Occupational Therapy

   

"Thoughtful actions cause a ripple effect of positivity"

Occupational Therapy

Nurturing Children’s Positivity and Potential

Finding Balance Occupational Therapy is a paediatric occupational therapy service which works closely, and respectfully with children and their families.

Finding Balance has a unique, multidimensional and holistic focus in the Occupational Therapy services they offer. In addition to addressing concerns with children’s developmental and learning difficulties, as mental health occupational therapists, we work with children and families experiencing emotional and mental health issues.

Finding Balance Occupational Therapy provides assessment, treatment and ongoing management of a wide range of childhood and adolescent concerns.

Children can attend occupational therapy sessions at our new and well resourced clinic in Nedlands, WA, their school, or if need be, in their own home.

Our

Services offered

Fine Motor Skills

Fine motor skills are the precise movements the small muscles of the hand perform to participate in everyday activities including self-care tasks, school-based learning, physical activity, play. We use our hands in a multitude of ways throughout our lifespan. Fine motor skills are the foundation skill required for literacy and numeracy development and functional independence (using cutlery, tying shoe laces, opening lunch boxes, doing up buttons, using scissors). In order to use our hands successfully, the following independent skills are required to work well together:

  • Hand and finger strength
  • Hand dominance
  • Using the right amount of strength or pressure for the task ( pencil pressure on paper )
  • Sensory awareness
  • Postural control
  • Body awareness
  • Shoulder stability
  • Bilateral integration (using two hands together with dominant hand leading)
  • In hand manipulation (thumb, index and middle fingers separately from the rest of the hand as needed when writing, turning pages, buttoning, managing coins)
  • Crossing midline -the ability for a body part to automatically move over to the other side of the body to perform the task i.e. move one hand, foot or eye into the space of the opposite hand, foot or eye as in reading left to right. This represents the important skills of both sides of the brain communicating with each other, in order to coordinate movement and learning
  • Hand eye coordination

Signs of reduced fine motor skills:

  • Uses both hands to pick up or hold object
  • Difficulty with age appropriate self-care tasks
  • Dislikes tasks involving precise movements of the hand (lego construction
  • Difficulty cutting, writing, colouring, drawing
  • Difficulty using age appropriate pencil or tool grasp
  • Fatigues easily with fine motor activities
  • Avoids or refuses to engage in fine motor activities
  • Easily frustrated when engaged in fine motor activities
  • Academic ability does not match written ability

If you feel your child is struggling with Fine Motor Skills, please contact
Finding Balance Occupational Therapy and Play Therapy

Gross Motor Skills

Gross motor skills are movements that involve using the larger muscle groups of the body eg. legs, arms and the core stabilising muscles. Gross motor skills enable us to perform everyday tasks such as walking, running, climbing, hoping, riding a bike, sit upright on a chair, catch and hit a ball.

Balance and body coordination are closely related to gross motor development. Age appropriate balance enables children to perform everyday activities. Balance is required to maintain our body position in both still and moving tasks.

Children usually find it easier to control large muscles of the body, and perform gross motor movements before they can use the small muscles of the body with precision, as required in fine motor skills.

Gross motor skills require motor planning. Motor planning is the ability to think through and act upon a movement. A child with poor motor planning skills, may have the strength to perform the required movement ( for example: climb a playground structure ) yet, is not sure where to position their body, feet and hands to successfully complete the movement.

Children with difficulties with gross motor skills, balance, and motor planning will often avoid activities or games that require these skills, finding themselves unable, or unwilling to join the play.

Signs of reduced gross motor skills:

  • Becomes easily tired with physical activity
  • Appears less skilled than children their own age
  • Clumsy, poor balance or moves stiffly
  • Difficulty sitting upright
  • Avoids physical activity
  • Has trouble following instructions with multiple steps
  • Slow to reach motor milestones
  • Problems with handwriting

If you feel your child is struggling with Gross Motor Skills, please contact
Finding Balance Occupational Therapy and Play Therapy

The Importance of Handwriting

Handwriting is one of the most complex skills a child needs to master.

