Meet a LiveBig Team Member – Gabriel Wong (QLD)

Gabriel is a passionate and motivated occupational therapist, with a particular focus on community rehabilitation and aged care. His extensive experience includes working in various clinical settings, such as outpatient hand therapy at QEII hospital, acute care at PA hospital, and community mental health at RBWH. He also has a special interest in assistive technology and home modifications, recognising the impact they can have on improving individuals’ quality of life.

At LiveBig, we believe in providing excellent care that is centered around the individual. Gabriel shares this value and strives to implement client-centered therapy through a holistic multidisciplinary approach and evidence-based practice. His expertise includes the assessment and prescription of assistive equipment, falls prevention strategies, pain management, work simplification, energy conservation, cognitive assessment, upper limb rehabilitation, hand therapy, and functional capacity assessment.

With Gabriel’s diverse experience and skills, he has worked with a wide range of clients across the lifespan in the NDIS sector. This includes individuals with various mental health conditions, neurological disorders, intellectual/developmental disabilities, and brain injuries.

Prior to joining LiveBig, Gabriel has worked with reputable multidisciplinary healthcare services and NDIS providers. His previous roles have further honed his abilities and enriched his understanding of providing comprehensive care to individuals with diverse needs.

The addition of Gabriel to our QLD team strengthens our commitment to delivering exceptional support services to the community. We are confident that his expertise and dedication will greatly benefit our clients and contribute to their overall well-being.

If you or someone you know could benefit from Gabriel’s specialised skills and compassionate care, don’t hesitate to reach out to LiveBig. We’re here to simplify the process of accessing support services and to empower individuals to live their lives to the fullest. 

To find out more about LiveBig and the services we provide, contact us today.

If you’re interested in a career with LiveBig, view our careers page.

Meet the LiveBig Brisbane Team

We’d love to introduce them to you and find out how they can support you.

 

Amanda Lasco – Occupational Therapist

 

Clinician Qualifications: Bachelor of Occupational Therapy 

Area of Coverage: Brisbane South

Tell us about your work at LiveBig: I am a Consultant of Occupational Therapy.

I support NDIS participants with different diagnosis such as Autism Spectrum Disorder, Global Developmental Delay, Intellectual disabilities, Attention Hyperactivity/Deficit Disorder, Sensory Processing Disorder and many others, to achieve their goals through ongoing sessions as well as assessments. 

What is your experience as an OT:  I have more than 10 years of experience. My professional background includes working with a variety of diagnosis and needs being part of a Multidisciplinary team, and I am particularly interested in working with early childhood early intervention. 

What are you passionate about: I love working with children and supporting their families to become their child’s best advocate and helping them translate evidence into practical strategies to achieve everyday learning and therapy.

 

Allysa Lei – Behaviour Support Practitioner

Clinician Qualifications: Bachelor of Psychology; Master of Counselling 

Area of Coverage: Brisbane North, Brisbane South, Logan and Ipswich 

Tell us about your work at LiveBig: I am a Positive Behaviour Support Practitioner at LiveBig, I work with participants and their stakeholders to promote positive behaviour and improve their overall quality of life by making changes to their environment and building their skills, such as communication and social skills, and building their mental health, flexibility and resilience.

What is your experience as a PBSP:  I have 5 years of experience supporting people with disability across the lifespan spectrum; from early childhood to older adults in managing behaviours of concern and improving their quality of life.

I conduct functional behaviour assessments to find information about the context of behaviours of concern, the skills that might be needed to replace the behaviour and the changes needed to make them and their support network feel safe and supported.  

I also work closely with my participants and support network to develop behaviour support intervention plans and strategies to help them live a fulfilling life.

What are you passionate about: I am passionate about using a strength-focused model to help my participants learn new skills and knowledge to take charge of their own life to make a positive impact. I always have faith in my clients and have always been amazed by their resilience.

I genuinely love what I do and strive to work hard to achieve the best outcomes for my participants.

Our quality clinicians have appointments available now, so there’s no better time to get in touch with us and make a referral.

Make a referral with LiveBig today

Starting school and need immediate support? We are here for you.

The transition from full-time parental care or daycare to schooling can be a big change for children with disabilities, potentially requiring additional support. Some children aim to attend a regular school rather than a special needs school, while others prioritise making friends and receiving a quality education.

