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Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

02
Nov

“ReachOut Orb”

Age Range:        Year 9 & 10 students

Format:               iPad (requires iOS 8.0 or later), Desktop (requires Windows® 10+, XP/Vista or later or Mac OS X 10.7+)

Cost:                     Free

ReachOut is a Mental Health organisation committed to supporting young people and their parents. They have developed an educational game for use on iPads or Desktops (PC or Mac), which can be used for Year 9 and 10 students within a health education, mentoring or tutoring environment. It is designed to help students identify and use their strengths, develop and sustain positive relationships, enhance positivity and build resilience.

“ReachOut Orb” is a world where colour has been drained by “The Glitch”, a negative force wreaking havoc across the land. Students create their own avatar, which is based on their individual strengths; and must navigate through quests in order to restore colour to the world. Their positive energy or “orb” must be recharged daily, by recording three good things about their day. These activities encourage students to view their lives more positively, use their strengths to navigate through quests, build resilience and develop skills for maintaining positive relationships with others.

The game has been designed using positive psychology principles and is linked to the Australian HPE curriculum and General Capabilities. It is simple to use and students can progress at their own speed. Psychologists may also use it within therapy sessions, with no gaming experience required to follow the step-by-step guide.

To read more about this app, visit the website here.  To download the app, register here (for the info pack and PC download) and click here (for Apple).

For more information on getting the most out of this app, speak to your child’s psychologist.
01
Oct

“Kept Me”

Age Range:         4 years plus (Parents, Teachers & Students)

Format:                iPad, iPhone and iPod touch (requires iOS 7.0 or later), Android (requires 4.2 or later)

Cost:                     Free (Teachers can opt for paid version)

KeptMe symbol

A great solution for parents and teachers alike! “KeptMe” provides a secure platform to document, plan & communicate a child’s educational journey.

Built by parents (who happen to be IT security experts), their vision was to create better communication between home and school. Also, instead of the “shoe box” full of school work, it safely stores and tracks a child’s progress. A lot of time was spent in consultation with teachers around the world to ensure the app could be used within a set curriculum, streamlining planning and documentation, as well as making communication with parents easy.

Teachers can upload photos, create stories, link a child’s activity with the curriculum and generate reports based on the government frameworks and any specific school needs. They can share moments with parents in real time and parents can respond, providing a rich portfolio to further plan for the student’s needs. Any school events can be shared so nothing is missed. Everything is securely stored so a student’s journey can be revisited year after year. Students can also access their information as they mature.

Sounds like a win-win-win to us!

To read more about this app, visit the website here.  To download the app, click here (for Apple) or here (for Android).

For more information on getting the most out of this app, speak to your child’s psychologist.
22
Sep

“Chemical Maze”

Age Range:   12 years plus (Mostly for Parents)

Format:           iPad, iPhone & iPod touch (requires iOS 7.0 or later), Android (requires 2.1 or later)

Cost:               $7.49 (Android) – $10.99 (iOS)

Bill Statham wrote a book called “The Chemical Maze”, which has been revisited over the years due to the growing need from consumers to be informed about what they’re eating or using on their skin. Hailed as an easy-to-understand guide to the sometimes complex ingredient lists on our food and cosmetics, it’s now in an even easier to use app format!

All you do is enter the name or the code of the listed ingredient. The app then provides a description of what it is, what it does and any potential harmful effects. Even better, it gives you a green smiley face, orange worried face or red sad face to clearly indicate visually what’s good, what’s ok and what’s best to avoid!

 

We love this app because it’s a useful tool for educating young people about making healthy food choices. The coloured faces are perfect for visual learners.

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.
17
Aug

“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.
01
Jun

“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.
16
May

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:

Physical

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

Psychological

  • 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.

 

 

 

01
May

“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.
20
Apr

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.

 

Questions?

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

04
Apr

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.

 

01
Apr

“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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