Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category


“FOCUS On the GO!”

Age Range: 4-9 years (Plus Parents!)

Format: iPad, iPhone & iPod Touch (requires iOS 7.0 or later), Android (requires 4.1 or later)

Cost: Free

This month’s App comes all the way from the Nathanson Family Resilience Center at the University of California, Los Angeles. “FOCUS On the GO!” utilises 4 skill-building games to assist families with communicating and understanding feelings. It has more than 40 levels to support multiple age groups. Particularly useful are the strategies it provides, which teaches children problem-solving skills and techniques for calming down when feeling overwhelmed.

The app is not just for children, it’s designed to engage all members of the family – it even has a “Family Check Up” section, which shows your progress and provides a personalised summary of your family’s strengths! It also has a Resources and Videos section, which contains articles and clips to help further family resilience building.

So combine your family’s screen time and help Buddy Bear learn how to share his feelings!

Find the app here (for Apple) or here (for Android).

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

“Mind Yeti” Mindfulness App

Age Range:              5 – 12 years (younger or older possible with modifications)

Format:                     iPad, iPhone and iPod touch (requires iOS 10.3 or later)

                                   Also available via the website MindYeti.com

Cost:                          Free (or paid premium version)

You may have heard the term “mindfulness” a lot lately, as it is becoming a widely accepted practice for both children and adults. It is a simple, yet effective, way to bring calm and focus to your life.

Using mindfulness in education, in particular, has been shown to:

  • Improve student attention
  • Improve social-emotional skills
  • Increase pro-social behaviour
  • Decrease aggression and symptoms of depression

(To read more about this research, click here)

Mind Yeti is a website/app that provides guided mindfulness sessions for kids, which can help your child to calm down, relax and de-stress; bring more focus to their school work; get along with others; and get to sleep easier.

mindfulness app

It uses the cartoon “Yeti” to guide your child through the process of becoming more mindful. The free version gives you access to 12 guided audio sessions, which you can access and revisit any time.

Find the app here (for Apple) or check out the website here.


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

We’ve heard the term “anxiety” thrown around a lot, but what is it really? And is it affecting you or your child?

Anxiety is a vague unpleasant emotional state, which can involve worry, distress, and uneasiness. It’s the body’s response to danger when we face challenging or dangerous situations.  It’s completely normal to feel tense or scared when we feel threatened.  A degree of anxiety is actually useful in certain situations, as it helps keep us alert and focused.

Sometimes, however, these feelings can be constant, overwhelming, and debilitating.  It becomes a problem when the fears and anxieties interfere with everyday life.

Some tell-tale signs of anxiety

There are both physical and psychological symptoms you or your child may experience – we’ve listed some of the most common ones below:


  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness
  • Rapid heart beat
  • Sweating
  • Feelings of choking
  • Muscle tension
  • Headaches


  • Feeling tense and restless
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Crying
  • Withdrawal
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Irritability
  • Tantrums
  • Clinging to parents or guardians
  • Excessive fear and worry

The symptoms you or your child experience can vary depending on what has triggered the symptoms and also on the type of anxiety. Some of the common types are Generalised Anxiety Disorder, specific phobias, separation anxiety and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

When should I ask for help?

If you notice the presence of these symptoms for 6 months or more, or if they are impacting on your (or your child’s) everyday life, then it may be helpful to seek support. You may find you have developed your own strategies to cope with these feelings, which may not be the most helpful in the long run. Children in particular may avoid the situation (the trigger) or rely on their parents to “fix it”. This in turn can increase the anxious feelings and make it more difficult for the child to cope with everyday stresses at home, school and social settings.

When looking for support, your GP or Paediatrician is a good starting point.  They can refer to a psychologist under a Mental Health Care Plan, which gives you access to a rebate through Medicare (see our Medicare blog for more info on how this works).  A psychologist can help you or your child understand these feelings and develop appropriate coping skills to manage anxiety.

