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We help children & young people do what they want to do.

Participation in sports and recreation activities

  • What is the goal of sports and recreation intensives?
    We help children and young people develop the functional skills they need to participate in sports and recreation activities. Participation is the the point of everything we do at Splash Physiotherapy!
  • Why are we running sports & recreation intensives?
    Where do we begin! We are incredibly passionate about this service! Participation participation is the the point of everything we do at Splash Physiotherapy, so this service fits with our core purpose we see children develop functional skills, but without that last bit of support, often they don't get to participate in every day activities in their community, and are still kicking a ball around in the backyard by themselves a long time later. Using our approach we support putting the skills into every day life, rather than developing a skill and hoping that it will work out it's a supported way for children and young people to try new sports and recreation activities that they may not otherwise have a chance to do it's a focussed way to further build skills in a sport or recreation activity a child or young person is already participating in, but where they are struggling to progress with a particular aspect (similar to our approach of providing blocks of aquatic physiotherapy to help kids and young people in swimming lessons when they struggle with learning a new skill) Evidence informed practise: the evidence base shows that blocks of therapy are better than distributed therapy. That's why we do weekly blocks during school terms. However, school holidays are a great opportunity to do a block of daily sessions so that skills can be built upon every day, to more quickly achieve a goal. They can work as a great 'boost' before going back to school. They are timed before the term starts to you can take these skills and put them straight onto your chosen activity. Play! this is what play looks like for children and young people! We provide play based therapy at all ages, and as kids grow up, active play becomes about sports and recreation. It's the same for adults! ​ Quality of life and whole development it gives opportunities for a number of areas that improve quality of life. Aside from being able to move and do what you want to do, the social, communication, self regulation, and motor planning aspects are all involved. improving ability to join in sport and recreation opens social opportunities at school in the playground and in sport, as well as as an adult challenging yourself, not being afraid to learn through mistakes, working towards goals, seeing your achievements, and sharing them with others all help to develop resilience and a growth mindset not everyone is going to be into team sports. Recreation is just as important. That's why we include activities such as bike riding, canoeing and bush walking. ​ Independence bike riding is an important mode of transport for many adults with disabilities to gain more independence Health children are recommended to be participating in moderately vigorous activity for 2 hours per day! and for adults it's 30 minutes. We want to be a part of setting children up for a healthy, active lifestyle as adults. Evidence shows that children who are active are more likely to become active adults. whole families often get involved and become more active, which has health benefits for everyone! being active and being part of a community has mental health benefits across a lifespan having a healthy active lifestyle is particularly important for the children and young people we work with. It's an enjoyable way to keep up your fitness, strength, balance and range of movement.
  • What is the difference between functional skills and participation?
    Functional skills are concrete and easy to observe eg. you used to miss the soccer ball when you tried to kick it, now you can kick it with direction to another person most of the time. Participation is when you are able to join in an activity in every day life, with all the complexities that come with that. To continue the soccer example: kicking balls in different directions running and changing direction to get near a ball or away from a team mate while keeping an eye on where your moving team mates are on uneven ground, that might be hard and dry in summer or soggy and spongy after rain while a team mate is calling out to you with sun in your eyes, or with light rain when you're feeling great and when you're tiring out when you're excited and when you're struggling because your team is losing You get the idea, the skill is much more complex once you're in the activity!​ Context: To add to that, there are other factors related to the context Personal: you're still feeling a bit sad after something that happened at school, you're anxious about the new activity, your tired, or you're feeling great, full of energy, and excited Other people: how supportive, encouraging and inclusive are your peers, their parents, your coach or teacher? do they have the understanding and skills to modify activities, or to use strategies to help you participate? The environment: can you get there easily enough? Or do you need to go the long way around to avoid the steps? do they have equipment you can use? will your walker cope on the uneven ground? You can imagine there are many things to consider for each different activity, and we are skilled at quietly observing these, and helping the people involved find solutions to any barriers we identify. ​ Read more about participation and the WHO ICF - CY (World health Organisation International Classification of Function​
  • What sports & recreation activities are available?