To help support this transition, LiveBig has immediate capacity for Occupational Therapy and Positive Behaviour Support in Brisbane and Provisional Psychology referrals in Sydney – so if you need immediate direct support, please contact us today.

For those parents who don’t currently need direct support, we’ve consulted one of our Occupational Therapists to provide some guidance on the crucial choices to make when starting school.

Wondering if your child should attend mainstream schooling or a special needs school? 

The answer to this question is not straightforward as every child deserves their unique needs and challenges to be considered. A thorough assessment must be done for each child, and the advantages and disadvantages of each option will be discussed with the parents, who usually visit the schools and make a choice based on what they think would be the most appropriate for their child.

What we usually see is that children who require more flexibility, both on school/learning routines, adaptations of the curriculum, more 1:1 support, including physical assistance for self-care activities, end up going to special schools. 

For parents weighing up these options, please remember that there is no good or bad choice. What is important is for schools to give as much information as possible so you or your loved ones can make informed decisions. 

How can I help my child become school ready?

Transitioning to school is a big change, but there a few ways to help you child adapt before their first day.

Increasing time spent in activities at the table 

To help your child adjust to being sat at a desk for extended periods of time, increasing the amount of time spent at the table at home is a great starting point. Whether it be working on puzzles, painting, drawing, or engaging in turn-taking games, it all works to build the time spent. I suggest incorporating some movement breaks, and also don’t force your child to stay at the table if they are not interested. If they want to do the activity given, it will be easier for them to accept and enjoy their time spent at the table. Forcing them can generate the opposite outcome and the child can start avoiding tabletop activities. 

To stay longer completing tabletop activities, children also require strength on muscles that support our posture. Animal walks can be a fun activity to help with that.  

Improving fine motor skills 

Fine motor skills are important for kids to gain the skills they need to succeed at school. A way to improve their readiness is to incorporate fun activities that utilise fine motor skills. This can include lego, playdough, threading beads, colouring, cutting and pasting.

Communication gaps 

Your child has unique needs, and being able to express their wants and needs is an important asset for a child to have when starting school. Working with your child to talk to people about how their feeling is a great exercise, and that way if something is wrong or your child is hurt, they are able to speak up. 

A challenge for some kids is being able to understand and action instructions. If their teacher is asking them to do something, are they able to interpret the meaning and complete the instruction? This skill will make a difference at school and can be worked on at home.

A general tip is that some schools recommend being toilet trained before going to school. 

I’m worried my child will struggle to make friends. What can I do? 

Every parent wants their kid to be happy and to make friends at school, but for kids with disability, communication and friendship building may be a challenge.  

Pretend play can be a useful tool to better understand what is happening from the child’s point of view. Bring up topics of everyday life and encourage him/her to make the characters invite others to play together. If it’s still difficult, role model for the child using the characters.  

Exploring feelings also impacts on social skills, so it’s a good idea to explore feelings while doing pretend play and name feelings during the normal routine at home. The “I feel ___, I need ____.” statement is a good start (I feel hungry, I need to eat. I feel sad, I need a hug). This statement explores not only feeling (emotional awareness) but how to deal with them (emotional regulation). 

Playing turn-taking games also helps with social skills, as they learn to wait for their turn, being flexible.  

I am worried about being away from my child. How can I prepare myself and my kid for that change? 

Children take their time to adapt being apart from their parents, and so do parents. It’s expected to feel worried and anxious, so that’s important to choose a school you trust.  

Being at school can be challenging, but it is also where we make friends and feel we belong to a group besides the family. It will build their social skills, their capacity to adapt to changes, and learn skills they will use for the rest of their lives. 

Although it is a big transition at first, being away from a loved one is something we get used to, and can often be a great change.  

I believe the biggest challenge when starting school for kids with disability is the change in the routine. They are used to a small group of children, different types of activities. When they go to school, the routine changes, the group of children is usually larger, and they are required to do more tabletop activities and attention, concentration, and ability to sit still for longer periods can be a challenge.  

We’re here to lend a hand in life’s big moments

Occupational Therapists can help with changes in routine and school readiness, offering a range of activities to look at and stimulate emotional awareness and emotional regulation, social skills, fine and gross motor skills, handwriting, communication, problem-solving and address sensory processing differences which can impact on children’s ability to thrive at school. If unsure, you can be assessed by an Occupational Therapist, and we can put a plan in place to ensure your child will be ready and excel in their chosen school.  

