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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.
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
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: email@example.com
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.
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One of the services that the psychology team offers is learning assessments. A learning 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 and sometimes, numeracy may also be a concern.
An assessment can help identify the barriers to learning for children. Assessments may be helpful as they can give greater insight into why difficulties are occurring, highlight supports that children need, and help with decisions about schooling options.
Learning assessments may also help identify whether there are any attention or emotional issues that are preventing the child from making progress.
What do learning assessments 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 sees 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 quite a bit from talking to the teacher. Sometimes we may even arrange an observation of the child in the class to find out more about how their behaviour may be impacting learning.
Sometimes they are also going to want to talk to other therapists about their assessments and therapy progress.
What happens after the learning 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 the school and other therapists. The aim of this session is to answer your questions and to help you as a parent/carer plan the next steps in supporting your child.
You are more than welcome to contact Reception on 9274 7062 to find out information about any of our services. For more information about our psychology services in general, please click here:
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ANZAC Day is an important day for many Australians, when we recognise the service of defence personnel past and present, and in particular the anniversary of the troops landing in Gallipoli.
Children may learn about ANZAC Day at school through specific lessons and remembrance ceremonies. At home, children may want to talk about ANZAC Day further, which might include aspects of war. Given all the current media reporting on global conflicts, answering their questions may be tricky. We want to tell the truth but at the same time not give them so much information that we take away their sense of safety about the world.
It is important to consider how much your child might be able to cope with both intellectually and emotionally. This is going to vary from child to child, and with children of different ages.
For young children (around 4 to 8 years), we want to encourage questions but keep the messages simple and reassuring:
- It’s a day when we remember and thank everyone that has helped to look after our country
- It’s a day when we say thank you and are grateful that we live in a such a great country
- It’s a day when we remember that we have to look after everyone that lives in our community, including our older people who helped make it so great.
In these discussions, we want to gauge how our children are managing this information, and not provoke or exacerbate any feelings of anxiety.
If they are very concerned, keep reflections to past or offshore events, and discuss how in Australia we are now safe. For tender hearts, the details of death and destruction can be postponed until it can be better managed with maturity. Remember that anxious and sensitive children can generalise their fears, and it is best to not avoid but hear them voice these concerns so that they may be addressed specifically.
Our children will continue to process these concepts as they grow older, and develop their own opinions with influences from many sources, including your values as their parents.
If you ever need assistance with any of this, you have the support from our Psychology Team. Just call our Receptionists at the Centre on 9274 7062 to make an appointment with one of our experienced psychologists.
Naomi Ward and Sharon Jones
Child Wellbeing Centre
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We’re hoping everyone is having a lovely holiday!
Just to let you know that the team are back on board from Tuesday 04 January 2022.
This week, in keeping with instructions from the Health Department, everyone over 12 years of age needs to be wearing a face mask in our Centre. Telehealth consultations may also be an option for clients too.
Feel free to call Reception on (08) 9274 7062 to discuss appointment options.
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About the program
The Cool with High School Social Skills Group is a 14-week program where your child will learn some of the following skills:
- How enter and exit conversations
- How to use appropriate conversational skills
- How to use appropriate humour
- How to handle rumours and gossip
- How to find common interests in conversations
- How to be a good host during get-togethers
- How to choose appropriate friends
- How to be a good sport
- How to handle arguments
- How to manage online conversations
- How to handle teasing and bullying
The program that will be used is based on the Program for the Education and Enrichment of Relational Skills (PEERS). The PEERS program is an evidence based social skills treatment focusing on children who are having difficulty making or keeping friends. Skills will also be supplemented by the researched based program Skillstreaming, which teaches children prosocial behaviours. We aim to address some of the issues children have with the social transition from primary to high school. We are also flexible and invite you to discuss let us know if there are any other areas of concern.
The program will run weekly from Friday the 13th of August 2021 (Term 1, Week 4).
No sessions are expected to occur during the school holidays.
We anticipate the last session will be on Friday the 3rd of December 2021. However, this is subject to change based on any future COVID-19 restrictions that prevent group sessions from running. We may ask people’s availability for school holiday sessions if this occurs.
Sessions will occur at the Child Wellbeing Centre, 5 Brockman Road, Midland weekly from 4:00pm until 5:30pm.
Parking is available on the street or opposite the building. Cost is $116.38 per session and can be covered using NDIS funding. It is important that you and your child attend all 14 weeks to get as much as they can from the program.
PLease call Reception on 9274 7062 to register your interest in the program.
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Did you know that up until the 30 September this year children under 16 years of age may be eligible for Bulk Billed Telehealth services with psychologists? Social distancing doesn’t mean therapy has to stop.
Who is eligible for Telehealth Bulk Billed Services?
To be eligible for bulk bill rates, your child must have a current referral from a GP, child psychiatrist or paediatrician (as required) under one of the following programs:
- Mental Health Care Plan
- Helping Children with Autism (therapy items)
- Chronic Disease Management or
- Eating Disorders Services
What does Telehealth involve?
Telehealth is where the psychologist provides therapy via the telephone or via the internet (videoconferencing). Aside from a quiet place in the house for you and your child to talk to the psychologist, you will need a device such as a phone, tablet or laptop. The bigger the screen the better.
Videoconferencing is more than just video. When our psychologists work with children and families, they have access to virtual whiteboards, can share documents and even play games online with children. We are starting to use a platform called Coviu which gives us lots of different ways to engage children.
Reception has put together a checklist to help you prepare for your first video-conference.
What if Telehealth isn’t for me?
We want to make Telehealth works for our clients so this means we can vary the frequency and length of sessions. For example, some of our families find 30 minute sessions easier to manage. Particularly when there is a house full of other children in the background!
