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The end of year and the festive season can be filled with fun and anticipation but can also bring challenges for everyone, including children living with a disability. As we approach Christmas and the holiday season it can be helpful to have some tips up your sleeve of ways to prepare your child for family occasions, trips away and changes to the regular weekly routine. The team of occupational therapists and speech pathologists at Everyday Independence have contributed some ideas, that may be helpful for your family. The aim is to prepare and support your child so this can be an enjoyable time for the whole family. Remember to chat to your therapists about any concerns you may have so that we can best support your family.

Tip 1: Have a discussion with your child about who will be at your Christmas functions. For example: at Christmas lunch will be Nan, Pa, Aunty Megan, Uncle Tim and cousins Angus and Matilda. A visual story with photos of these people and the place or setting can help too.

Tip 2: Encourage your child to bring along a transition or favourite toy to social events. Something that is familiar can help to calm your child in a new environment or somewhere you go only occasionally.

Tip 3: Create a school holiday visual schedule to help your child understand what is planned for each day. It could be a visit to the park, staying with grandparents, a shopping trip or going to a school holiday program.

Tip 4: Use the holiday time to prepare your child for changes at school in 2018. If starting at a new school take the time to familiarise your child with the new environment without the crowds. Identify where they will arrive each morning, where to find their classroom and toilets. You could pack a school lunchbox and eat as a family in the playground.

Tip 5: Think about toys, games or homemade activities that might be fun for your child whilst also providing a therapeutic benefit. Talk to your therapist about some ideas that could help and be lots of fun for all.

Tip 6: Make a ‘list of things to do when you have nothing to do’. This helps protect parents from the “I am bored” mantra.

We hope you enjoy a safe and happy holiday time together.

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Reach your pOTential 

This week we celebrate OT week so it is a great opportunity to talk about the many ways our Occupational Therapists (OT’s) can help people of all stages of life reach their full potential. 

At Everyday Independence our OT’s work with people across the lifespan, focusing on the occupations that bring meaning to their lives. 

The diverse work ranges from handwriting and sensory integration programs for children through to stroke rehabilitation and care needs assessments for adults and seniors.

Lilly, an OT who is based in our Barwon team said it’s incredible being able to make a genuine difference in someone’s life. 

“I love personalising a client’s journey and making sure they can live their life their way”, she said. 

OT’s find ways for you or a family member to do tasks more easily in all parts of your lives. OT’s do this through asking about and seeing what you can do. 

When they know about your movement and strength in any particular activity, OT’s can give you advice about how best to do something more easily and safely. 

“Most clients I see often don’t realise their true potential and my favourite part of my job is being able to open a person’s eyes to the endless possibilities they have”, Lilly said. 

Over the school holidays, Lilly facilitated a program - Looking Good, Feeling Great which is a self-care and grooming group developed and led by occupational therapists for girls aged 10 -17 run through Everyday Independence. 

The aim of the program is to learn about healthy hygiene habits and practice a range of beauty and self care skills and techniques. 

As an OT, Lilly was able to adapt the program to ensure all the participants were able to thrive in the group and participate in the activities. 

“At the end of the program, it was great to see the girls forming friendships with each other and their confidence and self-esteem developed in a really positive way”, she said. 

Problem solving and thinking outside the box in a variety of situations were key elements in making sure the program ran smoothly. 

“I believe that we are all capable of anything as long as we have someone to believe in us. If you can think it, you can do it and its my role as an OT to come up with a way so they can”, Lilly said.

OT week helps promote the many ways occupational therapy can help people at all stages of life to reach their full potential. 

Celebrate Occupational Therapy during OT Week 22-28 October 2017 and join the conversation #OTWEEK2017


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Thank you Carers

This week is Carer’s Week (15-21 October 2017). Carers come in all shapes and sizes from a variety of backgrounds, with a variety of tasks and jobs.

Carers are an integral part of the Australia’s health system and are the foundation of our aged, disability, palliative and community care systems. Australia has over 2.7 million unpaid carers which is 12% of the population. 

“At Everyday Independence, carers are a huge part of a person's therapy journey. We work directly with carers to assist them to support the people we work with at home, at work or in the community”, said Ingrid Cole, Director at Everyday Independence.


Carers provide care and support to family members and friends who have a disability, mental illness, chronic condition, terminal illness or who is an older person with care needs.

Being a carer does not define a person, but it can shape a person. National Carers Week is about recognising and celebrating the outstanding contribution unpaid carers make to our nation. 

It’s a great opportunity this week take the time to show support and recognise each Carer’s dedication to their families and friends and say thank you. Together we can build a carer friendly Australia. National Carers Week 2017 provides you with a chance to learn about carers and caring in Australia

Follow the conversation #CARERS2017


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This week is Speech Pathology week, and we’re celebrating the wonderful work speech pathologists do in the community. This year’s theme is “Communication access. Everyone gets the message”.  

At Everyday Independence we value our Speech Pathologists and the work they do with people who have communication or swallowing disorders that impact on their daily life.  

Talking to Julia, one of our Speech Pathologists, she said she sees first-hand how much of a barrier communication difficulties can be in accessing the community.  Julia said it is really important for our community to be accessible for everyone, including people with communication difficulties, physical difficulties and intellectual disabilities.  “We need to have a greater awareness and understanding of communication disabilities within our community, and for all of us to learn how to interact with people with communication disabilities”, she said. 

Speech Pathology Australia estimates that over 1.1 million Australians, around 5% of our population, have a communication disorder. 

Just recently, Julia worked intensively with a man in his 40’s who struggled everyday to communicate with people in his local community. Going into the bank, walking along the main street and buying his groceries would be a stressful experience for him as he struggled to communicate what his needs and requirements were. He would feel quite anxious and hide from interaction with other members of the community.  He avoided getting his items at the supermarket or getting his jobs done at the bank because he didn’t have the confidence to speak to anyone. 

Over a four month period, Julia worked with him to slowly increase his speech, increasing his words and sentences which enabled him to respond to the bank staff when they welcomed him into the building. He now says hello to the bus driver and happily walks into the supermarket responding to staff when he purchases his weekly shopping. 

This is just one of many stories we see everyday that demonstrate how important communication is in our everyday life. 

Communication is a basic human right and Speech Pathology Week seeks to promote this fact.

During Speech Pathology Week 2017 join the conversations about communication accessibility and help make sure “everyone gets the message” by participating on social media by using #SPWeek.

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We are looking for a physiotherapist to join our Melbourne team and an occupational therapist to join our team in Sydney.

Both roles offer flexibility in relation to which of our locations you work from. For the right person we offer a highly competitive salary, provision of a laptop, mobile phone and vehicle reimbursement/provision. We will consider a range of employment options including casual and part-time arrangements in addition to the ability to work from home and/or in the office environment. We also offer industry leading professional development programme for all members of our organisation.

Click here to find out more about the roles.

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