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					                                                                     Newsletter 6
                                                                                                                    July 2007
                                                                                  phone: 1300 305 881 or email: info@kidsplus.org.au
                                                                              website: www.kidsplus.org.au      ABN 83 105 087 518


From Strength to Strength..
Another busy six months, both in the therapy
room and in the Board room.
As the number of children on the Kids Plus register grows, we
continue to plan for additional specialist therapists for 2008 to
meet existing demand by growing the number of places in the
Therapy Program. Six children started school this year with eleven
starting kinder programs. This has been a busy period for children
and families alike with these exciting but sometimes daunting
transitions into new environments.

The Kids Plus Board has been focusing on the Business Plan for
the next three years. The main issue identified is the long term
sustainability of the organisation and securing ongoing funding
from multiple sources. The William Buckland Foundation have            Photo : Zoe & her Dad, John Innocenzi working hard in a Kids
                                                                                   Plus Therapy session in Term 2 2007
provided Kids Plus with funding for resources for three years to

                                                                     About Kids Plus
plan and implement strategies and action to address this critical
issue. Many special thanks to The William Buckland Foundation
and ANZ Trustees and in particular Ms Jackie Beckmann for their      Kids Plus provides intensive therapy programs for babies, children
support and expertise in this area.                                  and teenagers with physical disabilities including neuro
Kids Plus The Kids Plus Foundation Team                              development difficulties, cerebral palsy, brain injury, stroke &
                                                                     related problems. The program works with each child’s physical
In this newsletter…                                                  limitations to maximise the child’s functional ability to improve
                                                                     coordination, communication, self-care & mobility, in order to
• Family share their experiences                                     facilitate child development, independence, education & family &
• Outcomes of Deakin University Research Project                     social interaction. The program offers occupational therapy,
                                                                     physiotherapy & speech pathology & is conducted by skilled &
• Parent Support & Parenting Programs
                                                                     qualified paediatric therapists using the NDT/Bobath model of
• NDT & Bobath Courses                                               therapy.

                                                                     Kids Plus Foundation is a parent driven, charitable organisation,

Charity Christmas Cards                                              based in Geelong and founded in 2003, which provides the Kids
                                                                     Plus Therapy Programs for eligible children (0-18 years) in the
for Kids Plus                                                        wider Barwon Region. Each place is funded by generous
Francis Maurice Charity Cards                                        donations from philanthropic & community organisations; & there
                                                                     is no cost to children & their families.
Kids Plus Foundation has been invited by Francis Maurice Charity
Cards to be one of their sponsored charities for the upcoming        For more information , please talk to your paediatrician
                                                                     Or contact the Kids Plus on 1300 305 881
Christmas festive season 2007. Francis Maurice Design provide
                                                                     Or email info@kidsplus.org.au
Corporate and Charity Greetings Cards.
If your organisation would like to support a charity such as Kids
Plus Foundation with their Christmas Cards this year then please                       Vital Statistics
go to www.fmda.com.au or contact Maribel Mirenzi at Francis
                                                                       It is estimated that a child with cerebral palsy is born every 18
Maurice Design on 03 9489 1666 or info@fmda.com.au to request         hours in Australia. Cerebral palsy is the most common physical
your copy of their Corporate Christmas Card 2007 Brochure.            disability in childhood. It is estimated 2 to 3 people out of every
Kids Plus receives a donation from each card, as well as the         1000 will have cerebral palsy. The condition is not hereditary and
benefit of increasing the public awareness of Kids Plus.             there is no cure. Cerebral palsy is the name given to a condition
                                                                     which affects the way the brain controls the muscles of the body.
                                                                              This results in difficulties in movement and posture.
                                                                               (Source: Cerebral Palsy League of Queensland)
                                                                                                                       Page 2

        Thank You For All of Your Interest, Funding and Support
        for Kids Plus and the children and their families in 2007
To all the funding organisations, businesses & individuals in our
community who assist Kids Plus, we would like to acknowledge
your generous support.
                                                                                           Left Elle takes her first
       Besen Family Foundation
                                                                                           independent steps
       Cecilia Kilkeary Foundation
       Children's Therapy Services
       Coca Cola Australia Foundation
       Francis Maurice Charity Cards
       Helen Macpherson Smith Trust
       Howard Glover Perpetual Trust
       James N. Kirby Foundation
                                                                    Right Jordana enjoys the swing
       Mr Ramon Ali
                                                                                   in the sunshine
       Portland House Foundation
       Ronald A Newton & Associates
       The Costa Family Foundation
       The Flora & Frank Leith Charitable Trust
       The Jack & Robert Smorgon Families Foundation
       The Jack Brockhoff Foundation
                                                                                            Left Brigid loves the spikey toys
       The Marian & EH Flack Trust
       The Percy Baxter Charitable Trust
       The William Buckland Foundation

We would also like to thank the following organisations and
people for their professional advice & assistance for the Kids
Plus Foundation.
       Barwon Computer Solutions
       Davidsons, Accountants & Auditors
                                                                      Right Joey playing ball with his
       Freehills, Lawyers
                                                                                            therapist
       Geelong Grammar School
       Hamlan Homes
       Ms Jenny Fitzgerald
       Pace Advertising
       Quality Australia
       Ms Rubina Parvez
       Timetabling Solutions
       West Carr & Harvey, Accountants
                                                                                            Left Sophie having fun

And to all the other people who help and contribute in so
many ways to Kids Plus, thank you to all of you too.




