Tag: Education

Managing Attention Difficulties

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Posted on by Leonardo Rocker (Quirky Kid Staff)

What is attention?

Attention is the cognitive process of concentrating on one aspect of the environment while ignoring other things. Examples of attention include listening to one conversation while ignoring others that are going on in a room, or focusing on what is happening in the classroom when there is a sports lesson going on outside.

How can I tell if my child has difficulties with attention?

Children with attention difficulties often display some or all the following behaviours:

  • Making careless mistakes in schoolwork
  • Difficulty sustaining attention during a task or when playing
  • Seems to not listen when spoken to directly
  • Doesn’t follow through on instructions and doesn’t finish schoolwork
  • Difficulty organising complex tasks
  • Forgetfulness
  • Loses important items
  • Avoids or dislikes activities that need long periods of concentration, such as school projects

Is it Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD)?

Not all children with attention difficulties have ADHD. All children will have periods of inattention at some point for various reasons such as being tired, hungry or disinterested in the current task. Children with ADHD display inattentive and hyperactive behaviours more often and intensely than other children the same age. Diagnosis of ADHD is a lengthy process that can be completed by a pediatrician,  psychologist or psychiatrist.

How can I manage my child’s attention difficulties at home?

  • Maintain eye contact with your child when giving instructions, and have him repeat instructions back to you so you can be sure he has understood.
  • Keep the daily routine as predictable as possible, and prepare your child for changes in her routine.
  • Keep verbal directions clear and brief.
  • Provide healthy food options to enhance energy and concentration.
  • Ensure your child has regular sleep and wake times for adequate rest.

How can my child’s attention difficulties be managed in the classroom? 

  • Provide the child with low-distraction work areas, such as being seated near the teacher’s desk, and away from temptations such as toys or computers.
  • Establish specific classroom rules and follow them consistently.
  • Surround the child with classmates who will serve as good role models.
  • Where possible, write instructions down as well as giving them verbally, as written instructions serve as a reminder to stay on-task.
  • Break large activities into small achievable steps,  only giving the next instruction once the first step has been completed.
  • Provide positive statements and praise when the child is focused and on-task, and decrease the focus on negative behaviours.
  • Schedule more difficult or demanding tasks at the best times for concentrating, usually mornings.
  • Allowing the child extra time to complete difficult tasks where possible.

We offer a range of services, workshops and individualized consultations to support children with attention difficulties or ADHD. Please contact us for more information

Information for this fact sheet has been gathered from the Better Health Channel, Raising Children Network, and child psychologist Kimberley O’Brien. Prepared by Psychologist Jacqui Olsson.

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Auditory Processing Difficulties

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Posted on by Leonardo Rocker (Quirky Kid Staff)

What is Auditory Processing?

Auditory Processing refers to the brain’s ability to recognise and interpret the sounds from the surrounding environment. People with Auditory Processing difficulties do not process information in the same way as others, as their ears and brain to not completely co-ordinate. Something adversely affects the way these people recognise and interpret sounds, particularly the sounds involved in speech. People experiencing these difficulties may be diagnosed with Auditory Processing Disorder (APD).

What are the symptoms of Auditory Processing Disorder?

People with APD may have difficulties with the following tasks:

  • Focusing on the voice of one person in noisy environments
  • Remembering instructions given verbally
  • Distinguishing between similar words, such as slime/climb, thin/thing etc
  • Filtering out background noise
  • Sustaining attention for periods of time
  • Participating appropriately in discussions with groups of people, such as in the classroom.

They may also show academic difficulties, behavioural difficulties and/or social difficulties.

Could it be something else?

Before your child is diagnosed with APD, it is important to rule out the following issues:

  • Hearing loss
  • Learning difficulties
  • Attention problems such as ADD
  • Other language problems
  • Major developmental difficulties such as Autism

What can I do if my child is experiencing Auditory Processing Difficulties?

Auditory Processing Disorder is best treated by an Audiologist or Speech Pathologist. However, the following strategies may be implemented to make some tasks easier for your child.

