07 Jan 2020

BY: admin

Psychologists

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Bushfires – Helping young ones cope

Bushfires have dominated the news these holidays.  For some, the holiday season has been about survival and trying to keep a roof over their heads. For others, it’s been the mixed feelings of sadness and at times anger as we monitor the news. There have been stories we have read about where we have felt proud about our fellow Australians – mixed in among the distressing ones. For many of us, we have experienced worry as we have watched daily coverage about the bushfires. Sometimes, even frustration as we look for meaningful ways to help.

Through all of this time (and times to come) our children have also been watching. Through the media, they are learning about the impact of the bushfires on people, communities and animals. They are also learning from how we as parents respond to the news. While older children may be able to use their words to ask about what is happening and seek reassurance, younger children often can’t. Changes in behaviour are often how we know if a child is feeling distress or anxiety.

Signs to look out for

Whether it’s to do with the bushfires or other natural disasters, children may be displaying symptoms of anxiety and distress through their behaviour. During the school holidays, these are some behaviour changes to look more closely at:

  • sleep changes – nightmares, sudden difficulties sleeping alone and/or difficulties falling asleep
  • eating changes – loss of appetite or a sudden increase in appetite
  • mood changes – increased anger or irritability (this can also look like a sudden increase in defiant behaviour).
  • increased clinginess – needing to be physically close to their parents, needing more physical affection, separation anxiety
  • increased complaints about feeling unwell – complaining of tummy aches, headaches – where there is no underlying medical concern.

How can parents help

There are three keys things that parents can do to help children feeling anxious about bushfires:

  • Limit how much exposure your child has to the news. Re-occurring images about devastated communities, the impact on wildlife and the anger people are feeling are scary for children. If anything, it’s the news stories about bravery, communities supporting each other, animals being cared for that is the range of stories to let young ones see. Make sure to talk about any of the stories children are seeing -both to provide balance and to provide reassurance.
  • Monitor your own feelings and responses. Big feelings (anger, fear, sadness) being expressed by parents can be overwhelming to young children. As parents, we need to find places to express these away from our children.
  • Reassure children. When children are expressing their own fears, they need to be reminded that they are loved and cared for and most importantly, personally safe. Let them know that there are people in the community helping those that need help, including the animals.

These same strategies are also relevant for older children too.

Lastly, it’s normal for everyone to have big feelings when terrible things are happening in the world. However, if your child continues to remain anxious after the bushfires, then it might be time to seek help. Your GP or school student services team (once school is back on board) are good places to start. You are also welcome to talk to one of our psychologists.

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

 

06 Jan 2020

BY: admin

Uncategorized

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Back from holidays – we’re open again!

I’m hoping that everyone is having a great holiday. Our team is back from theirs and the office re-opens today (Monday 06 January).

Please feel free to call reception on 9274 7062 to schedule appointments or to enquire about our services.

16 Dec 2019

BY: admin

Psychologists

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School Holiday Office Hours

Our offices will be closing on Tuesday 24th December (Christmas Eve) at midday. The last day that therapists will be working is Saturday 21st December 2019. When our office closes phone calls and emails won’t be monitored.

We will re-open on Monday 06 January 2020 and we will be working through-out the January period with the exception of Public Holidays.

All of us from the Child Wellbeing Centre wish you a safe and happy holiday! See you in the New Year!

16 Dec 2019

BY: admin

Uncategorized

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Help during the school holidays

The holiday season for many families is a time to unwind and enjoy time with loved ones. For some families, it can be a stressful time as many of the usual services and supports are no longer available. It can also be a challenging time finding ways to keep children busy and calm. Not to mention that parents are also meant to be having some downtime too!

During the festive season, our office will shut from midday on Tuesday 24th (Christmas Eve) and then re-open on Monday 06 January 2020. Most other services shut down during this period too. If you need help or advice…for what-ever reason…there are a range of helplines to call:

Helpful numbers:

Some useful help numbers for families to have over the holiday period include:

Crisis Care Helpline 1800 199 008

Lifeline on 13 11 14

Kids Helpline 1800 551 800

Beyond Blue 1300 22 46 36

Here’s hoping that you have a great holiday and that you don’t need extra support. However if you do, support helplines can be invaluable as they provide a space  to talk through concerns while you hang in there waiting for services to resume. Helplines can also be called 24 hours 7 days a week.

As mentioned our team will start coming back from holidays on the 06 January and we hope to hear lots of great stories about Christmas (for those who celebrate) and the holidays so far.

From all of us at the Child Wellbeing Centre we wish you and your family a safe and happy holiday! See you in the New Year!

Naomi Ward

Clinical Director

09 Oct 2019

BY: admin

Psychologists

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Single Session Therapy – A new service

The Child Wellbeing Centre provides a comprehensive range of therapy services to children and adolescents needing support for social and emotional difficulties. In addition to providing regular therapy options, we are now offering single session therapy for families who may need some targeted advice or brief intervention.

What happens in Single Therapy Sessions?

