“Occupational Therapy helps me to…”

We are currently running a drawing competition for all of our children.  The theme is “Occupational Therapy Helps Me To…”

Please encourage your child to think about what they enjoy most about OT and how it is helping them to get better at something they do, think or feel.

Please use a single A4 piece of paper for their artwork and post to our Manning Clinic:

Inside Out Occupational Therapy Group
Suite 5, 18 Welwyn Avenue

Or drop it into the clinic at your next visit. Competition closes on Friday the 9th March 2018.

Art work will be judged on creativity, effort and ideas. First Prize – Family Movie Pass to Hoyts Cinema! Entries will be displayed in our next newsletter, on our website and on our noticeboards for everyone to enjoy.

Tricky Finding Time to Pay Your Invoices?

We now have the ability to take credit card payments from you over the phone via our secure eWay payment platform. If you would like to arrange for a payment to be taken from your credit card following each session, please call reception on 0423 673 909 or speak with your therapist directly.

NDIS Providers

Inside Out is proud to announce that we are now accredited as providers to the National Disability Insurance Scheme. As this funding model rolls out across Western Australia this year and into 2020, we look forward to providing families new funding arrangements that continues to make OT affordable and accessible for all.

The NDIS (delivered by the NDIA) is currently available in the following Western Australia Local Government Authorities (LGAs): Mundaring, Kalamunda and Swan in the Perth Hills region; Bassendean and Bayswater, and, Toodyay, Chittering, Northam and York.

If you live in these LGAs and would like to find out if you/your child is eligible for the NDIS, you can make an access request by phoning 1800 800 110 or by visiting the NDIA’s Midland office.

The NDIS (delivered by the WA State Government – known as WA NDIS and formerly known as My Way) is currently available in the following Western Australian LGAs: Ashburton, Broome, Derby-West Kimberley, East Pilbara, Halls Creek, Port Hedland, Wyndham-East Kimberley and Karratha; Mandurah and Rockingham, and Augusta-Margaret River, Boyup Brook, Bridgetown-Greenbushes, Busselton, Donnybrook-Balingup, Manjimup, Nannup, Cockburn, Kwinana, Armadale, Murray and Serpentine-Jarrahdale.


Is your child starting Kindy, Pre-primary or Year 1 this year?
Would you like to know how they are progressing developmentally?
Would you like some ideas about ways to assist their skill development which underpins their success at school both academically and socially?

Our exciting new service offers parents the opportunity to have their child’s development screened, through a 40min consult. This Check Up can provide peace of mind to parents who may have some worries about their child’s development or progress, and is an opportunity to have these concerns discussed and the child screened in a relaxed, meaningful environment. The age range for this service is 4-7yr olds.

Your child’s motor skills (fine and gross motor), visual perceptual, auditory skills, written or pre-writing skills, attention, sensory, behaviour and emotional skills are screened. If areas of concern are identified with speech or other medical issues, onward referral will be facilitated.

An OT Check Up costs $90 and an electronic screening report is provided to parents at the completion of this screen. If your child requires more in-depth assessment following this screen, this will be discussed with you. Should you wish to proceed with a comprehensive assessment, the cost of the screen will be deducted from the assessment fee – a fantastic bonus to families.

This service is a refreshing and quick way to gain a better understanding of your child’s unique profile, and to monitor progress over time. Please email us at to book an appointment at Mosman Park Clinic, Manning Clinic or Wexford Clinic. Rebates may apply.

Social Skills and Self-Regulation Group

These fun social groups are a great way to provide some supported play for your child with children of a similar age. Your child will continue to learn about the Zones of Regulation and the Superflex Superhero characters – and get to put them into practice whilst playing and interacting with peers.

Each session runs for 90 mins and will end with a popcorn snack to review which ‘Unthinkables’ and ‘Thinkables’ were at play.  Each session will be run by one of our Senior Occupational Therapists and an Occupational Therapy Assistant.

Please call 0423 673 909 to book your child’s place for term 1 2018. Days and times are being wait listed currently.

Gross and Fine Motor Strengthening Group

These 60 min motor strengthening groups are ideal for kids who might need a little extra support with their handwriting and other fine motor activities at school.

Gross motor, core and upper body strengthening activities will be included in these sessions. A group is a super fun way to get this strengthening practice in. The kids will be having so much fun – they won’t even realise they’re strengthening their gross and fine motor skills! Each session will be run by one of our Senior Occupational Therapists and an Occupational Therapy Assistant.

Please call 0423 673 909 to book your child’s place for term 1 2018. Days and times are being wait listed currently.

Circle of Security Parenting Group





Our Circle of Security® Parenting™ Group is starting on the 12th February – Monday evenings (5:30pm to 7:00pm) at our Manning clinic. Over 7 weeks, caregivers are guided through the program by a Senior Occupational Therapist who is a trained Circle of Security® facilitator; and also supported by a second Occupational Therapist for each session.

