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Emotional Coaching

Posted on 10 August, 2020 at 4:20 Comments comments (4078)

Dr. Gottman identified four “types” of parents in his research that reflect stereotypes we often learn ourselves, or from our peers, as children:


The Dismissing Parent disengages, ridicules or curbs all negative emotions, feels uncertainty and fears feeling out of control, uses distraction techniques, feels that emotions are toxic or unhealthy, uses the passage of time as a cure-all replacement for problem solving.

Effects: Children learn that there is something wrong with them, cannot regulate their emotions, feel that what they are feeling is not appropriate, not right, and abnormal.

The Disapproving Parent is similar to the dismissing parent but more negative, judgmental and critical, controlling, manipulative, authoritative, overly concerned with discipline and strangely unconcerned with the meaning of a child’s emotional expression.

Effects: Similar to the dismissing parenting techniques.

The Laissez-Faire Parent (is endlessly permissive, offers little to no guidance about problem solving or understanding emotions, does not set any limits on behavior, encourages “riding out” of emotions until they are out of the way and out of sight).

Effects: Kids can’t concentrate, can’t get along with other others or form friendships, can’t regulate their emotions in a healthy way.

The fourth and last “type” of parent identified by Dr. Gottman is not a common stereotype, perhaps because it isn’t negative, or because when we were kids, playing with Tommy and Phoebe on the playground, they didn’t really understand what made their parents so “good.” This “good” parent is what Dr. Gottman calls The Emotion Coach. When you look back on memories of your own childhood, you may recognize that some of the strategies below were used by your parents when you felt the closest to them – when you felt that they could really relate to you, when you were truly understood.


The five essential steps of Emotion Coaching:


Be aware of your child’s emotion

Recognize your child’s expression of emotion as a perfect moment for intimacy and teaching

Listen with empathy and validate your child’s feelings

Help your child learn to label their emotions with words

Set limits when you are helping your child to solve problems or deal with upsetting situations appropriately

Effects of Emotion Coaching: Your child’s mastery of understanding and regulating their emotions will help them to succeed in life in a myriad of different ways – they will be more self-confident, perform better in social and academic situations, and even become physically healthier.


This weekend, when your child expresses negative emotions about something, or misbehaves in some manner, try to figure out the underlying cause of their feelings. Put the steps of Emotion Coaching to work in your relationship with your child. Try the following exercises in the next few days, and discover the benefits of these strategies!


Show your child respect and understanding in moments when they feel misunderstood, upset, or frustrated. Talk through their feelings with them and try to understand their source.

Be aware of your child’s responses to your method of working through the moment with them.

In difficult interactions, make your child feels your empathy, by patiently validating their feelings and getting to the root of their expression.

Instead of focusing on your parental agenda in these situations, show your child that you respect their attempts to solve problems, and guide them with trust and affection. Work through these experiences together.

Neurodiversity therapy

Posted on 23 July, 2020 at 0:10 Comments comments (4873)

Neurodiversity therapy recognises the strentghs of the non neurotypical student or adult. In the words one of these people who posted this on the internet to explain it from the client's point of view we attach this previous post:


They Were Wrong

by Quincy

Well, folks, it’s official. I am a high school graduate! Well, technically I’ve been “graduated” since May, but the school held the actual ceremony this week. Despite the delay, I walked across the stage and got my diploma last Thursday on the school's football field.


cap toss

Black graduation caps with gold-colored tassels are tossed into the air against a cloudless blue sky. Image labeled for fair use.

I think that for everyone a high school graduation is a moment of relief and achievement that has come at the end of a long and tiring journey. For me though, this is especially surreal given my background. School has been generally very difficult for me. Simply being in the classroom every day was too much. There was a period of time five or six years ago when the narrative was that I would never graduate from high school. In fact, school counselors and therapists (supposedly people who were supposed to be on my side) explicitly said this several times.


Well, they were wrong, because here I am very much a high school graduate. I've hinted at my story regarding school before, but I'll elaborate on it a bit more here. In middle school, the school administrators (and many teachers) took the approach of focusing so much on what they deemed "disruptive behaviors" that they didn't bother to try and actually work with and teach the "challenging kid," or figure out why it was I couldn't get through a school day without some sort of "burst-out." There seemed to be this culture of low expectations for anyone who couldn't go through a school day just like the other kids. And honestly, it wore on my mental health. I became so anxious and depressed from constantly getting in trouble for not being able to control my body and impulses, from having most of the other kids in the middle school seemingly resent me, and from overhearing hushed conversations through closed doors that I would never amount to anything.


