Occupational therapy is about helping children complete daily activities, foster independence and participate fully in their natural settings. If your child has difficulty playing, socialising or completing self-care tasks, they may benefit from seeing an occupational therapist.
Does your child have difficulties writing, playing, dressing or concentrating?
Let’s build foundational skills to help your child perform at their best.
Experience with complex needs, developmental delay or disability.
What is occupational therapy?
Occupational therapy can help children understand and work with their bodies so they can perform the basic life skills and tasks required at home and school. Building and strengthening foundation skills such as handwriting, cutting, tying shoelaces, self-care (dressing, feeding and toileting), concentration, attention, coordination, balance and movement allows your child to get the most they can from their learning environment.
Our therapists are experienced in working with children who have experienced trauma, complex needs, developmental delay or disability, including Autism.
Australia Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) supports 15 National Boards and is responsible for regulating health professions. The primary role is to protect the public and set standards and policies that all registered health practitioners must meet. All our Growing Early Minds occupational therapists are registered AHPRA practitioners.
How an occupational therapist can help
Occupational therapy is about enhancing your child’s skills so they can fully participate in everyday life. Every child is different, and the goals will depend on their individual needs. Some aims of occupational therapy involve working on:
- Fine motor – synchronisation of hands and fingers with the eyes for activities such as handwriting, colouring, cutting, holding cutlery and tying shoelaces.
- Gross motor – using large muscles and movement of the whole body that are needed for playground games, sports, balance, coordination, posture, strength and endurance.
- Sensory processing – involves the way children receive, interpret and behave to senses. Children can often be under or over-reactive to emotions, sound, movement, vision, taste, touch, smell and pressure.
- Visual perception and visual motor integration – processing visual information and matching that with the appropriate motor actions, e.g. completing a puzzle or copying handwriting.
- Self-awareness and body awareness– understanding where our bodies are in space and how our bodies move e.g. how close to stand next to someone or how far to reach for an object.
Signs my child may benefit
There are a number of signs which could indicate your child may benefit from occupational therapy. These include:
- Messy or poorly constructed handwriting
- Difficulties colouring, cutting, holding cutlery
- Becoming easily overwhelmed in situations
- Behavioural difficulties or concerns in environments
- Struggles copying from a blackboard or completing puzzles
- Problems with dressing, toileting, brushing teeth or other daily tasks
- Struggles with attention, concentration or following directions
- Difficulty with sitting at a desk or table, fidgeting or excessive movement
- Clumsiness, struggles to participate in playground games or sports
- Withdrawn from social situations and making friends
- Reduced confidence, anxiety or avoidance of activities
Occupational therapy for children covers a lot of areas. To gain a better understanding, read through some articles from our experts, Everything You Need to Know About Children’s Hand Preference, Joint Attention – What it is and Why it Matters, Sensory Processing Disorder – The Ultimate Guide.
What happens during a session
A comprehensive formal assessment is an important first step in understanding your child’s current ability, strengths, needs and goals. A formal assessment is usually required as supporting evidence for a diagnosis or funding application. We will determine what areas require assessing and provide a detailed written report about their developmental progress, strategies and early intervention recommendations. Not all children require a formal assessment, and instead, we can provide an informal assessment during a regular therapy appointment.
At our initial consultation, we will complete an informal assessment to determine your child’s current ability and set some individual goals. Our therapy sessions range from 30, 45 or 60 minute time blocks and during this time we will work on their goals using evidence-based methods.
A session may include fun, play-based games or activities aligned with your child’s interests, which helps to keep them motivated while they develop and practice their new skills. Our therapists work collaboratively with the family, which may include strategies to practice at home or school.
Locations – clinic, mobile and telehealth
Families have the option to visit our clinic in Blacktown (Western Sydney, NSW) or we can see children in their natural everyday environments such as at home, at their child care centre, school or playgroup. Our clinics are also designed to provide telehealth services to families that reside in remote, regional or interstate locations.
Whole school programs are also available. Speak to us to find out how we can work together.
Getting started and next steps
Making an appointment
If you feel therapy might be beneficial contact us today. You don’t need a referral from a GP or paediatrician, although this may help offset the cost of therapy. We will discuss with you the best pathway, fees and provide you with our referral form, along with any other important information we’ve discussed. Alternatively, you can download our referral form directly from our website here. After you complete and submit your referral form we will finalise a service agreement and contact you to discuss the signing and booking of your first consultation.
Fees and funding options
Costs can vary and depends on a number of factors including the time needed per session, the depth of an assessment, location and travel requirements. We’re registered NDIS and Medicare provider and some families may be eligible for financial support or funding packages to help offset the cost of therapy. Learn more about the different funding packages