It’s World Occupational Therapy Day on 27 October 2021. This year the theme is Inclusion, Participation, Independence. At Early Connections, we place the inclusion of children within their local community as a core component of the Early Connections Alliance. Children benefit from inclusive communities particularly in education and care settings. Early Connections works closely with families to support their child’s inclusion. Inclusion is important so that children can develop relationships and have meaningful participation in all types of daily activities.

Occupational therapy is a person-centred health profession that promotes health and wellbeing through occupation. The primary goal of occupational therapy is to enable people to participate in the activities of everyday life. A big thank you to all our Occupational Therapists working with families in Coffs, Kempsey, Port Macquarie Hastings and Manning & Great Lakes.

During Occupational Therapy Week we catch up with Tenneal Calcutt our newest Senior Occupational Therapist in Port Macquarie who joined the team this September.

Tell us about your professional experience I completed my Bachelor of Occupational Therapy at the University of Queensland and I’ve worked for not for profits, private practice and government agencies within pediatric and disability. I have additional training in DIR Floortime, Traffic Jam in my Brain, SPARKS Communication, So Safe, Key Worker and Brian Hoare CP Training.

Why is early childhood intervention important? We look at what’s important to a family or child and having that as the core of what we do ensures the family drives our input. The early years are a great time to empower children and families to create the life they want and support them in building confidence to advocate for that. I love that I am a resource for families who are the true experts in their individual children.

What is most rewarding about working with families? I love every moment when families can confidently (or even a bit wobbly) carry out an idea or advocate for their child. I centre relationships in my work and when a family connects with their child or finds a new way to support their relationship I’m thrilled for them. Watching positive memories being formed is very special.

By far the best thing about being an OT is that we have the great privilege of working with other amazing professionals to support our kiddos and families.
Can you tell us any facts about Occupational Therapy?
Here are a few fun facts about Occupational Therapy:
1) Occupational therapy began around 1917 and started before speech therapy (1925) and physiotherapy (1921)
2) If you need to remember what it is your lovely OT colleagues do maybe you could sing the OT motto “Take your passion, and make it happen”
3) Occupational therapists are often referred to as Basketweavers compliments of our original roots in craft therapies. In the early days many practicing OT’s completed basket weaving courses at university. Craft groups are popular and beneficial for children with disabilities to improve fine motor skills and cognitive abilities. As paediatric occupational therapists, we still think craft is a great way to play, assess and learn.
Thank you Tenneal. Happy World Occupational Therapy Day and welcome to the team.

If you are looking for Occupational Therapy Support for your child and have an NDIS plan contact your local Early Connections.