So, anxiety is not a dirty word! It describes feelings that we all experience, and it’s ok to ask others for support if it starts impacting our daily lives.


If you would like further information on anxiety, or have concerns or questions about a loved one, call us on (03) 9768 9990 to arrange an appointment with one of our psychologists.





“Breathing Bubbles”

Age Range:            5 – 10 years
Format:                  iPad, iPhone (requires iOS 8.0 or later) and Ipod touch
Cost:                        Free

Breathing Bubbles App

Emotional wellbeing is critical for healthy development in young children. Breathing Bubbles is an app that helps kids practice releasing worries and focus on good feelings.

Breathing Bubbles helps children identify how they feel and asks them to decide whether that emotion is helping or hurting them. Use Breathing Bubbles in a one-on-one situation when a specific student needs a moment to express their worry or joy in order to refocus their attention on learning. Teachers might also use Breathing Bubbles in conjunction with a more traditional mindfulness practice: Have each student type a joy or worry and, as students are breathing with the app and watching the bubble, speak positive narratives and self-talk.

The app teaches children to:

  • Identify and label their immediate feeling (happy, sad, worried or angry)
  • Identify how strongly they are experiencing that feeling
  • Choose whether to release a worry or receive a joy
  • Use breathing techniques to manage their immediate emotion

Find the app here (for Apple) or here (for Android).


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

Medicare Questions

So what’s the deal with Medicare?

One of the most common questions our admin team receives is “what will I get back from Medicare”? This can be tricky to answer, because it often depends on individual circumstances. First, let’s go through the referral process step-by-step.

Step One: Get a referral

Before you can receive a rebate, your GP, Paediatrician or Psychiatrist have to assess you (or your child). So, make an appointment with a doctor you are comfortable with and chat about why you’d like to see a psychologist. The doctor will give you the most relevant referral (or referrals).

Step Two: Send us your referral

We love to receive your referral before you come in! That way we can check everything’s in order, so you don’t miss out on your rebate. We’ve put together information sheets on the different types of referrals we receive, which explain what’s required and where to find more information. Check them out here.

Step Three: Track your sessions

The trickiest thing about Medicare is that they track your rebates by calendar year. Let’s have a look at how it works:

  • You see your GP in November 2016 and they refer you under a “Mental Health Care Plan”, which allows us 6 sessions
  • You see us for three sessions before the New Year hits
  • You have three more sessions in 2017 before going back to your GP for review
  • According to Medicare, you have a total of 7 more sessions to use in 2017
  • A GP review gives us 4 more sessions, so you would need another review in 2017 to access the other 3 sessions

Confused yet? Don’t worry, you can always check in with us to see when you need another referral!

Step Four: Arrange referral reviews

Medicare place restrictions on how many sessions can be referred at one time. So, for example, a “Mental Health Care Plan” can give you up to 6 sessions at a time. Once you see us for 6 sessions, your psychologist sends a report back to the doctor. You then need to make an appointment for a “review”. We’ll let you know when this needs to happen!


So what will my rebate be?

This is the part where what you have already spent on medical appointments adds up! The Medicare Safety Net tracks all of your out-of-pocket expenses (not bulk billed) within a year. Once you hit the threshold for your particular situation, Medicare will give you a higher rebate for the rest of the calendar year. It resets each January 1st.

The standard rebate amount depends on the type of referral and the type of psychologist you see. Medicare also review their rebate amounts periodically. This is why we suggest calling them with the item number, which you can find in our information sheets (see Step Two). You can also go to www.mbsonline.gov.au and search the item number – the rebate (“benefit amount”) will be listed at the end of the description.



Hopefully we have helped explain the deal with Medicare! Have more questions? Comment below or jump onto our Facebook page and ask away! Alternatively, call (03) 9768 9990 or email info@lcpsych.com.au


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.



“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.
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 (http://www.ldonline.org).


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.


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: http://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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