Welcome to our Health & Wellbeing Advice Blog!
Here, you will find information about all things health and wellbeing.
Our weekly entries are full of engaging and useful information and resources.
From adults to children, rehabilitation to behaviour, movement to communication, we hope you will find this blog helpful.
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Health & Wellbeing Advice
- What are visual schedules?
- Who can use them?
- How can they be used?
What is a visual schedule?
A visual schedule communicates the sequence of upcoming activities or events through the use of objects, photographs, icons, words, or a combination of tangible supports. A visual schedule can tell a child where they should be and what they should be doing. Visual schedules are designed to match the individual needs of a child and may vary in length and form and can be used in a variety of settings including school and home.
Visual Schedules and Reinforcers
Visual schedules support understanding by breaking down complex instructions. Children can refer to this for support during an activity and better understand the sequence of tasks. Visual schedules can also support attention and engagement as children understand expectations. Visual schedules and reward charts can be provided to support students to maintain attention to tasks.
Who can use a visual schedule?
Anyone! Any individual can use a visual schedule to help support the completion of daily activities in any environment!
How do you use a visual schedule?
- Identify the skill or routine you want to focus on. Breakdown the activity into steps. Choose a suitable visual format, this could be a “first- then” layout or a series of steps depending on the complexity of the task. Using photographs may be helpful for children to understand as they can easily associate the picture of an object to routine activity.
- Place the visual schedule in a location that is easy for the child to refer to throughout the activity or the day.
- Prior to starting the first activity or routine on the schedule, review all the upcoming planned activities with your child. Ensure the child is understanding what is required.
- Point out any unexpected changes in routine to ensure your child is aware of what is occurring/ going to occur.
- Point to the first routine and provide a verbal instruction, for example “The first task is to get your reader bag”. Providing this verbal instruction allows your child to process the information. If your child requires additional support, consider pointing in the direction which the activity or routine is to be completed or pointing or tapping on the task materials to assist your child’s understanding.
- Assist the completion of the activity or routine by providing assistance as necessary. This can be through simple verbal reminders or physical assistance.
- Provide positive reinforcement for following and completing routines independently (e.g. praise, such as “Great job coming to circle” or “Good sitting and painting”.)
Note: Include a reward/reinforcer as the final step to enhance motivation to complete the task.
Where to find a visual schedule:
You can download our Visual Schedule Template.
We have also included a variety of blank visual schedules below , so you can create your own schedule at home.
Alternatively, visit the Teachers Pay Teachers website for a range of Visual Schedules available for purchase.
Receiving extra support:
We hope this explanation on how to use Visual Schedules has been helpful. If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to call our friendly reception staff!
Amelia Sharrad – Allied Health Assistant
7th June 2022
Play is an important and enjoyable way for children to stay active, improve wellbeing and develop important skills. Play is not only fun for children but is also an effective way to learn new skills required for thinking, language development, problem solving, creativity and emotional regulation.
What is imaginative play?
Imaginative play is when a child uses their imagination to role-play scenarios in a safe and fun environment. Imaginative play is open-ended and unstructured with no rules, goals or intended result. Examples of imaginative play include pretending to cook, saving the world, fighting bad guys, slaying dragons and more exciting adventures. There is no limit to imaginative play, it can involve props and costumes and be acted out anywhere.
Why is it important?
Imaginative play has a significant impact on children’s development and assists in improving their social and language skills, creativity and problem-solving abilities. Imaginative play also helps children understand and make sense of things that they have seen or experienced. It supports the development of creativity and intellectual development through use of imagination. It gives children opportunities to practice decision-making and social skills such as sharing and collaborating with others.
Along with this, imaginative play helps keep children active, promotes physical development and improves emotional wellbeing in a fun way. Activities such as dressing a baby doll assist with developing hand-eye coordination, and helps children learn to move and control their hands in different ways. Additionally, activities such as running around pretending to be a horse helps with gross motor development and coordination.
Finally, this form of play provides an opportunity for children to practice and develop their language and social skills by being with and talking to other children. Overall, imaginative play allows kids to relax, let go, and just be kids.
How to introduce imaginative play at home?
Below are some examples of imaginative play activities you can try with your children today.