The program is based on decades of research about how secure parent-child relationships can be supported and strengthened.  Objectives include:

  • Understand your child’s emotional world by learning to read the emotional needs
  • Support your child’s ability to successfully manage emotions
  • Enhance the development of your child’s self esteem
  • Honor your innate wisdom and desire for your child to be secure

The group costs $55 per session per parent, with more than 50% reduction in the fee for the second parent, so $80 per night per couple. We understand that not all parents are a couple, and individuals are invited to attend, as well as separated parents or caregivers. Parents are encouraged to speak with their GP about a mental health plan referral for themselves, as this will provide for a Medicare rebate to assist with costs for each session. These referrals are at the discretion of your GP. Private health insurance may also assist, so please check with your fund if you have this cover.

Please contact Lisa Adeney on or speak with your therapist to confirm your place.

Monday 12th February 5.30 – 7.00pm
Monday 19th February 5.30 – 7.00pm
Monday 26th February 5.30 – 7.00pm
Monday 5th March – Public Holiday
Monday 12th March 5.30 – 7.00pm
Monday 19th March 5.30 – 7.00pm
Monday 26th March 5.30 – 7.00pm
Monday 2nd April – Public Holiday
Monday 9th April 5.30 – 7.00pm

Hitting the “Off” Switch – Valuing Sensory Downtime and Unguided Discovery for our Kids

So the school holidays are drawing to an end. For some of us it’s been a juggling act while others have enjoyed a slower pace of life with their kids. But one common thread unites most parents as they think about the beginning of the school year – a knowledge that life is about to get busy again as the merry-go-round of daily activities swing into full force.

Let’s face it, our children’s days are generally quite busy. After the morning routine is tackled and they have combated a few curve balls and last minute demands (locating those swimming goggles or dance shoes or remembering to pack their recorder two minutes before leaving the house), children go to school where they are then required to apply their focus, learn new information, play nicely and do their best.

They are ‘on’ all day. After school is usually filled with an activity, often structured, and then homework, jobs and the evening routine before hitting the hay. Then press repeat. Phew! No wonder our kids feel tired come Fridays and that spark we saw in the holidays begins to fade.

As good parents, we want the best for our kids – we want to see them happy, having the opportunities for growth while discovering and realising their potential. We want them to develop all the skills they need to be functioning adults one day, to have good things in their lives, lovely friends and to have confidence in themselves. So before we know it, their ‘down time’ is filled up with new activities, courses, play dates and challenges. And they like this, mostly. But what if our good intensions are actually not doing them good?

What if we valued ‘downtime’ more? What if we expected them to do very little and just ‘be’?

Could this actually be the magic that holds everything together and inadvertently keeps them achieving, doing well and feeling happy? Let’s break it down then.

Firstly, downtime is not strictly doing nothing. Downtime means freedom from structured work, instructions, and goal-oriented activities. No one telling you what to do, how to do it, or what to do next.

In a 2012 study published with the title “Rest Is Not Idleness” from the University of Southern California, scientists used MRI scanners to look at the brains of people who were lying down and letting their thoughts wander.

The article discusses evidence that the default brain systems activated during rest are important for recalling personal memories, imagining the future, and feeling social emotions with moral connotations (Immordino-Yang, 2015).

As Occupational Therapists, we always look at the science behind something. So what does the science tell us about downtime?

  1. New learning is strengthened during downtime. Taking a break from acquiring new knowledge and skills gives us a chance to review what we have just learned.
  2. Our brain needs time to consolidate new information. Little memories are given space to emerge, be mulled over and then stored away for safe keeping. Something their teacher had said ‘popped up’ in their thoughts and suddenly made sense. Or realising a joke that everyone else laughed at was actually funny, in reflection.
  3. Downtime allows the brain to make new connections. When we allow ourselves to be creative and explore something new, then our brain has a chance to grow new connections instead of reusing the existing connections for our most common activities (Kobilo, Yuan & Van Praag, 2011).
    Neurogenesis is the process of nerve growth in our brains, forming new pathways, increasing complexity and connectivity. This occurs when there’s space and time to grow, rather than constant expenditure.
  4. Downtime reduces anxiety and stress. Children and adults all benefit from some time when they are free from expectations to recharge their emotional batteries. High or moderate levels of stress in our bodies increases levels of cortisol and this does not support neurogenesis (Natarajan, Northrop & Yamamoto, 2015).

When we are free from pressure to perform, to think quickly and keep up, we feel more relaxed. This chemical change in our brain provides the environment for growth. Studies have shown that repeated exposure to stress leads to a decrease in the size and function of the hippocampus. The hippocampus is deep inside the brain and plays an essential role as it processes everything that happens. It associates these current events with other past events stored in our memories and the emotions associated with these memories.

We definitely want to lessen the impact of stress on the hippocampus and favour activities that will promote its healthy development.

So with the science being unanimously in support of this break time, maybe we should start working on making this happen in all of our lives. Regularly.

Notice the urge to make suggestions, give feedback and create structure for your children – these impulses come from years of believing that time should be ‘filled’ and accounted for with a productive activity.

Downtime can mean allowing your child to explore new things, without specific directions, and letting them choose how they want to spend their time. We call this unguided discovery.

As Occupational Therapists, we also know that achieving a calm, regulated state is enhanced through the use of a sensory activity – something pleasant that is received by our senses – visual, tactile, auditory, olfactory, vestibular and gustatory (taste).

