Frequently Asked Questions

My child is performing below grade level at school, what should I do?
Whenever there are concerns about your child’s learning ability or academic performance, a full Psycho-educational assessment is important.

Psycho-educational assessment involves the use of ‘gold standard’ measures that assess a child’s level of IQ (cognitive functioning, academic potential) and Achievement (academic skills such as reading, spelling, mathematics, written language, and oral language). Commonly used IQ tests are Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence (WPPSI IV Australian), Wechsler Intelligence Scales for Children (WISC-IV Australian), and Woodcock Johnson Cognitive Battery (WJ III Australian). Commonly used Achievement tests are Wechsler Individual Achievement Test (WIAT-II Australian), Wide Range Achievement Test (WRAT-4), and Woodcock Johnson Achievement Battery (WJ III Australian).
Learning disabilities/difficulties do not refer to your child’s IQ deficiencies, rather to difficulties in acquiring basic academic skills (ie spelling, phonemic awareness & phonemic decoding, numerical operations) needed for reading, writing, listening, speaking and mathematics.

How can I help my anxious child?
About 1 in 10 children have problems coping with anxiety. Because anxious children are often well behaved and shy, the symptoms can easily be overlooked. However, most parents know if their child is excessively anxious which disrupt daily functioning. Anxiousness will usually be obvious in the things children do or the things they won’t do. Most anxious children are keen to talk about their worries if parents take the time to ask, express a genuine interest to hear and actively listen.

Children can have heightened anxiety about parental separation, social situations, specific fear of change such as starting school, particular objects or situations like dogs or water, or being responsible for something terrible happening (ie fire, burglary).

There are effective evidence-based programs to address anxiety/fear among children based on the principles of cognitive behaviour therapy. These programs involve teaching children and parents essential skills for managing anxious feelings and helping children to face their fears. They focus on identifying and changing children’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviours in relation to their anxiety.

The evidence indicate that children who complete these programs show marked improvement in school attendance, academic achievement, confidence, number of friends and involvement in extra-curricular activities and decreases in worry, fear and family distress.

Why my child is so angry?
Childhood anger often relates to a child feeling misunderstood, falsely accused, unfairly treated or insecure. Another reason for childhood anger is that it works for them at least in the short-term.  Children learn very quickly how to control their parents and the environment. If anger and screaming win power and control, children will use it more and more often. And, as a child’s anger escalates, some parents may try to soothe them by giving in to their demands, or try to please them in an effort to calm them down.

When Does a Child Need therapy?

If you are concerned about your child’s anger, take time to answer the following questions.

> How often does my child become angry?

> How long does my child’s anger last once it has started?

> How intensely does my child experience anger?  How aware is my child of his/her own anger?

> Is this anger and its expression age-appropriate?

> What will happen to my child / us if I don’t seek professional advice?

After answering these questions, if your child’s anger seems a cause for concern then you should seek professional advice to better understand which discipline strategies are most effective for your child and when. Each child is different, even twins react differently. Just because a strategy works for your child in one situation doesn’t mean it will work in another situation. Again, just because a strategy works for your first child doesn’t mean it will work for your second child. Anger looks like different at different ages, and the factors that underlie anger can be really complex.

How long does therapy take?
The length of therapy depends on many factors such as age of the child, nature and complexity of the issue, needs / goals of the therapy, child’s motivation to work towards the needs / goals and so on. Generally, most psychological issues can be addressed within 6-12 sessions, but it is difficult to pinpoint before the therapy takes place. Some simple issues may only require 2-3 sessions, while other complex issues may require longer-term commitment. For majority of children with genuine commitment, it will take around 3 to 4 weeks before they / parents notice some changes.