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What are some of the most common questions Clinical Psychologists get asked?
Q: How long will treatment take?
A: Treatment depends on the age of the child, their presentation and type of therapy they are engaging in. Typically therapy would start with 6 sessions, after which there would be a review of the childs’ progress. After the review the therapist and family would make further decisions about treatment together.
Talk to your therapist, as this is highly specific to the child and family situation.
Q: What is challenging behaviour?
A: Challenging Behaviour/s are any behaviours that have the potential to cause harm. This could include harm to self, harm to others (including animals), and damage to property. Challenging Behaviour any is behaviour that may also result in the child or young person being excluded from accessing community based activities. This typically includes education, sporting activities, clubs, and community locations such as shops.
Talk to your therapist if you are concerned about your child and possible challenging behaviours.
Q: What do you do in your sessions?
A: This again depends on the age of the child, their presentation and type of therapy they are engaging in. This can include therapy involving talking, play, art, and other techniques (however these may the psychologist to have completed extra and specific training).
Talk to your therapist, as this is highly specific to the child and family situation.
Q: Why do you give parents homework?
A: Often parents will be given homework to reinforce what has been completed in the session/s. This is because the research tells us that when parents implement the suggestions from therapy at home, their children are more likely to make faster gains throughout their treatment. Parents who are engaged with their child’s therapy are often more responsive to their child’s needs. This means that they are often are more able and likely to identity and respond to problem/s when they arise. Sometimes therapist will help parents by giving them homework to help them to become more engaged in their child’s journey. This may also include being giving tasks to help them identity and respond appropriately to their child’s evolving needs.
Talk to your therapist, as the homework that is provided to you needs to fit in with what your and child’s (or your family’s) therapist is working on.
Q: What training have you completed?
A: Psychologist in Australia, Europe and the UK have to complete a minimum of 6 years training to become registered under the protected title of Psychologist. In Australia this usually includes a 4 year undergraduate degree, and then 2 years post graduate study (i.e a Masters degree, Doctorate degree or supervised practice). In the UK this usually includes a 3 year undergraduate degree and then a 3 year Doctorate degree.
APRHA which is the regulating body for Psychologists in Australia
Australian Psychological Society on how to become a Psychologist.
Take a look at our blog post about Being Family Focused!
We have been lucky enough to know Laura Simmons from Theratrak since the beta stages of the app.
She has worked incredibly hard to develop an app focused on easy, user friendly home programs for parents and professionals; and I must say, she has done a Stella job.
Laura is going to change the world with her app! We are so glad we have been on this journey with her, and can’t wait to see what else she does!!
This app has changed. our. lives. It makes home programs so much easier for everyone, and while I know there are plenty more updates to come, this app will only get better and better.
You can find more about Laura and her team here.
“So…what is Occupational Therapy?”
Don’t worry if you find yourself asking this question when you first meet an Occupational Therapist (or even several times afterwards!).
Believe me – we understand! Our job title can be hard to understand from our name alone.
Let us provide some clarity!
Occupational Therapy is an allied healthcare profession that focuses on supporting people to participate in their “occupations” at times when these are challenging or not possible, such as through an injury, condition, disability or an undiagnosed problem. For us as Occupational Thearpists (or OTs), the focus is less on what the diagnosis is, but on how it impacts someone’s participation in occupations that are meaningful to them.
As OTs, we see occupation as everything a person
You’ll find OTs in a number of different settings including hospitals, community centers, schools, private clinics and healthcare-related not-for-profit organisations.
Whilst the role of an OT can look different in different settings and working with different populations, the core of Occupational Therapy remains the same – supporting occupational participation!
For the purposes of Look Hear, we’ll be focusing on the role of OTs working with children in the community, meaning the child is not needing the specialist care of a hospital. If we think about the occupations of children, these include:
…just to name a few! Think about all the things your child does during the day from the second they wake up, until they go to sleep– these are their occupations!
