23 Jun 2022

BY: admin

Admin

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Friendship Club – Group Social Skills Programs, Term 3

Our Friendship Club group social skills (Amazing Amigos and Best Buddies) are back on for Term Three!

Sessions will be run by Kate Hyde and Natalie Nguyen, Provisional Psychologists this term.  Both will be working 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.

Amazing Amigos

Our Amazing Amigos program provides an opportunity for young ones to learn important social skills, such as: listening to others; greeting; asking for help; joining in; taking turns; and sharing.

Who is suited:     Children aged 4-6 years of age who need help with making or keeping friends.

Where:                 Child Wellbeing Centre, 5 Brockman Road, Midland
When:                  Monday afternoons 4.00pm -5.00pm during Term Three.

Cost:                    $66.81 per session

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 build on current skills and learn new ones. Some of the skills focused on include: how to introduce yourself; starting (and joining in) conversations; being a good winner and loser; and working in groups.

Who is suited:     Children aged 7-9 years of age who need help with making or keeping friends.
Where:                 Venue (Midland) to be confirmed
When:                  Tuesday afternoons 4.00pm -5.00pm during Term Three.

Cost:                    $66.81 per session

How to enrol in our group social skills program?

Please call our Client Services Coordinator on 9274 7062 for more information and to register your interest. Email: csc@childwellbeingcentre.net.au

Kate or Natalie will then be in touch to schedule an initial appointment with you to find out more about your child and their needs.

21 Jun 2022

BY: admin

ABACAS Team

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Westmead Feelings Program 2, Term Three

As part of our Term Three group therapy program, our ABACAS team will be running the Westmead Feelings Program.

Program Outline

The Westmead Feelings Program teaches children to better express and understand their feelings and the feelings of others. It also teaches social skills, problem-solving methods and coping skills. It has been developed especially for children with (or suspected of) autism spectrum disorder.

The group will include students aged between 8 and 14 years. An information and training session will be held at the beginning and end of each term for the parents and the teachers of the children in the group (6 sessions altogether plus a booster session). Teachers and parents will learn what the children are being taught and will be trained in how to be an ‘emotion coach’ for the children so that they are helped to practice new skills at home and at school.

You can learn more about the Westmead Feelings Program here:

https://www.schn.health.nsw.gov.au/professionals/learn/wfp

Program Facilitators

Rachel Puan, Program Manager and Lynette Tan, Case Manager from our ABACAS team will be running this program.  Both Rachel and Lynette have years of experience developing Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) skills programs for children. As part of their roles they also provide behavioural consultancy services to families and schools alike.  It just so happens that both are also working on the BCBA credentials via post-graduate study too.

Program Details

Day and Time:    Every Tuesday starting 26 July 2022, 3.30-5.00pm

Session Length:  90-minutes sessions weekly

Number of participants: 6

Cost: $90 per session

Resources:

Parents will need to purchase the following materials to support the program. This can be done through the centre.

  • $54.95 – children’s materials
  • $39.95 – parent materials

For more information please contact our Client Support Coordinator on 9274 7062 or email – csc@childwellbeingcentre.net.au

21 Jun 2022

BY: admin

ABACAS Team

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RUBI Parent Training Program, Term Three

As part of our Term Three group therapy program, our ABACAS team will be running  parent and carer training for our families with children on the autism spectrum.

Program Outline

The parent group will be based on the RUBI curriculum. RUBI is an evidence-based parent training program designed to support parents and caregivers of Autistic children ages 3-12. The focus of this program is on how to reduce challenging behaviours, including tantrums, aggression, and noncompliance.

Parents and carers will have the chance to learn new skills.  Core skills will include prevention strategies, reinforcement strategies, compliance training, functional communication skills and equipping children with daily living skills. 

This group training program will help parents and carers support their children’s therapy goals.

Program Facilitators

Rachel Puan, Program Manager and Lynette Tan, Case Manager from our ABACAS team will be running this program.  Both Rachel and Lynette have years of experience developing Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) skills programs for children. As part of their roles they also provide behavioural consultancy services to families and schools alike.  It just so happens that both are also working on the BCBA credentials via post-graduate study too.

Program Details

Day and Time:                Every Thursday starting 28 July 2022, 4.00-5.30pm

Session Length:              90-minute sessions weekly for 13 weeks

Number of participants: 8

Cost:                               $90 per session;

                                       $44.95 USD for the parent workbook (which the centre will order for you)

For more information please contact our Client Support Coordinator on 9274 7062 or email – csc@childwellbeingcentre.net.au

 

07 Apr 2020

BY: admin

ABACAS Team

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Telehealth ABA Services – Why, What and How?

With the effect of COVID-19 and families adapting to social distancing rules, we have seen an increase in requests for telehealth ABA sessions. Telehealth involves working with a case manager or an experienced therapist through video conferencing. We don’t have to be in the same room as you!

