairment or SLI, as it’s sometimes known, is when someone has typical skills across all areas of their development with one exception; their ability to understand and use spoken language. Additionally, their difficulty with language must not be associated with any other condition e.g. hearing loss, autism or Downs Syndrome. Their difficulties could be quite mild and short-lived or they could have significant difficulties which continue into adulthood.
What are the typical traits of someone who has SLI?
They frequently struggle to communicate their ideas to others
They find it difficult to understand and remember long stories or instructions
They find puns, idioms or other non-literal language confusing
They may talk in sentences however they are frequently difficult to understand
They find learning and using new words hard, often having words ‘on the tip of their tongue’
They find word maths questions far more difficult than maths questions using numbers and symbols
They may prefer physical play e.g. football instead of spending lots of their free time talking
They may find it difficult to join their peers in conversations which may make it hard for them to make friends
All of these difficulties may mean that they frequently become frustrated and some behavioural difficulties may occur as a result of this
How do I find out if my child has SLI?
Unfortunately there is no specific ‘test’ for SLI however it’s possible to diagnose by comparing the child’s language skills to their other cognitive abilities e.g. spatial awareness, non-verbal reasoning. In order to do this your child will need a language assessment which is completed by a Speech Pathologist and a cognitive assessment which is completed by a psychologist.
What causes SLI and how many children have it?
We know that there is a genetic link in people who have specific language impairment however there is no specific ‘cause’ which has been identified so far. Studies have shown that in 5 year olds, SLI affects about 2 children in every classroom (about 7%). It is more common in boys than girls.
How can we support children with SLI?
Children typically learn language naturally through listening to others and practising as they grow up, however the same cannot be said for children with SLI. These children need language to be specifically taught to them using visual support and having lots of opportunities to practice. A Speech Pathologist will be able to help your child with this. Additionally, they will be able to give teaching staff advice and strategies about how to adapt school work to maximise your child’s learning potential. Talk to us today to find out more or to book an appointment with a Speech Pathologist.
Philippa Brown is a Speech Pathologist working at our Ormond practice and who has a special interest in children presenting with Specific Language Impairment.
Sensory integration is a process that refers to how we take in, interpret and subsequently react to sensory information from our internal organs and our environment. The way we process this information can affect our learning, activities of daily living, confidence and behaviours.
Our 2 internal senses are proprioceptive and vestibular:
Proprioceptive sense: Our sense of body awareness and muscle stretch. Receptors in our muscles and joints tell us where our body ends and the rest of the world begins. Inputs into this system occur through muscle stretch and joint compressions and can be calming for our sensory system. This system is responsible for us not needing to look at stairs as we walk; we know where our foot is in relation to the ground. It is responsible for us being able to walk through door without hitting our shoulders and manoeuvre around people and obstacles. Interoception is our internal sense of proprioception from our internal organs and can relate to toileting, feelings of fullness, etc.
Vestibular sense: Our sense of movement and balance. Our vestibular system is within our head close to the structures that allow us to hear. An example or our vestibular system in action is that feeling when we are moving up or down in a lift, sitting still in a car but still feeling the movement when our eyes are closed. Our vestibular sense is closely related to our eye muscles control, postural reactions, balance, coordination, attention and concentration. Slow linear movement can be calming for our sensory systems, erratic and unpredictable movement can be alerting for our sensory system.
Sensory Motor Integration
Sensorimotor integration difficulties suggest that the affected individual is unable to efficiently and effectively use sensory information in a refined/ discriminative way. This causes difficulties with gross motor ability e.g. posture, coordinating head and eye movements, body awareness and coordination. An Occupational Therapist can help build a gross motor home program with a sensory motor basis for your child to complete each day to help integrate their Sensory and motor systems. Functionally this can help support improved seated posture during writing tasks, improved spatial awareness when on play equipment/ moving through the classroom, improved hand eye coordination, improved core strength, endurance and balance.
