Calling all Secret Agents!
Does your child love computer games? Do they love secret missions? Do they have a diagnosis of ASD, ADHD, Anxiety, or have difficulty with social and emotional skills? Then your mission is to join the Secret Agent Society!

Tell me more about the Secret Agent Society!

The Secret Agent Society (SAS) is small group program for children aged 8-12. When you enrol, you gain access to an animated ‘secret agent’ computer game. As a result, children remain highly engaged with the program.

Each week, your child comes along to a group session and learns with their peers. We focus on developing social and emotional skills. There are also several ‘parent only’ sessions throughout the program, which gives you practical advice on how to best support your child. In addition, SAS provides home and school ‘missions’, to help generalise your child’s skills.

SAS was developed in Australia. Noteably, the social and emotional skills of children enrolled have been shown to improve.

We target a range of skills in SAS, including:

  • Recognising and regulating emotions;
  • Conversation skills;
  • Play skills;
  • Social problem solving;
  • Managing change; and
  • How to respond to bullying.

Want to know more? Check out the official SAS website: https://www.sst-institute.net

Sounds great! Where can I sign up?

We are so excited to be offering the Secret Agent Society Small Group Program at Learning Curve Psychology!

Please call us (9768 9990) or email setforlife@lcpsych.com.au for more information.


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“Sentence Builder”

Age Range:     5 – 7 years
Format:           iPad, iPhone (requires iOS 7.0 or later), Android
Cost:                 $9.99

This month’s App is Sentence Builder. In order to build a sentence in English that is grammatically correct and makes sense, it is important for children to first understand the basic principles of sentence structures.

Sentence Builder helps your child learn about words, sentences, pronunciation, grammar, and punctuation.  The app starts with simple sentences and progresses to more complex sentences. The focus is on daily life situations, with many references to numbers, colors, and dialogue.

Each word can be clicked for the sound of the word, and words can be rearranged for your child to build a proper sentence.  They can start with the built-in sentences, then create their own sentences and use their own voice to record sentences and words.  The app can also be customised with your own pictures, words and sentences. There are two levels;

  • Level one is designed for kindergarten and first grade students
  • Level two is designed for first grade and second grade students

It is ideal for self-paced learning.  It can be used to teach your child grammar, sentence structure, and develops their listening skills.

Find it here (for Apple) or here (for Android).

App of the Month April 2017

For more information on getting the most out of this app, speak to your child’s psychologist.
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WritingByTheWindow (Learn)

Children with Dyslexia find reading and writing difficult

Dyslexia is the well-known term for a Specific Learning Disorder in reading.  It is the most common form of learning disability, accounting for 80% of all children identified.

Problems with reading, and related difficulties in comprehension, spelling and writing, are common experiences for those with dyslexia. Many people also experience difficulties with working memory, attention and organisational skills.

Dyslexia is characterised by:

  • Difficulties with accurate and / or fluent word recognition
  • Poor spelling and decoding abilities.

These difficulties typically result from an inability to effectively translate the basic components of language (phonemes) into words and sentences. This is despite being of average or higher intelligence and receiving effective teaching at school.

Secondary consequences may include a disinterest in reading and difficulties with comprehension, which affects growth of vocabulary and background knowledge of a topic.

How is dyslexia treated?

Dyslexia is a life-long condition. With proper help, most people can learn to read and write well. Early identification and treatment is the key to helping dyslexics achieve in school and in life.

Treatments include:

  • Systematic and explicit teaching methods that involve several senses (hearing, seeing, touching) at the same time; usually from a teacher, tutor or therapist specially trained in a multisensory, structured language approach
  • Individual support with structured practice and immediate feedback to assist development of automatic word recognition skills
  • Modifications to the school curriculum to support the individual. For example, extra time to complete tasks, help with taking notes, modified work assignments, taped tests or alternative means of assessment, listening to books on tape, using text reading computer programs  and writing on computers
  • Psychological support for emotional issues that sometimes arise as a consequence of difficulties in school

Check out this video from TedEd for a great summary!