The imaginative play ideas below can be used with your children at any time with little to no preparation or props required. Whilst it is encouraged that you support your child when they are engaging in imaginative play it is important that you do not begin imposing your own ideas and structure the play yourself.
- Become a chef and cook an imaginary meal
Bring out some pretend ingredients and get cooking.
- Have a tea party of a picnic
Invite along teddy and his friend and throw a wonderful tea party or picnic
- Be a superhero or a bad guy
Be a villain and get up to some mischief or be a hero and save the day.
- Get creative and make a box into anything
Find an old box and let your imagination run wild. Is it a bear’s cave or maybe a spaceship?
- Put on a show
Make some puppets and put on a show.
- Get gardening
Don’t have space for a real garden? No problem, grab some paper and pencils and make a fake garden complete with magic beans.
- Run a café or a shop
Set up a market stall or grocery store counter and get selling.
- Use your imagination
Anything can be used as an opportunity for imaginative play. Encourage your child to think creatively and follow along with their story line.
What to do if you have any concerns about your child’s play development?
If you have any concerns about your child’s play development, please don’t hesitate to call our friendly reception staff or jump on our website to join our waitlist today.
Amelia Sharrad – Allied Health Assistant
- Fluency vs disfluency
- What is a stutter?
- What therapy options are there for stuttering?
- Tips for talking with someone who stutters
FLUENCY VS DISFLUENCY
Fluency is how fast, accurate and expressive we say words so that we can be understood by others. Everyone has disfluent moments at times, especially when experiencing emotions or states such as anxiety, embarrassment, fear or fatigue. This normal disfluency is when we make 1-2 repetitions of a word (e.g. I want – want) or a phrase (e.g. I want to – I want to go home). These repetitions happen every now and then and do not interrupt the flow of conversation.
Children often show normal disfluency between the ages of 3-6 years old while they learn how to use language and speak in longer sentences. These disfluencies are expected to disappear as the child becomes more confident in their language skills. Children who speak more than one language may have an increased amount of normal disfluencies compared to those who speak one language during this time.
WHAT IS A STUTTER?
When a person’s disfluency begins to look like sound (s-s-s-stop), syllable (act-act-act-actually), word (in-in-in-in) or phrase repetitions with more than 2 repeats, stretching out/getting stuck on sounds e.g. ssssssssunny, or the mouth appears ‘stuck’ and there’s no breathing or sound coming out resulting in an unexpected pause e.g. I like ……..cooking. This is likely to be a fluency disorder called stuttering.
Other behaviours that can be observed with stuttering include using lots of filler words e.g., “um the um um dog is like like um running um away,” avoiding talking, excessive blinking, unexpected changes in pitch or loudness, and facial grimacing. The dysfluent moments occur one after the other and there is usually obvious tension in the face, neck and/or body as the person tries to get out what they’d like to say.
WHAT THERAPY OPTIONS ARE THERE FOR STUTTERING?
Two of the most common and evidence-based therapy programs for stuttering in children include the Lidcombe Program and the Westmead program. These programs are parent-led and includes 10-15 minutes of focus daily. Lidcombe program involves the parent commenting on the child’s speech whereas Westmead program involves the child speaking in the rhythm of the syllables in a word e.g. he-li-cop-ter.
Therapy programs for teenagers and adults include stutter modification (using strategies to modify stutters), smooth speech program (uses continuous airflow to change the speech pattern) and Camperdown Program (learning a novel speech pattern that is incompatible with stuttering).
TIPS FOR TALKING WITH SOMEONE WHO STUTTERS
- Speak to them in an unhurried way
- Show that you’re interested in what they have to say
- Allow them the time to speak with no interruptions
- Try not to tell them to slow down or relax
- Try not to finish their sentence for them
- Try not to make stuttering something to be ashamed of
- Ask them questions to clarify after they finished speaking if you struggled to understand them
- Encourage turn taking in conversations
- Acknowledge the stutters and let them know that it’s their brain working hard to keep time for all their words
Sarah Colangelo – Speech Pathologist
So you think you can dance?
There is often a misconception that the only way to exercise to reap any health benefits is going to the gym. However, not everyone enjoys this and it’s not the only way to move your body.
This year I have taken up salsa dancing and it has been so much fun, and definitely something I want to keep up!
