Child development Our approach Early Childhood Intervention Firstchance specialised Transdisciplinary Early Intervention Program teams consists of professional therapists including: Occupational Therapists, Physiotherapists, Psychologist, Speech Pathologists and Educators. Depending on the needs of your child, family and other factors, you can choose which therapist are included in your transdisciplinary team and the frequency in which you see them. The Role of the Occupational Therapist The Occupational Therapists assist the team around the child (family, carers, early childhood setting and other professionals) to gain information about the child’s movement and sensory skills including: fine motor abilities posture motor planning/praxis sensory processing skills The Occupational Therapists can then look at the impact of these abilities on the child’s: self care skills (the ability to cope with feeding, dressing, grooming and toileting); developing drawing and cutting skills; play abilities; ability to attend to tasks; social and communication skills This information and support helps teams around the child work towards the goals the family has for their child. The Occupational Therapists also develop resources and handouts and run parent information sessions on sensory processing, toilet training, drawing, fine motor skills and self care tasks. The Role of the Speech Pathologist The Speech Pathologists assist the team around the child (family, carers, early childhood teachers, occupational therapists, support workers and other professionals) to: Assess children’s feeding and communication skills Assist families to identify their child’s strengths and functional goals for intervention Provide families with information and strategies to assist them to facilitate the development of their child’s feeding and communication skills Work as part of the trans-disciplinary team in the early childhood intervention programs Provide education programs including Hanen® programs www.hanen.org “It Takes Two to Talk”- The Hanen® program for parents of children with language delays “More than Words” The Hanen® program for parents of children with an autism spectrum disorder. “You Make the Difference” The Hanen® general education/prevention program for parents of young children “Learning Language and Loving It” – The Hanen® program for early childhood educators. Foster a total communication approach through the use of both verbal (e.g. talking and listening) and non-verbal (e.g. facial expression, gesture, alternative and augmentative communication systems) to help children understand language and express themselves. Non-verbal support systems include using: “Visual supports” such as objects, photos, Boardmaker, written words Key Word Sign (previously known as Makaton) www.newcastle.edu.au/centre/sed/makaton/ VOCAS (voice output communication aids) and switch devices The Role of the Physiotherapist The Physiotherapist assists the team around the child (family, carers, early childhood setting and other professionals) to: Gain an understanding of a child’s movement and gross motor function through assessment and observation Assist families to identify their child’s strengths and functional goals for intervention Provide information and advice regarding handling, positioning and therapy through play and/or exercise Work towards goals in the early childhood intervention programs as part of the multidisciplinary team Therapy for children is tailored towards play and games but with specialised exercises focusing on individualised goals. Therapy programs may include games, exercises and handling techniques to: facilitate motor development improve quality of movement improve posture strengthen weak muscles stretch tight muscles improve balance and coordination improve and support foot posture Advice may be given on appropriate positioning, and mobility equipment including seating, standing frames, walkers and mobility aids, as well as orthotics and footwear. The Role of the Educator Apply their expertise in childhood development, play development, behaviour support and transition to school processes. Our Educators are a valuable addition to the transdisciplinary model by providing a link between your Early Childhood Intervention Team and the community. Our Educators: Work as a team member and providing for the needs of your child. Liaise with families and other service providers in planning, delivering and evaluating supports. Liaises with community services providers to enhance community participation. Provide services in a variety of settings such as: home, early childhood education setting, school or community setting such as park, shopping centre, swimming lessons etc. The Role of the Family Worker Are an additional team member who can be added to your transdisciplinary model to support you as a parent or carer. You can choose for our family worker to be your Key Worker in the Transdisciplinary model. Our Family Workers are here to work closely with Firstchance families to offer support, advocate for the families and provide information and referral support. They also promote social and group opportunities for families.