Disability therapy and support groups

Senses Australia holds a number of different support groups throughout the year to meet the needs of our clients as well as their families and carers. Please note, these groups are currently only available in the Perth metropolitan area. We are actively working towards expanding this service to the Wheatbelt and Lower South West and will keep you informed of our progress.

To find out more about the different disability therapy support groups, please click on the options below:

Language Boosters

When: Term 2 school holidays each year

Duration: 1.5 hours for 4 days

Language Boosters is a fun support group designed for school aged children who are developing their receptive and expressive language skills. The first half of the group has children working on three to four stations, each targeting a different area of language for approximately 15 minutes. The work provided at each station is tailored to individual children’s language needs.

Tasks may target a child’s ability to follow instructions, answer questions, story comprehension, story retelling, use of sentence structure and semantic organisation activities (eg. how words are associated).

At the completion of the work stations, children come together for a play session structured by the speech pathologists. Children are required to have a parent or caregiver attend for the duration of each session.

Literacy Spot

When: Term 3 of school holidays each year

Duration of group: 1.5 hours for 4 days

The Literacy SPOT is a support group for school aged children focusing on literacy skills. The group is run by Senses Australia speech pathologists and occupational therapists who incorporate a range of fun literacy activities.

Activities are tailored to individual children’s areas of need and interest. Activities may include a book share, vocabulary games associated with a theme, story comprehension, story retelling, phonological awareness skills, fine motor, sensory experiences and handwriting or typing skills.

Children are required to have a parent or caregiver attend for the duration of each session

Connect with AAC

When: Term 1 of school holidays each year

Duration of group: 1.5 hours for 4 days

Connect with AAC (Augmentative and Alternative Communication) is a support group for early intervention and school aged children who are users of AAC systems.

Children attending the support group may be being supported to communicate through a low-tech system (eg. a paper based communication board) or a high-tech AAC device (eg. a tablet with communication software).

Speech pathologists facilitate a number of activities within the group to support children and their families using AAC to socially interact, share information, comment, request and build short sentences with their systems. Families are supported to further extend their skills in how and when to model language on AAC systems and are offered tailored education as a group on request.

Children are required to have a parent or caregiver attend for the duration of each session.

Early Movers

When: Term 2 each year

Duration of group: 1 hour a week for 6 weeks

Senses Australia’s Early Movers Group is designed to give parents and carers strategies and ideas to progress their child’s gross motor development learning through play. The group targets children aged between 0 – 5 years. It consists of six sessions and is run by physiotherapists and occupational therapists. Each session will have a slightly different focus with information sheets provided and activities to do at home in between sessions. Within the Early Movers support group, we have:

The Sitting Strong group, which is focused on developmental skills including hands to midline, prone, rolling, transitioning from side lying to sitting, sitting and hand use to interact and play with toys.

The Finding My Feet group, which targets important skills for crawling, standing and walking by facilitating and practising transitioning from side lying to sitting and transitions on and off the floor, sit to stand transfers, trunk rotation, weight shift and functional use of the hands. To find out more about the Early Movers Group Invitation Finding My Feet, click here.

The Stepping It Up group increases a child’s participation in transitions including on and off the floor, sit to stand and walking. Children are encouraged to develop gross motor skills such as sitting, crawling, standing and walking to increase use and strength of the upper limb and play skills such as switching and cause effect. The group also supports parents and carers to develop handling and positioning skills, while helping children improve muscle tone, strength, coordination, balance and postural control. To find out more about the Early Movers Invitation Stepping it Up, click here.

Children are required to have a parent or caregiver attend for the duration of each session as will be shown how to facilitate their child to move.

Playgroup

When: Term 3 each year

Duration of group: 1.5 hours a week for 6 weeks

Playgroup sessions are comprised of activities such as sensory play, singing, craft/cooking and outdoor play. Goals for the group include developing physical, communication, social and play skills whilst having fun in a supported setting.

It is also an opportunity for parents to get together and the children to make new friends. The group is facilitated by Senses Australia’s Children’s Therapy services. Therapists work with the child, their siblings and their parents throughout the session.

Starfish Hydrotherapy

When: Friday morning during summer months (February/March and November/December) each year

Duration of group: 1 hour for 4 weeks

Our Starfish Hydrotherapy program is an aquatic based program conducted in a hydrotherapy pool for Early Intervention clients of all different ability levels.

The support group is run by physiotherapists with the focus on developing core muscle strength, movement, lower and upper limb strength, communication and social skills in a fun interactive group setting.

The support group focuses on safe entry and exit into and around the aquatic environment. All activities are supported by sensory strategies, visual aids and action songs to increase participation and motivation.

Parents are encouraged to get into the water with their children to learn handling skills and activity ideas for continuing hydro outside of the group.

To find out more about the Starfish Hydrotherapy program (north), click here.

To find out more about the Starfish Hydrotherapy program (south), click here.

Social Skills Group

When: Monday afternoons

Duration of group: 1 hour, 15 minutes for 6 weeks

Social Skills support groups are a fun way for school aged children to develop their social confidence and skills in a supportive environment.

The group runs after school and includes play based group games as well as snack time, which is an opportunity for sharing and developing conversation skills. Children range in age from 6 to 11 years and are grouped based on their ability level.

The Social Skills support group is run by a speech pathologist and occupational therapist and is designed to target skills such as joining in, maintaining shared attention, turn taking and waiting, self-regulation, developing theory of mind (empathy and awareness of others), conversation skills (such as asking questions and telling), initiating and negotiating in play.

To find out more, click here.

Strong and Steady Group

When: Term 3 school holidays

Duration of group: 1 hour a day for 4 days
Strong and Steady is a physical activity group that will be run by our physiotherapists during the term 3 school holidays.

The group is targeted to children aged between 10 and 15 years and will include pilates and gym inspired exercises.

Strong and Steady aims to increase strength, fitness, coordination and balance whilst having fun.

Circle of Security

When: Term 1 and 2

Duration of group: 8 weeks

Circle of Security (COS) is an eight week, video based support group program which focuses on the relationship between the parent and child and helps parents to identify what their child is communicating by their behaviour.

COS is not a parent education class, but rather an attachment-based parent reflection class designed to engage parent’s wisdom and help parents feel more confident to follow and meet their child’s needs.

COS is for parents and carers of children aged 0 to 8 years old. Senses Australia will be running groups in the future for parents and carers of older children.

To find out more, click here.

Sequential Oral Sensory Program

When: Term 1

Duration of group: 8 weeks

The Sequential Oral Sensory (SOS) Program encourages children to interact with food in a playful, non-stressful way, beginning with the ability to tolerate the food in the room and in front of the child, then moving to touching, smelling and eventually tasting the foods.

The program also aims to increase your child’s comfort level with foods by exploring and learning about the different properties of food.

To find out more, click here.