Toilet Training 12 Feb 2019

BY: admin

ABACAS Team

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Toilet training children and ABA

Some children ‘just get it’ when it comes to toilet training. Others, not so much. Toilet training is a huge developmental milestone. It increases independence, helps social relationships and it can be a really important skill when thinking about school readiness. For those young ones who aren’t having success with conventional methods of toilet training ABA can help.

Let’s look at the example of “Johnny” (not his real name!). He’s been engaged in therapy for about a year, responds well to reinforcement, is making lots of gains in his program.  However he’s about to go into Kindy and has been unsuccessful in his toilet training attempts with his parents so far. Johnny’s mum approaches her ABA Program Manager about this skill and they develop a program to toilet train him. Within three weeks he goes from zero toilet use to independent requests for the toilet for both wee’s and poo’s!

How did we toilet train?

There are a few key area’s that need to be addressed in toilet training. First, you need to be able to “catch a wee”. This then gives you the opportunity to reinforce weeing in the toilet. Second, you need to teach the sensation of a full bladder and teach this as a natural antecedent to Mand (request) the toilet. Third, fine motor skills for pulling up and down pants are important if the child’s toilet use is going to be independent.

In a typical toilet training intervention, we will work on all of these skills through a very intensive program. This will include taking the child to the toilet regularly and providing reinforcement, then thinning out the schedule and increasing teaching opportunities to request independently.

In summary, ABA can help toilet train almost anyone! This case reflects the success of a young child, but these methods can be implemented with a child of any age, both younger and older.

When thinking about toileting interventions, your practitioner will need to get medical clearance from your GP first. They will need to rule out any underlying medical problems that may be causing toileting problems.  The next step is to meet the parents/carers and talk through strategies and to explain any risks and the realistic time commitments before you begin. An intensive intervention around toileting can be hard work…but very rewarding too!

Please feel free to contact Rachel Puan or myself should you want to know more about our toileting interventions on 9274 7062.

Jasmin Fyfe

Program Manager ABACAS

https://www.childwellbeingcentre.net.au/services/aba-child-and-adolescent-services-abacas/

06 Feb 2019

BY: admin

ABACAS Team

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Understanding why children avoid homework

Many parents find getting their children to do homework challenging.  For some children school = work and  home = fun. Some children will question the fairness: “But mum, I’ve spent 6 and a half hours at school doing work. Why do I have to do school work at home too?” Others may feel that they simply have better things to do and resist your efforts. In these instances you may need to simply stand your ground, set good routines in place and practice patience!

For some children though other factors  may be at play that impact on them being willing or able to do their homework. Just three to start with:

  • The level of homework that is given to your child may be too difficult.
  • Your child is physically and mentally tired after a long day at school.
  • Your child is feeling stressed by homework and their own internal need for it to be “perfect”.

How then do we tackle such behaviours?

First and foremost, we have to determine the function of behaviour. In other words, why does the child not want to do their homework. Was the task too difficult? Does it have something to do with a skill deficit (e.g. the child simply can’t do it)?

Some of the things that we can look into include:

  • Breaking down the work into small achievable steps (learning to deal with money require other skills such as coin recognition, addition and subtraction, coin value – more and less, etc.).
  • Place small demands (10 minutes of homework before play time and increase expectation slowly).
  • Have strong reinforcers in place (if the child sits down and does 10 minutes of homework for a week, he gets to pick a fun activity to do over the weekend).
  • Communicate with the child’s teacher to see they are able to provide homework that is catered to their current level.
  • Sit down and spend time with your child. Your attention may be more valuable than anything else.

For our some children the underlying issue may be straightforward. For others, it may be more complex hence the need to work through barriers.

For children in our ABACAS program, your program manager is there to help work through these issues with you. They can sit with you an objectively have a look at what is happening and work with you to put some steps in place to ease the transition back into a positive homework routine.

