It’s t-shirt weather! Time to go outside and blow away the winter cobwebs with plenty of running, climbing, digging, splashing and playing.
The school holidays allow us all to take a break from our busy schedules and spend time with the people we love.
We have included not just one, but THREE simple, fun activities in this newsletter for you and your children to do at home.
You might find a surprise hidden in a cave when you go on a bear hunt!
It’s already the Summer issue of our newsletter! This year has flown by. I would like to thank all families and staff for participating in our NDIS and ASES Audit – the great news is that we passed with flying colours and the auditors were impressed with what we have created here at My Therapy House – a Sanctuary for Children and Families.
Unfortunately, we didn’t win the Allied health paediatric team award – this was won by a clinic in Queensland, however coming in the top five finalists around Australia is no small feat! We are very proud of what we have achieved.
Thank you to the families for completing our October Survey and for welcoming students into your child’s sessions. Only by sharing our knowledge and skills with students will there be more understanding therapists in the future.
Again, thank you for all your support and feedback in 2023. We view My Therapy House as a community and without your feedback and openness we would not be the great place we are today for children and families.
Welcome to Rose
We are pleased to welcome Rose Kollias to our team. Rose is a Play Therapist and expands our Development Through Play service availability to Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays (from January 2024).
Some families have already met Rose, and she is looking forward to getting to know many more.
You can read Rose’s profile on our website: https://mytherapyhouse.com.au/rose-kollias/
Pahul will be joining our practice as an Occupational Therapist on the 29th of January 2024.
Nikita on Leave
Nikita will be taking leave from 7th December to visit her family in India. Your child’s sessions with Nikita will be covered by our other therapists until we close for Christmas on 20th December.
Extra School Holiday Sessions
Dana and Rose will be offering extra sessions before the whole team comes back. Sessions are still available on Monday, January 8th and Tuesday, January 9th.
Alyssa will be leaving the practice as an employee at the end of the year but will continue to work as a contractor to supervise our OTs and work with families as needed.
Dana will no longer have her own caseload but will be available to work with parents to support their growth and development on an as-needed basis. This will be available to My Therapy House parents and parents who are not clients of My Therapy House.
Dana and Alyssa are hoping to develop online training packages and groups for parents in the future.
During September we completed our NDIS Registration Audit and ASES Service Excellence Certificate audit, and are proud to announce that we are compliant with both standards in every aspect of our operations and service provision. The auditors have recommended that we receive a Best Practice rating for our approach to the “wellbeing of the child, family and staff”.
Families are at the centre of everything we do, and we continually improve our service provision based on your feedback.
October Survey Results
Thank you to the families who shared their feedback with us during our Client Satisfaction Survey in October 2023. Your feedback helps to shape how we provide our services, and we appreciate every response!
You can read our summary of the results on our blog, and find out about some of the changes we are making as a result of your feedback.
Infection Control Update
Face masks are not compulsory at My Therapy House right now, although we may ask you to wear one in certain circumstances. We continue to ask all families to complete a health declaration before attending sessions, and to phone reception on 8277 7002 on arrival.
Please do not visit the clinic if you have flu-like or cold-like symptoms. These include runny nose, sore throat, coughing, sneezing, difficulty breathing, headache, stomach ache, nausea or diarrhoea. Call the clinic if you are unsure if you or your children are well enough to attend.
We’re Going on a Bear Hunt!
We’re Going on a Bear Hunt is a wonderful book by Michael Rosen that you can borrow from your local library. It would also make a thoughtful gift for your child. There are many different editions available including bi-lingual versions in many languages, pop-ups, and board books. You can find a copy in your nearest bookshop or online.
Reading the book out loud is lots of fun when you use exaggerated actions, vary the volume and pitch of your voice, and build excitement and anticipation.
Phoebe (Speech Pathology Student) and Paula (Occupational Therapy Student) are excited to share an engaging and fun-filled bear hunt that children have been enjoying during their sessions. This is a great way to have fun and also an excellent opportunity for learning and development.
Occupational Therapy in this activity
Reading a pop-up version of We’re Going on a Bear Hunt is a great way to engage and maintain interest throughout a story with a tactile aspect by seeing how the tabs move the parts on the page.
