01 Dec 2020

Extending our therapy support for children with disability

Throughout 2020, we’ve been working hard behind the scenes to extend our Allied Health team to provide therapy support in more areas. Joining our passionate, multidisciplinary team, we now have occupational therapists, physiotherapists and speech pathologists supporting children and young people with a disability in the following areas:


  • North Lakes
  • Wooloowin / Lutwyche
  • Ipswich
  • Logan
  • Deception Bay


Our clinicians work together closely as a team, and with our families, to provide the support that gives children with disability the best outcomes to reach their therapy goals. Let’s take a look at how occupational therapy, physiotherapy and speech pathology support our children and young people to live better lives.


What is occupational therapy?

According to the Occupational Therapy Australia website “Occupational therapy enables people to participate in activities they find meaningful. These activities include taking care of oneself (and others), working, volunteering, and participating in hobbies, interests and social events.”


At Xavier, when speaking with families we say that occupational therapy helps children and young people with a disability to participate in everyday activities and to do more of the things that they love as individuals, with their families and in community and education settings (such as school or childcare).


Who delivers occupational therapy?

Occupational therapy (OT) is delivered by an occupational therapist who is a university qualified health professional, registered with the Occupational Therapy Board of Australia.


How does occupational therapy support children with a disability?

For children with a disability, occupational therapy develops the skills that they need to undertake everyday tasks, to learn, to experience life, to play, have fun, to participate and to be included. OT can help children and young people with a disability in any of the following ways and more:

  • Learn and improve everyday skills such as going to the toilet, brushing their teeth and dressing
  • Support with mealtimes so that children can increase their independence in feeding
  • Fine motor skills such grasping or holding a pencil or paintbrush
  • Sensory processing and regulation
  • Prescribing mobility equipment and assistive technology to meet their needs
  • Advice on home and vehicle modifications
  • Support with transitions and routines to reduce stress and anxiety
  • Inclusion and participation at home, at school or childcare or in community settings

What is speech therapy?

Speech therapy (also know as speech pathology) supports individuals who experience challenges with speech, communication and swallowing.


Who delivers speech therapy?

According to the Speech Pathology Australia website “Speech pathologists are university trained allied health professionals with expertise in the assessment and treatment of communication and/or swallowing difficulties.”


A speech pathologist will study, diagnose and treat communication disorders, including difficulties with speaking, listening, understanding language, reading, writing, social skills, stuttering and using voice. People who experience difficulties with swallowing food and drink safely can also be supported by a speech pathologist.


How does speech therapy support children with a disability?

Speech therapy can support children and young people with a disability in many ways. If your child experiences any of the following then speech therapy can help.

Articulation disorders – challenges with forming certain word sounds.

Fluency disorders – these affect the flow, rhythm and speed of speech, for example stuttering is a fluency disorder.

Resonance disorders – occur when an obstruction or blockage of air flow in the nasal or oral cavities alters the vibrations responsible for voice quality.

Receptive disorders – when children have trouble understanding and processing what others say.

Expressive disorders – this is difficulty conveying or expressing information.

Cognitive communication disorders – difficulty communicating because of an injury to the part of the brain that controls thoughts.

Aphasia – an acquired communication disorder that affects a child’s ability to speak and understand others.

Dysarthria – slow or slurred speech due to inability or weakness to control the muscles needed for speech.


What is physiotherapy?

Sometimes physiotherapy is misunderstood in the context of how it supports children and young people with disability. It can be thought of as a treatment for sports injuries and other types of rehabilitation. This is true, however, it is not the whole picture.

Explained in simple terms, physiotherapy uses physical techniques to improve movement, reduce pain and stiffness, speed up the healing process and increase quality of life. This has many positive impacts for children and young people with disability who face physical challenges in their everyday lives.


Who delivers physiotherapy?

All physiotherapists must be registered with the Australian Health Practitioner Registration Agency (AHPRA). They must be university qualified, have insurance and be continuing their education.


How does physiotherapy support children with a disability?

For children with a disability, treatment can look different for each child, depending on their diagnosis, ability and goals. Our physiotherapy team support children with physical and multiple disability to:

  • develop, improve and maintain movement
  • reach motor milestones such as crawling, walking, sitting, standing and co-ordination
  • maintain or improve strength, muscle tone and flexibility
  • recommend and prescribe mobility equipment such as walkers and standers
  • manage pain and stiffness
  • improve body positioning and posture
  • provide respiratory support
  • develop skills for play and inclusion


Further information

Our therapy team are ready to support children and young people with a disability to reach their therapy goals. We are working with children, young people and their families in all of the following areas:


  • Brisbane north
  • Brisbane south
  • Bayside
  • Deception Bay
  • North Lakes
  • Bald Hills
  • Ipswich
  • Logan
  • Wooloowin
  • Lutwyche
  • Northern Gold Coast


To enquire about availability near you, simply email, call 1800 XAVIER or visit our occupational therapy, speech therapy or physiotherapy page and complete the simple enquiry form.