For more information or to enquire about assessing for dyslexia, feel free to make an appointment with one of our Psychologists on (03) 9768 9990.


This resource is based on information gathered from AUSSPELD (uldforparents.com) and LD online (www.ldonline.org).
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Age Range:              Primary-school age
Format:                      iPad (requires iOS 5.0 or later)
Cost:                           $30.99

ConversationBuilder is an app that is designed to help primary school aged children learn how to have back-and-forth conversations with their peers in a variety of social settings.  Being able to converse with peers is fundamental to developing social relationships and children with autism spectrum disorder often have trouble maintaining conversations, which can affect their ability to develop friendships.  This app teaches your child the key elements and skills (e.g. when it is appropriate to introduce themselves or how to change the subject) needed to hold an appropriate conversation with a peer and it can help them rehearse, learn from mistakes, and ultimately have successful, back-and-forth conversations.

There are 3 built-in conversation types available in this app:

  • One on one with four exchanges: The student has four conversational exchanges with the virtual peer; each taking two turns when speaking.
  • One on one with eight exchanges: The student has eight conversational exchanges with the virtual peer, each taking four turns when speaking.
  • Group conversation with four exchanges: Each student takes turns having conversational exchanges with real-life peer.

In addition to the built-in modules, customised conversations can also be set up for your child. Conversations can be replayed to help your child analyse whether it was successful.

For more information on getting the most out of this app, speak to your child’s psychologist.

This app was reviewed by AutismSpeaks.

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lego (800x495)

What is LEGO®-Based Therapy? Essentially, it uses children’s natural love of LEGO® to motivate them to engage socially with peers. It can help with symptoms such as aloofness, shyness, rigidity and/or anxiety.

Research has shown children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), anxiety and depression can significantly improve their social competence through this therapy (LeGoff, 2004).

By providing an effective and engaging learning environment, your child can develop and master social skills. These include:

  • Turn taking;
  • Sharing;
  • Problem-solving; and
  • Compromising.

It is totally awesome, because children learn in an authentic way. This is due to the natural play environment, which makes it easier for your child to generalise their new skills.

In particular, children with ASD have trouble taking what they’ve learnt and applying it to different situations. This is what we call “generalising”. So the beauty here is that they are engaged socially with peers, making it easier to use the same skills in other social encounters!

Ok, I agree, it’s awesome! Where can I sign up?

We offer a LEGO®-based social skills group, called Brick-by-Brick. Sessions are run weekly throughout each school term. One of our registered Psychologists will guide and teach your child.

To find out more about Brick-by-Brick, check out our website here, call us on 9768 9990, or email setforlife@lcpsych.com.au.

If you think we need a Brick-by-Brick School Holiday Program, tell us! Be sure to let us know how often you would bring your child in over the holidays, plus how long you’d love the session to go for.

To read more about the awesomeness, check out this article: www.brickdave.com/how-to-learn-with-lego



LeGoff, D. B. (2004). Use of LEGO® as a therapeutic medium for improving social competence. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 34(5), 557-57. doi:10.1007/s10803-004-2550-0

LEGO® is a trademark of the LEGO Group of companies which does not sponsor, authorise or endorse this program.
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toilet training

You already know that toilet training can be challenging, tiring and messy. But did you know it could also be FUN? Research suggests that fun is not only beneficial to learning, but is key to effective information processing and long-term memory storage. Incorporating joy and excitement into the toilet training process can help your child transition out of nappies quicker. Here are four quick tips for making toilet training an exciting and successful time for your child.

1. Choose your own undies

Adjusting to the feeling of wearing underwear can be tricky for some children. Incorporate a sense of excitement into this big step by allowing your child to choose their first pair of undies.

2. Reward away!

Rewards can be used motivate your child’s progress, making toilet training positive and exciting. Rewards might include a special snack, a fun outing, a lucky dip or a sticker on a rewards chart. Be sure to break down the toileting process (from saying “I need to go” right through to drying hands) into smaller, achievable steps. This will help your child to experience lots of little victories, rather than just when they have mastered the whole process.

