While Australia’s elite sportsmen are aiming for top form in the footy finals, young Australians are also striving to achieve their best: It’s now the ‘business end’ of the year, when kids take to the field in sports finals, school students knuckle down to study for final exams, and young performers prepare for end-of-year eisteddfods.

But how to get the most out of high achievers without overdoing it? A new resource from one of Australia’s leading child psychology practices, The Quirky Kid Clinic™ helps young people perform at their best, while maintaining balance and perspective, and not getting burnt out.

‘Power Up!’ is a step-by-step program that enables schools and clubs to adopt the type of performance psychology used by elite athletes, performers and musicians. Young people striving to perform at high levels in sports, performance, music or academia (including end of year exams) can benefit from these techniques. They include goal setting, self-talk, imagery, arousal regulation, focus and competition planning.

Quirky Kid Clinic’s principal child Psychologist, Kimberly O’Brien says: “Know- ing how to reach your performance peak is more effective than endless hours of coaching. Power Up! is about avoiding burn out and enjoying what you do best”.

Power Up! will be distributed by the Australian Council of Educational Research. ACER’s National Sales Manager Eirini Lamni says the program is an “innovation in the way we approach high performing kids. By focusing on the path towards goals rather than just the end-point, young people are armed with useful, healthy strategies to perform at their best. It’s a great resource.”

Power Up! will be launched on the 26th of September at the Sydney Academy of Sport and Recreation, in partnership with Football United. Football United organizes soccer matches, tournaments and camps, providing opportunities for young refugees, or kids from disadvantaged backgrounds to socialise, form networks, and to excel on the sports field.

Top 4 Tips for young performers:

1. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket

Although you might feel like you should do nothing but train or practice it actually won’t do you any favours in terms of your performance. You are much more than just your athletic talent or creative ability. Remember to develop yourself as a whole person and keep your studies, job, social life and family relationships as normal as possible.

2. Use setbacks as opportunities for learning

There is no doubt that reaching the elite or professional level as a teenager means that you have a lot of talent! You can make every experience count, even if your performance was dismal! Take note of your strengths and identify your weaknesses, then set about learning from your mistakes.

3. Don’t buy into the hype!

Athletes and performers who achieve long-term success usually stay well grounded, keeping everything in perspective. Work with your coaches, teachers, agents, psychologist or media trainer to feel confident and in control in the public arena.

4. Look after yourself

You dedicate a significant amount of time and effort to train and practice to achieve success and reach your potential, however like everyone else, you can become ill or injured. Make sure your decisions are keeping your long-term future in mind as well as your present needs. Always consult with medical professionals when making decisions about coming back from illness or injury.

For more tips visit: http://childpsychologist.com.au/resources/young-athletes- and-performers


(c) Quirky Kid
This week our team is heading to Cartwright Public School in Sydney to start facilitating ‘The Best of Friends Program’ for 8 lucky students from Year 3 and 4. The workshops are possible thank you to Mission Australia.

The program will go over two weeks and will include aspects of the new program workbook currently under production here at Quirky Kid Publishing.

The 8 hours workshop will covered areas such as Making Friends, Empathy, Compromise, and Peacemaking and others key areas around Social Skills. Students will participated in a range of activities including painting, play dough, role play, and presentations while discussing the finer points of friendship and playground issues.

We will update this post with more information as they become available. The Best of Friends has been offered to a number of school around Sydney like: Moriah College, Illawarra Grammar School, International Grammer School, St Thomas Public School, Thirroul Public School, Redlands, and many other.

We are extremely proud to announce our first online program: Power Up! Using performance psychology to perform/compete of your best. Below is sneak peak of the project.

This unique program, now available as an online program, is designed for children and young people aged 10 to 16 years who are or want to be involved in sports, music, performance or academics in a competitive way. By purchasing a workbook, participants will gain access to a information packed website with Animated tutorials designed to assist participants in completing the program independently or with the help of coaches or parents.

The program offers participants with the opportunity to develop a unique set of psychological skills to improve their performances and manage the demands of competition.

The Power Up! covers six core areas of psychological skills training. Each skill contributes to a performer’s ability to effectively manage the sustained effort required in training and practice, as well as the pressure environment of competition or performance. The program aims to ensure participants gain an understanding of the following core areas:

  • Goal Setting,
  • Self-Talk,
  • Imagery,
  • Focus and Attention Control
  • Arousal Regulation
  • Competition planning.

