How to set up an Occupational Therapy Private Practice in the United Kingdom – Step 3

This is a follow on blog from our ‘Step 1‘ blog which we recommend reading first. It also links to the ‘Step 2‘ blog which (you guest it, is best to read before step 3).

TOPIC:

You are thinking of taking on a few private clients, maybe you work part time or want to eventually have a full-time private practice income. You want to know what to expect, what you need to actually do, and how much it is all going to cost…. where do you start.

Well; we have done it all (both in the UK and Australia!) so let us give you our tips and advice to help inform your decision about whether you want to proceed and become an independent provider!

Also just for your information, we aren’t tech savvy enough to have set up affiliate links for this stuff just yet, so this is literally what we use.

look hear
It’s not hard to make it easy

WHAT:

Setting up a private practice can really take as much or as little work as you would like it to. There are of course key things that need to be in place, but a lot of the other stuff is really up to you. You can read Step 1 here, and Step 2 here, which outlines everything in more detail.

This information is for those who are already HCPC registered professionals with the relevant experience and expertise who are considering becoming independent providers. The information below is not suitable for non-qualified professionals.

HOW:

Please read through the whole blog posts (here and here) before you rush off and start registering for things; there is a lot to consider, which we have tried to outline for you!

We have already explained the must haves in our previous posts 1 and 2, so now we are up to………

You are thinking of taking on a few private clients, maybe you work part time or want to eventually have a full-time private practice income. You want to know what to expect, what you need to actually do, and how much it is all going to cost…. where do you start.

Well; we have done it all (both in the UK and Australia!) so let us give you our tips and advice to help inform your decision about whether you want to proceed and become an independent provider!

look hear
It’s not hard to make it easy

HOW:

Please read through the whole blog posts (here and here) before you rush off and start registering for things; there is a lot to consider, which we have tried to outline for you!

We have talked through the ‘must haves‘ and the ‘should haves‘, and now we are up to the……….

The ‘nice to haves’:

These are things that are good to have if you can afford them, or you can get them as you go along.

  1. Business cards, especially if you are networking with GPs and schools or other referral sources. We also have an A2 information sheet on what we do.
  2. Landyards or t-shirts if you are wearing a uniform (we just have lanyards) so that you look official and people know that you belong to that company.
  3. A clinic space or room, we tend to treat children in their homes (or at a play centre/school) however we are working on getting a space that we can treat at!
  4. Social media schudaulling; so you don’t have to post every day. We use Stencil to create our images and Later to post them!
  5. Accounting and admin support, if you can afford this, great!

KEY TIPS:

Don’t go into this lightly. It is incredibly rewarding but is a lot of work as well.

Think about all the elements and costings before starting, there will be hidden costs along the way so be ready for those.

If you don’t want to set up by yourself, talk to other providers in your area to see if they want to take a contractor on (we are starting to look into this more seriously now), as it might be a worth while conversation.

Think about what you are willing to do for free, there will be times that you want to just help, however there has to be (for your own wellbeing) a limit to that. Working for yourself you will need to decide this ideally before you will need to think about it. An example of this is that we will do a free phone call with families before starting working with them to discuss their concerns, however this is capped at a maximum of 1 hour.

There are lots of facebook groups that are worth being a part of, which have lots of great ideas and thoughts ‘Occupational Therapy Entrepreneurs’ is a great one, with others like ‘OT in Private Practice’. Search and see what is the best for you.

FURTHER READING AND RESOURCES:

Take a look at the OT Hub, which as loads of great information. There are also lots of podcasts available around setting up your own practice too.

We also love the ‘Dare to Lead‘ book by Brent Brown; not related specifically to setting up but is a great book about leadership and refer back to.

We will happily provide supervision to those taking these steps, having been through them ourselves. You can find our pricing here.

Is the time now for you? Let us know and comment below if we have missed anything!!




How to set up an Occupational Therapy Private Practice in the United Kingdom – Step 2

This is a follow on blog from our ‘Step 1‘ blog which we recommend reading first. It also links to the ‘Step 3‘ blog which is out on Nov 10th.

TOPIC:

You are thinking of taking on a few private clients, maybe you work part time or want to eventually have a full-time private practice income. You want to know what to expect, what you need to actually do, and how much it is all going to cost…. where do you start.

Well; we have done it all (both in the UK and Australia!) so let us give you our tips and advice to help inform your decision about whether you want to proceed and become an independent provider!

Also just for your information, we aren’t tech savvy enough to have set up affiliate links for this stuff just yet, so this is literally what we use.

look hear
It’s not hard to make it easy

WHAT:

Setting up a private practice can really take as much or as little work as you would like it to. There are of course key things that need to be in place, but a lot of the other stuff is really up to you. You can read Step 1 here, and Step 3 here, which outlines everything in more detail.

This information is for those who are already HCPC registered professionals with the relevant experience and expertise who are considering becoming independent providers. The information below is not suitable for non-qualified professionals.

HOW:

Please read through the whole blog posts (here and here) before you rush off and start registering for things; there is a lot to consider, which we have tried to outline for you!

We have already explained the must haves in our previous posts 1 and the next one 3, so now we are up to………

You are thinking of taking on a few private clients, maybe you work part time or want to eventually have a full-time private practice income. You want to know what to expect, what you need to actually do, and how much it is all going to cost…. where do you start.

Well; we have done it all (both in the UK and Australia!) so let us give you our tips and advice to help inform your decision about whether you want to proceed and become an independent provider!

HOW:

Please read through the whole blog posts (here and here) before you rush off and start registering for things; there is a lot to consider, which we have tried to outline for you!

We have talked through the ‘must haves‘ and now we are up to the……….