                                                             THE
                                                       JACK BROCKHOFF
                                                         FOUNDATION
                                                                                                                           Page 3

Signposts Program                                                    ages of 2-18. Parents looking for ideas on how to manage
                                                                     demanding and disruptive behaviour are particularly likely to
Information for Parents                                              benefit from them. The program provides a range of training
                                                                     options including practical written and video information, and
Signposts for building better behaviour                              individual and group programs for parents.
Signposts helps families manage and prevent difficult behaviour      The programs are provided by family health and welfare
of children in the 3-15 years age group, who have                    professionals who have completed specialised training and
developmental delay or intellectual disability. Families tell us     accreditation requirements to qualify as providers.
that after Signposts they feel less stressed, more capable of        There are various resources that provide advice for parents on a
managing their children’s behaviour and less hassled about           range of issues including:
meeting their own and their family’s needs. They also felt that
                                                                             promoting your children's development
their children’s behaviour had improved.
                                                                             preventing and managing common behaviour problems
    The Signposts program is a group program with 6 sessions
    of 2 hours each. Sessions are normally conducted fortnightly.            coping with being a parent.
    Parents are provided with a set of eight booklets, a             Programs:
    workbook and a video/DVD. These are provided free of                    Positive Parenting Program for ages 2-6 yrs Cost: $16.50
    charge.                                                                 123 Magic for 5-10 yrs Cost: gold coin donation
    Signposts is available to eligible families free of charge.             ABCD Parenting Young Adolescents 10-13 yrs Cost: gold
                                                                            coin donation
How to get involved                                                         Understanding & parenting teenagers 13-18 yrs Cost:
Please contact Jan Keats at the Regional Parenting                          gold coin donation
Service (SW Barwon Region) on 03 5227 0819 to
register your interest in the next program.                          How to get involved
                                                                     Please contact Jan Keats at the Regional Parenting
What parents say about Signposts                                     Service (SW Barwon Region) on 03 5227 0819 to
   “I found the program rewarding in many ways. “                    register your interest in a program and find out more.
   “It helped me to focus on the positive things Nathan is
   achieving, rather than getting lost and frustrated with the       Or for Western Region to Western Suburbs Melbourne
   negatives.”                                                       contact MacKillop Family Services, 03 9680 8444 to find
   “I was able to identify triggers, which were causing negative     out about their range of programs and parents support.
   behaviour and worked on minimising these.”                        Or visit their website at www.parentslink.org.au
   “It’s not complicated. It’s actually simple. Everything was
   broken down. “
                                                                     NTD & Bobath Therapy Courses
   “I’m enjoying being a parent again - for the first time in
   ages. “                                                           November 2007          www.paediatricworkshops.com.au
   “It gave us the confidence to handle things. “                    Jane Styer-Acevedo RPT,NDTA Coordinating Instructor,
   “It 'floored' me to find that if I waited, I got a response       Instructor in Therapeutic Aquatics / NDT is coming to Australia
   every time. “                                                     in November 2007. For more information about Jane Styer-
   “I was able to meet and share experiences with other              Acevedo and the courses she teaches go to her website
   parents. “                                                        http://ndtaquatictherapy.com
   “I thought I knew what I was doing. I was way off track. “
   “I developed tools that can be used over and over again to
                                                                     Late 2007     www.abndta.asn.au
   deal with the difficult behaviours that are exhibited at some     NDT/Bobath Introductory Course
   time or another by most children. “                               Melbourne , 2 days
                                                                     (dates to be advised)
Positive Parenting Programs                                          December 2007        www.abndta.asn.au
“Parentingcan be rewarding but it can also be
                                                                     NDT/Bobath Refresher Course
hard work”                                                           Melbourne , 5 days
Common problems like tantrums, fighting, disobedience,               10th December - 14th December
bedtime struggles, fears and whining cause stress in family life
that can wear parents down. The Positive Parenting Programs
                                                                     January & April 2008         www.abndta.asn.au
are for parents who want to raise happy, confident and well-
adjusted children.                                                   Basic Bobath/Neurodevelopmental Therapy Course
Triple P is an Australian program that aims to make parenting        Brisbane , 7 weeks
easier and more enjoyable. The program focuses on building           Part 1: Monday 7th January to Saturday 2nd February 2008
strong family relationships, encouraging good behaviour and          Part 2: Tuesday 25th March to Thursday 10th April 2008
teaching new skills. It also helps children learn to be aware of     Applications Close: Friday 31st August, 2007
the needs of others and to develop responsibility and self-
control. Children who grow up with positive parenting are more       NDT Course 2009          karen.stagnitti@deakin.edu.au
likely to gain the skills and confidence they need to be             Plans are in progress to run an eight week postgraduate NDT
independent and to get along with others. They are also less         course accredited by the Neuro-Developmental Association
likely to develop behaviour problems. More than 20 years of          (USA) at Deakin University, Geelong, Victoria in early 2009. The
research has shown that Triple P is effective in helping families.   coordinating instructor will be Suzanne Davis RPT (from USA).
The range of programs are for parents of children between the
                                                                                                                              Page 4

