Is your child ready for school?

Is your child ready for school?
Posted on Mon 24 Sep 2018

Written by Tina Wild

Starting school is an important milestone in any child’s life. It’s natural for parents to worry about how their child will cope with the transition into the big wide world.  For parents of children with special needs these concerns can be magnified. Extra preparation, planning and support is essential to help children develop the necessary skills and confidence to integrate smoothly into the school environment.

There are lots of things parents can do at home to help their child – see Tips to help your child prepare for school. But in order to get fast results it’s a great idea to enrol your child into a specialised program such as CPA Transition to School program so you can give your child the best start to their school years.

See how our Transition to School program helps kids prepare

 

To find out more about CPA’s Transition to School program we spoke to two of our specialist paediatric therapists who currently run the program in our South West Sydney centre at Prairiewood.  

Q&A with Nadia Loguch, Occupational Therapist and Annmarie Murphy, Speech Pathologist

 

What is the Transition to School (TTS) program and who is it for?

“TTS is an 8 week specialised group program designed for children with disabilities including cerebral palsy, autism and developmental delay.

It runs during the school term time in weekly 2 hour sessions that helps kids get used to the structure that will be experienced in school. And it’s lots of fun!” Nadia

 

Who runs the program?

“All therapists who run the program are highly qualified and specialise in disability. This enables them to understand each child’s unique needs. Our speech pathologists assess and develop skills in speech, pre-literacy and language. While our occupational therapists focus on developing fine motor skills, visual motor integration and motor planning.” Annmarie

 

What are the benefits of the TTS program?

“The program is run in small groups so children are motivated to reach their individual goals. We focus on building social, emotional and physical skills so kids have the confidence they need to integrate with their classmates and carryout tasks enabling them to learn.” Nadia

“Occupational therapy, is a really important part of the program, particularly for kids with a physical disability. For example a child with cerebral palsy may need additional support to develop their fine motor skills in order to do things like hold a pen, open their lunch box or dress themselves.” Annmarie

 

What do kids learn?

“Kids will learn a range of skills from physical things like writing the alphabet and using scissors, to more social skills, like learning to share with kids and making friends.

“The social and emotional aspects of the group can be really powerful and present a turning point. It’s lovely to see the difference in confidence from the first day compared to the last.” Annemarie

“Each child will have different needs and goals to work on whilst also learning to tackle core competencies as a group such as preparing for the routine of a typical school day, or stopping one activity and starting a new one upon instruction.” Nadia

 

What type of goals can be achieved?

‘Goals vary greatly. For some kids simply entering a room without having a meltdown is a goal. Whereas another child might be very articulate but need help to use their hands to carry out everyday tasks.” Nadia

“Separation anxiety is common and can be quite traumatic for some children. Helping children to feel safe and confident when away from mum and dad is often a major achievement for some families.

“New eating times and following somebody else’s agenda, for example, can cause behavioural outbursts, especially for children with autism who may not understand all of these changes straight away.

“It’s a privilege to be able to help children to prepare for a positive experience at school and get a smile out of them at the end of the day.” Nadia

 

What support is given after the program?  

“TTS therapists prepare an assessment report after the program for parents, school teachers and their therapy team to access. This report includes observations and recommendations for the child’s ongoing development and helps to facilitate a holistic approach to support the child on their school journey.” Annmarie

 

When and where is TTS happening?

Programs will run in various CPA centres in NSW and ACT throughout the year. To find out what’s happening at your local site call 1300 888 378 or email ask@cerebralpalsy.org.au. You can also enquire by visiting our website.

Instead of having the fun-filled family Christmas I'd planned, we spent Christmas with COVID. Over the course of a week, all five of us got it, resigned to the fact that isolating from each other at this time of year, especially given how much I rely on other people for self-care, was a pretty fruitless exercise. 

An update from CEO Rob White on how CPA is supporting and protecting our clients during COVID-19, and CPA therapy and services in January 2022.


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