Welcome to Winter!
Winter can be a magical time for everyone, filled with opportunities for fun and memorable experiences, both indoors and outside.
If you feel like staying inside, you could bake and decorate biscuits with winter themes. Your child can be creative with icing and sprinkles.
It might be fun to take advantage of a sunny day and put on gumboots and warm jackets for a nature day at Belair National Park, looking for animal footprints and exploring the different walking trails. You could visit a winter festival such as Glenelg Winter Arts Festival, or make a mug of hot chocolate together.
You might also like to look at some of the resources on our Parent Wellbeing and Burn Out page.
Another three months have passed since our last newsletter. There have been lots of changes around the House, including new paths around the house, new grass is sprouting, we have a new sensory walking path around our sandpit, Alyssa is now only working two half days a week (Thursday and Friday mornings), Isabela our Community Worker has now joined our team and we have had to close our intakes because we are still looking for more Occupational Therapists.
Thank you to all the families for being flexible with staff changes, illnesses etc. We work as a multidisciplinary team to ensure your child’s schedule is least disrupted because we know that routine and consistency are important for children to get the most out of their sessions.
We have so much coming up on our calendar!
July – Jacinta and Emily, final-year Speech Pathology students from UniSA, join us for an important co-therapy research project. Email with information about this project has sent out to families involved in co-therapy.
August – We have two final-year Occupational Therapy students from Charles Sturt University joining us. Pahul is coming back for another placement and will be joined by Phoebe! Again, as an innovative practice, we believe in training the future generation of therapists to work with children and families.
September – We have external audits this month which means we will have auditors on-site for up to three days from September 25th 2023. Christie is busy ensuring all of our Policies and Procedures are up to date. As a n NDIS Registered Provider, we are audited against the NDIS Practice Standards for Early Childhood Supports and Therapeutic Supports. We also audited under the Australian Service Excellence Standards. Families will be asked to participate in the audit by giving feedback to the auditors as to how well we are doing as a practice and what needs to change to make our practice even better for your children.
We know there is a lot on for families, and we are building a community to help you support your children’s development now and in the future.
Thank you all for being YOU! We are honoured and blessed to have you and your children as part of our community.
The NDIS have increased the age that children can continue receiving funding under an Early Intervention plan until they turn 9. From July 1, 2023, the NDIS follow the World Health Organisation’s definition of the age of a young child being from birth to age 8 years.
New NDIS Applicants who are 6 years or older will need a diagnosis to access Early Intervention funding.
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.
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!
We continue to require everyone aged 12 years and older who comes onto the My Therapy House® premises to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and following our infection control measures. This includes all staff, all contractors, all clients, siblings, parents, support workers and caregivers.
While we do not require COVID-19 vaccination for clients under 12, we continue to strongly recommend this, and some therapy may be restricted to vaccinated children only, most notably our dyad sessions where children from two or more families work together in groups.
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.
Around the House
We will be welcoming another OT Student from Charles Darwin University, Phoebe, in August. Phoebe will be with us for five weeks. Pahul will also be returning for a further placement and will work alongside Phoebe.
Research Project re the Benefits of Co-Therapy
We would like to introduce students, Emily and Jacinta, who are operating from My Therapy House to carry out research to complete their final year research project which is entitled the “Investigating the experience of Co-Therapy in Early Childhood Intervention”. We feel privileged they have chosen My Therapy House to carry out their research as we believe the more feedback we receive, the better services we can provide to our families.
The back garden is now ready. Andrew, our amazing landscaping guru, has created a wonderful design around our sandpit so we have a new sensory play area for everyone to enjoy. Thank you for your patience as we waited for wet weather and cement to dry, and well done to all the kids for listening and staying out of the work areas!
Making hot chocolate is a good opportunity to support your child’s ability to follow instructions and also help them to build vocabulary by modelling different types of words.
NOTE: If you are doing this activity with a young child, you can prepare most of the hot chocolate yourself and just have your child do a few steps to help you.
If you have an older child and your child is ready to do most of the activity by themself, let your child prepare the hot chocolate including measuring the ingredients, however, be around to assist if needed.
Following instructions, building vocabulary, and answering questions
- Either help your child follow the instructions for making hot chocolate on the package, or help your child work out and write or draw the steps. You can follow our instructions below.
- Before you start, review the recipe with your child and talk about the different steps (what you will do first, next, and last).
- You can ask your child simple questions about the recipe to make sure they understand what they are seeing and/or hearing.
- Follow the steps with your child or let your child do it themselves (depending on the age and skills of your child). Make sure you are labelling the objects and actions involved as your or your child follows the recipe.
You can read out each step to your child and ask them to follow the instructions.
If your child can follow 1-step instructions, an example would be: Put 2 tablespoons of chocolate powder in the mug.
If your child can follow 2-step instructions, an example would be: First put 2 tablespoons of chocolate powder in the mug, then add 2 tablespoons of hot water.
Here is a list of words you can model while making the hot chocolate with your child.
