Occupational Therapists strive to improve the occupational performance
of clients by considering
the person, his/her environment and what they find meaningful. For example, childhood occupations target daily activities such as eating, dressing, sleeping and playing, as well as school and community activities. The goal of Occupational Therapy is to use purposeful, motivating and meaningful activities to maximise a persons potential and life satisfaction. Occupational Therapists may intervene at the skill level (e.g., to address specific sensory problems, fine motor problems, visual problems), these interventions are always working towards increasing a persons joyful participation in life. To learn more about Occupational Therapy, please have a look at the World Federation of Occupational Therapy website.
Kate Keisler completed her Bachelor of Science in Occupational Therapy at Curtin University in Perth. She has been working in community based Pediatrics for the past four years, specializing in disability services for families, schools, daycare centers and community organizations. Kate has completed training and has a strong interest in the following areas:
- Self regulation Master Class
- Sensory Processing
- Wilbargers Sensory Defensiveness; Therapeutic Brushing
- Therapeutic Listening
- Floortime basics
- Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
- Alert program; ‘How does your engine run’
- Impact of trauma
Kate is passionate about developing the communities understanding of using the self-regulation framework to understand and support behavior. She is a member of the Self Regulation Practice Leaders group formed by Dr. Stuart Shanker on his last visit to Perth in 2014. For more information please visit: https://dropin.org.au/display/SRPLN/Self+Regulation+Practice+Leaders+Network+Home
Each time we become stressed we use energy to cope. The more stressors that we have on our central nervous system, the more energy (glucose) we need to use throughout the day. When we constantly experience high levels of stress, our nervous system works in overdrive to survive and our energy levels become depleted. We find it difficult to recover from these situations and to find balance in our lives. The more stress we encounter, the more we need to put on our brakes to try and get back to feeling calm. Sometimes these breaks can become worn out leading to burn out, meltdowns and mental health difficulties. Stress can occur within these 5 domains:
- Body; sleep, sensory processing, digestions, toileting
- Emotions; intensity and frequency of feelings
- Brain; concentration, listening, thoughts, attention
- Social; making friends, having conversations
- Pro-social; empathy, compassion, understanding and responding to others
It is important for us to have a language to talk about the stress in our life and learn how to manage our stress. The ability to regulate ourselves to a level of calm has a positive impact on our behavior, concentration and participation in the activities that are most important to us. It further enables us to get into a body/feelings/mind state to be calm, alert and ready to connect with learning in the classroom.
Everything we know and experience about the world is received through our sensory systems of touch, taste, sound, smell, hearing, movement (vestibular) and body awareness (proprioception). We receive cues from our surroundings that let us know what is expected of us, what we need to do and where we need to be. For example we hear the school bell through our auditory sensory system, which lets us know that it is time to line up for class. Or we might smell something yummy coming from the kitchen through a olfactory sensory system, which lets us know that mum is cooking dinner.
Everyone experiences sensory information at different intensities, which leads to us interpreting the information as either enjoyable, painful or not at all. Such as, for some people a pinch of chili on their meals is enjoyable, others not even notice its there and for another person this is not tolerable. For some children (and adults!), the experience of the different intensities affects their ability to wear different clothes, try new foods, concentrate in noisy rooms, visit new places, keep still on the mat etc.
All their energy is going into trying to get sensory input that they like, avoid sensory input that they don’t, or they seem to be ‘in their own world’ as they don’t notice the input around them. Therefore limited energy is available to do the things that are required of them, such as listening, concentrating, following through on instructions.
What is Therapeutic Listening?
Therapeutic Listening uses specifically composed music to develop a person’s ability to tune into and respond to their world. Here are some of the aspects found in the music:
- High low frequencies; the distortions in frequency cause the cells in the ear to vibrate in an organized way; rather than firing off randomly, or not at all. The organized sound vibrations allow the brain to process the sound; rather than becoming overwhelmed by what it is hearing or not even noticing that a sound was made.
- Rhythm; is used to regulate the child’s natural body rhythm to either down-regulate them to a more even and calm pattern, or to up regulate them to a more engaged and kidpower rhythm. Getting into this level of alertness allows for our body and mind to attend to what is happening around us.
- Complexity; early song selections start basic and then build with complexity. This is to train the ear to first locate and understand basic detail; then builds on the amount of detail the ear can process.
For further information on this program please check out the Therapeutic Listening Flyer
. It answers questions such as: What is listening? What does the program look like? How many sessions do I need? What are other options?
Sleep restores the body’s resources that have been used up during the day (such as the immune system which is needed for healing and fighting illness). While sleeping the brain processes and retains information that was learned from the day and stores it into your long term memory. It is therefore important to address difficulties with sleeping due its impact on performance during the day as sleep affects:
- Learning; affects concentration, problem solving and decision making.
- Emotional well-being; it is linked to depression, low mood, decreased motivation, irritable and anxiety.
- Daytime Behaviour; increase in sleepiness, hyperactivity, non-compliance, impulsivity, inattention, risk taking and oppositional behaviour.
- Sensory processing; heightened sensitivity, leading to overload or over reactive response.
- Physical coordination; slower reaction time and reduced stamina.
Strengths Based Approach
The strengths based approach recognizes that we each have the skills, solutions and power to address the difficulties that we face. You are the only one that has walked through your entire landscape and truly understands the experiences that you have had. It is therefore the role of a therapist, friend, partner, or teacher to help us recognize the strengths and capabilities that we already have inside us. It is when we have been listened to and supported that our own set of skills that abilities can come forward to guide us through the current problems we are facing.
At Calm and Connected we really value your feedback so that we can continually improve to provide a high quality service to our community. If you have any feedback in the form of a complaint, compliment or concern please do not hesitate to give Kate a call on 0430 645 086, email firstname.lastname@example.org or complete our Consumer Feedback Form
and return to us.