Welcome to Summer!
The weather has been rather odd lately but as we get more into summer, the days are getting longer and the weather warmer. It is wonderful to be outside out enjoying time in the sunshine. Maybe families will play at the beach or a swimming pool. Splashing in a tub of water in the yard or running through a sprinkler is great fun.
Remember to apply sunscreen regularly, wear shady hats, and drink lots of water!
We would like to wish all our families a wonderful, safe festive season and a peaceful and happy new year, and we look forward to seeing everyone in 2023.
In this newsletter:
- Director’s Reflections
- Around the House
- Affect Autism
- Staff Changes
- Craft Idea – Playdough Ornaments
- Summer Activity
- Our E-Books
- My Therapy House – The Play House
- NDIS News
- Medicare Safety Net
- My Therapy House® Website
Wow! What a year it has been! Thanks to all our clients, families, and staff for persevering through yet another challenging year for us due to staff sicknesses.
Schedule changes now seem to be the norm, unfortunately, but we try to keep things as consistent as possible for the children and families we work with. We are very blessed and lucky to have such an amazing team that works from the same premises and can step in when needed.
This year we saw our beloved Jacinta leave to go back home to Malaysia. As one door closes, another opens, and we have been very lucky to have Maria and Nikita, our wonderful new speech pathologists, join us. We are also lucky to have found Brooke, who is now helping Christie as part of our reception team. Steph joined us briefly then, unfortunately, had to leave due to personal reasons. We may now need to look for another occupational therapist to help out the very busy Kerry, Judy, Georgina, and Alyssa. Charlotte, our versatile Therapy Assistant, completed her first year of a Bachelor in Speech Pathology at UNISA with flying colours!
This year we had leaks due to the rain and roof fixes. Georgina got her therapy dog, Callie, who is still learning things at home. We also worked in closer liaison with Psychologist, Dr Donna Kite, who is now teaming up with Dr Margaret Kyrkou to support families with their Autism Diagnosis journey.
We passed our NDIS Interim audit with flying colours earlier on in the year, which was fabulous! Christie put in a lot of hard work and long hours to make sure all of our paperwork reflected what we actually do.
The team did a wonderful job while I was away on holiday in the first half of the year and then recovering from shoulder surgery in the second half of the year. We are now open on Mondays in addition to Tuesdays through Fridays, which wasn’t the case last year.
Thanks again to all my wonderful, creative, committed, loyal, and passionate staff for all your hard work and for taking care of our beautiful clients and families.
I hope everyone has a relaxing summer break with the weather being a bit warmer than it currently is.
Please enjoy reading our summer newsletter.
While mandatory isolation restrictions around COVID-19 have been removed around Australia, and SA Health Guidelines allow for close contacts and people who have had COVID to return to community settings after 7 days of isolation, at My Therapy House® we still have a duty of care to provide as safe an environment as possible to all families, children, and staff.
As a private practice, we will be continuing with the following restrictions for the remainder of 2022 and will reassess the situation in February 2023. Thank you for continuing to respect our requirements.
COVID-19 and Close Contacts
If you or your child is a:
- Classroom Contact (Child): Do not attend My Therapy House® for 7 days from the last contact;
- Close Contact: Do not attend My Therapy House® for 7 days from the last contact;
If there are any positive cases of COVID-19 in your household do not attend My Therapy House® for 14 days from the date that the most recent person tests positive.
If you or your child have ANY of the following symptoms you must not attend sessions in person at My Therapy House®. Contact us to arrange an alternative service delivery method if your child is well enough.
- Sore throat;
- Runny nose;
- Fever or chill;
- Body ache;
- difficulty breathing;
- nausea and diarrhoea;
- headache or stomach ache.
We continue to require that everyone over the age of 5 has full COVID-19 vaccination. Please book your child’s vaccination as soon as possible after they turn 5.
Everyone over the age of 12 is required to wear a disposable face mask at all times while inside My Therapy House buildings. This includes staff, older clients (except in specific circumstances), and all parents and caregivers.
Thank you to everyone for being patient and understanding when we have to make changes to the schedule due to staff absence.
Around the House
Please continue providing us with feedback. We appreciate it all, positive and negative, as it helps us to continuously improve our practice. We try to change things where we can while bearing in mind that as a health/disability practice we have high standards and regulations that we need to meet and uphold. If you want to remain anonymous you can complete our feedback form instead.