- Naming words: cup/mug, spoon, kettle, microwave, stove/gas, water, milk, chocolate powder, marshmallows
- Describing words: Soft (marshmallows), hot, sweet, yummy, delicious, tasty, warm, cold (winter), brown
- Action words: open, close, pour, stir, mix, scoop, press (button on the kettle), put in (for the microwave), push (buttons on the microwave), turn (knob on the stove), boil/heat/warm up, drop (marshmallows), drink
- Location words: in, out, on, at (drink at the table)
- Feeling words: Uh-oh! (if you drop or spill something), happy, excited, nervous, thirsty
- Social words: your turn, my turn, good idea!, try again
- Sequencing words: first, next, last
Ingredients (for 1 cup of hot chocolate)
- 2 tablespoons of chocolate powder
- 2 tablespoons of hot water (or more if you are using only water)
- 1 cup of milk
- Marshmallows (optional)
- Heat up some water in a kettle.
- Put the chocolate powder in a cup.
- Add the hot water to the chocolate powder that is in the cup and stir it to make sure there are no lumps.
- Pour milk into a cup and heat it up in the microwave or pour one cup milk into a utensil and heat it up on the stove. Make sure the milk is not too hot.
- Add the warm milk to the mixture in the cup and mix it well.
- Drop marshmallows into the hot chocolate and enjoy!
*Follow steps 1 to 3 if you are using only hot water.
While enjoying the hot chocolate drink with your child, you can use descriptive language to build your child’s vocabulary.
If you have a young child, you can describe the experience of drinking hot chocolate. If your child is a bit older, you can either talk with them about the hot chocolate or ask some simple questions based on their current communication skills.
Below are some examples of descriptive language. You can use them as a guide to provide information to your child or to ask your child some questions.
- Sight: How does the hot chocolate look? What colour is it? How does the spoon and cup look? What colours are they?
- Touch (temperature): How does your hot chocolate feel? What is the opposite of hot? Let’s find something that is cold.
- Taste: Tell your child how your hot chocolate tastes. Does yours taste sweet or sour? Does it taste yummy or yucky? Does it taste like chocolate?
- Smell: How does your hot chocolate smell? Does it smell as sweet as it tastes?
Occupational Therapy in This Activity
When making a hot chocolate the following things need to be considered to be able to support your child:
Sequencing: can your child follow 1-2 step instructions, or more complex sequences?
This ensures that the activity is at your child’s developmental level. For example, simple 1-2 step sequences could be:
- Have the hot chocolate powder and cup of warm milk or water ready to go
- Your child scoops the powder into the cup and stirs the drink.
If your child can follow more complex sequences, this could involve:
- You child finding the ingredients
- Getting them to work out the steps involved, and what order they go in
- Following the steps to make a drink of hot chocolate.
Fine Motor Skills: can your child: hold the spoon, manipulate the spoon to scoop the powder into the cup, and stir the hot chocolate?
- You could offer a different spoon with a wider handle, a smaller or larger spoon, your child’s favourite spoon.
Gross Motor Skills: can your child: reach the bench to help make the hot chocolate?
- Do they need a stool to be able to reach, or is it easier for them to sit down so they can coordinate their body to scoop, pour and stir?
Stability and Balance – can your child carry items without dropping them or tripping over? Will they bump into objects in the area where you are making the hot chocolate?
- Make sure there is a clear path to all the ingredients
- Support your child by carrying ingredients or utensils for them if they need help.
Visual Processing: is your pantry full with lots of different ingredients? Can your child find and reach what they need? Do they know what the ingredients and utensils look like?
- You could place the ingredients in a location where they are grouped together for your child to find.
- You could have the ingredients ready to go on the bench to make the hot chocolate in the order your child will need to use them.
Body Awareness (Temperature): can your child tell when they are hot or cold? Is your child unsafe near hot items or dangerous items?
- It is important that you make hot chocolate at a temperature that is safe for your child to drink.
- You could add cold water or milk to get the right temperature.
Patience: can your child wait for a few minutes?
- You might need to pre-heat the water or milk.
- You might need your child to keep stirring until the chocolate powder is mixed in.
Things to do in Winter
We Rock the Spectrum – Kid’s Gym
Located at Kilkenny, We Rock the Spectrum provides children with a fun and motivational environment to help them in the areas of strength, movement, sensory processing, communication, positive behaviour, social interactions, and self-care skills.
They are a Registered NDIS Provider, and participant NDIS funding can be used to cover Open Play sessions, We Rock Care sessions and therapy classes. Children can attend from 12 months and up.
Tree Climb – Kuitpo Forest
Exciting news for those who love the outdoors! Tree climb has opened up a brand new location in Kuitpo forest where there is a course for everyone. If you are 100 cm or taller, you can climb on the kid’s course which has multiple challenging obstacles to get through and finishes with a fun zipline. If your child is not quite tall enough, they also have a Harness-free Nets Experience for those who might not want to tackle the more adventurous courses. See their website for pricing information.
Illuminate is currently running in the Adelaide CBD with free and ticketed events to attend. The displays occur throughout the evening with many free light displays at their precincts on North Terrace, Rundle Street and Light Square. There are also some fantastic ticketed events, one of the most prominent that children enjoy is Light Creatures at Adelaide Zoo. It is an opportunity to explore the zoo at night and participate in many interactive experiences. This event is on from the 28th of June to the 30th of July 2023.
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.
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