Finding activities for kids with disabilities

What activities are right for your child with disability?

Having a disability doesn’t mean your child should miss out on fun activities. Activities like dance, sports or learning a musical instrument are building blocks that can set children up to succeed. The difficulty is finding something your child is both interested in and can sustainably enjoy, whether they have a disability or not.

There are many more factors to consider when choosing an activity if your child has a disability. For example, many children with autism dislike loud noises. Knowing this, group sports like soccer with lots of shouting and whistles might not be suitable for them. If they’re still interested in sports, you could consider rock climbing or tennis that have much less background noise and more space, so they’re more likely to enjoy themselves.

Finding the right activity will involve trial and error. Here are some other tips to help you in your search for the right activity.

Ask your child what they want to do

Asking your child what they’re interested in is a great way to get them engaged in the activity from the beginning. Giving your child options for activities they can choose from involves them in the decision-making process. You may need to try a few different types of activities to get a sense of what they like doing.

Consider your child’s strengths and abilities

Along with asking them what they’d to do, consider your child’s strengths and weaknesses. Consider what they’re good at and what might not be suitable due to their disability. They’re likely to get frustrated if they’re not able to do the activity, so this is important! You might even want to enrol your child for a few classes to start off with to see if they enjoy it.

Look into programs designed for kids with disability

Depending on your location and your child, programs specifically designed for kids with disabilities are available and might be the best option for your child. These programs often have staff trained in care for children with disabilities and include a safe environment where your child can be themselves.

Speak with the organisers

Check with the activity organisers to find out what it involves, and how it could be modified to suit your child. Is it an inclusive environment? Do the instructors/teachers have experience or training with children with disabilities? Again, you can negotiate enrolling in a few classes to start off with to see if your child enjoys it.

Speak with your child

Speaking with your child about what they’re going to be doing and showing them pictures or videos about what their new activity looks like can help take away some mystery. Explaining where they are going, who will be there and what’s going to happen is helpful for any child starting something new, especially for children with disability who are used to being in familiar environments.

Give yourself plenty of time to get there

When you’re caring for a child with disability, things can sometimes take longer to do. This is especially true for bigger activities that you may need different clothes or equipment for. Allow extra time to get to your activity, especially if it’s one of your first sessions.

Start small

It’s normal for parents of children with disability to be unsure about the idea of adding something new into their routine. It can be daunting for children in unfamiliar environments, especially if your child has a disability and are used to their daily routine. Start with one class and see how it goes. You can then add it into their schedule once they get used to it. By starting small, anxiety for parent and child can decrease, making for a more enjoyable experience overall.

The benefits of physiotherapy

What is physiotherapy?

Physiotherapy addresses problems in the body with pain and/or movement. Physiotherapy is a science-based profession that uses evidence and clinical reasoning to optimise a person’s overall health and wellbeing. Physiotherapy uses a range of physical techniques to improve the body’s movement and quality-of-movement. The goal is to impact on a client’s quality of life.

LiveBig offers a range of flexible, NDIS funded physiotherapy support tailored to individual client needs and preferences.

What is a physiotherapist?

Physiotherapists help people of all ages affected by disability, illness or injury. This is achieved through a comprehensive assessment of an individual client; reaching a diagnosis which will then guide intervention. This can include using multiple tools such as mobilisation, exercises, bracing/taping and/or advice.

Physiotherapists not only consider the physical movement exercises their clients undertake, but the whole person at every stage of diagnosis and treatment. At the core of the ‘whole person’ approach is the patient’s involvement in their own care. The client gains the most benefits from physiotherapy through awareness, empowerment and participation in their treatment.

Is physiotherapy covered under the NDIS?

Yes. The NDIS funds a variety of therapy and allied health services for people living with disability, including physiotherapy.

Learn more on the NDIS website.

What does a physiotherapist do?

A physiotherapist provides education, advice and treatment for physical injuries and rehabilitation. Physiotherapists take into consideration everything about their client’s life, including lifestyle factors, to get the best possible outcomes in recovery.