Rachel Puan

Assistant Program Manager

 

05 Feb 2019

BY: admin

Speech Pathologist

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5 tips for language development

Children learn language by watching and listening to others. As a baby your child listens to your voice and tries to copy you with all those lovely babbling sounds.  From 6 months onward, some of those sounds begin to sound like words (e.g. dada and baba). Then from 9 months onward, you’ll see your child start to recognise words (e.g. no, ouch, ta and bye-bye) and they will find ways to tell you what they want (e.g. raise their arms to be picked up). Use of individual words can start anywhere from 12 to 15 months. This is the exciting phase when children start to develop a vocabulary of words to let you know their needs (e.g. juice, doll and doggie).

As a parent you play an important role in helping your child develop their early language skills!

How can parents help?

Taken from The Hanen Centre, the following are some tips to help guide your child’s language development.

1.Use many different kinds of words when talking with your child.

2. Make a point of highlighting a variety of word types when talking to your child, not just the names of things. It is important for your child to learn a variety of word types in order to talk in short sentences.

3. Emphasize action words (sleep, eat, run, push, squeeze, break), descriptive words (soft, hot, big, sticky, funny, tired), location words (up, down, in, on, under), words about belonging (my, your, his, Mommy’s), and feeling words (sad, sick, happy, angry), as well nouns or names of things (dog, book, bed, cup).

4. Repeat these words often and make them stand out when you use them by exaggerating your intonation and slowing down a bit. For example, “Mommy is very… TIRED (yawn). I must go to bed because I need to have a good sleep. Then I won’t be so tired.”

5. Talk about your  child’s natural interests (e.g. their favourite toy) with them. For example, if your child says “ball”, you can extend this with something like “yes, that’s your big, red ball!”.

Where to go for help?

Children can struggle with language development for a range of reasons. A conversation with a child health nurse, GP or early childhood teacher may be helpful in providing reassurance or pointing you in the right direction. Consulting a speech pathologist for advice may also be helpful as they are able to let you know if there is anything to be concerned about and if there is a need for therapy.

The Centre has three speech pathologists available who work on different days of the week. Please call reception on 9274 7062 for more information about our speech pathology services.

Georgina Klimaitis and Naomi Ward

Child Wellbeing Centre

30 Jan 2019

BY: admin

Speech Pathologist

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Encouraging Listening Skills

We learn about language by listening to patterns and changes in the speech of others. Encouraging good listening skills will help your child throughout their language development. Listening to sounds and talking about sounds with your child will encourage them to focus on sounds and help with learning to link sounds with their cause.  So how do we develop listening skills in young children? Try the following tips…

5 Tips for developing the listening skills of young children

1.  Remove or reduce distractors. Don’t try to talk over the top of the TV, other voices or music. Turn down the volume of devices so you and your child can hear you speak . Getting their attention in the first instance is very important.

2. Encourage your child to look at you while you are talking. Having said this some children find eye contact uncomfortable so for these children, facing towards you is fine. Encouraging your child to show you with their body (e.g. eye gaze, body posture and orientation) that they are listening will make it easier for you to know that they are.

3. Encourage them to ask you questions. This allows both you and them to check for understanding. For the children who won’t ask, you can always prompt them to tell you what they thought you just said. This isn’t meant to be an interrogation though! Rather its a way of checking in.

4. Play listening games with your child. Remember the old “Chinese Whispers” game? Aside from fun, it’s a great way of sharpening up listening skills. Other activities where your child has to listen and follow instructions are also helpful e.g. cooking.

5. Praise, praise, praise. Learning to listen is a skill that everyone has to master. Some of us find it easier than others. It’s always good practice to praise a child when you see them doing something positive and helpful…just like listening.

What to do if those listening skills don’t appear to be switching on?

Children can struggle with listening for a range of reasons. It’s important to take note and seek advice. A conversation with a child health nurse, GP or early childhood teacher may be helpful in pointing you in the right direction. Speech Pathologists can also assess listening and the role that language development may play in any difficulties.

The Centre has three speech pathologists available who work on different days of the week. Please call reception on 9274 7062 for more information about our speech pathology services.

