2016: What a year!

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Posted on by Leonardo Rocker (Quirky Kid Staff)

As 2016 draws to a close, it’s satisfying to sit back and reflect on Quirky Kid’s accomplishments as a young Australian company, spanning diverse industries – Publishing Children’s Mental Health and Education.

This year our team brought positive change to more than 980 families in Australia and overseas through our clinical services and products. That’s no small feat considering the complex range of social, emotional and behavioural issues addressed by our psychologists in every consultation. As a team, we are very aware of the trust our client’s place in us, and for this reason, 2016 saw us complete more than 220 hours of professional development. We presented at the Australian Psychological Society (APS) conference in Melbourne and travelled to Singapore and London to learn more further afield.

At Quirky Kid we’re committed to evidence-based and child-focused practice and our clients appreciate the results. According to our 2016 ‘Customer Satisfaction Survey’ we achieved greatness 91% of the time, while 6% of customers said we did a ‘good job,’ leaving only 3% of our customers less than satisfied. Thank you for all your feedback and encouragement! As a team, we are incredibly committed to our continued improvement.

Quirky Kid’s drive to innovate in clinics and classrooms contributed to our successful application to join this year’s iAccelerate program at the University of Wollongong, an incubator for tech start-ups and business with the potential to scale. The 2016 Pitching Grand Final saw Quirky Kid pitch to a panel of investors and take out the “Runner Up” award. The panel members were very generous with their business advice and we look forward to embracing more opportunities through iAccelerate in 2017.

This year also saw two of Quirky Kid’s Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) programs recognised at one of the world’s largest publishing events – The London Book Fair. The Best of Friends program was shortlisted for the ‘Educational Initiative Award’, while Power Up was shortlisted for the ‘Educational Learning Resources Award’. The SMH interviewed Quirky Kid at the book fair and described us as “a quiet Australian success story” – We like to think so! (more articles here)

Meanwhile back in Australia, Quirky Kid was awarded the Business Innovation Award for The Best of Friends program at the 2016 ABIA Awards (the Australian Book Industries equivalent to the Oscars). The same program was shortlisted for Book of The Year by Speech Pathology Australia. Thank you to the organisers for bringing industry recognition to our incredibly talented team of creatives!

On the ground, our programs are proving popular in schools with their steady implementation around Australia and a new distributor in New Zealand, Happy Futures (more to come soon). Locally, we welcomed more implementing schools like St Catherine’s, Holy Spirit, and Cranbrook School (QLD), as well as Jewish House and many others agencies. What a pleasure to roll out Quirky Kid Social and Emotional Learning programs into the hands of highly skilled and enthusiastic group facilitators, while maintaining the program’s integrity!

In fact, 90% of parents who signed their child up for a Quirky Kid program rated the overall outcome as “9” or “10 out of 10”. Their comments indicated participants “learnt some valuable techniques to help make and keep friends”, and it was “well organised, well run” with “great attention to detail, effort, and very professional, practical advice”. Quirky Kid wishes to thank our dedicated parent community for their feedback.

In terms of research, 2016 marked the beginning of Quirky Kid’s first clinical study. We look forward to working alongside A/Prof Claire Wakefield (UNSW), Dr John Lawson, Ms Elizabeth Barnes to ensure our research meets the ethical standards of The Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network Human Research Ethics Committee (SCHN HREC). The committee is responsible for ensuring ethical and scientific acceptability of human research for paediatric specific research. Quirky Kid’s longstanding goal of generating high-quality research is finally being realised and we very much appreciate the support of SCHN HREC.

On a personal note, our incredible team also achieved some big goals in 2016. Leonardo completed his first 10km ocean swim between Bondi Beach and Watson Bay; while Michal graduated from Monash with her Masters in Educational and Developmental Psychology, becoming a fully-fledged Registered Psychologist. Meanwhile, Kathryn took a break from seeing clients to climb to Mount Everest’s Base Camp; as Emily diligently worked her way through Monash’s competitive Honours program; and Kimberley submitted her 80,000 word thesis to be awarded her PhD in Education. All the while, we marvelled at Lisa’s ability to work remotely while travelling up and down the East coast of Australia; as Dawn organised another legendary ladies ski trip and spent more quality time with her family in Melbourne and Byron Bay…while plotting a trip to Kathmandu. Oh, what a year!

Wishing all our wonderful colleagues and clients a restful holiday period.

We look forward to another year of new QK programs (another achievement still under wraps) and technology and online initiatives to benefit more children and their families around Australia and overseas – Watch this space and welcome 2017!

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