Working with children and their families is a very stimulating and rewarding experience. At the Quirky Kid Clinic, we embrace the uniqueness each child brings to our clinic and ensure all treatment and intervention is tailored to match the needs of each family. As clinicians, we use a wide variety of techniques and I’d like to share one with you.
The ‘All About Me’ Map
Engagement is a foundational and fundamental part of treatment. As clinicians we know how important it is to build engagement with a child before more formal therapeutic work begins. Research tells us that there is a significant positive relationship between the therapeutic alliance and treatment outcomes (Lambert & Barley, 2001).
My first session with a child is always about engagement, hearing all about them, the things they love, the important people in their life and the things they would like some help changing. Children often find it difficult to talk with a stranger in the first session and that is why we use our paper and textas to draw a special Map, all about them.
This activity typically provides enough space for children to be open and engaged, as children focus on drawing and writing, with no pressure to make eye contact with the clinician, who is positioned alongside the child and offers assistance with writing if the child requires.
How it’s done:
The Map typically starts with the child being asked to draw a circle in the middle of a big piece of butcher’s paper and then to write their name and age in the middle.
From there, the child can draw a map, full of mountains, oceans, or all the things they love or places they don’t love so much, with each used as a discussion point for the clinician. Remember to be curious! General areas that could be covered include things that the child enjoys, extracurricular activities, school, friendship connections and supports.
Some questions I ask to help children reflect upon what they enjoy (and to add to their map) include:
If it were raining outside and you had to stay indoors all day, but you could choose to do anything you liked, what would you choose?
If it were a mum day, what would you and mum choose to do together?
Who do you hang out with in the playground, what do you do?
Is there anything important that I haven’t asked you about that needs to go on your map?
After we have completed all the things that the child enjoys or things that are going well, we might draw some waves or special areas that the child chooses, to include the things that the child would like some help with.
Questions I ask around are:
Are there things that you might worry about, what about at school, home, with others/friends?
What sorts of things might make you feel angry?
Do you ever feel sad? What about?
If you lived in a perfect world, what sorts of things would have to change to make it perfect?
This activity is also helpful in assessing things from the child’s perspective, garnering the child’s level of insight, assessing whether the child’s goals align with the parental goals for treatment, allowing the child time to express the things they might be concerned with and offers hope to the child that you understand them and can support them.
This year Quirky Kid is a proud sponsor of the College of Educational and Developmental Psychologists 2017 Conference being held in Brisbane next month.This year theme is ‘live well, learn well… throughout life’. The conference brings together researchers and practitioners in the field of Educational and Developmental Psychology to reflect on the contribution of theory and research to practice.
The conference will feature presentations from renowned Australian and international experts on five conference streams:
Early childhood and early intervention
Mental health across the lifespan
The 2017 program includes an exciting combination of keynote addresses and presentations, networking opportunities and workshops.
The conference is open to all psychologists whether practitioners, educators, researchers or clinicians from all states and territories of Australia as well as interested international participants. Members are also keen to invite others interested in educational and developmental psychology to expand the depth and breadth of interaction around these extremely important professional skills and knowledge.
Conference attendees will get the opportunity to hear from high profile presenters and internationally recognised keynote speakers including:
Professor David Kavanagh
Dr Doug Shelton
Dr Anne Chalfant
Dr Caroline Bowen
Dr Leander Mitchell
Professor Bob Knight
Dr Suzanne Vassallo
Dr Annabel Battersby
Where you’ll find us:
Quirky Kid will have it’s very own display stand featuring all of our most popular programs and products such as The Best of Friends ®, Power Up! and many more! We will be around to talk to other conference attendees so come by and say hello!
Where and when:
Conference: Friday 7th of July, 2017
Venue: Rydges, Southbank
9 Glenelg St,
South Brisbane QLD 4101
We hope you enjoy this resource as an easy-access portal to all of our recent collaborations, interviews and publications. Kimberley O’Brien and the Quirky Kid team are committed to contribute to various publications and media outlets on topics of interest to parents and families alike.
The Sydney Morning Herald: Kimberley discusses the topic of children and performance, stemming from children’s version of The Voice.
The Daily at 2SER Radio: Kimberley spoke about the impacts of childcare on children, especially overnight childcare and staying with at-home carers.
The Morning Show: Kimberley discusses video game addiction.
