Opening Hours : Monday to Friday : 9am - 5pm
  Contact : (03) 9899 4004

COVID19: What to expect when you come into the clinic


At Stepping Forward Therapy Services we take the health & safety of all our patients very seriously. In lieu of recent events regarding COVID19 we are taking additional hygiene measures to limit risk to patients and staff and to ease your concerns during your visit. Due to our high number of immunocompromised patients, we have taken additional measures to assist in protecting them. We thank you for your patience and understanding of the following:


Waiting Room:

Please note that we are now screening all patients in our efforts to assist with identifying at-risk individuals, and to limit exposure of our treatment rooms to respiratory infections.

All patients will be asked:

  1. In the past 14 days have you travelled overseas?
  2. In the past 14 days have you been in close contact with someone that has travelled overseas or is a suspected case of COVID19?
  3. Do you have symptoms of a respiratory illness? For example: fever, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath and/or fatigue?

You may be kindly asked to reschedule your appointment and contact the Coronovirus Health Information Line: 1800 020 080 or seek immediate medical advice.

We are also asking you to assist by doing the following:

  • Use our hand sanitiser or arrival.
  • You and your child will have your temperature check with our non-contact thermometer.
  • Wear a mask. Masks are provided for parents if they don’t have any. Children are not expected to wear masks.
  • Please give other patients space when in the waiting room. A distance of 1.5m has been recommended.
  • One parent/carer per child to attend the waiting room and sessions. Please leave siblings and/or extended family at home.
  • Please arrive promptly. Your consultation will start and finish at certain times to decrease traffic in the waiting room. This may/may not mean that we discuss further appointments and/or payment before your session.
  • Please be aware that you may be admitted to a treatment room on arrival as part of our traffic management.
  • Should you arrive for your appointment early, we recommend you wait outside or in your car.
  • Please avoid leaning on the reception desk and be mindful of our temporary screen.
  • We do appreciate that ‘kids are kids’, however if you or your child demonstrates behaviours that put our staff at risk, you will be asked to leave.

We thank you for your understanding and commitment to ensuring a safe clinic environment for our patients & staff.

Updated: 22/04/2020

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Aquatic Physiotherapy Swimming Liam

Has your physiotherapist suggested aquatic therapy/hydrotherapy?  Have you heard about aquatic therapy/hydrotherapy but are unsure if it is right for your child? Then read on…

What is it?

Aquatic Physiotherapy (previously known as hydrotherapy) is physiotherapy in water.  The properties of water are used to aid your child move in such a way as to improve their gross motor skills.  The warmth of the water can help reduce spasticity, the buoyancy of the water makes movement and balance easier, the density of the water can be used as resistance to build strength and so on.

Is it swimming lessons?

No.  Aquatic Physiotherapy is a range of different exercises in water that will help your child to develop strength, balance, co-ordination, core stability and more.  It may involve some activities similar to ones done in swimming lessons but the physiotherapist is not trying to teach your child to swim.

What can I expect?

The physiotherapist will assess your child initially in the clinic and determine whether aquatic therapy is right for your child.  If aquatic physiotherapy is suitable, the physiotherapist will work with you to set goals for your child to achieve.  The physiotherapist will then plan a program of activities in water that will help your child achieve their goals.   These activities often look like games!!

You can expect your aquatic physiotherapy program to be part of a larger therapy program.  Aquatic physiotherapy is an adjunct to therapy but is not used in isolation.aquatic physiotherapy 1

You can expect your child to have fun.

Where is hydrotherapy run?

Stepping Forward Therapy Services run Aquatic physiotherapy on alternate Thursday afternoons at two locations: Aquanation in Ringwood and Aqualink in Box Hill.

Who runs the Aquatic Therapy program?

Melanie Gibbs is a fully registered Physiotherapist with extensive experience in aquatic physiotherapy. She has trained with Dr Heather Epps in the UK and has provided Aquatic Therapy to children and teenagers over the past 20 years.    Her experience covers working with clients with mild to moderate physical difficulty right through to clients with profound disability.  Melanie loves using the water as a medium to provide physiotherapy and finds it to be a very successful medium in which to help clients achieve their goals.


aquatic physiotherapy 2Is my child eligible?

To attend Aquatic Physiotherapy, you will need a certificate from your GP, stating you are fit to attend. Being in the water puts increased pressure on your child’s body systems. It is important to get medical clearance, particularly if your child has any issues with their heart, lungs, blood pressure or kidneys. A land-based assessment by one of our physiotherapists is important in deciding if this program is right for your child.




 I still have questions….

If you would like more information please contact the clinic on 9899 4004 or speak to your physiotherapist at your next appointment.  

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Do I need to plan for my planning meeting?

Here at Stepping Forward, we are hearing from parents that the NDIS pathway to accessing funding for services can be tricky to navigate.

After you have put through an application for the NDIS, you will be advised that the next step is  your planning meeting.

During this meeting, your Planner will discuss your child’s and your family’s needs and current supports, and what supports you are requesting. This may apply for the next 12 months.

Our physiotherapists at Stepping Forward have often heard parents ask: “Do I need to plan for my planning meeting?”

The answer is yes!!

You are more likely to receive funding for services that meet your family and your child’s needs if you are able to specifically discuss what those needs are.

What do we mean?

To get ready for your planning meeting, here are some questions you should think about. This list isn’t exhaustive, and is more relevant for children who require additional physical needs.

Where are we now?

What does your child’s week look like, what does your family’s week look like? What works? What doesn’t work? Where do you need support?

What (paid) support are we currently using?

