Tag: Professional Development

006: How to Stimulate a Young Inventor with Angelina Arora

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Posted on by Zoe Barnes

For the sixth episode of Impressive, a young scientist by the name of Angelina Arora, the inventor of bioplastic, tells the story behind her interesting work and how it has been taking her to greater heights. Also, she shares the insights that she gained while on her journey towards success.

Listen up as we explore:

  • How Angelina’s parents supported her passion for science and inventing.
  • How to seek out a support network of teachers, professors and mentors to make your dreams a reality.
  • How to find friends who are equally passionate about their own endeavours, while balancing schoolwork with international research.

Enjoy the Episode

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About Impressive

Impressive is a weekly podcast that sheds a new light on the world of parenting. Join host, Dr Kimberley O’Brien PhD, as she delves into real-life parenting issues with CEOs, global ex-pats, entrepreneurs, celebrities, travellers and other hand-picked parents.


Lunch and Learn 2017 re-cap + 2018 plans

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Posted on by Leonardo Rocker (Quirky Kid Staff)

'Lunch & Learn' Sessions at Quirky Kid

We love learning at Quirky Kid and are always working to create a learning culture within our team. Our “Lunch & Learn” sessions are one of the many ways in which we try to develop new skills. The sessions are fun, practical, and informative opportunities to learn from industry-leading experts and expand our knowledge of emerging topics around current child development and family issues.

Lunch and Learn sessions are held regularly at our clinics in Sydney and Wollongong and are open to anyone with interest in the topic to attend. We recognise that attendance is not always possible, and have therefore included (below) a summary of the background of the guest presenter and of the topics presented to us in each of these sessions to-date, for those who are interested or would like a quick review.

Register your interest for the upcoming 2018 professional workshops at our workshop pages.


Dianne Starkey has been working as a psychologist for the past 41 years specialising in the treatment of children, adolescents and adults. Previous workshops that Dianne has run include trauma treatment, attachment theory and the treatment of attachment disorder, and court assessments and reports.

Dianne shared her wealth of knowledge on:

  • Identifying and assessing risks as psychologists
  • Community Services Mandatory Reporters Guide and safeguarding children
  • Rights and legal requirements of a therapist, as well as appropriate behaviour and emotion regulation of a therapist in family court
  • Preparing and presenting a therapy report to the court
  • “Do’s” and “don’t do’s” when preparing or presenting therapy reports


Lesley Harrison represented The Office of Children’s eSafety Commissioner for this Lunch & Learn session. Her presentation provided a great insight into the extent that young people are accessing material online and using social media.


With social media and access to technology becoming more available, we gained a great deal from this Lunch & Learn session, covering :

  • Developmental stages that children go through and how these stages are affected by screen time
  • Technology-Facilitated Abuse (TFA), which is an issue in the online world for young people and reporting TFA
  • Most common types of online TFA are: name-calling, threats, cyberstalking, social humiliation, sexual harassment, offensive language, sharing without consent, or repeated requests
  • Gaming and the potential for gaming to become an addiction. Strategies were suggested for parents to protect their children from over-using or even becoming addicted to computer/console gaming


Dr Rebecca Sng is a Clinical Psychologist and Clinical Family Therapist. Rebecca has a great deal of knowledge and lived experience in the area of working within Narrative Therapy.


Rebecca covered the foundations of Narrative Therapy such as:

  • Focusing on the concept of storytelling such as re-storying or re-authoring (rewriting or changing one’s view of a certain story
  • Skills used in this approach which include retelling a dominant story as an alternate story, using an outsider as a witness and Externalisation
  • Narrative therapy acknowledges ‘Migration of Identity’ where an individual shows a public acknowledgement of a preferred identity



Professor Stuart Johnson is a highly regarded researcher and teacher at the University of Wollongong. He is passionate about non-drug treatment alternatives for children with AD/HD.

Stuart’s Lunch & Learn session focused on:

  • A tool that Stuart and his team recently created to treat the core problems in ADHD. The device (which is a bluetooth EEG recorder and computer generated games) aims to manage behavioural inhibitions and improve performance on tasks due to being under aroused
  • The most significant area to focus on when treating children with ADHD is working memory and cognitive training
  • Children with ADHD are “under-aroused”, that is, they seek external stimuli to self-stimulate, therefore it is important to train them to maintain focus and be able to meditate to feel calm.



With almost 20 years experience in clinical psychology, Louise Shepherd has developed a passion for Acceptance & Commitment Therapy (ACT) and has grown as one of the leaders in this field within Australia.

This flexible parenting session:

  • Covered key skills to educate and equip families in flexible parenting with ACT
  • Explored how ACT can help parents to ride the emotional rollercoaster whilst staying true to their heartfelt desires and values for raising healthy and well-adjusted kids.
  • Addressed key concepts and exercises that might help a therapist working with parents.