Our psychologists are still seeing some clients face to face in our Centre. We are an allied health service and plan to continue providing supports this way for as long as we can. Therefore it’s possible to mix things up with some Telehealth and some face to face sessions. Where our staff have to self-isolate then Telehealth is still an option open to you to explore.
It’s important to let your psychologist know if there are any concerns about Telehealth as they may be able to do things differently.
Need more information?
Our staff are embracing Telehealth and exploring all the ways we can make it work for children. We’re recognising that with the pandemic that it may be some time before things return to “normal” and we want to make sure that all of our clients can access the help and support they need.
Please call our Reception for further information about our services on 9274 7062.
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It’s the first (or second for some) week back at school. Hopefully, all that hard work over the last few weeks has paid off and your child was ready for school. At the very least, you got all your school shopping done.
The first week back at school is always a busy one. Children have to get used to new teachers, possibly new peers, and new routines. Parents and carers have to adjust to after school routines again.
As the dust settles, it’s important to spare a thought for setting up your working relationship with your child’s teacher or teaching team this year.
Teachers also have to get used to lots of new faces and new routines too. The first week back can be challenging for teachers as they learn about their new students. And then there is also all the administrative work that has to happen in the background during the first week.
Positive relationships with teachers
Having a strong positive relationship with your child’s teacher is important. They are going to be a very important person in your child’s life for the next year. They are also going to be the person who celebrates your child’s successes and is there to help when things don’t go to plan.
Here are my top five tips for how to start off on the right foot with your child’s teachers:
1.Be thoughtful about how and when you communicate with teachers. Pouncing on the teacher at the start or the end of the day isn’t likely to lead to a quality conversation. Keep in mind that there will be other parents lining up for a “quick word”. Use class emails or request a time to meet with the teacher if you have something that needs a longer conversation, e.g. a worry that you want to share with about child. That way you can have your child’s teacher’s undivided attention and a more productive conversation.
2. Go to any parent-teacher class introduction sessions where you can. These sessions are often when teachers explain their processes and their aims for the year. It’s also a chance to ask about anything you are not sure about. Chances are you won’t be the only one in the group who wants to know the answer to your question too.
3. Volunteer – not only a great way to build a relationship with a teacher but a neat way to help the children in the class.
4. Back to emails again. If you can’t get into the classroom, then email is your best friend. Many teachers will use apps and emails to share information about what’s happening day to day. Some will send out photos of activities too. Email can be a useful way of forming that connection if you can’t physically be there for drop-offs and pick-ups.
5. Lastly, keep your teacher in the loop. Teachers want to know about things that are happening in the life of the child that will impact on children day to day e.g. sickness. The challenge is always to find the most appropriate way to communicate with the teacher…which takes us back to the first point.
I hope your child has a very successful year at school. Schools like to see parents as partners in children’s education. Getting to know your child’s teacher and working out how best to communicate with them is the first step towards that partnership.
As always you are very welcome to talk through any concerns you have with the team.
Please call Reception for further information about our services on 9274 7062.
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As adults, we know what it feels like when we have a poor night’s sleep. We can wake up the next morning feeling like we don’t have energy, grumpy and can even experience “brain fog”. Children also are affected by poor sleep, particularly when poor sleep happens night after night.
As we approach the start of the school term, this week is a good week to get those sleep routines back in place.
Setting up Sleep Routines
A good place to start is to look at how they prepare for sleep. A sleep routine is all the routine actions we take on the way to putting our head on our pillow. We all have a sleep routine but some actions are more helpful than others.
A helpful sleep routine might look like:
- some quiet time (e.g. reading & drawing);
- laying out clothes for the next day;
- getting into PJs;
- brushing teeth and visiting the toilet;
- having 10-15 minutes with a parent reading a story together; and
- lights out.
Some habits are not going to promote good sleep. Try to avoid the following:
- Don’t let your child have sugary and caffeinated drinks before bedtime. Too much sugar and caffeine makes it hard for their bodies to wind down;
- Don’t let them take an electronic device to bed. The light that these devices emit gives the brain the message that’s its day-time, making it harder to fall asleep. Plus, the visual stimulation that comes with video games keeps the brain alert…the opposite of what it needs at bedtime;
- Don’t give in to repeated calls for drinks, cuddles and more stories. A gentle (but brief) reminder that you are near-by and that it’s bedtime is all that’s needed. Giving lots of attention at bedtime, only helps to keep your child awake;
- No vigorous exercise for your child before bedtime. Exercise energises us…again the opposite of what we need to feel at bedtime; and
- Don’t spend too much time trying to settle the child (e.g. rocking or cuddling the child) when they can’t sleep. Aside from giving lots of attention, it may be stopping the child from learning self-soothing skills themselves and may actually keep them awake longer.
Some actions which are more likely to promote good sleeping in children include:
- Making sure that there is sufficient quiet time in the routine…at least 20-30 minutes and putting this in at the start of the routine. Very few of us wind down in 5 minutes!
- Trying to incorporate a bath into the routine (for those children who like baths). A warm bath is an excellent way to relax the body. Be careful with showers though – they tend to refresh us and wake us up.
- Leaving nightlights on. Younger children, in particular, find this comforting and fortunately we are spoiled for choice in terms of brightness, colours and shapes.
- Reassure anxious children that you will come back during the night and check on them and that you are in the next room etc. This can help soothe any worries.
- Being consistent. Sleep routines take a while to establish.
Need more help with your child’s sleep?
These ideas are general and a good place to start. Some children struggle with sleep and need more than just good sleep routines in place. The psychology team in the Centre can help with further assessment and strategies. Please call our Reception on 9274 7062 for more information.
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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.
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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:
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!