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Child and Adolescent Health

Child and Adolescent Physiotherapy

Children’s physiotherapy is a delicate balance. It needs to at once minimise presenting pain or discomfort and dysfunction, and correct any issues that may incrementally worsen – without ‘overtreating’ issues that would resolve naturally or interfering with the body’s natural growth and healing processes. Based on the knowledge of musculoskeletal conditions related to rapid growth and development – from gross and fine motor control dysfunction to gait issues – physiotherapists working with children and adolescents also require in-depth awareness of the fragile nature of partially-formed bones and muscles. A children’s or adolescent physiotherapist bases each client’s treatment and management plan on a comprehensive history as well as current function, to accurately predict the best response to intervention over time. To ensure treatment compliance, children’s physiotherapists place special emphasis on formulating realistic, simple, fun treatment plans as well as on showing parents and carers how to supervise exercises and manage habits at home.

  • NDIS child participants suffering injury or disability
  • Children suffering musculoskeletal pain or discomfort limiting movement
  • Children with growth delays or asymmetries affecting function (e.g. balance)
  • Children with gross or fine motor control issues or deficits
  • Children with gait issues
  • Children with musculoskeletal injuries
  • Children with developmental delays
  • Assessment of musculoskeletal health history and status
  • Provision of intensive in-room services as required
  • Formulation of realistic and fun treatment and management plan and exercises including education of child and parents in implementation

Child and Adolescent Psychology

The science of neuroplasticity tells us that the brain is constantly changing in response to its environment. Nowhere is this malleability more pronounced than in children and adolescents, whose minds are in their formative stages. While this psychological incompleteness coupled with lack of life experience and rapidly changing hormones can make young people particularly vulnerable to stressors at home and at school (not to mention on social media), it also makes children and adolescents excellent candidates for psychological talk therapy. Their ongoing mental development means they are highly amenable to corrective interventions that may prevent unhelpful patterns of thought, emotion or behaviour – whether they’re causing interpersonal friction or personal distress – from becoming permanent. Psychological counselling can also help teach young people to identify and self-regulate powerful emotions rather than acting them out or becoming overwhelmed. For parents and carers, a psychologist may help to make sense of behaviours stemming from emotional issues or mental health conditions, and serve as a coach for managing problem behaviours while ensuring the young person feels adequately supported as they progress towards mental and emotional wellbeing.

  • Children experiencing developmental delays (significantly behind expected progress/peers in cognitive and social abilities etc.)
  • Children with conditions that limit social success, such as autism and social anxiety
  • Children with mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety
  • Children exhibiting adverse behavioural changes (e.g. defiance)
  • Children who do or may have ADHD
  • Children with unexplained somatic complaints (e.g. tummy aches)
  • Adolescents who are anxious
  • Adolescents who are academically behind
  • Adolescents exhibiting mood swings or emotional dysregulation
  • Adolescents exhibiting behavioural issues (running away, drinking, defying authority)
  • Adolescents experiencing bullying (bullying or being bullied)
  • Adolescents diagnosed with a mental health condition such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder or exhibiting symptoms
  • Adolescents overwhelmed by changing demands (academic, social, family)
  • Adolescents experiencing body image issues and/or eating abnormalities
  • Adolescents struggling with sexuality or gender identity
  • Assessment of developmental level and level of function across domains (cognitive, social, etc)
  • Assessment for conditions that limit social success, such as autism and social anxiety
  • Assessment for mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety
  • Children who are academically behind and have learning difficulties
  • Therapy that works to shift and resolve issues identified as underlying difficulties (evidence-based paradigms such as CBT tailored to individual child)
  • Assessment of mental functioning (cognitive, social and emotional)
  • Assessment for learning difficulties
  • Assessment for mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression
  • Therapy that works to shift and resolve issues identified as underlying difficulties (evidence-based paradigms such as CBT tailored to individual)
  • Consultation with school and parents to implement a supportive, cohesive management plan
  • Developmental deficits or delays
  • Anxiety
  • Behavioural issues/acting out
  • Mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety
  • Social difficulties (including bullying or being bullied)
  • Traumatised children (accident or interpersonal trauma)
  • Behavioural issues
  • Poor school or work performance
  • Emotion dysregulation
  • Social/relationship difficulties (including bullying or being bullied)
  • Mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety
  • Sexuality and gender disturbance (e.g. gender dysphoria)
  • Substance abuse (alcohol and drugs)

Child and Adolescent Occupational Therapy 

Occupational therapy is often associated with restoring quality of life in a person’s twilight years. But it can also transform the lives of children and adolescents facing the limitations of physical, intellectual or psychological disability, injury, illness or dysfunction by enabling them to function at the highest level they can – in turn enhancing life satisfaction. By combining clinical knowledge, knowledge of education and childcare, familiarity with relevant legislation and local resources and a large degree of creativity, an occupational therapist or O.T. will circumvent barriers to a child’s independence and success by adapting the environment or processes to leverage their strengths and abilities. Driven to encourage a child or teenager’s independence and confidence in their own capacity to participate fully in school, leisure and social activities, a Soaring Health occupational therapist in Thomastown may also adopt an informal coaching role – from helping a participant to become proficient in new skills to serve as a language practice partner to relieve social anxiety associated with speech difficulties. A Soaring Health Thomastown occupational therapist will also educate family members and, where relevant, teachers and carers, to ensure a young person is supported in their efforts to realise independence and wellbeing.

  • Children and adolescents with disabilities and/or injuries that impair the performance of tasks associated with age-appropriate daily living
  • Children and adolescents with chronic health conditions that limit the performance of tasks associated with age-appropriate daily living
  • Children and adolescents suffering developmental delays
  • Home-based assessment and report on therapeutic and assistive technology and devices to optimise a child or adolescent’s age-appropriate function (e.g. showering, writing/communicating, leisure activities)
  • School assessments for relevant facilities (e.g. ramps and lifts, doors, desks) and recommendations for appropriate therapeutic and assistive aids and devices (e.g. item that enables a wheelchair to become a desktop)
  • Assistance for parents and carers with funding application forms for therapeutic and assistive technology and devices
  • Managing therapeutic and assistive technology installation requirements and ensuring devices and properly fitted and appropriate
  • Training children or adolescents and parents and carers in the proper, safe, effective use of new therapeutic and assistive devices
  • Helping to facilitate participation in realistic occupational or leisure activities (e.g. recommending avenues for participation in social and recreational activities matched to a child or adolescent’s ability)
  • Moderate to severe physical or mental disability that limits age-appropriate functioning
  • Developmental delays that limit age-appropriate functioning
  • Physical and mental limitations and barriers to attending school and associated tasks (e.g. getting to and from school)
  • Isolation from peers due to barriers to participating in social and recreational activities
  • Confidence issues related to the inability to participate in age-appropriate activities and tasks