Author: Leonardo Rocker (Quirky Kid Staff)

Ciao! We’re off again to Bologna

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Posted on by Leonardo Rocker (Quirky Kid Staff)

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

Quirky Kid will be in Bologna from 1st to 4th April for the annual Bologna Children’s Book Fair. As the world’s largest trade fair for children’s literature and creative content, Bologna brings together leading International authors, illustrators, publishers and agencies from over 100 countries! A platform for both traditional and digital media, the fair is a global epicentre for discussion on trends, innovative ideas and new perspectives in children’s publishing.

Quirky Kid will join the Australian collective stand on Hall 25, Stand B66. View the 2019 catalogue.

Continuing our success on the international stage from three previous Bologna Book Fairs, the Chinese Children’s Book Fair, the London Book Fair, and the Frankfurt Book Fair, we are excited to share our award-winning books with different audiences and perhaps even discover some unique new additions to the Quirky Kid resource collection.

From the clever kids at Quirky Kid

This year we will, of course, be taking our entire stable of our Quirky Kid publications on the road, but we will be showcasing two very special products in particular: Basecamp® and BriteChild®.

Basecamp® is our latest publication to become an award-winner, now we can’t wait to take it on tour and show the world why! An innovative cognitive-behavioural program, developed for managing anxiety, it is a unique, interactive and customisable tool, disguised in the familiar form of an illustrated book. BaseCamp® won “Best Designed Educational Book” at the 2018 Australian Book Design Awards, it won the “Educational Initiative Award – International Excellence” at the 2018 London Book Fair and was shortlisted for the “Educational Resource Award – International Excellence,” also at the 2018 London Book Fair. While we’re pleased-as-punch to receive this recognition for BaseCamp®, we’re not really altogether surprised. Our most important judges have been giving it the “thumbs-up” for a while already!

BriteChild® is our latest initiative and one for mums, dads and big people in the lives of little folks. Not a traditional children’s book, BriteChild® is a digital application, which connects parents and organisations to children’s development specialists, to address a broad range of challenges. BriteChild® is our first, truly digital innovation and we couldn’t be more pleased with what we’ve developed. We’re feeling quietly confident grown-ups around the world will be singing our praises soon too!

Bologna is a fantastic opportunity to spread the word for our evidence-based therapeutic tools to a global audience. As in past years, we also expect The Best of Friends® and PowerUp™ (more of our award-winning books) will continue to be really well-received too.

Quirky Kid has a few new resources under development and we are keen to create a big impact on the Social, Emotional and Educational sector. You can find out more about The Quirky Kid Resources on our website or at our publishing page.

When in Rome… well, Bologna anyway!

This year you will find Quirky Kid in Bologna at Stall Hall 25, Stand B6  at the Children’s Book Fair. Why not come and say “Bonjourno!”.

Take a peek!

To see the full range of Quirky Kid publishing products, have a browse around our catalogue at: https://www.publishers.asn.au/documents/item/670 and https://therapeuticresources.com.au/collections/by-quirky-kid

We will be sharing our time at the fair on our social feeds including Facebook, and Twitter, so be sure to follow us on our adventure!

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Basecamp @ Valli Jones

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Posted on by Leonardo Rocker (Quirky Kid Staff)

anxiety program by Quirky Kid

We are excited to welcome Valli Jones to Quirky Kid clinic as a program facilitator of our award-winning anxiety Program, Basecamp®. Already a facilitator of our Social Emotional Learning Program, Best of Friends, we are looking forward to working with Valli Jones to provide Basecamp® to their clients.

Basecamp® is an innovative anxiety program designed for children between the ages of 7 to 12. Developed by Clinical Psychologist, Dr Kathryn Berry, and the Quirky Kid team, BaseCamp® draws on decades of experience, combining a sound theoretical cognitive-behavioural approach with effective, engaging and child-centred activities. Winner of multiple International and Australian publishing awards, Basecamp® is being implemented by clinics and schools across Australia to assist children in learning how to manage anxiety.