Therapy During Isolation
If you need to cancel one or more sessions at My Therapy House®, instead of charging a cancellation fee we can:
- Arrange telehealth sessions during your child’s regular session time if they are well enough;
- Prepare resources for you such as visuals for routines or social stories to help your child understand what’s happening or for upcoming events;
- Record videos for you and your child to watch and play along with;
- Arrange a video or phone meeting with your child’s therapist to discuss strategies or concerns.
Please let an admin or your therapist know if you would like to take advantage of any of these alternatives, which are all billed at the same hourly rate as your child’s sessions.
We continue to require everyone aged 5 and older who comes onto the My Therapy House® premises to show that they have received 2 COVID-19 vaccination doses or that they are in the process of doing so. This is to ensure all clients and staff are protected as much as possible from catching, carrying, and spreading Covid-19. This includes all staff, contractors, clients, siblings, parents, support workers, and caregivers. We have immune-compromised children and adults who visit and work at the clinic who are vulnerable to catching Covid-19 and suffering from long Covid symptoms and other complications.
You can read our full COVID-19 Response for Face-to-Face Therapy on our website.
We will be following up with families who may not yet have shown us evidence of vaccination for adults and children.
We still ask everyone to phone reception on 8277 7002 before entering the premises. Because we have more staff and clients on-site during busy times, this is essential to minimise contact between families and possible cross-contamination. We have also replaced our phone system to better manage multiple calls. Thank you to all the families who have been phoning when they arrive!
Affect Autism is a fantastic site that empowers parents and therapists to apply the DIR Floortime model to daily life. You can read their latest email newsletter here. We encourage everyone to look at their latest blog, “The Process of Parenting our Neurodivergent Children”.
Staff Changes: Welcome, Brooke!
Brooke joined us at the start of October. She has worked in a number of busy administration environments and has been enjoying getting to know everyone.
Brooke is an integral part of the multidisciplinary team, working Monday to Thursday, and assists Christie with various admin tasks and projects, as well as being one of the friendly faces that will greet you when you come to My Therapy House®.
Craft Idea – Playdough Ornaments
Creating playdough decorations can be lots of fun for the whole family.
What you need:
- 2 cups plain flour (use gluten-free flour if necessary)
- 1 cup salt
- 1 cup water
Combine the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl.
Gradually add water while stirring and mixing to form a dough with a soft consistency.
Form the dough into a ball and knead for approximately 5-7 minutes, until the dough is smooth and firm. Additional water may be needed. Add a teaspoon of water at a time until the dough reaches the desired texture. If the dough is too sticky, add more flour by the teaspoon until it feels drier.
Roll out the dough and cut the shapes you would like using cookie cutters. Press patterns into your shapes.
Using a straw or toothpick, poke a hole for a ribbon or an ornament.
How long to bake salt dough
If you want to bake your salt dough crafts, place them on a foil-covered baking sheet in a oven at 250 C. The baking time will vary depending on the size and thickness of your decorations. Bake until the surface turns light golden brown. Turn each piece frequently so that it dries out evenly. If an area puffs up, poke a hole in it with a pin or toothpick to release the air.
Decorating your creations
Once your decorations have cooled, you might like to paint them in bright colours and sprinkle with glitter. Thread a ribbon through the hole and hang up for everyone to see!
Enjoying the Summer Days with Water Play
With the warmer weather hopefully on its way, that means trips to the beach, visits to the pool, washing the cars, fishing trips, the ideas are endless, water you waiting for?!
Water play is a great way to get into the swing of things and keep cool!
This play idea is easy to put together and provides a sensory play experience that is very engaging for children.
What you need:
- a container of water
- small toys/ objects to place in the water (e.g. sea creatures, toy cars, balls, figurines)
- a scoop/ net to fish out the toys (A spaghetti spoon would work too!)
- a towel
Occupational Therapy within this activity
In this water play activity, the children are developing and practicing their fine motor skills by using a tool to scoop out objects from the water. They are developing and strengthening the small hand muscles needed to engage in daily activities such as using a spoon.
A smaller scoop can be used for an added challenge – where increased balance and arm strength are needed to keep the scoop steady. Children can also take objects out of the water using their hands. This provides a sensory exploration opportunity for children while developing their grip.