Source Kids Sydney Disability Expo

Over 2700 amazing people turned up to experience the inclusive, welcoming environment and our LiveBig team members Camila, Janelle and Maria participated in many engaging and informative conversations with clients, families and support coordinators. Everyone was so excited to learn about the LiveBig therapy services with particular interest in our Occupational Therapy and Speech Pathology.

Held at the International Convention Centre, there was a great energy with so much engagement and fun. The LiveBig team would like to thank all the amazing people who came along to make the weekend so special, and we loved the opportunity to connect with some new and familiar faces. The Source Kids Disability Expo provided a great opportunity for us to come together and share our knowledge and expertise in order to make a difference to so many young people.

Thank you to Source Kids for running such an incredible Sydney Expo, we’re looking forward to the next one in Melbourne in June. We’d love to meet you so make sure you come and say hello if you’re around!

You can register for free: https://sourcekids.com.au/disability-expo/melbourne-2022/

Melbourne 2022 – Source Kids

When: 18-19 June 2022 – 10am to 4pm both days

Where: Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre

Cost: FREE to attend

Life Moments: Starting School

For children with disability leaving their parents full time care or day-care and into schooling, it’s a big change that may require extra support. For some kids, the goal is to attend a regular school rather than a special needs school, whereas for others, the focus is to make friends and get a great education. 

No matter your goals, there are many decisions for parents of kids with disability to make. We’ve asked one of our Occupational Therapists to weigh in on the big decisions to provide guidance when it comes to starting school. 

 

Wondering if your child should attend mainstream schooling or a special needs school? 

There is no straight answer for this question as every child deserves their unique needs and challenges to be considered. Each child needs to be assessed, and the pros and cons of each option will be discussed with the parents, who usually visit the schools and make a choice based on what they think would be the most appropriate for their child.  

What we usually see is that children who require more flexibility, both on school/learning routines, adaptations of the curriculum, more 1:1 support, including physical assistance for self-care activities, end up going to special schools.  

For parents weighing up these options, please remember that there is no good or bad choice. What is important is for schools to give as much information as possible so yourself or your loved ones can make informed decisions. 

 

How can I help my child become school ready? 

Transitioning to school is a big change, but there a few ways to help you child adapt before their first day. 

Increasing Time Spent in Activities at The Table 

To help your child adjust to being sat at a desk for extended periods of time, increasing the amount of time spent at the table at home is a great starting point. Whether it be working on puzzles, painting, drawing, or engaging in turn-taking games, it all works to build the time spent. I suggest incorporating some movement breaks, and also don’t force your child to stay at the table if they are not interested. If they want to do the activity given, it will be easier for them to accept and enjoy their time spent at the table. Forcing them can generate the opposite outcome and the child can start avoiding tabletop activities.  

To stay longer completing tabletop activities, children also require strength on muscles that support our posture. Animal walks can be a fun activity to help with that.   

Improving Fine Motor Skills 

Fine motor skills are important for kids to gain the skills they need to succeed at school. A way to improve their readiness is to incorporate fun activities that utilise fine motor skills. This can include lego, playdough, threading beads, colouring, cutting and pasting.  

Communication Gaps 

Your child has unique needs, and being able to express their wants and needs is an important asset for a child to have when starting school. Working with your child to talk to people about how their feeling is a great exercise, and that way if something is wrong or your child is hurt, they are able to speak up.  

A challenge for some kids is being able to understand and action instructions. If their teacher is asking them to do something, are they able to interpret the meaning and complete the instruction? This skill will make a difference at school, and can be worked on at home.  

A general tip is that some schools recommend being toilet trained before going to school.  

 

I’m worried my child will struggle to make friends. What can I do? 

Every parent wants their kid to be happy and to make friends at school, but for kids with disability, communication and friendship building may be a challenge.  

Pretend play can be a useful tool to better understand what is happening from the child’s point of view. Bring up topics of everyday life and encourage him/her to make the characters invite others to play together. If it’s still difficult, role model for the child using the characters.  

Exploring feelings also impacts on social skills, so it’s a good idea to explore feelings while doing pretend play and name feelings during the normal routine at home. The “I feel ___, I need ____.” statement is a good start (I feel hungry, I need to eat. I feel sad, I need a hug). This statement explores not only feeling (emotional awareness) but how to deal with them (emotional regulation). 

Playing turn-taking games also helps with social skills, as they learn to wait for their turn, being flexible.  