Occupational Therapists can support a child’s participation in an occupation in a few different ways. They can:
Following an initial meeting and assessment with the child and their parent/caregivers, an OT will then work with the child and their family in supporting them to achieve their goals. Occupational Therapy intervention may look different depending on the:
Royal College of Occupational Therapists here.
Check out out Occupational Therapy Page here.
.We reviewed Retro Toddler for Anne! See what we thought about it below!!
Book: Zachry, A. H. (2018). Retro Toddler: More Than 100 Old-School Activities to Boost Development.
Check out our website on play here!
Look Hear Australia (LHA) is a library of online resources for allied health and education professionals. It was developed by a group of allied health and education professionals in rural and remote Australia.
Thousands of clinicians are creating millions of resources every year for children with complex and additional needs.
However it can be a daunting and confusing exercise finding the right resource for the right child, and even knowing where to start and what to search for.
Look Hear Australia makes that search simple by bringing top resources and resource pages together under one site.
LHA’s motto is “it’s not hard to make it easy”, and we strive to make the search for quality information, programs, equipment and resources easy.
Look Hear Australia aims to show how easy it is for business, schools and professionals to make their content accessible for everyone.
We aim to use visuals and simple language to make easy, user friendly information sheets and books to help professionals and families in their everyday lives.
LHA has a blog where many different parents and professionals post.
LHA has a “Community Recommended Page” where children, Mums and Dads and other professionals can suggest their recommendations for the website.
LHA is free for anyone to use and there is a shop to purchase our resources.
“Its not hard to make it easy” – Look Hear
Bullying can be defined as a subcategory of interpersonal aggression characterized by intentionality, repetition, and an imbalance of power, often with the element of abuse of power being a primary distinction between bullying and other forms of aggression (Smith & Morita, 1999; Vaillancourt, Hymel, & McDougall, 2003).
Bullying can include direct physical harm (physical bullying), verbal taunts and threats (verbal bullying), exclusion, humiliation, and rumour-spreading (relational or social bullying), and electronic harassment using texts, e-mails, or online mediums (cyberbullying).
Prevalence rates for bullying vary, however research reveals that between 10% and 33% of school children are victimised, and 5% – 12% of children bully (Cassidy, 2009; Kessel Schneider, O’Donnell, Stueve, & Coulter, 2012; Perkins, Craig, & Perkins, 2011).
Developmentally, peer bullying is evident as early as preschool, peaking during early high school, then declining towards the end of high school (Currie et al., 2012; Vaillancourt, Trinh, et al., 2010).
The World Health Organisation report that overall peer victimisation has been decreasing over previous years (Currie et al., 2012), however cyber bullying is increasing (Jones, Mitchell, & Finkelhor, 2013). One reason put forward is that students are often aware of rules prohibiting physical harm to others, but find verbal and social bullying more difﬁcult to identify (Hymel & Swearer, 2015).
Current research reveals that bullies are socially intelligent (Björkqvist, Österman, & Kaukiainen, 2000) and can have considerable status in their peer groups (Vaillancourt et al., 2003). As such, adults may be less able to recognize bullying perpetrated by students who appear to be socially competent, well-functioning individuals. Interventions should emphasise the interaction of individual vulnerabilities, context effects, and experiences with bullying and victimization. This includes understanding and addressing bullying as a systemic problem (Swearer & Hymel, 2015), and having schools implement school-wide, universal antibullying programs (Bradshaw, 2015).
Take a look our top resources on tackling Bullying here.
Björkqvist, K., Österman, K., & Kaukiainen, A. (2000). Social intelligence – empathy = aggression? Aggression and Violent Behavior, 5, 191–200.
Bradshaw, C. P. (2015). Translating research to practice in bullying prevention. American Psychologist, 70, 322–332.
Cassidy, T. (2009). Bullying and victimisation in school children: The role of social identity, problem-solving style, and family and school context. Social Psychology of Education, 12, 63–76.