    As of 2019, we have run intensives on the following sports & recreation activities: - bike riding, swimming, bush walking, canoeing & kayaking, ballet - basketball, netball, soccer, AFL football, cricket - tennis, badminton, table tennis were done as a combination looking into racquet sports We are looking into intensives for: - little athletics, surf beach swimming, circus We would like to look into: - martial arts, hockey, rollerskating If you have a different recreational activity or sport your are keen to look at, ask us! We will do our best to help. We are in no way limited to the activities on this list. This list has been developed in response to the goals of current and past Splash families. Find out more about bike riding physiotherapy here
  • What sports are available?
    Currently we have the following sports. But if you are eager to develop skills in something else, tell us! We'll do our best to make it happen! cycling / bike riding running: there is a good evidence base and particular approach to use in teaching someone with a disability to get from a walk or the start of a trot into a running action, and this is a fun skill to develop that then opens doors to many other participation activities AFL football soccer tennis table tennis badminton basketball netball swimming These are all billed at the usual physiotherapy rate unless we need to hire an indoor space, in which was that cost is shared amongst the families involved.
  • What recreation activities are available?
    Currently we are developing the following activities. But if you are eager to develop skills in something else, tell us! We'll do our best to make it happen! bike riding walking / bush walking canoeing / kayaking (singles & doubles) dance, ballet and circus playground skills mobility in the community and outdoor environments More information on each below
  • Bike riding?
    please read more about bike riding here, as we can work with modified tricycles, tricycles and balance bikes, or getting on to two wheeled bikes). bring your own bike and helmet there are particular strategies that work well for learning bike riding for children and young people with a disability there is a standardised assessment we use, the same as the one used by Rachel Toovey who has contributed a great deal of the research in this area children who use a wheelchair for mobility and children with no limitations to their walking can participate in bike riding by having the bike that provides the appropriate challenge this is billed at the usual physiotherapy rate unless we need to hire an indoor space, in which case that cost is shared amongst the families involved we have provided bike riding physiotherapy for many years, and as an intensive since January 2018. Our intensives have been fully booked every school holidays since then!
  • Walking and bush walking?
    Developing and then maintaining walking endurance is vitally important . It gives the ability to participate in every day life and long school days without becoming as fatigued. It can be a bit of a boring thing to work on though long term! ​ We are skilled at helping families find ways to fit it in to their every day life, as well as finding motivations to develop walking endurance. The program currently under construction with Shayna is for: children and young people to have individual physiotherapy sessions to set them up a motivating way to track your progress (there are many ways to do this from sticker charts to a range of apps, more to come on this) regular group sessions where we get together and walk an interesting area in Melbourne suburbs and train towards our distance goals a goal of completing a bushwalk together, (eg 1km 3km and km goals) and then everyone having a celebratory picnic afterwards Having a goal is a great motivation (think of marathon runners or the tough mudder events) We develop a team and little community to work together, motivate each other towards our goals, and celebrate when we achieve them Kids and families get to meet and hang out together. More to come! You can express your interest now though :)
  • Canoeing & kayaking?
    Shayna is a member of the Fairfield Canoe Club and has been thrilled to have the excellent support of their boad. we use their club, boats, life jackets, facilities There is protential to arrange grip gloves to assist for children and young people who might struggle to hold on to a paddle, to remove that barrier. For other children, maintaining the grips needed to paddle will be one of our goals. We just want to have flexibility to meet the individuals' needs canoeing / kayaking is great for complex dynamic balance, fitness, dual tasking, motor planning, higher level mobility and agility moving around the banks and gettting in and out of the boats, and being in a beautiful environment on the upper Yarra! We can also (deliberately) practise falling out of boats and using a lifejacket to get to shore ie putting into real life the swim safer skills practised in the pool. This is weather dependent. there are some accessibility limitations related to the dock (in case you know the area, this is not the Ivanhoe club beside the Fairfield boat house with hundreds of bluestone steps to navigate! We just have a grassy but quite steep hill and a few steps). There is potential in the to use an accessible dock where we could meet you with the canoes to transfer straight out of a wheelchair or from your walker if need be, just ask!). For our club, ability to handle steep slopes, changes of surfaces and transfers in and out of the boat would be assessed by your physiotherapist in advance of the intensive adult care givers will be present throughout the sessions on the dock, and will have the opportunity to learn how to support their child or young person in the canoe, so that they can in the future go together if you are both keen! this club welcomes social members so it is potentially an activity the whole family may enjoy continuing with after the intensive. Many of the Splash families who have been involved have become members, and some of the older children are participating in the club's kids' programs after developing skills during the intensive. billed at the usual physiotherapy rate by Splash. The Fairfield Canoe Club will invoice you a fee for use of the club and boats, equipment and facilities. WEAR: bathers, comfortable clothes that allow full range of movement, sun protection (broad brimmed hat with chin strap or legionairres style that that won't blow off; sunscreen; sunglasses; long sleeved sun protective shirt; note that your legs will be in the sun too so light pants, leggins or long shorts can be better; shoes with grip that won't fall off eg runners. Good to wear older clothes and shoes as you might get wet. BRING: drink bottle, towel, change of clothes, thongs if you want to shower in the change room, a camera to catch some amazing footage of your star on the water! ONLOOKERS: adult caregiver remains by the dock throughout the session, please dress appropriately for the weather. As this is beside the river, it is more dnagerous to have siblings present. Families bring other children at their own risk and responsibility, and it is preferred that they stay home where possible. No use of boats or swimming is permitted for siblings observing. ​​​​​​​
  • Dance, ballet and circus?"
