Introduction

The Better Kids™ program provides occupational therapists with a robust guide and starting point for assessment and treatment of children. It is a researched and evidence-based tool which can be used to assist occupational therapists in entering or expanding within the paediatric practice field of occupational therapy.

Better Kids™ provides a holistic starting point for evaluating, identifying and treating developmental delays in children aged three to eight years. The ability to expand on this initial foundation allows for endless opportunities for practitioners and their clients.

The Better Kids™ program does not focus on any one element of a child's functioning, but has been specifically designed to assess and treat the full range of a child's motor, perceptual, emotional/behavioural and sensory needs. Better Kids™ provides the latest edition of standardised tests and evaluation methods, researched tools, and structured frames of reference for identifying a child's problem areas, and provides trialed and tested treatment activities to address these specific needs, and to promote development and learning within evidence-based practice.

The program assists occupational therapists to work on the identified problem areas or developmental delays in children. Using the systematic approach of assessment, problem identification method and treatment activities, Better Kids™ program works to create a solid foundation for children, from where they can become effective learners at school, and chronologically appropriate functioning children in all aspects of their lives. Better Kids™ is focused on building basic foundation skills for learning to encourage and allow further advanced education and learning.

Better Kids™ recognizes that when children experience a developmental delay problem often stems from an absence of the "basic building blocks".For example: A child that is unable to sit still at a table at school, slumps in their chair, and switches hands when writing, often indicates they may have problems with motor abilities such as sensory integration, muscle tone, proprioception, and trunk stability. Perceptual abilities like bilateral integration and crossing the midline may also be factors that need to be considered.

The treatment activities forming part of the Better Kids™ program specifically target areas of need as identified on "The Adapted Wall Model of Occupational performance for children" which consists out of the "building blocks" of development and uses an easy "Traffic Light" approach to problem identification, as well and acting as an effective communication tool with parents.

All activities in the modules are divided into kinesthetic, three-dimensional and two-dimensional tasks. Each learning component includes suggested activities for home programs to ensure on-going learning even when not in structured therapy sessions. The program is versatile and has the ability to be part of a more cost effective and intensive treatment plan as therapy can be carried over to the home environment and supervised by parents or caregivers. These specific tasks assist in providing the essential building blocks for children to function at school successfully, and to carry out the everyday activities expected for children of their age i.e. improved behaviour, handwriting, social skills, reading skills, concentration etc.

Better Kids™ has been designed by qualified therapists who have spent time and money revising, observing and investigating current practice and treatment methods. Specific evaluation methods and activities have been selectively included, based on what has successfully worked within other international practices. These activities can be adapted and changed to suit your specific client’s treatment needs as all documents are fully flexible to be user friendly.

Better Kids™ also acknowledges in the program that therapists often spend a considerable amount of time designing templates and therefore includes all reporting forms, example reporting templates with real examples to allow the therapist to start practicing rather than spending large amounts of time developing practice templates.

Better Kids™ program is also designed to increase appropriate communication between therapists, school personnel (teachers) and family (parents and caregivers), and includes versatile forms that will assist with referrals, prescriptions, progress reports, daily notes, evaluations, annual reviews and more which in turn will optimise direct client contact time.