  • Try to make sure that his learning environments (both at home and at school) are as quiet as possible when the concentration is required.
  • Ask your child’s teacher if she can sit at the desk closest to the teacher’s desk, so the teacher’s voice is loud compared to others.
  • Give your child written instructions for homework, chores, etc so he can refer if he has forgotten.
  • Break instructions into small, achievable steps and give small rewards or verbal praise when each step is completed
  • Visual cues for tasks at home and at school should be provided to aid your child in understanding what is required of her
  • Ensure you have your child’s attention (e.g. eye contact) before speaking to him
  • Check that your child has understood what has been said to her by asking her to repeat or summarize the instructions she was given

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Information for this fact sheet was taken from the Children, Youth and Women’s Health Service website; National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (2004), and from Child Psychologist Kimberley O’Brien.

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Parenting Gay Children

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Posted on by Leonardo Rocker (Quirky Kid Staff)

Some parents may find it very difficult to discover their child is homosexual. Common reactions  on learning that your child is homosexual include shock, disbelief, disappointment, sorrow, guilt and confusion.

Furthermore, parents also may also  feel as though they have done something wrong, that their way of parenting was inappropriate or that they have failed in some way.  Some feel embarrassed about other people finding out, or worried about how others will react.

On the other hand, parents may feel joy, proud and contentment with  the good communication with the family.

Below are answers to common questions we are asked about  parenting gay children:

Why did my child choose to be gay?

  • Being gay is not a simply a choice. Sexual orientation comes from within a person, and is part of a person’s whole being. It is not caused by anything parents have done, and can’t be changed by anything parents do. The choice your child has made to come out means that he is ready to accept who he is and live happily.

Is it a phase?

  • It is a normal part of development for a child or teenager to feel unsure about their sexuality. However, if your child tells you he or she is gay, then he or she  is usually sure that is how he or  she is. When they  tell you ‘I am sure’, they  need you to believe and support them.

Why didn’t our child tell us earlier?

  • For a child to tell his parent that he is gay takes great courage. He may feel worried about hurting you or feeling guilty about you losing some of your dreams, such as natural grandchildren. The main reason young people withhold this information for so long is  fear of rejection by parents, or other family and friends. The longer it takes to come out, the more this fear grows.

Is my child different now?

  • Your child has not changed just because she has told you about her sexuality. There are many parts to your child that you know and love that have not changed, such as what she does, what she likes, and the many things that make up the person that she is.

Coming to terms with these changes

  • Whatever your response is, you will be grieving in some way because every change involves some loss (as well as some gain).
  • You might find it helpful to talk it over with people who understand what you are going through.
  • Coming to grips with this information and accepting it takes time and there are no hard and fast rules as to how long it will take. It is different for everyone and there is no one right way.

The number one thing is to make sure that your kids are safe and accepted no matter what they do – it’s that unconditional love that they need.  Try not to become too attached to the future in terms of the fulfilment of your own hopes and dreams.  Be supportive of the individual choices your children make, and just see what happens.

The Quirky Kid Clinic can help parents and families with communication strategies as well as dealing with common issues that may  arise when a family member communicates his sexuality.   For more information, book to our ‘Sort it out’ workshop or please contact us for more information or to schedule an appointment.

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Bullying @ Channel 10

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Posted on by Leonardo Rocker (Quirky Kid Staff)

Kimberley O’Brien, our principal child psychologist, discussed bullying with the presenters of the ‘7 pm project’ on Channel 10. You can find more information on bullying including practical strategies for parents  by  visiting our resources page or discussing it on our forum.

You can watch the segment below. Please wait until the end of the segment. The video contains advertising and some strong images.

The Quirky Kid clinic runs a great program called  ‘The Best of Friends’™ that playfully address social issues within the school setting

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.

Gay Children @ essential baby

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Posted on by Leonardo Rocker (Quirky Kid Staff)

Kimberley O’Brien, our principal child psychologist, discussed sexual identity and homosexuality amount children with reporter Justine Davies from Essential Baby. You can find more information on how to discuss sexuality with your children by  visiting our resources page or discussing it on our forum.

The Quirky Kid clinic runs a workshop called ‘Sort it out” that discuss sexuality and family communication. You can book online.

You can read the full article at  ‘Essential Baby website.’

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.

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