Outcomes for Families of children                                    It’s changed his interaction with them … they (the extended
                                                                     family) just didn’t think he was capable of those sorts of
with cerebral palsy and                                              things. (Focus Group 3)

developmental disability in the Kids                                 Wellbeing outcomes
Plus Therapy Program                                                 Parents described the impact on family life generally, and
                                                                     explored the associated emotional and physical wellbeing
An Honours project undertaken by Kasey                               outcomes for themselves. Specifically, they reported that they
Henriksen, Occupational Science and Therapy,                         had:
Deakin University (2006)                                                     More time to complete necessary daily tasks;
                                                                             Decreased feelings of anxiety and guilt and emotional
                                                                             stress due to increased insight into their child’s needs;
In 2006, families and staff involved in the Kids Plus Therapy
                                                                             and,
Program were invited to participate in a Deakin University
research project. A substantial amount of past research in the               Experienced improved physical health as a result of
early childhood intervention sector has focused on the                       learning how to best physically assist their child.
outcomes for children in relation to a range of intervention and          She’s now able to play independently and this is terrific
therapeutic approaches. Given the value ascribed by                       as it frees up some of our time during the day to do our
practitioners to family-centred practice, this study aimed to             household stuff – washing, ironing etc. We’ve got
identify the outcomes for families more broadly and the                   another child now and it’s a little bit easier now that our
experiences of families as a result of their participation in the         eldest can do a few things for herself, means that we
Kids Plus Therapy Program.                                                can give both of our children an appropriate amount of
                                                                          attention. (Telephone Interview 5)
A total of 14 parents and 5 staff members participated in this
research. Narrative data were collected from participants via        This study also explored the elements of intervention as defined
focus groups and telephone interviews. Valued elements of            by the Kids Plus therapy team.          Key elements of this
practice from the perspective of staff and families were             neurodevelopmental approach over other approaches included
identified, and the perspectives of staff regarding family-centred   the frequency and consistency of intervention and the hands-on
approaches to service provision were described. Parents              nature of the intervention. However, despite the intensive
discussed the outcomes experienced by their families more            nature of therapy given to the children who attend Kids Plus,
broadly as a result of their involvement with the Kids Plus          staff also reported that they valued developing a collaborative
Therapy Program. A variety of family outcomes were reported          relationship with families, facilitating informed choice,
and these were categorised into three themes: Parenting              acknowledging the role of parents in the child’s life and
outcomes; Relationship outcomes; and, Wellbeing outcomes.            encouraging families to assume active roles in the provision of
These are described below, including examples of quotes from         services.    This study raised the question of whether a
family members who participated.                                     neurodevelopmental program of intervention produced results
                                                                     for families more broadly. The findings of this study support the
Parenting outcomes                                                   view that the Kids Plus Therapy Program deliver valuable and
                                                                     real outcomes for families generally.
Parents described an improved ability to parent their child, and
also believed that their parenting skills had improved more
generally. Specifically, parents reported that they had:             A very big thank-you to all the participants in this study – without
                                                                     your willingness to share your unique experiences, this research
                                                                     could not have gone ahead. Also, special thanks to Sarah Olliff
       Become more familiar with the change in parenting role        for all her assistance and timely help with the implementation of
       in relation to their child;                                   this project.
       Learnt about their child’s diagnosis and different            Kasey Henriksen, B.OccThy (Hons).
       pathways to achieving developmental milestones;
                                                                     June 2007
       Become more competent parents; and,
       Increased in confidence and parenting skills in general.

They helped us to understand the difficulties associated with
our daughter’s disability and we’ve definitely changed               Kids Plus Evaluation
attitudes. It’s increased our confidence, our hope as parents
for our daughter. (Telephone Interview 4)
                                                                     Debra Barrow

Relationship outcomes                                                Thank you
Parents reported enhanced social participation as a family unit,     to all who contributed to the Kids Plus
and improved relationships and interaction between their child       Evaluation through involvement in the three focus groups,
with and extended family. Specifically, they reported:               individual phone interviews, and survey.
       Improved relationships between siblings;                      Your feedback was comprehensive and will be included within
       Increased interaction and participation in activities with    the Evaluation Report, which will be available before Christmas.
       siblings and other playmates;                                 In the meantime, if you have any queries, please contact:
       Improved relationships between the child and their            Debra Barrow, Project Consultant, Effective Change
       extended family; and,                                         Ph: 03 9388 1661 or debrabarrow@effectivechange.com.au
       Increased capacity of the family unit to undertake
       activities together.
                                                                                                                                 Page 5

Attending Kids Plus                                                    The Strengthening Parent
Starting On Time                                                       Support Program
We recommend that families arrive 10 minutes early, leaving            Including a new Cerebral Palsy Parent Support
time for trips to the bathroom or other needs.
                                                                       Group for the Geelong Region
It is very important to ensure that families arrive on time, & be
ready to commence their therapy session to make the most of            Welcome to Julie Giles, who has been appointed as the new
the scheduled space available, for each child. And, yes                Parents Support Worker for the Strengthening Parent Support
sometimes sessions may run late, apologies & patience please.          Program in the Barwon Region, based at Gateways.

