New service comes to TDHS: Paediatric Occupational Therapy

Paed OT - Tanja closeup

Occupational Therapist, Tanja Brunner

was welcomed to Timboon and District Healthcare Service on Wednesday, 1 June 2016 and will visit TDHS one Wednesday per month to deliver paediatric occupational therapy services.

Tanja’s regular visits are possible because of a new partnership with our neighbouring multipurpose service, Otway Health. This arrangement also has TDHS Dietitian, Diana D’Auria, spending one day each month at Otway Health.


What is Paediatric Occupational Therapy?

Occupational therapy (OT) can help children with various needs improve their cognitive, physical, sensory, and motor skills and enhance their self-esteem and sense of accomplishment.

A child’s ‘occupation’ is playing and learning.   An OT will evaluate a child’s skills for playing, school performance, and daily activities and compare them with what is developmentally appropriate for that age group.

The OT can develop a play based treatment plan or a program that helps children engage with balance and coordination activities as well as play social games.


An OT can:

  • help your child work on fine motor skills so they can grasp and release toys and develop good handwriting skills
  • address hand–eye coordination to improve a child’s play and school skills (hitting a target, batting a ball, copying from a blackboard, etc.)
  • help a child with severe developmental delays learn basic tasks (such as bathing, getting dressed, brushing their teeth, and feeding themselves)
  • teach children with physical disabilities the coordination skills needed to feed themselves, use a computer, or increase the speed and legibility of their handwriting
  • evaluate a child’s need for specialised equipment such as wheelchairs, splints, bathing equipment, dressing devices, or communication aids
  • work with children who have sensory and attentional issues to improve focus and social skills



About Tanja

Tanja has worked as an Occupational Therapist for more than 25 years in diverse settings around the world, including Japan, the United Kingdom, United States of America and Australia.

Tanja’s time working in multidisciplinary teams in US schools and at international schools overseas ignited her strong interest in paediatric occupational therapy.

Since moving to Apollo Bay 10 years ago, Tanja has worked at Colac Area Health and has been at Otway Health since 2006, where she is the Primary Care Team Leader.  In 2013 Tanja completed her Masters of Public Health.

Fine or gross motor development in children is Tanja’s specialty and will be her focus at Timboon and District Healthcare Service.

Tanja looks forward to communicating with staff at our local kindergartens and schools about the service.

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