Georgina Klimaitis and Naomi Ward

Child Wellbeing Centre

29 Jan 2019

BY: admin

Psychology Team

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Getting young children ready for school

Aside from getting back into routine, going back to school is great time for children to reconnect with their friends. It’s also another year ahead of learning and fun. For some children the transition back into school can be challenging. Rather than leave that transition to the night before, there is lots that you can do right now to help with getting your child ready.

5 Tips for getting ready for school

If you haven’t already started, this week is the time to start focusing on getting everyone ready for school again. How can you prepare?

1.Sit down and plan out with your children what you will need to do to prepare for school. Create a checklist and timetable of all the steps that are required. This helps reduce any feelings of overwhelm  to something more manageable.

2. Talk about the good things that are likely to happen when your child is back at school. The start of the school year is a time to make new friends and meet new teachers. There’s also lots of cool stuff to learn about.

3. Adjust sleep times. During holidays most children tend to go to bed later than they would on a school night and sleep in later. Starting to adjust sleep times gradually before school starts is likely to be more effective then suddenly demanding that your child be asleep at their usual time the night before school starts!

4. For younger children, do a walk around school showing them where their class will be, how to find the toilets and where school drop-offs and pick-ups will be and

5. Celebrate back to school with party or special event. Include one of their friends or classmates for school to make the occasion that little bit more special.

What about the anxious child?

Some children become very worried at the start of the new school year, often imaging the worst is about to happen. As parents its important that we acknowledge those worries. Telling someone not to worry seldom works! Instead the focus needs to be on coping strategies and helping the child find things to help them manage these worries.

For some children, rehearsal strategies like social stories are really helpful. They explain what is going to happen and can reassure the child that things will be fine.

For other children, finding gentle ways to challenge their worry thoughts is what’s needed. For example, reminding them of all the other times they were worried and good things happened.

Being a little worried about going back to school is perfectly normal.  However if you feel your child is “too worried” then our psychology team is there to help with strategies to help children back into school. Please call reception on 9274 7062 for more information about our services.

BY: admin

ABACAS Team

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The Power of Praise

When working with children, therapists often have to prepare for the unexpected! The following is a story about an experience with a client and shows just how important praise can be to children.

With ABA with children, we sometimes need kids to practice their skills in the real world or the “natural environment”. With the particular child in this story, the aim was to go to the shops to get some fruits and veggies with the child’s parent (without walking down the lollies aisle and purchasing a bag of lollies!).  Normally a trip like this would  result in lots of nagging behaviour (e.g. I want lollies!) and often with tears streaking down the child’s face.  Shopping was a stressful experience for the parent too!

Little did I know that in this shop, the fruits and veggies section was situated right next to a stand filled with all sorts of lollies! As we moved towards the veggies section (realising that there were lollies in sight), the first line the child uttered was “Can we please get a bag of chocolate? I really want to have it.” Fortunately, the parent and I had talked  before hand and decided to ignore such requests should they come up.  The plan instead was to redirect the child’s attention to the task at hand by asking which fruit the parent should buy. And in this instance, the child in our story was successfully redirected to the task at hand.

In total, we managed to spend a good 5 minutes within the fruit and veggie section without walking out with a bag of lollies. While this may not sound like a big deal…for this child (and their parent) it was huge!

While we were walking away from the shop, I couldn’t stop singing the praises of the child to the parent as the child’s performance exceeded our expectations. It didn’t take long before I started hearing loud giggles behind us.

As we turned around, we were greeted with the widest grin ever. Turns out that the child overheard our conversation and couldn’t stop giggling with happiness.

Moral of the story?  Do not forget to praise your child for good behaviour. Provide them with lots of attention whenever they’re not engaging in challenging behaviour (in this case nagging for lollies). Praise is very important to some children and it also feels nice as a therapist or parent when you have a good reason to do so!

Rachel Puan

Assistant Program Manager, ABACAS

22 Jan 2019

BY: admin

Speech Pathologist

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Singing and language development

Children develop language through watching, listening and practice.  Singing to young children can help them develop early language and literacy skills, such as phonological awareness, auditory discrimination, and vocabulary development. Its no coincidence that young children are drawn to activities with music, rhythm and repetition….all of these elements can help young children learn.