    We have offered intensives relating to goals children have in dance, ballet and circus, in consult with their teachers and coaches. We are also exploring partnerships to work on skills relating to dance, ballet and circus for children new to these activitites, and then facilitating ongoing participatoin in these activities. More to come! You can express your interest now though :)
  • How do sports & recreation intensives work at Splash Physiotherapy?
    find a sport or recreation activity that the child or young person is interested in, that their family are willing to support complete a functional assessment of where their skills are now complete an assessment of the components of those skills that they already have, and which they need to learn next develop functional goals to work towards during the sessions have daily skill building physiotherapy sessions to work towards these goals, every day for 1 week explore how to put those skills into participation in every day life eg. What needs to happen so you can ride your bike to school? So you can join the soccer team? So you can join in playing footy at lunch time? generally we will follow up with 1-3 sessions at your activity to help put the new skills into context
  • What happens during SKILL BUILDING sessions?
    on the first session we assess where you are up to, the components we can see you have and those yo uneed to develop, and set some goals together with you for the week we will formally write up those goals we have 1:1 physiotherapy sessions, daily, for a week sometimes there is more than one physio and child working in the same location, so there is opportunity to join in together for some activities, watch each other, and support and cheer each other on the adult care giver remains present for every session, and we support them in how to practise the skills with the child / young person where? we use parks, playgrounds, and sporting facilities for the sessions. the location depends on which families are eager to be involved, and we try to choose a location that is as close as possible to everyone while providing the facilities we need for the program to be successful we provide goal directed physiotherapy based on motor learning principles, which the evidence base shows us is an effective approach for learning new skills we continually reassess, and change our strategies moment - to - moment to meet your child / young person's individual learning needs, to provide the "just right challenge", so they can learn as quickly as possible. All this complex clinical reasoning will be going on in our heads though! It will look like play or practising a skill from the outside! we will talk with the adult caregiver about how they and the child / young person feel the sessions are going, the changes we are seeing, the challenges we are overcoming, progress being made, and how the new skills can be supported in between sessions we will formally reassess goals at the end of the intensive then we will discuss and arrange follow up sessions
  • Why do we have FOLLOW UP sessions to put the skills into context?
    The environment, the child or young person, their family, their peers, other parents and coaches or teachers all have an influence on how much someone is able to participate in an activity. There can be obvious barriers (such as steps down to the soccer pitch where you need a ramp to use your walker) and more subtle barriers (eg. lack of confidence in how to modify activities for a child, or parents wanting the "best" players in the game so their child's team can win, parents being unsure that their child can manage the bike ride to school with obstacles and hills). (eg. practise the route from home to school with your family so everyone is comfortable and we address any issues that come up, go along to a soccer practice and help the coach adjust their activities so your child can participate etc). (see what's the difference between functional skills and participation at the top of this page for more detail) you can imagine there are many things to consider for each different activity, and we are skilled at quietly observing these, and helping the people involved find solutions to any barriers we identify. this can make a big difference in a child's confidence, and in the staff's ability to support your child to participate.
  • What is the advantage of doing an intensive with daily sessions?
    the evidence base shows that blocks of therapy are better than distributed therapy. That's why we do weekly blocks during school terms. However, school holidays are a great opportunity to do a block of daily sessions so that skills can be built upon every day, to more quickly achieve a goal. they can work as a great 'boost' before going back to school. they are timed before the term starts to you can take these skills and put them straight onto your chosen activity.