The ‘should haves’:

These are things you should have or should be getting to start your private practice!

  1. Equipment to do the job and therapy that you want to do. For example working with kids, do you have the right toys, books, scissors, markers, therapy balls or whatever else you may need? If not, start collecting or hitting the op shops (charity shops) to start building your collection (be sure to have an infection policy or toy cleaning policy!)
  2. Location, how and where are you going to deliver this intervention or assessment? In clients homes (hello Lone Worker Policy or Plan, and Lone Worker Risk Assessments before you get there e.g. is there a dog I can expect at the home? Who else will be there at the time of the assessment?)
  3. Policies and procedures – how are you going to protect yourself and consider things before they become a problem. I would suggest having at least: Terms and Conditions (expanded below), Privacy, Consent to Treat, Consent to Communication e.g. email/ txt, Lone Working (or a plan with a partner of how long the appointment is and that you check in/out with).
  4. Brand name; what are you called? This may the same or slight variation of your company name that you registered (for example we are mainly called Look Hear, but are registered as Look Hear Global). This is what you would call your facebook page or instagram. You may also want to consider here things like font, colours and images (again you can go as big or small as you like here), this is your ‘brand’.
  5. Social Medias – at least have one, so people can find you! How much effort you put into this is completely up to you. Do think carefully about what sorts of things you want to share/not share on your page and what you want to say about your companies beliefs/ values.
  6. Mission statement/ values – regardless if you share them with others. We found they are really helpful to think about what we want to stand for (or not) and what kind of consumers/ providers/ colleagues we want to be. You can have a look at our mission statement here.
  7. Website, again this can be as well as social media pages or instead of; we know people who are just as successful with either or both. Lots of business pages will say to have ALL THE SOCIAL medias and websites and SEO etc…. all of that is really important if you want to be the next big thing. If you just want to start small and build up, pick one thing that is achievable for you to manage and start there.
  8. Supervision; we cannot recommend this enough. We are supervised by the WONDERFUL OT 360, and we all know the importance of supervision generally but when you are setting up or thinking about your options and solo working, it is very much a should (and almost a must have).
  9. Terms and conditions/ consent for treatment forms/ privacy policy; these can be as long or as short as you need them to be. They need to cover things like; how are you going to store and manage patient information, how are you going to ensure things are secure, are you using other apps for therapy (we use TheraTrak, and its on our consent form), are patients happy for you to email them (consent form for this), what happens if patients haven’t paid for services etc. Our terms and conditions and privacy policy are here, though they are slightly different for patient care as they are more for our website. Also if you have a website, make sure you have a privacy policy and all your rights reserved!

Also just a note here about what we use for invoicing and expenses; as mentioned we wanted to be able to send branded PDF invoices to our families, so we found Wave, which we use (there are paid and free versions).

KEY TIPS:

Don’t go into this lightly. It is incredibly rewarding but is a lot of work as well.

Think about all the elements and costings before starting, there will be hidden costs along the way so be ready for those.

If you don’t want to set up by yourself, talk to other providers in your area to see if they want to take a contractor on (we are starting to look into this more seriously now), as it might be a worth while conversation.

Think about what you are willing to do for free, there will be times that you want to just help, however there has to be (for your own wellbeing) a limit to that. Working for yourself you will need to decide this ideally before you will need to think about it. An example of this is that we will do a free phone call with families before starting working with them to discuss their concerns, however this is capped at a maximum of 1 hour.

There are lots of facebook groups that are worth being a part of, which have lots of great ideas and thoughts ‘Occupational Therapy Entrepreneurs’ is a great one, with others like ‘OT in Private Practice’. Search and see what is the best for you.

FURTHER READING AND RESOURCES:

Take a look at the OT Hub, which as loads of great information. There are also lots of podcasts available around setting up your own practice too.

We also love the ‘Dare to Lead‘ book by Brent Brown; not related specifically to setting up but is a great book about leadership and refer back to.

We will happily provide supervision to those taking these steps, having been through them ourselves. You can find our pricing here.

Is the time now for you? Let us know and comment below if we have missed anything!!




How to set up an Occupational Therapy Private Practice in the United Kingdom – Step 1

WELCOME TO OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY WEEK!!

This is the first blog in a three part series outlining how to set up a private practice in the UK. Take a look at Step 2 (out 6th Nov) and Step 3 (out 10th Nov)!

TOPIC:

You are thinking of taking on a few private clients, maybe you work part time or want to eventually have a full-time private practice income. You want to know what to expect, what you need to actually do, and how much it is all going to cost…. where do you start.

Well; we have done it all (both in the UK and Australia!) so let us give you our tips and advice to help inform your decision about whether you want to proceed and become an independent provider!

Also just for your information, we aren’t tech savvy enough to have set up affiliate links for this stuff just yet, so this is literally what we use.

look hear
It’s not hard to make it easy

WHAT:

Setting up a private practice can really take as much or as little work as you would like it to. There are of course key things that need to be in place, but a lot of the other stuff is really up to you.

This information is for those who are already HCPC registered professionals with the relevant experience and expertise who are considering becoming independent providers. The information below is not suitable for non-qualified professionals.

This blog is aimed at those who want to set up their own private practice; there are loads of companies who are able to help you and guide you to do this. We didn’t use anyone specific in the UK (though have had friends use IMS Accounting) and used the WONDERFUL and AWARD WINNING Crunch Practice Solutions in Australia (who we cannot fault and still get coaching from every time we go home). Again it depends on how much money you want to start with and pay for with the setting up, and how much you want to do (or not do). A word of warning though, do make sure you know what the ongoing accounting fees are going to be so you are prepared.