Dancing is a great option for people of all ages, shapes and sizes. Even my 84-year-old Nanna is not opposed to a boogie from time to time! Dancing also has numerous benefits for both your physical and mental health.
Some of these benefits include;
- Improved muscular strength, endurance and cardiovascular fitness
- Promotes stronger bones and reduces risk of osteoporosis
- Improved coordination
- Increased flexibility
- Improved brain function
- Improved balance and spatial awareness
- Improved confidence and overall psychological well-being
- Improved condition of your lungs and heart
(Better Health Vic, 2022)
Dancing can also be great because you can do it in a group setting (i.e., dance studio, community hall, with friends etc.), with a partner or in the safety of your home. It is accessible for everyone! There are also a variety of styles that you can try from salsa, ballet, ballroom, disco, jazz or just your own moves that you have made up.
If this sounds like a form of exercise that you might enjoy but don’t know if it is suitable for you, book in to see one of our great physiotherapists or exercise physiologists and they can help you out!
Alison Harvey – Physiotherapist
Exercise is important for people at any age however is particularly important for children to help improve their wellbeing, gross and fine motor skills, balance and coordination, strength and fitness, communication and interaction skill and help to improve their overall quality of life.
What does exercise look like for children?
Exercises for children is not going to look the same as it does for an adult! As an adult we normally think of a structured exercise program which includes sets and reps however a child will often get bored completing this and won’t maintain motivation to continue. Therefore, exercise will look more like playing sport, playing games, playing on the playground, using imaginative play, etc. These will all still require the child to use gross motor movements to complete the required task of the activity and will allow the child to have some fun whilst doing so.
Why is exercise important?
Exercise has a significant impact on a child’s wellbeing. It can help with a child’s physical health such as improving their cardiovascular endurance, strength, balance and coordination. It can also encourage a healthy growth and development and a better posture.
Exercise has also been proven to not just help kids physically but also mentally with lowering their stress levels, improving their self-esteem, improving academic scores and increasing concentration levels. It additionally gives a child an environment to socialise and communicate with other people learning social cues and general communication skills. Lastly it increases a child’s energy expenditure which can encourage a better night sleep.
How to introduce exercise at home?
Below are some examples of exercise-based activities that you can try with your children.
Be mindful that not all children will enjoy all of these ideas, you will need to try a few and see what your child likes best.
- Play on a playground – Encourage them to use all equipment – climbing ladders, monkey bars, swinging, etc.
- Ball Sport Play – Ball sport such as basketball, soccer, netball, football, etc, all increase a child’s object control abilities as well as their balance and coordination. You can set up “goals” using mats, pans, rope, etc.
- Obstacle course – This can be very simple around the house. Include jumping over something, crawling under something, running, balancing on a line. You can add in exercises to this as well! (e.g. Crawl under the table, climb over the box, complete 10 star jumps and run 1 lap around the house to the finish line)
- Card Games – An easy game is go fish! If someone guesses wrong and they have to “go fish” as well as having to pick up a card, they also have a punishment. For example, 10 squats. This can be implemented into any card game.
- Walk – Some children just really enjoy being outdoors! If you feel like they need something to do whilst you are walking though you can provide them with a checklist of things to find or take a photo of. For example, take a photo of a duck, a bird, a snail, a pretty rock, some grass, the number 5 (could be on a letterbox) etc.
What to do if you have any concerns?
If you have any concerns about your child’s exercise levels, strength, coordination, balance, or general fitness development please don’t hesitate to call our friendly reception staff!
Stephanie Curnow – Exercise Physiologist
Let us introduce you to The Bounce Back ‘Women’s Health’ Physiotherapy Department.
Hello and welcome from the Women’s Health & Pelvic physiotherapists, Fiona, Mel and Naomi. We are 3 Physio’s who are passionate about helping women solve their pelvic health needs and regain their confidence.
It’s been a busy month here in the clinic for us! This month has included Continence Awareness Week and Pelvic Organ Prolapse Awareness Month! Mel and Fiona have also undergone an intensive professional development training month, getting them equipped with all the skills necessary to deliver you a thorough and detailed assessment. This now means, thanks to popular demand, that Bounce Back Health is now offering more available time to consult those seeking women health expertise (which we are super excited about!).
