What is Kids Therapy?
Flex Out Kids Therapy provides a specialised paediatric physiotherapy and occupational therapy services for babies, children and adolescents.
Paediatric physiotherapists treat a variety of conditions including musculoskeletal, post surgical and neurological for children from birth to 18-years. They aim to create a treatment approach that is not only fun, challenging and motivating for your child, but that is also individually tailored to fit with your family’s lifestyle and goals. Paediatric physiotherapists use treatment methods such as play, movement training, strengthening, stretching, motor learning and education.
Paediatric occupational therapy
Occupational therapy (OT) is targeted therapy (skill development, problem solving) support to help children, young people and adults participate in everyday activities such as play, self-care, activities of productivity (housework) and social experiences. OTs also work with family members, carers, and education staff to encourage building of skills and participation.
When should your child see a paediatric specialist?
Your child should see a paediatric physiotherapist if they:
- Have chronic headaches, growing pain, Severs disease or Osgood-schlatters syndrome
- Have an accident, injury (sports injuries, fracture, back pain), surgery or major health event
- Are not tolerating tummy time
- Were born prematurely
- Have a flat spot on his/her head and are looking to one side only
- Have a delay in achieving milestones
- Not sitting by nine-months
- Not standing by 12-months
- Not walking by 18-months
- Have an unusual walk/toe walking
- Are clumsy with running, jumping and ball skills
- Have a neurological condition such as cerebral palsy and acquired brain injury
- Have any other physical concerns about your child
Paediatric occupational therapy
An occupational therapists role is diverse and varied. Some examples include:
- Play and social development – sensory play, pretend play, turn
taking, cooperative play with other children.
- Child and family therapy for enhancing and building attachment and joyful engagement.
- Learning independent living skills – across all ages and stages, we need to learn skills that build our autonomy, such as toileting, tying shoelaces,
dressing, eating (fussy eaters), bathing/showering; and doing house chores and banking.
- Sensory processing – Understanding our individual sensory experience can help children, young people and adults use their areas of strength and manage stressful situations.
- Development of self-regulation skills, understanding emotions and how to recognise them; and support to manage behaviour(s) that cause concern (Positive Behaviour Support).
- Motor skills such as fine motor skill development (writing, drawing, cutting), gross motor development (climbing, riding a bike, access to playground equipment)
- Thinking skills such as listening and following instructions,
concentration, organising their school belongings, etc.
- Skills that will enhance participation in leisure/sport activities.
- Assessment and prescription of aids and equipment, such as wheelchairs, home modifications, and vehicle modifications.
Payment options and subsidies
Paediatric physiotherapists and OTs are recognised by most private health insurers, so rebates are applicable.
Under the Chronic Disease Management Program, Medicare rebates are available for clients with chronic and complex care needs on referral from their doctor. Additional rebates may also be applicable for those identifying as Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander.
Better Start for Children with Disability:
This initiative provides funding for early intervention services. Call 1800 242 636 to learn more or register your child.
National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS):
The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is the new way of providing support for people with disability, their families and carers in Australia. Visit www.ndis.gov.au for more information.
If your child has been injured as a result of a motor vehicle accident there may be funding available. Speak to your GP to check eligibility.
Frequently asked questions
Do I need a doctor’s referral?
In Australia, physiotherapists and OTs are first contact practitioners, so a referral is not required to attend for treatment. There are however, a few exceptions (motor vehicle third party claims and Medicare claims) where you will need to see your doctor prior to attending.
Why is playing so important?
Play is the primary occupation of childhood, so while your child will be spending as much time as they can engaged in different types of play activities, they are busy developing essential physical, sensory, social and cognitive (i.e. thinking) skills that lay the foundations for success in later life.
How will an OT evaluate a child with autism spectrum disorder (ASD)?
Occupational therapists use both formal and informal methods to evaluate children with an ASD. Assessments are helpful for families as the OT can gather a very good idea about parts of the day that are an issue for the child and family, or identify the times of day and the activities that cause difficulty and disruptions for the child and family. Evaluation assists parents and professionals to implement strategies that will help the child to develop skills and follow family routines. Formal and informal evaluations used by an OT will help to identify the causes of current issues preventing the child from participating in play, self care, mobility and social situations. Observation or evaluation tools may be used to identify issues that contribute to a child’s difficulty as well as their learning. OTs are specifically skilled at evaluating a child’s strengths and difficulties in motor, sensory, cognitive and behavioural areas of development.
What do OTs mean by ‘daily occupation’?