WHY:

You might just want to see if you can do it, you might have loads of ambitious long term goals, you might just want a little bit of extra work on the side, you might want have more flexibility in your life, you might just want to be your own boss! There are so many reasons why you might decide to explore the idea of private practice!!

HOW:

Please read through the whole blog posts (here and here) before you rush off and start registering for things; there is a lot to consider, which we have tried to outline for you!

The must haves:

  1. Become a registered company with Customs House. You will need to have a Name for your company (and there are rules about what you can/can’t be called) and fill in all the forms and pay the fees. Most private practices will be set up as limited company’s (but just make sure you read carefully depending on the goals of your business).
  2. Get a business bank account; again this can cost as little or as much as you want it to, there are of course the big banks that offer business accounts, and there are also lots of App based accounts and software that is free or low cost. We use Tide, though there are lots of similar options including Stirling, Anna, Counting Up to name a few. Again have a think about how big or little you want to go and what you need the app to do for you. Some of these apps will also do things like invoices and expenses for you which is great; though we use a slightly different system as we wanted to be able to send PFD invoices with client notes.
  3. Register with the Information Commissioners Office; this was something we completely didn’t even know was a thing, but is incredibly important for GDPR and general data processing.
  4. DBS (Blue Card in Australia) that you can produce. Many schools require to sight this on arrival, we have signed up to the update service so we know we are always in date.

OKAY – if you are up to this step now, you have a company, you are registered with all the people that are essential (I’ll share the extras next).

Pause for thought:

Before we move onto the ‘should haves’ and ‘nice to haves’, it is really important to consider how much or little you want to put into your private work.

If this is going to become your full-time job, and if you want to offer a polished and comprehensive service you might put in more time, money and effort, than someone who wants to have a small local caseload to compliment their fullword else where.

This is A LOT of work guys, even if you carry just a small case load. There are lots of decisions to be made such as:

Are you ready to take this step??

  • Is there a conflict of interest with your current work? This is especially important when considering NHS services as there are often really clear guidelines avalible about conflict of interest. If you have left another company and want to set up yourself, make sure you read your contract for non-compete clauses (often they will have a certain mileage and time frame {usually 12 months} before you can work in a similar area).
  • What are you going to charge? What are other people charging in your area? Are you offering something really different from them? We have decided to post all our pricing online (a controversial decision depending on who you talk to), though for us it was important for families to know our price point. Also we (like most people) like to know what things are going to cost before we sign up for them ourselves, so it was important that we extended this to our families.
  • How are you going to store clinical notes (this must also be inline with the ICO regulations)? Are you going to send summaries to patients after sessions? Are you going to write notes in session for patients?
  • Are you going to charge for travel? Reports? Letters to school? This is your time (and therapy is expensive), what are you thoughts around this?
  • How are you going to ensure you are non isolated? Are you going to pay for external supervision? Join independent practice groups?
  • How will you contintue to meet all your CPD requirements? This is especially important if you are thinking of going full-time – you will still need to meet your requirements (normally 30 hours per year).
  • Are there other services or schemes that you should be registered with or for? In Australia and other countries you can be registered for some government schemes which rebate patients care. Look into what is around locally for you as it may be worth getting registered.
  • How are you going to get your name out there/ advertise? This will be directly related to how many patients you are willing to take on (I would suggest you have a literal number in your mind to start with). Initially we started through word of mouth (through some other private professionals locally that we linked in with), as well as our website and some facebook posting.

If you have considered most of these things and have a plan or answer to these, excellent. If not, take some time to think about these things before launching in.

What are your meaningful occupations?

Take a look at our next steps blog here!

FURTHER READING AND RESOURCES:

Take a look at the OT Hub, which as loads of great information. There are also lots of podcasts available around setting up your own practice too.

We also love the ‘Dare to Lead‘ book by Brent Brown; not related specifically to setting up but is a great book about leadership and refer back to.

We will happily provide supervision to those taking these steps, having been through them ourselves. You can find our pricing here.

Is the time now for you? Let us know and comment below if we have missed anything!!




siblings

Guest Post – Top 10 Tips for Adult Siblings of those with Additional Needs

TOPIC:

Top 10 Tips For Special Needs Siblings (from a sibling!)

WHAT:

When we are children, there can be a variety of emotions regarding our siblings. Maybe you were jealous because they got to do all the fun stuff such as horseback riding and playing in a really cool looking gym?

Maybesiblings there were times that the sibling did something embarrassing in front of your friends or peers? Maybe there were just feelings of anxiety or loneliness because you were the only sibling at your school? These are all normal emotions of a child sibling but as we age, there are new roles that emerge when we become adults and those feelings are set aside.

We now become advocates and sometimes guardians over our siblings. Here is a top 10 list of things to help start conversations with parents and caregivers as the sibling enters adulthood.

Cheryl’s TOP 10 TIPS:

1. Learn to communicate:

We have to get our parents to communicate what the wants/needs are for our sibling. There are also professionals in our siblings lives and it’s incredibly helpful to know the language of the professional whether it be a psychologist, therapists, day program or job trainers, etc. The needs of the sibling should be clearly listed on an Individualized Service Plan or some other document. If the sibling is staying at home with the aging parent, ask why and what is the plan.

communication

2. Support Networks:

Growing up I never had a support network. I was the only sibling in the town. I typically end up in parent support groups because there really isn’t many sibling supports. There are a few organizations like the American Association of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities that hold conferences for siblings. There is also the Family Cafe in Orlando Florida that you will meet other siblings. I started asking parents if they had other children that I could talk to. This is so important. Times will be stressful. You will be sandwiched between taking care of an aging parent, special needs sibling, and your own family.

