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From Us: Wired for Wonder

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Posted on by Michal Fisher (Quirky Kid Staff)

Image of envelop in a pink backgroud with the words from us and The Quirky Kid Clinic Logo

Last week, I was lucky enough to get a ticket to ‘Wired for Wonder‘, an annual 2-day event hosted by Commonwealth Bank. ‘Wired For Wonder’ features an impressive line-up of speakers and workshops in the areas of technology, life, business, arts and science. It aims to encourage collaboration, innovation, inspiration and self-discovery. There were also coffee stands. Lots of coffee stands.

So, there I was, sitting spellbound for the entire 10 hours, listening to incredible speakers talking about inspiring ideas, overcoming adversity, polarity of ideas, technology, parenting, innovation and creativity. We were treated to music by Ben Lee and LIOR, opera and comedy. We participated in “DIVE DEEP” workshops where we met in small intimate groups and focused our learning. We practised brainstorming and prototyping and even badge-making.

I laughed and cried (mostly tears of laughter) during Dylan Alcott’s talk as he pulled gold medal after gold medal out of the pockets of his wheelchair. Born with a tumour wrapped around his spinal cord, the doctors set to work and removed the tumour. The operation, however, left him a paraplegic and wheelchair-bound for the rest of his life. He spoke of being the best version of himself, of not feeling sorry for himself and of making the most of what he could with the cards he was dealt. His positive attitude and ability to look at things from a positive angle was ultimately what pushed him to succeed (and even go crowdsurfing in his wheelchair at festivals).

In psychology, we often use techniques that focus on a person’s thoughts to help them change. By changing the way one thinks, we start to change how we feel (from anxious or sad to calmer and happier) and ultimately this leads to a change in the way we behave. I saw in Dylan Alcott’s talk the sheer power of thought and will. By believing he could do it, he felt confident and inspired to achieve and he put that into action.

Another highlight for me was the DEEP DIVE session I attended during lunchtime with Fiona Triaca and Sharon Cody. The concept of their workshop was that instead of thinking in order to build, we should build in order to think. Using my hands and creating prototypes and building my ideas (using paper cups, boxes, sticky tape and blue tac) helped to harness my imagination and it got my “creative juices” flowing in a way that writing down ideas on a piece of paper would not have inspired.

It is hard to condense 10 hours of ideas into a few paragraphs. I suppose that for me, the event was about exploring polar opposites, creating cognitive disinhibition and provoking thought, then using these ideas in the context of my own personal and professional world. I think I could sum it up with the tagline embroidered onto the lanyard chain – “I’m weird, I’m wired, I’m wonderful”.

Every now and then, we can all benefit from a little bit of inspiration.

A sincere thank you to iAccelerate at the University of Wollongong and Commonwealth Bank for making it possible. Tickets were kindly provided free of charge by these organisations.

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From us: our personal blog from QK Staff to you.

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New ‘Tell Me A Story’ Cards Hit QK Shelves

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Posted on by Lisa Diebold

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At last! Our new ‘Tell Me A Story” cards are back and better than ever. For those who have never experienced the joy of this popular resource in the past, the ‘Tell Me a Story’ cards are a useful tool for parents and professionals working with young people to facilitate communication, highlight strengths and to reinforce a sense of pride.

To date, the TMAS cards have been tried and tested by over 1200 people worldwide. Developed in the clinical setting for over 10 years, these cards have been gracefully illustrated to engage and invite both children and adults to recall and retell their own memorable moments of extremity, such as ‘Luckiest!’ ‘Loneliest!’ and ‘Bravest!’

The topics of these cards have been chosen for their ability to engage listeners of all ages. The TMAS cards are a useful tool for parents and professionals working with young people to facilitate communication, highlight strengths, give praise and boost self-esteem.

The new edition of these cards features a fresh new box for safe keeping and extra special printing touches throughout.

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iAccelerate Pitch Grand Final

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Posted on by Lisa Diebold

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Our very own Kimberley O’Brien and Leonardo Rocker will shortly be stepping on stage to work their magic for the grand final of the fifth annual iAccelerate Pitch, where entrepreneurs get a chance to polish and pitch their business idea to a panel of experts.