3. Become a bathroom cheerleader

We already know that you are your child’s biggest fan. Now it’s time to prove it! Using lots of enthusiastic praise and encouragement, along with rewards will motivate your child to persist with toilet training. Use descriptive praise by labeling the positive behaviour, and nonverbal praise such as clapping and smiling. You might even get your silly on by using noisemakers or party poppers to make toilet time feel like a party!

4. Watch Tom’s Toilet Triumph

Tom’s Toilet Triumph is a fun and easy way to introduce your child to toilet training. It is an animated short film designed to teach children the whats, hows and whys of using the toilet. Watch Tom’s Toilet Triumph with your child, pausing to talk about the key ideas. Tom’s Toilet Triumph can be purchased at the South Australian Government website or is available for viewing on YouTube.

For support in toilet training your little one, contact us on (03) 9768 9990 and make an appointment with one of our psychologists.

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Starting primary school is a big milestone for children and parents! While it can be an exciting experience, transitioning to school presents many changes and challenges that can be scary for a little prep-to-be! To help you and your child prepare for prep, we’ve rounded up four quick tips for making this transition a successful one.

1. Start ‘prepping’ now!

Transitioning to school does not only occur on the first day of school. It is a process that starts the year before prep, and will continue as your child attends their first days, weeks and months of school. Term three is a great time to start talking to your child about starting school and discussing some of the changes they will experience.

2. Take note of your child’s development

Starting school involves a complex interplay between several developmental areas. It is important to consider not only your child’s intellectual development (such as counting and recognising their name), but also their social, emotional and physical skills. If you’re concerned about your child’s development, we recommend that you speak to your child’s psychologist, teacher(s) or paediatrician. This is to ensure that appropriate targeted interventions can be employed to support your child’s transition to prep.

3. Prepare a social story!

Social stories are short, pictured descriptions of real life situations that can help young people understand or prepare for an event or activity. Social stories are a great way to help your child prepare for some of the changes and events that may occur at school. Check out this awesome list of apps and software programs designed to make creating social stories quick and easy.

4. Enrol in a school readiness program

School readiness programs are designed to support children transitioning to primary school by equipping them with new skills and knowledge, and exposing them to the demands and expectations of a classroom environment. Learning Curve Psychology offers a school readiness program called Ready, Set, Prep! This is an individualised program designed to specifically target your child’s developmental needs.

To find out more about more about Ready, Set, Prep! or for more information about school preparation, contact us on 9768 9990.


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boyonbike website size

Trying to avoid hearing the words, “I’m bored!” these school holidays? Here are some fun ideas to keep your little ones busy.

1. Go on a geocaching adventure

Geocaching is like a modern day treasure hunt. Using a GPS or smartphone, you and your kiddies can go on an outdoor adventure to search for buried treasure. To start your geocaching adventure or to find out more, download the Geocaching app on iTunes or go to the Geocaching website.

2. Check out The Snail and the Whale at The Melbourne Arts Centre

Does your child love stories and dramatic play? The Melbourne Arts Centre is presenting a dramatic adaptation of the storybook The Snail and the Whale, so your child can watch the tiny snail’s crazy adventures come to life on stage! More information about the play can be found on the Arts Centre Melbourne website. There is also a visual story available to download to prepare your little one for the big adventure!

3. Build a rainy day obstacle course

Help develop your child’s coordination and balance by building an awesome indoor obstacle course. All you need is some furniture, household items and a dash of imagination. The possibilities are endless. Check out some obstacle course ideas at the Family Education website.

4. Go on an outdoor scavenger hunt

Explore the great outdoors on a nature treasure hunt! Give your child a list of items that they can easily find in a park or in the backyard, such as sticks, pinecones, acorns etc. Visit Kidspot for inspiration.

5. Check out a sensory-friendly film

Sensory-friendly films make going to the movies stress-free and enjoyable for the whole family. Check out sensory-friendly movie times at Village Cinemas and AMC Theatres!