Sensory modulation refers to our ability to organise our sensory information for future use. It involves being able to filter and out and process different sensory inputs which influences our behaviours in day to day function. The regulatory state in which we are calm, listening and ready to learn is referred to as our ‘optimal band of regulation’. We all need differing amounts of sensory information to stay within this ‘optimal band’ as adult we are able to unconsciously know what our body needs e.g. leaving desk to get a drink of water to wake ourselves up, going for a run/ walk in the evening after work, tapping our foot while seated or pacing while we’re on the phone. Children with Sensory processing differences can have difficulty working out what their body needs in order to remain within this optimal band. An Occupational Therapist can help your child learn about their sensory system and provide a ‘sensory diet’ (large list of specific gross and fine motor and relations strategies) that can help them stay within their optimal band.
Sensory integrative therapy is play based, functional and child led. Fun, interactive and experiential activities that incorporate the 7 senses are built into your child’s day. Sensory Integrative Therapy is a holistic approach, allowing your child to be the best they can be in a fun and interactive manner that boosts their learning, self- confidence and independent skills.
Sensory integration and the child- Understanding Hidden Sensory Challenges; Jean Ayres, Ph.D. 25th anniversary addition February 2013
The Out of Sync Child: Recognising and Coping with Sensory Processing Disorder
Carol Stock Kranowitz, M.A. New Preface by Lucy Jane Miller Ph.D., OTR
Busy, naughty, distracting, misbehaving, trouble-making….just some of the phrases we hear daily about kids with movement, modulation or neuro-biological reasons leading to difficulty sitting still and concentrating. Often first picked up when the demands of kindergarten or school increase, ADHD/ ADD and Sensory Processing Disorders (SPD) are very real and can have a huge impact on kids’ daily life. Here we attempt to differentiate between the presentations of ADHD/ ADD and SPD and provide some practical tips on how you can help kids through challenging times. Occupational Therapists and Psychologists can assist through assessment and close observation of a child’s behaviour and movement.
Sensory Modulation Disorder
Sensory Motor Integration
Will often present as ‘spaced out’
Will struggle academically as will have difficulty retaining information due to attention constraints
Presents with a High activity level/ physically active
May be disruptive to others as need to get up and move around
High activity level
Will often get into trouble due to movement and emotional regulation needs.
Can struggle academically
Watching others to copy/ imitate
There is an organic imbalance in neurotransmitters influencing attention and executive functions.
Sensory events e.g. sounds, touch, movement push child out of or into optimal band (appropriate band of relaxation and attention).
Sensory integration difficulty (taking in and interpreting sensations)
Child has not been able to sufficiently integrate sensory motor information influencing the development of motor control
Parent and teacher report
Questionnaires and parent report
Parent report and clinical behavioural assessment
Observation through Jean Ayres clinical observations checklist or use of the Sensory integration, Parent report and teacher report.
Sensory Processing and Modulation Difficulties
Children with diagnosed Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) may misinterpret everyday sensory information, such as touch, pressure, sound and movement. They will often become overwhelmed with certain sensory information and avoid or seek out certain sensory experiences to help themselves feel calm and safe in various environments. This adversely affects attention, concentration, learning and well-being.
As part of a SPD diagnosis Children will have difficulties with Sensory modulation. Sensory modulation refers to our ability to organize our sensory information for future use. It involves being able to filter and out and process different sensory inputs which influences our behaviours in day to day function. The regulatory state in which we are calm, listening and ready to learn is referred to as our ‘optimal band of regulation’. Certain sensory inputs can help keep children with SPD in this ‘optimal band’ or push them out of this optimal band. When out of the optimal band children can have poor attention and concentration, withdrawal from certain experiences e.g. social, sporting, play, decreased safety awareness and poor academic performance due to attention constraints.
These disorders are due to organic differences in the brain causing that result in varying levels of neurotransmitter affecting activity levels and executive functions. Children with ADHD/ ADD diagnosis can have difficulty with attention control, inhibitory control (impulse control), working memory (manipulation of information in their short term memory), and cognitive flexibility, as well as reasoning, problem solving, and planning (behaviour and motor patterns). Children with a diagnosis of ADD/ ADHD are often quite bright and insightful into their symptoms and difficulties. This can result in higher than usual levels of anxiety and avoidance of tasks they find challenging e.g. handwriting, listening during class.
