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!

Please call 0423 673 909 to book your child’s place for term 3 and school holidays 2018. Days and times are being wait listed currently.

Seeking Connection or Attention Seeking?


In this term’s blog, Lisa A invites parents to consider if our child’s attention seeking behaviour may be an expression of their need to seek connection?

We are frequently told in parenting advice books and on the internet that attention seeking is bad and we must ignore the ‘behaviour’ because otherwise the child will learn that all they have to do is scream to get our attention.

However what if we challenged that idea and told you that our children are not ‘attention seeking’, but rather they are ‘seeking connection’ with us?

Let’s first look at this concept called “attachment”. Attachment is a motivational behavioural system whose purpose is to seek proximity to a caregiver. The attachment system includes both exploration, where the function is for learning/playing; and it also includes protection, where the function is for safety. Children use their caregiver as a ‘secure base’ from which to go out and explore the world. When the threat of danger is present, exploration is inhibited, and the child turns to the caregiver for safety and security. This is a really important point to understand and observe in children, as the “proximity seeking” behaviours look different in different children. For some it is them asking for help, others it may be to cry, for others we may experience them as being “whiny” or “clingy”, and some children become explosive and aggressive. We also need to keep an eye out on the ones who retreat away and are the quietest.

It is important to understand what ‘danger’ might mean to a child. It could be saying goodbye to their caregiver; going to sleep by themselves; or the new person that they are unsure how to interact with them. It could also be as simple as an unexpected noise or a new food they are trying for the first time. When a child experiences something as a danger, they will stop exploring/playing and being independent and return back to their caregiver for safety. Is this attention seeking or seeking a connection with someone who they trust to validate their emotions and provide reassurance, supporting them to feel safe enough to go back and tackle the same situation?

The research now suggests that if children haven’t yet mastered the skill of emotional regulation, they are likely to find other, insecure ways to bring their caregivers and attachment figures closer. Often this makes it confusing for caregivers to know whether or not their child needs comfort or support.  Because of this, we often mistake children’s behaviour as  ‘attention seeking’ or ‘being naughty or silly’.  Often these are the times are when our children are struggling emotionally and not knowing how to cope or how to get help from their caregiver.

Indeed children can be skilful in getting our attention in all sorts of ways (i.e. kicking the back of our chair, screaming, saying they need our help when we know they can do the task themselves, withdrawing etc). However there is a need that underlies these ‘attention seeking’ behaviours. To be able to support our children to gain our attention in more secure ways we need to look past the behaviour and discover the underlying need for connection and emotional organisation and address that. For children to be able to self-regulate and calm themselves down, they first have to experience this calming down with someone.

Here at Inside Out OT, we look further past the behaviour, to look at what the underlying emotional needs of our children are, and support families to address those needs. Programs such as the Circle of Security and reflective based discussions with our Occupational Therapists can help support you to be with your children when they are upset. Through this, we can support your relationship with your child which enables enhanced emotional regulation and self esteem.

Helping Children with Autism and Better Start for Children with Disability

Inside Out is proud to announce that we have been selected for membership of the Helping Children with Autism (HCWA) and Better Start for Children with Disability Early Intervention Service Provider Panel. We are excited to be able to offer an additional early intervention care and funding arrangements to new and existing families.   Inside Out is also an accredited provider to the National Disability Insurance Scheme – a funding model that is currently rolling out across Western Australia this year and into 2020. These programs help to make OT more affordable and accessible for eligible clients and families.

For further information please click on this link:


Scotch College Evening Seminar

Kathleen and Lisa were thrilled to present at Scotch College’s recent Evening Seminar on the topic of Improving Social Skills for Primary School Aged Children – A focus on Cognitive Flexibility.

Children need to use their ‘school smarts’ and ‘social smarts’ to be successful at school. Good social skills (social smarts) are described as “adapting efficiently in each context” – our children need to read the hidden rules in each context and then regulate their physical presence, their language, emotions and reactions. To do this requires Flexible Thinking, which allows children to entertain alternative view points and have choices, without getting ‘stuck’ on their own ideas or plans. For many children this is an effortless process, but for others it is difficult and they have real problems demonstrating social cooperation. This seminar provided parents with essential information about cognitive flexibility, the impact on social skills, and importantly, strategies to use to assist the development of these skills in their children.

