13 Sep 2018

BY: admin

Psychology Team

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Difficulties Making Friends?- Five Tips for Primary School Children

Nothing is more heart breaking as a parent to hear that your child isn’t making friends. We all want the best for our children. The reality is that for some children (particularly the more shy and reserved variety) making new friends can be hard. Not only do children need some confidence to walk up to others but they also need an array of social skills to draw on.

5 Tips for Making Friends

Making friends (and keeping them) involve using a range of skills. These include being able to recognise when others are open to friendship and knowing how to approach and engage others.  Then of course are the skills needed to keep friendships – which can also be tricky. But let’s start at the beginning with how children can make their first approach more successful…

The following are some tips for primary school aged children who have language skills but they can be modified for those a little less verbal:

Look for interest from other children

Imagine being in a park with lots of children running around. Running up to a random child who looks like they are doing something interesting might get a response but it might also lead to rejection.

Instead, encourage your child to look for other children that appear interested in playing with them. Who are these children? The ones that may already be looking at your child (watching what your child is doing) and the ones with a smile on their face. These are the children that are more likely to be positive about an approach from your child.

Children who are heavily involved in a game (particularly in groups) or playing with other children are less likely to give a positive response. They already have someone to play with. Sometimes groups of children want others to join them…especially if it’s a game that involves lots of running around. However if children have already worked out who they are playing with, they may not welcome approaches from others.

Say Hello

Sounds simple doesn’t it?  However  many children forget to say hello or introduce themselves. And of course, when your child does say “hi” to another child they need to look at them (eye contact) and smile too! This signals to the other child that they are being friendly.

Get Talking

Most of us enjoy it when others show interest in us. Your child asking “What are doing?”, “Can I play too?”, or “What’s that?” are good ways of starting up a conversation. They are also a way of testing the waters to see if the other child is interested in getting to know them too.

When the other child starts talking to your child, this is where conversational skills become important. Your child needs to show interest in what the other child says.  They can also share something about themselves too. All of which helps to build a connection.

Be flexible

It’s great for your child to suggest activities that they and the other child can do. However if the other child wants to play another way or differently your child may need to go with the flow initially. Turn-taking with ideas and games can develop once your child works out that this is someone they want to spend more time with.

Be positive

It’s OK if your child discovers that the other child isn’t that interested or isn’t the friend for them. Children can agree to disagree and part ways too. As a parent we can acknowledge our child’s disappointment but we need to refocus them on all the other children out there that may be the right sort of friend for them.

What to do if things just aren’t working?

The good news is that friendships skills can be taught. Many schools now provide programs targeting social skills and confidence so start by asking what your school may have available.

The internet also has bundles of resources and ideas for parents to access to help their children in this area.

In our Centre we teach social skills one on one in therapy and in various group programs (so children can practice their skills with other children).

Please call the Centre if you would like more information about our services on 9274 7062.

06 Jul 2018

BY: admin


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Friendship Club Enrolments for Term 3 – Now Open

Friendship Club, Term 3

Jasmin Fyfe from the ABACAS team will be running the Friendship Club for children aged 5-6 years old in Term 3. The program will be on one afternoon after school per week and focus on the social skills children need to make and keep friends.

Social skills programs are small and run by two facilitators to make sure that children have lots of opportunity to practise skills, have fun and make new friends. Jasmin will need to meet with parents of new clients to the Centre to make sure that the program will meet their children’s needs.

For more information about the program please contact Jasmin on 9274 7062.

09 Jun 2018

BY: admin


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ABACAS School Holiday Social Skills Programs – Enrolments Now Open

During the school holidays the ABACAS team runs small social skills group programs for children with disabilities. Enrolments are now open for the following groups:

Young Entrepreneurs’ Club

Jenny Lin (Program Manager) and one of the Behaviour Therapists from the ABACAS Team will be running a school holiday program for children aged 10-14 years who are interested in developing their business prowess. Focusing on teamwork, social skills and community skills, the group will work with their team leader  to design, price, advertise and sell their product. The money they make will be used for a pizza party at the end of the holidays (date to be announced).