Currie, C., Zanotti, C., Morgan, A., Currie, D., DeLooze, M., Roberts, C., . . . Barnekow, V. (2012). Social determinants of health and well-being among young people. Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) study: International report from the 2009/2010 survey. Health Policy for Children and Adolescents, No. 6. Copenhagen, Denmark: WHO Regional Ofﬁce for Europe.
Hymel, S., & Swearer, S. M. (2015). Four decades of research on school bullying: An introduction.American Psychologist, 70(4), 293.
Jones, L. M., Mitchell, K. J., & Finkelhor, D. (2013). Online harassment in context: Trends from three youth internet safety surveys (2000, 2005, 2010). Psychology of Violence, 3, 53–69.
Kessel Schneider, S., O’Donnell, L., Stueve, A., & Coulter, R. W. C. (2012). Cyberbullying, school bullying, and psychological distress: A regional census of high school students. American Journal of Public Health, 102, 171–177.
Perkins, H. W., Craig, D. W., & Perkins, J. M. (2011). Using social norms to reduce bullying: A research intervention among adolescents in ﬁve middle schools. Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, 14, 703–722.
Smith, P. K., & Morita, Y. (1999). Introduction. In P. K. Smith, Y. Morita, J. JungerTas, D. Olweus, R. Catalano, & P. Slee (Eds.), The nature of school bullying: A cross-national perspective (pp. 1–4). London, UK: Routledge.
Swearer, S. M., & Hymel, S. (2015). Understanding the psychology of bullying: Moving toward a social-ecological diathesis–stress model. American Psychologist, 70, 344–353.
Vaillancourt, T., Hymel, S., & McDougall, P. (2003). Bullying is power: Implications for school-based intervention strategies. Journal of Applied School Psychology, 19, 157–176.
Vaillancourt, T., Trinh, V., McDougall, P., Duku, E., Cunningham, L., Cunningham, C.,…Short, K. (2010). Optimizing population screening of bullying in school-aged children. Journal of School Violence, 9, 233–250.
This month, in honour of the SARRAH Conference 2018 which is focused this year on ‘Changing Landscapes, Changing Lives’ we have a Question and Answer Interview with Myles Chadwick – Psychologist working in Rural and Remote Queensland.
Hi, my name is Myles. I am a General Psychologist working in the rural town of Emerald, QLD. I have been living and working here for nearly 3 years. Previous to this I lived and worked in Mount Isa, QLD for almost 2 years before moving here. I mainly work with under-privileged groups under funding to provide free treatment to the community and have done so since I started out as a provisional psychologist in 2013.
For me, working in rural areas affords you opportunities that may not be granted within city limits. I find that there is a significant lack of services in rural locations, which means 2 things if you choose to work in these areas:
Why is working in a rural area challenging?
As I have said in the previous question, a lot of the time you are one of the handful of clinicians in your area, which means that if you cannot see a client due to scope of practice or ethical reasons, people expect justification. In small communities, there is the importance of you name, everyone from GP’s to the local mothers groups may speak about you, and as such you are always vigilant of your practice (which is a good thing). There is a strong emphasis on networking as you need to know what services are where (and they need to know you) to provide the best client care you can.
Find a process that works for you!!!! The big thing about being in a rural area, is a lot of the time processes and procedures are still being developed. I made it my goal to be a little bit more technically savvy, which has allowed me to refine my note taking (sometimes the most arduous of tasks) to become more efficient. I also have a small drawer set on my desk with readily available resources (based on what my practice favours, everyone is different) rather than having to trawl through folders or the internet to find them.
All my supervisors have been in different towns, which has always made direct supervisory support difficult. However, there are always passionate and knowledgeable professionals in your community. The day I began to expand my support and supervisory team from only psychologists to include Occupational Therapists, Solicitors/Legal staff, Speech Therapists, Social workers and Administration Officers was the day I truly noticed how much there was for me to learn!