Limited Parking
Parking is limited around the area, so leave extra time to find a      The aim of the program is to empower families by providing
park. Maybe 20 minutes or to find a park.                              information, training and resources and to act as a link to other
                                                                       families. This increases opportunities for families to develop
Brothers & Sisters                                                     skills and establish and maintain their own networks of support.
Siblings are welcome to visit a therapy session, with a toy area       The Parent Support Worker is available to:
set up especially for them. Parents are asked to pack up these               Provide information and training sessions for parents,
toys at the end of each session, ready for the next children.                carers and family members, on key topics or in response
                                                                             to requests.
                                                                              Provide individual information, assistance and referral to
Want More Info?                                                               appropriate service agencies.
                                                                              Provide individual advocacy or referral to advocacy
www.kidsplus.org.au/forum                                                     organisations.
Sections for General Issues, Children & Families, Classifieds,                Provide community education to professionals, service
Dads, Education, Equipment, Events / Social, Feedback,                        providers, students and the general community regarding
Health, Housing & Home Modifications and Resources &                          issues for families of children with a disability.
Information and more….                                                        Provide updated information on support groups in the
                                                                              local area, provide support to these groups, or in co-
                                                                              operation with families, help establish new support
TheraTogs             ®                                                       groups where needed.
Orthotic undergarment and strapping system                                    Provide a parent support newsletter.

Kids Plus has been using theratogs with several children in the
Kids Plus Therapy Program.                                             If you would like to register your interest or get
TheraTogs® are a revolutionary orthotic undergarment and               more details about a Support Group or
strapping system that is worn under a child’s regular clothes.         activities, please call Julie Giles at Gateways
Used in conjunction with a child’s current therapy program,            Tel: 03 5221 2984
the new TheraTogs® immediately starts to use new groups of             Or email julie@gateways.com.au
muscles in new ways to improve postural alignment and
stability, movement skill and joint stability.
By allowing children to ‘take their therapists hands home’,
TheraTogs® provide a simple and effective way of encouraging
children to learn new and better ways to move.
To date, clinical applications have shown that TheraTogs® can          Telstra's Kids Fund
make an immediate difference in conditions such as ataxia,             Do you or a family member work for Telstra?
hypotonia, athetosis, weakness, intoed gait, joint laxity, sensory
                                                                       www.telstrafoundation.com
integration issues, postural mal-alignment and muscle
imbalance. (Source: CP Queensland & www.theratogs.com)
                                                                          If you are a permanent Telstra Group employee you can
Kate Bain (Kids Plus Occupational Therapist) reports                      apply for a grant of up to $1,200 to support a project or
“ The key areas that excite me most are that TheraTogs® are               activity run by a not-for-profit organisation involving a child,
dynamic and flexible, they are “wearer and family friendly”, and          18 years or under, in your immediate family.
they partner with the child’s current and developing postural and         This program is aimed at benefiting communities and does
                                                                          not provide funding for individual children.
muscular control.
                                                                          Telstra Group employees can apply for a grant on behalf of
For example, they may enable a child to walk or even run more             their: Child , Sibling, Step-child, Niece/nephew, Grandchild
steadily. Or alternatively TheraTogs® may help a child to sit up          or Foster child
with more control, to talk or to free their hands for playing or for      Closing dates: The next grant application for Telstra's Kids
self care.”                                                               Fund will open on: 14 August and closes on 28 September
                                                                          2007. There are regular quarterly application dates. Check
                                                                          the website for full details: www.telstrafoundation.com
                                                                                                                             Page 6

Useful Contacts & Information                                        Noah’s Ark Geelong
                                                                     The new Team Leader
Victorian Cerebral Palsy Register @ RCH                              Hi, I’d like to introduce myself. My name is
The Victorian Cerebral Palsy Register collects basic information     Silvana Bongiovanni and I started with Noah’s Ark earlier this
about all people with cerebral palsy born in Victoria since 1970.    year. I have enjoyed a strong connection with Noah’s Ark for
This information is used for research to assist people with cp. It   many years,
is an initiative of the Department of Developmental Medicine at      borrowing
The Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne. For your child’s           equipment for
information to be included on the Register, please contact the       children in
CP Register Coordinator                                              childcare in
                                                                     previous roles.
Tel: 03 9345 4808
                                                                     My experience
Email: vic.cpregister@rch.org.au
                                                                     extends over 25
Web address: www.rch.org.au/cdr                                      years working with
                                                                     families and
                                                                     children
Need some help?                                                      including three
Call the Australian CP Helpline                                      years as Family
                                                                     Day Care
A free confidential support & information service for anyone with    Coordinator in
questions or concerns about cerebral palsy. The Helpline             Bellarine and for
provides accurate & up-to-date information about cerebral palsy      the last fourteen
& services available to people with cerebral palsy & their           years as
families. It is staffed by experienced & qualified personnel.        Coordinator of the Children’s Services Resource &
                                                                     Development Unit, a service which supports the inclusion of
Tel: 1300 30 29 20 cphelpline@tscnsw.org.au                          children with disabilities into Children’s Services across the
                                                                     region. Noah’s Ark is an important resource in our region and I
Parking at RCH                                                       relish the opportunity to work with the Noah’s Ark staff and all
                                                                     our families. I also look forward to meeting new families and
Discount Parking Card For Parents & Guardians                        organisations who are interested in joining the Noah’s Ark
                                                                     Resource Library and services.
Parent & Guardian discount parking cards are issued at the
Information Desk in the front foyer of the Royal Children’s          Resource Library Update
Hospital.                                                            Borrowing limits have been increased to 8 items for a family
                                                                     membership and 16 items for group membership. For current
These cards are available for parents or guardians of children       members please keep an eye on when your membership is due
who have been an inpatient at the hospital for 3 days, or the        and pay your annual fee. Or if you no longer wish to borrow
child has a disability allowance (“CD” is noted on the health care   from the library or renew your membership, please give us a
card.) If the child has a health care card the parking discount      call.
card is valid for one year.
The current fee is a flat rate of $6.00 per day. If you need to      Makaton Courses
leave the hospital, but are returning on the same day, you can       Makaton key word signing courses have begun. Dates coming
get a “Return Parking” card from the parking booth operator          up are:
which only requires one payment for the day.
                                                                       Saturday 11th & 18th August at Noah’s Ark Geelong
Resources & Links for Dads                                             Monday 22nd October at SCOPE Shannon Park