Information technology has become an increasingly, and accessible way to communicate in both the home and academic learning environments.

Computers, tablets, smart phones, online gaming mediums, and voice recognition technology now play an important role in learning, raising a debate as to the future relevance of the hand-written word.

Children spend up to 60% of the school day using pen and paper.
The development of handwriting is not only important in building a child’s self-esteem, it is considered an essential ingredient for success in school. Handwriting remains the main medium through which a student demonstrates their understanding and learning.

The typical school day, requires children to use handwriting to communicate and express their thoughts, demonstrate knowledge and answer questions. School based results are still dependent on written tests, worksheets, assignments, and note taking make up a considerable proportion of the school day.

Legible handwriting will continue to remain a necessary life skill. Handwriting is the means of communication. Writing letters, recording a telephone message, completing an application form, signing documents will require competent handwriting

When the academic demands increase, as the child progresses through primary school, children with handwriting difficulties find the amount of written work challenging and fail to keep up with their peers.

This can lead to a child experiencing low self-esteem and behavioural problems.

Unfortunately, these children can be labelled as uncooperative, difficult, or lacking in motivation, which further frustrates and disappoints the child and family.

Teachers and examiners have been known to mark a test lower, if the handwriting is illegible or difficult to read, despite the content being more than adequate. Writing difficulties can overshadow a child’s capabilities by preventing them to demonstrating the true extent of ideas, understanding, or creativity.

Children are not born with the ability to write. Handwriting is a complex psycho-motor skill that requires explicit teaching and lots of practice.

If a child is unable to form letters and spell words without having to think, it is very hard for them to be able to translate the thoughts and language in their mind to legible written text. Being able to write without having to think about what a letter looks like, or how to spell a word is known as automaticity. Without automaticity, creative expression is difficult.

The underlying component skills required for successful handwriting include the following:

• Fine motor control and hand strength
• Functional Pencil grip
• Dominance and grasp
• Upper limb strength and shoulder stability
• Core strength
• Visual- motor integration
• Motor planning
• Visual perceptual skills
• Cognitive processing
• In-hand manipulation
• Sustained attention
• Working memory
• Sensory processing
• Kinesthetic awareness (an awareness of the position and movement of all limbs and joints without visual feedback)

How do I know if my child is having difficulty with handwriting?

• Difficulty keeping up with allocated schoolwork
• Difficult to read legible writing or printing
• Refusal to write or expresses frustration
• Fatigue and pain when writing
• Very slow written output
• Non-dominant hand not used to stabilise the paper
• Slumped posture
• Difficulty copying from the board
• Letter reversals
• Irregular sized and shaped letters
• Difficulty remembering what a letter looks like
• Unfinished letters
• Talks to self-whilst writing
• Behavioural issues
• Nonfunctional grasp

If you feel your child is experiencing handwriting difficulties, please contact
Finding Balance Occupational Therapy and Play Therapy

Visual Perception

Visual perceptual skills allow us to make sense of what we see, including the recognition and identification of shapes, objects and forms such as numbers, letters and words. These skills are intrinsic to the development of spelling, reading and writing, including copying from the board, and functional tasks such as looking for objects within a crowded drawer and dressing. Visual perception is not the same as visual acuity.

A person can have perfect vision (20/20 vision), yet still have problems with visual perceptual processing. Given so much information in the home and classroom is presented visually, children with visual perceptual difficulties can experience difficulties in reading, writing, copying from the board, attention and focus, mathematics, dressing, cutting, jigsaw puzzles and other construction games, readings signs, walking downstairs or becomes easily lost.

A child with visual processing difficulties is still capable of learning to read and write. However, the effort involved is considerable. The process can be tiring, and slow often resulting in a dislike of academic tasks and subsequent frustration and avoidance.