I would always recommend people try some time out in a rural setting, however the biggest hint I can give is KNOW YOURSELF! There will be times where you feel isolated, especially if you come from a close knit group of family and friends in a city (like me). However, the experience that you can get “out bush” is priceless and the time is what you make of it. Some people have called it a sink or swim environment, but I consider it a strong grounding experience where you see the limits of the system and decide whether you will be the change you want to see in the community.
I currently work in a Psychologist only team, however I have worked in teams that have involved Occupational Therapists, Speech and Language Pathologists, Social Workers, Podiatrists, Dieticians, Exercise Physiologists, Physiotherapists, Doctors and Diabetes Educators. Working in these teams can be great as you start to get a more defined view of what holistic care can do for a client. However, always know where your role as I find that the main breakdown of these teams can be when each profession starts assuming the role of the other without consulting the professional in the field. Be humbled by the work of others, not assured that you could do it without the appropriate training.
Thank you Myles for giving us some insight into working in Rural and Remote Queensland!!
Today we have a guest post from Meg Proctor, an occupational therapist and autism specialist; focusing on schedule creation. Check her out www.learnplaythrive.com and sign up for her mailing list, or follow her on Facebook at facebook.com/MegProctorOT for more help with schedules and other daily routines.
If you’ve ever tried to make a schedule for a child with autism, you may have started out strong and then suddenly had lots of questions. Should I use pictures? Words? What should my child actually do with the schedule? What happens when it needs to change?
This infographic walks you through some of the questions you can ask your self, as you individualise a schedule for your child’s learning style. I always recommend that families make the first draft “quick and dirty” in case you need to make changes. For most of us, once you laminate everything and make it pretty it’s hard to want to make changes.
Making a schedule can be a trial and error process. But once you make it, try teaching it to your child over the course of a few weeks and see what happens! If it works for them, you should see transitions start to get easier, and daily life may develop a new, relaxed rhythm.
Check out our blog post that builds on Meg’s ingorgraphic about Why Therapists want me to use visuals at home here.
For a range of free visuals check out our page here.
“I was so excited to be offered the chance to speak at the next ISAAC Conference on the Gold Coast. The conference is for people who use and/or work with alternative and augmentative communication (AAC). AAC includes such methods as symbols, signs and speaking devices. When the conference is in the UK, I usually attend and when I saw this conference was in Australia I jumped at the chance.
I love the innovative work coming out of Australia particularly in relation to PODD and I wanted to hear speakers from around the world. I will be presenting my work on adapting a methodology called Social Thinking for people using AAC.
Social Thinking is a fantastic resource and I wanted to use it with my caseload of students who are non verbal or minimally verbal. It is a cognitive-thinking approach so I wanted to see if I could adapt it without losing it’s unique essence.
The conference’s focus this year is ‘Access All Areas’ so I thought it would be ideal to present my work. I’m currently in the process of collating my work to date and liaising with Dr Pam Crooke at Social Thinking HQ so that I’m ready to present in July. Not long to go now so watch this space. I will be tweeting while I’m there and will keep everyone posted.”
The conference will be held on the Gold Coast this year from the 21-26 July 2018.
Look Hear – Further Information:
Kim and Tara work together at Whole Child Therapy in London.
Fine motor skills are the small movements, made predominately by our hands, that help us to manipulate objects and explore.
Children need to develop fine motor skills to help them to interact and engage with the world, as well as prepare for schooling (writing, painting, cooking, cutting).
Looking after yourself as a parent!
We often talk about parents needing to look after themselves, but why is it so important? Firstly when we have healthy and happy Mums and Dads it is much easier to have happy and healthy
children. Further, we know from the evidence that parents of children with additional needs are more likely to have mental and physical ill health than their peers with children who are within typical ranges.
We use the Oxygen Mask analogy at LHA, parents need to put their mask on first. That way even if the child is in crisis, Mums and Dad’s are more able to respond to it as they are well. If they put the child’s mask on first and not their own, and then the child is in crisis; everyone is in a rather big pickle!
It is easy to say ‘look after yourself’ but much much harder to actually do it!