This may include therapy, care and/or assisted technology. You may feel that you are getting enough, or need more. You may be asked why do you need more? It is helpful to talk to your therapists, as they can provide you with written support.

What goals do you have in mind for the next 12 months?

Sometimes it helps to think about what your goals may be for the next few years. This can give your 12 month goal some perspective. Your goals should be functional, and age appropriate. Your therapist may be able to assist you in understanding your child’s developmental pathway. This can help you form acheivable goals.

What equipment will I need to help my child achieve their goals?

Consider the equipment you currently have. Will it still fit in 12 months? Will it meet my child’s needs in 12 months? Consider mobility (wheelchairs, walkers, orthotics), postures for function (special floor/table seating, standing frames), therapy (physio balls, rolls, therapy specific equipment), bathing and toileting ( commodes, shower chairs, bathing aides), hoists, communication aids, and other assistive technology that would help your child participate in activities which are reasonable and necessary for their age.

How will I manage my plan once I get it?

Currently, NDIS allow families to access their funding 3 ways. 1) Through the National Disability Insurance Agency (or the NDIS portal); 2) self-managed; or 3) through a financial intermediary. Each method of access has it’s pros and cons, and it’s important to think about what suits your situation. See the NDIS guide:


Hopefully this information has been helpful in getting ready for your plan. For more information, you can visit for information for Families and Carers, or for information on how to become a participant.

If you would like to find out more about how accessing our services under NDIS, please contact us on 9899 4004.

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Accessing the NDIS

How do I get connected with the NDIS? Should I make contact with the NDIS or will they contact me instead? What is the next step? 

To be able to access services under the NDIS for your child, here are some of the criteria that need to be met: 

Check availability in your area 

NDIS is rolling out in different stages around Victoria. You are may be eligible for access 6 months prior to NDIS rolling out in your area. For more information, visit 


Your child must meet residency requirements and must be residing in Australia. 

They have to hold an Australian Citizenship OR a Permanent Visa OR a Protected Special Category Visa.  


Your child may meet the disability requirements if they have an impairment or condition that is likely to be with them for life (permanent), and will require support under the NDIS. An example of an NDIS support would be if your child’s condition makes it impossible for them to walk from one end of their school to another, they may then require a wheelchair to help them travel between classes to ensure effective participation in school. NDIS can help with funding for a wheelchair for your child. 

If your child meets the NDIS access requirements, please contact NDIS on 1800 800 110 to request access to services. If your child is currently receiving government funded services, NDIS will make contact with you, depending on if NDIS rolls out in your area.  

At Stepping Forward Therapy Services, we are NDIS ready for the provision of physiotherapy services for your child. We are more than happy to answer any questions related to the NDIS or direct you to the appropriate resources. Call us on 9899 4004 to find out more about getting your child connected with physiotherapy services. 

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Playtime with your baby


Parents have often asked me over the years two very pertinent questions:
• What do I do with my newborn baby when he’s awake, looking around, and not crying?
• What toys does he need at each stage to assist with his development
Early Play is influenced by the drive for sensory motor experiences. Infants spend a great deal of time in exploratory play looking for new challenges as well as familiar and comforting sensory experiences. Research and evidence all point to the role of play in children’s development and learning across cultures (Shipley, 2008). Many believe that it is impossible to disentangle children’s play, learning and development. The most guarded secret in parenting is that you really don’t need expensive baby toys to keep your baby happy and to help him learn and grow. Remember that you are your baby’s ‘best toy’
As a Paediatric Physiotherapist I’ve seen and treated the effects of decreased early movement and opportunities for play – poor head control, upper body and poor core stability, coordination issues, sensory processing problems, misshapen head shapes and Torticollis and more.
Here are a few very simple play ideas for play with your baby in the first months of life to enhance his help sensory and motor skills.
Nappy Change activities

Ensure when you are changing your baby as he is lying on his back that his head is in the middle (midline) and that your baby is engaging or looking at you as this is a signal that he is ready for some interaction. Remember your baby loves your soft talking and your caresses and this will help to build a trust between the two of you.

• Massage your baby by slowly stroking diagonally across his chest from his shoulder down to his opposite hip, gently talking to him and trying to maintain eye contact.

• Bring his arms forward with his elbows bent and hold firmly. Allow your baby to feel his own hands and stroke his face with his hands. Take his little hands to his mouth and allow him to suck on his hand/hands.

• Bend your baby’s legs up with his knees together and hold. Gently rock his legs from side to side in a small arc of 30°.

• Baby aerobics: Gentle and slow movements of his legs in a cycling movement.

• Pick your baby up by turning him onto his side (alternate sides) and leaning him forward into your hand. This will help to improve his head control.

• The simple act of talking to your baby in a nested position will help your baby to bring his hands to his mouth and encourage him to kick his legs in a cycling fashion as gravity will be eliminated in this position.
If your baby starts to fuss, squirm, has jerky movements of his arms and legs or starts to cry you will need to stop with the activities and calm him down by turning down the noise or light in the room, holding him close in your arms or swaddling him in a receiving blanket.

If you feel that your baby is not responding to play opportunities or is not progressing as to how you would expect, a developmental assessment by one of our physiotherapists may be indicated. If you have any concerns or would like to talk to our friendly staff, call us on 98994004.


Adapted excerpt from PlaySense- Author Desiree Frigenti
Desiree has recently joined the team at Stepping Forward Therapy Services. Desiree is an experienced Paediatric Physiotherapist who is dedicated to providing excellent, evidence based individually tailored physiotherapy to children. She understands that every child develops at their own pace and in their own way and enjoys working with families to identify and help achieve their goals.

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