Hi. My name is Kattlen, and I’m an Occupational Therapist at Royal Far West.
Why I joined the team
My desire to support families with limited access to local health services led me to work here. My passion for learning from these wonderful rural and remote families and communities continues.
What I do
My role includes problem-solving with families from rural and remote Australia and how best to tailor therapy to meet each family’s needs. This involves parent coaching, liaison with local school staff and developing child home-programs.
As an Occupational Therapist, I work closely with children and their families to support their skill development in a variety of areas. Specifically, this could include fine motor, gross motor, sensory processing, self-care, social skills and emotion regulation.
Assessment involves carer interviews, clinical observations of their play, pencils skills, cutting and movement (balance, ball skills, jumping, and climbing). This helps me to identify what underlying foundation skills are needed to be developed to facilitate the child’s independence in daily life.
What a typical day looks like
There’s no such thing as a typical day! Every day is different.
At Royal Far West we reach children face-to-face through the programs at our Centre for Country Kids in Manly. Also, we deliver Telecare for Kids into schools and homes, and through community-based outreach programs. I’m lucky to use all three of these methods to work with the kids. Additionally, at Manly I give therapy to kids while they are attending the Windmill Program.
Adopting a family-centre and relationship-based approach, I use play as a tool to support families towards their therapy goals. It’s not unusual to find me crawling through tunnels, playing hide-and-seek or playing on swings!
When utilising the internet to reach kids in their school or home via our Telecare program, I work to up-skill the parent, carer or teacher. It’s about collaborating with the people in the child’s life to utilise the resources and equipment they have in a therapeutic way. Therapy also includes providing exercises, and/or education to support understanding of a child’s behaviour in the home and classroom.
I love going in-community with the Healthy Kids Bus Stop team and am excited to find out where my next Bus Stop will be. Undoubtedly, identifying children’s developmental issues before they start school is critical to their life trajectory, and the free Bus Stop screening program for children aged 3-5 helps identify those who would benefit from some form of early intervention.
Lastly, I have had the privilege to attend many outreach visits to towns including Kempsey, Murrumbidgee, Tooleybuc. However, my personal favourite is Lake Cargelligo, where I can play guitar with the local Uncles.