One of our psychologists will meet with you and your family to discuss the concern that brought you to the Centre. They will use this session to let everyone talk about the problem, identify solutions that have been tried and help you identify the changes that need to be made.

Single session therapy often involves the psychologist providing information on child development and on the referring reason. On occasion, it may also be about linking families in with other community support services that may be useful.

The single session therapy approach draws on the current strengths of the family in working out how to get things back on track.

Our psychologist will follow you up a month after this session to check in with you. It may be that more regular therapy is required.  In which case they will discuss with you the options available to you in our Centre. They may also talk to you about other programs in our Centre that may be beneficial to your child.

Who could benefit from Single Therapy?

Single session therapy isn’t for everyone. Single session therapy works best for families who may need some gentle advice about how to resolve issues.

Single session therapy may be useful for families who may not be able to attend sessions regularly.

One of the benefits is that there is a much shorter waiting period for session that our standard waiting time. We are able to offer sessions within one to two weeks.

Do I need a referral?

No, you are welcome to contact the centre directly to enquire about an appointment.

Single session therapy isn’t for everyone. Please feel free to talk to our reception about this or any of our other services in the Centre on 9274 7062.

Please click on the following link to read up on our other psychology services:

https://www.childwellbeingcentre.net.au/services/psychological-services/?preview_id=171&preview_nonce=9ef6c17e2b&_thumbnail_id=1038&preview=true

16 Sep 2019

BY: admin

Psychologists

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High school transitions don’t have to be stressful!

For many children the transition into high school comes with a great dollop of trepidation and excitement. While high school means learning about a new school, it brings with it opportunities such as access to specialist subjects and a wider social circle to join.

Some children though find the prospect of a new school, new faces and new routines overwhelming. If this is your child, then the end of Term Three and the start of Term Four are good times to start planning out your child’s transition for the year to come.

Some general strategies to prepare for transitioning to high school 

A good place to start is by talking about what to expect and framing discussions in a positive light. Any older siblings who want to terrorise younger siblings with horror stories need to be reminded that they are not being helpful!

Emphasise the good stuff – like opportunities to make new friends and the opportunity to join in with clubs and sports.

Talk through the information that comes home from school and organise the preparation. Uniforms and book lists need to be sorted and these can be an exciting time and help reassure children that they are on track for high school.

Fortunately, most secondary school these days will have orientation sessions where the children spend time at their new school. This is a great time to answer basic questions like – where is my class, where are the toilets, who will be my teachers?

For the children who will need a little more support with transition

Parents can schedule time to talk to this year’s class teachers about how to prepare their children. Some children need more than the once off visit to school. Their transition may involve making sure that the new school has information about their needs and has an identified person at high school to provide extra support during transition.

A transition program may also involve additional excursions to the new school to help the child become more familiar with the new environment.

This is a good time to remind children about their skills to manage big feelings…self-regulation…and when to use these.

It can also be a good time to brush up on social skills so that children are ready to take advantage of the new social opportunities.

What if you still need help with transition?

Our staff at the Centre are available to help with transition planning and skills development (think self-regulation and social skills). They can also work with schools to help make sure that the transition goes as smoothly as possible.

For more information about our services please call Reception on 9274 7062 or our website information on psychology services:

https://www.childwellbeingcentre.net.au/services/psychological-services/

05 Sep 2019

BY: admin

ABACAS Team

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Group Social Skills Programs for Term Four

Registration for Term Four group social skills programs are now open! Each term the Centre runs small  group social skills programs for children between 4 and 11 years of age. Our team work hard to make these 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.

All groups are run by two facilitators from our ABACAS team – currently Simone Healy and Toni Schmitz (Provisional Psychologists). Groups are run after school hours and on Saturday mornings and are open to any child needing help with developing their friendship skills.

For our last round of group social skills programs for the year, the team will be running four groups each week  in Term Four.   The program timetable is below:

Social Skill Group Suitable ages Day of the week
Best Buddies 6 – 8 year olds Wednesday and Thursday (note children only attend one session)
Fantastic Friends 8 – 11 years olds Friday
Secret Agent Society (SAS) 10 & 11 year olds Saturday

Please look at our our social skills program page for more information about the various groups programs.

https://www.childwellbeingcentre.net.au/services/social-skills-programs/

For more information about the Secret Agent Society program, please have a look at the following website:

https://www.sst-institute.net/

To register your interest in the program please contact Reception on 9274 7062.

Howe we can feel when bullied 17 Aug 2019

BY: admin

Psychologists

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How to help your child when they tell you they are being bullied

Hearing that a child is being bullied can be heartbreaking for parents. However not all conflict between children is bullying.

Bullying is where an individual or a group use their personal power repeatedly to cause physical, social or emotional harm to another. Usually the person being bullied feels powerless and unable to stop it. Bullying can take the form of verbal or physical aggression and social exclusion. It can occur face to face and online.

Let’s look at what you can do to help child if they are experiencing bullying

What are some first steps?

