What does a Therapy Assistant do?

As the parent of a child with unique needs, you’ve probably lost count of the hours you’ve spent being their personal therapy assistant. ‘Practicing’ the skills your son or daughter has learned in their weekly speech or occupational therapy sessions can be time consuming and difficult.

You’ve sourced fantastic therapists, you know that doing the therapy ‘homework’ they set is vital to your child’s development, but you’ve also got lots of other commitments competing for your time.

Wouldn’t it be great if your child had someone other than you to help them reach their goals?

If you’re answering ‘yes’ to this question, a skilled Therapy Assistant could make a big difference to your child’s life (and yours too!)

Therapy Assistants at Kids First Children's Services help kids to practice and master the skills learned in therapy

What is a Therapy Assistant?

Therapy assistants work in partnership with experienced allied health clinicians to help children to reach their social, emotional, communication, and learning goals.

Therapy assistants ‘bridge the gap’ between formal therapy sessions and ‘real-life’ by helping children to practice and master the skills taught in clinical occupational therapy or speech therapy sessions in other settings.

The great thing about Therapy Assistants is that they offer an extra layer of support to children in familiar environments such as their home, preschool, or school.

Sometimes, they offer children extra chances to practice and learn in a clinic setting too.

A Therapy Assistant’s role is not to assess your child or devise your child’s therapy plan. Instead, they work under the direct supervision of your child’s main therapist, ensuring that your son or daughter gets opportunities to apply their developing skills in their natural environments.

What qualifications do Therapy Assistants have?

Many Therapy Assistants are emerging clinicians who are studying at university to become speech pathologists, occupational therapists, psychologists, teachers, and physiotherapists.

Others are accredited Allied Health Assistants who have gained specialist training and qualifications in this growing area of specialty.

Occasionally, fully qualified clinicians who have been trained overseas work as Therapy Assistants while their registration to work in Australia is being processed.

How can a Therapy Assistant help your child?

At Kids First, our Core Values mean that we believe that a Therapy Assistant is your child’s guide and supporter, not our therapist’s ‘off-sider’. They are a full member of your child’s clinical team and offer supports like:

  • Visiting your child at preschool or school to provide one-to-one support that helps with participation and learning
  • Guiding your child at home as they practice and master their morning or afternoon routines
  • Engaging in ‘purposeful play’ in a variety of settings so that your child gets specific practice to help them reach their communication, motor coordination or emotional/social skills goals
  • Providing individualised learning support in your child’s primary school classroom to build confidence in skills such as reading, writing, fine motor skills, behaviour, and attention
Therapy Assistants can help special needs children to master their morning or afternoon routines

Therapy Assistants at Kids First

Kids First’s Therapy Assistants are emerging or overseas qualified clinicians who have extensive paediatric experience.

As permanently employed members of our multi-disciplinary team, they collaborate with our therapists and early intervention specialists on a daily basis. This means that your child and family has an extra layer in your ‘safety net of support’ that is flexible and responsive to your individual needs.

Kids First’s Therapy Assistants are very popular, and for this reason, their services are allocated in 12-week blocks. This ensures that we can equitably provide support to as many families as possible during the year.

Booking and Funding

You may choose to pay privately for support from one of Kids First’s Therapy Assistants.

Alternately, if your child is eligible for a self or plan-managed NDIS plan, you may use the funding allocated to their Improved Daily Living or Core Supports to access this service.

Please note that every child who accesses the support of a Kids First Therapy Assistant must continue to receive therapy provided by one of our qualified Occupational Therapists, Speech Pathologists, or other Allied Health professionals at least once per month.

While our Therapy Assistants are amazing, only a qualified clinician has the necessary qualifications and experience to assess, diagnose, make professional recommendations, and develop a treatment plan that is specific, appropriate, and safe for your child.

Get a Therapy Assistant on your child’s team

If your child already attends Kids First, talk to your primary clinician about adding a Kids First Therapy Assistant to your family’s support team.

If your child has not yet attended Kids First Children’s Services or is accessing therapy elsewhere, we would love to welcome you to our clinic in Sydney’s northern beaches.

Phone us on 9938 5419 to chat about your child’s needs or follow this link to make an initial appointment with a member of our experienced team.

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