About Valli Jones

Valli Jones is a Gold Coast-based psychologist with a special interest in child and adolescent psychology. Working from a holistic, person-centred perspective, Valli uses evidenced-based methods to assess and treat a range of common behavioural and mental health concerns. Valli holds a Master of Clinical Psychology, is registered with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency, and is a member of the Australian Psychological Society.

How Basecamp® will be implemented

Dr Kathryn Berry and our team of psychologists will work carefully with Valli Jones to implement the Basecamp® program. Key to the success of the program is ensuring that all facilitators are provided with comprehensive training and guided implementation to their students. Evaluation and monitoring tools will also be used to ensure the outcomes of the program are met and to develop ongoing individual intervention students anxiety.

Interested in offering Basecamp® at your school?

Valli Jones is one of a number of schools we are currently working with to implement our Basecamp® program. With St Monica’s and other incredible schools onboard, Basecamp® is recognised as a cost-effective, evidence-based intervention to assist children with managing their anxiety.

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. Just last week Basecamp received a Highly Commended mention at the 2018 Education Publishing Awards.

basecam awards

Contact Us or visit the program website to find out more about the program, and how you can meet and develop the needs of your students through The Basecamp® program.

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Understanding Childhood Depression

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Posted on by Leonardo Rocker (Quirky Kid Staff)

Feeling sad is normal but how can you know if your child’s sadness is indicative of a disorder? The following article discusses what childhood depression is, how it is diagnosed, and what to look out for if you have concerns for your child.

What is Childhood Depression?

Just as in adulthood, children experience a full range of emotions; from happiness and excitement to anger and sadness. According to a recent Australian government survey, 2.8% of children between 4-17 years met criteria for a major depressive disorder (Lawrence et al., 2015). Prevalence rates were higher in the 12-17 years age group, affecting more females than males (5.8% and 4.3% respectively; Lawrence et al., 2015).

Depression is a mood disorder characterised by periods of low mood for most of the day, most days for a period of two weeks (American Psychiatric Association [APA], 2013). How it presents and the severity in which it is experienced varies from individual to individual. In children, depression can present itself more like irritability than typical sadness (Australian Government, 2018).
There is no exact way to predict who is more at risk of developing a depressive disorder. It is a likely combination of biological predisposition (i.e. the child tends to focus on the negatives of a situation) and life circumstances. In children, key social stressors focus on pivotal times of change, including family conflict, friendship trouble and difficulties at school (Siu, 2016).

How is Depression diagnosed?

Diagnoses can be made by psychologists and psychiatrists using clinical interviews and observations in context to the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders or the International Classification of Diseases (DSM-5 and ICD-11 respectively; APA, 2013; World Health Organisation, 2018). Screening questionnaires like the Depression, Anxiety and Stress Scale (DASS; Lovibond & Lovibond, 1995), may be a useful tool to help discern whether an individual is experiencing clinical depression.

To be diagnosed, at least five of the following symptoms need to be observed over a minimum two week period. At least one of the symptoms is either depressed mood or loss of interest/pleasure (APA, 2013). Other symptoms include significant weight changes, sleeping difficulties, psychomotor agitation or slowing, fatigue, feeling worthless or guilty unnecessarily, reduced concentration, and/or thoughts of suicide. These symptoms need to be having a significant impact on different areas of your child’s life (e.g. socially, at school, at home).

Presentations will vary and an initial consultation between the child and psychologist and the parent would best determine whether they are expected to meet the criteria.

