24 Apr 2018

BY: admin

ABACAS Team

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ABACAS Tuesdays – Learning to Learn Skills

Ever wonder why your child, who you know is so clever, might be struggling in school or to pay attention to others? They might need to work on a set of skills called “Learning to Learn”! Learning to Learn skills are the foundation skills a child needs before they can learn effectively in places like a classroom or in therapy sessions.

ABA can help children to achieve these skills by breaking them down into small, achievable parts, and scaffolding them into a whole skill set for your child. Skills like sitting on your bottom with still feet, making eye contact with a teacher, and waiting for a peer to finish speaking before asking a question are all a part of this group. Without some of these skills, children are not able to experience the full benefits from their daily experiences.

Because ABA is always focused on being applied, generalised and effective, we can work with your child 1:1 or provide training and interventions to teachers or carers who can support learning these skills in the context they need to be used.

If you have a child who might benefit from these skills, or are a professional who would like to learn how to foster them please contact Jenny Lin, Program Manager on 9274 7062.

24 Apr 2018

BY: admin

Psychology Team

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Holding the line – consistency and temper tantrums

Last week (while on holidays) I sat in a food hall with my family admiring the way another parent was managing their four year old’s temper tantrum. I wasn’t there for that purpose but these things happen when you least expect them.

As far as temper tantrums go this was a good one – kicking, screaming, crying, and shouting out loud “I hate you”. The trigger? The family were at the bakery and the parent (after much negotiation with two children) bought a ginger bread man to share between two. As soon as she went to buy it, the child in question started telling the mother that he wanted his own. From there it escalated…

What I admired about this mum is she held the line. She didn’t give in and buy two ginger bread men as it would have been so easy to do. She told the child “no” and dealt with the consequences. She ignored the impatient sales assistant and stuck to her guns.  The child could be heard screaming all the way to the exit and on a couple of occasions made a break from his mother and ran back towards the bakery. She calmly picked him up and hustled him to the car. I don’t know what happened in the end but I admired her calm response (when under considerable fire).

Temper tantrums are stressful in public (and at home too). Staying firm and consistent is so important no matter where you are. Here are some thoughts about how to stay strong:

  • Start as you mean to go. Do you really want your child behaving this way as a 16 year old? It’s important to start early to help children learn both how to self-regulate and to accept disappointment. You’re not going to hand over your credit card to a demanding 16 year old are you? At least I hope not!
  • Remind yourself that no matter how bad it is, it will be over soon. For some of us that might mean 20 mins for some, longer. The longer you hold the line, the shorter the temper tantrum becomes over time…until there are few to no tantrums.
  • Ignore the hurtful words. The four year old screaming “I hate you” doesn’t mean this – what they are communicating is “I’m angry and I don’t like your decision”. What they’ve learned is that those words hurt and might cause mum and dad to give way.
  • Ignore the onlookers or at least only look at the ones that are sympathetic. People forget how tough parenting is. That parent would never have known but my husband and I were quietly cheering her own and praising her for being such a great mum.

Lastly, if you’re stuck in a recurring pattern of temper-tantrumming – call in the “Calvary”. That’s the psychology and behaviour team in the Centre. Having others to problem-solve with you and support you while you make changes can get you across the line.

Please call Tracey on reception to tell you more about our services on 9274 7062.

Naomi Ward

Clinical Director

23 Apr 2018

BY: admin

ABACAS Team

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Friendship Club Enrolments- Now Open for Term Two

Making friends are important skills for children to learn. Social skills are the things we develop that allow us to confidently make and keep friends with our peers. For some children a little extra social skills training is all that’s needed to get kids back on track with their friendships.

In Term Two, the Child Wellbeing Centre will be running a social skills program for children between 6-9 years of age. These sessions are run once a week after school.

Registration are now open for the Term Two program.

Please contact reception on 9274 7062 (or use the GET IN TOUCH link on the website) to express your interest in this program and to receive more information.

23 Apr 2018

BY: admin

Psychology Team

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School Holiday Blues

Well we’re half way through the school holidays with a week or so to go. For some, you will be wishing time would slow down, and for others, you will be counting the days!

Keeping children entertained can be challenging during the holidays. Finding time to fit in  all those other things (work, cleaning, caring for other relatives….not to mention self-care) can be challenging too!

