Deb Hopper

Hi! My name is Deb Hopper and I’m the founder and driving force behind Life Skills 4 Kids.

My mission is to see EVERY child achieve their full potential!

As an Occupational Therapist practicing in Forster on the beautiful Mid North Coast of NSW, I am truly passionate about helping children overcome sensory and emotional issues, and empowering their families to deal with the stresses of their day-to-day lives.

Occupational Therapists work with adults and children to promote health and well being through helping them do the things they need to do independently. We work across all ages and help people identify what activities they struggle with, assess why they might be struggling, and then help them either develop these skills or develop new ways of completing them.

As an OT working with children and young adults, I help with a variety of issues, including sensory processing, learning difficulties (concentration, reading/spelling, copying from the board, listening and understanding), behavioural, self-confidence, social skills, balance and co-ordination, self-care tasks including brushing teeth or getting organised for school, fussy eaters, auditory processing disorder and anxiety.

Because knowing why is the key.

My professional career has been varied. I started working as an Occupational Therapist in Forensic Mental Health and the Melbourne Assessment Prison, to mental health work in Gosford, before working with children in Forster. This may seem a little disjointed, but the mental health skills I developed are an excellent basis for working with children with self-regulation, behavioural and learning difficulties.

I’m passionate about empowering people to understand the impact of sensory processing difficulties such as being over-sensitive to noise, movement, or other senses, or seeking out movement.

As the mother of two energetic boys, one of whom struggles with learning difficulties and sensory processing issues, I totally get the challenges faced by families who find themselves in similar situations. And I have developed some great processes and strategies that can help you to make sense of your child’s behaviour, and understand why things can suddenly go from peace to panic.

My number one tip I give parents to help them with the growth of their children is to make quality time for your kids, put the screens down, eat together at the table, and talk and play with your kids. Get back to old fashioned basics.

I’ve had 20 years’ experience observing and helping children and families cope with life; I’ve even written some best-selling books on the subject:

    Autism Parenting Magazine


I’ve also been honoured to receive several business awards for my work, including Business Leader, Excellence in Health and Well-being, and Excellence in Professional Services. I’ve also been a Regional Finalist in the NSW Business Chamber Awards (Mid North Coast) numerous times.

But I’m just a regular wife and mum, too, and I have my own fun ways of dealing with my sometimes-crazy life. For instance:

  • I love year-round ocean swims at sunrise – yes, even in winter!
  • I put the TRY in triathlon – I’m not very fit or fast, but I've achieved one half-marathon
  • I hope to run the Melbourne half-marathon later this year
  • I try my therapy tricks on my energetic kids every day!

I'm passionate about helping other mums, whether they be here in my local community, or in the far corners of the planet. And I hope my contribution will reach parents, teachers and therapists wherever they are in the world. That would give me the greatest sense of achievement and satisfaction.

Debbie Hopper -Winner - Business Leader 2015Winner in Excellence in Health and Wellbeing AwardHealthWellbeingWinPrint