We provide a range of services, please read on for more information:


Following a referral, an appointment will be made for an assessment. An assessment takes about 1.5 hours and a series of specifically chosen standardised and non-standardised tests are carried out on your child. In discussion with you, your child’s strengths and weaknesses, and how occupational therapy may help your child will be outlined. Following the assessment a comprehensive report will be written, outlining the goals for your child and guidelines for their therapy interventions.

Individual Therapy Sessions

Following an assessment, individual therapy sessions may be recommended for your child. Individual therapy may be recommended for 30 minutes, 45 minutes or 60 minutes depending on the nature of the treatment plan. Children attend their sessions at the same time each week. Individual therapy involves working directly with the child on activities that promote their skill level, build their confidence and are fun. During this block of treatment home activity suggestions will be provided for you to incorporate into your daily routine. Liaison with your child’s teacher may occur at this point to ensure that everyone is working towards common goals.

School Therapy

Occupational Therapy Helping Children provides weekly intervention in a number of private and catholic schools across Sydney’s North. School therapy is beneficial for the child as it allows for a direct relationship between the therapist and the teacher. It also allows the therapist to see whether what the child is learning during his therapy sessions is carrying over to the classroom. Our Occupational Therapists love working in schools that are supportive of a team approach towards a child’s learning and value the contribution made by all those involved with the child.

Group Therapy Sessions

We run our popular group programs most school holidays. Our Leaping into School Program runs in the October and January School Holidays only. For more information on our groups, see group programs.

Preschool Screenings

Preschool Screenings are conducted at centres across the Northern Beaches and North Shore. An Occupational Therapist will come to the centre, and screen up to a maximum of 6 children. A report is then written which is sent to the parents. Occupational Therapy Helping Children is pleased to be able to offer this service free of charge.


Lisa Hughes has presented many inservices since the company’s inception over 20 years ago. Lisa will individually tailor an inservice to meet your specific need, in terms of age range, parent or professional, school or preschool. Lisa can present on a wide range of topics related to child development, and other areas of interest. School Readiness is one of her keen areas of interest.

Occupational Therapy Helping Children provides services to children in the following areas.


Gross motor skills involve the large muscles of the body that enable activities such as walking, jumping and reaching. A person’s gross motor skills depend on their muscle tone and strength.

Children with gross motor difficulties may demonstrate:

  • a limp or floppy body
  • avoidance of gross motor activities
  • preference for sedentary activities
  • delay in developing motor milestones, e.g. walking
  • have poor body awareness, clumsy, bump and trip frequently
  • difficulty jumping, hopping and skipping
  • difficulty learning exercise or dance steps

Fine motor skills involve the small muscles of the body that enable functions like writing, cutting, manipulating small objects and performing personal care tasks. Fine motor skills involve fine motor control, dexterity and strength.

Children with fine motor difficulties may demonstrate:

  • difficulty holding a pencil correctly
  • delayed development of a dominant hand
  • difficulty trying shoelaces or using cutlery
  • poor manipulation of buttons, zippers and other fasteners
  • avoidance of fine motor tasks
  • difficulty using scissors
  • difficulty with handwriting
  • difficulty playing games that require precise hand and finger control
  • immature drawing and colouring skills
  • difficulty manipulating small objects like Lego, coins, marbles and beads
  • poor strength and control in their hands


Children with handwriting difficulties may demonstrate:

  • poor pencil grasp
  • incorrectly formed letters
  • reversals of letters and numbers
  • poor spatial organisation
  • poor punctuation and spelling
  • legibility
  • slow writing speed
  • difficulty planning and initiating writing tasks.
  • finds writing different text types challenging
  • difficulty getting their thoughts on paper


The ability to make sense of information taken in through the eyes. Visual Perception involves how the visual system takes in information, organises it and uses it to complete a task.

Children with difficulties in processing information may present with:

  • problems with reading, spelling and handwriting
  • copying from the smart board
  • visual attention to a task
  • difficulty remembering sight words
  • difficulty copying accurately from smart board
  • reversals of letters and numbers
  • poor left/right conceptualisation
  • poor eye-hand co-ordination
  • difficulty finding things in busy backgrounds eg in the bedroom.


What you can do independently. Children with poor self care skills may have difficulty with the following tasks: using cutlery in a coordinated manner doing up buttons, zippers and other fasteners getting dressed and learning to tie shoelaces getting ready for school poor sleeping patterns sensitivities to bathing, grooming, oral hygiene and limited diet.


Sensory processing is a term that refers to the way the nervous system receives sensory messages and turns them into responses. We receive and perceive sensory input through sights, sounds, touch, tastes, smell and movement. Sensory processing signals that don’t get organised into appropriate responses can hinder a child’s daily routines and activities are disrupted as a result. Sensory Processing Disorder can lead to devastating consequences in daily skills, social relationships, behavioural responses, self-esteem and learning. Children with sensory processing disorders may demonstrate difficulties processing information through any of the sensory systems.

In broad terms some of the difficulties a child may demonstrate:

  • heightened response to touch, movement and sound
  • aggressive or impulsive behaviour when overwhelmed by sensory stimulation
  • upset by transitions and unexpected changes
  • shows no reaction when physically hurt
  • likes crashing, bumping, jumping and rough housing
  • often licks, sucks or chews on non-food items such as pencil, hair and clothes
  • is clumsy, awkward and/or accident – prone
  • has difficulty with personal organisation
  • poor attention and emotional regulation.
  • being a picky eater
  • poor sleep patterns (adapted from Miller, 2006).