While waiting for your Therapy Services sessions with Carpentaria to commence, you can participate in active waiting to prepare your child for therapy.

What is active waiting?

Active waiting involves taking a proactive role in your child’s development whilst waiting for therapy services to commence. Supporting your child to strengthen their skills and increase social interactions with you and their peers ensures that your child is prepared for therapy.

How can our family actively wait for therapy?

There are several ways your family can actively wait, including:

  • Accessing services locally and online
  • Increasing your child’s independence in self-care tasks
  • Strengthening your child’s fine and gross motor skills
  • Practicing turn-taking in a play environment
  • Supporting your child’s speech and language development

Further details about the benefits of these activities are below.

 

Active waiting suggestions from Carpentaria therapists:

Local services (Darwin)

Local libraries

Darwin Toy Library darwintoylibrary.com.au

Darwin Toy Library can enhance your child’s growth, learning, and development through play. A sensory space can be booked in advance and Toy Library staff can adjust the setup of the room to meet any additional needs of your child.

Public libraries darwin.nt.gov.au/libraries / palmerston.nt.gov.au/community/library

A public library is a great way to access parenting resources and books that you can share with your child. Libraries run children’s groups that are accessible for everyone and can help your child to strengthen their speech and language development.

Playgroups

Playgroups provide a safe and friendly environment for your child to interact with peers and strengthen social and play skills in a group setting. It is also a positive environment for parents to interact with other parents.

Fun Bus mobile playgroup darwin.nt.gov.au

The Fun Bus operates from 9.30 – 11.30am each weekday at different locations throughout Darwin. This free group provides activities for children aged 0-5 years to play and learn in a relaxed environment.

Playgroups Association NT playgroupnt.com.au

A range of playgroups are offered:

  • The Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) playgroup is for children aged 0-5 years and focuses on families who speak a language other than English
  • Defence Dandelions is for children aged 0-5 years from defence families who may be experiencing PND, PTSD, anxiety and/or depression
  • Frangipani Friends is for families who may be experiencing post-natal depression and/or anxiety, for children aged 0-5 years
  • PlayConnect is for families with children who are living with Autism Spectrum Disorder or ASD-like characteristics (a diagnosis is not required, for children aged 0-6 years

Families as First Teachers at Mimik-ga Centre (FaFT) directory.ntschools.net

A free playgroup for children aged 0-4 years, and their parents, who are seeking additional support.

Mainly Music Group mainlymusic.org

A fun music group for parents or primary care givers to enjoy with children aged 0-5 years.

Gym 4 Growth and Development (ECA NT) ecant.org.au

Movement opportunities for babies, toddlers, and preschool aged children to develop and refine their gross motor skills

Youth groups

Attending youth groups is an interactive way for young people to interact with peers outside of school. To increase your child’s engagement and enjoyment it is important to find a group that matches their interests, such as music, art, or physical activities.

YMCA in Palmerston nt.ymca.org.au

YMCA offer a range of programs for young people. These include supervised activities, skill development and leadership opportunities.  

Hands on People: The Inclusion Centre handsonpeople.com.au

A safe place for everyone regardless of ability, age or gender, offering activities and learning opportunities through school holiday programs, art and crafts, weekend outings and cooking programs.

Fun in the Parks darwin.nt.gov.au

Held at different parks around Darwin, this City of Darwin program operates during school holidays and includes water play, art, craft, sport, and games.

Total Recreation NT totalrecreation.org.au

Opportunities for people with disabilities to get involved in the community through sport and recreation. They run a variety of programs including regular youth groups, sport, social, art and recreation groups.

Corrugated Iron Youth Arts corrugatediron.org.au

Circus and drama workshops for those aged 4 – 30 years.

Sticky Fingers stickyfingerskitchen.com.au

Cooking classes for children and young adults in a small group environment. The course may be claimable through NDIS.

Sporting groups

Participation in regular physical activity helps children to strengthen their gross motor skills and includes running, jumping, hand eye coordination, bilateral coordination, and execution of movements.

Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) rdatopend.org.au

Horse riding lessons and horse grooming sessions, designed to improve ability and skill. Volunteering opportunities exist for people aged 12 and over.