Thinking about who can help can be challenging; we often say to parents to keep it simple. Further, where possible see what you can outsource to help you create more time for you.
Ideas of people to help outsource jobs include:
Touch base with your support networks, but find out blog post about relaxation here.
You can also take a look at the Raising Children’s Network families page here.
Why do therapists what me to use visual and visuals* at home??
*We mean visuals as pictures, photos or symbols of something or someone.
Visuals are a great way to explain to someone what is happening or going to happen. They also don’t require verbal language to understand them (think road signs or signs in airports).
Having visuals help children to know what is expected of them and what is coming next. We love visual information because it doesn’t change and our brains actually process the information differently from sound, touch, smell, movement, balance and taste (which can all be scary). Visual information goes straight to our thinking part of our brain – making it easier for children to understand it.
Visual information does change and isn’t scary – so it is perfect to use at home for chores, expectations or explaining to a child what is happening next.
Head over to our visuals page here, and take a look at all the free visuals online. All you need is a printer (and laminator if you like), and some options (such as ASD Visuals or Busy Kids) mean you can pay a little extra and they come ready to use.
Who can help?
GPs, teachers, child care staff, other parents, OTs, Speechies, Psychologists, community nurses can all point you the right direction when it comes to use of visuals.
There is some time to set it up, but once set up they are fantastic!
This month the review of the evidence is all about our favourite resource in the world – VISUALS!!
There is a large body of evidence linking cognitive and physical disabilities with externalising problematic behaviours (Visser et al., 2015; Artemyeva, 2016; Giltaij, Sterkenburg & Schuengel, 2015; Poppes et al., 2016).
In particular, the literature suggests that problematic behaviour in children with disabilities is related to deficits in receptive and expressive communication (Murphy, Faulkner & Farley, 2014; Ronen, 2001; Ketelaars et al., 2010; Conti-Ramsden & Botting, 2004).
Outcomes of problematic behaviour can include victimisation, development of poor peer relationships and long term difficulties with employment and romantic relationships (Murphy, Faulkner & Farley, 2014; Whitehouse et al., 2009).
As such, it is imperative to develop augmentative and alternative communication techniques to increase engagement in, and outcomes of, communication.
A review of the available literature shows the efficacy of using icons and pictures to aid in communication for children with additional needs (Flippin, Reszka & Watson, 2010; Hartley & Allen, 2015), particularly in the effectiveness of visual aids over text and words (Dewan, 2015).
Pooley and Berg (2012) report that “simple graphics can be rapidly communicated, processed and transmitted within a large and culturally diverse constituency” (p.361), and as such icons have the ability to be utilised across multiple domains.
Pictorial devices are already being used in classrooms, and there is good evidence for the effectiveness of these systems, such as PECS, in schools (Flippin, Reszka & Watson, 2010; Lerna et al., 2012).
In addition to this, augmentative and alternative communication for children with additional needs, including the use of visual aids, has been shown to effectively address challenging behaviour, improve communication and increase positive outcomes related to social learning, peer relationships and academic results (Walker & Snell, 2013; Hines & Simonsen, 2008; Ganz, Parker & Benson, 2009; Lerna et al., 2012).
Take a look at our page on visuals (where you can get LOADS of free visuals) here.
This month the review of the evidence is all about something to follow on from the bullying update – Relaxation.
All children worry. Researchers have suggested that this worry is in part due to the fact that childhood is full of “firsts”, doing a lot of things for the first time (Hallowell, 2011). While some worries are
developmentally appropriate, for example being away from parents (relates to safety) or not having friends (relates to sociability), other anxieties get in the way of children functioning across different areas (school, home, etc.). As such, it is important for children to develop coping skills to manage their worries.
Broadly, stress management techniques have been found to be beneficial. In particular, there is evidence to indicate that strategies like yoga, breathing techniques, relaxation response techniques, and sensorimotor awareness activities can improve psychosocial well-being, self-regulations, self-esteem, behaviour and cognition (Dacey, Mack & Fiore, 2016; Gard, et al. 2012; Bothe, Grignon & Olness, 2014).
