29 Mar 2018

BY: admin

Psychology Team

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Sibling Fights – Part Two

Following on from the last blog on this topic. As parents we can spend a lot of time “refereeing” fights. The alternative to this is to take the time to set things up so that children are more likely to get along with each other or at least chose more helpful behaviour!

Here’s some ideas to explore:

1. Make sure your expectations about behaviour in the house is known and understood by everyone. Teachers often have a brilliant class rule along the lines of “Keep hand, feet, objects to self”. It works in the home and I would probably add “mean words” to the list too.


2. Remember to model what you are asking your children to do. It doesn’t help if children see poor conflict resolution occurring among their parents.


3. Share your attention between your children where you can to avoid that “missing-out” feeling children sometimes develop. This doesn’t mean that you have to be a super-parent, just that you need to look for special time with individual children.


4. Where you can, create spaces in the house where children can spread out. They are less likely to tread on each other’s toes that way.


5. If there are frequent squabbles over resources (e.g. devices or special toys) then create a roster. Roster in times for each child. Apply the “if you can’t abide by the roster” rule you both lose access to the good stuff. This teaches children to work together rather than fall apart – especially if the item is of value to them both.


6. Create times where the children are away from each other and have their own space, e.g. separate play-dates or after school activities. We appreciate each other more when we have time apart.


7. Don’t forget to praise, praise, praise! When children are playing well together we should be praising them for that! This is the behaviour we want more of at home so this is the behaviour we should praising as often as we see it.

 

Hope these tips help and please remember that the psychology team is here to help at the Centre if the squabbles are getting out of hand.

Naomi Ward
Clinical Director

20 Mar 2018

BY: admin

ABACAS Team

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Functions of Children’s Behaviour

There are 4 functions of behaviours: Social Attention, Tangible (or activities), Escape or Avoidance, and Sensory Stimulation

Social Attention

A person may engage in a behaviour to get some attention or reaction from another person. For example, a baby throws a cup, mommy comes to her high chair to pick up the cup and also talk to the baby.

Tangible or activities 

A person may engage in a behaviour to obtain a tangible item or gain access to an activity. For example, a child cries and throw himself on the floor at the checkout counter because he wants a bar of chocolate.

Escape or Avoidance

A person may engage in a behaviour to get away or delay getting to a (hard) task or work. For example, a child refuses to write her homework. So she cries. The longer she cries, the longer she doesn’t have to do her homework. And eventually, mom gives in and say you can do your homework later.

Sensory Stimulation

The behaviours under the function of sensory stimulation (or self-stim) do not rely on anything external. The behaviour serves a function to give the person some internal sensation that is pleasing. For example, a child sucks his finger; an adult twirl her hair when she’s nervous, a person rocking back and forth at the desk.

You may have one behaviour that serves multiple functions at one moment. You may have one behaviour that demonstrates different functions in a different location with different people.

Follow along with us as we explore the functions of behaviours. Pick a behaviour you have observed of yourself, your child, your partner, or even your neighbour or colleague. Next week, we will talk about how to respond to these behaviours under different functions.

20 Mar 2018

BY: admin

Psychology Team

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Children Fighting – Part One

Anyone that has ever grown up in a family with more than two kids will know that children fight for a range of reasons. Jealousy, competition and boredom to start with a few.

As parents there is always the temptation to jump in and take sides, particularly when there are younger siblings involved. However reacting to children fighting isn’t always the best course of action as it can lead to more frustration and hurt feelings for children and adults alike. Often we tend to favour who-ever we think is the most vulnerable (e.g. younger, smaller, cuter….) and yet they may be the one that has instigated the conflict. Imagine how that feels for the other child!

Instead, try not to get pulled into the fight and let the children sort it out. If you have to step in because you’re worried then involve both parties in solving the problem. Rather than the “judge”, take on a “coach” role.

Split the children up until they are both calm enough to talk through what happened. You’re not going to get very far if one of them is still upset.

Don’t put too much focus on who started the fight. Sometimes fights are the inevitable consequence of a build-up of perceived grievances over a period of time. Rather the focus needs to be on “the solution” e.g. how they can take turns next time with a favourite toy, or how one of them can come and get you when there is a problem, or how they can play in separate spaces if they are annoying each other.

Once you have your plan in place, don’t forget to praise both children the next time you see them playing cooperatively.

Prevention is always better than cure! So look out for Part 2 where we have a look at how to get children playing co-operatively with each other.

Naomi Ward

Clinical Director

15 Mar 2018

BY: admin

Occupational Therapist Team

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Whole body movement is essential for your child.

Babies need to spend plenty of tummy time on the floor to play. From this they will then develop the muscles to enable them to roll, then crawl (commando) then creep up on all fours. Don’t prop your child to sit! They need to spend several months crawling then creeping as this ensures all of their muscle groups will be ready for them to learn to sit, pull up to stand and eventually walk. Any time between 12 to 17 months is a normal time to start walking. It is more important a child develops foundational skills during crawling and creeping than be helped to walk early!

