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29
Jul

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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21
Jul

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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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24
Jun

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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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26
Feb

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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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14
Dec

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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.

 

References

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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09
Dec

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For many children with autism, Christmas isn’t always the exciting time that it is for their typically developing peers. The silly season often brings an onslaught of bright lights and loud sounds, as well as changes to routines and unwanted surprises that can leave a child with ASD (and their family) in a not-so-jolly mood. We’ve rounded up three of the best tips for making this Christmas a little more autism-friendly for your cheeky elves.

1. Santa loves social stories

Create social stories to prepare your child for some of the changes and events that they will encounter over the holiday season. Social stories are easy to make using Boardmaker Online, or one of the many social story iPad apps.

Social stories should include information and pictures that provide your child with the opportunity to mentally prepare themselves for a potentially challenging event. For example, a social story about Christmas Day might include photos of the family and friends who will be there, the food your child might eat, the games they will play, and so on.

2. Winter-wonderlanding, ASD-style

Involve your child in the Christmas decorating process as much as possible as this will help them to cope with and adapt to changes in their physical surroundings. Be thoughtful about the decorations you use, paying special attention to items that may overload your child such as flashing lights or talking Santas. Be aware of the effect these might have on your child when visiting friends and family. Though asking your hosts to turn off the Christmas tree lights isn’t everyone’s idea of holiday cheer, it’s certainly better than coping with a Christmas meltdown!

3. Structure in the silly season

Whenever possible, continue to carry out your regular family routines in order to maintain some predictability for your child during Christmas time. Though it is important for children with ASD to learn to cope with change and unexpected events, we must remember that they will be working particularly hard over Christmas to cope with all sorts of other challenges, inputs and demands. Therefore, preserving some normality and providing ample down time is key to helping your child cope with the additional inputs and festive demands.

Do you have any other tips for making Christmas more autism-friendly? Add a comment below or join the conversation on Facebook!

For more information about these and other ideas for supporting your child this silly season, contact us on 9768 9990.

 

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