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shutterstock_269294021 resized

Visual schedules can be invaluable for helping children to shift between and perform tasks and routines independently. However, there are a few tricks to making good visual schedules and effectively supporting your child to use them.

1. Include images

Even if your child can read, be sure to include pictures in addition to written instructions. Your child will be able to refer to it at a glance, is more likely to visualise the next step in their mind, and won’t become as overwhelmed by following the schedule when they are tired.

2. Mark it off

Design the schedule with a method for marking off each step as it is completed. This will increase your child’s focus, organisation skills, and sense of achievement. Some options include: − Designing the schedule with a blank circle next to each step. Give the child a marker to tick off each step as they go. − Attach each step with Velcro or Blu-Tack. The child can then remove each task when it is completed and place it in a “finished” box, jar or envelope.

3. Make it visually appealing

Be sure to use background colours or designs that will appeal to your child. For example, if they are in love with Frozen or Star Wars, use Google images or stickers to decorate the schedule to make it visually appealing.

4. Begin with prompting

When you first introduce the schedule, your child will most likely require prompting to carry out the routine successfully. You may need to use verbal prompts for several days or even weeks. You may also need to physically walk with your child to guide them from one task to the next.

5. Fade the prompting

When your child is beginning to understand the process of their visual schedule, reduce the amount of prompting you provide. This includes allowing them to move from one task to the next independently, providing less verbal support and by keeping some physical distance between you and your child.

6. Provide reinforcement

When your child carries out one step on their schedule independently, use positive reinforcement to encourage and reward the behaviour. Positive reinforcement may include enthusiastic verbal praise, a cuddle or high-five, or offering a small reward such as a sticker. As your child becomes increasing proficient at performing the steps independently, gradually reduce the reinforcement to simply praising them when they have completed the whole schedule.

For more information about making and using visual schedules, call us on 9768 9990.

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Education research has shown that preparation for school readiness begins from the moment a child is born (Hart and Risley, 2003). In particular, the amount of language that a child hears before age three has a significant impact on their developmental trajectory, processing speed, and ultimately, their educational success. Therefore, creating a language-rich environment goes a long way towards preparing your child for school.

Luckily, creating a language-rich environment is easy. Dana Suskind (2015), author of Thirty Million Words: Building a Child’s Brain, offers the “Three T’s”–talk more, tune in and take turns–to simplify the way we think about producing a language-rich environment.

1. Talk more

Talk to your child as often as possible, and encourage them to talk to you. Whether you’re changing their nappy, eating dinner or walking around the shops, initiate a dialogue (or monologue!). Tell your child about your day, express your thoughts and feelings, ask questions, narrate what you are doing, and share your ideas, regardless of their age. Use a wide, vibrant vocabulary. For example, rather than saying, “Do you want a carrot?” say, “Do you want a crunchy, juicy, orange carrot?”

2. Tune in 

Pay attention to what your child is interested in, and talk more about that. Adults and children alike naturally pay more attention to a conversation when the topic is something that we find engaging. So if your child is really into Stars Wars (like my five-year-old nephew is right now!), initiate and maintain conversations about that topic. Even (or especially!) if you know nothing about your child’s interests, ask lots of questions to get them talking.

3. Take turns

As much as possible, think of and treat your child as a legitimate conversation partner. Even before they have learned to speak or babble, respond to their gestures and facial expressions as authentically as possible. When they do begin to speak, give them time to talk, and then respond appropriately. Use eye contact, and expressive pace, tone and volume to model the various aspects of spoken language. This prepares them for the conventions of conversation, and equips them to be effective talkers and listeners.

Thoughts to share? Add a comment below or join the conversation on our Facebook page.



Hart, B., & Risley, T. R. (2003). The early catastrophe: The 30 million word gap by age 3. Retrieved from http://www.aft.org/ae/spring2003/hart_risley

Suskind, D., & Suskind, B. (2015). Thirty Million Words: Building a Child’s Brain. United States: Dutton Books.

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