Home » Health & Parenting » Family Support & Service » Parenting Aides & Ideas

Brisbane Therapist – Which one is right for your Brisbane Kid?

Finding out your child needs specialist health and medical treatment via a Brisbane therapist can be an extremely confronting experience for families.

While we are fortunate to live in a community that offers first class medical and allied health professional services, the range of different services available to families can be overwhelming. The sheer number of services and often related nature of allied health disciplines means that choosing the right health care for your child can be a difficult and confusing task.  Whilst the first port of call should always be your family GP it is also useful to have an understanding of the role that some allied health professionals (therapists) can play in this process so you can make informed decisions.

Occupational Therapists in Brisbane

Occupation therapists (OTs) work with children and young people to help them function more independently and safely in a wide range of daily activities in the home, at school and in social contexts.  Occupation therapists help to develop children’s sensory, motor, cognitive and social-emotional skills and can aid families to implement strategies and make use of specific aides and equipment to improve independence and function.

Occupation therapists work with children and their families with a wide range of complex health conditions including:

  • physical disabilities (congenital or acquired)
  • neurological disorders
  • chromosomal disorders (e.g. Down’s Syndrome)
  • learning disabilities
  • developmental delays
  • social-emotional difficulties

Key area therapy is often focused on includes:

  • sensory processing  (and associate motor, modulation and discrimination difficulties)
  • visual processing skills
  • fine and gross motor skills
  • play skills
  • social skills
  • organisational skills  and
  • attention to task.

Speech-Language Pathologist in Brisbane

Speech language pathologists (SLPs) work with children and young people with speech, language and communication difficulties, as well as those with swallowing, drinking and eating problems.  SLPs aim to help children with these conditions speak, communicate and eat/drink more effectively in the home, school and social contexts.

Brisbane Therapist

SLPs work with children with conditions including:

  • physical disabilities (congenital or acquired) (e.g. cleft palate; speech difficulties)
  • neurological disorders (e.g. primary language impairment;  hearing loss/deafness)
  • learning disabilities
  • developmental delays
  • social-emotional difficulties

As well as having knowledge of the physical mechanics of mouth movement and speech, SLPs focus on the understanding and use of spoken and written language. This includes an emphasis on language rules (grammar), the content of language (meanings of words and sentences) and language pragmatics (where and when to use certain language and social competence).  SLPs can help children to develop these skills and also use strategies and equipment to improve speech and language function. Spoken language underpins language required for success in the classroom.

Physiotherapists in Brisbane

The role of the physiotherapist when working with children and young people is to facilitate normal development and to improve movement skills and function.

Physiotherapists work with children with a range of conditions affecting their physical development, including:

  • physical disabilities (congenital or acquired)
  • neurological disorders
  • chromosomal disorders (e.g. Down’s Syndrome)
  • developmental delays
  • musculo-skeletal (muscle and bone) disorders and difficulties
  • juvenile arthritis
  • post trauma injuries (e.g. sports injuries, fractures, postoperative)
  • respiratory conditions

Physiotherapists focus on physical improvements such as:

  • gross motor skills
  • movement
  • balance
  • posture
  • strength
  • co-ordination
  • fitness

Young people are provided treatment through a range of play activities and exercise and are given advice on relevant equipment and aides, particularly seating and mobility devices.

Psychologist in Brisbane

Psychologists are concerned with issues relating to mental health and social-emotional wellbeing.  When working with children and young people, psychologists explore the psychological aspects of illness, injury and disability and promote behaviours for optimal social and emotional wellbeing.  Psychologists work with children in schools or any paediatric health setting (hospitals, clinics) with any form of physical, social, cognitive, emotional or behavioural difficulty.

Therapy is often focused on –

  • social skills
  • behaviour and self-regulation
  • organisational skills
  • sensory processing
  • attention
  • confidence and self-esteem
  • resilience
  • relationships and family dynamics
  • executive functioning
  • cognitive skills

Where to from here?

To ensure optimal support for children and their families, access to a team of professionals who proactively work together to fully understand a child’s needs and integrate therapy strategies which match the capacity of families is imperative.

If you have any concerns about your child’s health or development please consult your General Practitioner (GP).  In most cases the earlier something is done, the better the outcome.  GPs can refer you to the relevant paediatrician and allied health professional/therapists for assistance.

This article was published in Issue 3 of our print magazine, April/May 2014.

Photo of author

Janine Mergler

Janine Mergler is a veteran Queensland teacher, graduating from QUT with a BEd majoring in Social Sciences. After many years in the classroom, Janine moved on to academia. She has proudly trained new generations of teachers in her role as a lecturer at Queensland University of Technology Faculty of Education. She has also worked in the Queensland Government as an education specialist, developing education resources and delivering community awareness programs to help families conserve water. Currently she is the owner and editor of Families Magazine, a publication specifically targeted at parents who value a quality education for children.  Janine leads a team of professionals who write about family lifestyle, early childhood, schools and education information and family-friendly events.

2 thoughts on “Brisbane Therapist – Which one is right for your Brisbane Kid?”

  1. It’s a minefield – when you realise you need help, it is so hard to know where to start. Our GP luckily pointed us in the right direction and we are getting support. This article was really helpful to give us more information.

  2. Interesting. My sister-in-law is planning to take my nephew to a psychologist, but looking at the list, I wonder if an occupational therapist is actually what he needs. I’m going to pass along this article to her. Thank you for sharing the info!


Leave a comment