Our telehealth services can be divided into two different pathways: parent training and/or child therapy.

What does parent training ABA Telehealth Services involve?

For parent training, we teach the skills to help parents effectively manage children at home. This may include: dealing with problem behaviours, shaping of verbal behaviour, skills generalisation, etc. For these sessions, it is highly encouraged for all key adults to be involved as we are aiming for consistency across all settings.

And Direct Telehealth ABA Services?

Direct child ABA therapy isn’t for everyone. As a minimum, children must be able to do the following:

  • Look at the screen whenever his/her name is called via video.
  • Identify items on the screen receptively and expressively (e.g. ‘what colour is this?’ or ‘touch jumping’).
  • Generalise mastered skills via video (e.g. responding to one-step instructions, imitation, requesting for desired items, etc.).
  • Attend to a screen without engaging in problem behaviour (e.g. elopement, aggression to others or properties, escape behaviour – wanting to watch YouTube videos instead of doing work, etc.).
  • Respond to social praise or tokens delivered via video.

Therapy sessions will also need an adult available to participate in sessions. This way we can help shape and generalise behaviours in the home setting.

What if I’m not sure whether ABA Telehealth Services are for me?

Therapy doesn’t have to stop because of COVID-19. Please do not hesitate to contact your case managers today to talk through your options. We will try hard to come up with a program of support to keep your child learning.

Rachel Puan

Case Manager, ABACAS

ABA early interventions 26 Mar 2019

BY: admin

ABACAS Team

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ABA Early Interventions – What do we focus on?

Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) is often misunderstood. Parents say to me “well you work on behaviour don’t you, so how will that help my child socialise, or communicate?”  What a good question! Let’s look at the history a little to clarify. Behaviour Analysis goes back a long way, but the most revolutionary (in my opinion) was B.F. (Burrus Frederic) Skinner. Skinner was the first to define the Verbal Behaviour Operants, which we have talked about in previous posts (Mands, Tacts, Intraverbals). He was also the first person to accept thoughts as behaviour.

You can count something as a behaviour as long as it is objective, observable by at least one person (hence observing your own thoughts), and measurable – even heart rate is a behaviour. Now that we’ve broadened definition, I can begin to explain what this means for your child and their development.

There’s more to ABA than behaviour in early intervention

ABA early interventions focus on a whole range of skills.  I’m going to break down how these are behaviours.

Vocal Language
  • Vocal language, or speech, is a behaviour that is measurable, observable and able to be objectively defined. ABA works on increasing children’s communication by increasing their repertoire of sounds or words, and providing meaningful functions for these.
  • There are many types of vocal language, labelling items, requesting items and answering and asking questions. Children with Autism sometimes need specific teaching to be able to use the same word in different contexts.
Play
  • Play can be broken down into many, smaller behaviours, which we can then teach into a one big complex behaviour. An easy example would be doing a puzzle; you can measure how many pieces a child can accurately place and teach matching skills to support children identifying which pieces together.

In summary, ABA is definitely focused on behaviour, but that means something different than just looking at tantrums, or problems. Please come and talk to us about what skills we can teach, not just what problems we can help with! You can call the team on 9274 7062.

Jasmin Fyfe

Program Manager, ABACAS

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

19 Mar 2019

BY: admin

ABACAS Team

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The benefits of intensive early intervention

Intensive Early Intervention is critical for young children on the Autism Spectrum. A 2015 study found that the average age for children to receive an Autism diagnosis was 4 years and 1 month (Bent, Dissanayake, & Barbaro, 2015). In the scheme of a lifetime this seems early, however in the scheme of Early Intervention, it is a great deal of time lost. We know more about development than ever before, the brains plasticity, and crucial developmental windows. Although we can continue learning our whole lives, the early years are most formative for our language development, and many other skills.

How much intervention?

Intensive Early Intervention, starting as soon as possible, will provide your child with the best opportunity to start their life with a solid foundation of skills. The Behaviour Analysis Certification Board (BACB) recommends a minimum of 10 hours per week of ABA, starting as early as 18 month, with new research looking at starting even earlier. Here at ABACAS we can provide you with an Intensive Early Intervention Program, which addresses multiple domains of development, is motivation-based, and works with you and your family to set and meet achievable goals.

So why do an Intensive Early Intervention Program?

It sounds like a great deal of stress, and financially can be difficult. There can be a lot of appointments and you might have other children to consider too. These are all valid concerns, and we will work with you to address them. However when we look at the benefits, there are many. A meta-analysis (which means that someone read all the recent and historical research on one topic) found that “…long-term, comprehensive ABA intervention leads to (positive) medium to large effects in terms of intellectual functioning, language development, acquisition of daily living skills and social functioning” (Vitues-Ortega, 2010). This study also supported that dose and intensity (frequency and length of therapy sessions) are important factors in whether ABA produces clinically significant outcomes.