Here are some ideas for how to help reduce symptoms of ADHD and promote happiness in children.
Empowerment: Empower kids with ADHD to understand their bodies, their sensory systems and what can help them stay within an optimal band of regulation. An Occupational Therapist can help build a sensory diet (sensory motor activities to complete in the school and home) that can help children stay within their optimal band of regulation. Psychologists can help Children manage anxiety, support confidence, understand their emotional regulation and manage behaviours.
Motivation: It has been shown that when Kids with a diagnosis of ADHD are interested or show a passion in what they are learning their symptoms are substantially reduced. Talk to your child, make mid maps, what helps them learn? What is their learning style? Do they need a more experiential approach to learning? Will a reward based system work?
Medication: Medication should not be seen as a ‘cure’ for ADHD. Medication are usually seen as a ‘glasses lense’ or an aid in reducing the severity of symptoms. Starting medication is usually at the discretion of the parent and pediatrician. From experience addressing sensory modulation difficulties, empowerment and understanding should be explored before medicating. Therapists will often advise parents only to medicate when the child is trying their hardest to alleviate their symptoms independently, but are unable to do so and are visually, physically and mentally exhausted and they are unable to cope academically. Children will often verbalize this in their own way e.g. ‘I’m trying mum, but the thoughts are everywhere in my head’. Medications should not change your child’s sensory processing and resulting behaviours.
Remember every child is individual and unique! Their intervention plans should be tailored to their specific needs to promote happiness, self-motivation, achievable challenges and development.
Above all any intervention should be fun and engaging!
Occupational Therapy Team Lead
Sensational Kids (Ormond)
The link bellow will lead to a number of interesting peer review articles
The summer holidays are fast approaching here in Aus, and while many of us are looking forward to a relaxing few weeks of not having to get up and rush out the door each day, the holidays can in fact be a difficult time for some of our children with developmental differences. Here are our top ten tips for helping our kids cope with change and build their language skills over the holidays.
Talk to your child about the upcoming holidays. Use a calendar to count down the last days of school, then to count down how many days until the next big event (e.g. how many days until Christmas day, until leaving for a trip, until returning home from a trip etc.).
USE A VISUAL SCHEDULE.
Print a series of google images, or draw simple pictures down an A4 page, to show your child what is going to happen each day. Talk with your child about each activity before they happen, and tick off each picture afterwards.
PROBLEM SOLVE IN ADVANCE.
With your older child, discuss ‘problems’ that may come up over the holidays and brainstorm possible solutions in advance. For example, for the touch sensitive child, talk about how when Grandma comes to visit, she may want to give him a hug. Brainstorm with your child what each of you could do in each situation (e.g. “We could ask Grandma to give you a high five instead”).
Show your child how long certain events will take, or how long they have to wait for certain events to take place. You may use a Time Timer (clock, app and watch versions available here www.timetimer.com or here: suelarkey.com.au/product/time-timer-watch-plus/) or iPhone timer, or refer the older child to read the time on their own watch.
USE PHOTOS TO PREPARE.
Show your child photos of what is coming up these holidays – will you be seeing specific family members? Are you traveling somewhere specific? Turn family photos (or google images) into a simple Social Story, with one photo and a fact statement on each page (e.g. “These holidays, we might see Grandma”, “These holidays, we might go to Philip Island” etc.). Read this story together each night.
USE PHOTOS TO RETELL.
As most of us have a smart phone these days, this tip’s a nice one – during eventful (or even non-eventful!) days, take a few photos of what your child does that day. That evening, find a few quiet moments to look through the photos together, and “tell the story” of your child’s day back to her. Don’t expect your child to join in telling the story (they may, but this is not essential); simply focus on having your child tune in and enjoy hearing your recap of what they got up to.
INVOLVE YOUR CHILD.