So, here’s the trick: Think of a pleasant sensory experience and pair it with the downtime experience for maximum effect.

  • Put a soft picnic rug on the grass in the backyard,
  • Roll out a fluffy blanket on top of your child’s bed inviting them to lie down for a bit,
  • Shut their bedroom door gently so they can just ‘be’ in their rooms,
  • Plug in a lava lamp and turn the rest of the lights off,
  • Plug in a fan and feel the breeze on your face,
  • Float in the pool,
  • Sit up in a tree or high on the monkey bars,
  • Listen to music,
  • Lick a cut up orange,
  • Rock in a rocking chair,
  • Heat up that heat bag and put it on their tummy,
  • Suck on a lolly or ice cube,
  • Stand in the shower or lie in the bath,
  • Watch a balloon rise and fall,
  • Notice leaves move in the breeze,
  • Watch the waves or the rain,
  • Lie under a heavy doona,
  • Trace a feather over their faces,
  • Rub scented hand cream into elbows and knees,
  • Smell the roses (this old adage was really onto something!)

Thinking, linking, reflecting, sorting things out, remembering, and squaring things off. The beautiful by-products of sensory downtime.

Remember, we are the biggest influencers for our children. What would happen if they saw you watching the rain whilst sipping a cup of tea – not being in a rush or doing anything else? They would probably giggle at first or think you were a bit weird as they watched you sitting in front of a fan staring at the blades.

After a while, would they start to value this downtime too, and maybe start trying out quiet time, free from electronic devices and other ways to ‘fill’ the space? It may take time, but isn’t it worth it?

By Kathleen Langford – Director/Senior Occupational Therapist and Family Therapist at Inside Out Occupational Therapy Group Pty Ltd.



  1. Website (Internet). Sensory Enrichment Therapy Principles (cited Dec 2017). Available:
  2. Immordino-Yang MH. Emotions, Learning, and the Brain: Exploring the Educational Implications of Affective Neuroscience (The Norton Series on the Social Neuroscience of Education). W. W. Norton & Company; 2015.
  3. Website [Internet]. [cited 24 Oct 2016]. Available: Why Your Brain Needs More Downtime
  4. Chronic Stress Can Damage Brain Structure and Connectivity. In: Psychology Today [Internet]. [cited 26 Oct 2016]. Available:
  5. Woolley CS, Gould E, McEwen BS. Exposure to excess glucocorticoids alters dendritic morphology of adult hippocampal pyramidal neurons. Brain Res. 1990;531: 225–231.
  6. Leekam SR, Nieto C, Libby SJ, Wing L, Gould J. Describing the sensory abnormalities of children and adults with autism. J Autism Dev Disord. 2007;37: 894–910.
  7. Natarajan R, Northrop NA, Yamamoto BK. Protracted effects of chronic stress on serotonin-dependent thermoregulation. Stress. 2015;18: 668–676.
  8. Sensory Enrichment Therapy Clinical Studies. In: Mendability [Internet]. [cited 16 May 2016]. Available:

Products For Sale


We are offering different dolphin and sport designs and in a variety of colours, these clever tools promote appropriate wrist extension and pencil grasp to support the development of writing skills, suitable for both left and right-handers.  We recommend you purchase two for your child-one to keep at school and the other for home.  They are $7.50 each.

Send us an email to place an order:



These clever cards (designed by our Senior OT Lisa Adeney) are a quick and easy way to get your child moving and having fun!  With 15 different animal walks, these cards are great for developing body and hand strength, supporting shoulder and wrist stability and improving bilateral integration, fine and gross motor skills.  They also promote the following of directions and motor planning skills. A set of cards cost $11.  Send us an email to place an order:



We are waiting on our order of Theraputty to arrive very soon!   These will come in a pack of 3 with soft, medium and hard strengths, wonderful for hand strengthening and as a fiddle toy (without the visual distraction!)  The samples we have trialed with some of our clients have received great feedback!   Individual tubs can also be purchased on request.  Please speak to your therapist or contact us directly on if you would like to register your interest.  We are also able to supply bulk orders to school, a useful inclusion to back to school lists.

Send us an email to place an order:

Circle of Security

As part of Inside Out’s commitment to continual improvement, Lisa Cooper, Nina Fitch and Lisa Adeney have undertaken training in the Circle of Security model. We are in the process of further developing our parenting pathway and this training will support this model. This will be a wonderful adjunct to the individual therapy we are providing with our children.

Circle of Security® aims at supporting and strengthening parent-child relationships by providing a clear map to reflect on our own needs as parents and to better understand and respond to our child’s emotional world. It helps parents identify strengths whilst making sense of difficult behaviours, emotional difficulties and relationship needs.

Underpinning the Circle of Security® approach is each child’s innate need to feel safe and secure – emotionally connected. And that a child’s behaviour is often driven by this need for emotional connection. The ‘circle’ encourages parents to support their child in exploration, welcome their coming back and being strong, available and kind – the hands on the circle. It is through “being with” our children in times of need and in all their feelings that sets their foundation for self-regulation. And it is through “good enough” parenting that our children are happier, healthier and more secure.