3. Have A Plan:

Have a plan! Have a plan! Have a plan! Start talking about the wishes for everyone involved prior to an emergency. This is not just for the sibling but your parents as well. Know where legal documents are located, where everyone is going to live, know facilities in the area if needed and get on waiting lists, etc. No one wants to have this conversation and our parents don’t think they will ever age but it’s much easier on you the sibling if there is one. From experience, when the plan is not inplace it is chaos. Can you afford to leave your family and job for 2 months to sort these items out?

4. Financial Needs:

These will vary from state to state (and country to country) but at this point most US states have special needs trust accounts as well as ABLE accounts. Money can be placed in these accounts and will not go against your siblings benefits. For more information, I recommend finding a special needs law attorney and they will let you know what is available in your state/ country.

5. Guardianship/Power of Attorney/Health Care Proxy:

Know what legal documents you need. For your parents, make sure you know who the power of attorney and health care proxy is. If these documents have not been generated, make sure you do so. Wills are also needed. You can not will a human so your sibling oversight can not be written it. Financial needs can be as mentioned in number 4 but not who will take care of the siblings or where they go. This is where guardianship if needed and POA and HCP need to be done prior to parents passing.

6. Know your own limits:

If you can not handle or want legal responsibility for your sibling, that is fine. Just make sure this is communicated. There is nothing wrong with knowing your limits. There are professional guardians if needed. You can also review our blog post about when to ask for help here. 

7. Connection:

You may have to take on a new role. You aren’t a brother or sister anymore if you take on guardianship of your sibling. This is all legal responsibility. You may have to establish a different connection with your sibling and that’s ok.

8. Take care of your own mental health:

This falls under self care. When the time comes, you will be juggling a lot. It really is a much easier transition when you have a plan and take on the responsibilities when it’s not an emergency. Seek someone to talk to and a professional if needed. There is no shame in that.

mental health

9. Service Above Self:

Just remember it’s not about you. If parents shut down and don’t want to talk – it’s not about you. If you sibling begins to display behaviors, it’s not about you and they just want to communicate. This is the hardest one to remember.

10. You still have a life:

When everything is said and done, you still have your life. You may have a family or responsibilities to an employer. Once again, this is why it is helpful when a plan is in place.

FURTHER INFO:

Check out our siblings page here.

In Australia: Contact Siblings Australia 

In the US: Contact The Sibling Support Project

In the UK: Contact Sibs UK

siblings




What is a Whole Class Approach?

TOPIC:Education and schooling

What is a Whole Class Approach? Why do therapists talk about it so much?

WHAT:

Being a teacher in this day and age is hard! There are so many expectations and deadlines and benchmarks to meet, all while trying to nurture and teach the next generation.

A big part of therapy is ’embedding the therapy into everyday life’ and of course this does not just mean at home but also school.

How can therapists expect teachers (who already have so much on their plates) to suddenly understand and support the children in their classes that are accessing therapy?

Good question! Firstly as therapists at Look Hear Australia, there is no expectation of teachers to do this (just for the record).

One thing often talked about is the Whole Class Approach. This is basically taking some of the key elements of the therapy goals and adjusting them to be able to suit the teacher and the class. This means that hopefully (if done well) the teacher is able to embed this ‘therapy’ into their class easily and without added stress.

WHY:

It is widely known that if therapy can be embedded into everyday life, that there are many more positive outcomes for the child compared to a weekly therapy session. If parents can do some therapy at home (post on this coming soon!) as well as some things at school, the child is getting indicental therapy that doesn’t feel like ‘work’ and is in ‘real life’ and not an artificial environment of a therapy room.

Kids also spend a good chunk of their time at school so it makes sense to have some therapy there (HOWEVER – that doesn’t need to be at the expense of the WONDERFUL teachers sanity!!).

school

HOW:

So – how do can this been done as ‘whole class approach’?

** Please note, this section on ‘how’ is designed for teachers

(Feel free to point your child’s teacher to this post if you have talked about Whole Class Approaches and they aren’t sure what you mean)

Key Tips for Teachers wanting to adopt a Whole Class Approach:

  • Firstly – do what you can. You don’t have to do every single thing that is recommended in the therapists’ report. Anything that you can incorporate will be beneficial and no doubt you have already added some similar things that have been recommended into your day already. Also it doesn’t have to be every single thing every single day.
  • Take the things that work for everyone. Often therapists will recommend things like “movement breaks” – this could be a game of “Simon Says” for the whole class as a transition between tasks. Or simply a full class toilet break (which you are probably already doing, hence no need to add to much more in).
  • Visuals work for everyone (think traffic signs) and there are LOADS of free ones that can printed and used straight away. Take a look at our Visuals page if you have been told to use visuals. Sometime therapists are able to help out here by providing visuals they can email or print for you.
  • Use the ideas that are working for your class. You might trial “Simon Says” and find there is just fights into lunchtime about who won. In which case maybe a dance video on the smart board might be more suitable.
  • Sending children who need more movement or sensory breaks on “errands”, children who may need more breaks that you can provide as a whole class might be the child to take the tuckshop bag up or take some books back to the library. These tasks can be a good way of children having a break in a socially acceptable way (even if you don’t need library books) as it is less obvious and enables you to continue to teach the rest of the class.
  • Adaptive equipment. Sometimes therapists recommend pencil grips, specialized seating and other equipment (normally with a sensory based adjustment in mind). To make this a Whole Class Approach you might have different “equipment” (cool pencils etc) available to the rest of the class.

KEY TIPS:

It is ideal to have some therapy embedded into the class day, however this needs to be throughout as to not add extra work or stress to the teachers. You can also look at our Education and Schooling page by clinking on the link.

