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Your child has writer’s block?

Many children and adults have trouble getting thoughts onto paper. It is common to be caught staring at the page with nothing coming out. So how can we help kids order their thoughts and ideas to take that next step of putting pen to paper? Here are some in the moment strategies that may help children with planning and ideation difficulties to streamline their thoughts through other means before then having the cohesiveness to write it down.

Writers Block Tip 1

Writers Block Tip 2

Writers Block Tip 3

Writers Block Tip 4

Writers Block Tip 5

Have they understood?

Children with auditory processing difficulties often have difficulty understanding instructions that they have been given. It may be that due to too much competing background noise, internal processing difficulties, they were not ready to receive the information or the way that the instruction was given. Here are some in the moment tips that may help a child to understand the information that they have been given:

Have they understoond? Tip 1

Have they understoond? Tip 2

Have they understoond? Tip 3

Have they understoond? Tip 4

Have they understoond? Tip 5

The OT’s Key to Handwriting Success

Handwriting Infographic

When OT’s look at handwriting, they are assessing a wide range of skills. All of these skills are needed to do something as simple as write your own name. This infographic looks at the different levels of skills needed for handwriting success:
(1) Foundational skills of being able to complete academic tasks; body regulation, sensory processing and engagement/motivation. These skills allow us to stay seated at our desk, feel calm and alert, be willing to engage in the activity and work in the surrounding space.
(2) Systems skills needed to carry out the more complex skills; posture, vision and listening. These skills allow us to be physically orientated to the task, be ready to take in the information needed and feel comfortable at our desk.
(3) Higher level motor skills needed to carry out the task: bilateral skills (two hands), coordination and fine motor skills. These allow us to do things such as hold a pencil, manoeuvre the page and write letters with precision.
(4) These are called executive functioning skills; attention, memory, planning. These skills allow us to think through a task, solve any problems, come up with ideas and work out what we are going to do next.

Depending on the difficulty that a child may be having, an OT may start at any level of skill. Each of these skill areas contribute to the overall success of handwriting at home and school!

Have any questions or comments? Get in touch by emailing calmandconnected.com.au or call 0430 645 086

Using the mouth to support posture and calming

Patricia Oetter, Eileen Richter & Sheila Frick are amazing therapists that support kids who have difficulty with posture, regulation, attention and oral motor (feeding, talking, breathing). They talk all about using the mouth (breathing, biting, chewing, blowing etc) to help calm the nervous system down and develop posture.

From birth, a babies movement is driven by their mouth with their need to feed. Then as children become more mobile, what happens to everything? It ends up in their mouth. As an adult when you put on mascara, whats keeps your face stable? your mouth drops open or locked to help hold the face muscles still. So unsurprisingly, the mouth is plays many essential roles, why not unlock its potential therapeutically?

I highly recommended looking at the below resources to learn more about how oral motor and respiration can used to improve kids posture and self regulation:
For therapists – The Motor, Oral, Respiration, Eyes (M.O.R.E.)Book, Integrating the mouth with sensory and postural functions, By Patricia Oetter, Eileen Richter & Sheila Frick. http://shopau.sensorytools.net/as_books?productID=2851 MORE book
For parents – “Out of the Mouths of Babes” By Patricia Oetter, Eileen Richter & Sheila Frick. Mouth of Babes book

If you would like to learn more please check out our courses or therapy options on our website calmandconnected.com.au.

Clinical Reasoning Workshop March 2016

Hello OT’s,

ONLY 4 PLACES LEFT!!!

I am stepping into the unknown after a bit of pushing and shoving from various people to run workshops for therapists. Check out the flyer for a four week workshop series on Clinical Reasoning Workshop March 2016. These workshops are a formulation of learning from training and personal mentorship I have attended the past two years from therapists such as Stuart Shanker, Wilbargers, Tracy Steakhouse, Beth Otterman, Sheila Frick, plus many more! I am also attending an advanced intensive training course with Sheila Frick in January, so will be able to incorporate the most brand new information. For those who know me, I am passionate about therapists being able to explain the ‘why’ and ‘how’ behind therapy.

Please forward to anyone who might be interested, otherwise I will see you there 🙂

The 10 risks of self awareness

Self awarnessThere are many situations that cause us to learn about ourselves; going on a camp, making big life choices, supporting others, being in leadership positions, going on a trip. However choosing to go on a journey of self-awareness should not be decided on lightly. I have gathered from my own experiences and my friends, 10 things that may happen to you if you decide to go on such a mission.

