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Breaking Down Multidisciplinary Paediatric Services

National 360 has been expanding our Paediatric services nationally across OT, Physiotherapy, Speech Pathology and Positive Behaviour Support.

My supporting Paediatric team members and I have been in frequent conversation about the benefits of offering multidisciplinary service across many different formats; including how these formats might benefit our clients across our mobile and clinic-based services.

Across these discussions, the many different goals that can benefit from a multidisciplinary approach were highlighted. From play to handwriting to dressing and beyond!

robert collins tvc5imO5pXk unsplashPlay is the main way children learn about their world, including developing their thinking, physical skills, communication and social skills. The many skills learnt through play is an opportunity to break down how the multidisciplinary team might approach this same goal. From a physiotherapy perspective, they might be looking at gross motor skills, balance and coordination; or for children who require equipment, they can also assess for equipment needs to help with postural support required to play. From an occupational therapy perspective, they might be looking at thinking skills, fine and gross motor skills, and social skills within play. From a speech pathology perspective, they might be looking at communication and social skills within play. If a client has a variety of skills that are impacting the way they play, they could benefit from a multidisciplinary approach to this goal.

For older children, the focus may be surrounding joining in team sports and activities with their peers. A physiotherapist may assist a client to build their gross motor skills so they can participate successfully at the same level of activities with peers, and they can also assess for equipment needs for postural support, standing, walking and sitting. An occupational therapist might help a client with problem-solving and social skills needed in team environments, likes turn-taking and following the rules. They can also assist with equipment needs for postural support and sitting. A speech pathologist can help a client with communication and social skills required for these activities. Similarly to play, the clinicians that can help achieve these goals may vary depending on the variety and type of skills impacting a child’s engagement.

There are many more goals that may benefit from OT, Physiotherapy or Speech Pathology or a combination of these. We would be more than happy to provide guidance around how we can best achieve our clients’ goals!

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A few formats that our multidisciplinary team might discuss for therapy sessions include individual sessions with each clinician, joint sessions with two clinicians, or overlapping sessions.

  • Individual sessions give us a wonderful opportunity to focus on each disciplines’ individual goals and also enable therapy sessions to be spread across the week.
  • Joint appointments are a great opportunity for clients that have shared goals, have a higher level of support needs to engage in therapy, or if a family have limited availability across their week.
  • Overlapping sessions provide an opportunity for both individual and shared goals to be worked on and can help with scheduling appointments for families. Clients engaging in overlapping sessions often need a longer attention span as the appointment will be longer.

Hopefully, the above information has been useful in providing an insight into how a multidisciplinary approach can help our Paediatric clients achieve their goals. We look forward to seeing our clients as a team in the clinic or the community!

If you would like to make a referral to any of our services, please click here.

By Emily, Paediatric Occupational Therapist

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