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Physio-Led Therapy Stories

Ages 9-11: Beyond Early Childhood Intervention

Kai skips the OT waitlist by starting therapy with a physio

Nine-year-old Kai* loves to move his body to music and play with trains at home. He lives with a genetic condition that makes it hard for him to communicate and learn.

When Kai turned nine, he became too old to receive NDIS early childhood intervention funding. His parents still wanted to help him to develop skills like playing with other kids, making friends, playing with his sister and doing more on his own at home.

To avoid long waitlists for occupational therapy, they decided to work with physiotherapist Sarah. Sarah learned about Kai’s goals and needs, assessing that his first priorities would be to:

  • be more independent at home, like dressing himself and getting ready for school, and unpacking his school bag when he gets home
  • playing with his sister for a few minutes at a time, with parents nearby
  • communicating to someone who knows him what he needs.

Sarah arranged for an occupational therapist and speech pathologist to visit Kai’s family. They did assessments to understand Kai’s strengths and challenges. The three therapists then made a plan together about how they could best support Kai. Sarah then worked with Kai’s parents to support them to use the strategies provided by the occupational and speech therapists.

They set up a program of weekly visits over six weeks. This included a habit coach to help Kai and his family practice morning routines and work on his communication and independence doing everyday activities. Sarah regularly checked in with the family and team to make sure Kai was making progress. As Kai gained confidence and communication skills, they took a break from therapy before starting regular habit coaching for after-school routines, to focus on play time with Kai’s sister.

Starting therapy with a physiotherapist, along with personalised occupational and speech therapy, and continuous, affordable habit coaching, has empowered Kai’s parents to access the supports necessary to improve his happiness, inclusivity, and independence.

*names have been changed due to privacy.

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