Flourish and Thrive with Us

Good Habits for Students

I often observe that some habits that lead to overwork or avoidance stem as far back as high school or university days. Here I map out something I did with my high schooler this weekend that respected their need for meaning and interest in their work, while juggling commitments to their overall study load.

COVID Family Coping Part 1: Helping my Child

You might be noticing that your child is asking you lots of questions, looking for more play and physical affection, having more ‘meltdowns’, pushing the boundaries, crying more or seeming less bubbly than usual.

Whatever you have noticed, it is a signal that your child is trying to understand and cope. Just like the rest of us. And just like the rest of us, they will need a bit of extra support at this time.

Adapting and thriving at home with your neuro-diverse learner

Parents of children with non-neurotypical learning profiles are some of my favourite

They have learned, often through blood, sweat and tears, to gather resources, accommodate learning outcomes, collect a support village, and reach for joy. They also remind the rest of the world that diversity is wonderful and education systems must be inclusive and hospitable places for every learner. However even this group of survivors have their limits, especially when it feels as if their carefully cultivated equilibrium has tilted and begun to careen off in a bizarre direction.

Across Sydney over the last week alone, families have had to adapt to a new COVID-19 normal. There have been fears, tears, and meltdowns (not just the children!) as schools scramble to move lessons online and parents negotiate working from home. Against a backdrop of global fear, the times are incredibly challenging, and a sense of what has been lost for our families has grown with every update.

However, here we are; adapting.

We are adjusting to new ways to shop, work, and educate our children. The challenges are undeniable, however parents of neuro-diverse children have an edge – we understand that learning involves striving. We are used to smashing through barriers and we are good at grabbing the resources we need to turn striving into thriving, against the odds.

However, we are also vulnerable to overwhelming stress without our usual supports, and our children become vulnerable too.

The psychologists and therapists at The Centre for Effective Living are passionate about what they do in the parenting and neuro-developmental space and it’s business as usual (now that Zoom has become usual!). We have worked with our child, adolescent and adult clients significant transitions and chronic stress. We are able to support families in the following areas:

  • Stress management + self-care for parents
  • Communication strategies for talking through difficult global issues
  • Strategies to address family stress
  • Managing compliance with home learning (giving instructions, communication strategies, establishing family rules + routines)
  • Emotional and psychological support for children with specific learning and neurodevelopmental disorders (Eg Dyslexia, ADHD)
  • Sibling rivalry
  • Helping children manage bossy thoughts and relentless worries

Children don’t need to lose their village, and parents don’t need to suffer alone with family stress. We can step into that space with you. We have expertise and evidence-based strategies to help you survive and thrive.

If you are feeling overwhelmed with the task of managing your neuro-diverse child’s home learning, why not call the centre for more details?


Certainty is a myth, uncertainty is the norm

During these turbulent times we can try to exert control over our environment by worrying. This is because we look to have certainty in an uncertain world.  However, recognising that the world was never really a certain place and re-investing our mind in other ways can help.  Here's a video that explain it

School transitions during COVID-19

What do you feel when you look at this picture? For me, I instantly feel anxious and a kind of fear. Deep oceans feature in my dreams. I do not like swimming in the ocean when I can't touch the bottom.

It took me a really long time to figure this one out. What I finally connected it to was a memory of my younger brother falling into the swimming pool, seeing him sink to the bottom, feeling helpless, and my dad jumping in and yanking him out. I was a child then. I don't remember if the pool was really that deep, or even if my memory is accurate. However, I do remember the fear of the unknown, feeling helpless, and watching threat unfold.

I returned home from work to find my high schooler eager to talk to me. There were so many things they had discovered that were unusual and perhaps a little unsettling about the experience of distance learning. I realised that for someone with limited life experience, this plunge into distance learning by sudden "dangerous" reasons was being encoded in their memory. A good dinner conversation uncovered a couple of things that I share here with you:

1. Realising there is a difference between solitude and isolation. Many of the lunchtime and recess friends are no longer available in these online classroom environments.
2. The vacuum of silence and the uncertainty of how long this will go for: It's a different thing to know that school holidays is a limited experience, and not knowing . Children who go to school are surrounded by noises and laughter, and chatter.
3. Not moving! Not walking to class, or to school, or around the classroom
4. Staring at a screen the whole day
5. Not knowing if they could go outside the house - or go to the toilet mid-way class
6. Distractions and sensory weird-ness from different sounds that came from having headphones and hearing every rustle, crunch and page flip

At the end of the conversation there was a comment "I need to get a hold of my life..."

For tonight, the conversation just sits as a validation that things are different, unknown and without definition. Tomorrow we spend some time putting structures and substitutes into place to make the world just that little less scary and undefined.


WHAT A BLAST!!!!! Valerie Ling had 5 days together to RAPID RESET with a group of people, and it was just what was needed during these stressful times. GUESS WHAT??? You can get your hands on the ENTIRE program for less than $50 - immediate tools to reset your mood and perspective. Details in comments ...

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Get in Touch

Conversations play an important role in recognising when someone is going through a difficult time and connecting them to the right type of care. Having a small chat can make a big difference.This easy-to-use tip is developed by mental health clinicians to help build your confidence and capability to support a friend or loved one who may be experiencing distress or a mental health challenge today and is shared through the Department of health Head to Health website. #COVID19 #support ... See MoreSee Less
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Model calmness.Do you need help coping with the Covid19 pandemic? Ring us on 1800 832 588 or send us an email at admin@effectiveliving.com.au and we will get to you. #COVID19 #covidcare #mentalhealth ... See MoreSee Less
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Have conversations.Do you need help coping with the Covid19 pandemic? Ring us on 1800 832 588 or send us an email at admin@effectiveliving.com.au and we will get to you. #COVID19 #covidcare #mentalhealth ... See MoreSee Less
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3 clinical psychologists have a candid, cosy chat, to encourage you in your parenting (because we are in the trenches too) and answer your questions to provide instant input. All three have clinical and lived experience in issues of parenting and child and adolescent psychology.TOMORROW IS THE DAY! Click the link below to secure your free spot now.bit.ly/3BahQGB #parenting #childpsychology ... See MoreSee Less
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Take some time celebrating the opportunities you’ve made to connect with friends, enjoyed a walk or bike ride, or when you’ve met small work goals or household chores. Download your free "Done List" here: bit.ly/3tHBdV7#DoneList #Productivity #Lockdown ... See MoreSee Less
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