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Physio-Led Therapy Stories

12–14 Years: Transitioning to Secondary School

Lou skips the OT waitlist by starting therapy with a physio

Lou*, currently 12 years old, loves spending time with animals and reading about them. She was diagnosed with autism at the age of six. Her parents wanted to help her become more independent at home and build confidence to handle teenage social life in high school.

Lou had a NDIS plan and available funding, currently used for support at school. Recently peer pressure at school had led Lou to make poor choices, due to her eagerness to make friends. Becoming more withdrawn at home, Lou was struggling to cope with changes to her routine and, due to challenges using her hands, also having difficulties with her writing and other daily tasks, such as managing taps for the shower.

Concerned about Lou’s ability to make a successful move to high school next year, her parents looked for therapy to support Lou to cope with new routines and make new friends who would be a positive influence. They also wanted her to be as independent as possible by doing more for herself at home and catching public transport to school. Faced with occupational therapy waitlists in the area they lived, Everyday Independence recommended immediate access to therapy with a team led by physiotherapist, Lynne.

During a visit to Lou’s family, Lynne spent time getting to know Lou and her parents. She assessed their goals and explored various aspects of Lou’s life, including the existing supports. Lynne then introduced her team’s occupational therapist, who conducted a focused assessment on Lou’s morning routine and use of public transport. Together, they developed an initial therapy plan aimed at boosting Lou’s confidence. After a series of six weekly habit coaching sessions, followed by breaks for Lou to consolidate skills and practice independently, Lou’s confidence and sense of well-being improved.

The next stage of support anticipated for Lou is to focus on after-school activities, to build on her newfound confidence and make positive social connections that would carry on into high school.

Commencing therapy with a physiotherapist, along with personalised occupational therapy and affordable habit coaching, has empowered Lou and her family to access the necessary supports for her to achieve greater happiness, inclusion, and independence.

*names have been changed due to privacy.

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