#Resource Diary Entry 42: #Sleep and #Nightmares

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Great activity book including therapeutic stories, activities and reflections about different issues associated with sleep and nightmares. Activities include (only to name a few) sentence completion suggestions, bed time plans and nightmares recording maps. Neon is a character that is helping the child to overcome fears and anxiety in relation to bedtime. He invites a team of helpers and provide CBT based guidance through the activities. The later part of the book has a guide for the adults supporting the child.

Bedtime is often a topic of conversation in consultations with parents. Children with anxiety and low moods often report difficulties sleeping in their own bed, falling asleep or staying asleep. In situation where children are processing more difficult life situations such as parental separation, school and friend issues, or traumatic events such as loss and many other significant issues, children also report difficulties with sleeping patterns.   However, there is a limited resources in this area. This is resource is so welcome.

This book offers particularly helpful activities and a framework to support children and parents. The book is full of colourful illustrations. A particularly helpful resource for the toolkit.

Treisman, K. (2019). Neon and Ninja: Activity Book for Children who struggle with Sleep and Nightmares. Jessica Kingsley Publishers: London and Philadelphia.

#Resource Diary Entry 41:Helping Children Bereaved by Suicide

img_0510.jpgAlthough a particular sensitive issue, this book is well presented by gently introducing a number of important issues related to a parent dying by suicide.

First, the character is experiencing feelings of isolation and helplessness which evolve as the story develops into loss when trying on his father’s clothes in the garden shed. Questioning and anger become significant feelings which lead to breaking an object that belonged to his father. This leads to a discussion with his mother about his questions and feelings.

His mother answers his questions about suicide and reasons why. The explanations are simply put across outlining ‘illness of the brain’. A discussion also takes place about not being able to say goodbye and his father still loving him, being proud of him. Tearful, they together decide about how they could remember him and initiate specific gestures that can help with loss and grief.

The book’s illustrations are colourful and representative of significant feelings of loss and grief. For example, it refers to seasons later in the book. A great resource to have for those more difficult situations which require sensitivity and exploration of important issues about being bereaved by suicide.

Normally, E. (2011). The Little Flower Bulb. Veritas Publications: Dublin.

#Resource Diary Entry 40: #Dyslexia

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I recently assessed children who really needed some help in understanding their difficulties in reading and writing. This book presents a number of related issues associated with reading and writing difficulties such as feelings, needing to practise and hidden talents. This book would support discussion about self-identity, strengths, uniqueness and supportive interventions such as the need to persevere through difficulties.

This book would serve well as part of specific recommendations following an assessment for the child, family and teacher. It could also be used as part of individual session when a child needs support in understanding oneself and initiate the development of discourses around finding one’s talents.

Moore-Mallinos, J. (2018). It’s Called Dyslexia. Barron’s Educational Series/Gemser Publications.

#Resource Diary Entry 39: Listening to My Body #mindfulness #sensations #feelings

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Great book for lots of different purposes. The author talks about different feelings and sensations and how these can be different and how to understand these. The book is interactive where the listener is asked to practise deep breathing or other mindfulness activities. I liked the approach such as allowing space to discuss sensations and how these are different to feelings. I also liked how different sensations and feelings are discussed in one book.

I used this in a session this week. The child was able to explain more specifically sensations and feelings using this interactive book. It also felt like we were able to try strategies so the child left the session with a few things to try.

This book could also be used as a classroom workshop or a small group activity. I would estimate this book is most appropriate for children age 5-10.

The adult reading this book should be prepared to animate and interact with the child/children whilst reading the book. There may be needs for some stops and discuss, and also practise.

An essential book for the toolkit!

Garcia, G. (2016). Listening to My Body. Take Heart Press.

#Resource Diary Entry 38: #ANewYearforAllStudents #Transition #GoodLuck

Students are starting a new academic year! How exciting! Some may be nervous, as well as excited, some may be confident and others shy. We all deal with a new experience in different ways.

When working with students about new beginnings, I like the image of the hot air balloon: leaving some people ashore, as well as needing to pilot your own destiny and mastering skills needing to be flying alone. When students are having difficulties or are anxious about a new start, we draw a hot air balloon and we explore feelings of saying goodbye as well as the important skills and strengths the student has to fly alone. We write all of these on the drawing. I also do some goal setting such as ‘what the student would like to do more of’, ‘where the student is at now?’ and ‘where the student would like to be?’

This activity can also be done with students in a small group. Feeling and strength cards can also be used if student(s) find it more tricky to identify feelings and strengths.

Good Luck to all students starting the new academic year! You all have skills and strengths to commence this new adventure!6l6kclmersu4t3vfl4w6ua.jpg

So Excited! #2019planning

Taking some time ‘semi-off’, not all off as life tends to always be somewhat busy such as looking after the kids during the summer holidays, preparing camping trips, catching up with writing reports and on my blogs and completing unattended administrative jobs.

