In the Primary School years, parents and children alike are faced with a new set of challenges. For children, navigating social experiences and friendships, managing emotions, and academic learning become the focus.
For parents, supporting children through peer conflict and changing friendships, monitoring and encouraging learning, and managing emotions and behaviour at home and at school are especially important.
A Psychologist can address concerns about a child’s behaviour and emotional regulation, support the development of social skills, assess and diagnose developmental, behavioural and learning difficulties, and provide parents and teachers with strategies to support a child’s learning and social-emotional development.
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Assessment for Autism Spectrum Disorder and Behavioural Difficulties
Through formal assessment, observations of your child, parent interview, and discussion with Paediatricians and other professionals involved in a child’s care, a Psychologist can identify and diagnose Autism Spectrum Disorder or other developmental disabilities such as Intellectual Disability, ADHD and Oppositional Defiant Disorder.
Assessment for Specific Learning Disorders
When a child is falling behind in academic skills such as reading or writing, or is struggling to take in and remember information, it may be a sign that they have a learning disorder. Through formal assessment, parent interview and discussion with teachers and other professionals about your child’s learning, a Psychologist can diagnose and provide strategies to assist with a number of learning disorders including Specific Learning Disorders in reading, maths or written expression, and Working Memory and Processing difficulties.
When parents feel like they have tried everything to manage their child’s behaviour and nothing seems to be working, a Psychologist can provide guidance to set achievable goals around a child’s behaviour and support positive behaviour change. When a child’s behaviour is challenging in the school setting, a Psychologist can work with parents and teachers to understand why the behaviour is occurring and develop strategies to manage the behaviour effectively and help the child succeed.
Many school age children experience some anxiety around situations such as separating from their parents or their performance at school, often leading them to engage in school refusal. For some children, this anxiety quickly resolves, but for others it becomes a constant struggle to get to school and participate in classroom activities. When a child’s anxiety stops them doing things they want to do or affects their ability to function at home and at school, it is important to seek help. A Psychologist can work with the child to understand the cause of their anxiety and develop strategies to manage it, as well as providing parents and teachers with guidance on how they can best help their child overcome their anxious feelings.
For children in Primary School, social interaction and friendships play a big part in helping a child feel like they belong and making their school experience a positive one. When a child’s social skills are delayed, they may misinterpret situations, behave inappropriately toward others, and find it difficult to connect with their peers. A Psychologist can assist the child to learn how to read body language and situational cues, engage in appropriate conversation, make and maintain friendships, manage conflict, and participate in group games and activities, as well as helping to build their confidence and self-esteem.
Learning to manage emotions effectively is an important life skill that begins in early childhood. For some children, their emotional responses are so extreme that families avoid going out due to their child’s reactions and friendships are damaged as peers become scared of the child’s unpredictable behaviour. Poor emotional regulation can also lead to difficulties at school resulting in suspension. A Psychologist can help a child learn to recognise their emotions and develop effective strategies to stay calm and problem solve when in challenging situations, and support parents and teachers to encourage and prompt the child to practice the skills they have learned.
Bullying is a serious problem that affects the lives of many children every day. If your child has been bullied in the past, or you think they may be experiencing bullying, it is important to take it seriously and seek support for your child. A Psychologist can assist a child to talk about what has occurred, support them to recover from the physical and emotional hurt they have experienced, and teach them ways to effectively manage bullying situations in the future. A Psychologist can also assist parents to support their child, and act as an advocate for the child and family when communicating with the school to address the bullying incidents and to ensure they do not continue.