Every day felt like a roulette wheel; a random roll of the dice as to whether I'd have a meltdown, or be sent to the office and spend the rest of the day in a little room with nothing but a desk (because I was being "disruptive"), or be punished for running out of the classroom from being overwhelmed, or be verbally harassed by other students to the point I was uncontrollably sobbing. The principal once called my mom and said she had to pick me up early because she thought I looked too agitated. It's not like literally every day ended in a major catastrophe, but it was enough that it sure felt that way.


I wanted so badly just to be "good." What I think I knew deep down but couldn't apply or articulate is that I experienced tsunami-sized Big Emotions that I couldn't process or handle, and that my sensory system was constantly overloaded or out of whack. I also simply needed someone, anyone, to believe in me, to treat me as a valuable student with potential rather than just a Problem to be dealt with and sent away as efficiently and conveniently as possible.


Unfortunately, the public school system is largely unaccommodating and inaccessible to autistic students, especially since what passes as "support" for autism is often just behavioral therapy that attempts to try and make the autistic student appear less autistic rather than teach actually useful regulation and life skills. Actually, this is true for more than just autistic students (it's a problem for any student that the administration labels "Difficult™"), but it's especially true for autistic students. I remember being taken out of class every day down to the school counselor's office where we'd look at picture after picture of people with cartoonish facial expressions and I was supposed to say what emotion they were feeling, or we'd read a story where I was supposed to fill in the ending with an "appropriate reaction" from a character, or we'd learn little songs (with hand motions!) with lyrics like "Stop / Name your feelings / Calm down" (buh DUM BUH dum)! I had a school counselor tell me that more people would like me if I didn't talk about insects so much. What I needed though wasn't "empathy training," I needed regulation techniques other than "take ten deep breaths," I needed a better support network, and I needed to understand myself and my body and mind better.


Initially my parents went with the philosophy that it was best to go with what the school counseling and administration team said, because they're supposed to be the experts. And though my parents (like everyone else) made a lot of mistakes, in the spring of my seventh grade year they did the best thing they could have done and removed me from that school, and as it would eventually turn out, from traditional public school entirely.


You see, when a flower won't grow you don't try and manipulate the plant into blooming, you move the pot to a different location or environment. And just a change in philosophy, support, and location made all the difference. That eighth grade year I did online school and I also took a few community college courses (yes, as an eighth grader). This was also the year that I learned about the neurodiversity paradigm and found the blogs of other autistic people online, and through reading those I began to develop a better understanding of myself, and from there begin my journey as a self-advocate.


In my story though, it wasn't only the middle school teachers and counselors who were wrong about my future. The first high school I was going to go to was a charter school, a school I was accepted to via a lottery system, but that summer upon attending what was supposed to be an IEP meeting the principal informed us that I would not be enrolled at the school, because I wasn't the "kind of student" the principal wanted at his preppy little charter school. So yes, I was denied entry into a school on the basis of being autistic because the principal didn't want a kid with autism at his school (and yes, apparently it is legal for charter schools, but not public schools, to discriminate against students in this way in Colorado).


The happy ending though is that this caused us to enroll me in a small private school, where my parents and I were able to advocate for an actual, real useful support system, and high school has overall been by far the best years of my K-12 experience. It was the neurodiversity paradigm, rather than the behaviorist paradigm, that got me through high school.


So, I say a rhetorical "thank you" to Mr. Charter School Principal who didn't want me, because though he was wrong about me his ableism led me to the place where I was able to bloom, and because of my experience I will hopefully soon be testifying in favor of a Colorado State House bill that would make charter school discrimination on the basis of disability illegal.


That overview of my story ended up being longer than I intended, but hopefully now everyone can have an idea of why receiving my diploma was particularly meaningful to me, so much so that I just about cried when I walked across the stage.


Oh, and I almost forgot to mention that I graduated #1 in my class! That's right: Valedictorian! Now to be fair I didn't actually have straight A's, but the high school assigns a higher weighted GPA to honors and college-level classes taken by students, and since I took so many college courses online and through the school I ended up with the highest weighted GPA in the class. So there's a win for my alternative learning plan!