Buy online

The Power Up! program, inclusive of an illustrated workbook, website access, video animated instructions and option for individual help is available via the programs website: http://powerup.quirkykid.com.au for only $49.95. You can also buy by visiting our online shoppe: http://quirkykid.com.au/shop

Offering Power Up! privately.

To register and start offering Power Up! privately, simple head to the Power Up Website  and complete the registration process. Coaches, sport professionals, teacher and psychologist can offerPower Up! while generating revenue  from workshops.

Please head to http://powerup.quirkykid.com.au to start the process now.

Prefer a face-to-face workshop?

Prefer face-to-face learning? Not a problem. Register today for an upcoming session near you.

Image of Psychologist Simonne Cohen at The Quirky Kid Clinic

I have recently joined The Quirky Kid Team in Woollahra, as a Registered Psychologist. I gained my undergraduate qualification in Psychology in 2010 from the University of New South Wales (Sydney), passing my Bachelor of Psychology. Following the completion of my degree, I completed a Masters of Clinical Psychology from the University of New South Wales.  I have always had an interest in working with children, particularly children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), and spent several years working as an Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapist as well as conducting assessments and therapy as a Provisional Psychologist.

During my postgraduate training, I also worked as a Research Assistant at Westmead Children’s Hospital, where I conducted psychometric assessments and managed and coordinated clinical trials involving children with a range of behavioural and emotional difficulties.  This fuelled my enthusiasm to continue to work with children, as well as undertake a PhD with a specialty in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. I am currently enrolled in a collaborative PhD program with Monash/ Harvard Medical School in the USA where I am investigating the relationship between sleep deficiencies and poor behaviour in children with Low Functioning Autism. 

Why have I moved to Quirky kid clinic?

I have always wanted to work in a warm, creative and supportive environment. The Quirky kid Clinic offers this type of environment, as well as high quality evidence based therapy for kids with a diverse range of needs. It is considered one of the most highly recognised clinics in Sydney with excellent resources, staff and therapists and therefore was a highly attractive place to work. The Quirky Kid Clinic offers a fun, open, warm and friendly environment that makes it appealing for children as well as staff. I am delighted to be apart of the team!

What are my skills? 

I have always had a keen interest in working with children and their families.  This was particularly reinforced in my Clinical Psychology training, as I was able to gain work experience assisting in the treatment of  children diagnosed with anxiety, depression, conduct disorder, as well as a range of other behavioural issues. I have experience running social skills groups, anxiety groups and conducting individual therapy with children with a range of difficulties. I also have experience conducting psychometric assessments and using a range of assessment tools to help identify children’s particular cognitive strengths and weaknesses. I am passionate about working with children and their families, and making a difference in any way possible. 

What is my role at QK?

My role at The Quirky Kid Clinic is to facilitate evidence based programs for children with a range of behavioural and emotional activities. Some of these programs include the ‘Why worry?’ program and the social skills program called ‘The Best of Friends’. These programs involve consulting with teachers, parents as well as going into the school setting and facilitating programs with children ranged 3-13years.

In addition to running programs, I will also be conducting psychometric assessments in collaboration with the other psychologists at the clinic, and writing psychometric reports to help understand the individual learning needs of children and adolescents. 

The team has so far been a fantastic team to work for, and I very much continue to build a professional name within this clinic in the coming years.

Image of glob, focus on Italy and The Quirky Kid Clinic logo

We are heading to the 2014 Bologna Children and Adolescent Book Fair (Italy) this week. We will be joining our colleagues from the Australian Publishers Association to network, learn, inspired and be inspired by all the amazing resources available word-wide for children and young people.

Since 1963 the Bologna Children’s Book Fair has been a leading international event for publishers. It really is the “place-to-be” for selling rights. The exhibition gives everyone the chance to discover the latest market trends in the book industry, to meet the most important illustrators, authors and see the winners of the most prestigious international awards

Events like these provide the perfect opportunity to showcase the amazing resources we produce here at The Quirky Kid Clinic. It is also a great place meet interesting and creative people doing similar work as we do. We will take the change and do some serious business by securing distribution and publishing rights. Our resources are already available in countries like USA, Canada, Singapore, Malaysia and Brazil and we want to expand more.

This will be our first time in at the Bologna Book Fair and we can’t wait to dive into it. We will keep our Twitter and Facebook pages up to date with regular information and photos.

