Independence is an outcome which is important throughout childhood, beginning in infancy. Children learn to develop independence in many areas, of which the following are just a few:

  • Eating
  • Moving
  • Getting to sleep
  • Recovering when hurt or upset
  • Coping when something goes wrong
  • Separating from parents to go to childcare or school
  • Bathing
  • Oral hygiene
  • Toileting 
  • Undressing and dressing
  • Taking care of own possessions
  • Following the routines of the day

You can work on any of these areas, and more, in your sessions with your Plumtree therapist or teacher. We can work with you in your home to look at how to maximise independence as part of everyday life. Daily routines are great opportunities to build your child’s independence. Preschool, school and group programs also provide great opportunities for learning. 

You will often hear the advice “Give her time to do it by herself”. This is easy to say, but often hard to do. It takes much longer for children to do things without your help, and the result might not be as good. Children can become frustrated when they can’t get things right, or may even refuse to try. Your Plumtree therapist or teacher can help you problem solve around these challenges, so that you are giving your child time in targeted ways, starting small and building gradually.

Sometimes you might need the expertise of a few different professionals to help with developing independence. For example, independent eating might involve a Speech Pathologist to look at chewing and swallowing and an OT to look at positioning, how to use a spoon and/or sensory responses to food. Often, one therapist will take the lead and act as your Keyworker, and the other will get involved as needed. 

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