Early Signs to look out for

Identifying characteristics of depression in a child can be difficult. Concerns may arise due to the ‘absence’ of behaviours considered to be ‘normal’ development and the ‘presence’ of behaviours considered to be ‘abnormal’ development. Consider seeking help if your child is demonstrating the following behaviours (Australian Government, 2018):

Emotional Signs Physical Signs Behavioural Signs
Feeling Sad Weight gain or loss Difficulty sleeping (too much or little), nightmares
Saying negative comments about themselves or the world around them
e.g “I am not good at anything”
Feeling tired, lethargic. Hard to get your child motivated. E.g. ‘dragging their feet’ Trouble at school; with friendship groups or concentrating in class/grades slipping
Gives up easily, hopelessness e.g. “what is the point in trying, I won’t be able to do it” Deliberate harm to self No longer enjoying games or activities e.g. wanting to drop out of the soccer team. Avoids social interaction
Irritability, grumpiness Dizziness Changes to eating
Low confidence Tummy Aches Bed Wetting
Sensitive to rejection or being told no Cry easily Poor memory forgets details or doesn’t seem to listen
Indecisive Jumpy, cannot settle Risk-taking behaviours particularly in adolescence e.g. drug taking

 

Following diagnosis, recommendations for treatment are provided and they are tailored to each unique needs. Typically, the most common treatment for depression involves a cognitive behavioural approach (Australian Psychological Society, 2018). In addition to working directly with the child, treatment considerations may include working with the parents/carers and family systems to provide strategies to assist at home.

Remember that your child will experience good days and bad days. If you are concerned your child may be depressed, talk to them, and check in on anything that may be troubling them. This can be difficult as they may not know how to verbally communicate the issue. Be supportive and remember, what you might be able to cope with, your child may be finding difficult.

Strategies for Parents

Whether you are worried about your child exhibiting some of the aforementioned childhood depression symptoms, or you are looking to help prevent the onset of childhood depressions  symptoms, the following strategies may be used to support your child:

Keep your child active. Research indicates that children that participate in regular physical activity are more likely to exhibit fewer depressive symptoms in later years (Zahl, Steinsbekk, & Wichstrom, 2017).

  • Ensure a good diet. Changes to eating patterns is a key sign of depression (APA, 2013). Ensuring your child is well nourished with a balanced diet with limited refined sugar has been shown to foster better mental health in children (O’Neil et al., 2014).
  • Develop a good parent-child relationship. Parent rejection has been shown to have a strong relationship with childhood depression (McLeod, Weisz, & Wood, 2007). A parent that is actively involved in presents as interested and encouraging will help your child develop a healthy sense of self.
  • Social and emotional learning. Teaching your child to recognise different emotions and label them as they are being experienced can help them to better manage experiences of overwhelming emotion (Durlak, Weissberg, Dymnicki, Taylor, & Schellinger, 2008). It can also help your child to develop better social connections.

Seeking Intervention

Whether your child has a formal diagnosis or not, you know your child best. Start intervention as soon as you suspect that your child’s mood is detrimentally affecting their daily functioning.

Here at The Quirky Kid Clinic, our experienced team of Psychologists are more than happy to meet with you to discuss any concerns you have in relation to your child’s development and behaviour.

We always start with a parent only consultation to ensure that we get a thorough understanding of your child’s developmental history and a sense of your families identity, history and cultural dynamics. From here we provide an individualised case plan dependent on your child and families needs.

Please don’t hesitate to contact our friendly reception on (02) 9362 9297.

References

American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Washington, DC: Author.

Australian Government. (2018) Depression. Retrieved September 3rd, 2018, from https://www.kidsmatter.edu.au/mental-health-matters/mental-health-difficulties/depression

Australian Psychological Society. (2018). Evidence-based interventions in the treatment of mental disorder: A review of the literature. Retrieved from https://www.psychology.org.au/About-Us/What-we-do/advocacy/Position-Papers-Discussion-Papers-and-Reviews/psychological-interventions-mental-disorders

Durlak, J. A., Weissberg, R. P., Dymnicki, A. B., Taylor R. D., & Schellinger, K. B. (2011). The impact of enhancing student’s social and emotional learning: a meta-analysis of school-based universal interventions. Child Development, 82(1), 405-432. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.2010.01564.x.

Lawrence D., Johnson S., Hafekost J., Boterhoven De Haan K., Sawyer M., Ainley J., & Zubrick S. R. (2015). The Mental Health of Children and Adolescents. Report on the second Australian Child and Adolescent Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing. Canberra, Australia: Department of Health.