All Abilities Touch Football program touchfootball.com.au

Disability Sports NT and Touch Football NT offer an all abilities program for children aged 10-17 years.

Darwin Gymnastics Club darwingym.com

Darwin Gymnastics includes a Kindergym group for children 1-5 years old and their parents. 

Beaches and swimming pools

Beaches

Darwin’s beaches provide a fun way for your child to explore their senses in the sand and strengthen their fine motor skills. Bring along buckets, shovels, empty tubs, squirt bottles and more!

Swimming pools

Accessing local swimming pools with your child is an excellent opportunity to practice gross motor skills. Swimming increases endurance, flexibility, and strength. Swimming pools are also a way to explore our senses through water play. Bring buckets and squeeze toys along!

Casuarina Aquatic and Leisure Centre darwin.nt.gov.au/casuarina-pool

Nightcliff Aquatic Centre darwin.nt.gov.au/nightcliff-pool

Parap Swimming Pool Centre darwin.nt.gov.au/parap-pool

SWELL, Palmerston – Swimming, Wellness, Events, Leisure and Lifestyle palmerston.nt.gov.au/swell

Goldfishbowl Swim School learntoswimdarwin.com.au

Family support

YWCA Parenting Support Program ywca.org.au

Workshops and groups for young parents under 25 and their children, focused on parenting skills, healthy relationships, children’s development, road and water safety awareness, health and wellbeing and nutrition.

Stop Wait Go stopwaitgo.com.au

Workshops presented by a Child Behavioural Developmental Specialist who helps parents to find strategies to manage their children’s challenging behaviours.

Catholic Care NT catholiccarent.org.au

Multiple free programs to help parents develop skills and support their child’s development.

Carers NT carersnt.asn.au

Supports carers to maintain their role through respite, therapy services, education and support for people living with disabilities.

Charles Darwin Wellness Centre cdu.edu.au

Affordable psychological assessment and therapy with students who are completing a Master of Clinical Psychology and supervised by a registered Clinical Psychologist.

Headspace headspace.org.au

A free service for young people aged 12 to 25 to access mental health support services.

Lifeline Crisis Helpline lifeline.org.au

24-hour crisis support and suicide prevention services. They also offer counselling, bereavement groups and training programs.

Local services (Alice Springs)

Local libraries

Alice Springs Public Library alicesprings.nt.gov.au/recreation/library

A public library is a great way to access parenting resources and books that you can share with your child. The local library runs children’s groups that are accessible for everyone. These can support your child to strengthen their speech and language development.

Regular activities include:

  • School holiday programs 
  • Pre-School Storytime (for children 2-5 yrs) 
  • Baby Rhyme Time (for ages 0-2 yrs) 
  • Multi-lingual Storytime (for ages 0-8yrs) 

Central Australian Community Toy Library google.com/view/cactl/home

Families can borrow appropriate equipment and toys from the Toy Library to support their children. It is beneficial for your child to have a variety of toys that target different play and motor skills, using the Toy Library is a way to reduce the financial burden of purchasing toys. The Toy Library also runs a bi-weekly playgroup that families can attend.

 

Playgroups

Playgroups provide a safe and friendly environment for your child to interact with peers. This will help to strengthen their social and play skills in a group setting. It is also a positive environment for parents to interact with each other and access support.

Larapinta Child and Family Centre earlylearning.childaustralia.org.au/centres

Child Australia is a not-for-profit provider of long day care (early education and care) and outside school hours care, operating centres across the Northern Territory and Western Australia since 1987.

Alice Springs Community Playgroup 

Playgroups run several times per week. Contact 0429 455 708 for more info. 

Mainly Music Group alicebaptist.org/ministries/children-and-family

This is a fun music group for parents or primary care givers to enjoy together with their child. Aimed at children aged 0 – 4 yrs.

SusuMama Playgroup mcsca.org.au/susumama-playgroup

A multicultural playgroup facilitated by Multicultural Community Services of Central Australia. Contact 08 8952 8776 for more info. 