FURTHER READING:

Take a  look at the Inclusive Schools Network website at they talk a lot about the advantages of inclusive teaching.

http://inclusiveschools.org/together-we-learn-better-inclusive-schools-benefit-all-children/




Why do Therapists give me home programs?

TOPIC:resources

Why are therapists family focused? Do we have to be involved? Are home programs that important?

WHAT:

Therapists talk about being “family centered” or “family focused” all the time. What does it mean? Why are therapists family focused?

And why do I as a parent, keep getting homework from my therapist? I thought going to therapy was enough? Aren’t they meant to do it all?

WHY:

We know that children learn the best from their parents (and research tells us this!). 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 (or caregivers) how to do the intervention as the child learns faster and better from 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). It is important that you don’t burn out, especially if you are seeing more than one professional, where you might be getting more than one program.

Home programs are basically the therapy homework that families get given to work on at home (because kids learn best off Mum and Dad).

HOW:

If your therapist is giving you homework – ask what is the most important element is to work on and focus on that.

Just be involved in therapy! Ask questions and make sure you understand what they want you to work on for that week or coming months.

And of course loving and enjoying and playing with your child (whether they have additional needs or not) will improve their development!!

WHO:

Who can help?

GPs, teachers, child care staff, other parents, OTs, Speechies, Psychologists, community nurses.

KEY TIPS:

Love your child, play with them!

play




sleep

Sleep Week 2019! How to promote sleep in my child?

Why is Sleep important?

sleep

Sleep is just as important as food, shelter and safety.

It allows the brain to recharge and the body to regenerate.

Healthy sleep allows people to function at optimal alertness.

Healthy sleep requires:

  • Sufficient amount (time)
  • Uninterrupted (quality)
  • Natural sleep cycle (circadian rhythm)
  • Age-appropriate naps

Children need sleep to be able to:

  • Remember what they learn
  • Pay attention and concentrate
  • Solve problems and think of new ideas
  • Grow muscle, bones and skin
  • Repair damage and injuries
  • Fight sickness

For Children – different ages need different amounts:

  • Babies – 12-15 hours throughout the day and night
  • Toddlers – 11-14 hours/day
  • Young children – 10-13 hours/day
  • Older children – 9-11 hours/day

How to promote healthy sleeping habits in my child?

  • You will need to be consistent bedtime routine (bath, teeth, story, cuddle for whatever works for you family)
  • Consistent wake up time for children with enough time to ‘wake up’ before placing demands (getting ready for school)
  • Ensure that there is a consistent bed time
  • Enough physical activity and outside time during the day
  • Reduced screen time before bed (usually no screens within 2 hours of the bed time routine starting)
  • Enough fruit, veggies and water throughout the day
  • Dark and cosy room and space that promotes sleep and staying sleep
  • Modelling the importance of sleep as a family, ensuring that you too are following some/all of these suggestions shows kids the importance that Mums, Dads and Caregivers put on sleep too!

sleep

If your child is having difficulty sleeping, a Psychologist or Occupational Therapist may be able to help.

For more information and further resources that might be able to help – LHA Sleep Page and  Sleep Council




sensory-processing

Child Mental Health Week 2019: Using Sensory Processing to look after my Mental Health  

Topic:

How can I use my senses and sensory processing to look after my mental health?

Why:

According to Sutton and Nicholson (2011), sensory-based treatment has been identified as an effective treatment approach for clients who are distressed, anxious, agitated, or potentially aggressive and as an alternative for more coercive actions; they also determined that sensory modulation approaches are particularly helpful for people with trauma histories, PTSD, and self-harming behaviours.Mental Health

Scanlan and Novak (2015) did a scoping review (summary of new research areas) regarding sensory approaches; a total of 17 studies were included in the final review. A range of sensory approaches were evaluated. In general, service users reported they were useful for self-management of distress. Positive outcomes demonstrated that adopting sensory approaches may help reduce behavioural disturbances, empower staff and consumers to build positive relationships and provide simple positive and inexpensive strategies that can be used post discharge.

How:

Alerting Activities;  are the activities that help prepare our brains and body for productivety by ‘waking up’ our bodies sensory systems.

Calming Activities; these activities are aimed calming the body’s sensory system by being centred and ready for learning/productivity.

Touchtouch

    • A warm bath (calming)
    • A big hug (calming)
    • Sequin pillows (calming)
    • Velvet (calming/alerting)

Tastetaste

    • A sour sweet (alerting)
    • Chewing gum (calming)
    • Something crunchy (calming)
    • Something cold (alerting)

Smell

    • Aromatherapy (calming/alerting)
    • Vanilla and Lavender (usually calming for most)
    • Peppermint (usually alerting for most people)
    • Choosing a shower gel that you like (depending on the smell – calming and alerting)

Soundsound

    • Listening to calming music (calming)
    • Listening to rock music (alerting)
    • Quiet time or space (calming)

Sight

    • Watching a sunrise (usually calming)
    • Watching fish swimming (usually calming)
    • Lots of flashing lights or colours (alerting)

Movementmobility

    • Going for a run (calming)
    • Rocking in rocking chair (calming)
    • Big breath out – blowing bubbles out (calming)
    • Jumping and spinning (alerting)

Balancebalance

    • Spinning (alerting)
    • Swinging (calming)
    • Rocking in a rocking chair (calming)
    • Jumping and crashing (alerting)

Further Information:

Moore, K. (2016). Following the evidence: Sensory approaches in mental health http://www.sensoryconnectionprogram.com/sensory_treatment.php

Key Tips:

  • Find what works for you
  • Check out our page on Mental Health here!

mental health




How we choose the websites we feature….

Topic

How we choose the websites we feature

Why:

It is important for us to be transparent about how we are choosing our websites – it’s also important for our community to know how we do this.

