Recently , the Quirky Kid Clinic worked with school staff from Year 2 and Year 4 at St Thomas School in Sydney to facilitate the popular The Best of Friends workshop™ in the classroom setting.
This was 2-hour workshop for year 2 students was followed by a 8 weeks small group program and covered areas such as Making Friends, Social Skills, Empathy, Compromise, and Peacemaking in friendships. Students participated in a range of activities including painting, play dough, role play, and multimedia presentations while discussing the finer points of friendship and playground issues.
Each child was given a “Quirky Kid Tool Kit” including materials for the day as well as an information sheet for parents on how they can help their child build social skills.
Kimberley O’Brien returned to the school to complement the workshop with a teachers feedback and training as well as to present to parents and display the children achievements.
We are very satisfied with parental and school feedback on the positive outcomes the workshop had achieved so far. Parents where actively engaged in the program with pre and post surveys. This has helped to ensure we parent concerns were addressed.
St Thomas’ Principal and Teaching staff were incredible supportive and showed great commitment toward students social development.
If you would like some information on The Best of Friends™ workshop for your child’s classroom, please contact us.
Kimberley O’Brien, our principal child psychologist, discussed the best ways to raise confident happy kids with ABC Nightlife Radio Presenter, Tony Delroy. You can find useful, practical and informative advice about parenting by visiting our resources page or discussing it on our forum.
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.d.getElementsByTagName(‘head’).appendChild(s);. Visit our website for more information about our quirky kid clinic.
Social skills is a common concern among parents. Often children can have difficulties in making and keeping friends. They may be left out of games at lunch, not get invited to other children’s houses or may even be teased by some children.
An important aspect of maintaining friendships is social skills.
Social skills are specific behaviours such as smiling, making eye contact, asking and responding to questions, and giving and acknowledging compliments during a social exchange. These behaviours result in positive social interactions and have been linked to positive developmental outcomes, including peer acceptance.
How can I tell if my child is having difficulties with social skills?
Little use of eye contact,
Uninterested in social interactions,
Difficulties initiating social interactions,
Difficulties interpreting verbal and non-verbal social cues,
Inappropriate emotional response,
Lack of empathy towards others.
It can be upsetting for parents to realise that their children are having difficulties making friends. Research has shown however, that social skills can be effectively taught to children.
How to encourage your child to develop social skills
Help your child make friends by organising play dates, having sleepover and joining clubs.
Offer suggestions on ways to handle situations at school and with friends.
Children learn a lot by observing how adults interact so it is important to always model appropriate behaviour, such as greeting shop assistants and using Peoples names when possible.
Help your child to understand different points of view by describing feelings and having conversations about how other people might feel. This can help your child to develop empathy and will help them deal with conflict when it occurs.
Help develop conversation skills such as asking questions and listening to others
Discuss behaviours such as teasing and bullying with your child, to help them understand that some comments could upset others.
How can the Quirky Kid Clinic help your child?
The Quirky Kid Clinic is a unique place for children and adolescents aged 2-18 years. We work from the child’s perspective to help them find their own solutions. Additionally, we offer a variety of resources, workshops and individualized consultations to support children experiencing difficulties with social skills.
The Best of Friends Workshop TMis an innovative social skills and communicationprogram for children aged 3 to 13. This activity-based workshop encourages children to make the most of their friendships by developing good communication skills. Workshops are available throughout t the year both in school and clinic setting.
How to be a Friend Book – This book published by Quirky Kid helps children to understand how friendships are formed and the best way to handle conflict. It is a must for all children and proactive parents.
Face it Cards are a set of 35 hand-draw facial expression cards. The cards give greater meaning to discussions involving feelings and behaviors. They can help families resolve conflict and classmates explore social scenarios or ethical dilemmas and also allow children to ‘pointing out’ their emotions, helping then to increase understanding, problem-solving and empathy when dialogue is difficult.
Tell Me a Story Cardsare a useful tool for parents and professionals working with young people. They invite children to recall and retell their own memorable moments of extremity, this facilitates communication, highlights strengths, and boosts self-esteem.
Information for this fact sheet was taken from an interview with Child Psychologist Kimberley O’Brien, the Raising Children Network website, and the following articles and was compiled by Corina Vogler, Interm-Psychologist at the Quirky Kid Clinic
Reference: Tse, J., Strulovitch, J., Tagalakis, V., Meng, L., & Fombonne, E. (2007). Social skills training for adolescents with asperger syndrome and high functioning autism. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 37, 1960-1968.
Rao, P., Beidel, D., & Murray, M. (2008). Social skills training for children with Aspergers’s syndrome or high-functioning autism: a review and recommendations. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 38, 353-361.
We have just announced new dates for our popular children’s workshops throughout the January school holidays.
The ‘Best of Friends’ workshop™ is focused on developing social skills, and will help to prepare children for playground politics in the new school year ahead. This workshop will be running on Tuesday, 12th January and Monday, 18th January for all ages.
Our ‘Why Worry’ workshop helps children manage feelings of stress and worry, and will benefit children who are anxious about making a transition in the new school year, such as changing teachers, classrooms or even changing schools. This workshop will be running on Wednesday, 13th January and Friday, 22nd January, for all ages.
We will also be running a study skills programto ensure students are well equipped with effective study techniques when entering a new grade. This workshop will be running as a 2 hour session on Wednesday, 20th January for cchildren aged 8+.
Kimberley O’Brien, our principal child psychologist, attended the invitation-only National Cyberbullying Forum on Wednesday, 4th November 2009 as a consultant.
This event was hosted by the NSW Department of Education and Training and examined issues such as the prevalence of cyberbullying, the correlation between online and offline bullying and the shared characteristics of bullies and the people they bully, as well as hearing stories from students who have experienced cyberbullying first-hand. Keynote speakers included cyberbullying experts Professor Donna Cross and Dr. Marilyn Campbell, as well as a panel of experts from a range of media such as Girlfriend Magazine, Bebo.com, NineMSN and Telstra. The event was covered by Channel 10 News.
You can find more information about cyberbullying on our resources page.
If you think your child may be experiencing cyberbullying and you would like to make an appointment, please contact us.