Bayswater resident completing trial of therapeutic playgroup

Jodie Armstrong.
Jodie Armstrong.

A BAYSWATER occupational therapist is hoping a therapeutic playgroup trial can reduce parents’ stress and improve child development outcomes.

Jodie Armstrong received a two-year CoLab Top-Up scholarship worth $30,000 to expand her PhD, which is based on a playgroup designed for children aged 18 months to three years who have delayed speech or are behind in an area of development.

Ms Armstrong, who works with the State’s Child Development Service, has trialled her therapeutic playgroup program at child and parent centres in Westminster and East Maddington.

The eight-week program has been developed with the help of parents and professionals from health disciplines including clinical psychologists, speech pathologists, occupational therapists and physiotherapists.

She said she aimed to finish the trial in March before analysing the findings to see whether the playgroups were effective or not.

“It should really feel like a typical playgroup but it is facilitated by two therapists,” she said.

“We have got mat time, indoor and outdoor play; but the activities have been designed to be appropriate for that age.

“Also, they (parents) are given specific, individual therapy ideas and strategies catered for their child as well as more general strategies for developing communication and play.

“We are hoping that parents’ stress can hopefully reduce and also enhance their confidence with parenting and playing with their child.”

CoLab director Donna Cross said Curtin University and the Perth Children’s Hospital Foundation supported the research and she looked forward to the results of the trial.

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