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Sensational Circus

Sensational Circus is a unique occupational therapy program designed and implemented by our resident OT, Isobel Lyall BSc(OT).  This program has been in development for a number of years, and is now open for referrals and for bookings.


While CirQuest has always offered an inclusive environment for children who need a higher level support in our group classes, not all children are ready to jump straight into classes. Some kids need a bit of time to work on their self-regulation, communication, or gross motor skills, and to learn and be able to meet the behavioural expectations in classes.


We are now pleased to offer this program to provide an opportunity for children who may need a higher level of 1:1 support to first develop the skills and experience to ensure that they are ready to enjoy and successfully participate in circus classes.

A wealth of evidence shows that engagement in meaningful, purposeful activity promotes the development of all of the aspects of personal capacity, including the physical body in structure and function, cognition, emotional and psychological wellbeing.  This is the core underpinning the art and science of occupational therapy.

Since joining the circus in 1995, Isobel discovered the meaning and purpose that she and others find in circus training.  The huge diversity of different activities encompassed by circus, and the unique social context that circus provides, provides circus programs with an opportunity to engage and enrich the lives of people who love circus, including people who face barriers to participation in physical, social and recreational activity.

The goal of Sensational Circus is to assist children to achieve their own goals, and to enable them to participate more fully and enjoyably in all their activities, including school, physical recreation activities, in the community and at home.

How does it work?

An initial appointment with you and your child is the first step.  At this appointment, you can discuss your child's goals, strengths, challenges and interests with Isobel and start to plan what activities and service delivery model will work best for you.

Assessment:  It's important to undertake some formal assessment before commencing a therapy program.  This is to obtain a thorough understanding of your child's strengths and challenges for planning activities, setting goals, and so that during and after therapy sessions, we can measure improvement and development.  If you have any assessment reports previously provided by other health professionals, these can be very helpful, but if assessments were conducted more than 18 months ago it may be necessary to undertake some more current assessments.  We can work together to determine what assessments are needed for a current, accurate assessment picture before we begin our therapy process.

Goal setting:  To guide activity selection and outline priorities, it's important to establish the goals you would like to work towards before we begin therapy sessions that are developed to help your child achieve these goals.  This also helps us to look back after a period of sessions together to see how well we've achieved those goals and set new ones for the future.

Sensational Circus sessions can be provided in a number of different ways, depending on what works best for your child to achieve their goals:

One-on-one sessions with our OT in a closed room are often best for children who need a high level of support and especially children who have challenges coping with too much sensory input such as noise, or who need to build their social skills before working in small groups with other children.  We can build rapport and trust between the child and the therapist in this setting before moving on to a different way of delivering activities.

Small group sessions with our OT increases the opportunities for social and communication skill development.  This can also increase motivation for tasks that are necessary but less fun on your own, and may be part of a gradual progression towards participating in group classes.

One-on-one sessions with our OT parallel to a group class support children who are ready for some group activities and for managing their emotions and learning in a more busy environment, and who also benefit from spending some time working on skills away from the group.

Group class participation supported by a dedicated therapy assistant is similar to the model with is used in mainstream classrooms, with a therapy assistant to provide additional support as needed. 

Joining our classes without additional support assists children to practice using the skills they have developed independently, and to generalise the strategies and skills they have learned to other settings, such as sport and other community activities, school and at home.


Sensational Circus is a private occupational therapy service. 

If your child is an NDIS recipient and has occupational therapy included in their plan, you may be able to allocate some of your funding for this service.  Contact your plan manager or, if you are self-managed, check your plan to find out.  If you already see an occupational therapist, you can ask them for a referral to Sensational Circus.

If your child is an NDIS recipient and their goals include some funding for community-based activities that are not occupational therapy, then you may be able to use your funding for group classes with or without additional support from a dedicated therapy assistant. 

If your child is not an NDIS participant, you may be eligible for a Medicare rebate under the CDMP (Chronic Disease Management Plan).  To find out, speak to your GP about setting up a plan and referral.

You also may be covered for a rebate from your private health insurer.  Contact them to find out if your insurance cover includes occupational therapy.

Our fees are:

Initial appointment (30 minutes) or goal-setting appointment $85

Comprehensive assessment (2x 60 minute appointments) and report $700

Brief assessment (1x 60 minute appointment) and report $500

Individual therapy sessions (60 minutes) $170

Group therapy sessions (60 minutes) $85

Group class participation with dedicated therapy assistant (60 minutes) $60

Previous assessment review and recommendations, or progress review brief report $300

Would you like to make an appointment?  Click here to book.

Have you checked out our Circus Arts Day Camps?

Isobel directs and oversees the whole program and if it meets your child's goals, it may be a useful part of their OT and could be covered by your NDIS plan.  See all the details of the CADC here.

Would you like to discuss with Isobel?  Click here to send her and email.

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