 

I am worried about being away from my child. How can I prepare myself and my kid for that change? 

Children take their time to adapt being apart from their parents, and so do parents. It’s expected to feel worried and anxious, so that’s important to choose a school you trust.  

Being at school can be challenging, but it is also where we make friends and feel we belong to a group besides the family. It will build their social skills, their capacity to adapt to changes, and learn skills they will use for the rest of their lives. 

Although it is a big transition at first, being away from a loved one is something we get used to, and can often be a great change.  

I believe the biggest challenge when starting school for kids with disability is the change in the routine. They are used to a small group of children, different types of activities. When they go to school, the routine changes, the group of children is usually larger, and they are required to do more tabletop activities and attention, concentration, and ability to sit still for longer periods can be a challenge.  

We’re here to lend a hand in life’s big moments

Occupational Therapists can help with changes in routine and school readiness, offering a range of activities to look at and stimulate emotional awareness and emotional regulation, social skills, fine and gross motor skills, handwriting, communication, problem-solving and address sensory processing differences which can impact on children’s ability to thrive at school. If unsure, you can be assessed by an Occupational Therapist, and we can put a plan in place to ensure your child will be ready and excel in their chosen school.  

Day in The Life as an Occupational Therapist

OT Tommy is here to answer that question! Based in Moonee Ponds, Tommy delivers occupational therapy services to LiveBig clients in the Greater Melbourne area. We asked him what he got up to on a working day as a consultant at LiveBig…

 

6.00 AM

Getting myself ready for the day – I wake up, have my breakfast and go out for a 20 minute walk in the park nearby. I find doing some exercise in the morning very helpful to refresh my mind. When I come back, I watch some news.

8.30 AM

Living in Melbourne, Covid-19 has changed the ways we live and we work. This is my work from home setup, check it out!

I always check my emails first to see if there are any urgent emails. I will then look at my work calendar to look at my appointments that I planned weeks before and I will send a text to my clients or their families to confirm the booking and ask them if they register any Covid-19 symptoms. Since most of my appointments start from 10am, I also read any notes and prepare session materials for the day. It is important to read the notes because most of my clients requires multi-disciplinary interventions, so that I keep myself updated of my clients’ progress.

9:00 AM

Depending on where my first client is located, I usually start to drive around 9 or 9:30. Typically, I have 2-4 clients a day, ranging from paediatrics to elderly. Depending on their diagnosis, I have to develop different interventions, e.g. ADLs training, sensory diet, equipment prescription, home modifications, psychosocial interventions etc. In our initial appointment, my client and I identify the issues that hinder their participation in their daily life activities, set up goals and we work towards the goals together.

In this climate, we also discuss how we are entertaining ourselves at home while we are in lockdown and share any recommendations. My bond with my clients has become even closer during lockdown, as we’ve been maintaining regular conversations when we aren’t seeing friends and family as often due to restrictions. My clients and I work as a team to figure out what works and is more suitable for them during lockdown.

12.00 PM 

Lunch time. I also use the time to do my documentation. And most importantly a power nap! Just to refresh my mind.

5:30 PM 

I usually finish my last client appointment by 5:00pm. I will complete any necessary documentation and case notes before I head back home for a shower. If I conduct my last appointment via telehealth, it means I can complete this work from the comfort of my home and relax straight after I’ve done my work, which is a bonus.

8:00 PM 

Lego time!! Before lockdown, I would usually do badminton training or play social games. Now, I play Lego, which I never thought I would do in my entire life. When I complete the last brick I feel such a sense of achievement and quickly go online to buy another one!

Lego is quite popular and can be expensive. I believe we all work harder especially for the things we enjoy and bring fulfillment in our hearts. I make sure that I’m performing at my best, deliver and meet the expectation of my customers and work with them to achieve their goals. LiveBig recognises high performing employees who meet high customer satisfaction with a bonus they deserve. I got so excited when I received one, and it’s a no brainer where I spent it – more Lego!

9:00 PM 

Before bed, I chat with my friends or family online – it’s been a while not being able to fly back to catch up with them. I can’t wait for when we reopen our borders again.

10:00 PM

I usually sleep around this time and get ready for the next day. Good night!

Insight into Occupational Therapy – OT Week

Watch LiveBig’s Occupational Therapist Jessica provide an insight into what occupational therapy is and how the small things in life can be therapeutic.

