Services we offer include:
Clinical Psychology / Psychology, Occupational Therapy, Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) Based Programmes, Child Centred Play Therapy, Autism Diagnostic Assessments, Psychometric Assessments
Clinical Psychology / Psychology
Psychologists are trained to look closely at the overall development of a child as well as the functioning of the family unit. In this role they are perfectly placed to oversee and coordinate goals and therapy plans for your child and family. Psychologists can also help manage specific programmes to assist with issues such as sleep, toileting, mealtime behaviour and can help support you to create positive home environments for all family members. Psychologists also assist in daycare and school support.
Our Psychologists can design and oversee therapy plans. This therapy is individualized but most commonly focuses on social and friendship goals, emotional expression and regulation, and developing self awareness and confidence. And, when possible, we can come to you and deliver therapy at home or at school..
Child Matters is one of the few providers who are trained to deliver early intervention programmes based on the principals of Applied Behaviour Analysis. See this section of the website for more information.
At Child Matters | Teen Matters the Occupational Therapist is a qualified health professional and a registered member of Occupational Therapy Australia and the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency. The Occupational Therapist provides a client and family centered, strength based therapy to support the child in developing skills to enable them to participate and engage in all aspects of their lives. We work with children who may experience difficulties in areas such as sensory processing, visual perception, gross motor skills, handwriting, fine motor skills, and activities of daily living e.g. dressing, feeding, toileting and sleeping.
Assessment of a child is carried out by the Occupational Therapist; these sessions can go for 60-90 minutes and may include standardized and non-standardized assessment tools, parent and teacher reports, and clinical observations. On completion a report will be compiled detailing the results from the assessments, it will highlight the child’s strengths as well as weaknesses, and provide recommendations moving forward. The goals will be decided on through liaison with the child and their parent or caregiver, and these goals will be the focus of therapy sessions. Therapy will be functional, practical and goal-focused but at the same time will be fun and motivating for the child to assist them reaching their full potential!
Speech therapy addresses challenges with language and communication. It can help people with autism improve their verbal, nonverbal, and social communication. The overall goal is to help the person communicate in more useful and functional ways.
Communication and speech-related challenges vary from person to person. Some individuals on the autism spectrum are not able to speak. Others love to talk, but have difficulty holding a conversation or understanding body language and facial expressions when talking with others.
A speech therapy program begins with an evaluation by a speech pathologist to assess the person’s communication strengths and challenges. From this evaluation, the SLP creates individual goals for therapy.
Common goals may include improving spoken language, learning nonverbal skills such as signs or gestures, or learning to communicate using an alternative method (such as pictures or technology).
Examples of the skills that speech therapy may work on include:
Strengthening the muscles in the mouth, jaw and neck
Making clearer speech sounds
Matching emotions with the correct facial expression
Understanding body language
Responding to questions
Matching a picture with its meaning
Using a speech app on an iPad to produce the correct word
Modulating tone of voice
Alternative Augmentative Communication (AAC)
Some people with autism find that using pictures or technology to communicate is more effective than speaking. This is known as Alternative Augmentative Communication (AAC). Examples of AAC methods include:
Picture exchange communication system (PECS)
Speech output devices
The speech-language pathologist can help to identify which AAC method (if any) is right for someone with autism and teach him/her how to use the method to communicate.
Speech therapy can also help people work on goals related to social communication. Speech therapists sometimes offer social skills groups in addition to one-on-one therapy.
They may also work on coaching children and adults on communication in different settings. This can include how to communicate with friends, communicating in a relationship, appropriate behaviour at work, and more.
Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) based programmes
ABA is a best practice approach for early intervention for children with ASD or related disabilities. Child Matters can assess your child and provide a comprehensive intervention programme based on the principles of ABA. Child Matters ABA based programmes typically involve a core of direct work (discrete trial teaching) as well as incidental teaching and activity based instruction. We can then provide you with Therapy Assistants to deliver the programme as well as training for parents and carers so you are part of the intervention team. ABA evolves all the time and modern programmes are positive and very child friendly!
Early intervention ABA programmes have clear and written goals across all developmental areas (language and communication, social behaviour, play, independence andself care, fine/gross motor etc) and therefore typically all therapy is provided in one programme. Outcomes are specified and measured. This programme is monitored and changed regularly. Typically children receive 2 x 2hr sessions as a minimum/week.
