This year is very challenging and confusing for families but we can help children with disabilities to adapt to the strange new realities.
Our Clinical Psychologist, Darrelyn Adams, offers some tips to help guide and mentor children through these unusual times.
Tip 1: Emotion Coaching
With so many activities cancelled, kids are experiencing disappointment and loneliness and they need our support and validation.
Emotion coaching is an important technique. It requires you to validate your child’s experience by naming the feeling to them and then following-up with a statement of why.
Example: “You’re feeling disappointed because you were really looking forward to that activity and now it’s not going to happen. I understand, because things that I planned are not happening either.”
After that, you should problem solve. Once they have calmed down and moved on from that emotional space, ask if they would like to make a plan of activities that you can look forward to doing together.
Tip 2: Social Connection
A really helpful strategy right now is finding different ways for kids to connect with friends and peers. Here are some ideas that have worked for other people:
- Watch movies with a group of friends via zoom using screen share
- Make cards or write letters to friends (kids really love getting mail)
- Engage on-line with friends through games like Roblox
- Create a WhatsApp group for class peers to present a topic of interest or a news item each day
In these unprecedented times, finding creative ways to use online platforms and groups that you might be in, will reduce feelings of loneliness in your children and help them feel socially connected.
Children’s and Teens’ Therapy Services are currently offering tele-therapy services which is available for all of our NDIS participants, Medicare and other clients.
We have NO WAIT LIST and we are welcoming new clients from ACROSS AUSTRALIA. So, whether you live in Queensland, Tasmania, Northern Territory, South Australia, NSW, Victoria or ACT, join us for tele-therapy today.
Want to know more? Email us at email@example.com or phone (07) 5441 7199.
Children who are exposed to nursery rhymes experience many benefits even as they grow past the nursery rhyme stage. These benefits include better language and reading skills.
Nursery rhymes improve children’s ability to hear sounds and develop phonemic awareness. Both of these are linked to better literacy outcomes. But there are lots of other benefits too!
- help build vocabulary and speech
- are a fun, engaging and quick activity
- introduce a love of reading and stories
- are the perfect length for a toddler’s short attention span
- teach basic story structure – laying the foundation for more complex stories.
- improve fine motor skills and coordination e.g. action rhymes such as Itsy Bitsy Spider
- teach about the past e.g. ‘Jack and Jill’ is set in a time when water was fetched from a well
Most importantly, nursery rhymes develop into wonderful childhood memories associated with together time with loved ones
Shaping desirable behaviours in your child
All children, at one time or another, will demonstrate behaviours that we either want to see more of, or see less of. You may want to see your child complete more tasks like packing away their belongings, or you may want to reduce poor behaviour, such as tantrums in response to not getting what they want.
Behaviour change skills are strategies used to increase behaviours we want, and reduce behaviours we don’t want.
Positive reinforcement increases the frequency of a behaviour by providing a “rewarding” consequence (e.g. praise, a treat, quality time together). The timing of this is very important, especially with small children! Give the reward immediately and choose something that is motivating for your child.
Extinction involves reducing a behaviour by withholding previous reinforcement. When attention is reinforcing, ignore the unwanted behaviour, making sure that you continue to reinforce a replacement behaviour.
For example, if a parent ignores a child’s tantrum, the child will eventually stop tantruming. I know, it can feel like forever, and sometimes it’s a long time!
Beware the behavioural burst – a temporary increase in the behaviour you are trying to extinguish. DON’T GIVE UP!!
And most importantly, BE CONSISTENT!! The worst thing we can do when trying to change a behaviour is ignore this behaviour sometimes, and not others. For example, never give lollies to stop a tantrum after you’ve invested time ignoring them. This will actually make it harder to extinguish the behaviour, and is like starting from scratch all over again!
It can be hard to find the time and energy to tackle some of these difficult behaviours, so make sure you have a plan, and if need be, speak with one of our helpful therapist to get you started.
Jump to it: Children’s Therapy Centre has a new trampoline
Children’s Therapy Centre is pleased to announce that Vuly Play, Australia’s leading manufacturer of trampolines and outdoor play equipment, has kindly donated an Ultra Medium Trampoline (valued at over $849) to benefit the children.
Our Children’s Therapy Centre team is very proud to have helped thousands of children over the past thirty years – and we are continually grateful for the vital community support we receive.
The new trampoline is now installed at the Kawana Children’s Therapy Centre, and will assist clients to develop useful skills and abilities including:
- Developing core and gross motor skills
- Increasing fitness and cardiovascular capacity
- Building strength and flexibility in key muscle groups
- Assisting clients in our Transition To Prep program by building social skills and providing opportunities to practice sharing and patience in a fun environment.
We are excited to incorporate our new trampoline into the children’s programs, and can’t wait to see the benefits this versatile equipment will provide.
Thank-you Vuly Play once again for your very generous donation!
Out of the mouths of babes
By Debbie Blumel CEO
I overheard an intriguing conversation yesterday while standing at the photocopier in Reception. A Mum came to the counter and signed-in for her son’s appointment. Sarah, our friendly receptionist, welcomed her and mentioned that Mum was a bit early. “Yes”, laughed the Mum, “My son makes me arrive early so he has more time playing in the centre!” The little fella had wasted no time and was already very busy exploring the toys in the waiting room.
It made me think about how children see us. This boy is attending Children’s Therapy Centre to benefit from Speech Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Psychology and Physiotherapy funded by the NDIS. But he doesn’t know that – he doesn’t know what ‘therapy’ is.
What he sees are wonderful toys to feel and squish and taste and throw. His imagination turns those toys into anything or anyone he wants them to be – whatever he chooses, no ‘mistakes’. It’s all simple and uncomplicated. And he was choosing to have some additional unstructured time in the Children’s Therapy Centre and even organized his Mum get here early. I give him 10 out of 10 for achieving his goals!
But then it gets even better. A kind woman or man (therapist) appears and walks him into an Aladdin’s cave (therapy room), and devotes 45 minutes of attention solely to him. They play with coloured sand, pop-up toys, electronic gadgets, and pretty coloured toys that smell good enough to eat. It just doesn’t get any better!
“Please Mum, can we go to Children’s Therapy Centre early today so I have more time to play?”
Find out why our little visitors love coming here. Come check it out for yourself.