More often than not, the young child desperately wants to be a part of things that are happening around them. Involving your child in tasks in an age-appropriate way can make them feel important, and can actually be the best remedy for bored holiday behaviour. Think of ways to include your child in tasks. For example, if you are packing to go away, ask your child to find certain clothing items and put them in the appropriate suitcase. If you are busily preparing a festive meal, have your child set the table or help you stir the cake mixture. On a busy family day, give your child the job of handing out party hats. Whatever the job, make sure it is something the child CAN do, and that you thank them sincerely for it; they will love feeling included.
BE AWARE OF AUDITORY OVERLOAD.
On busy days, your child (and you!) may benefit from some quiet time away from the hustle and bustle. Pre-warn your child that the day may get noisy, and pre-equip them with strategies they can use (e.g. “You can go to your room and play with your Lego”, “You can put your headphones on and listen to some music” etc.). It’s perfectly ok to take some time out.
Always tell your child what TO do instead of what NOT to do. For example, instead of “Don’t undo your seatbelt”, try “Seatbelts stay on”.
ENCOURAGE SOCIAL INTERACTION.
Make sure your child gets plenty of child-lead playtime and social interaction. Try getting out to the park, library, swimming pool or zoo (show photos and talk about the outing before you go!). Also see here for our tips on how to host a successful play date – www.sensationalkids.com.au/the-keys-to-a-successful-play-date
Mealtimes! A word that can evoke a mixture of emotions for Parents. Supporting your child to have a healthy relationship with food takes time and patience. Here are our top tips in ideas to make mealtimes fun and to help your child have a positive attitude towards food and become excited about mealtimes.
Life is busy, but try to prioritise having mealtimes together around the table as much as possible. Not only will your child be exposed to the types of food you are eating, it is also a great time to socialise with each other. For young children they will enjoy being with you, for older children it is a chance to share things about your day. Try encouraging social conversations with questions like ‘what’s the best thing that happened today?’ Encourage everyone to take a turn with sharing so that one person doesn’t feel put on the spot.
Allow your child to have an inquisitive mind towards food whilst they are learning about it. You can do this by allowing your child to learn about the properties of the food by experimenting when helping to prepare it and when it is on their plate. What happens when you cut it? What happens when you squash it? Can you mould it or snap it? Is it dry or wet to touch? Crunchy or soft when you chew it? All of this experimenting is learning for your child and helps to raise their comfort levels with the food, ensuring they are ready to taste it.
Involve your child in the cooking process and in the kitchen as much as possible so they can learn about food and the process of how it gets to the table. Involve them in the food shopping by having a list of items to collect. Involve them in the kitchen with simple jobs to do. Even small children can help out with simple jobs like fetching things from the fridge, washing food, mixing food in a bowl or wiping a surface. It also gives the opportunity to introduce new words to them like ‘whisk’, ‘pour’, ‘mash’, ‘stir’. Involve them with setting the table and putting things into the bin at the end of the meal. This also gives a clear signal that the mealtime has finished and it is time to leave the table.
Children learn by watching others so be a role model to your child. Show your child how you would like them to behave around food by eating at the table (even if it’s a small snack) at the same time as them.
Encourage your child to become more independent around food by offering them simple choices of foods to choose from and providing opportunities for them to feed themselves at the table, even if that means that things gets abit messy!
Mealtimes can be stressful, work as a team with your child to make the dinner table, picnic blanket and kitchen bench a fun and interactive place in which to explore and learn about food in to foster a healthy and positive relationship with food.
The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is a national funding scheme that funds reasonable and necessary support to children with a disability and those who care for your child. It provides support for those aged 0-65 years of age with a disability. The NDIS can help you get support within your community as well as funding for therapies or equipment.
Who is eligible?
To be eligible, children must have a disability or impairment which is likely to be permanent, which limits their ability to participate in their community, and perform day to day tasks without support from a carer or assistive technology
Have a permanent disability or developmental delay which would likely benefit from receiving supports now with the aim of reducing the amount of support in the future
Be a child under 6 years of age with a developmental delay and the delay means your child usually need more help with their self-care, communication, learning or motor skills than another child of the same age.