A bit more about Behaviour Analysis
Behaviour analysis is a scientifically validated approach to understanding behaviour and how it is affected by the environment. In this context, “behaviour” refers to actions and skills. “Environment” includes any influence – physical or social – that might change or be changed by one’s behaviour.
On a practical level, the principles and methods of behaviour analysis have helped many different kinds of learners acquire many different skills – from healthier lifestyles to the mastery of a new language. Since the 1960s, therapists have been applying behaviour analysis to help children with autism and related developmental disorders.
What is Applied Behaviour Analysis?
Behaviour analysis focuses on the principles that explain how learning takes place. Positive reinforcement is one such principle. When a behaviour is followed by some sort of reward, the behaviour is more likely to be repeated. Through decades of research, the field of behaviour analysis has developed many techniques for increasing useful behaviours and reducing those that may cause harm or interfere with learning.
Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) is the use of these techniques and principles to bring about meaningful and positive change in behaviour across ALL areas of development.
These techniques can be used in structured situations such as a classroom lesson as well as in “everyday” situations such as family dinnertime or in the playground.
How Does ABA Benefit Those with Autism?
Today, ABA is widely recognized as a safe and effective treatment for autism. Over the last decade, the world has seen a particularly dramatic increase in the use of ABA to help persons with autism live contented, balanced and productive lives.
Autism Diagnostic Assessments
Child Matters | Teen Matters can provide team ASD assessments with our psychology and speech pathology team. These assessments occur in the comfort of your own home (when possible and use gold standard assessment measures.
Our psychologists are able to provide comprehensive psychometric assessments for children and teens. These include assessment/diagnosis of Specific Learning Disorders (dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyscalculia), Intellectual Disability, Cognitive Assessment and Giftedness as well as academic measurement and profiling. Assessments include practical recommendations for home and school.
Child Centred Play Therapy
Playing is how children try out, explore and learn about their world, and it is essential to their development. For the child, play is serious, purposeful business through which he/she develops mentally, physically, and socially. Play is the child’s form of self-therapy, through which confusions, anxieties, and conflicts are often worked through.
"Play serves as a language for the child- a symbolism that substitutes for words".
Introducing play therapy
Play is the child’s natural way of expressing themselves and is essential for emotional and social development.
Every child, every adult has a drive to reach their full potential. Unfortunately, sometimes this drive to mature positively is inhibited. Infants and children may experience problems, trauma and difficulties, either real or perceived, that create a variety of internal (e.g self esteem issues) and/or external symptoms (e.g behavioural issues).
Children often don’t have words to fully process the complexity of these experiences. Child-Centred Play therapy is an opportunity for the child to ‘play out’ their thoughts, feelings and problems. It is an opportunity to communicate what could not as easily be put into words. Counselling is to adults as play therapy is to children.
Through this powerful and skilled therapeutic process, children learn to master their difficulties. Through the utilisation of empathy, acceptance, safety, the setting of limits, the offering of choice, responses that are sensitive to the child, unwavering patience and an unbending faith, the child understands and finds the path to healing.
The Benefits of play therapy
Helps children respect themselves and respect others.
Helps children learn that their feelings are acceptable and foster openness and positive expression.
Helps children learn to express their feelings responsibly, and gain control over intense feelings.
Helps children learn to assume responsibility for themselves.
Helps children to communicate experiences that they may have had that they are unable to vocalise.
Encourages imagination, creativity and resourcefulness in confronting problems.
Helps children to learn self-control and self-direction.
Increases confidence and concentration abilities.
Helps children learn to make choices and be responsible for their choices.
Helps children to learn about their environment.
Allows children to learn from their mistakes in a safe and controlled environment
Helps children establish and build relationships
Helps children when ‘talking therapy’ doesn’t work
Who can play therapy help?
Research has found Play Therapy to be an effective therapeutic approach for a variety of children’s difficulties including:
Adjusting to family changes
Excessive anger, fear, sadness, worry and shyness
Aggression and acting out behaviours
ADHD and ADD
Abuse and neglect
Social adjustment issues
Sleeping and eating difficulties
Self concept and self esteem
Grief and loss
Physical symptoms without any medical cause
Bonding and Attachment
Foster, adoption and identity issues
Prenatal and birth trauma
Near death experiences