As you head off on your bear hunt adventure, binoculars can spark curiosity and promote observation skills. You can easily make these with two cardboard paper rolls that can be decorated and stuck together. (problem-solving: thinking of what to use to stick the two rolls together; fine motor skills: finger strength to hold drawing materials, turning the rolls to decorate further).
Enhance your bear hunt with an obstacle course that includes various challenges, such as:
- Walking through Tall Grass (Swishy Swashy): We used a slide with some green leaves to depict the grass. At home you could use garden prunings. (gross motor skills, strength and coordination: Crawling up the slide while making the “swishy swashy” sound)
- Wading across a River (Splash Splosh): A blue blanket or sheet makes a great river to “wade” along. (balance, coordination: follow the blue wavy line)
- Squishing through the mud (sqelch squerch): We used wobble cushions under a brown blanket. At home you could use any small cushions or pillows to provide a different surface to walk on. (sensory play, balance: experience different textures)
- A big, dark forest (Stumble trip! Stumble trip!): Our forest is a Hula Hoop hung with paper strips. This encourages children to practice fine motor skills as they push aside the crepe paper curtain.
- Uh oh, Snow! (Hooo wooo! Hooo wooo!): Holding up a sheer white curtain allows children to walk through a “snowstorm”, swishing the “snow” around them. This gives them a multi-sensory experience that engages their sight, touch, and proprioception (body awareness). It provides visual stimulation, as children can see through the curtain. The visual aspect adds an element of imagination. Feeling the curtain against their bodies, children can experience different textures and sensations. The curtain’s touch provides a tactile stimulation that helps children connect with their environment. Moving through the “snowstorm” allows children to become more aware of their bodies and how they interact with the space around them. It promotes proprioception, which is essential for understanding one’s physical self.
- It’s a cave! (Tiptoe! Tiptoe! Tiptoe!): Children crawl through a tunnel or tent made by draping a blanket over a couple of chairs or a table, developing their spatial awareness.
- “One shiny wet nose! Two big furry ears! Two big googly eyes!” Place a favourite teddy at the end of the tunnel, ready to chase your child back home to bed for a cuddle.
Maintaining Attention and Engagement: The bear hunt involves storytelling as children follow through with the pretend bear hunt, keeping them engaged, active, and excited throughout the adventure.
Repetition and Participation: The rhyme’s repetitive nature encourages your child’s active participation. Repeated actions make it easy for children to join in and feel confident in their involvement.
Problem-Solving:Throughout the adventure, children face various obstacles that encourage creative thinking and problem-solving skills. For example, they might suggest strategies like crawling through tall grass, wading through the river, or tiptoeing through the forest. These activities help children develop their ability to find solutions and think critically.
Speech Pathology in this Activity
During this activity, you can enhance your child’s language skills by actively listening, prompting verbal communication, expanding vocabulary, and encouraging the use of non-verbal cues, such as body language, gestures, smiles, nods, and expressive facial expressions that convey different emotions.
The obstacle course provides an exciting way to introduce various types of words. As your child’s language role model, when you use diverse vocabulary you are demonstrating for your child how words can be used. There are so many different components to the bear hunt! Here are some word suggestions to use:
- Naming words: Grass, river, mud, forest, snow, cave, bear.
- Describing words: Tall, cold, deep, squelchy, stinky, dark, fast.
- Doing words: Run, crawl, jump, tiptoe, balance, climb, swim.
- Location words: Through, under, over, through, inside.
- Feeling words: Scared, excited, whoops! Uh-oh! Yay! Oh no!
- Social words: Your turn, my turn, great job! let’s try again!
This vocabulary can be combined together during the activity. For example, “swim quickly through the cold river”, “crawl in the dark cave” and “the tall forest is scary”.
This activity presents opportunities to practice essential social skills, including sharing, taking turns, negotiating, and problem-solving. These skills can be cultivated through interactions with another person:– you, another family member, a friend, or even a favourite toy.
Encourage your child to rearrange the different elements as they progress through the activity. You can provide them with the chance to create their own unique story or try to remember the original order to develop their sequencing skills.
Following instructions can also be practised. Ask your child to act out elements of the story in a particular order, such as ‘swim through the river before you go into the forest’. This practice will help them develop a better understanding of the importance of following a sequence of steps, thus improving their cognitive and story-telling abilities.