How:

There are several key things we ask ourselves when we chose a website. They can been seen in this chart here:

Firstly, and most importantly, we must have had personal experience with the website or product. That could be us as a LHA team or any of our contributors. It has to be a resource that either ourselves as a team or our contributors have used, read, trialled first-hand, as well as something that we think will be useful to other families or professionals.  

We want to ensure the resources are evidence-based, however we also know there are lots of treatments and services that have less of an evidence base that have worked for others. We want to feature them but, of course, we are always transparent. This could be around the limited evidence or that we advise caution when looking into those resources – however we don’t want to discount them completely.

We, of course, we will never be taking money to have websites featured on our page – we make our money in other ways (namely treating children face-to-face – also Amazon Affiliate marketing etc), and LHA is not a paid library (and never will be).




Our How and Why – The Reasons Behind an Online Library

Topic: The reasons behind an online library – Why Look Hear Australia? 

Why did you start LHA?

I want it to be a long-term resource that I can use for my therapy, so I don’t have to send stuff to families or create things for families all the time. I want to empower families to do that for themselves and I want these resources to be available for therapists who are time poor.

How did you decide on a blog/website?

I also want it to be online or cloud so I don’t have to have all these resources on my computer – I can have an iPad or tablet for work, as then all the resources are available to me wherever I am.

Who are you writing a blog for?

Myself, other professionals and families. I am writing it and hosting it so it is a place for parents and professionals to get bite-sized, high quality information and then be able to point them in the right direction for more (expert) information.  

What types of values and beliefs do your audience have?

    • Professionals; valuing the child and family as unit and being family-centred.
    • Parents and Professionals; a want for high quality information that is easy to read and understand.
    • Parents; curious about their child and wanting to know more.

Who are your audience?

    • Parents
    • Professionals – Allied Health
    • Teachers
    • The wider community


What style of Blog did you want?

Want:

    • Easy to read
    • Simple and clear
    • Expert and evidence-based

Don’t want:

    • Wordy
    • Heavy
    • Hard to read
    • Selling things – pushy

Further information:

Find out more about us on our about us page here!




Parents: What is the difference between a melt down and a tantrum?

What is the difference between a meltdown and a tantrum?

Behaviour

This is a tricky question! Every child has tantrums – it is actually an important part of typical development.

Children with disabilities can sometimes have meltdowns; a full “computer shut down and restart”. This can happen for many reasons that can be sensory-, communication- or emotionally-based. The reasons will be different for each child.

It can be tricky to work out what types of behaviours are “tantrum” and which are “meltdown” based.

Tantrums:

  • Child is usually telling you what they want e.g. “I want an ice cream”.
  • Child will stop crying/hitting/screaming when they get what they want.
  • Child looks and checks you are watching them.
  • behaviour Child keeps themselves safe during.

Meltdowns:

  • Child is not communicating at all e.g. no words, pointing etc.
  • Child does not stop when problem is fixed.
  • Child does not check that you are watching them e.g. they are in their own world.
  • Child may not be concerned by their safety e.g. head banging.
  • Child only stops when they have “calmed down” or “worn themselves out”.

Both:

  • Hitting, screaming, biting, crying, kicking.

Check out at Behavior Page here and our blog post on looking after yourself as a parent here




Why we are an Amazon Affiliate….

TOPIC:

Everyone loves Amazon! And we do too!
look hear

Why is LHA an Amazon Affiliate?

We are Amazon Affiliate Marketers, meaning we can link to a product directly from Amazon, and if someone buys it, we get a percentage of that purchase.

WHY:

    • Helps us keep our costs down
    • Helps us run the website for free
  • If you are ready to buy immediately – it is easy, especially if you use Amazon already!

HOW:

  • If you are ready to purchase one of the products or books we recommend, you can just click on the Amazon link and it will take you directly to Amazon!
    • Its the second link/picture you can click on – as seen below!
    • Then purchase the item, and wait for it to arrive.
  • At the end of every month, Amazon send us a small kick back from the people we have referred.

amazon

REMEMBER:

    • At LHA we are still only recommending items and books that we or our collaborators have had direct personal experience with.
    • We will always link to the original publisher first.
    • LHA promises we will never be bombarding you with “buy this here now!” from Amazon.
  • Also it makes it easy for parents and professionals as they can add to their basket immediately, after reading about it on LHA.
FURTHER INFORMATION 

You can find more about Amazon Marketing here 




psychology

Five of the Most Common Questions Clinical Psychologists get asked!

TOPIC:

What are some of the most common questions Clinical Psychologists get asked?

clinical psychologistsQ:  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.

Further Info:

Talk to your therapist, as this is highly specific to the  child and family situation.


Q: What is challenging behaviour?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.

Further Info:

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 require the psychologist to have completed extra and specific training).

Further Info:

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 problems when they arise. Sometimes therapists will give the parents themselves homework to help them to become more engaged in their child’s journey. This may also include being giving tasks to help them identify and respond appropriately to their child’s evolving needs.

Further Info:

Talk to your therapist, as it is important that the homework provided to you needs to fit in with what your child’s therapist is working on.


Q: What training have you completed?

Education and schooling

A: Psychologists 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 four-year undergraduate degree, followed by two-year post graduate study (i.e. a Master’s degree, Doctorate degree or supervised practice). In the UK, this usually includes a three-year undergraduate degree and then a three-year Doctorate degree.

Further Info for those interested in becoming a Clinical Psychologist:

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!




App Review: Why we love Theratrak!

TOPIC: Why we love Theratrak!

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!! 