All children should engage in free gross motor play at least 3 hours per day. Opportunities to run, jump, climb, swing and spin are essential to develop sufficient core strength and to fine tune body spatial awareness and balance. Once a child has developed postural strength and shoulder stability through gross motor play, they will be ready to sit still, listen and carry out fine motor skills required in the early school years.

A child’s occupation is to play and carry out daily living and self care skills. For example, learning to ride a bike, tying shoelaces, drawing, using cutlery and scissors. These all require essential foundational skills of postural strength and balance of the whole body.

If your child has difficulty with fine motor skills, gross motor development, balance and attention, Occupational Therapy (OT) can help. We can work with you and your child using tailor made fun activities to achieve daily living and play skill goals.

Please call Tracey at Reception on 9274 7062 for more information about the OT services at the Centre.

Madeline Minehan
Occupational Therapist

14 Mar 2018

BY: admin

Speech Pathologist

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Social Communication

Our language skills help us communicate in all kinds of places; in the classroom, at home, as well as in social interactions in the playground or the shops.

Social communication consists of using language for saying “hello”, ‘thank you”, or telling a story. It also includes being able to change your language (e.g. talking differently to a baby than to an adult), and to follow rules when talking (e.g. taking turns in conversation).
Children may break these social communication rules as they are learning, however some children have a lot of problems with these types of rules and situations. This is common with children with Autism and children with a social communication disorder. Children with social communication difficulties may have trouble with conversation and making friends.
A speech pathologist is able to help children with social communication problems. They can assess these skills, and help your child learn how to use language with different people in different situations.
For more information about our speech pathology services please contact Tracey on 9274 7062.
Georgina Klimaitis

Speech Pathologist

13 Mar 2018

BY: admin

ABACAS Team

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Children, Behaviour and ABA

I often have parents telling me, “ My kid just doesn’t listen. He throws a tantrum. He cries and he kicks and yells. He is out of control.”
Then they asked me, “ Can ABA therapy work for my child?”

My approach usually is, “Tell me more about that crying incident.”

I first identify the problem behaviours. Then, I ask questions about what happened just before the problem behaviour. And ask parents, “What do YOU usually do right after the behaviour?”

What I am doing here is gathering information for the ABC.
A stands for Antecdent.
B stands for Behaviour.
C stands for Consequence.

Example: Child wants a chocolate bar at the checkout lane. Parent says “no”.
Child cries, yells, and throw a tantrum..
Parent gives in and buys the chocolate for the child.

Can you identify the A, B, C?

Behaviour- child crying and yelling.
Antecedent – Parent said “no” (denying access to a tangible)
Consequence- child gets the chocolate.

From the scenario, the child learns next time when their parent says no, he will just cry and yell, and throw a tantrum, then he will get what he wants.
What is the function of crying and yelling in this scenario? Tangible – which is the chocolate (and Attention).

Now that we know the child cries to get the tangible and also mom’s attention to buy the tangible, we can better find a solution to reduce the tantrum.
—————————————————————
Do you know what the four functions of behavior?

Stay tuned to ABACAS Tuesdays! We will tell you more about the functions of behaviors in next few weeks.

Please contact Jenny Lin, Program Manager on 9274 7062 if you have any questions or want to know more about Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA).

11 Mar 2018

BY: admin

Occupational Therapist Team

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The forgotten senses

The forgotten senses

Children need to move in order to learn about their body. This begins very early in utero, the most important senses at this stage are the tactile system and three forgotten senses.

Everyone knows about vision, hearing, smell taste and touch. These provide us information about what is going on outside our body.
But did you know there are other senses?

These are foundational to our sensory system. They are:  proprioception, the vestibular sense and interoception. These forgotten senses provide information about what is going on inside the body; its position, balance and status of internal organs.

Your child might be super wiggly and find it very difficult to keep still and listen. Being able to sit motionless while watching and listening is achieved only once the vestibular and proprioceptive system have matured.

To help these systems mature a child needs to carry out heaps of ‘heavy work’, running, jumping, spinning, tumbling and build adequate core strength for hours every day. Then they can sit still, listen and hold a pencil to learn to write.

OT can provide strategies to help your child improve their sensory awareness, posture and coordination in daily living and school skills.

For more information about our OT services in the Centre please call Tracey on 9274 7062.

Madeline Minehan
Occupational Therapist

11 Mar 2018

BY: admin

Speech Pathologist

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Stuttering – What is it?

There are many misconceptions about what stuttering is. Stuttering is a speech disorder consisting of unwanted disruption of the normal rhythm of fluency of speech defined by repetitions of sounds, words or phrases (e.g. “I-I-I want”, “but-but mum!”, prolongations or the drawing out of sounds (e.g. mmmmmum!), as well as blocking resulting in the inability to produce a word – getting ‘stuck’.

Stuttering is NOT caused by parents 
Stuttering is NOT caused by anxiety or stress (Although stress can increase the stutter, it is not the cause)
People who stutter are NOT nervous or shy.
Stuttering is NOT learnt by imitating a family member’s speech.
Stuttering is NOT caused by a low IQ.

Early intervention is very important as children can overcome stuttering but they will need help.

Please call Tracey on 9274 7062 or more information about how our speech pathology services can help children with stuttering.

Georgina Klimaitis
Speech Pathologist

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