Additional signs of visual perceptual difficulties:
• Difficulty with hidden picture activities
• Distinguishing similarities and differences in the formation of letters
• Remembering sight words
• Trouble copying letters, words and number reversals
• Difficulty catching the ball
• Completing partially drawn pictures
• Remembering left and right
• Forgetting steps or instructions shown in an activity
• Remembering the alphabet in sequence
• Losing their place on a page of words
• Recognising things that should be familiar when environmental conditions change
• Difficulty sorting and organising personal belongings

Visual perception is better understood when described in more specific skills:
• Visual discrimination
• Visual figure ground
• Visual closure
• Visual Form constancy
• Visual memory
• Visual sequential memory
• Visual spatial relations

Please refer to Resources for more detailed information on Visual Perception.

If you feel your child is experiencing difficulties with Visual Perceptionplease contact 
Finding Balance Occupational Therapy and Play Therapy

Attention and Focus

Occupational Therapists are commonly referred children who present with difficulties with sustained attention or focus. These difficulties can present at home, and at school impacting their academic, social and functional performance. There are many reasons as to why some children are easily distracted, and are unable to remain focused on the task at hand. Parents may find that their child takes a very long time to get ready for school ,and notices that they get distracted by something else and forgets to complete what was asked of them. Or parents may become frustrated that their child appears to not hear what is said, or forgets instructions even though they know their hearing is normal.

Teachers may observe children gazing out the window or watching every movement in the class, rarely completing the same amount of work as their peers. Teachers may also observe the distracted child to be disruptive, miss instructions and be unable to begin the task asked of them.

Other behaviours observed in children with attention and focus difficulties:

• Inability to sit still
• Has trouble organising themselves and may lose things
• Poor handwriting
• Issues with anger, frustration, low mood
• Poor movement and coodination skills
• Difficulty making and keeping friends
• Excessive energy or lethargy
• Repeatedly makes the same mistakes
• Jumps from one activity to another never finishing what they started

It is a common assumption that attention and concentration difficulties are due to ADHD ( Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and this can be the first thing parents, teachers and clinicians suspect. However, there are a number of issues that can impact a child’s ability to remain focused, and the first step towards improving a child’s concentration skills, is to understand and address the underlying cause.

Common causes of attention and concentration difficulties:

• Anxiety/ chronic worry
• OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder)
• ADHD
• Stress or trauma
• Learning disorders
• Lack of sleep
• Diet lacking in nutrition
• Receptive language difficulties
• Excessive use of screens in particular prior to sleeping.
• Sensory processing difficulties
• Executive functioning difficulties
• Auditory Processing Disorder

There are many ways an occupational therapist can assist your child further develop their attention and focus. Environmental and emotional supports/ strategies for teachers and parents, are a critical element in ensuring your child develops age appropriate attention to task.

If you feel your child is struggling with Attention and Focus, please contact
Finding Balance Occupational Therapy and Play Therapy

Sensory Processing and Self-Regulation

Sensory Processing
Whether we are at home, in the playground, in the classroom or interacting socially, our brains are constantly receiving sensory information from our surroundings through our seven sensory systems. It is then up to the brain to make sense of it.

We receive sensory input from the outside world, as well as our own body parts. Initially, sensory receptors are stimulated, for example skin is touched, bell is heard.

The stimulation is passed along the nervous system to the brain to be understood, and organised in preparation for an appropriate response to be generated. Sensory experiences allow children to understand environments, making them feel safe.

At other times, sensory experiences can be distressing, causing children to become defensive and withdrawn. Every person experience sensation differently, and as a result, our reactions can be different. What may be a distressing sound for one person has no effect on another.

If a child has a difficulty in a sensory system, it means that this form of sensory input is confusing, upsetting, or not meaningful to the child and can interfere with the ability to complete activities as successfully as other children do.

The sensory system is the foundation of our skill development. Difficulties within one part of the sensory system often can affect other systems. Just as we need a foundation to build a house we need effective sensory processing for the development of our skills.