  • Do children & young people do just ONE sport & recreation intensive?
    That depends on your goals! Some children and young people will need a number of intensives as well as blocks of physiotherapy to develop a skill over a long term goal. Others may come to us just for support in bike riding. Many will choose to do an intensive each time they are offered, and then choose to either build on skills in n activity they have done with us before, or try a new activity
  • What if we can't do a sports & recreation intensive over the holidays?
    Some families are not able to do intensives on school holidays eg. because the children are in care while a parent needs to work we can absolutely work on the same goals over a block of physiotherapy during school terms, in land or aquatic sessions, and we commonly do this the goals are achieved over a school term rather than a week time frame, and better improvement is seen where children / young people have opportunities to practise in between sessions
  • What about other intensives? Land and aquatic physio? Pathways to swimming? Bike riding?
    You're right, it's a great way to work towards goals and we offer them for all of our 4 service groups. Demand changes over the year so it just depends where we need to put our team. Read about intensives here Here's our bike riding link again though there's more info under the 'recreation activities' group of questions
  • What about the weather?
    In general we run sessions rain hail or shine! We know Melbourne often has 4 seasons in one day. Check the weather on the day, but still bring everything you need for unexcpected hot and cold weather! You should bring: for sun protection: hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, long sleeves for cold or rainy weather: raincoat, warm clothes, and consider a beanie, gloves and scarf on colder days for all sessions: closed toe shoes (runners are ideal), clothes you can move freely in, drink bottle, snacks, camera to capture the action! please see the specific sport / recreation activity information for what to bring for each activity. eg what clothes and bathers are needed for kayaking, how to get your bike and helmet ready for bike riding intenseives Why do we try to run sessions whatever the weather? There's a few reasons! when we participate in sports and recreation activities in everyday life, we do them in all weather. And we might start out on a sunny day's bike ride to school only to get rained on before we arrive! when we look at the science behind neuroplasticity (how our brain changes as we learn) we know that we develop richer, fatter, stronger neural pathways when we practice a skill in a variety of ways. Kicking a soccer ball inside with a physio is different to doing that with the sun in your eyes, on a wet muddy field, and while your mates are calling out for the ball. Being able to do the same skill in different contexts is sometimes called 'generalising' a skill across. We start that process straight away by continuing rain, hail or shine! there are benefits to learning outside. That's what bush kindergarten programs, and outdoor education programs in school aged children, are based upon. What about extreme weather? We do get extreme weather sometimes in Melbourne! We would make a new plan if we had a heatwave of 40 degree days all in a row, or if there was a high risk of flash flooding or similar. And we won't play outside on a field during a thunderstorm! But we will cope with hot days, windy days, and rainy days.
  • When are sports & recreation intensives happening?
    All of our dates for the year are always on this page so you can plan ahead and put them in your diary Intensives may be marked as 'TBC which means they are yet to be confirmed with Splash team availability, and which sports and activities will be offered.
  • Ok we're keen. How do we get involved?
    Fill in a booking request form. Include your availability and what sports and recreation activities you are interested in. If we haven't been working with you previously, we will need to do an initial assessment before hand so please plan ahead.
  • Please make sure everyone is on side!
    Please make sure that everyone is on side before you engage in services with us. That means all adult care givers / parents, and the child or young person. It is okay to have a goal of 'exploring the activity' for children or young people who might be afraid about bike riding for example, or who struggle with sensory processing. But for a service to be effective, the child or young person needs to want to be involved, and the adult caregivers / parents need to be on side and supportive of the program and goals. If you're not there yet, take some time to explore it, read our website and ask us questions, or consider using some blocks of physiotherapy to introduce a range of different activities that your child or young person could choose from. We are happy to discuss this and support you in getting ready to join in. Exceptions would be: it is okay to have a goal of 'exploring the activity' for children or young people who might be afraid about bike riding for example, or who struggle with sensory processing. We are happy to discuss your concerns and ways to support this. if you have some hesitation or resistance from a sports teacher or coach, we can still go ahead with the intensive for your child or young person, and then assist the teacher or coach in the follow up sessions to help make it successful for everyone
We look forward to playing towards your goals! 


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