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Holiday Challenge

Family fun for the school holidays

We are setting an important challenge for our families.  For the last 10 weeks, our families have planned, advocated for their children, managed homework and extra curricular activities, tackled mealtimes, supported their child’s emotional development….the list is endless and exhausting. 

Our challenge to you these holidays is to find and enjoy some family fun.  This does not mean you need to become a Pinterest superstar!.  Our children need some “recharge” time too.  Our challenge is simple: slow the pace down, and do something your family loves to do.  If you haven’t found that activity yet, take this as your chance to do some exploring. 

The best part?  Something as simple as free play in the backyard helps with:

·      - Supporting sensory processing needs

·      - Developing the play skills required for literacy and social interaction

·      - Cognitive mastery

·      - Increasing wellbeing and resilience

·      - Developing planning, initiation and monitoring skills

 

We hope you have a really wonderful school holiday, and enjoy some family fun!

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Do weighted vests work?

Weighted vests are sometimes recommended to help children concentrate. Research shows that weighted vests can help reduce fidgeting, time out of their seat, and time off task, as well as inattention, and speed of responding. No improvements in impulse control or automatic vocalisations were noted.

What does this mean for us?

Supporting children who are having trouble concentrating takes more than one 'fix it' item. Children may need help to get their body organised (such as using a weighted vest), but they also need help to develop their executive function skills, such as impulse control. Well rounded OT intervention is required, rather than merely prescribing a weighted vest.

Source

Lin, H., Lee, P., Chang, W., Hong, F. (2014). Effects of weighted vests on attention, impulse control, and on-task behaviour in children with ADHD. American Journal of Occupational Theray, 68 (20), 149-158.

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When is handwriting a problem?

Difficulties writing legibly and with speed is one of the most common referrals we receive. The prevalence of handwriting problems has been estimated to range between 12% and 33%, and have a negative effect on a child's self esteem and academic performance.

Is handwriting still important?

Absolutely. Despite the increased availability of technology, handwriting is still the primary tool for written communication and knowledge assessment. In fact, the motor programming that occurs when you learn to write, in combination with the feedback you receive through your hands and visually is linked to create the pre-conditions for reading and spelling.

What processes are involved?

Writing involves handwriting, spelling, composition and higher order cognitive skills. In terms of writing readiness, children need effecient visual motor skills, fine motor coordination and orthographic coding. Children need to enjoy writing, have sustained attention and understand the purpose of writing.

Some recent research points:

  • A recent systematic review gives convincing evidence that interventions involving handwriting practice are effective in improving handwriting. This means that intervention should ALWAYS include actual handwriting
  • Girls are more likely to be classified as proficient writers, and typically score better on visual motor coordination tests
  • Handwriting legibility is linked to visual motor integration
  • There is a moderate correlation between fine motor coordination and the quality of handwriting

Sources

Duiser, I.H.F, van der Kamp, J., Ledebt, A. & Savelsbergh, G.J.P. (2014). Relationship between the quality of chidlren's handwriting and the Beery Buktenica Developmental Test of Visuomotor Integration after one year of writing tuition. Australian Occupational Therapy Journal, 61, 76-82
Hoy, M.M.P, Egan, M.Y. & Feder, K.P. (2011). A systematic review of interventions to improve handwriting. Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy, 78, 13-25
van Hartingsveldt, M.J., Cup, Edith.C.C., de Groot, I.J.M. & Nijhuis-van der Sanden, M.W.G. (2014). Writing Readiness Inventory Tool in Context (WRITIC): Reliability and convergent validity. Australian Occupational Therapy Journal, 61, 102-109

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