1. Develop an incredible supportive group of friends who ‘get you’. Learning about your values may mean gathering friends that have the same, and letting go of those that didn’t. As you become more self aware, it can be hard not to expect others to also be at the same level, or get frustrated that they just don’t understand.
2. Have deep and meaningful conversations – with everyone. Small talk has lost its flavor when you know there is so much more to a person that can be explored. Small talk can therefore become frustrating.
3. Discover your true partner in life. This may take unhealthy course initially of taking on more responsibility in relationships due to being aware of all the pitfalls and ways to guide someone out of them. This appears to develop into being more clearly able understand and articulate what are feeling or wanting.
4. Have big dreams and act on them. I have seem so many around me realize their potential, what they are capable of doing. I also believe this has made me less content with what currently appears to be an ‘ordinary’ life.
5. Learn what it is like to hit rock bottom. It can be hard to find out and accept what you are not good at. The process of learning the things that you might not like about yourself can be hard, hard to accept these truths.
6. Learn what happiness is really about. Learning your strength can allow you to let go or face your fears, which may have been holding happiness at bay. Also, finding out what is important allows you to prioritize your time around those things that make you feel good.
7. Expand your views on the world. Understanding that the world is a big place and that you are just one person within it, may influence you to become more open to listening to other peoples views, even if it is conflicting of your own. I have also noticed that I get frustrated when people are not able to be flexible with their views and opinions.
8. Become more involved in the community. Experiencing change within yourself can make you realize that you have the capacity to change the world around you.
9. Begin to see all the possibilities. Compared to those that say no straight away, or can’t see the potential in situations, people with more self awareness have learnt that their actions can have an impact on the world. It is not about wearing those rose coloured glasses to see that the world is perfect, its just surely they cant be too far out of reach.
10. Risk caring less or checking out. The awareness of what you can and can’t control may mean less effort gets put into things that are out of your control. There is also the risk of becoming more self absorbed due to the inward nature of the self-awareness process.

Perhaps being warned about all these things before hand, I may not have chosen to undertake so many life changing opportunities. Yet the truth is, I would never take any of them back. Also once you start, its hard to stop!

I dedicate this post to the amazing people I have met through Curtin Volunteers!, Rotary Youth Leadership Award, John Curtin Leadership Academy and Curtin Student Ambassadors. May our adventures continue ☺

4 reasons to see a counsellor for the small/medium problems

So perhaps when going through a rough time you have thought ‘I should probably go talk to someone about 4it’ and don’t. Or perhaps when talking to a loved one said ‘I think you should go talk to someone about it’, and they don’t. This ‘someone’ refers to a health professional who is trained in talking to people about their problems. Well you are not the only one. There are so many reasons why people find it hard to book an appointment, then the harder step of actually going. So rather than exploring all of these, I thought I would share with you the 4 reasons why I think going to see a counselor for even just the small to medium sized problem is AWESOME!

1. You can moan, groan, bitch, complain, and whine as much as you want about anyone you want and they HAVE to listen to you! Also this person is not connected to your circles in anyway so it doesn’t matter, you can get it all off your chest without fear of offending anyone. Then when you catch up with friends/family there is more balance between the cool stuff and the hard stuff.
2. You get past that feeling of being stuck, sad, angry, and upset quicker. Sometimes it does feel good to wallow in misery and be annoyed at people, but being in this place can put grey clouds in front of happiness too. Having someone trained to ask you questions and even just saying problems out loud helps to work out what you are ACTUALLY feeling. If it just keeps going around your head it takes so much longer, then the next step of what to do about it is even further down the road.
3. Seeing a counselor for the small/medium stuff is kind of like using a sample pack before making a big purchase. Imagine the first time you have to speak to a stranger about your problems is when you have come to a huge problem or crisis (loved one passing, relationship breakdown, onset mental illness etc). It is worth finding a trained health professional that you like by trying them out on the smaller/medium problems. That way there is already a coach in your corner when its time to face the big ones.
4. If you have a health professional that you trust and have seen before, then when a family member or friend really really needs to see someone, then you already have someone to recommend. Also this loved one is much more likely to go when they come to a crisis if you have been before and can tell them what it’s like.

So if you have never sat down with a professional for some support, then the next time you have a problem, why not try it out? It could make a massive difference when you get to a crisis down the road (trust me these always come in some form), or to help someone else out if they have hit that point. I am glad I have one on my team before I get married, have kids, menopause (yikes!), parents become elderly, get seriously ill or any of the other normal life challenges that I’m sure are headed my way. But also, I like having a trained health professional to talk too so I can get up from those smaller challenges with an element of grace.

Calm and Connected July Newsletter

If you missed the July Newsletter or want rediscover what resources were shared, please find it here; Calm and Connected July Newsletter

This newsletter looked at:
– free parent and teacher webinar series for problem solving
– Kids attuned website with attachment article
– free MHPN webinar that is coming up
– traffic jam in my brain online training

Calm and Connected June Newsletter

If you missed the June Newsletter or want rediscover what resources were shared, please find it here; Calm and Connected June Newsletter

This newsletter looked at:
– Strategies to support kids in FIFO families
– Guidelines for trauma informed service delivery

Calm and Connected May Newsletter

If you missed the May Newsletter or want rediscover what resources were shared, please find it here; Calm and Connected May Newsletter

This newsletter looked at:
– what is Developmental Coordination Disorder?
– Road safety resources
– Little Wooden Toolboxes prewriting resources