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Stella’s Story

Learning self-care tasks can be tricky, for Stella they were overwhelming, which led to big emotions at home and school.

Stella is a delightful 11-year-old girl who lives with her parents and 4 siblings.  As with any family with 4 kids, life is hectic and challenging.  For Stella’s family they have the added pressures of coping with mental health challenges, learning difficulties and managing the chronic health condition of one of Stella’s siblings.

Stella has been diagnosed with ADHD and struggles with her fine motor skills and managing her emotions and behaviours.  Her teachers described how she has difficulty in literacy development, handwriting, following instructions, and participating in class group activities which was setting her apart from her classmates and falling behind in educational goals.  Consequently, Stella found school difficult, lonely and because she experienced some bullying, so she often played by herself.

Stella was referred to RFW, and after her initial assessments, she received four terms of weekly OT therapy which encouraged Stella to work on managing simple but important self-care tasks like tying shoelaces, doing up buttons and remembering to brush her teeth. Stella’s therapist also helped her with further fine motor skills work like handwriting.

Stella’s sessions of direct therapy, along with parallel parent coaching sessions have made a massive difference. Time was spend supporting her teachers and family to help Stella manage her big emotions.   Her parents are equipped with tools and strategies that have been specially adapted to work for Stella.  Her mum shared “I feel like I have a bank of activities and strategies to help her when she is experiencing her big emotions”. She is also able to engage in writing tasks for longer and more confidently.

I feel like I have a bank of activities and strategies to help her when she is experiencing her big emotions

Stella's mum

For many children self-care tasks are easily learnt and quickly become second nature but for Stella they were overwhelming, which led to big emotions and conflict at home. Stella has worked hard on her self-care tasks like brushing her teeth and hair, which used to be very stressful for her. Her mum said proudly “she is getting so independent, and she completes all of this by herself now”.  With the therapy, Stella is learning how to recognise her body signals when she is getting emotional or frustrated.  Stella now finds breathing exercises, movement and working her muscles calming and she has identified activities that she can do that helps her stay calm and with her new self-confidence is enjoying both her school and home life.

*To ensure privacy and confidentiality for our client family, real names or images are not used.