Below is a list of stress management techniques children can try:
· Tense and release muscles / guided muscle relaxation
· Playing sport
· Coping statements
Bothe, D. A., Grignon, J. B., & Olness, K. N. (2014). The effects of a stress management intervention in elementary school children. Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics, 35(1), 62-67.
Broderick, P., & Metz, S., (2009). Learning to BREATHE: A pilot trial of a mindfulness curriculum for adolescents. Advances in School Mental Health Promotion, 2(1), 35-46.
Dacey, J. S., Mack, M. D. & Fiore, L. B. (2016). Your Anxious Child: How Parents and Teachers Can Relieve Anxiety in Children (2nd Ed.). New York, ny; John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Gard, T., Brach, N., Holzel, B.K., Noggle, J.J., Conboy. L.A., & Lazar, S.W. (2012). Effects of a yoga based intervention for young adults on quality of life and perceived stress: The potential mediating roles of mindfulness and self-compassion. Journal of Positive Psychology, 7(3).
Hallowell, E. M. (2011). Worry: Hope and Help for a Common Condition. Random House Publishing Group
Singh, N. N., Lancioni, G. E., Winton, A. S., Karazsia, B. T., Myers, R. E., Latham, L. L., & Singh, J. (2014). Mindfulness-based positive behavior support (MBPBS) for mothers of adolescents with autism spectrum disorder: Effects on adolescents’ behavior and parental stress. Mindfulness, 5(6), 646-657.
Weaver, L. L., & Darragh, A. R. (2015). Systematic Review of Yoga Interventions for Anxiety Reduction Among Children and Adolescents. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 69(6), 6906180070p1-6906180070p9.
Why are therapists family focused? Why do we have to be involved?
Therapists talk about being “family centered” or “family focused” all the time. What does it mean? Why are therapists family focused?
We know that children learn the best off their parents. That is because they love their parents and their parents love them (we call this secure attachment). When a child falls over, they want to run to their Mum or Dad to get reassurance about the world.
When accessing therapy, it is better for the therapist to teach the Mum or the Dad how to do the intervention as the child learns faster and better off them (rather than the therapist). This means that families get a better quality therapy and goal outcomes (because the little ones are learning faster and better off Mum and Dad) but also more value for money as they are able to take bits and pieces and add them into their daily life at home (which means therapy continues more than just in the session).
Sometimes parents can get caught up on having to do ‘everything’ when it comes to therapy home programs. While doing everything prescribed is awesome, even just focusing on one or two things will still be beneficial (as kids learn best of Mum and Dad).
Just be involved in therapy! Ask your therapist about the one or two things they would like to you focus on between sessions.
And of course loving, enjoying and playing with your child (whether they have additional needs or not) will improve their development!!
Who can help?
GPs, teachers, child care staff, other parents, OTs, Speechies, Psychologists, community nurses.
Love your child, play with them!
WHAT DOES THE EVIDENCE SAY? Children with additional needs accessing hospital and emergency departments.
Through each developmental stage, children interpret, comprehend, and process the world in a variety of different ways. Children and adolescents having to be treated in hospital, especially children with additional needs, can find the experience of being poked and prodded by strangers quite confronting. Additionally, it can be developmentally appropriate for children to experience anxiety related to separation or body integrity whilst in hospital. As such there has been a relatively recent push by medical and allied health professionals to take into account the psychological needs of children on an individual and age-appropriate basis. In particular, the need for a calming and minimally disruptive environment that reduces anxiety and allays fear.
Research indicates that in addition to taking into consideration a child’s age, developmental level and temperament when children are hospitalised, there are a number of other techniques that can be used to promote a minimally disruptive environment. These can include:
· Giving the child developmentally appropriate information regarding the medical procedure
· Encourage children to ask questions
· Developing distraction techniques (i.e. books, iPad apps, etc.)
· Developing relaxation skills (i.e. guided meditation, progressive muscle relaxation, etc.)