Stephanie Meades is passionate about creating positive change in people’s lives through empowerment and education of positive lifestyle change. As a certified GAPS (Gut and Psychological Syndrome) practitioner and passionate advocate, Steph presented on the following:

  • How behaviour, mental health and gut health can be tied together
  • Tips for reducing damage to gut health such as avoiding processed foods and chlorinated water, feed your body with nourishing foods and avoiding sugar
  • Provided empirical evidence for probiotic supplementation demonstrating positive improvements in reducing anxiety-like behaviours, reducing depression-like behaviours, improving learning and memory, improving response to emotional stimuli – emotional processing and reducing self-reported feelings of sadness and aggressive thoughts.


Mark is from a behavioural perspective background and currently works at the Child Behaviour Research Clinic of the University of Sydney. Marks Lunch & Learn session discussed:


  • How “attachment parenting” is becoming a buzzword in Australia and how the people associated with attachment are causing doubt and suspicion in the public for those who follow the behavioural research
  • How some of the attachment articles out there claiming behavioural practitioners are causing trauma and harm with ‘time-out’ procedures
  • Maintaining the behavioural integrity of an intervention, and also to include ‘attachment’ type concerns 

Register for the upcoming workshops

Register Today



Tools of the Trade: The ‘All About Me’ Map

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Posted on by Leonardo Rocker (Quirky Kid Staff)

'All About Me' Map

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.

All About Me

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.

Our Tell Me A Story Cards are a great addition to this activity.


Publication Link


Quirky Kid @ Gold Sponsor at the 2017 Educational & Developmental Conference, Brisbane

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Posted on by Leonardo Rocker (Quirky Kid Staff)

Educational & Developmental Conference 2017, Brisbane | Quirky Kid.

This year Quirky Kid is a proud sponsor of the College of Educational & 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
  • Disability
  • Ageing

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.

The speakers:

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






Lunch & Learn @ Quirky Kid

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Posted on by Leonardo Rocker (Quirky Kid Staff)

'Lunch & Learn' Sessions at QK

We love learning at Quirky Kid. Every day our team review articles, attend workshops and complete hours of clinical supervision.  We are really excited to invite you to our HQ’s so we can all learn together. Welcome to our ‘Lunch & Learn ‘ sessions – a fun, practical, informative and yummy learning space at our Sydney and Wollongong clinics regularly.

The ‘Lunch & Learn’  will provide practical and informative 60 – 90-minute sessions to expand our knowledge in emerging topics and current child development and family issues. Topics that we will be addressing are:

  • Eating Disorders
  • Acceptance Commitment Therapy
  • Writing Reports for Family Court
  • Cyber Bullying
  • Self Care for Psychologists
  • ADHD
  • Many Others

Each session will be different to the last with highly regarded professionals in the field presenting on a range of different topics.

Who Should Attend

‘Lunch & Learn’ sessions will be beneficial for any psychologists, school counsellors, teachers and health or educational professionals working with young people.


Workshops will be run on a not-for-profit basis and subsided by Quirky Kid.
‘Lunch & Learn’ sessions will cost between  $35 and $50 (+GST) only. BYO lunch (so long as they aren’t too messy, and no nuts to be safe). Drinks provided.

What to Bring

A pen, paper, a smile and you laptop for notes. 
If you want to get the most of ‘Lunch & Learn’ we recommend that you come prepared with questions for the speaker. The sessions are intimate in size so there will be a great opportunity to interact with the speakers, other professionals and to ask questions.

Upcoming Sessions are:

  • Friday, 23rd June 12:00 – 1:30pm (Sydney)
    Writing Therapy Reports for Family and Children’s Court – The Do’s and Don’ts by Dianne Starkey.
  • Monday, 3rd July, 12:00 – 1:30pm (Sydney)
    eSafety. Looking out for Children and Adolescents Online by The Office of Children’s eSafety Commissioner
  • Friday, 14th July, 12:00pm – 1:30pm (Austinmer)
    Narrative Therapy. What and Why by Rebecca Sng
  • Friday, 21st July, 12:00pm – 1:30pm (Austinmer)
    Non-drug Approach to treating ADHD by Stuart Johnson
  • Friday, July 28, 12:00 pm – 1:30pm (Sydney)
    Flexible Parenting. How can Acceptance Commitment Therapy (ACT) Help? by Louise Shepherd
  • Friday, 1st September, 12:00pm – 1:30pm  (Austinmer)
    Can Food Affect a Child’s Behaviour? by Stephanie Meades
  • Friday, 22nd September, 12:00pm – 1:30pm  (Sydney)
    Time-Out in the Age of Attachment and Trauma Informed Treatments



Lunch & Learn Session will take place in

  • Sydney – Level 1, Unit 2, 83-85 Queen Street, Woollahra
  • Wollongong –  Unit 105, 62 Moore Street, Austinmer

Register Your Interest

(Register your interest in order to get updates on times and dates for our upcoming speakers).