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  • Writer's pictureLauren McDougall

Exercise Physiology.. the missing piece?

Exercise Physiologists are still very much the ‘new kids on the block’ within in the Allied Health world. This is particularly the case in the paediatric space, which has historically been dominated by Physiotherapy, Occupational Therapy, Speech Pathology, and Psychology.

To be clear, Exercise Physiology we aren't plugging Exercise Physiology as a replacement to any of those therapies, we all have our part to play in achieving outcomes for the children and young people we work with. Exercise Physiology may be an extra piece of the puzzle, and in many instances, the piece that makes it all click together.

There are also often long waitlists to access the more ‘traditional’ therapies, leaving children, young people, and their families in limbo while they wait weeks, months, or even years to access a service.

We’ve picked 3 ways Exercise Physiology may be the ‘missing piece’.

Reduced wait-time

With Exercise Physiology still being somewhat less prominent in the paediatric space, often Exercise Physiologists  have shorter, or no, waitlists for paediatric services. This allows Exercise Physiologists to provide an individual with support while they wait for input from other allied health professions. In many cases, such as Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy, there can be overlaps in scope, which means Exercise Physiologists can start the work, or start on certain aspects, in the interim.

For example, At Achieving Abilities, we often see kids who are waiting for an OT or Physio for a range of reasons, including muscle tone and gross motor skills. We can start to get some foundation work done, and in many instances, we continue working on these areas, which frees up the other professions sessions to work on other things such as fine motor skills, regulation, gait etc. So, we’re also a great compliment to those other therapies, allowing everyone to narrow their focus and better use their time.


Not to say that other therapies aren’t fun – lots of clients love going to their other allied health appointments.

However, given that Exercise Physiology is an entirely movement-based therapy, it’s often perceived as more fun, and feels less like therapy. (This isn’t just our opinion, our clients tell us this!)

At Achieving Abilities in particular, we make sessions enjoyable by tailoring it to the individual, either making it play-based, or more structured ‘gym’ work, or whatever works best for each individual. For some of our older kids, they don’t view coming to see us as “therapy” either, because they love coming and doing exercise in a gym-like space.

Many of our clients even put their own spin on it. One of our favourites is ‘coach’. For one client, his sisters play lots of sport and have coaching, for him, Exercise Physiology is his equivalent, and normalises his ‘therapy’.


An ongoing battle for families, with or without NDIS, is often the pressure of funding and therapy/service frequency.

In addition often having more availability, Exercise Physiology is also often a more cost-effective alternative. As with the other allied health professions, Exercise Physiology can be funded through Medicare, NDIS, and Private Health rebates.

As with all services, and individual providers and clinicians, it is important that you do what is best. To find out if Exercise Physiology may be for you or your child, chat to one of our team today!

Phone) 0431 048 684

Address) 307 Payneham Road, Royston Park SA 5070


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