Part of me wants to scream off the figurative rooftops "You were wrong! The autistic kid graduated #1 in the class! That kid you said couldn't do it did it!" And that's because I know that there's an autistic student out there just like me who hears the same narrative every day that they are incapable of reaching their goals and who is not getting the support that they need. In schools across the world it seems there's this culture of low expectations for students who can't just do it the same way as everyone else the first time, for disabled students. And there's so much misunderstanding about autism out there, myths and misunderstandings that are actively harming autistic people. That's why I'm telling my story, and blogging generally: to help people understand autism, provide a resource for other autistic people, and help build a culture of presuming competence so that every person can reach their highest potential. I'm not trying to say that you have to be academically gifted or whatever to be reaching your potential, I only want the autistic people out there to know that they are valuable, are worthy of being believed in, and are worthy of being understood.


Quincy | July 22, 2020 at 11:00 am | Tags: accomodations, Autism, graduation, presume competence, school, story | Categories: Accessibility, Advocacy, Autism, Blog News/Updates, Education | URL:

Neurobehavioural therapy

Posted on 24 March, 2020 at 22:00 Comments comments (3609)

What is neurobehavioural therapy:

This is anew type of treatment that helps the child using latest brain technqiues. No machines need to be used. Its therapy that works based upon play and functional activities that are fun and improve the brain.

We can also use special brain machines that help tune the brain but only for older children if you want but most parents and family members prefer behavioural fun tasks and activities that tune the brain naturally..

Neurobehavioural therapists have extra qualifications usually trained therapists first then do extra brain qualifications. Our principal Dr Blum has a Phd in the human brain for example and has trained all ther neurobehavioural therapists to really be able to help you. These techniques work -instead of endless crossing the midlline or non usueful therapy we help the child or adult's brain function better in daily activities.



Posted on 24 March, 2020 at 21:55 Comments comments (2198)

For the last three years provding therapy over the internet has been shown to be evidencedbased and effective.

To do this you will need a computer or ipad with a camera. We will send you the link and you click on it and we can see each other as if we are in the same room.

Then therapy continues as if normal. Sometimes the therapist comes close to the camera. With younger children parents may need to be there and the therapist will direct them how to work with their child especially during testing. With older children parents can be working on their work and can hear that all is going well with the class from another room. The kids love the technology.

This solution can be especially good for older adults at home who are in isolation and cant have a therapist attend their home. We can do it all through the computer or even by their phone. This includes billing solutions such as billing medicare.

Distance learning is  struggle for parents to help with. We have qualified tutors and teachers who can take over and provdie home learning support across the whole curriculum for all ages and schools throughout the Asia region.

WE make telehealth engaging with excursions to aquariums and use of ipads and engaging fun videos for children and adults with asd and intellectual and language disorders. Have a look at this engaging way to teach about nad washing and covid:

All the best. The kids love it!!!

Occupational Therapy Services Expansion

Posted on 9 February, 2019 at 18:30 Comments comments (2580)


Occupational therapy (OT) is the use of assessment and intervention to develop, recover, or maintain the meaningful activities, or occupations, of individuals, groups, or communities. It is an allied health profession performed by occupational therapists and Occupational Therapy Assistants. OTs often work with children and adults with mental health problems, disabilities, injuries, or impairments.

We work with children and adults or all ages, especially with autism spectrum disorders, both highly intellgent, highly functiontiong an those with sever learning difficulties. We can much such a difference in your lives as parents or care-ers. We can help you to get your child ready for school in the morning without problems, co-operate with you in the home and in the school, and reduce challening behaviours like tantrums and hitting out when angry.

We have put on a new occupational therapsit for 2019, who has a university degree in Occupational thereapy and extensive experience in special education and helping children/adults with autism.


Therapy for Adults

Posted on 30 July, 2018 at 5:00 Comments comments (5212)

WE CAN HELP ASSESS and TREAT all adults with learing differences and also swallowing, movement and communciation difficulties.

Case study: James (not his real name) loved actinga nd talking ont he phone to his girlfriend who ws 28 and also had down sydnrome. We helped him learn how to live independently and also to speak more clearly. The occupational therapist helped his ability to use his deteriorating vision at his job in the city as a stationery helper to an art company.

