30 May 2020

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Fantastic Friends and Best Buddies, Social Skills Programs – Term Three

With the easing of COVID-19 restrictions this week, we are now looking forward to running our group-based social skills programs in Term Three.

Sessions are run by two facilitators. They work hard to make sessions fun and motivating while teaching the important skills needed to make and keep friends.

In each group the team employs a four-part training approach using modelling, role-playing, performance feedback, and generalisation to teach essential pro-social skills to children.  Programs are tailored to meet the needs of the children participating in groups.

Toni Schmitz, Provisional Psychologist will be coordinating Term Three’s program. We are planning to run three sessions after school.

Best Buddies

Our “Best Buddies” program will help to build confidence in your child for making and keeping friends. We will be using modelling, and role-playing to practice new skills and refine existing skills.

Who is suited:  Children aged 6-7 years of age who need help with making or keeping friends.
Where:                Child Wellbeing Centre – Brockman Office,  5 Brockman Rd , Midland.
When:                  Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons 4.00pm – 5.30pm during Term Three.

Fantastic Friends

The “Fantastic Friends” social skills program aims to build and develop more complex social skills. In this cohort, we will focus on a range of skills including starting and maintaining conversations, how to introduce yourself and others, asking questions, and apologizing.

Who is suited:  Children aged 8-11 years of age who need help with making or keeping friends.
Where:                 Child Wellbeing Centre – Brockman Office,  5 Brockman Rd , Midland.
When:                  Thursday afternoons 4.00pm – 5.30pm during Term Three

How to register interest?

Please call Reception on 9274 7062 for more information and to register your interest.  Toni will then be in touch to schedule an initial appointment with you to find out more about your child and their needs.

Naomi Ward

Clinical Director

Kids Connect is all about connecting kids to service providers 25 May 2020

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Kid Connect – Support Services for NDIS Clients

Kid Connect is a new program available through the Child Wellbeing Centre for parents and carers of NDIS funded children. We are now able to offer NDIS support coordination and plan management services. Kid Connect was started to provide a child (and adolescent) focused service, drawing on our local knowledge of service providers. We want to help connect children (and families) with the services they need.

What’s support coordination and plan management?

Support Coordination is a service funded by the NDIS to help families work with someone to find the various supports that their child needs. Typically, this is where you may need help to find a service provider for your child in your local area.  Our support coordinators see their role as providing independent advice and helping you identify the most appropriate supports for your child. Support coordinators can also help you prepare for plan reviews and can help iron out any conflicts with service providers along the way.

Plan management is where service providers send their invoices into Kid Connect and we pay them. Plan managers keep track of funds for you and send out monthly reports. That way you know what funding you have and can make informed decisions. Kid Connect will pay invoices for service providers weekly so that you have happy therapists and no interruptions to service delivery.

Do I have to choose Kid Connect if the Child Wellbeing Centre is one of my child’s service providers?

Absolutely not! We will very happily work with other support coordination and plan management agencies. In many ways, it’s business as usual for our therapists.

Kid Connect support coordinators work independently of the therapy team. Client information will not be shared between teams unless there is informed consent. Neither team can access each other’s records. We treat your child’s information with confidentiality.

Can I just access Kid Connect services?

Yes. There is no obligation to access any other services from the Child Wellbeing Centre.  Our support coordinators will want to help you identify the best supports for your child. The Child Wellbeing Centre, in many instances, may not be the most appropriate service. Our support coordinators will help you find what work’s best for you and your child.

How do I find out more about Kid Connect?

The easiest thing is to have a look at our website or call Miika for more information on 0421 012 956. Our Kid Connect office is located in at Brockman Road. Please feel free to make an appointment with Miika. Videoconferencing is also an option if you are unable to attend meetings in person.


Naomi Ward

Clinical Director

15 May 2020

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How Can Occupational Therapy Help Children?

There are a number of reasons a child may come to see a paediatric (child) occupational therapist.  The best-known reason is to help with printing and hand-writing. Occupational therapists can do so much more though!

What is Occupational Therapy?

