For those of you who haven’t heard of Sense Rugby, it’s an Occupational Therapy based program designed to help kids who find it challenging to participate in ordinary sporting teams. Sense Rugby was established in October 2015 by Paediatric Occupational Therapist, Carlien Parahi and her husband, Australian Rugby Sevens Olympian, Jesse Parahi.
One of the many roles we have as Occupational Therapist is to help kids self-regulate. Also, assist in the management of their emotions. For some of you, you may be wondering what could this possibly mean? In simpler terms, it’s our way of helping kids and their families manage large emotions and keep their bodies in what we refer to as the optimal state of arousal.
Many kids in particular who have difficulty in achieving this ‘just-right’ state, are diagnosed with the following conditions:
- Autism Spectrum Disorder
- Sensory Processing Disorder
- Emotional Regulation Difficulties
- Global Developmental Delay
Now I guess you could be asking, so why is self-regulation so important? As your child grows, by learning the concept of self-regulation, it will assist with their learning at school, as it will give them the ability to listen & focus in the classroom and behave in socially acceptable ways. It will also give them the ability to control their impulses, and manage friendships. Self-regulation teaches your child to take turns, share and express their emotions in appropriate ways. It allows children to become independent in managing their own emotions and stress. It emphasises to your child that they can cope with strong feelings and can independently calm themselves down.
How else can participating in Sense Rugby be helpful?
By participating in the Sense Rugby program, it allows kids to develop their overall confidence and self-esteem. Therefore, the reason, in particular, we at Occupational Therapy Helping Children love participating in the program is because kids understand what it feels like to be part of a sporting community and it provides them with a safe environment to explore all the different movements they are capable of achieving. And the best part of all is that the kids have the opportunity to receive the proprioceptive input their bodies are craving, in an appropriate and encouraged environment. Most of all, throughout this process, they are regulating themselves which allows them to concentrate on the task at hand, and develop a variety of skillsets including throwing, catching and kicking. It’s also a great way of teaching kids how to work together as a team, and practice the concept of winning and losing.
The biggest take-home message for us at Occupational Therapy Helping Children is that the achievement the kids receive from participating in Sense Rugby is one that’s unimaginable. Each week, their perception of the activity changes becoming a want, rather than a need to continue participating in the program. The children develop lifelong friendships, as do the adults, who can openly discuss their backgrounds with like-minded people. For this reason, we ensure the environment created is positive and a guiding pathway to participating in ordinary sporting teams in later years.
We’d love for you all to join our Sense Rugby family at Wahroonga and another programme close to you.