Occupational Therapy

How can an Occupational Therapist help?

As allied health professionals, we strive to assist individuals to live an independent and meaningful life. Our Occupational Therapists work closely with individuals and those around them to develop skills and strategies that allow them to complete everyday activities and tasks that are essential to living independently and engaging in their community.

Therapy sessions can be one on one with the individual, or can include family members or support staff to utilise a holistic and whole team approach to therapy. Our team can also offer parent/carer training programs on a range of topics.

Sessions can take place in one of our clinics, at the Individuals school/education setting or care facility, or at home. Sessions can also include community based activities.

Some of the areas our team can work on include:

  • Gross Motor Skills: Movements and actions that use larger muscle groups and body parts, this includes: running, jumping, skipping, maintaining good posture and balance.
  • Fine Motor Skills: Movements and actions that use smaller muscles and body parts and often require precision. This includes: holding a pen/pencil, using scissors or cutlery, and using buttons and zippers.
  • Sensory Processing: How we receive and process information from our environment and react to this information. This information includes: sights, sounds, smell, taste and touch.
  • Social Skills: The skills we use to communicate and interact with others, including use of appropriate language and non-verbal cues, and understanding the ‘rules’ like turn taking and active listening. These skills also include play skills, conflict resolution and risk awareness.
  • Daily Living and Functional Life Skills: The skills we utilise to physically care for ourselves, this includes activities like cooking and feeding ourselves, toileting and maintaining our personal hygiene. These are also the skills we utilise to live independently and access our community, like cleaning our homes, shopping for food, money handling and transport.
  • Sleep: Identifying barriers and challenges to maintaining healthy sleep and developing different strategies and routines and trialling these to increase our sleep health.

Assessments

The first steps our Occupational Therapists will take when starting therapy with a new individual is to gather informal information about your needs and complete an individual assessment. This will provide us with the necessary information to start developing an individual therapy plan that best meets the needs of the individual and works towards their goals. Assessments help us to:

  • Identify any strengths and areas the individual finds challenging
  • What factors might be contributing to these challenges and how to minimise these
  • Develop an individualised therapy plan to address these challenges and build skills
  • Introduce and implement strategies with the individual and their support network

If you have a National Disability Insurance Scheme Plan, as part of the reporting requirements at each plan review, individual assessments need to be conducted before starting a new therapy and either when you finish the therapy or at the end of each plan. These assessments provide us with ‘pre and post-baseline data’, or in simple terms, it provides a snapshot before and after therapy. This helps us when reporting on what progress was made and to develop recommendations for your future plan.

Sensory Processing

Sensory Processing is the way in which our nervous systems receives sensory information and generates a response to this information. The majority of people are born with the ability to effortlessly receive sensory information and generate the appropriate behavioural and physiological responses. For other people, it can be difficult to process incoming sensory information and results in challenges generating appropriate responses to the information.

Commonly, when discussing sensory needs, we speak broadly of three sensory categories. These are:

Sensory Over-Responsivity: This is where the individual is overly sensitive to sensory information, i.e. touch or sound, and can respond more intensely and faster to the sensory information for a longer duration. An example is an individual becoming upset when accidentally brushed against whilst waiting in line.

Sensory Under-Responsivity: Individuals show less of a response to sensory information than would be expected and require longer to respond to the sensory information. They often require more intense sensory input before they respond, i.e. they require louder sounds or a stronger touch. A common trait of Sensory Under-Responsivity is having a high pain threshold.

Sensory Seeking: Sensory Seeking individuals have intense cravings for sensory input and will actively seek it, this often manifests in ways that are not appropriate to the situation or environment. A common trait is a desire for firm pressure to be applied to their body.

When working with an individual with Sensory Processing needs, an Occupational Therapist will speak with the individual as well as those around them to gather as much information as possible. They will also typically complete the Sensory Profile assessment. This assessment generates a sensory profile on the individual which is used to begin developing and trialling strategies and equipment to assist the individual to fulfil their sensory needs and minimise challenging behaviours as a result of these needs not being met.

These strategies are most successful when a collaborative approach is utilised and are implemented across the individuals environments, this includes at home, in clinic and at school or care facilities.

Aquatic Therapy

Aquatic Therapy, also known as hydrotherapy, provides an opportunity for individuals to develop their movement and coordination skills whilst increasing their water safety skills and swimming ability. Facilitated by our Occupational Therapists, sessions are 1:1 in a indoor heated pool so sessions can run year round.

  • Improving muscle strength and coordination to facilitate development of motor skills
  • Developing gross and fine motor skills to improve daily life skills such as walking, climbing, getting dressed, handwriting and use of cutlery.
  • Achieving sensory regulation using water to meet a child’s sensory needs including movement, deep pressure and touch sensations.
  • Decreasing sensitivity to touch on head and face for children who experience tactile defensiveness.
  • Increasing a child’s water safety knowledge in learning to be safe around water and safe entry into the pool.
  • Developing social skills to follow instructions, share and take turns, communicate with therapists and other children and engage in social play.

Where:

Sherriffs Road Swimming Centre

117 Sherriffs Road, Reynella

When:

Sessions run for 30 to 45 minutes, depending on the needs of the person, on Mondays between 10:00am – 12:00pm

*Please note, 15 minutes are added to the cost of each session to allow for program development after hours.

Spaces are limited, so please Contact Us to book your place!