Specific issues for fathers of children with a disability from         Costs are $50 for full day & 2 half days $55
Association for Children With A Disability                           All enrolments and payments are being co-ordinated by
http://www.acd.org.au/information/dads.htm                           SCOPE.
Contact a Family (UK)                                                Contact 5221 5444 if you are interested in attending.
http://www.cafamily.org.uk/fathers.html
                                                                     Makaton resources are also for sale at Noah’s Ark at the cost of
                                                                     $25 each. Please ask staff when you next visit.
National Fathers Network (USA)
www.fathersnetwork.org
                                                                     Opening hours
Dads Understanding Challenged Kids (DUCKS)                           Tuesday and Wednesdays 10am-12pm,
http://www.members.optushome.com.au/the_ducks/                       Thursday                    10am-4pm
Other Useful and Informative Parenting                               Resources for sale
Internet Websites for Dads include:                                  We have some Noah’s Ark CD’s – ‘On Board the Ark’ by Fay
www.parentingideas.com.au             www.fatherandchild.org.nz.     White for sale at $10 each. It features favourite nursery rhymes.
www.talaris.org.au                    www.parenting.sa.gov.au        Great buy! Available at the Geelong office.
www.zerotothree.org                   www.fathering.org
www.fathersdirect.com                 www.mydad.ca
http://raisingchildren.net.au/for_fathers/for_fathers.html
                                                                     Noah’s Ark Location:        37 Fenwick St Geelong
Help Lines include:                                                  Email:                      geelong@noahsarkinc.org.au
Parent Line – 132 289
Mensline Australia – 1300 78 99 78                                   Telephone:                  03 52295327
                                                                                                                              Page 7