Music doesn’t have to be limited to  watching the TV or listening to the radio. We can create music anytime and anywhere. In addition to singing well known nursery rhymes and children’s songs, why not make up your own?

Typically when children are very young,  you will need to take the lead…providing the music and words, and helping your child do the motions to the songs.  After many, many, many repetitions, you can encourage your child to take charge and lead the interaction. In other words, you follow their lead.

Some Tips for Singing With Your Child

  • Don’t worry if you don’t sound great, children will respond to the rhythm of your speech, and the love and affection with which you sing. The most important thing is to sing slowly and clearly.
  • Use lots of actions with your songs, as this encourages your child to imitate. Remember imitation of actions often comes first, with the words coming later.
  • Make up words to familiar tunes so your songs have more meaning for your child. You can put your child’s name in the song to personalize it.
  • Make use of pausing. For your children this will help them learn to anticipate, for older children it will give them the chance to fill in the missing word or action.  For example “open shut them, open shut them, give a little ……..”
  • Make up simple songs (borrowing tunes if need be) for house routines. Not only are you teaching language, you building up helpful routines.

And if you have worries about language development…

Check in with your child nurse, GP or a speech pathologist. Children develop language at different rates. It’s not about who gets there first, more whether they are meeting milestones around the expected time.

The Child Wellbeing Centre has three speech pathologists available for consultation working on different days of the week. Please contact our reception for further information.

16 Jan 2019

BY: admin

ABACAS Team / Psychology Team

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Our new team members for 2019

January is often thought of as a quiet month but not at the Child Wellbeing Centre! It’s our second week back in January and it feels like we have hit the ground running!

We have two new and one returning team member to tell you about.

Toni Schmitz (Behaviour Therapist and Provisional Psychologist)

Toni came to us last year as a Curtin University student on placement. She did such a great job with the children that she worked with that she got a job offer! In her paid role with us this year, Toni will be working as a Behaviour Therapist and Provisional Psychologist on different days of the week.  Toni will starting off first learning the ropes as a Junior Behaviour Therapist and picking up a psychology case load towards the end of February. She will be available to work with the families she saw as a student last year.

Penny Ya Fen Wong (Senior Behaviour Therapist)

Penny joins the ABACAS team as a Senior Behaviour Therapist. She will be working with individual families providing therapy and be available for parent and school behavioural consultancy. Penny has over 15 years experience  in working with ABA programs and a broad range of experience with children with disabilities, developmental delay and learning difficulties. We’re also hoping that Penny will also have her application for provisional registration as a psychologist approved so she is able to provide psychological consultancy services.

Simone Lombardo (Psychologist)

After having some parental leave last year, Simone returns to the Centre in early February on Saturdays. As a psychologist, Simone has a broad range of experience in working with children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. She also has a an interest in working with children presenting with social and emotional difficulties. Simone will be be available to see old and new clients. We’re really looking forward to Simone join the Saturday team of psychologists again.

We still have a few more staffing changes to tell you about. The Centre is currently recruiting another psychologist and we are also in the process of appointing a casual receptionist. I hope to have some news about both of those changes in the near future.

Naomi Ward

Clinical Director

07 Jan 2019

BY: admin

Uncategorized

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We’re back from holidays!

Just a short note to let you know that the office is now open.

With the exception of public holidays, office hours will be back to normal (Mon to Sat, 9am to 5pm).

We’re looking forward to catching up with all of our clients and hearing about your holiday so far.

Naomi Ward

Clinical Director

21 Dec 2018

BY: admin

Uncategorized

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Office Hours over the Holiday Season

We wish all of our clients and families a safe and happy holiday!

Our office will be shut for two weeks while staff have a well earned break. All of us here at the Child Wellbeing Centre look forward to seeing you again when we open on the 7th January 2019.

 

Naomi Ward

Clinical Director

Child Wellbeing Centre

 

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