A physiotherapist will mobilise joints, stretch muscles, release trigger points and provide clients with a self-management program.

What does physiotherapy help with?

A physiotherapist can help reduce the chance of future injury and treat ailments such as:

  • Sprains, strains, various injuries and recovery from broken bones
  • Post-surgery rehabilitation
  • Arthritis
  • Neck and headache.
  • Spinal pain.
  • Upper-limb (Shoulder, elbow, wrist & hand) conditions.
  • Lower-limb (Hip, knee, ankle & foot) conditions.
  • Developmental delays in children
  • Neurological conditions such as stroke and Parkinson’s disease.

Why do people get physiotherapy?

Physiotherapy can benefit people of any age who suffer from a variety of disabilities or injuries. From neurological disorders to sports injuries and car accidents, physiotherapy empowers people to strengthen their body and achieve their personal health goals through movement.

Clients with disability

At LiveBig, we have physiotherapists that work with people with a range of disabilities, including neurological disorders like stroke, Parkinson’s disease, cerebral palsy and multiple sclerosis. These clients greatly benefit from physiotherapy treatment.

Physiotherapy interventions for neurological disorders focus on muscle control, regaining strength and defining fine and gross motor skills to improve daily functions. Physiotherapists generally visit and treat people with chronic health conditions in their homes.

Physiotherapy is particularly essential for children with cerebral palsy. Physiotherapy helps to improve postural control and teach children how to use assistive devices to maximise their functional independence. At LiveBig, an important part of our work is working with the family to reinforce our physiotherapists’ work with their child.

Injured clients

Orthopaedic clients, including people with sports injuries or those involved in car accidents, are the most common types of patients physiotherapists treat.

Normally in a clinical practice, physiotherapy treatment may involve therapeutic exercises to improve strength and endurance and enhance the client’s range of motion. Physiotherapists will likely treat these clients by mobilising joints, applying arrange of soft-tissue techniques and stretching any trigger points caused by the injury. The physiotherapist will also give the client exercises to do at home between treatments. Over time, this process should reduce stiffness and relieve pain for the client.

Working with your NDIS plan

LiveBig work with you to achieve your individual goals within your NDIS plan. We’re about transparency and responsiveness. When you contact us, we will let you know when we can be there for you.

What are therapy and assessment services?

What are therapy services?

Therapy services are sessions conducted by health care professionals that assist people in the management of their disability, or recovery from injury or illness.

Types of therapy that LiveBig offer include occupational therapy, speech pathology, exercise physiology, physiotherapy and psychology.

How do I enquire about a therapy service with LiveBig?

To enquire about a therapy service, you can find details in our service finder tool. Simply enter your postcode to check we currently have a therapist able to service in that area. You can then choose to contact us to get started.

What are assessment services?

Assessment services are conducted by a healthcare professional to establish what sorts of therapy services a person may require. If you’re not currently on an NDIS plan, are about to have a plan review or your condition has changed, you may need to book in an assessment before you can access therapy services through the NDIS.

You can book in a LiveBig specialist who will do an assessment of your needs. We want everyone to be able to get the support they need.

How do assessments work?

Our assessments are comprehensive and work to discover what level of therapy our clients require.

Once we receive a referral, one of our qualified specialists will visit your home to help determine the level of support you require. We can then tell you what support our specialists can provide you.

Did you know?

LiveBig healthcare specialists will come to you at home or in another community setting to conduct both assessments and therapy services.

What’s the difference between therapy services and assessment services?

Assessment services are used to establish which therapy services someone could benefit from. Therapy services are the planned, ongoing appointments to support you or your family member with a disability live the best life possible.

What sort of therapy and assessment services do LiveBig offer?

Our health specialists such as occupational therapists, speech pathologists, exercise physiologists, physiotherapists and psychologist work with each client to achieve their individual goals. Find out more about each specialty on our services page.