Lovibond, S. H., & Lovibond, P. F. (1995). Manual for the depression anxiety stress scales. Sydney: Psychology Foundation.

McLeod, B. D., Weisz, J. R., & Wood, J. J. (2007). Examining the association between parenting and childhood depression: A meta-analysis. Clinical Psychology Review, 27(8), 986-1003. doi: 10.1016/j.cpr.2007.03.001

O’Neil, A., Quirk, S. E., Housden, S., Brennan, S., L., Williams, L. J., Pasco, J. A., … Jacka, F. N. (2014). Relationship between diet and mental health in children and adolescents: A systematic review. American Journal of Public Health, 104(10), 31-42. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2014.302110

Parenting Strategies (2018). Preventing depression and anxiety. Retrieved from https://www.parentingstrategies.net/depression/

Siu A. (2016). Screening for Depression in Children and Adolescents: U.S. Preventive Services Task Force Recommendation Statement. Annals of Internal Medicine, 164(5), 360-366. doi: 10.7326/M15-2957

World Health Organisation (2018). International Classification of Diseases, 11th Revision (ICD-11).  Retrieved 21 August, 2018, from https://icd.who.int/browse11/l-m/en

Zahl, T., Steinsbekk, S., & Wichstrom, L. (2017). Physical activity, sedentary behaviour, and symptoms of major depression in middle childhood. American Academy of Pediatrics, 139(2). doi: 10.1542/peds.2016-1711

 

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Quirky Kid @ India

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Posted on by Leonardo Rocker (Quirky Kid Staff)

Quirky Join joins startup SSE India BootCamp

We are proud to announce that Quirky Kid will join 33 other startups on 10-day immersion bootcamp in India’s fast-growing tech startup ecosystem. Quirky Kid, an iAccelerated Company, will demonstrate and pitch our Beta Software, BriteChild as well as our Social and Emotional Education Systems and curriculum, like The Best of Friends Program.

An exciting partnership between the NSW Government and Sydney School of Entrepreneurship (SSE) today announced 33 startup hopefuls from across NSW who will join a 10 day immersion bootcamp in India’s fast-growing tech startup ecosystem.

SSE conducted an eight week talent search for emerging entrepreneurs across the NSW
innovation ecosystem, including its 11 member universities and TAFE NSW, to attract a
diverse mix of startups with a solid pitch, strong IP and a strong fit with the India market.

NSW Minister for Trade and Industry, Niall Blair welcomed the announcement under the Government’s $1.6 million innovation partnership between NSW and India to allow entrepreneurs greater access to markets and knowledge.

“Immersing this diverse group of NSW based startups in the Indian innovation ecosystem is
a sure way to drive innovation and creativity. The exposure and specialist mentoring they’ll receive on scaling a global business makes. The sky the limit for creating high growth companies. These emerging entrepreneurs will learn from India’s best and brightest, gaining direct access to global leaders in innovation who can guide their businesses in dynamic and fast developing technology markets,”

Minister Blair said.

SSE  Education and Training Director, Jonathan Jones sees huge potential for SSE’s next International Bootcamp to the thriving Indian innovation centres of Mumbai, Bengaluru, Pune and Ahmedabad.

“Connecting 33 rising stars with dozens of globally successful Indian startups and multinationals in four global Indian cities is a remarkable opportunity,”

said Mr Jones.

The shortlisted 33 participants will take an SSE Masterclass on doing business in India then
begin the 10-day bootcamp connecting with India’s diverse startup ecosystem The companies will spend 10 days in Mumbai, Ahemdabad, Pune and Bangalore from 27th of January.

Quirky Kid has recently returned from Brazil where our co-founders met with companies interested on our products and service.

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How Sarah Scully used Quirky Kid Resources with Clients in Canada.