For some children, telling a parent that they are being bullied at school can be hard. The child may be worried about how their parent’s reaction. They may fear that they are about to get into trouble or worse still, that the parent will do something to make it worse! Listening (as calmly as you can) to your child then becomes the first step in helping them with bullying. Your aim is to help them tell the story. After which you can then reassure them that they are not to blame and that you are not angry at them.

As parents our first response is often about protection. We want to leap into action to sort the bullying out and make sure it never happens again. Our solutions though may not be what the child needs. Before we jump in its important to ask what solutions the child has thought about and also what they have tried. A classic mistake here that parents make is the “all you have to do is ignore them” suggestion. Usually the child has tried this already and for various reasons, has found it didn’t work.

A careful and considered response is always helpful. There are many different ways to help children with bullying. Fortunately, there are also lots of online sites with different strategies that you can look up. A personal favourite is the Bullying. No Way! website. Not only is it an Australian website but it also captures what the research tells us are helpful responses. I’ve included the link here for you:

https://bullyingnoway.gov.au

Bullying needs to be reported to schools too. This is often something that children feel very uncomfortable about as they are scared about the consequences. Schools however have the responsibility to keep your child safe and can’t do this if they don’t know what’s happening. Request a time to meet with the teacher to talk through what you’ve learned and how the school will respond.

What else can you do?

Keep monitoring what’s happening with your child. Often bullying will die down for a while only to start again a little later when the adults aren’t paying attention.  If this happens, schools need to be brought into the loop again. Children who bully others try very hard not to be caught in the act so sometimes it can be missed by teachers.

Keep reading up and sharing different strategies with your child for them to try. Older siblings can be helpful here too as they may have some great ideas here too. Avoid strategies that escalate conflict such as the “fight them back” idea. Not only will your child be in trouble but this strategy rarely works.

Need more help?

Our psychology team is able to help in this area. They can help children with ways to increase their own safety and better ways of managing bullying (both face to face and online). They can also help parents and work with teachers to put in place more helpful strategies.

For more information about our  psychology services please call reception on 9274 7062. Below is a link to our website with information about our psychologists and more:

https://www.childwellbeingcentre.net.au/about-us/

 

22 Jul 2019

BY: admin

Psychologists

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Ever wondered what’s involved in an educational assessment?

An educational assessment can be a useful option to consider when children aren’t achieving their learning potential.

Literacy (reading, understanding and writing) is an area that children experience difficulty with but sometimes, numeracy may also be a concern.

An educational assessment can help identify the barriers to learning for children. Assessments maybe helpful as they can give greater insight into why difficulties are occurring, highlight supports that children need and help with decisions about schooling options.

What does an educational assessment involve?

To start with our psychologists will want to talk to you and find out about your child’s developmental, school, social and emotional history. This appointment is with the parent/carer (s) only as this gives you the opportunity to talk freely about your concerns.

From this, the psychologist will be able to work out which standardised tests may be helpful.  They will want to schedule 1-2 sessions with you and your child. These assessments may include a cognitive assessment (looking at learning potential) and an academic assessment (looking at literacy and/or numeracy). Other assessments may also be suggested.

When our team see children, we work hard to put them at their ease so we can see them at their best. The first session in particular may involve rapport building strategies.

The psychologist may want to talk to the teacher too. While school reports have a lot of useful information, our team can learn from talking to the teacher. Sometimes we may even arrange an observation of the child in class to observe behaviours.

What happens after the assessment is completed?

The psychologist will meet with you to give feedback on what the assessment has revealed and their recommendations for how to move forward.  They will also provide you with a written report which you may choose to share with school and other therapists. The aim of this session is to answer your questions and to help you as a parent direction into how to support your child.

For more information about our educational assessment services please call Reception on 9274 7062.

Social Skills Program 01 Jul 2019

BY: admin

ABACAS Team

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Fantastic Friends – Social Skills Program for 8 to 11 year olds in Term Three

In Term Three, our group social skills programs start up again. Social skills are what we need to be able to make and keep friends. For children the emphasis is developing play and conversational skills with peers.

Fantastic Friends sessions will be run by two facilitators  (Simone, Toni or Ruby). The program aims to build and develop more complex social skills. For this age group, we will focus on a range of skills including starting and maintaining a conversation, introducing self and other people, asking questions, and apologizing. At the beginning of each term, the specific skills being taught will be customised to the group needs.

Who is suited: Children aged 8-11 years of age who need help with making or keeping friends.

Where: Child Wellbeing Centre at our Tuohy Lane offices, Midland.

When: Friday afternoons during school Term Three, 4-5.30 pm

How much: $87.80 per session

How to get involved: Contact our Reception on 9274 7062 to book an initial appointment with Simone or Toni.

At the initial appointment we will talk to you about your child’s needs so we can work out whether the group program is what they need.

For more information about our other social skills programs, please follow the link:

https://www.childwellbeingcentre.net.au/services/social-skills-programs/

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