What is Sensory Processing Disorder?
Sensory Processing Disorder occurs when the brain does not typically process and integrate sensory information. The sensory integration process becomes disordered and the brain is unable to organise and use the sensory information effectively. This results in a child having difficulties in their understanding of the sensory information received and will often respond or behave in a disorganised way. For a child with sensory processing disorder, everyday tasks and behaviours can be particularly challenging.

Self-Regulation of focus and emotions
Self -regulation is the ability to manage our energy levels, emotions, behaviour and attention in accordance to the demands of the situation. Self-regulation plays a critical role in the way a child thinks and learns, interacts socially, manages stressful situations and copes with frustration and disappointment.

Throughout the day, we self-manage our internal feelings and states of arousal in order to express it on the outside, in ways that are considered appropriate both personally and socially. Self-regulation is as much about re- energizing our physical and emotional state, as much as it is about calming it down. For example, a child who is feeling lethargic, bored, sad, unmotivated and finding it hard to concentrate in class, needs strategies to assist with self-regulation to bring their levels of energy and alertness up higher so they can feel more awake, happy and ready to participate in whatever it is they need to do.

Conversely a child who is feeling over energetic, frustrated, over silly, irritated, worried and finding it hard to sit still and concentrate needs help to self-regulate their levels of alertness and emotions to a calm, relaxed and focused state so they too can behave in an appropriate way that matches the situation they are in .

Learning how to self-regulate, begins soon after birth. Babies are not born knowing how to self-regulate. Parents quickly find ways to soothe their baby with a calm voice, loving smile, rocking, holding, and feeding. This is how a baby learns how to get their needs met and learn to self-manage their feelings and behaviours.

Of course, children continue to learn how to self-regulate throughout childhood and parents influence that process by role modelling how they manage their own feelings and actions.

Self-Regulation allows us to:

• Calm down after feeling angry or upset
• Cope with frustration or disappointment
• Resist having huge emotional reactions to small problems
• Listen, focus and concentrate
• Calm your body when it is feeling overly energetic and you are required to have a quiet body.
• Prevent acting impulsively
• Ignore distractions
• Understand what others are thinking and feeling.
• Play with others and develop friendships.
• Change our mood from low to bright.

There are many different ways we able to self -regulate. Sensory supports, calming/ mindfulness techniques and cognitive (thinking) strategies provide us with an abundance of tools that enable us to monitor our state of alertness and alter it, if required.

Learning how to self-regulate takes time and practice. Young children are not developmentally capable of teaching themselves tools and strategies to self- regulate. Parents, teachers and therapists are able to act in the role of “coach” to explore and instruct the child as to how to use suitable strategies, that takes into account the child’s needs, temperament, sensory preferences. As children get older, they are capable of recognising their own self-regulation needs and can implement effective strategies.

If you feel that your child is struggling with Sensory Processing or Self Regulation, please contact
Finding Balance Occupational Therapy and Play Therapy

Mental and Emotional Health

Paediatric Occupational Therapists are well known for working with children and families to develop skills, and maximise a child’s potential in everyday functioning, academic and recreational participation and performance, social relationships, and play.

At Finding Balance, our additional specialised training and experience as Mental Health Occupational Therapists, enables us to work with children and families experiencing a wide range of social, emotional and mental health issues

Children and adolescents are commonly referred to Finding Balance by General Practitioners, Paediatricians, Educators, Child Psychiatrists and of course, personal recommendation.
Our therapists are accredited under “Medicare’s Better Access to Mental Health Care Plan.” This plan allows for a generous rebate over the course of ten sessions of therapy.

The reasons for a referral may be as follows:

• Anxiety/ worry
• Depression or low mood
• Excessive anger, fear, shyness, sadness
• Behavioural Issues
• Sensory Processing Disorder
• ADHD
• Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
• Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
• Grief and loss
• Family separation
• Social adjustment issues
• Stress management
• Social issues- making friends and keeping them
• School difficulties and school refusal
• Difficulties with parent and sibling relationships
• Self-esteem
• Chronic illness/ hospitalisation
• Parental attachment and bonding issues
• Trauma
• Abuse/ neglect

How do I know if my child has emotional or mental health problems?