Some tips to get through the next week:

  • Don’t sweat the little stuff. When the kids are back at school, there will be time to catch up on all the tasks you couldn’t get to during the break.
  • Plan activities but don’t overcrowd the agenda. Too much fun can be tiring too. Instead spread out activities with free time or down time.
  • Get that sleep routine back in place. The children will be better for it once they start school next week plus you need your quiet time.
  • Outsource if you get desperate! If you need a break call in help from your social and family networks.  There are many websites where you can book a baby sitter for a few hours – just so you can have some free time to catch up or chill-out.

And lastly, when the holidays are over – take the time to reflect on what worked well and what didn’t. It’s all useful information to help plan for the next school holidays.

Naomi Ward

Clinical Director

10 Apr 2018

BY: admin

ABACAS Team

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Autism Awareness Month – let’s talk about ABA and Autism!

Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) is a set of principles that explains how behaviour works and how learning takes place. Over the past 70 years, the field of applied behaviour analysis has been testing out many techniques and methods to make sure interventions are effective and to eliminate treatments that are harmful to the children and may interfere with learning.

As a Board Certified Behaviour Analyst (BCBA), the principles of ABA I find myself using everyday are (1) finding out the functions of behaviour (the “ABC”), and (2) task analysis.

Finding out the function of a behaviour is the first step to create an intervention. And by knowing the function, it makes it so much easier to understand the causes of the behaviour.

Task analysis, also known as chaining, is a process of breaking a skill down into smaller and more manageable components. We teach the skills from the smaller components, such as putting on a shirt, slowly build up to a bigger picture, like completing a morning routine. And even within the smallest component, like putting on a shirt, we can deconstruct the skills into even smaller and more precise steps to teach and to master.

Do you know what’s behind your child’s intervention? Ask your therapist this week! If you have questions about ABA, please email Jenny Lin, Program Manager at cwbc@westnet.com.au

Autism Awareness Month is a month to ask questions and to understand what autism is. And I’m here to answer your questions!

Read more on ABA for Autism at:

https://www.autismspeaks.org/…/applied-behavior-analysis-aba

Jenny Lin, Program Manager, ABACAS

04 Apr 2018

BY: admin

Psychology Team

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Preparing Children for Hospital

Going to hospital for most of us can be a stressful experience. Aside from finding ways to manage day to day responsibilities, we also have the procedure/surgery to look forward to. As adults we have our previous experience and knowledge to help us adjust to being in hospital. For children, especially young children, this may be their first experience…and it may be a little overwhelming.

Children look to their parents for support and follow their lead. So it helps to have a game plan. Here are some ideas to think about in preparing your child for hospital:

1.Be honest and open with them about what’s happening but think about the child’s developmental and what they can understand.

2.Encourage lots of questions about what will happen. Often this is a way that children can rehearse the steps involved.

3.For children with developmental disabilities (and young children) a social story outlining key steps can be useful too. Use pictures of the hospital and any equipment in your story.

4.For surgery which might require longer stays, ask the hospital if they have any pre-admission programs. These are where the child can come into the hospital and look at where they will be, meet staff and have a look around.

5.For younger children, “playing hospitals” with them and using a doll or Teddy Bear as the patient can not only be fun but also help to rehearse what will be happening.

6.For older children – ask if there is someone (e.g. a nurse or social worker) who can meet with the child prior to admission to walk them through what will happen.

7. And lastly, take a deep breath… children going to hospital can be anxiety provoking for parents too! Sometimes we have to take time to prepare ourselves as well as our children.

Hope this helps! Please feel free to talk to your consultants for support and other ideas on how to help your child and family prepare.

Naomi Ward

Clinical Director

03 Apr 2018

BY: admin

ABACAS Team

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ABACAS Tuesdays – Young Entrepreneur’s Club (School Holiday Program)
Enrolments are now open for the Young Entrepreneur’s Club (School Holiday Program).
Young Entrepreneur’s Club is for children with ASD from ages 9-14. The program is set up for our young entrepreneurs to design and carry out a project. Children will practice social interaction, build the interpersonal relationship, negotiation and communication, and participate in teamwork.
We have a few options for the projects and will pick one that matches the interests of the children:
(1) Art or Science Exhibition
(2) (Autism) Awareness Exhibition
(2) Sport/Activity Carnival (for our younger clients)
(3) Fundraiser for a charity
Starting the first week of the school holildays, the Club will run Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays from 9:30-11:00. And a Presentation/Exhibit day on the last day (Thursday midday; TBA).
For more information, please contact Jenny Lin at 9274 0330 or leave a message at reception with your email address and Jenny will give you a call back.
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

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