I am also taking some time to think about what is coming up this year. There seem to be endless opportunities and different directions I would like to take in terms of professional goals and vision. There are a few projects on the line, some firmer than others, with some particularly exciting time ahead.

My website/blog on global migration A Toolkit to Opportunities and Challenges as Global Families was accepted for the Families in Global Transition Conference 2019 in Thailand as a co-hosted presentation and session. I am so excited to be going to Thailand (never been before) and also so excited to get to know this organisation more in-depth and making my debut as a presenter. You can follow the Families in Global Transition #Figt2019. I continue to support Overseas Psychologists in Australia via our Facebook page and wish to write a few other texts on my website.

I am setting up an ‘Aspie Girls Group’ in Mornington. I am excited to implement this project as it feels that girls and parents so need this support. This project was accepted as a poster presentation at the College of Educational and Developmental Psychologists Conference in Hobart in March. Again, I have never been in Hobart so looking forward to this experience. I have really enjoyed connected with Ed and Dev colleagues at the APS Conference so looking forward to this opportunity. When moving abroad, one of the hardest thing is to find people that are inspiring and continue to support you so it has been to meet many on conferences. I have connected with a number of colleagues locally and on-line and hoping to continue to nurture these links through peer supervision and meet up. Being in private practice can sometimes be isolating so connecting with like minded psychologists is always such an enriching experience.

Essential Toolkit When Working in Schools as a Psychologist has gained thousands of views so I am hoping to maximise this and offer some on-line training in the first instance. I would also like to write a few other similar posts. I aim to continue writing about resources on website as I feel this is important for teachers and parents to have access to some interesting literature on topics of interests. In line of books and and resources I also have a few ideas around this, but still in infancy in terms of projects.

There are a few other projects and news, but need to be waiting to announce these until all is finalised…5xz85ca0rr+tuzv6npyplw

 

Transition to School Activities during the Summer Holidays

As many may be enjoying the summer holidays, time if flying by and a transition to a new school may be looming. An amazing adventure ahead, it may also be nerve racking and full of emotions. We are currently experiencing just that at the moment so I thought I would share some specific activity ideas that parents can do with their child in transition to ease these big emotions and build some foundations and protective factors prior to starting school.

Transition to School Activities during the Summer Holidays

  1. Talk about what is required in the new school: school uniform, resources and books. Make a list of what is required and a timeline as to how and when these items will be purchased or acquired.
  2. Invite a friend who is going to the same school shopping for new equipment and resources to support relationship building and anchor points prior to starting school.
  3. Arrange playdates or activities with a child who is going to the same school. This will help connections and relationship building.
  4. Try the new uniform on, do practice runs of the morning routines to help build fluency and confidence in new routines.
  5. Get ready for the new year by getting a diary or a calendar. Look at dates of events with your child and write these on the calendar. Discuss events coming up in the new year.
  6. Have a walk on the grounds of the school (where permitted). If the grounds are opened, bring a ball and get some time around the grounds to familiarise yourself with the environment. Talk with your child about what you notice: where buildings are, how long it might take from one building to another, where to meet for pick up, etc. Make it fun, motivating and enriching.
  7. Build in the day some enjoyable activities that are self-directed and organised so your child learns independence without structure. This may help develop inner motivation and self-confidence.
  8. Notice your child’s strengths, qualify these, discuss these: ‘what does it feel like when you use this strength’, ‘what are the results/outcomes’, ‘how did you go about it’, ‘what made it a positive experience’. Compliment positive skills and habits.
  9. Encourage learning moments that are incidental (part of daily living) and spark interesting and motivating conversations about specific topics such as new topics coming up at school. Encourage learning as part of family life such as playing games (Scrabble, Boggle, card games, chess). Games help developing social skills as well as motivation and curiosity for learning. Similarly, encourage your child to read or participate in a learning activity (experiments, arts and crafts).
  10. Have a jar with specific inquiry topics where your child picks a topic and goes off to extend knowledge on that topic or make something related tot he topic. Alternatively, put posters of specific topics in the bathroom, the hall or bedroom to stimulate conversations about different topics and build confidence about learning new topics.
  11. Continue to establish routines (although in the summer holidays the family may have a slower pace of life) where your child is contributing to family life and structures such as doing their chores and helping around the house. This may help developing self-discipline and time management. Encourage discussions around goals, structure, values and boundaries about the year coming up such as realistic expectations, ‘doing our best’, self-organisation and discipline, etc. Ask your child to list a few goals for the year and ways to achieve these. Conversations about values are important as a family as they tend to be the foundations of the rules and boundaries established in the family.
  12. Most importantly, ensure the family has time to recharge batteries of energy and implement specific self-care strategies such as time to relax with some structured and unstructured time so that imagination, creativity and problem-solving are promoted.

What an amazing adventure ahead!

 

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