Occupational therapy is about increasing various aspects of a child’s independence and competency. This can include things like working on fine motor skills (think cutting, drawing etc). It can also include aspects of self-care, organisation, mobility and self-regulation (think managing sensory needs and calming down). For children, it’s about having the skills to do well at home and school.

Sometimes therapy will include working directly with the child to increase their skills. It can also look more like parent or teacher consultancy. At the end of the day, the occupational therapist will work with the child, parent and school to improve core skills – whoever can help!

How can Occupational Therapy help my child?

Occupational therapists usually start with an assessment to be clear about the child’s needs. This can come in many forms. In the first instance, the assessment may focus on development such as aspects of fine motor and handwriting,  gross motor and visual perception skills. The occupational therapist will be able to give you feedback on how your child is developing compared to peers and recommendations on how to address any concerns.

Functional assessments (such as those asked for by the NDIS) are where the occupational therapist looks at all aspects of a child’s independence. The goal here is to identify strengths and weaknesses and to make recommendations about the next steps. This kind of assessment can be helpful for prioritising goals and identifying needs. Typically this will be a much more comprehensive assessment.

Following on from assessments comes individual therapy. This is tailored to match the therapy goals you as a parent and the occupational therapist decide upon. Therapy is usually one on one and designed to be engaging for the child. There will usually be some homework tasks too as we aim to keep the good work up outside of sessions.

Occupational therapy at the CWBC

At the Child Wellbeing Centre our Occupational Therapists work with young children, primary and secondary students.

We’ve recently been joined by Jeannie Loi, Occupational Therapist who will be working from our Brockman Road office on Thursdays and Fridays. Jeannie has a background in working with children with disabilities on a range of issues (and she is very nice too!).

Please feel free to contact our Reception for more information about our services on 9274 7062.

Naomi Ward

Clinical Director



A parent experiencing momentary stress 06 May 2020

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Parental Anxiety and Stress Clinic (PASC)

Experiencing stress and anxiety at various times as a parent will be familiar. All parents know that our role has its highs and lows. Whether our children are at school or home with us self-isolating, they are in our care and thoughts 24/7. It doesn’t take a pandemic for parents to feel anxiety and stress around the job of parenting. Life can throw us many curveballs along the way. First, though, let’s have a look at what we mean by parental stress and anxiety.

What is parental stress?

Parental stress is the sense of being overwhelmed, which occurs when the demands of parenting overtake our capacity to manage it all. We all have moments when we want to pull our hair out as we are driven crazy by the competing demands for our time.

Over the longer term, this consistent stress becomes a concern when it impacts negatively on our relationships with our children and reduces our capacity to support them. We may become irritable and grumpy and overly negative. Our relationships with partners may suffer as well. This situation feels awful, and we may judge ourselves badly. Worse still, our children will start to see and possibly copy our very poor coping strategies.

What is parental anxiety?

Parental anxiety is defined as excessive worrying about the current wellbeing and/or future needs of our child. Common to parents of children with a disability, it may also develop with families where a child presents with complex or challenging needs.

While all parents have moments of worry for their children, parental anxiety is a pattern of worry that is long-standing and of such an extent that it impacts on the daily functioning of the parent and/or child.

Parental anxiety can start to look like paralysis, where decisions become difficult if not avoided altogether. Parents find themselves trying to minimize any risks for their children, which is where the term helicopter parenting comes from. And again, poor coping strategies are being modelled. Additionally, the child picks up on the parent’s anxiety and may take this on themselves too.

What can you do about parental stress and anxiety?

The first step starts with recognizing that things are getting out of control and seeking help. At our Centre, we are currently seeing a spike in parental stress and anxiety. Hence, we are now opening our Parental Stress and Anxiety Clinic (PASC) to parents of children who are not currently accessing Child Wellbeing Centre services.

In PASC, we match you with a psychologist who can help you get on top of any stress and anxiety. Typically, this is about learning new ways of managing thoughts and feelings.  We also include opportunities to learn helpful parenting strategies and relaxation techniques. Sessions are currently available face to face or via online Telehealth sessions. All you need to do is let us know what will work best for you and we will make it happen.

Please contact our Reception on 9274 7062 for more information about our services and let them know that you are interested in PASC. We’re here to help!

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