Your child must also:
Be an Australian resident or hold a Permanent Visa
Live in the NDIS roll out zones (rolled out in stages). In 2019 all Victorians will be able to access NDIS.
My child currently accesses Better Start for Children with Disability (Better Start) or Helping Children with Autism (HCWA) funding. What will happen to this when NDIS rolls out?
Once NDIS rolls out in your area, you will be transitioned from your current funding to NDIS. You should receive paperwork about this if your child is currently receiving funding. You can also call NDIS on 1800 800 110 to request this paperwork. You must complete this paperwork as quickly as possible and return this or your child’s current funding may stop.
How do I access NDIS funding?
If you are in the rollout zone and are on current funding, you should have received paperwork (see above). If you do not currently have funding, contact NDIS on 1800 800 110 to request the necessary paperwork. If your child meets the eligibility requirements, an NDIS professional will arrange to meet with you and your child.
Children aged 0-6 years
If your child is aged 0-6 years, you’ll meet with an NDIS early childhood partner.
In this meeting, you’ll discuss your child’s needs and goals.
You’ll talk about the support your child currently gets from family, friends or service providers and how well this support works for your child. And you’ll talk about general things like how your child usually manages daily activities, and more specific topics like how much support you think your child needs for certain tasks.
This might take more than one meeting, and your child might also need to be assessed by a specialist.
Your NDIS early childhood partner will work with you to decide on the supports your child and family need. Depending on your child’s needs, the NDIS early childhood partner might:
give you information or emotional support
refer you to mainstream services like community health services, playgroups or peer support groups
provide or help you find short-term or medium-term early intervention for your child – for example, speech therapy or occupational therapy.
If your child needs more intensive, individualised or longer-term support, your NDIS early childhood partner can recommend that your child quickly moves to an individualised support plan.
Your early childhood partner will help you develop the individualised NDIS support plan for your child and submit it to the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) for approval.
Children aged 7 years and older If your child is aged seven years or older you’ll meet with an NDIA planner or an NDIS local area coordination partner.
You’ll talk about your child’s needs and goals. You’ll also talk about the support your child gets from family, friends, mainstream providers (like the education system) and community activities or service providers. And you’ll talk about how well this support works for your child.
You’ll also talk about general things like how your child usually manages daily activities, and more specific topics like how much support you think your child needs for certain tasks.
This might take more than one meeting, and your child might also need to be assessed by a specialist.
You and your NDIS professional will work together to develop an individualised NDIS support plan for your child. The plan will then be given to the NDIA for approval.
What is an individualised NDIS support plan?
Children with intensive or longer-term needs might be able to access an NDIS support plan. Your child’s individualised support plan will be based on her goals or the goals you have for your child. It will cover the support your child needs to meet these goals.
Your child’s plan will include:
informal support that you and your family give your child
support from community services and mainstream providers, like the support you get through the education system (not funded by NDIS)
support that is funded by the NDIS.
NDIS-funded support might include therapies, technologies or equipment to help your child with daily living activities, or modifications to your home. It could also include your child’s existing support if you’re happy with it.
You keep using the programs and services funded by HCWA/ Better Start until you have an approved NDIS support plan in place for your child. This plan will replace the HCWA/ Better Start plans once it is ready.
What if my child can’t access the NDIS?
If your child gets support from Helping Children with Autism (HCWA) but doesn’t meet the requirements to join the NDIS, he’ll keep getting support from HCWA. The Australian Government Department of Social Services will manage this funding until your funds are spent, or your child reaches the maximum age for the scheme, whichever happens first.
Will my child be worse or better off under the NDIS?
With the NDIS, your child will get support that gives her at least the same outcomes that she gets with HCWA or Better start support. This doesn’t mean that your child will get exactly the same types or level of services or resources as he gets with HCWA.
The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) will consider your child’s needs as well as the types and level of support she’s getting with HCWA.
NDIS support won’t end when your child is seven years old. The NDIS can be lifelong, depending on your child’s needs over the years. These needs may fluctuate and with this, the funding will fluctuate too.