It can be difficult to know if your child is experiencing emotional or mental health issues.
In young children, signs and symptoms can often be vague and as a result it can be hard to clearly identify the issue.

It can be challenging to determine if the problems a child is experiencing, is part of normal developmental phases or reactions to developmental and social crises, or something more serious.

Children are often unable to articulate emotional distress as they have not yet developed an emotional vocabulary (matching a feeling with a word).

It is common for children to say that they feel “sick” or “feel yucky” or have a ”sore head or tummy”. They may become clingy or more fearful than usual.

Frequently, adolescents may not be able to see that their experiences are different to that of their friends. It can be daunting for some adolescents to ask for help or tell someone something feels wrong.

Below are some common signs that your child might be experiencing, regarding emotional or mental health struggles.
This list is not exhaustive.

If you are concerned please contact Finding Balance Occupational Therapy and Play Therapy for more information and support.

Pre school Children

• Hyperactivity
• Persistent nightmares
• Regression in developmental skills
• Social withdrawal
• Fearfulness
• Frequent unexplainable temper tantrums
• Under developed play skills
• Changes in sleep and appetite

School-Age Children

• Excessive worry and anxiety
• Persistent nightmares
• Persistence disobedience or aggression
• Physical complaints
• Opposition to authority figures
• Change in school performance
• School refusal
• Loss of interest in previously enjoyable activities
• Social withdrawal

Adolescents

• Inability to cope with problems and every day activities
• Self-injury or self-destructive behaviour
• Unusual / worrying thoughts, beliefs, feelings and behaviours
• Frequent physical complaints of unknown origin
• Clear changes in sleeping and eating habits
• Sustained negative mood attitude
• School refusal
• Changes in friendships
• Changes in family relationships
• Change in school performance
• Decline in motivation for previously enjoyable recreational and social activities
• Opposition to authority, truancy, oppositional behaviours
• Abuse of alcohol and/ or drugs

Assessment and Intervention

As individuals, we are unique and our family and social circumstances can be extremely complexed. Every child or adolescent who is referred to Finding Balance for support regarding emotional or mental health concerns, will be assessed individually using a client centred evaluation process.

In order to gain a clear understanding, regarding the nature of your child’s difficulties the biological, psychological, social and family issues must be well considered. It is also important to acknowledge your child’s (and families) strengths, interests, passions and any goals they may have regarding treatment.

A targeted intervention plan addressing your child’s current concerns and the desired outcome of therapy, will be developed in conjunction with family, associated professionals or other significant people.

There are a number of clinical and therapeutic approaches that will be considered when your child’s intervention plan is developed. A range of factors determine what is the most appropriate and effective intervention modality for your child or adolescent.

These factors include

• Age
• Signs and symptoms
• Diagnosis (if given)
• Clinical and family history
• Reasons for referral
• Previous, or current treatment with other Professionals
• Cognitive and language development
• Emotional and social development
• Emotional understanding
• Family context
• Disruptions to everyday routines
• Motivation for change/growth (if appropriate)

Interventions may include

• Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (quick explanation)
• Understanding emotions and developing an emotional vocabulary.
• Cognitive (thinking) and emotional flexibility.
• Self-regulation (emotions, energy and attention)
• Relaxation and mindfulness skills
• Social skills and social intelligence
• Social Stories
• Stress Management
• Anxiety Management
• Anger Management
• Executive Functions
• Parent support and counselling
• Psychoeducation
• Directive Play Therapy
• Child Centred (Non-Directive) Play Therapy (child counselling for 2-10 years)

For more information on Play Therapy, please visit the Home Page menu on our Webpage

Social and Emotional Learning

As childhood progresses, developing a social-emotional vocabulary and self-awareness becomes necessary to build and sustain healthy relationships, and demonstrate competence across a child’s occupational roles.