Fun with Food: Froot Loop Flowers
Materials and Instructions
You will need:
- Cereal shapes (for example: Froot Loops, Cheerios)
- A piece of paper
- A green marker
What to do:
- Use a green marker to draw a stem and leaves.
- Glue a button to the top of the stem.
- When the glue is dry, use cereal shapes to make flower petals.
Speech Pathology in this Activity
Following instructions: You can provide your child with the steps needed to complete this activity.
For example if the first thing you need to do is draw the stem, you can provide this to your child in:
- One step instruction: Draw a green line from the middle to the bottom of the page
- Two step instruction: Draw a green line from the middle to the bottom of the page and add 2 leaves to the sides.
Build Vocabulary: 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!
Here are some examples of different kinds of words you can use:
- Naming words: fruit loops, paper, buttons, crayons,
- Describing words: round, circle, colourful, bright
- Doing words: stick, draw, colour, push, wait
- Location words: Up, down, side, back, forward, middle
- Feeling words: Whoops! Uh-oh!, happy, sad
- Social words: I like that!, your turn, good idea!, try again!
Occupational Therapy in this Activity
🎨This art activity is a simple activity for strengthening connections with children by combining food and drawing. Beyond the creative fun, these activities are carefully designed to address a range of essential occupational therapy aspects. 🖌️
Let’s explore how:
Fine Motor Skills: ✏️Drawing and gluing helps improve these skills, which are vital for tasks like handwriting, using utensils, and dressing.
Visual-Motor Integration: 👀Drawing and gluing rely on the coordination between visual perception and fine motor skills. Practicing these skills helps to process visual information effectively.
Sensory Processing: 🖐️Exploring various textures, colors, and materials in art activities stimulates sensory processing.
Bilateral Coordination: 👐Efficiently using both hands is key for drawing, cutting, and gluing. This is essential for tasks like using scissors and tying shoelaces.
Hand-Eye Coordination: 👁️🤚Coordinating hand movements with visual input is vital for catching a ball or threading a needle.
Cognitive Skills: 🧠Art activities boost cognitive skills like creativity, problem-solving, and planning, which enhances cognitive functioning – understanding how we go about our daily lives.
Emotional Regulation: 😊Art provides an outlet for emotional expression and regulation and helps children learn how to manage emotions, reducing stress and anxiety through creative expression.
Social Skills: 🤝Art activities can build social interaction and cooperation, improving social skills, such as communication and sharing.
Healthy Relationships with Food: 😋Food comes in a wide range of textures, temperatures, tastes, and smells. Exploring these sensory aspects of food can be enjoyable and engaging, helping children become more comfortable with different sensations. Trying new and exciting foods can be an adventure that sparks interest and curiosity. For children who have food difficulties, these activities can help establish a positive relationship with food, promoting better nutrition and overall well-being.
Create a Garden Collage
- Construction paper or cardboard for the base
- Markers or crayons
- Assorted craft materials such as tissue paper, cotton balls, pipe cleaners, and stickers
- Pictures of various garden elements like flowers, butterflies, bees, etc.
What to do
- Introduce the concept of the garden and the elements associated with it, such as flowers, insects, and gardening.
- Encourage your child to express their thoughts, ideas, and preferences related to the garden.
- Provide a variety of craft materials and encourage your child to create a garden collage on paper. They can draw and cut out their favourite elements or use the provided pictures.
- Encourage them to describe their choices, explain why they picked specific elements, and talk about their placement on the paper.
- Prompt discussions about colours, textures, shapes, and sizes of the various materials being used.
- Use open-ended questions to stimulate conversation and language development, such as “What do you like most about the garden?” or “Can you tell me about the butterfly you added to your garden?”
Speech Pathology in This Activity
This activity can promote your child’s expressive language skills and vocabulary development.
- Naming Words: Use various garden-related items and elements to help children build their vocabulary and identify different objects related to their garden collage. Some examples include flowers, butterflies, bees, ladybugs, grass, and sunshine.
- Describing Words: Encourage your child to use descriptive words that relate to the elements of a garden, such as colourful flowers, buzzing bees, fluttering butterflies, green grass, and warm sunshine.