Occupational therapists view people in terms of what they want and need to do on a daily basis. Children aged 0-6 are engaged in a range of daily occupations as they develop, engage in family life and become unique individuals. With the assistance of family members, young children learn to care for themselves (eating, drinking toileting etc.), explore the world around them and develop a sense of who they are. Some examples of childhood occupations include self care (eating, toileting, bathing, and safe travel), indoor and outdoor play, community/social activities, and preschool
or school occupations. Occupational therapists frame a child’s participation in the occupations or activities that make up their daily routine as an interaction between the person (or child) the environment and the occupation. The fit between the child’s skills, needs and interests, influenced by the physical and human environment, will influence how the child engages and participates in the occupations or activities available to the child. Therefore, OTs seek to help the person learn skills, change, modify or enhance aspects of the occupation or environment to facilitate the best fit for the person and the most successful outcome for the child.
How do OTs use play in their work with children?
Occupational therapists are activity based interventionists who commonly use play during therapy time. Participation in play is impacted by ASD in numerous ways. OTs work to facilitate and expand a child’s repertoire of play skills and interests. Often, parents describe the need to occupy and pacify their child with ASD in the home, more than is required for a typically developing child. Children with ASD need more supervision for their own safety as well. Therefore independent play can assist family members to function within the home and create a more contended and safe home
routine for everyone. A young child’s play choices and abilities are impacted by ASD in some key ways that OTs address specifically in the way they work with children and families. One common example is sensory issues, including what the child avoids or prefers. Other key aspects that influence play include: cognitive inflexibility that results in repetitive, ritualistic play routines, lack of problem solving and social skills; lack of imagination that restricts pretend or symbolic play and more functional or constructional play; and motor deficits such as motor planning and coordination difficulties that impact the quality of movements in gross motor play and precision in fine motor play. OTs will also address social interaction difficulties and delayed communication and the impact on play, including friendships during play, lack of sophistication in play routines; tendency to play alone; limited experience with social play, sharing, give and take and conversations. Because every child is different, occupational therapists look at key areas of development where the child may benefit from extra help.
What do OTs do for young children with ASD?
Occupational therapy for children with ASDisorders is determined by the child’s needs, skills and talents and the family goals. Following the Australian
Recommendations for Early Intervention with Children with ASD, the focus of OT services are:
- Teaching joint attention skills, play and imitation skills;
- Building functional communication skills (both oral language and AAC
including picture systems and signs);
- Teaching social interaction skills;
- Developing daily living skills;
- Management of sensory issues;
- Generalisation of skills; and
- Management of challenging behaviour.
OTs assist children with ASDs to build on strengths and reduce difficulties in day-to-day activities. Because ASDs are different for every child, occupational therapists look at key areas of development where the child may benefit from extra help. Some examples include:
- OTs may develop strategies and ideas in partnership with the family to enable the child to develop his/her play skills and other daily occupations.
- Collaborating with other professionals who have an important role in assisting children to develop skills, such as speech pathologists, special educators or early childhood educators.
- Parent support and education – particularly around transitional issues that occur during the 0-6 yr age range, such as, understanding and adjusting to a diagnosis; planning for kinder and school transitions; and understanding about other services and resources that are available to children and families.
- Consultation – liaison/collaboration with kinder/childcare/school
staff/preschool field officers and other community organisations.
Is there a cancellation policy?
At Flex Out Physiotherapy we understand people get busy and from time to time, emergencies come up and things change. If you cannot keep your appointment, please call us as soon as possible so we can reschedule your appointment. We require a minimum of eight-hours notice prior to your appointment so we can have time to offer your appointment to someone else.
Are Flex Out Physiotherapy preferred providers to any private health funds?
Yes. Flex Out Physiotherapy are a preferred provider for both Medibank and BUPA which provides members with additional discounts and maximum rebates on services.
Is there funding available for physiotherapy services?
In some instances, there is Medicare or other funded services available. Speak with your doctor to see if your child might be eligible.
If my child has seen a physiotherapist or OT elsewhere can he/she still be referred?
Yes, however if it is through a compensable body they will need to notified and approve the Flex Out as the new service provider.
Is there a waiting list to access the paediatric physiotherapist or OT?
No, there is currently no waiting list for kids therapy.
Who do I speak with if I have a question relating to whether or not my child’s physiotherapy or OT needs can be met?
You can speak with any of our helpful administration staff and they will put you in touch with the relevant paediatric therapist for a chat.
Do you provide home/school visits?
Yes home and school visits are available.