Case Study: Mrs Smith couldnt swallow well anymore after her stroke and needed home modifications. The speech pathologist and occupational therapist went to her nursing home and to her home to help. Her son was very grateful.

Case Study: Addul (names are changed according to privacy legislation) was being challenging at his centre. Witht he help of a communciation ipad program and training to use his words and express his emotions he soon stopped and was able to point to the computer button: Im frustrated or Im hurt or Im happy and complete his art therapy as well. 

Feeding frustrations

Posted on 28 June, 2017 at 9:15 Comments comments (2294)

Setting up the right “feeding environment” is vital when preparing your toddler to eat and drink.

Here are 5 tips on how you can set up the right “feeding environment”:

1. Make sure distractions like the TV and music are turned off. This will ensure your child remains focused on the task at hand- eating and drinking!

2. Make sure your child is comfortable and positioned upright in their high chair. When a child is comfortable, they are more likely to start eating and drinking.

3. Don’t feed your child too quickly. Just as you like to give yourself breaks between mouthfuls of food, your child also enjoys a break every so often.

4. Don’t wipe your child’s face after every spoonful of food. By not wiping away the food, you are allowing them to get used to the sensation of food on their face.

5. Eat as a family. With the whole family eating together, you can provide a model for how to eat. Your child also learns about the social aspect of eating.

As a parent, you may have concerns about your child’s feeding, for example:

“My child only eats certain foods”

“My child is gagging after food is put into their mouth”

"My child is having difficulty chewing food”

“My child is having difficulty drinking from a cup without spilling”

Speech pathologists are specifically trained in how to manage children with feeding difficulties. If you are concerned about your child’s feeding difficulties, give Childthink a call, they would love to help your child.

The speech pathologists will provide a thorough assessment, and use specific strategies to assist your child. 

Amelia Laurendet (Student Speech Pathologist)

How do Speech Pathologists work on social communication?

Posted on 9 May, 2017 at 20:20 Comments comments (1630)

What is a social communication disorder?

A social communication disorder refers to any difficulty experienced with social communication and interaction.

This comprises of:

1. Non verbal communication skills, such as: 

  • Body language
  • Gesture
  • Posture
  • Eye contact
  • Facial expression

2. Verbal communication skills, such as:
  • Starting conversations
  • Asking questions to maintain a conversation
  • Taking turns in a conversation
  • Making comments 

3. Social cognition, such as:
  • Theory of mind: The ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and realise that they may have beliefs, attitudes and feelings that contrast to your own.
  • Metalanguage: Understanding humour, jokes, sarcasm, metaphors and inferences.
  • Self-monitoring: The ability to recognise when you are behaving inappropriately, and knowing how to adjust your behaviour and communication accordingly.
  • Joint attention: The ability to focus on an object or event with another person, because you are both interested in it. 
  • Emotional regulation: The ability to control and manage your emotions, as opposed to behaving negatively such as having a tantrum or becoming upset. 

4. Social interaction, such as:
  • The ability to adjust your style and manner of communication depending on who you are talking to and where you are e.g. talking to a peer vs talking to a teacher. 
  • Using manners. 
  • The ability to resolve conflict when it arises in group play. 
  • The ability to participate and take turns in play with other children. 

What causes social communication disorder?

Social communication disorder can exist either:
1. On its own,
2. As a result of a diagnosis, such as:
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Specific Language Impairement 

How do I know if my child has social communication issues?

Attached is a helpful link from the American Speech and Hearing Association (ASHA). The link will take you to a table that details the expected social communication skills a child should be acquiring at each stage of development.

If your child is not meeting these expectations, or you are concerned about your child’s development, please seek the support of a speech pathologist in your local area. Alternatively, give ChildThink a call, we would love to help your child.

How does a speech pathologist manage social communication issues?

There are many ways to manage social communication issues. What a speech pathologist selects will depend on a number of factors including the client’s age, interests, strengths, weaknesses and needs. Below is a list of some commonly used treatments that help to:
  • Decrease unwanted behaviours (e.g. tantrums)
  • Increase alternate positive behaviours (e.g. sharing)
  • Give your child the opportunity to practise target social skills 

Behavioural Interventions:

Positive Behaviour Support

This intervention aims to decrease the frequency of unwanted behaviours by eliminating the triggers and reinforcers of those behaviours. It also involves shaping unhelpful behaviours into positive behaviours through praise and encouragement. As you can see, this intervention focuses on positive reinforcement, rather than punishing children when they perform unwanted behaviours.