With June being a huge month for Women’s Health; lets start with some fun facts. Did you know…
- 1 in 4 Australians over the age of 15 years experience bladder or bowel control problems. That’s 5 million Australians and it’s expected to grow to 6.5 million by 2030 (Not if we can help it!)
- 1 in 3 women who have ever had a baby experience incontinence
- Pelvic floor muscle exercises have been shown to prevent and treat incontinence at any age
- 70% of people with incontinence do not seek help
- Incontinence can have a long-term physical and emotional impact; affecting self-esteem, motivation and independence.
- Bladder and bowel control problems are NOT a natural part or ageing or having a baby
(Facts delivered from the Continence Foundation of Australia)
So please, come and see us! We delight in offering you the highest quality care and we strive to make you feel like your self again because EVERYONE DESERVES TO FEEL BETTER.
The Women’s Health Department at Bounce Back Health offer services relating to:
- Pre-natal, pregnancy & post-partum care
- Pelvic pain
- Musculoskeletal concerns
- Painful intercourse
- Pain associated with endometriosis
- Pelvic organ prolapse / pelvic heaviness or dragging sensation
- Urge and stress urinary incontinence
- Pelvic surgical rehabilitation
And much more
If you’d like to find out more about our Women’s Health Physiotherapy Department, find us on Instagram @bounceback_womenshealth where we share useful information and tips about all things Women’s Health.
Bye for now,
Your lady Physio’s
Mel, Fiona & Naomi
If this blog post brings up some difficult emotions for you, there are supports available:
- PANDA (Support for Perinatal Anxiety & Depression)
- Gidget Foundation Australia (Free telehealth for new and expectant parents)
- Lifeline (24/7 Mental Health Support)
Today we’re talking about Birth Trauma. This can be a heavy topic, and something that has touched the lives of many women and their partners.
From the 17th to 24th of July was Birth Trauma Awareness week. This year’s focus was Birth Injuries – these can be physical, psychological or a combination of both.
There’s ALOT to talk about when it comes to covering birth trauma and injuries – in this blog we’ll touch briefly on the type of injuries that can occur during birth, how physiotherapy can help, and what you can do to help prepare (physically and psychologically!) to reduce the risk of experiencing birth trauma.
It’s important to note that the term ‘Birth Trauma’ covers physical injuries as well as negative psychological effects from birth. Symptoms of psychological trauma can range from PTSD or postnatal anxiety/depression through to feelings of failure and feeling let down by the healthcare system. Having unexpected events happen such as your baby arriving prematurely, needing a NICU stay, or you requiring surgery can also seriously impact the way you experience birth and can leave long lasting emotional scars. Remember, YOU are the one that determines whether your birth was traumatic – no one else can determine that label for you. When you come to see us in the clinic carrying your birth trauma with you – we are here to listen. What you have been through mentally is just as important as the physical problem that has bought you to physiotherapy. We have 60 minute initial women’s health physiotherapy appointments for this reason – we want to hear YOUR story!
In terms of physical trauma – these are some of the physical injuries that can occur as a result of birth. If you have any of these injuries, a trip in to see us is going to be very beneficial to help you rehabilitate.
These are classified by stages; Stage 1 (perineal skin), Stage 2 (skin and muscle), Stage 3 (skin, muscle and anal sphincter muscle), Stage 4 (skin, muscle, anal sphincter muscle and mucosa). Tears are repaired with stitches following delivery. A distressing result of having a tear extend to the anal sphincter can be faecal incontinence. However, some good news – the pelvic floor muscles and external anal sphincter are structures that can be rehabilitated.
Levator Ani avulsion
This is when part of the levator ani muscle (which makes up some of the pelvic floor muscle complex that supports your pelvic organs), is partially or fully torn away from its bony attachment on the pubic bone. Whilst we can’t re-attach the muscle with physiotherapy, we can help to strengthen the rest of the pelvic floor muscles and aim to prevent further issues from occurring, such as prolapse (see below!)