Support & Patience                                                    A Parents Perspective
Integration                                                           What the Kids Plus Program means to families
We would like to share our story. Our daughter was born               Without the Kids Plus Program my son would not have received
prematurely, 11 weeks early. . She remained in hospital for two       any early intervention services for eighteen months. He was put
months and came home when she was breathing independently             on a waiting list for government services in August 2005. I was
and had reached 4 lbs and 6 oz. The hospital had also                 told about the Kids Plus Program through someone whose child
organised head scans within the first 3 weeks and these               attended the program. My son went in for an assessment the
showed 6 areas of brain injury, possibly from bleeds in the           next week and was placed in the program for the last term of
brain. The diagnosis was cerebral palsy or brain damage and           2005.
the prognosis was probable severe loss of mobility (they didn’t
think she would ever walk), developmental delay and maybe
risk of epilepsy and other complications.
With no family support and little network this was a very hard
time. The impact of the worry and stress of meeting the needs
for all of my family and anxiety about the future compacted on
me disastrously and when my baby was 5 months old I had a
nervous breakdown which required a month of support in
hospital to gain weight and counselling to regain my inner
strength and tenacity. The thought of my children and husband
at home without me drove to me find that strength again.
Our daughter is now five and she has a little sister and an older
brother. Over the last five years, we have been supported by
the Royal Children’s Hospital fantastically with therapy and
paediatric specialists.
                                   Our family moved from
                                   Melbourne to Geelong 3
                                   years ago but continued to
                                   travel up to RCH weekly for
                                   intensive therapy until other
                                   local    services    became
                                   available. After five months           Jack and Melissa Blazey (Kids Plus Speech Pathologist)
                                   on the wait list with DHS,                    working with Rhy’s Communication Book
                                   we were able to access the
                                   Early              Childhood
                                   Intervention Program at
                                                                      I like the concept of the parents being fully involved in their
                                   SCOPE in Geelong but
                                                                      child’s therapy with the Kids Plus program. At the start of each
                                   they were unable to offer us
                                                                      program the therapist and parents work out together the child’s
                                   more than three sessions of
                                                                      goals for that term. Parents are always in attendance during
                                   individual therapy a term,
                                                                      each therapy session and gain invaluable knowledge and
                                   although              weekly
                                                                      techniques from the therapists on how best to help their child at
                                   hydrotherapy             was
                                                                      home. The therapists also offer families a wide range of family
                                   available. This clearly was
                                                                      support, ideas and strategies as well as information on other
                                   not going to meet the
                                                                      services and resources. The goal orientated program gives
                                   needs of our child. We rang
                                                                      both parents and their child a positive boost with every small
                                   RCH to ask for help and
                                                                      achievement made. The encouragement and support received
they referred us to Kids Plus immediately. Kids Plus had space
                                                                      from the therapists is crucial to the wellbeing of the family unit.
for us and we commenced three weeks later. Life was great
from then on. It reduced our need to travel to therapists at          The Program has been a great network to meet other families in
RCH. A great reduction on travel time and stress on the whole         the same situation. The dedication of the therapists and the
family.                                                               rapport they build with you and your child is fantastic – it really
                                                                      is a family orientated program.
We cannot praise Kids Plus enough; the therapists that care for
our daughter and her progress, the depth of work and the              The therapists also work and confer with the child and family's
results achieved. The support and patience when she is not            other services providers and health professionals. My son now
easy and being challenging. Acknowledgement, recognition,             receives services with a government disability provider from the
realism, and joy all are shared with the therapists. She is now       commencement of this year and the communication between
doing most of her dressing; she can manage walking slowly up          Kids Plus and the government provider have been wonderful.
and down stairs, change her dolls’ clothes, open her own fruit        Kids Plus complements the mainstream government disability
tub at lunch and is now attempting to ride her bike without           services and provides additional choices to families.
training wheels. The latest challenge is to stand on one foot
balanced for 10 seconds. She will continue to achieve and             I cannot speak highly enough of such a wonderful Program and
enjoy.                                                                hope the Kids Plus Foundation receives the support from
                                                                      businesses and the community to enable our children to receive
While our child is still at risk of epilepsy, our now five year old   the therapy they deserve
has progressed well against all the odds. She is integrated at
the local kinder and is walking, talking, singing and jumping.
Long may it continue.                                                 Melissa & Danny Moorfoot
Brooke & Brad
                                                                                                                            Page 8
                                                                     would never ride a bike or walk properly but through talking to
The right place at the right                                         other parents Tess gained an insight into what other families
                                                                     had achieved through ongoing therapy and support.
time                                                                 Once Maddy started primary school however the lack of
              1/2
Austin , 2          yrs                                              ongoing and consistent therapy was apparent and it was
                                                                     Maddy's paediatrician who recommended Kid Plus.
There were times when we could not see through the haze of           Through attending the therapy on a weekly basis with the same
constant infections, when we seemed to be in hospital more           therapists, Maddy and her family have developed a relationship
times than at home.                                                  with the therapist that enables consistency of treatment. “Seeing
Our     beautiful    third   child    Austin     developed severe    the same therapist each week makes a huge difference as you
hydrocephalus (aquaductal stanosis) and a long list of other         don’t have to continually backtrack or recap where Maddy is at .
abnormalities while in utero, when he entered the world we all       It makes all the difference,” says Tess.
began a journey of physical and emotional survival with him.         Tess and her family also find that through that consistency in
Sometimes we were strong and brave, other times pathetic and         the therapy they are able to build a relationship with the
irrational. As parents Greg and I were suddenly thrown into an       therapist, which makes it easier to approach the therapists with
unknown way of living. Hospital Living. It really is something       any questions or concerns. Maddy sees Kate (who she also had
you know nothing about until suddenly, its your home, without        known through Shannon Park when first diagnosed with CP)
choice. Very quickly you need to adapt to the system, learn your     and Kelly on a regular basis.
                           new surroundings, specialist doctors
                           and their terminology. You do the         The therapy she has received through Kids Plus has made so
                           best you can. Then you start to find      many things possible for Maddy. Being able to do her own hair
                           your feet and begin walking the path      and get herself ready for school each day mean Maddy can now
                           in which you are directed sometimes       do things like go on school camp. Something Tess never
                           stopping for redirection along the way.   envisaged Maddy doing. She can put on her own shoes, socks
                           In our two years of caring for Austin I   and leg brace without assistance, dry herself after bathing and
                           have stumbled and tripped over those      she has recently progressed
                           two steps forward and one step back       to using a knife and fork.
                           and as I write today I am very pleased
                           to say we have been happily "Bum          As a parent it can be difficult
                           Shuffling" forward for a couple of        to stop yourself from jumping
                           healthy months now and it is a great      in if you see your child
                           feeling. A good friend involved with      struggling with a task. Tess
                           Kids Plus mentioned the program to        feels        the therapy has
                           me and thought it would be a good         increased her own confidence
                           idea to contact the foundation. I         in Maddy's capability and
                           thought it sounded like a great plan      helps her maintain a positive
                           although at the time there were still     attitude when it comes to
                           medical         issues        hindering   thinking about what Maddy
                           our involvement with any therapy.         can achieve for herself in the
Slowly we worked through Austin’s required surgeries and             future. “As a parent it can be
recovery periods until we felt he was ready. When I received         difficult to resist the temptation
confirmation that Austin was accepted with Kids Plus therapy I       to jump in and help when you
was delighted, I knew weekly physiotherapy was going to be           see your child struggling with
absolutely beneficial to him and also for me. Austin and I enjoy     a task. I used to watch Maddy
our trip into Geelong for his sessions we are both so                trying to do things like dry
comfortable with the therapists and surroundings. Austin has         herself after a bath and I
still battled with infections and other surgery yet he still         would just want to help. Now I
manages to reach his goals. He tries very hard each session          have confidence in the therapy
and I have noticed now that he is older and wiser he really puts     and I have learned to sit back
the practice in at home and I think he has a greater sense of his    and let her do things for
own accomplishments.                                                 herself.”
I would like to take this opportunity to thank Kids Plus             Beyond the increased physical
Foundation, the wonderful caring and very skilled therapists and     capability, Tess sees the
all the people who give their financial help to families who         positive changes in Maddy's
deserve type of specialised care. Sandy                              personality and a willingness
                                                                     to take on new things. “She’s
                                                                     come out of her shell because