Youth groups

Attending youth groups is a fun way for children to interact with peers outside of school. It is important to find a group that matches your child’s interests including music, art or physical activities, this will increase their engagement and enjoyment in the groups.

YMCA 

The YMCA offers a range of programs for young people to access. These include supervised activities, skill development and leadership opportunities. Contact 08 8952 5666 for more info. 

Out of School Hours Care Centre

  • Bradshaw Out of School Hours Care located at Bradshaw Primary School 23 Adamson Avenue, Alice Springs
  • Araluen Out of School Hours Care located at Araluen Christian College 10 Blain Street, Alice Springs.

Alice Springs Town Council Youth Programs

Alice Springs Town Coun­cil offers a range of free youth programs during the school holidays. 

Red Hot Arts redhotarts.com.au/whats-on/classes-workshops

Red Hot Arts Central Australia is a non-profit organisation that offers art classes and workshops.

Sporting groups

Participation in regular physical activity will help children to strengthen their gross motor skills. This includes improving their running, jumping, hand eye coordination, bilateral coordination and execution of movements.  These are fundamental skills for everyday functioning including postural control and stability in self-care skills including toileting, sitting at the table and dressing.

Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA-NT) rdaalicesprings.org

RDA provides people living with disabilities the opportunity to participate in horse riding activities.

Thunder Juniors (Football) aflnt.com.au/juniors/thunder-juniors-alice-springs

Contact david.thomas@afl.com.au for more information. 

Studio B School of Dance studiobalicesprings.com

The Australian Dance Academy dupradadancecompany.com.au

A range of dance classes available for kids 3 and over and trial classes available.

Swimming pools

Accessing local swimming pools with your child is a great way to practice strengthening their gross motor skills. Swimming increases endurance, flexibility, and strength. Swimming pools are also a way to explore our senses through water play. Bring buckets and squeeze toys along!

Alice Springs Aquatic and Leisure Centre alicesprings.nt.gov.au/recreation/aquatic-leisure-centre

 

Family support

YWCA Parenting Support Program 

Contact (08) 8932 9155 for more info. 

Catholic Care NT catholiccarent.org.au/location/alice-springs

Catholic Care run multiple free programs to help parents develop skills and support their child’s development.

Carers NT carersnt.asn.au

This non-for-profit organisation supports carers to maintain their role. This includes providing respite, therapy services, education and support to people living with disabilities.

Headspace Alice Springs headspace.org.au/headspace-centres/alice-springs

This is a free service for young people aged 12 to 25 to access mental health support services.

Lifeline Crisis Helpline lifeline.org.au

This service provides 24-hour crisis support and suicide prevention services. They also offer counselling, bereavement groups and training programs. Call 13 11 14. 

Online services

Parenting

Raising Children Network raisingchildren.net.au

Useful information for parents with children of all age groups and abilities

Circle of Security circleofsecurityinternational.com

Training and resources for parents to help strengthen their skills and attendance to their child’s needs, with a focus on promoting a secure attachment between the parent and child

Triple P Program (Positive Parenting Program) triplep-parenting.net.au

A free online program which provides parents with effective and evidence-based strategies to help manage their children’s behaviour

Zero to three zerotothree.org

Effective information, tips, activity ideas and resources for families. It educates on the importance of early development and how to help your child achieve milestones

The Whole Brain Child Book Author: Dan J. Siegal
A parenting book that provides strategies to support your child’s emotional regulation

Neurodiversity, ADHD, and ASD

Now and Next with Plumtree plumtree.org.au

A program for parents and carers to achieve positive learning opportunities and relationships with their child and family. This program can be claimed through NDIS funding

ADDitude additudemag.com

Designed for families and adults living with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and related conditions

Amaze amaze.org.au

Information and support for families with children living with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)

Sensory processing and motor skills

OT Toolbox theottoolbox.com

Fun and creative activities to try at home, including activities that target different skills such as fine motor, gross motor, sensory processing, emotional regulation, social and executive functioning skills

Speech and communication

Hanen program hanen.org

Family focused programs for parents of children living with language delays, Autism Spectrum Disorder and Asperger Syndrome. The programs help parents use everyday opportunities to improve their child’s communication skills

Key Word Sign Australia kwsa.org.au

A range of online resources for learning and understanding key word sign gestures to help support your child’s communication development.