If you’re interested in knowing more about Intensive Early Intervention please call one of our team to discuss. We will be addressing a few different area’s of early intervention including expressive and receptive language, social skills, verbal behaviours, echoic repertoire’s, play skills and imitation over the next few posts.

You can also read more about how we work by following the link:

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

Jasmin Fyfe

ABACAS Program Manager

References

Virués-Ortega, J. (2010). Applied behavior analytic intervention for autism in early childhood: Meta-analysis, meta-regression and dose–response meta-analysis of multiple outcomes. Clinical psychology review30(4), 387-399.

Bent, C. A., Dissanayake, C. and Barbaro, J. (2015), Mapping the diagnosis of autism spectrum disorders in children aged under 7 years in Australia, 2010–2012. Medical Journal of Australia, 202: 317-320. doi:10.5694/mja14.00328

 

19 Feb 2019

BY: admin

ABACAS Team

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Escape is not an option!

For some children performing a particular skill may be challenging for them, which often leads to problem behaviours. Therefore, it is important to determine the functions of the behaviour. Behaviours may include: attention, tangible, sensory, and escape.

What does escape look like?

Today, we are going to focus on escape. Typically, a child will try to “escape” whenever the demand that is placed upon them is too much or when the task is too difficult for them. This behaviour may look like: running away, crying, shouting, placing their heads onto the table, “shutting down” (or refusing to respond), throwing things off the table, and hitting.

For a child who has difficulty expressing himself/herself, these behaviours are just a means for them to communicate to us that they are not able to perform the task.

What can we do when a child’s behaviour is about escape?

With children who are non-verbal or partially verbal, the first step might be to look at teaching them functional communication.  For example: handing over the ‘help’ compic whenever they require assistance with something. Obviously we need to also teach to the skill deficit. In other words, teach them the skill they cannot do.

For younger children, we would usually prioritise learning to learn skills. Instead of telling them to “sit down” and “behave”, we will focus on skills such as eye contact, sitting still on the mat/chair, manding (requesting), joint attention, matching, etc. Without these skills, a child will not be able to attend to new information as they are being presented to them. Nor are they ready to learn new skills.

For higher functioning children, we still need to identify the skills that needs teaching. However it may look very different to a younger child’s needs. The skills needed may be more of a social skills. Some children find social interaction really challenging. Therefore we might look at skills like maintaining eye contact, respecting other people’s personal space, knowing when it is appropriate to interrupt a conversation, how to interrupt a conversation appropriately, reading another person’s body language, understanding other people’s emotions, recalling past events, staying on topic, etc.

By stepping back and looking at the function of the behaviour, we can gain insight into what supports the child needs. From there its about breaking down a difficult task into small achievable steps via task analysis.  At the end of the day we want our children to develop competency across the range of skills needed in daily life.

Please feel free to contact myself or Jasmine Fyfe on 9274 7062 for further information on how we can help your child.

Rachel Puan

Assistant Program Manager, ABACAS

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

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/

16 Jan 2019

BY: admin

ABACAS Team / Psychologists

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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

27 Nov 2018

BY: admin

ABACAS Team

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Behaviour is communication

When working with a client recently, I was reminded again that children often use behaviour as a way of communication.  In many of our  posts we have covered, more than once, that there are four functions of behaviour, escape, tangibles, automatic and attention. Behaviours can provide access to more than one of these simultaneously and these behaviours may be appropriate or inappropriate.

All behaviour has a purpose

Inappropriate behaviours are never just something to be reduced to manageable levels, they are communicating a need. It could be “I don’t want to do this” or “I don’t have the skills to do this”. Sometimes it’s “I’m having a great time, but I don’t know how to show you” or “I need something”. For many children on the Autism Spectrum, there are skill deficits that can leave a gap between what a child is trying to say, and what they are able to communicate effectively to another person. Hence the importance of standing back sometimes and thinking about what is happening.

So, what does this mean for practice?

I speak about “replacement behaviours” often and that is first and foremost what needs to be addressed through therapy. Children have a right to develop the skills to independently communicate, so long term they can be their own advocates and control their own lives.

In the mean time, before those skills are developed and consolidated, as parents and therapists we can make environmental changes to reduce the demands on children, provide visuals that support them to understand the rules and what is happening next.  It’s important to remember the onus is on us to support them. Children don’t act out to be malicious, or to spite anyone – we are responsible for their behaviour.

Our Program Managers are there to help if you have a child who is displaying problem behaviours and you’re unsure what they are trying to communicate.  We can help you tease it the behaviour out, and develop a plan with you to work on reducing the problem behaviours, modifying your environment, and reducing the skill gaps.

Jasmin Fyfe

ABACAS Program Manager