8 Things we love about Theratrak:

  1. It’s instant. You can do it in session, take photos of the kids doing the exercise and it just happens right there and then. There is no extra work that has to happen behind the scenes or when you leave the session.
  2. Theratrak is individualised. Each child and their family has an individual program with photos of themselves – not of some image off google. Making treatment programs individualised is something we do really well at OTs and I am glad Laura hasn’t lost this in her app.
  3. It’s secure. It is a really safe and confidential app. The app is password protected and all the photos are not stored on your phone, only within the app. Parents can have a login in to view the program, as you do as a health professional.
  4. It works on your smart phone. It is portable and easy to use, so you don’t need to do any extra paperwork as it all can be done right there in the session.
  5. It’s made by one of us – not a tech giant trying to solve a problem they know nothing about. Laura has really through this out and has done a fantastic job to boot!
  6. It supports families that are  far away. Therapists can easily update the program so that families don’t need to travel into therapy every week.
  7. It allows you to add your own activities. There are a tonne of ‘tried and true’ OT activities, but it is really easy and simple to add your own activities! I have added 11 of mine this week and it is so fast and simple. This helps you to keep things fresh and for home programs not to get stale.
  8. Families have a really clear idea of when/how long for/ and what to do. All the feedback I have been getting from using this app in my practice has been positive – and if it hasn’t, I have fed this back to Laura and her team and she is able to add it to the list of things for the next update!!

Final Thoughts:

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.

Further Information:

You can find more about Laura and her team here.




GUEST POST: What is Occupational Therapy?

TOPIC:

“So…what is Occupational Therapy?”Occupational Therapy

WHAT:

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

  • wants to do (e.g. ride a bicycle)
  • needs to do, (e.g. eat, sleep, get dressed), or
  • has to do (e.g. go to work)

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 when 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 in the community, these include:

  • Self-care skills; toileting, washing, dressing, brushing teeth
  • Student skills: writing, attention in classroom, organization
  • Play skills: pretend play, playing video games, riding a bicycle, using musical instrument

…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!

HOW:

Occupational Therapists can support a child’s participation in an occupation in a few different ways. They can:

  • change or adapt something about the child as a person (e.g. teaching/developing a skill, like the steps to riding a bike, or tolerating a the noisy hairdryer at the shopping centre)
  • modify or change something about their environment (e.g. equipment to help them in the bathroom)
  • change the way they do the task (e.g. tie their shoelaces a different way)

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:

  • specific difficulties a child has, and challenges they are experiencing with their occupations as a result,
  • the specific approach used by the therapist themselves, and
  • the service the therapy is accessed through, such as public or private services.

Further information:

How do I find an OT?

 Australia

Occupational Therapy Australia

  • The best way to find out how an OT can help you and obtain a referral under Medicare, speak to your GP.
  • To find a private practice OT, use the private practice directory on the Occupational Therapy Australia website here.
  • To find an OT in your local area via the National Health Services Directory here:

United Kingdom

Royal College of Occupational Therapists here.

Finding an Occupational Therapist

  • Talk to your GP about contacting an occupational therapist locally, through the NHS.
  • Use the online directory on the Royal College of Occupational Therapists website or Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC), including independent therapists who work outside of the NHS.

Check out out Occupational Therapy Page here.




book

Book Review: Retro Toddler – Anne Zachry: Everything Retro Is Cool Again!!

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.book review

First Impressions:

    • One thing I enjoyed about this book was that it was clear and easy to read. The layout really lends itself to this; it does not feel like you are reading a textbook.
    • I love the alternating ‘he’ and ‘she’ throughout the book, which is something I would never have thought to do, but a great way to manage gender bias.
    • There is a clear vibe from the book about getting down on the floor and playing with your child – it doesn’t have to be expensive or have ‘all the bells and whistles’. There is a real focus throughout this book to get back to basics, which I love! Parents can be under so much pressure these days to ‘promote’ development, and this book is a lovely reminder for therapists and families alike that “promoting development” doesn’t have to be fancy or complicated.

Information Station:information station

    • There is some great information about childhood development and what to expect for each age group; something parents ask about a lot.
    • Anne explains brain development clearly and in a way that is easy to read for families and parents. This helps set the scene on why she focuses on different skill sets that children develop. Understanding brain development is helpful for families to understand why a toddler might be doing certain things at certain times.
    • I really enjoyed the chapter on play. It was well explained and talks about all things we know as therapists but often forget to communicate to our families. I will be marking this chapter and asking a few of my families to read over it. We often talk about ‘play being the child’s work’, and it is the way children learn and develop their skills.
    • Play is not just running around; it is the creating, making, enjoying, thinking, pretending, imagining, reading, building, playing with each other, drawing, and moving that children do with their time.
    • Anne explains play in much more detail, why it is important, how to do it, activities that are playful and work on specific skills and things that impact play.

Highlights:

    • My key highlight I took from this book was the clear reminder just to get on the floor and play with our children. It doesn’t have to be expensive or fancy, and in fact it is better (for them) when it is not!
    • I also loved the chapter about screen time – always a timely reminder. This is something we talk often about with the families we work with and to have the evidence written out so clearly is a massive help for families and therapists alike.
    • The information about how praise influences a growth mindset was eye opening and something I will be changing tomorrow in my next therapy session.
    • I also love the glossary at the end, as it is super handy and clear to refer back to as a non-therapist.

Lowlights:

  • It would have been great to have a few more pictures of the activities, if nothing more to reassure parents (and therapists!) that it these toys and creations do not need to be ‘pinterest’ perfect.

Where to get it:

  • Amazon; for about £15 or  $15

Closing Comments:

    • I loved this book, and it was a pleasure to review it for Anne; I can’t wait for her next book!
    • The important reminder about having fun, playing with your child, using what is around you was something I really connected with. 
    • We can get distracted with all these fancy toy, tablets and games, whereas, in reality, what our children actually need is us; playing with them, at home and in the community with what’s around us. I loved how Anne highlights everyday learning opportunities for parents.
    • The chapters relating to play and screen time were so well written and clear. This will be a key chapter I will be referring parents to immediately.

