At Bellarine Community Health (BCH) we value family centred practice which is ‘gold standard’ in early childhood services. The approach recognises that each family is unique and that the family is the expert on their child’s needs and abilities, and that they will be there for the long term.
Our team is diverse. We have specialised staff with experience in working with young children who have developmental concerns. Every member of our specialist team is a qualified health professional who will work with you to: develop your child’s speech, language, play, motor, feeding and social skills; support your child’s engagement in home, educational, social and community settings; provide you with information and support in accessing other services that may be appropriate for your child; achieve goals for your child that are identified and discussed during assessment and intervention sessions.
BCH therapists work in partnership with families, to ensure that family strengths and needs are considered when providing the most appropriate services. The needs of the child are looked at in respect to their age, developmental stage, gender and cultural influence. If you have concerns regarding your child’s growth and development, our staff will work with you to get the best support for your child. We will talk with you to identify best activities for your child to assist the whole family.
Our specialist nutrition and dietetics team support your child to grow well, perform well, attain and maintain good health. We can offer advice on nutrition so that health is maintained through all ages and stages of your child’s development and support individual children’s diets to treat medical conditions and related symptoms.
We offer dietary advice relating to:
- Infant feeding
- Introducing solids
- Feeding and eating behaviours
- Fussy eating
- Food allergies and intolerances
Some of the speciality areas we provide information on are:
- Coeliac disease
Our team will listen to your concerns for your child and can provide education on food choices, assessment of growth and nutritional status.
Occupation Therapists support children in their day to day tasks. They assist children and families to attend to daily routines and be involved in activities that are age appropriate.
An Occupational Therapist can support your child with the following:
- Self care skills: dressing, eating, cutlery use, bathing, toileting, grooming, sleep routines.
- Hand Skills: scissor skills, grasp, handwriting, drawing, construction, shoelace tying, doing up zips and clothing clips.
- Following and completing routines: getting ready for school, going to school, looking after their belongings, following instructions.
- Play skills: join in age appropriate play including: pretend play, table- top tasks such as puzzle skills and craft activities.
- Social skills: learning to play with others, taking turns, sharing, responding to other’s emotions and requests, problem solving in social situations.
- Sensory needs: support children who may seek out or avoid different types of sensory input through their body senses. For example sound, touch, smell, movement and sight.
Our Occupational Therapist listens to your concerns and goals for your child. Together, we work on a plan to build your child’s skills. We will work with you to identify where the most appropriate location is for your child to be supported and can see your child at home, kindergarten, child care, school and in the community. We can assist your child in a group setting or individually to ensure your child achieves success. Fun activities are presented through play.
Our Physiotherapist can assess your child and provide activities and a plan to support their physical developmental.
They can assist your child with:
- Gross motor concerns, balance, coordination skills e.g. difficulty sitting up or slow to crawl or walk, recurrent falls
- Joint, muscle tone or nerve problems that are causing weakness or stiffness eg, floppy or stiff body, arms and legs
- Assess lower limbs concerns including foot anomalies such as limping, growing pains, flat feet, in /out toeing, toe walking, bowed/knock knees abnormal postures of feet (e.g. positional talipes, club foot)
- Treat head turn tendencies, flat head shape (Plagiocephaly) and or tight neck muscles
- Address neurological conditions: e.g. cerebral palsy, acquired brain injury, pre-term birth, Down Syndrome, Muscular Dystrophy, ASD, premature infants,
- Screen for developmental concerns such as curved spine
- Support early detection of movement disturbances and activities including: poor posture, positions for play in babies (tummy time) and early seating guidance
- Recovery after surgery or injury.
Our Physiotherapist listens to your concerns and goals for your child. Together, we work on a plan to build your child’s skills. We will work with you to identify where the most appropriate location is for your child to be supported and can see your child at home, kindergarten, child care, school and in the community. We can assist your child in a group setting or individually to ensure your child achieves success. Fun activities are presented through play.
A key worker is a highly qualified, compassionate specialist staff member who acts as a single point of contact between you and the team. They might be a speech pathologist, occupational therapist, a physiotherapist or an educator.
Your key worker is able to support you with a wide range of ideas and resources and will be your main contact regarding your child and family priorities. These may be about your child’s development, your family’s ability to participate in activities, access to child, care, kindergarten or school or information about other support services. Your key worker will provide you with ideas about how to help your child’s development on a day to day basis. They will work with you and other team members involved with your child to write a Family Service Support plan and connect you with other resources in the community.