Kimberley O’Brien, our principal child psychologist was invited to discuss sex education and how parents  and school can best approach this. Kimberley was called into the studio in a bit of a rush joining in hallway into the segment! Here is a fact-sheet about the subject we prepared earlier: http://childpsychologist.com.au/resources/by-issue/sex-education

If you have a story and would like to discuss it with us, please contact us to schedule a time.Kimberley O’Brien enjoys sharing the best of her therapeutic moments with the media. View our media appearances to-date.

child psychologist position in Sydney by Quirky Kid

Due to our continued growth and success we are looking to recruit two (2) exceptional child psychologists with a solid record of successful therapeutic intervention with children and families to join us in our Sydney clinic! We also have 2 contract roles available for psychologists with experience as group facilitator’s and psychometric assessments and reports.

These challenging and rewarding positions will offer you the opportunity to work with exceptional clients and colleagues addressing a broad range of presentations. Based in our brand new clinical space, the successful applicant will enjoy the support of our professional administrative and clinical teams in well-resourced working conditions. Set in Woollahra, our clinic is surrounded by cafes, restaurants and beautiful parklands. 

While your key focus will be to provide effective clinical intervention and assessments to young clients and their families, your role will also allow you to collaborate with the development of social-emotional resources as part of our publishing business.

Find out more and on our Employment pages

Kimberley O’Brien, our principal child psychologist was invited to discuss video game addiction and how parents  and school can best approach this.  Here is a fact-sheet about the subject we prepared earlier: http://childpsychologist.com.au/resources/children-and-video-games

If you have a story and would like to discuss it with us, please contact us to schedule a time.Kimberley O’Brien enjoys sharing the best of her therapeutic moments with the media. View our media appearances to-date.

Quirky Kid is Closing for holidays

Quirky Kid is Closing for holidays

Thank you for your amazing support during 2014.

Our team will be taking a well deserved holiday from today, 18th of December 2013 and most of us will return on 6th of  January 2014.  If you need to contact us, head to our contact page. We will have very limited access to emails during that period but will respond as soon as we are back. You can continue to:

If you experience an emergency, you can contact:


Mia Mia and Quirky Kid

Recently I was lucky enough to  visit Macquarie University and meet with the staff at Mia Mia. Mia Mia is a early childhood facility where passionate staff provide education and care to our littlest citizens. They refer strongly to  The Reggio Emilia approach. This approach views children as capable learners who work in collaboration with their peers. The role of teachers is to encourage this collaboration while taking on the role of learners themselves.

While at the centre I was able to observe how practice informs and is informed by research in child development. I noticed how children thrive when placed in a rich environment in which they are free to be agents in their own learning and development. “We are a school and we are supposed to make children think”, says a  Mia Mia staff member.

I was taken on a tour with a group of mostly childcare workers and early childhood teachers as Mia Mia receives many visitors throughout the year who hope to take inspiration and ideas back to their own centres. Notes were hurriedly scribbled and the questions flowed from the time we walked in the front door! Ghosts from my university days were dug up and I looked at them with fresh eyes as our tour guide (a Mia Mia educator) spoke of the theorists who have shaped the way we understand children and their play. Play is held in high regard as the essential ingredient for the growing child, for example, the sophisticated meta-cognition required for a child to turn a simple wooden block into a mobile phone with their imagination and for the children around them to understand what they are doing.

The children’s rooms felt like home and outdoors is an important and interesting environment that entices children to play and learn. Lunch time is a lot like the “real world” with a cafe style set up that lets the children see the kitchen staff at work and that separates this part of their routine from the rest. Even staff meetings are a part of the children’s world and begin at the end of the day while some children are still present so that they can contribute to problem solving and see adults at work. I was surprised to hear that children’s artwork is not displayed as I am so used to seeing walls filled with paintings and projects. When our guide asked us to imagine if she took a page from our note books right now and hung it on the wall for everyone to see, I suddenly understood! The children are taught care and consideration in exploring materials and there is a large focus on ongoing projects. The important thing in a child’s work is the process and not the product, an important attitude to foster if we want our children to be internally motivated and persistent.

Another surprise was the approach taken to introducing new children to the centre. In the world of Quirky Kid we spend a lot of time supporting parents in dealing with separation anxiety so I was keen to hear more. Parents are told when they bring their children to have a plan A, B and C. In other words, don’t expect to drop them off on their first day and rush back to work! Children are gradually exposed to separation from their parents at the pace that is right for them. The parent may play in the room for much of day one, work on their laptop in the room as the child plays more independently then stay on-site in the staff room until their child is relaxed and confident about being separated.

I left Mia Mia with a head full of ideas for Quirky Kid, some challenged perceptions and many more questions.

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