5 things you need to know about Autism

Autism (or Autism Spectrum Disorder – ASD), is a lifelong developmental disability that can cause significant social, communication and behavioural challenges for children and adults. People on the spectrum often communicate differently, although there may be nothing about the way they look that sets them apart. They may struggle with social interactions and have repetitive or rigid patterns of behaviour or interests. It’s important to remember that there is not just one type of Autism, but many.

Every person with ASD is an individual

There’s a saying that if you know one person with Autism, you know one person with Autism (credited to Dr Stephen Shore). “The learning, thinking, and problem-solving abilities of people with ASD can range from gifted to severely challenged. Some people with ASD need a lot of help in their daily lives; others need less,” says the American Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Some people with ASD also live independently and lead normal lives, including at work. The charity Autism Speaks says that “because Autism is a spectrum disorder, each person has a distinct set of strengths and challenges.”

People with ASD may prefer written or clear instructions and may struggle with change

A written list is a useful aid for some people with ASD, while others might prefer short, clear instructions, or breaking down tasks into smaller components. Regular timetables or structure may help everyone, not just people on the spectrum.

When a routine or work process changes, people with ASD may need extra help. It’s beneficial to have a workplace mentor they can go to for support or questions. This might include ‘unwritten’ rules that others take for granted, or how to take part in office chitchat or workplace banter.

Communication may be a challenge

People with ASD often struggle with small talk or social etiquette. They may not realise if they’re talking too long or in too much detail about their special interest. Many people with ASD want to make friends and be liked by co-workers, but they may find it hard, especially if they have trouble reading social cues, facial expressions, body language or knowing when to speak or listen.

The website Autism.org.uk has some useful tips for people communications with someone on the spectrum, such as:

  • using their name to get attention, making sure they’re listening
  • speaking less or repeating keywords, keeping questions short or offering choices (like ‘which option do you prefer?’)
  • being aware of excess sensory input that may be distracting
  • avoiding irony, sarcasm, figurative language, rhetorical questions or exaggeration.

If you’re an employer, you could hold an Autism Awareness training session to help other staff understand so everyone gets along.

You can help an ASD colleague or staff by…

  • Learning about Autism and the differences that may show up at work – things like communication styles, difficulties with loud or distracting noises or lights, or using a stress ball to manage anxiety
  • Getting to know them and welcoming them to the business (fostering a supportive workplace)
  • Orienting them in the organisation (through an induction) and training them on their specific duties (explaining every procedure)
  • Letting them know where to go for support
  • Giving clear directions and feedback, including the topics of time management and organisation skills.

The Autism employer guide suggests asking two vital questions, ‘what is your greatest strength?’, and ‘what tends to make you stressed or nervous?’. The guide also offers advice about helping people on the spectrum deal with change – let them know ahead of time and gradually incorporate small schedule modifications to prepare for larger shifts.

People on the spectrum make great employees

Research shows that there are business benefits to hiring neuro-diverse staff. This is sometimes described as diversity in thinking and innovation, and in thinking styles and abilities. “People on the spectrum often demonstrate trustworthiness, strong memories, reliability, adherence to rules and attention to detail. They are often good at coding – a skill in high demand,” says Training Industry website.

People with ASD may also have an intellectual learning disability too. Although almost half (44%) of children with ASD have an average or above average (savant) intellectual ability, most people with ASD range from having a profound intellectual disability to having learning difficulties or developmental delay. About a third have a very low IQ. 

People with ASD also have high under or unemployment. In Australia, people on the spectrum – about one in 100 adults – have an unemployment rate of 31.6%, which is three times higher than others with disability and almost six times higher than people without disability.

“This is at least partially because many adults with ASD don’t make it through the interview process or may not even apply for a job because they think they won’t get hired,” says the Training Industry website. See what diversity brings to a workplace.

LiveBig has a strong focus on empowering people and providing them with their required specialist therapy and assessment services. If you’d like to hear more about the work we’re doing, give us a call or contact us via our contact form.