Sensational Kids are registered service providers under NDIS.
Once your NDIS plan is approved, Sensational Kids are able to provide services to your child.
NDIS early childhood partner Organisations that are experienced in early childhood intervention and that offer families support, advice and access to early intervention and the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). If your child is aged 0-6 years, you’ll work with an NDIS early childhood partner to decide on support and services for your child and family. NDIS early childhood partners were previously referred to as access partners.
NDIA planner: A person who works for the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA), which runs the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). NDIA planners draw up individualised plans for NDIS participants. If your child is aged seven years or older, you might work with a planner. What the professional you work with is called will depend on what’s available in your area, but the level of service that you get will be the same.
NDIS local area coordination partner: A National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) partner who works with NDIS participants to draw up individualised plans. Local area coordination partners can also give you information and help you get supports. If your child is aged seven years or older, you might work with a local area coordination partner.
References: Raising Children Network (website) and NDIS website
It seems contradictory, I know. To suggest that attending your therapy appointments frequently and as recommended will actually potentially SAVE you money in the long run? Well it’s absolutely true – well in most cases, anyway!
We know from the extensive research conducted on the frequency and intensity of therapy, that more intense, frequent therapy in the early stages (particularly true in children aged 0-6) produces better outcomes in the long run. In fact, the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) Early Intervention Package is based almost entirely on this premise. It is for this reason that we almost always recommend a burst of more frequent sessions to our clients, so that we can target the issues at hand, head on with the goal to remediate any concerns and/ or provide a stable base on which to build further skills.
Therapy can sometimes be expensive, particularly if you are accessing private services. Medicare and Private Health insurance covers only so much of the fees. For this reason, we understand if families wish to ‘stretch out’ session, opting for fortnightly sessions off the bat. We do however urge families to consider that more intensive treatment, early on can have such a significant impact that you may not require more lengthy treatment for months (or years) down the track. We know from evidence that in many cases, less frequent sessions over a longer period of time can have less impact on outcomes, making it harder for us as a team to reach the goals we are working so hard to achieve.
The impact of this then? Families leave therapy thinking that it ‘hasn’t worked’. That the money they’ve spent has been all for not. Or they may push on, continuing therapy for an indefininte period of time, inching their way slowly towards their goals. But then the goal posts may shift – as with the rapid rate of child development, you are always working to catch up!
With this in mind I’ve put together a handful of simple but practical tips that can make all the difference between good and great outcomes!
1. Attend therapy at regular intervals, as guided by your therapist
Attending therapy sessions is essential for success. It is a way for you and your children to learn new techniques, practice under the guidance of your therapist, get the support and encouragement you need and work towards those important goals!
2. Be present in the therapy sessions
Where possible, be part of your child’s therapy sessions. You will be your child’s therapist at home so let us teach you how! Our therapists will skill you up and your kids will love you being there – it’s a win/win.
3. Do your (child’s) homework
Your child will love that we wrote this. But in all seriousness, completing any practice activities set by your therapist will only result in better and faster outcomes which means kicking goals earlier and subsequent earlier graduation from the school of SK!
4. Talk to your therapist regularly and candidly
Make sure you mention any concerns, ask any questions about what is happening in therapy, ask why they are doing a certain task. We try our best to explain as we go but sometimes get caught up in the moment. If you aren’t sure, please check!
5. Please let us know if you can’t make it
Our therapists spend a lot of time planning for sessions, including reading past case notes, contacting schools or specialists, and planning and preparing activities/ materials/ resources to have fun in session. Please let us know if you can’t make it as this allows us to offer the appointment time to other children and helps us manage our time better too.
6. In saying that, please don’t cancel unless you really need to!
We understand, life happens. Kids get sick (and parents too!), cars break down and finances can sometimes limit us. Thinking back to the goal setting you’ve done with your therapist and the planned schedule of appointments, missing a fortnightly appointment for example can mean a month between appointments which can limit progress and those great outcomes we’re working so hard for. So if possible, reschedule!