When we asked 10-year-old Monique for her advice for a child who was just about to start receiving therapy support, she had five simple, but powerful words. Words that are relevant to people of all ages. ‘You can do it. Be brave’.
Monique’s daily life is much like any other 10-year-old girl’s. She loves spending time with friends, reading chapter books, cooking, arts and crafts and learning new hairstyles. Monique suffered an acquired brain injury when she was younger which resulted in the need for her to receive support from an occupational therapist to work on things such as developing her memory, sleep routine, social skills, and self-esteem.
Brianna Massey, occupational therapist in our Western Melbourne team has been working with Monique and her family for the past four years and during this time they have developed a strong relationship.
“As a therapist, building trust and rapport with the person you support is critical to creating an environment when they feel safe, and encouraged to build their abilities. It’s about letting them know I’m there without judgment or assumptions to support them to reach their potential.
I really enjoy working with Monique and her family. She is a beautiful young girl who is caring, smart, supportive to her friends and family, and resilient. She really does make me laugh and I love to hear about her achievements and what’s she’s been doing in between therapy sessions.
Monique’s therapy sessions incorporate activities she enjoys doing and which are part of her daily life, so she’s engaged and focused. In the past we have created new hairstyles which work on Monique’s sequencing and memory or used games which help her to express her feelings and thoughts and build self-confidence.”
Monique and Brianna formed a strong connection from their first therapy session together.
“I’ve really enjoyed working with Brianna right from the start. She has always been nice and kind to me, she makes me safe, and we do fun things. I can tell about when I haven’t made good choices and she doesn’t get angry with me. We just talk about it and how I could have done things differently.”
Brianna sees a positive future for Monique. Monique is an active part of the community. She can problem solve through difficult social situations, make good choices and knows the behaviours expected at school.
“I can’t wait to see what the future holds for this bright young girl. We are so grateful that Monique enjoys our company and enjoys engaging in therapy. However, as her capacity grows and that of her family’s, she won’t need to see us as regularly for support. Monique, and her family know that we will be there if she requires therapy for new goals which come up throughout her life.
In the meantime, I’ll remember Monique’s advice for the other people I support to remind them to ‘be brave, they can do it’.