This intervention involves using items that your child is motivated by to support them in developing a skill. When your child attempts a certain skill, they are then praised and encouraged for their attempt, even if they did not execute the skill perfectly. This will encourage them to attempt the skill at another time.

Incidental teaching

This intervention involves creating opportunities for your child to practise a skill. For example, placing your child’s favourite toy/object just out of the reach (e.g. putting a teddy up on a high shelf, putting the lid back onto a container of playdough). You then wait for your child to ask for that object, or say the word you are targeting, and then give them the toy or object to reinforce their attempt.

Social communication treatments

Social stories

Commonly used for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, this method involves identifying situations where the child has behaved inappropriately and creating a story surrounding the event. The story is used to teach the child about what the appropriate behaviour is in that situation and why.

Social skills groups

This intervention involves role playing and practising various social skills with others in a group e.g. introducing yourself, starting a conversation.

Intervention at school or preschool

This involves entering the learning environment of the child (preschool, primary school etc.) and conducting therapy in that setting. Intervention involves modelling friendship and conversational skills in the playground and having children practise these skills with their peers. Practising social skills in this context teaches children about the function of and reason behind learning these skills.


This intervention involves using puppets to model social situations and appropriate social skills. Using puppets is a fun and engaging experience for children. Based on this, children are more likely to remember and attempt to use these skills in situations they come across.

Client profile: Josh (not the client's real name).

Dr Jenny identified social communication as one of Josh's areas of need based on completing a comprehensive assessment of his strengths and weaknesses. This included visiting Josh at his school and analysing how he communicated and interacted with his fellow peers. Dr Jenny is specifically working on Josh's ability to:
  • Give people eye contact
  • Greet people without having to be reminded
  • Make comments and ask questions when talking to others
  • Identify emotions (angry, sad, happy etc.) 
Dr Jenny is working on Josh’s social communication skills by using lots of fun and engaging activities. In one session, Josh practised his conversational skills by talking to one of Dr Jenny’s friends- Snailius the puppet! Dr Jenny helped Josh to ask Snalius questions and give him eye contact. This is a functional way of teaching social communication, because Josh is practising social skills in the context of a social interaction.

Dr Jenny also taught Josh about feelings using soft toys. Each toy had a distinct facial expression that represented a certain feeling or emotion. Dr Jenny prompted Josh to name each of the feelings and then feed them to Snalius the puppet. Feeding the toys to the puppet is a fun and engaging way to teach children about emotions. Learning about emotions is also highly beneficial for children. It can improve:
  • Their ability to recognise how others may be feeling (show empathy).
  • Their own behaviour, as they can name the emotion they are feeling, rather than becoming upset or displaying unwanted behaviours. 

Amelia Laurendet ChildThink Intern (Fourth year Student Speech Pathologist-Honours)

Reference List§ion=

Overview Teach skills with puppets. (2013). ASHA Leader, 18(3), 9.

Bozkus-Genc, G., & Yucesoy-Ozkan, S. (2016). Meta-analysis of pivotal response training for children with autism spectrum disorder. Education and Training in Autism and Developmental Disabilities, 51(1), 13.

Horasan, M. M., & Birkan, B. (2015). The effects of incidental teaching on teaching children with autism spectrum disorders to demand their lost objects verbally. International Journal of Early Childhood Special Education, 7(2), 361. doi:10.20489/intjecse.65571

Jones, S. (2014). How positive behaviour support can reduce challenging behaviour. Learning Disability Practice (2014+), 17(10), 36. doi:10.7748/ldp.17.10.36.e1605

Karkhaneh, M., Clark, B., Ospina, M. B., Seida, J. C., Smith, V., & Hartling, L. (2010). Social stories™ to improve social skills in children with autism spectrum disorder: A systematic review. Autism, 14(6), 641-662. doi:10.1177/1362361310373057

Kasari, C., Dean, M., Kretzmann, M., Shih, W., Orlich, F., Whitney, R., . . . King, B. (2016). Children with autism spectrum disorder and social skills groups at school: A randomized trial comparing intervention approach and peer composition. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 57(2), 171-179. doi:10.1111/jcpp.12460


Regular Updates and Blog Posts

Posted on 15 April, 2017 at 4:10 Comments comments (1065)

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