Rating:

  • 4.5/5 

Check out our website on play here! 




Guest Post! How to make a schedule for a child with Autism

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.

Schedules:

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.

Infographic:

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. 




Making it easy – How to build fine motor skills?

In Honor of RCOT 2018 and the focus on children and young people – we thought it would be the perfect time to touch base about fine motor skills!

How to Build Fine Motor Skills in Children

fine motor

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).

Ideas to help develop fine motor skills:

  • Drawing with chalk on the concrete
  • Using play-dough and cutting with cutter
  • Writing letters shaving foam or sand
  • Using Lego to build shapes and letters
  • Cutting out magazines pictures
  • Eating finger foods
  • Playing musical instruments together
  • Helping out with house hold jobs e.g. hanging out the washing, sweeping
  • Playing with toys that have buttons
  • Using the child’s interests to write about or colour in

What makes it easier?

  • Playing together with Mum and Dadresources
  • Using big crayons, brushes, markers or chalk ensures children use the right muscles for the activity and are less likely to adopt incorrect grasps
  • Use thick outlines for colouring sheets
  • Smaller pieces of paper to cut
  • Do lots of activities that involve using both hands together

Further Information:

Fine Motor Page 

Resources related to Fine Motor 




Parents: Looking After Yourself as a Parent

TOPIC:

Looking after yourself as a parent!

parents

WHY:

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!

WHO:

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:

  • Online Shopping – make use of the “lists” functions for your regular shops, and work the deals so you can get free delivery. We find as a family this really cuts out time otherwise travelling to and from and completing the grocery shop. It also helps us to be more organised with meal preparation.
  • Cleaners – if you are able to outsource this, its amazing! If not, thinking about ways you can blitz clean to create more time; we do the bathroom before or after a shower, ensure the dishwasher is emptied first thing in the morning so it can be loaded throughout the day and then put on, we use a hand held vacuum to do regular spot cleans. Some families we work with have robot vacuums – a great idea if that will work for your family and budgets!
  • Babysitters – Having a regular slot once a month or every 2 months with a babysitter that is familiar with your child and their needs is a great way to create time. We often encourage families to set this up (even if it is with family or friends); sometimes just knowing you have a night off is enough to get you through!
  • Respite and support services – depending on your child’s levels of need you may be eligible for various community supports as their carers. Make sure you are aware of what is available to you in your area (your health care professional will know about this or will know who to ask!)

KEY TIPS:

  • Easier said that done
  • Making or taking 10 mins every day just for you (even if it is taking a shower, finishing a cup of tea before it goes cold)
  • Outsource what you can, use that extra time for you (not for other life admin work!)
  • You need to be healthy (mentally and physically) to be the best parent for your child; this is true for every child and every parent.

parent

FURTHER INFORMATION

 

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 want me to use visuals at home?

TOPIC:visuals

Why do therapists what me to use visual and visuals*  at home??

*We mean visuals as pictures, photos or symbols of something or someone.

WHY:

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.

HOW:

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:

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.

KEY TIPS:

There is some time to set it up, but once set up they are fantastic!

Take a look at our page with loads of link to FREE visuals here!! Our link to social stories and what to do stories (which links so well to the use of visuals is found here)

 




Why are therapists family focused?

familiesTOPIC:

Why are therapists family focused? Why do we have to be involved?

WHAT:

Therapists talk about being “family centered” or “family focused” all the time. What does it mean? Why are therapists family focused?

 

WHY:

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).

 

HOW:

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:

Who can help?

GPs, teachers, child care staff, other parents, OTs, Speechies, Psychologists, community nurses.

KEY TIPS:

Love your child, play with them!

 




Why does therapy cost so much?

TOPIC:

Why does therapy cost so much?

WHAT:

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.

WHY:

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 up to 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:

How can I make therapy more affordable?

  • In Australia, there are various Medicare options that you may be eligible for including Primary Care Plans (5 visits per year per person), Mental Health Plans (up to 10 visits per person per year) as well as others.
  • Talk to your GP about what you may be eligible for, as well as what your local allied health provides, as some may bulk bill or their may be gap fees.
  • Talk to your private health insurance as some cover allied health therapy – depending on what is needed and how long for.
  • There is also a range of funding available including NDIS, HCWA and Better Start. Talk to you GP or Allied health professional for more information.

KEY TIPS:

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.

FURTHER INFO:

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.

NDIS Website

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?

TOPIC:

When to ask for help?help

WHAT:

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.

HOW:

  • Have regular contact with your GP or community nurse. They are often the first professionals families access and they have a good idea of what is ‘typical’ for children. Also if they know your child well they will also know what is ‘typical’ and ‘expected’ for your child.
  • Talk to other Mums and Dads and ask if they are/ are not having trouble with the areas you are. For example, lots of kids go through terrible twos and might not want to do things, however not all kids become inconsolable at the shops (everytime).
  • Talk to your child’s teacher or child care staff, as they are a great source of information and they are able to see your child in the context of their peers.
  • If you are worried it is better to ask for help. You know your child best.

WHY:

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:

Who can help?

GPs, teachers, child care staff, other parents, OTs, Speechies, Psychologists, community nurses.

KEY TIPS:

If you are worried, ask the network around you. See if they are noticing the same things you are.

FURTHER INFO:

Take a look at the Raising Children’s Network as they have great information about what is ‘expected’ at each age. You can also look at our Behaviour page for further information.

mental health