Pelvic Organ Prolapse
We won’t go into all the details about this one (it’s a blog post in itself!) – but sometimes after birth the pelvic organs (balder, uterus or bowel) can begin to press down and ‘bulge’ onto the vaginal wall, causing issues with pain, create feelings of heaviness or dragging and cause bladder and bowel symptoms. Prolapses aren’t always able to be diagnosed immediately at birth – but are something that we can look at, diagnose and help treat in the clinic.
Other physical injuries and conditions that can occur during child birth include pudendal neuralgia (nerve damage), coccyx fractures, blood clots, infected stitches, bladder damage and excessive blood loss.
For readers who are pregnant or planning a pregnancy and are feeling anxious, scared or worried about Birth Trauma, we hear you! It can feel confronting to start looking at the types of injuries that can occur.
Time for some good news though – there are things you can do to prepare for birth that reduce your risk of physical injury!
This is bread and butter to us as women’s health physiotherapists and something we can help guide you through.
- Perineal massage to help relax and stretch the tissues of your perineum
- Pelvic floor muscle RELAXATION. Yes, strength is important… but so is being able to completely relaaax your pelvic floor muscles for baby to make his/her way through.
- Physical activity. It’s important for you to feel physically strong for labour and birth. Additionally, the more accustomed you and bubs are to having an increase in your heart rate during exercise, the better prepared you both are for exerting yourselves during labour.
- Stretching (hips, lower back, groin). Again, important for you to be nice and limber for the marathon of labour!
Mentally and psychologically, research and anecdotal evidence tells us that the following can also help:
- Ensure your birth preparation/education covers different types of deliveries (vaginal and caesarean, breech presentation, instrumental deliveries)
- Talk to your healthcare provider about your birth preferences
- Explore and practice the different types of positions you might like to try during labour – this is something we can help to give you ideas on!
- Practice mindfulness and repeat positive mantras/affirmations leading up to your labour
- Seek support if you are feeling overwhelmed and anxious about your delivery
If you need podcast, book, documentary or birth course recommendations to continue looking into physical and mental birth preparation please get in touch! We LOVE immersing ourselves in all things birth prep and birth education. As always, please DM us with any questions on Instagram @bounceback_womenshealth. You can also phone one of our clinics or book an appointment online with myself, Fiona or Naomi for an antenatal or postnatal assessment.
See you in the clinic!
Your lady physio,
Mel Clayfield – Women’s Health Physiotherapist
Books introduce your child to new worlds and can help your child learn language and build vocabulary. Book reading lays the foundation for reading and writing skills needed later in life. The earlier you begin to read and tell stories to your child, the sooner reading will become an important an enjoyable part of their life. Make reading a part of your everyday routine!
The importance of book reading:
Reading together with your child makes a huge impact on word exposure, which helps build their vocabulary and language skills. It is important to expose children to books from very early in their life in order to see a positive impact on their developing language skills.
Logan et al. (2019) correlated data from 60 commonly read children’s books to estimate the number of words that children are exposed to during book reading sessions for the first five years of life.
They found that on average, board books contain 140 word, and picture books contain 228 words.
Based on these numbers, here’s how many words children are exposed to by the time they turn five years old if they have been read to…
0 times (never read with): 4,662 words
1-2 times per week: 63,570 words
3-5 times per week: 169,520 words
1 book daily: 296,660 words
Multiple books per day: 1,483,300 words
Strategies for book reading with your child:
- You don’t have to start at the beginning of the book each time
- You can skip pages and not finish the book
- Don’t focus on reading stories word-for-word; take time to talk about the pictures and what is happening
- You can read the same book over and over again, even in one sitting! Repetition helps the child become more familiar with the book
- Use funny voices, sounds, exaggerated actions, and movements to go with the story to support the child’s attention and engagement
- Model sounds and words to accompany the story and pictures
- When the child is familiar with the story, pause at predictable parts for the child to fill in the blank
- Try to balance asking questions with reading the story, making comments or naming things in the pictures
- Let the child lead when reading books; follow their pace and let them look at each page in their own time. Talk about the things they are showing an interest in on the page
- Try not to rush through reading the story. Slow down your rate of speech to allow the child time to process what is being said, and to hear the individual words
- Use props (toys, household items, etc.) that complement the story. Show them and act the story out while you read it
- Reduce distractions; turn off background noise, put screens out of view, so you can focus on reading the book together
Alyce Carmichael – Speech Pathologist