- Doing Words: Prompt your child to engage in various actions related to creating their garden collage, such as sticking flowers onto the paper, drawing butterflies, colouring the sun, pushing the buttons onto the cardboard, and waiting for the glue to dry.
- Location Words: Encourage your child to place the various elements of their garden collage in different positions, such as putting the flowers up at the top, placing the butterflies down at the bottom, arranging the grass on the sides, positioning the sun at the back, and placing the bees in the middle.
- Feeling Words: Use feeling words to discuss how your child feels about their garden collage, such as feeling happy while creating it, feeling excited about the colours, feeling proud of their work, or feeling accomplished once they finish.
- Social Words: Encourage your child to interact with each other and express their thoughts and ideas about each other’s garden collages, using phrases like “I like the colours” “Your garden is beautiful,” “Good job with the butterflies,” or “Let’s work together on this part”
Occupational Therapy in This Activity
Creating a collage from an occupational therapy (OT) perspective incorporates various aspects that can be used in other parts of life! Let’s explore how:
Fine Motor Skills: ✂️ Cutting, tearing, and manipulating paper and other collage materials require precise fine motor control. During OT, we focus on enhancing these skills, which are essential for tasks like handwriting and self-care activities, so you now can too!.
Bilateral Coordination: 🙌 Using both hands together efficiently is vital for tasks involving collage-making. OT can work on improving bilateral coordination, which is essential for daily activities such as tying shoelaces or using scissors.
Visual Perception: 👀Collage activities engage visual perception skills. This is done through selecting materials, arrange them aesthetically, and recognise spatial relationships. OT can target visual perceptual deficits and enhance a client’s ability to process visual information.
Creativity and Self-Expression:🎨Collage-making is a creative process that allows individuals to express themselves and their feelings. Occupational therapy can encourage self-expression and emotional well-being through artistic activities.
Sensory Processing: 🖐️Exploring different textures, colours, and materials in collage-making engages sensory processing. In OT, we help individuals with sensory sensitivities or challenges to regulate their sensory responses and comfortably participate in these activities.
Cognitive Skills: 🧠Collage-making can enhance cognitive skills, including problem-solving, planning, organisation, and attention to detail. OT can incorporate these aspects to improve cognitive functioning.
Emotional Regulation:🙂Engaging in artistic activities like collage-making can provide a means for emotional expression and regulation. OT can use these activities to help individuals manage their emotions, reduce stress, and improve emotional well-being.
Social Skills:🤝This activity can be done with siblings or friends. Group collage activities provide opportunities for social interaction, cooperation, and communication.
Weaving these Occupational Therapy and Speech Pathology concepts through art activities gives children the opportunity to develop and refine skills essential for daily life and overall well-being. We’re excited to see our clients flourish creatively and functionally! 💪🌟
🌈🎉Stay tuned for more creative adventures!
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.
About Plan Managers
One way to manage funding and payments is to have a Plan Manager do it for you. The cost for this is added to your NDIS Plan as an extra amount specifically designated for this purpose so it does not use up your child’s therapeutic or core budget. Different Plan Managers provide different levels of service and ways for you to check your budget so it’s important to pick one that suits your needs. You can change Plan Managers at any time during the NDIS Plan, as long as you let them know beforehand, and you have complete control over which Plan Manager you choose.
When our families use a Plan Manager we send their invoices to the Plan Manager directly for payment, which means families are not out of pocket while they wait for NDIS to reimburse funds.
Using a Plan Manager means you can access both unregistered and registered Providers (My Therapy House is a registered Provider) who cannot charge you above the NDIS capped rate for the service type.
We have created a downloadable table of some of the plan managers our families use, and the various features they offer. We can’t advise families which Plan Manager is best as everyone’s needs are different and Plan Managers are continually updating their services. We do recommend contacting any Plan Manager directly to find out what services are offered and how they can specifically help you.
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. You should notify your Plan Manager whenever there are changes to your NDIS Plan, whether that is an extension, a rolled-over plan, or a completely new plan. If your Plan Manager does not have your current plan information they may not be able to pay our invoices, meaning you will then be responsible for paying these from your own money. You must also notify My Therapy House of new NDIS Plan dates after any plan changes.
You can keep up with any changes to your 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.
My Therapy House on Social Media
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
My Therapy House is a Registered Trademark