Children benefit from having an age appropriate understanding of the following:

• Different emotions,
• How to identify the emotions or feelings they or others are experiencing
• Link emotions to an experience or an event
• Develop an understanding as to why they are feeling this way

Children need a “toolbox” of strategies that will enable them to cope in a constructive and acceptable way, when faced with challenging situations that often accompany “big emotions”.

Without coping tools, or an understanding of emotions, children can become overwhelmed by their experiences and this can have a significant impact on their overall development, relationships, academic performance, motivation to participate in sporting and leisure pursuits, and most importantly their sense of self-worth and self-belief.

In order to process their experiences, and learn adaptive coping strategies, it is essential that children develop a close rapport and trusting connection with their therapist. Children need to know that it is safe for them to express their emotions and talk about their inner struggles. They need to feel understood, accepted and safe. As a Mental Health Occupational Therapist and a Child Centred Play Therapist, developing an empathic and therapeutic relationship is at the core of my clinical practice.

Every child that attends therapy, has a family or caregiver in their life. Understandably, it can be extremely difficult for parents and siblings to watch their child unhappy, angry, fearful or distressed. Often families do not have an understanding or adequate knowledge of the diagnosis or issues their child is living with. Accessing the appropriate resources to manage it can effectively be confusing and overwhelming.

Family support and psychoeducation is part of our treatment process. Regular communication is provided and parent only or parent and child/children sessions will be scheduled as required.

Adapted from
Lane, S.J, & Bundy, A.C. (Eds.). (2012). Kids can be kids: A childhood occupations approach Philadelphia: F.A. Davis Company.
Lougher, L. (Ed.). (2001). Occupational therapy for child and adolescent mental health. London: Harcourt Publishers.

Social Skills and Friendships

Social skills, or social behaviours refer to the range of abilities we require to get along with others, form friendships and maintain them. When we communicate we use gestures, verbal and non-verbal messages to express our thoughts and feelings.

Commonly required social skills include cooperation, sharing, patience, good manners, eye contact and listening, which undoubtedly help children make friends. However, being socially smart and having social insight is equally as important when building relationships with others.

Social smarts are more than social skills. Social smarts enable a child to understand what they, and the children they are interacting with, want from the social contact. They have the awareness to figure out what other people may be feeling, thinking or planning to do next. They are able to then adjust their behaviour or language, to match the situation thus extending the contact, ensuring everyone is enjoying themselves.

Children who are socially aware, read the non-verbal and verbal communications from their friends, to work out that a social situation may not be going as planned, or is not feeling positive.

Applying their social smarts, together with their social skills, they are able to change their response and behaviour, leading to a more favourable social outcome, or if required walking away.

Children are born with natural social capabilities, just as they are born with motor skills, language and cognitive abilities. However, just as children can experience difficulties with these areas of development, it can become evident that some children have social challenges and require explicit teaching of social skills and intervention targeting their social and emotional learning.

Friendships and social interaction play a critical role in a child’s mental health, positive sense of self and well-being. When children have difficulty in getting along with others, school and home life can become a lonely and unhappy place.

Here are some of the reasons why children may struggle with making friends and keeping them:

• Anxiety/mental health issues
• Expressive language difficulties (speaking words)
• Receptive language difficulties (understanding words)
• Sensory Processing Disorders
• ADHD
• Attention and focus
• Poor self -regulation
• Executive Functions
• Play skills
• Self confidence
• Limited opportunity to ‘practice’ playing with others
• Chronic medical illness
• Frequent changes in home location
• Personality and temperament
• Trauma or tragedy
• Lack of positive social role models
• Neurological or developmental differences
• Disability
• Geographical isolation
• Poor resilience
• Inflexible or rigid thinking

How can I tell if my child needs Occupational Therapy to help develop their social skills?