A willingness to take on new
                                                                     she realises she can do things
                                                                     she couldn’t do previously and
things                                                               she’s more confident.”
                                                                     Tess readily acknowledges there is never a dull moment and
                                             1/2
Interview with Tess & Maddy 11                     yrs               there are days when Maddy is not so keen on attending therapy
                                                                     and again, Tess has nothing but praise for the way the
Maddy was diagnosed with CP hemiplegia at 6 months. Tess             therapists deal with Maddy when she is having one of those
described the diagnosis as “Just daunting. When you are first        days. “They give us space to talk to Maddy and explain why
told, everything stops. It’s through talking to other people that    she needs to keep going”. However Tess also acknowledges
you see there is hope and encouragement”.                            that the difficult days pale in significance when she looks at how
Tess found this encouragement and support from talking to            far Maddy has come and how much her confidence has
another parent who had an 8 year old child with CP hemi. To be       increased since becoming involved in Kids Plus. Tess sum’s it
able to look ahead to the possibilities for Maddy enabled            up very simply “There is so much Maddy can do because of the
Maddy's family to work towards realising some of those               therapy”
possibilities. Tess and her family were initially told that Maddy    by Jen Fitzgerald
                                                                                                                               Page 9

Alivia Mae’s Story                                                    was invited to join their mums and bubs group. It has been a
                                                                      privilege to meet the other fantastic parents and staff at Noah’s
                                                                      Ark. It at playgroup that I heard about Kids Plus from the other
Fiona, mum of Alivia Mae, age 2 1/2 years                             mums, so I spoke to our paed and our SCOPE PT and we
It is 18 months since we discovered Alivia has special and            decided Alivia would benefit from this program.
ongoing needs. We have never felt so vulnerable to the                We started at Kids Plus in Feb 2007 and the benefits of us
“system” since her non-diagnosis.                                     being in this program are immeasurable as we strive to help
Alivia has been much planned addition to our family. Our older        Alivia achieve goals to help her function in everyday life. We
daughter Madaleine called her our rainbow baby from birth and         have been able to set realistic goals and we receive lots of
we all made lots of plans and dreams for her life ahead. Around       encouragement on a week-week basis from the staff and other
Alivia’s 1st birthday I noticed that her muscles were increasingly    parents we meet through Kids Plus. We supplement this
floppy, she seemed to be day dreaming a lot, and she was not          program with hydrotherapy, SCOPE, Noah’s Ark playgroup and
crawling, but I was assured this was normal and she was just          hopefully Hippotherapy.
taking her time. By 14mths we decided that we wanted a paed           At this stage we still do not have and may never have a
referral to ensure all was really OK.                                 diagnosis for Alivia. The probable diagnosis is ‘Rhetts
At our first visit Alivia was able to turn pages of books easily,     Syndrome’ but we are still awaiting results. We have no idea
easily pick up sultanas, her speech was normal for her age and        what the future may holds but we do know we have been given
she was very inquisitive of her environment, people and toys.         a gift of 2 beautiful, joyful daughters who each bring such
                                                                      substance to our lives in their own unique way. Fiona



                                                                      Jack in a crocodile walker?
                                                                      Jack at 4 yrs