· Encouraging positive self-talk through coping statements (i.e. “I am strong”)
· Enhancing parent support
· Swaddling for infants
· Maintaining home routines while in hospital (i.e. wake and sleep times, school work, photos)
· Creating a predictable schedule for the child
· Providing choices for the child so as to create a level of control
· Incorporating consistent play into the child’s day
The available literature indicates that the benefits of professionals taking the time to incorporate these strategies range from decreasing anxiety, decreasing sensations of pain, and decreasing recovery periods.
DeMaso, D. R., & Snell, C. (2013, August). Promoting coping in children facing pediatric surgery. InSeminars in pediatric surgery (Vol. 22, No. 3, pp. 134-138). WB Saunders.
Moore, E. R., Bennett, K. L., Dietrich, M. S., & Wells, N. (2015). The Effect of Directed Medical Play on Young Children’s Pain and Distress During Burn Wound Care. Journal of Pediatric Health Care,29(3), 265-273.
Murtagh, J. E. (2006). Managing painful paediatric procedures. Australian Prescriber, 29(4), 94 – 96.
Okado, Y., Long, A. M., & Phipps, S. (2014). Association between parent and child distress and the moderating effects of life events in families with and without a history of pediatric cancer. Journal of pediatric psychology, jsu058.
Tobin, D. P. (2013). The Future of Child Life in Pediatrics and Its Implications for Health Care Professionals (Doctoral dissertation, Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine Oakland).
Why does therapy cost so much?
Therapy is expensive! Depending on your child’s needs and who you see for how long, it can add up.
Therapy is denfined as “treatment to relieve or heal a disorder”. When we talk about therapy at LHA we are normally referring to Occupational Therapy, Speech Language Pathology, Psychology, Physiotherapy and other allied health services.
Allied health professionals, such as Occupational Therapists, Psychologists, Speech Language Pathologists, Physiotherapists and many others, complete significant training. They complete university degrees, normally 4 to 7 years in duration. Some professionals complete Masters or Doctoral Degrees, for example Advanced Therapists and Clinical Psychologists.
After they complete their studies they have to (depending on their regulatory bodies) complete minimum training (normally 30 hours per year). This is ongoing for the rest of their careers to keep up to date with current knowledge. This is normally partly at their own cost, and partly at the cost of their employer.
Often, therapists have their own professional indemnity insurance, which is for the duration of their career.
In most countries, titles such as “Occupational Therapist” are known as protected titles – meaning that not just anyone can call themselves an “Occupational Therapist. Further, they are registered with a regulatory body which is an annual membership, which depending on the profession can be more than $1000 (per year).
In addition to all of the above, most therapists have a collection of their own personal resources that they have either made in their own time or have purchased themselves. Depending on where they work, they may or may not have access to high quality resources.
Of course this doesn’t include any costs of having a building, if the therapist practices privately.
How can I make therapy more affordable?
Therapy is expensive, however when accessing Evidenced Based therapy there is a high likelihood that there will be some improvement. This does depend on your child, the frequency you are accessing and the type of therapy you are accessing.
Take a look at the NDIS website which has a pricing guideline. Please note this is only relevant for NDIS providers and is added as a guide only.
Also take a look at our blog post – When to ask for help? if you are unsure if you need to access therapy.
When to ask for help?
It can be hard to know what is ‘typical’ for children and what is ‘expected’ and ‘unexpected’. How are parents meant to know when something isn’t ‘normal’? Of course there is no hard and fast rule though there are some tips that might help.
If you are worried, it is important to follow some of those tips above or contact your health care professional. If they reassure you, great and if not they can point you in the right direction or help you to unpack what is happening/ not happening further.
Parents know their children best, so if you are concerned it is important that you talk to someone, as you know what is ‘typical’ for your child.
Who can help?
GPs, teachers, child care staff, other parents, OTs, Speechies, Psychologists, community nurses.
If you are worried, ask the network around you. See if they are noticing the same things you are.