A child who has difficulty making friends and keeping them may:

• Physically aggressive
• Argues frequently
• Has trouble sticking to the rules of the game or play
• Wants to make all the rules
• Interrupts others
• Shows little or no interest in others
• Unable to take turns or share
• Fails to understand facial cues, tones of voice, jokes and language
• Takes another child’s belongings
• Bossy and controlling
• Invades others personal space
• Unkind and mean to others
• Talks about their own interests and appears uninterested in another opinion
• Rigid thinking and finds change difficult
• Lacks empathy or be able to see another person’s perspective
• Unable to cope with losing
• Asks or makes inappropriate questions or comments
• Talks with an unusual manner making it hard for others to understand.

The importance in identifying a child’s difficulties with social skills or a lack of social smarts are addressed early and are managed in an age appropriate and respectful manner. Mastering the art of social skills is equally, if not more important, than addressing concerns with motor skills or handwriting. Positive social experiences and friendships are the cornerstone to a confident and happy child that will promote future learning.

If you feel that your child is struggling socially, please contact
Finding Balance Occupational Therapy and Play Therapy

Executive Functions

Executive Functions (EF) is a term that is often not well understood.
EF may also be known as ‘executive skills’ or ‘higher-order thinking skills.’

EF can be described as the brain’s self-management system. This set of skills help us focus and persevere on tasks when we would rather do something else.

EF allow us to set priorities, get organised and self-initiate tasks or jobs.
They help us remember prior knowledge and then apply it to the current situation. EF create a roadmap, so we can reach a goal or complete a task and identifies the resources we may need along the way to get the job done. They allow us to make decisions about what’s important to focus on, and what we should ignore to prevent distraction.

Many children have difficulties in school, with homework, be able to plan their time and be organised. However, these difficulties are not because they lack intelligence, rather their EF skills are not fully developed.

We are not born with EF skills. However, we all have the potential to develop them. This process begins in infancy and continues into early adulthood. It can take until our mid 20s for our EF skills to be fully developed. Problems with EF can often run in families.

Frequently, parents and teachers become frustrated with children who are disorganised, often late, not prepared for the class, fail to complete homework, become distracted easily, miss important details about assignments, and losing belongings.

Executive Function Behavioural Categories
• Impulse Controlthe ability to stop and think before acting. To hold back, to have self-restraint, to inhibit thoughts, emotions, behaviours that are inappropriate or that go against long-term goals.
Emotional Regulation – the ability to manage feelings in order to achieve goals, complex tasks or control and direct behaviour. To have tools to self-regulate and work through challenging emotions.
Planning/prioritising – Creating a roadmap to reach a goal or complete a task. To be able to decide what’s important to focus on and what’s not.
Flexibility– the ability to change strategies or revise plans when conditions change.
Working Memory- the ability to hold information in the mind as we work through things.
Self-monitoring – the ability to monitor and evaluate your own performance
Task Initiation – the ability to recognise when it is time to get started on something and begin without procrastinating.
Organisation – the ability to create and maintain systems to keep track of information or materials.

Your child may have difficulties with Executive Functioning if they:
• Have trouble understanding how long homework or a project will take to finish.
• Finds it difficult to tell a story or communicate details in an organised and sequenced way.
• Has difficult beginning a task or remain focused on that task.
• Has difficulties with understanding the perspective of another person.
• Demonstrates poor problem-solving skills.
• Has trouble understanding homework.
• Has trouble keeping track of books, pencils and papers.
• Interrupting others.
• Difficulty waiting their turn.
• Puts off homework or chores until the last minute.
• Becomes upset easily when things don’t go as planned.
• Saying they will do a task later and then forgets about it.
• Needs reminders to start homework.
• Difficulty changing from one activity to another.
• May remember the last part of an instruction but not the earlier part.

If you feel your child is experiencing difficulties with Executive Functions, please contact
Finding Balance Occupational Therapy and Play Therapy

Book in a consultation today