Need help?

Contact us on 1300 390 222 to find out how we can help you increase your diversity, or have a look at these resources below:

What is ECEI and how is it different from the NDIS?

What is ECEI?

The Early Childhood Early Intervention (ECEI) approach is designed to help children develop skills and achieve their best possible outcomes throughout their lifetime. ECEI services are available to all children 0 to 6 years with developmental delays or disabilities. It is part of the NDIS, but children don’t need a diagnosis from a doctor to access services. However, if a child is diagnosed with an ongoing disability, they can access NDIS funding at any time.

The ECEI approach is used to help children avoid needing long-term support for the remainder of their lives. It is designed to be accessed in a child’s early stages of development.

How does ECEI work?

ECEI supports children in their early stages of development. Children who still require support can transition onto an NDIS plan at 7 years of age. Learn more about the ECEI step-by-step process on the NDIS website.

Early Childhood Early Intervention Diagram NDIS.

How do I access ECEI services?

The NDIS has engaged Early Childhood Partners around Australia to deliver the ECEI approach. These Early Childhood Partners will be the first point of contact for families. They discuss the most appropriate supports to benefit the child and provide information and referrals to other support services.

Find Early Childhood Partners here.

What types of supports are funded by ECEI?

An Early Childhood Partner will connect you with the most appropriate supports for your child in your area, such as a local community health centre, educational settings and playgroups.

Does LiveBig provide ECEI services?

No, LiveBig are not Early Childhood Partners. We provide specialist therapy and assessment services to people on NDIS plans from 7 to 65 years of age.

What is the NDIS?

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) provides Australians under 65, who have significant and permanent disability, with funding for support services.

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is the new way the Australian Government now supports people living with disabilities. The scheme is based on an individualised and lifelong support system and is delivered through individually funded plans.

The NDIS provides funding for all eligible people with a diagnosed disability to access support services. These supports may include links to existing services within the participant’s community and necessary funded supports.

How does the NDIS work?

The NDIS works by giving individuals with diagnosed disabilities funding to access their required support and therapy services.

What types of supports are funded through the NDIS?

The NDIS may fund the following supports for participants, including:

  • daily personal activities
  • transport to enable participation in community, social, economic and daily life activities
  • workplace help to allow a participant to successfully get or keep employment in the open or supported labour market
  • therapeutic supports including behaviour support
  • help with household tasks to allow the participant to maintain their home environment
  • help to a participant by skilled personnel in aids or equipment assessment, set up and training
  • home modification design and construction
  • mobility equipment
  • vehicle modifications

How do I access NDIS funding and services?

Once you’ve checked your eligibility and have a diagnosed disability from a general practitioner (GP), you will received funding to access support services, known as an NDIS plan.

Based on your diagnosis, you will receive an allocated amount of money in your NDIS plan to access the support and therapy services that you need.

Does LiveBig provide NDIS services?

Yes, LiveBig provides specialist therapy and assessment services for people with mild to severe disabilities with NDIS plans.

What are the differences and similarities between ECEI and NDIS?

Differences:                                                                     

  • The ECEI approach is for children 0-6 years old, unless they are diagnosed with an ongoing disability. The NDIS is for people 7-65 years old.
  • Children don’t need a diagnosis certificate from a doctor to access ECEI services. People will need to have a diagnosed disability to access NDIS services.

Similarities:

  • Both exist to help people with mild, moderate and severe disabilities.
  • Both are funded by the Australia Federal Government.

How do ECEI and NDIS work together?

While the ECEI approach is designed to assist children with developmental delays or disabilities at the beginning of their life, some children will require continued support.

At 7 years old, a child who has been receiving ECEI support is eligible for an NDIS plan if they receive confirmation from a GP that they have a diagnosed, ongoing disability. The ECEI approach can be seen as a precursor to the NDIS for those who require further support, and a preventative measure for those who have mild to moderate early-identified developmental delays and disabilities.

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