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.
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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

04 Feb 2018

BY: admin

ABACAS Team

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ABACAS Tuesdays – School Readiness Program 

ABACAS started the School Readiness Program in the second half of 2017. The School Readiness Program is designed to have 45 minutes of 1:1 session running individualized ABA programs and 45 minutes of Social/Group session. The Social/Group session simulates Circle Time and Free play time at a regular Kindy. Our program focuses on small group free play and facilitated play to increase social interaction (initiating play, asking for help, sharing, requesting an item, taking turn, etc.), following instructions (compliance training), and transitioning between play and work (Circle Time).

Our first class of graduates completed their program on 25th January, 2018 (see the photo below). The small group of children who graduated will continue with their 1:1 sessions but will be transitioning to full time kindergarten this year!

We are not only so proud to see our children blossoming into more independent individuals, we are even more exciting to see them forming friendships with their peers in the same group.

We are currently taking children ages 3-4 to participate in the 2018 School Readiness Program! Please contact Program Manager Jenny Lin at 9274 0330 for further information!

04 Feb 2018

BY: admin

Speech Pathologist

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Phonological Awareness and Literacy

Phonological Awareness (PA) skills are crucial for children when they begin learning to read and spell.

PA skills are also known as pre-literacy skills that children develop in Kindergarten and Pre-Primary in preparation for higher reading and writing demands of Year One.

During this time children learn to differentiate sounds in phrases and words. They learn to clap out the sounds in words (syllables), identify the letters and sounds in the alphabet, learn about rhyming words, identifying sounds within words, and begin to blend sounds together.

These skills are crucial for a child beginning to learn to the read and write.Teachers are usually the first to spot whether children are struggling in this area. So they are a great place to start if you have any concerns.

Speech pathologists are often able to assist both in terms of helping children develop PA skills and broader language skills. Best time to help children develop these skills is in the early years.

Please call Tracey (Reception) on 9274 7062 if you would like to know more about our Speech Pathology services in the Centre.

04 Feb 2018

BY: admin

Occupational Therapist Team

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Fine motor skills and children

Ever wondered about fine motor skills and when children should be able to do things? The following is a guide to the fine motor skill of cutting and what children should be able to do at different times:

At two and a half years – children should be able to use scissors to snip paper (one snip only)
At age 3 years: Children should be able to cut a 10 cm piece of paper in two (no lines) & be able to cut along a 10 cm straight line and staying within 1.7 cm of the line.
At age 4 years: Children can cut a 15 cm along straight line, curve & 15 cm diameter circle staying within 1/2 cm of the line.
At age 5 years: Children can cut out a medium size square and triangle in 15 cm square piece of paper.
At age 6 years: Children can cut cloth with supervision and start to cut more complex shapes.

Children have difficulty cutting for a range of reasons. Our Occupational Therapists in the Centre (Madeline and Narelle) are available for assessment and therapy if needed.

Please feel free to contact Tracey on reception for further information on 9274 7062.

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