Anxiety and mental health and support

Anxiety

Cool Little Kids coollittlekids.org.au

A program for parents with children aged 3 – 6 years which aims to increase confidence and reduce your child’s anxiety

BRAVE program brave4you.psy.uq.edu.au

A program for the treatment of childhood and adolescent anxiety which helps children, adolescents and parents to better cope with anxiety

Mental health support

Rural Health CONNECT ruralhealthconnect.com.au

Designed for anyone wishing to speak to a psychologist who has access to a smartphone, tablet or computer. They have no waitlists for services and will be contacted within 48 hours of completing an online referral

Bite Back Black Dog Institute challenge biteback.org.au

Designed for young people aged 13 – 16 years and includes six weekly challenges focusing on improving mental fitness, happiness, stress, and friendships.

Apps for iPads

  • GoNoodle Fun movement games and activities
  • Khan Academy Kids Education-based activities
  • Pango Storytime Communication support through stories and narrative
  • Smiling Mind Mindfulness activities
  • Toca A range of apps that support pretend play
  • Touch and Write Letter recognition activity

 

The benefits of active waiting

There are a range of local and online services that can support your child and family while waiting for therapy. Several services are accessible to families at little or no cost. These services can help your child to develop greater social and play skills with peers and strengthen fine and gross motor skills. Additional benefits of active waiting include:

Increasing independence in self-care tasks

  • Start increasing your child’s independence in self-care tasks. Allow your child to practice at their own pace and at their level of competency. Praise and encourage their efforts.
  • A helpful way to teach the steps of self-care tasks (dressing sequencing, toileting, teeth brushing etc) include:

      • Forward chaining – The child performs the first step independently, with assistance for rest of the steps. The routine is then repeated with the child performing the first two steps independently, then the first three steps, and so on.
      • Backward chaining – Assistance is provided for the first step/s for the child, leaving the last part or parts for the child to finish.

    Strengthening fine and gross motor skills

    • Provide opportunities through play for your child to strengthen their fine and gross motor skills.
    • Fine motor skills are the coordination of small muscles in movements and usually involve the synchronization of hands and finger with the eyes. Activities that utilise our fine motor skills include craft activities such as cutting and pasting, threading beads, painting and drawing and sensory exploration activities.
    • It is important to practice some activities at a table to familiarise your child with being seated for structured activities.

    • Gross motor movements are those that require whole-body movement and involve the large muscles of the body to perform everyday functions. This could involve simple ball games at home, accessing local playgrounds and pools and participating in sporting groups.

    Practicing turn-taking skills in a play environment

    • This involves simple games such as taking turns blowing bubbles, building blocks, bingo or ball activities.
    • Give your child prompts to wait (e.g. “mummy’s or daddy’s turn” or “my turn now”) and have a short turn so your child sees they will get their turn again quickly.

    • Turn-taking is a challenging skill to learn for children therefore it is important to make it a positive experience by giving your child lots of praise when they share.

    Supporting speech and language development

    • Participate in regular shared reading.
    • Use a variety of words when talking to your child, including action words (e.g. running, jumping, swimming, driving), descriptive words (e.g. rough, soft, smooth, bumpy, sharp, hot, cold), location words (e.g. in, on, under, over) and naming words (e.g. dog, cat, fish, boy, girl, car)
    • Singing songs and nursery rhymes is also helpful in introducing new sounds and words to children.
    • Make specific comments on any sounds your child is currently working on e.g. “Did you mean to say tar or car?” “That’s right ‘car’, ‘car’ starts with the special ‘coughing cow’ sound ‘k’ let’s practice saying ‘k’ together, k, k, k.”
    • Provide regular opportunities for your child to listen and play with the syllables and sounds in words e.g. drumming out beats in a word.
    • Playing games like “I spy” are fun and support children to have increased exposure to sounds. You can play I spy while walking to the shops or walking along the beach etc.
    • Talk about what you are doing during daily routines.

     

    Learn more about Carpentaria’s Therapy Services for children and adolescents aged 0 – 18 years.