 

Interested in our Occupational Therapy services? CONTACT US >>

LiveBig Success at Virtual Disability Expo

The Virtual Disability Expo was a fantastic opportunity for people with disability, their families and carers to connect with a variety of disability service providers and obtain helpful information from the comfort and safety of their own home. 

LiveBig was thrilled to participate as a silver sponsor, meeting with many booth visitors and having many conversations about our therapy services which include psychology, speech pathology, exercise physiology, occupational therapy and physiotherapy. Our virtual booth had an engaging atmosphere over the two-day event with a range of informative and interactive features. Stephanie, our team member who attended the event, was available for video chats, text, and personal messages in real-time. LiveBig spoke to many people, including clients, families, support coordinators, and NDIS providers regarding the services we provide.  The range of information and interactive features saw us receive 236 booth visits with 29 direct requests for more information. 

Stephanie said: “ This expo has been a huge success. I am really excited by the turnout, the number of people that I have spoken with and the relationships I have formed with clients, families and support coordinators. The expo functions, which included chats and zoom meetings, was beneficial to all as we had so many questions about our telehealth services, especially from people in the Victoria region”.

At LiveBig, we will always adapt our service delivery processes to overcome any challenges that may arise during Coronavirus. Our number one priority is to continue to safely meet the needs of our clients, no matter the circumstances. We are grateful that events like these enable us to connect and help people from the safety of their homes. 

When learning is fun, what more could you ask for?

Unfortunately, Lidija lost one of the twins at just ten weeks’ gestation, leaving the family devastated. But she tried to stay positive and focus on keeping healthy for the remaining twin, and the pregnancy progressed as normal until 18 weeks when the family suffered another blow. Lidija was diagnosed with pre-eclampsia, admitted to hospital and put on bed rest for the remainder of her pregnancy.

Although Lidija was on bed rest, the remaining twin was born prematurely at 26 weeks and five days’ gestation. The family decided to name their new addition Hannah. Hannah weighed only 584 grams. She was so small and fragile that the nurses were unable to even measure her height. Her skin was see-through like a water bottle. You could also see the details inside her tiny little ears. But Hannah showed her fighting spirit and made it through, despite the odds. Now six years old, she has proven to be a fighter ever since.

From there, the family’s lives changed completely. Hannah progressed well through her toddler years with the help of the outpatients’ program from the hospital she was born at, but as she approached the three-year mark, the support that the family was receiving from the hospital suddenly dropped off.

Hannah had never been diagnosed with a disability, she wasn’t as able to perform certain tasks at the level of peers of the same age. She was high functioning in front of outsiders and specialists, performing tests and tasks with ease. But it became apparent to Lidija in their quiet moments together and when things became too much that Hannah would often crumble. Lidija suspected that Hannah had been trying so hard to over-perform during sessions with specialists that she would burn out, leading her to come home and fall apart. With help, Hannah had been progressing so well. But without it, she was regressing, and Lidija became concerned about her ability to keep up with her peers, her social skills and her ability to cope psychologically and in everyday life.

The family were going through a stressful time, and it got to a point where things started to affect Lidija and Ben’s marriage and their finances. Lidija knew then that she needed to take action.

She started to investigate how they could obtain NDIS funding support and made an application through Hannah’s pediatrician. Eighteen months later, having not heard anything, Lidija followed up with the service provider and was advised that they had accidentally disposed of the application as it had been filed through her pediatrician rather than directly by herself. So she applied again, but after the application was misplaced for a second time, Lidija decided on a new course of action.

For six months, Lidija searched for another provider, using all resources provided to her by the NDIS, with no luck. Until she received a recommendation to contact LiveBig, which she did, and she has never looked back. Lidija feels that LiveBig’s services were a perfect fit for Hannah, making life much easier for the whole family. She is so excited before every appointment she has with LiveBig therapy specialists Jessica Suh (Occupational Therapist) and Cheryl Prasad (Speech Pathologist). After each appointment, she happily gives her mother a comprehensive rundown of everything she learned with Jessica and Cheryl.

According to Lidija, “Hannah responds so well because Jessica and Cheryl are gifted specialists who have the resources, knowledge and passion for helping clients. They know how to communicate with her properly. When learning is fun, you can’t ask for more. LiveBig, well done and thank you. I am delighted that we have connected and can see the differences in Hannah. Parents value you, appreciate your hard work and understand that it takes a team.”

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