Quirky Kid is one of the startups that were selected for the Pitch event, based on the strength of our business idea and growth potential. The other finalists include: Digital Homebrew, GeoInteractive, Health Ready, ScrubUp, Stabilco

Along with the other finalists, we have had our pitch whipped into shape with formal training from a professional pitch trainer, ongoing feedback and ultimately from the panel of experts that will sit on the judging panel at the final. We are hoping to be chosen for any of the awards up for grabs which include; Panel Winner, Panel Runner Up, Audience Winner, Audience Runner Up and Most Improved Pitch.

The presentations start at 3:00 today at the iAccelerate building.

Wish us luck everyone!

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A New Face for the ‘Face It!’ Cards

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Posted on by Lisa Diebold

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At long last! Our new and improved Face It! cards have arrived to QK headquarters ready to inspire and delight children and adults once again. We felt it was time to refresh the look of these much loved hand-drawn expression cards designed to engage young people from diverse social and cultural backgrounds as well as those on the Autism spectrum or with other special needs.

The new edition features a fresh, crisp new box for storage and transport, and special printing embellishments throughout. We love it.

These cards have been widely used across Australia and beyond to help families resolve conflict and classmates explore social scenarios or ethical dilemmas. Whether in the classroom, clinic or at home, the Face It! cards have the capacity to overcome barriers and invite conversation about expressions and feelings no matter what age or environment.

This resource has such a diverse range of uses making it not only popular as a resource for the clinic and classroom setting, but a beautiful gift for any young person looking to improve their ability to connect with people through the understanding of expressions and body language.

The Face It Cards have sold over 1500 copies and is used by organisations worldwide. Here’s a lovely review the cards received recently by our friends at the University of Arkansas.

Have a closer look at the new Face It! cards here. You can use the special 2nd edition discount code: happyFace. Buy now below.

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BoF @ Jewish House

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Posted on by Michal Fisher (Quirky Kid Staff)

social and emotional learning program for schools

We are proud to announce that the Jewish House in Bondi, NSW has just confirmed they will be implementing ‘The Best of Friends’™ program during 2016, a Social and Emotional Learning resource for school, agencies and clinics.

Their enrolment continues to establish our Social and Emotional program at the forefront of interventions to foster children’s social and emotional wellbeing. We continue to work incredibly hard to produce innovative programs and resources that are tried, tested and loved in classrooms, clinics and lounge rooms around the globe.

About Jewish House

Jewish House provides 24/7 Crisis Support to all who seek their services. Recognising that for most people support involves a combination of approaches, they take a multi-disciplinary approach by drawing on a wide range of services.  They provide accommodation, psychological support, pastoral care and employment assistance as well as many other services.

Jewish House run a program called JH Kids which has been developed for primary school children. The aim is to assist families to get the help they need for children’s learning, health, behaviour and wellbeing. 

Social and Emotional Learning

Dr Merrilyn Clancy is the Program Manager for JH Kids. Dr Clancy’s goal for JH Kids is to create a care coordination service that actively builds the capabilities for improved functional outcomes for children – at home, school and at play.

In order to achieve this goal, Jewish House has partnered with Quirky Kid to provide The Best of Friends™ Social and Emotional Learning program.

Equally with their commitment to helping those in the community who require help, Jewish House has demonstrated clear commitment to the Social and Emotional Learning for the children in their program. 

About The Best of Friends and the organisation

The implementation of The Best of Friends™ will take place progressively and will be closely supported by the program author and our Educational Developmental Psychologist, Dr. Kimberley O’Brien.

Participants will receive a copy of the exclusive workbook developed by Quirky Kid. Facilitators and teachers will have access to a series of manuals and regular supervision as and when required.

Interested in offering ‘The Best of Friends™’ program at your school or organisation?

Currently, the program is available to a limited number of schools and organisations. The BoF program has a comprehensive implementation, evaluation and monitoring plan and we are keen to identify partners committed to SEL implementation and evaluation.

Schools can choose from a target (small group) or universal (classroom) format. We will provide all the implementation assistance required, including training, supervision and support for key staff members.

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