702 Mornings: Linda Mottram interviews Kimberley about social issues at school.
Wake Up on Network Ten: Kimberley speaks about Play Therapy.
The Daily Edition, Channel 7: Kimberley speaks about children and extreme sports.
2SER – Real Radio 107.3 FM: Kimberley discusses the psychological impacts of being a child bride.
Good News! The Quirky Kid Clinic is now a registered provider under the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).
About the NDIS
The NDIS is aimed at providing increased access to services for people living with disability. The funding scheme is designed to provide the right support according to each person’s needs and goals. It supports the delivery of specialised individual therapy, and individual assessment for early childhood intervention.
Eligible families can access services from a panel of Service Providers, like the Quirky Kid Clinic, to help cover the cost of early intervention. Please ask us about which psychologists you can see and the services you can access using your NDIS plan.
In NSW, the NDIS will be rolled out by district. When the NDIS commences in a district, people currently receiving supports through New South Wales Government specialist disability services will be moving first. Existing Commonwealth and state-based services and supports will continue until eligible people with a disability start their plans with the NDIS.
To begin, if you have an agency or managed plan, please call our reception on + 02 9362 9297 (make sure to mention the NDIS) and we can organise an initial consultation with one of our psychologists, to formulate a plan moving forward.
If you are not currently receiving disability supports you can apply to access the NDIS from the 1st of July 2018 (only those in urgent or exceptional circumstances). You may meet the access requirements up to six months prior to the NDIS phasing in your area. You can use the checklist on the NDIS website, to see if your child meets the NDIS rules.
For more information on how you can use your NDIS funding with the Quirky Kid Clinic, please call + 02 9362 9297 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Children present with a whole range of interesting characteristics. Amazing vocabularies, confidence in the company of adults, endless creativity and emotional intelligence beyond their years. While others struggle with background noise and refuse to put pen to paper due to sensory issues and perfectionism. The start of a new school year is often when parents decide to have their children assessed to gain clarity and direction for the year ahead. Armed with information for teachers, parents are empowered by an expert opinion.
Deciding to seek a professional opinion can take months or years of deliberation. Some put off an assessment in the hope their child will ‘catch-up’ or ‘settle down’ with maturity. Others proactively seek a standardized assessment with the view to access evidence-based intervention as soon as possible. In my experience, young people respond positively to intensive support tailored to meet their needs in the home, school and community setting. They thrive with extra attention and understanding.
A significant event or developmental milestone, such a starting kindergarten, changing school or starting secondary school may trigger parents to make an appointment with a psychologist. Common goals for intervention include ‘behaviour management strategies‘, ‘greater classroom support’ and ‘to help my child maintain friendships’. Whatever the precursor, the assessment process begins when parents engage in a joint appointment to provide background information. The initial interview is an opportunity to learn more about the child’s developmental history while gaining a detailed account of the child’s presentation at home and school.
Many parents bring school reports or previous assessments to pinpoint their child’s strengths and weaknesses. Telephone consultations are often recommended between the teacher and the psychologist to gather current insights into any social or behavioural issues. The information provided by teachers and parents is essential to establish the best way forward. The psychologist’s plan is referred to as a ‘case plan’.
A case plan may include a selection of standardized assessment tools to be administered in the clinic setting; playground and classroom observations or programs to be facilitated with same-aged peers. Popular goals identified by young clients in their initial appointments are often on par with developing academic confidence, gaining independence and establishing organizational skills. For children, this often equates to greater understanding from the adults around them, as opposed to frustration or pressure to perform. For parents and teachers, the assessment process often brings about clarity, direction and initiates a team approach to solving the issues.
In some cases following an assessment, parents and teachers are divided by a diagnosis or lack of diagnosis. According to some parents, pre-school teachers have been known to confidently diagnose Autism based on observation alone. We also hear from schools seeking “a DSM-V diagnosis” in order to apply for funding. In these circumstances, a psychologist is likely to suggest a case conference at the school, involving parents and teachers to mediate around the pros and cons of a diagnosis or a label.
Semantics aside, most parents are more interested in the recommendations included in an assessment, as opposed to a diagnosis. This detailed list of practical ideas is designed to harness individual strengths while addressing areas in need of support. Community-based programs, such as daily swimming or kid’s yoga courses, often compliment clinic and classroom interventions.