At our 17mth visit Alivia was bottom shuffling and she was not
talking as much as she had been and she had begun making
strange finger rolling fine motor movements. We also had
decided on an EEG to hopefully cross seizures off the list as
she still liked to day dream. This was the visit when the paed
suggested that maybe Alivia had cerebral palsy and we felt our
world turning upside down. My sister was studying MCHN and
doing a placement at SCOPE at the time and gave me some
names and numbers to call. The wonderful staff at SCOPE gave
us direction, advice and we commenced their physio within the         Jack has cerebral palsy which affects his mobility,
next couple of months.                                                communication and motor skills. He is now 4 yrs old and is in
                                                                      his 2nd year attending the Kids Plus Therapy Program. We had
Unfortunately prior to Alivia starting at SCOPE she had a severe      no idea that such a service existed until we heard it from a
reaction to a sedative for the EEG and her development                friend we met through playgroup.
regressed further. Alivia lost a lot of coordination and fine motor
skills, she became very easily irritable and not the social child     The wonderful therapists have exceeded our expectations with
she had always been, her eyes became crossed, and would               their dedication, knowledge, caring and perseverance that they
vomit when placed in a swing or any thing with too much               have displayed when dealing with Jack. I remember the
motion. The physio at Scope was wonderful as we tried to find         physiotherapist saying that we will try Jack in a crocodile walker.
activities that Alivia would enjoy and help her development. It       Jack’s grannies, The “Nanna’s” and I looked at each and
was an extremely difficult and frustrating time as Alivia’s           thought she has got to be joking-there is no way that Jack will
tolerance was very low and we wanted to do things to help her         be able to have such a non-supportive walker. We were wrong.
development. We were also doing hydrotherapy (her favorite)           Jack now has his own crocodile walker that he is now
and I had joined the Steiner playgroup as I wanted her to             maneuvering around corners.
socialize with other children and I wanted to chat with other         He now concentrates on activities for longer periods, is fine-
mums. Unfortunately as much as I enjoyed the Steiner                  tuning his hand/eye co-ordination and motor skills as well as
playgroup it was not suitable for Alivia. So I had put her name       using his communication book. Jack has come such a long way
down for a few local playgroups and music sessions to see if          and we cannot thank the therapy team enough for making our
they were more appropriate.                                           determined beautiful little boy meet his goals and exceed our
Around October 2006 I decided to have a look at Noah’s Ark to         expectations. With love and thanks Ginnine, Dave, Emily,
see if they had some of the great toys we had played with at          Nanna Pat & Nanna Helen (the dedicated grannies!)
SCOPE. Whilst looking around I heard children singing and
laughing so asked about their playgroup. Within that month I
                                                                                                                                Page 10

One day …                                                               Kids Plus she had very poor grip and was unable to hold toys
                                                                        for any length of time. Now, she is able to hold most things,
                1/2
Jordana, 2            years                                             including heavier objects. She happily bangs two rattles
Jordana has a genetic abnormality which so far has had the              together and even rolls holding onto her toys! She is able to
implication of low muscle tone (particularly in the upper body),        push buttons, operate rotating buttons, and uses her developing
feeding problems, and global developmental delay.                       skills in rotating her trunk and shifting her weight to reach toys
                                                                        and manipulate various objects. Our goals for her in the future
                                                                        are: (1) to increase her weight baring ability in her arms so we
                                                                        can work towards crawling; (2) keep working on the transitions
                                                                        between laying down and sitting, and sitting to standing so she
                                                                        is able to do this by herself; and (3) to keep on using her Pony
                                                                        walker and practising her walking so she may, one day, be able
                                                                        do this independently.
                                                                        We are so thankful for the Kids Plus Program and the
                                                                        outstanding efforts of all the therapists and support staff – we
                                                                        would be lost without you!
                                                                        Our little angel has gone from not being able to: roll, sit, be in a
                                                                        standing position by herself, and not being able to handle
                                                                        objects to doing all of these things with ease. She can now even
                                                                        use the low back support swings at the playground instead of
                                                                        the special swing at Eastern Beach ! Thank you for helping
                                                                        Jordana achieve her goals. She is a much happier and
                                                                        increasingly independent little girl as a result of your
                                                                        professionalism, support and dedication. It has made SUCH a
                                                                        difference to our daily lives!
                                                                        Regards Karen, Peter and Jordana



                                                                        Photo Corner
                                                                        Top Photo: Liam working on sitting up, in front of the mirror
                                                                        with his party hat. Liam’s Mum, Michelle is a Board Member of
                                                                        the Kids Plus Foundation.




Jordana started with Kids Plus in Term 3, 2006 after we heard
about it through our regular ‘mums and bubs’ sessions at
Noah’s Ark. Her progress since this time has been outstanding,
she is a different little girl! Before we began in the program
Jordana hated being on her tummy, with a PEG insertion
making it more difficult to make this a comfortable and happy
time for her. With the exercises Kate, Sarah and Kelly have
done with her during therapy, and with them breaking it down
telling me why/how to do them which gave me the confidence to
work through the exercises at home, Jordana now rolls
EVERYWHERE!!! She is able to roll from both sides to get a
toy, fully supporting her head and body weight on her forearms,
and is increasingly pushing up to support herself on her hands.
She enjoys her new found mobility and is continuing to surprise         Below     Taylah playing with a switch toy
us with new tricks daily. Recently she has started to try to get
into the crawling all fours position, but is not yet strong enough
to do this by herself, however with a little help this is achieved.
She is now able to be in a standing position by herself,
supporting her upper body on the couch, her high density foam
stairs or a similar support for an extended period of time. At the
moment in the Kids Plus program we are working on the laying
down to sitting transition, and the sitting to standing transition so
that she may be able to stand by herself.
At home we are doing as much as we can to achieve these
goals and she is also practising using her ‘Pony’ walker. We
also do walking without the walker, with mummy or daddy
supporting her to get her used to the stepping action (I thrive on
the praise and sense of achievement I gain out of doing this
mummy and daddy!)
Her fine motor skills have also improved. When she began at

				
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