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Posted on by Leonardo Rocker (Quirky Kid Staff)

Quirky Kid Therapeutic Resources in Canada

At Quirky Kid, we are committed to developing engaging and creative therapeutic resources and evidence-based programs (see Basecamp, The Best of Friends and Power Up) for use in clinics and classrooms around the world.

One of our most popular resources is the Quirky Kid Pack, which contains 11 resources for a range of applications. Each tool has been carefully designed by our team to assist clinicians in building social, communication, and self-awareness skills with their clients.

Their use and application have grown significantly since they were first published and we love hearing from our customers around the world about how they implement the resources in their clinic.

Recently, we were contacted by Sarah Scully, a Mental Health Clinician/Behavioural Consultant with the Developmental Disabilities Mental Health Services in British Columbia, Canada. Sarah reached out to share her experience in using the Quirky Kid pack. Her reflection highlights how this resource can be used with a diverse range of clients and settings.

Sarah’s team is made up of psychiatric nurses, mental health clinicians, behavioural consultants, art therapists and occupational therapists. They provide mental health services to people with an IQ below 70 and who live with a psychiatric illness or challenging behaviour.

Read Sarah’s case study:

I am fairly new to the Developmental Disabilities Mental Health Services team in Canada and had to deliver a presentation to my senior staff members, with the goal to work on our youth team as a counsellor, I shared my secret weapon…Quirky Kids resources.

I own and love the Quirky Kid Pack and presented on how I use these resources with my client population; adults with intellectual disabilities (ID).

Quirky Kid Therapeutic Resources with Clients in Canada

I shared how I use ‘Face It Cards to help my clients expand on their emotional literacy.  Somewhat similar to young children, many of my ID clients have the basics; mad, sad, happy and not much else. These cards help expand their emotional vocabulary and provide a fun way to notice the nuances of different facial expressions.  In learning new feelings and emotions my clients are able to start relating to and naming their physiological experiences.  By getting to understand what my client is feeling, I can support them and the people around them to enhance their mental health.  When a facial expression comes up that a client can not name, we discuss the possibilities of what the person is thinking or feeling, making it a great way to develop empathy.

I also told my tea how I use ‘Face It Cards’ in a projective way, helping my clients deal with a history of trauma, abuse or loss. I use the cards to enable my clients to speak about the picture they see, rather than themselves. There is often hidden gems of truth in the stories created by my clients, which can be used therapeutically. I have successfully used the cards to encourage conversation about past experiences, which can open up a dialogue and courage clients to share their stories and feelings.

 

There is often hidden gems of truth in the stories created by my clients, which can be used therapeutically.  I had one client who expressed, for nearly every card, “someone said something bad to her”, or “someone must have said something nice to her”.  This encouraged a conversation about her past experiences of being bullied as a child, which related to her current feelings of being unheard by her support team today.  These patterns can open up a new dialogue and encourage clients to share their stories and feelings.

I love to use ‘Tell Me a Story Cards’ as Icebreakers.  When meeting a new client, it helps to build trust and rapport while sharing information that you wouldn’t normally share, like the farthest you ever swam!  Poor self-esteem and negative self-talk is something I commonly see in the people I serve. I use the ‘Tell Me a Story Cards’ with clients to reinforce their accomplishments and obstacles they have overcome.

Finally, I like to use the ‘Just Like When Cards as social stories. Often, adults with disabilities have little in the way of social connection and may not understand social norms and behaviour.  These cards are a good way to explore social scenarios while talking through their personal experiences or making up stories based on the images.  These cards also encourage empathy for others.

 

Summary

One of the best things about these amazing resources is that, although they are meant for children, they are not immature.  They translate extremely well to adults with intellectual disabilities. So often, this population is infantilized and treated as permanent children as they struggle to establish their own independence as adults with extra support needs.  The Quirky Kid cards are a great way to meet my clients in a developmentally appropriate but respectful way.

I am happy to say that the presentation was a success and I was offered the position.  I am looking forward to kids aged 12-19 and hoping to get more use out of my ‘Likes of Youth Cards’!

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