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How The Calm Kids, Happy Families Program Helped our Daughter

How the Calm Kids, Happy Families Program Helped our Daughter

Rachel shares her experience with CFWA’s Occupational Therapist (OT), Mel, and how the program has helped her family better understand their daughter’s stressors around physio and implement strategies to reduce these.

I love Mel’s positivity; she is a great asset for CFWA and our families, and the video (below) shows that she completely ‘gets it’. It also allows me to acknowledge that managing the day-to-day challenges of parenting and delivering CF care is hard. In my experience, clinic works to manage the respiratory system but as Mel says, we go home and continue to manage within the context of daily life, with varying degrees of capacity.

For years we struggled as a family with expectations of Mary and ourselves that just couldn’t be met, and I now know we would have benefited from OT/Mel’s insights in the early childhood stages. Many of our challenges were centred around Mary’s physio routine. We were acutely aware it had to be done, acutely aware that it was very stressful and acutely aware that we would yet again present to clinic feeling that we had failed in our responsibilities. We knew we weren’t where we needed to be, but what was missing was ‘why’.

In our first and only meeting with Mel, the focus was on the ‘why’ and it was so refreshing. She listened and was able to offer strategies for us to help Mary’s readiness for physio and strategies to keep her engaged. She identified key issues around sensory challenges which were stressors that became elevated before and during her routine. It helped us as parents to better understand Mary’s regulatory system and the impact it has on her whole life as well as the CF aspect. It is hard to fully describe how meaningful Mel’s role has been in all this. Mel’s visit helped validate my thoughts that there was something else going on. Now Mary’s needs are better understood, we can make accommodations and use resources to better support her

Of course, the challenges and underlying reasons are not going to be the same for every family, but I firmly believe the knowledge and skills of an OT, the right OT, can make a significant difference. Feeling better prepared and more capable to support my child where she’s at, rather than focusing on where she isn’t, is empowering. Thank you for investing in the Calm Kids program and also for the work that Mel does.

For more information about the Calm Kids, Happy Families Program, please see the following videos:

You can also contact Mel at mel.tibbitts@cfwa.org.au.

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