Source: Winner, M.G. &  Crooke, P.  (2008).  You are a Social Detective! Social Thinking Publishing: Santa Clara CA

Dr Stuart Shanker and Mike McKay on Self-Regulation

WACOSS Special Members Update

WACOSS and our Partners are pleased to announce that the information about a range of events has been finalised and is now available.

The nexus between neuroscience and child development has created ideal conditions for a developing interest and engagement in self-regulation. Central to this work is Dr Stuart Shanker who was appointed by the Commissioner for Children and Young People, Michelle Scott, as her 2012 Thinker in Residence. Since Stuart’s last visit, the influence of his time with us has been profound and people across a range of sectors, including early childhood, out of home care, children and family services and youth, have been talking about how we might continue the work he initiated, provide opportunities for professional development for practitioners and undertake further work with Stuart and his colleagues in a more in-depth fashion around self-regulation, applying it to the work of their services. That hope is now coming to fruition.


What is Self-Regulation?

Self-regulation refers to the ability of a child to deal with stressful situations effectively and being able to return to a baseline of being calm, focused and alert. To read more about the concept of self-regulation Initiative please click here . To read more about Dr Shanker and his colleagues — including the Project Director, Mike McKay — at the Canadian Self-Regulation Initiative please click here.


Events that will be taking place during Mon 3rd Feb – Thu 13th Feb include:


Raising Children & Self-Regulation: An information Session for Parents – Thu 6th Feb

Today’s Professionals – Learning the Basics of Self-Regulation for Children & Families – Tue 11th Feb

Introductory Master Classes

Introductory Master Class – Tue 4th Feb

Introductory Master Class – Sat 8th Feb

Introductory Master Class – Tue 11th Feb

Advanced and Practice Leader Master Classes

Advanced Master Class – Tue 4th Feb

Advanced Master Class – Fri 7th Feb

 Practice Leader Classes – Tue 3rd Feb & Thu 13th Feb



Please note in order to attend the Advanced and Practice Leader master classes an Expression of Interest form must be completed. Completed forms must be emailed to carla@wacoss.org.au by Monday 20th January. Notification of acceptance will be sent to successful applicants via email by Friday 24th January.

WACOSS would like to thank our Community Sector Partners Communicare, Wanslea, Child Australia, Parkerville and Ngala.

WACOSS is also pleased to be working with our Corporate Partner, Woodside.

WACOSS acknowledges the Sponsorship from the following Government Agencies Department of Local Government and Communities, Mental Health Commission, Commissioner for Children and Young People, Department of Education and Department of Health.

Please contact Carla Lo Presti at WACOSS on 9420 7222 or carla@wacoss.org.au should you require further information or assistance with registrations.

Why Occupational Therapy for Your Family?

Occupational Therapists use a knowledge base of neurology, anatomy, physiology, kinesiology, child development, psychology, psychosocial development, activity-task analysis and therapeutic techniques. They are trained to treat clients holistically, addressing their cognitive, emotional and physical needs through functional, activity-based treatment” (Williams and Shellenberger, 1996, p.5-6).

It is common for parents to worry that their child is not reaching their potential. Some children seem more clumsy, may have problems with their attention and concentration, find it hard to draw, write and complete puzzles, have difficulties interacting with their peers, need a lot of support to regulate their emotions, are overly-sensitive, have lowered self-esteem or struggle to keep up and participate in sports and games.

Parents find that Occupational Therapy assessments are a very useful way of highlighting their child’s strengths, as well as pin-pointing areas that their child may find more challenging. Parents are then supported to develop a plan to both build on the child’s strengths and target areas that may require some additional support or fine-tuning. Occupational Therapy intervention may take the form of individual therapy sessions, group therapy work, school-based support and liaison, family therapy and parent therapy. Some children benefit from an assessment only, and other children benefit from ongoing support and intervention. Every child and family is unique.

If you would like further information about how Occupational Therapy might benefit your child and family, please see our Contact Us page for contact details for our helpful and friendly clinical professionals.