The children are also working on their visual-spatial awareness/hand-eye coordination as they visually identify where the object is and then plan and sequence their movement to scoop it out. Children will also be working on their resilience and ability to remain in the activity as they may need multiple tries before being able to scoop up the desired objects.
Children can extend their play ideas and put different toys in the water. This can also turn into a pretend play opportunity where children can go fishing (using the sea creatures). Children can also listen and give out instructions within this water play. For example, by instructing siblings/ parents which objects to pick up and to take turns doing so.
Speech Pathology within this activity
This activity provides children with opportunities to act out real-life experiences related to water. For example, the sea creatures are swimming in the ocean, the cars need a wash, the figurines are swimming at the pool, etc). During the activity parents can extend their child’s language and understanding by practising listening and cueing into another, verbal communication skills, extending their child’s vocabulary, and practising non-verbal skills (body language, gestures, smiles, nodding and facial expressions, including emotions).
This is also an experience that provides opportunities for social skills to be practised such as sharing, turn-taking, negotiation skills and problem-solving. These skills may be developed and practised with another play partner (the parent, a sibling, a friend, another family member or a support worker).
Water play is a great opportunity to teach language using lots of different types of words. When we are being a good role model for language learners, we want to make sure we are modelling a variety of types of words. Some ideas of words to use when doing water play:
Naming words: water, towel, ball, scoop/net, car, fish (or the other toys you are using for water play)
Describing words: wet, dry, hot, cold, squishy, hard
Doing words: Play, wait, scoop, washing, drying, jumping, splashing, swimming
Location words: Up, down, side, back, in, out, next to
Feeling words: Whoops! Uh-oh! Ahhhh! Happy, sad
Social words: Your turn, my turn, good idea!, try again!
Matching the language you are using, in the moment, to what the child is engaged and interested in is the best way to be a good language role model!
Water play alternatives:
Want to get creative at home? You can extend ideas around water play with lots of different everyday objects you have around the house. Some examples include:
- A sponge and dish soap to create a ‘carwash’ for toy cars
- Using lego or blocks to build slides and diving platforms for figurines to use at the swimming pool
- Washing toy fruits & vegetables within pretend play
- Toy animals (e.g. having a bath/swim/drink)
My Therapy House® has published a series of 12 e-books about animals performing different actions to help children learn language concepts through music and play.
When you buy any of the eBooks you can then access the free video corresponding to the particular book which has animal puppets performing the actions with the music and song. These videos have been very popular for modelling the actions and songs for children who learn best through video footage and music.
You can purchase these books through the links here: https://mytherapyhouse.com.au/books/
My Therapy House – The Play House
Acclaimed Australian author, Phil Cummings, has written a special book for us, beautifully illustrated by Egle Gudonyte, that we hope will help families and children when they come to My Therapy House®. You can read the book on our website, https://mytherapyhouse.com.au/the-play-house/, and download a copy to print at home.
If you use a Plan Manager to look after NDIS invoice payments then you need to ensure that you stay on top of communication with them – when NDIS Plans reach their review date, some plans are extended, and others are rolled over onto a new plan with new dates. Your Plan Manager may not be able to process our invoices if you have not authorised them to do so after a plan change. You must also notify My Therapy House® of new NDIS Plan dates after any plan changes.
You can keep up with any changes to NDIS Plans by logging in to the My Place portal.
Medicare Safety Net
If you need to see a doctor or Medicare provider regularly the Medicare Safety Net could help you reduce out-of-pocket costs.
When you spend more than a certain amount, out-of-pocket (after any Medicare rebate has been reimbursed), on medical expenses in a calendar year you will get a higher rebate. You can also register as a family to combine your Safety Nets. Safety Nets are calculated from January 1st to December 31st each year.
Using the Express Plus Medicare app can make it easier to keep track of your Safety Net Threshold. It also allows you to store a digital copy of your Medicare Card, make claims if a provider’s EFTPOS machine is offline, and access immunisation history for yourself and your children under 14.
To use the app you will need your MyGov login details and your Medicare Card number and expiry date.
We now have a page on our website dedicated to family resources, where you can find videos and further reading about many aspects of the services we provide. If you have any ideas for different sorts of things we could include please let us know!
We post general NDIS information, news, and interesting articles on Facebook. This is a great way to get the bigger picture, and we’d love you to like our page to see what we share.
All the best from the My Therapy House® Team