Who should attend:

This program is best suited to children who have medium to low needs on the autism spectrum.


Mondays, Wednesdays & Thursdays, 9.30am to 11.00am

Music and Movement Club

Rachel Puan (Assistant Program Manager) will be running the Music and Movement Group these holidays. This group will focus on gross motor, social skills and musical activities to keep kids active during school holidays. While it is will include lots of fun and games, children will also practice listening, teamwork, problem solving and hand, eye/foot coordination and balance. And importantly, they will also have a chance to have fun and make new friends.

Who should attend:

Children will be matched according to age and needs. If we have enough children we will run two groups – a high needs and low needs group.


Mondays and Wednesdays,  9.30am to 11.00am

Drama Club

Jasmin Fyfe (Assistant Program Manager) with another of our Behaviour Therapists will be running a Drama club for children.  Children will develop a play/performance piece together, designing and creating costumes and stage. The program will include lots of opportunities to practice social skills. Commitment is important because the group will be performing at the end of the school holidays for their families.

Who should attend:

These will be small groups of 3-4 children who will be matched on ability levels.


To be determined based on expressions of interest from families.

How much will sessions cost?

For groups of 3 or more children, individual fees will be $58.53 per hour.

How do I register?

Please contact reception on 9274 7062 to a express you interest.

08 Jun 2018

BY: admin

Psychology Team

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Secret Agent Society, Term Three Enrolments Now Open

The Child Wellbeing Centre will be running another  Secret Agent Society program for children in Term Three, 2018.

What Is Secret Agent Society?

Secret Agent Society is a small group program designed by an Australian clinical psychologist, Dr Renae Beaumont, to help children ages 9 to 12 to improve their social and emotional skills.

By the end of the 9-week small group program, the junior detectives graduate as secret agents. They would have learned the following skills:

  • Recognise emotions in themselves and others
  • Express feelings in appropriate ways
  • Talk and play with others
  • Solve friendship problems and
  • Cope with change and deal with bullying

The program uses role play, home missions and a computer game to strengthen the skills learned in the group setting. Parents and schools are an integral part of the program and receive resources and support to help young agents practise their new skills.

For more information about the program please have a look at this website:


When will Secret Agent Society Run?

Club sessions are from July 28 until September 22, every Saturday 9-11am. Parent training session will be held July 21st.

How to register for the program?

To register interest, please contact our reception on 9274 7062.

06 Jun 2018

BY: admin

Psychology Team

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How to help your child make friends

One of the saddest things to hear as a parent is that your child has no one to play with at school. For some children making friends is such an easy thing to do while for others, it is fraught with difficulty. At the Child Wellbeing Centre, we often see children with social difficulties – both at the primary and secondary school level.

Some Tips

Some simple tips to offer children struggling to make friends include:

Say hello It’s such a simple thing to do but so many children forget to start by being friendly themselves. A big smile, eye contact and a cheery hello are a great way to make connections with peers.

Ask a question “Can I play too?” or “How are you?” or “What is that?” are all good ways to show someone that you are interested in being their friend.  But the questions have to be positive and relevant to what the peer is doing.

Share something – Children can share something about themselves or an idea they have. For example, suggesting a game to play. The trick is to make sure it’s on topic – that is – it’s related to what the other child is saying.

Suggest an activity- Suggest playing a game. Asking for play-dates is fine too so long as parents are consulted along the way.

Give a compliment- Tell peers something you like about them. We all like hearing positive statements about ourselves. Compliments always need to be genuine though – merely saying something nice (just for the sake of making a compliment) can sound fake and back fire.

Listen too- Children need to listen to what their friends want to talk about…not just focus on what we want to say. Taking turns is an important social skills in games and in conversation too!

Need more help?

Fortunately friendship skills can be taught. The Speech Pathology, Psychology, Occupational Therapy and ABACAS team all work with children to help them develop the skills they need to make and keep friends.

Please call our reception on 9274 7062 for further information.

23 Apr 2018

BY: admin


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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.

03 Apr 2018

BY: admin


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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.
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

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