You may not think a quick get-together once a week could have a major impact on a child’s development, but ask a group of Perth parents and they’ll tell you the difference is simply amazing.
For one hour a week over six weeks a small group of parents and kids in the Armadale area took part in an Ability Centre initiative called ‘Let’s Make Friends’.
The program was the brainchild of Ability Centre speech pathologist Christine Figueiredo and psychologist Sean Roda who believe that the more kids understand social skills and their emotions, the better they can manage them day-to-day.
To help them achieve this, Ability Centre set up a weekly fun and interactive group where boys and girls of similar ages met, played games and learnt valuable social skills in a supportive environment.
At the same time, parents also came together to share a cuppa and swap ideas whilst receiving advice and tips on how to support their kids to make friends and better regulate their emotions.
Kelli-Jo Evans’s son Phoenix was a participant in the six-week program and she says he enjoyed the experience.
“Phoenix was a bit nervous the first week but after that he really looked forward to going along to hang out with his new friends,” said Kelli-Jo.
“The course helped build his confidence and has also been great for me to get guidance and advice on how I can better understand his emotional development and also be given the skills and tools to help him through times when he is struggling a little on the social front.”
‘Let’s Make Friends’ was based at the Child and Parent Centre Challis in Armadale, which is managed by Parkerville Children and Youth Care. Louise Hanna is the centre coordinator and says the program tied in wonderfully with the Child and Parent Centre intuitive in ensuring kids get the best developmental start in life.
“A child’s ability to engage with others, to build healthy social relationships and negotiate friendships is so important to their overall health and well-being and Let’s Make Friends helps make that happen.” said Ms Hanna.
Ability Centre will continue the Let’s Make Friends program in 2017. Anyone interested in receiving more information should contact Ability Centre’s Canning Vale Hub on (08) 9256 8800.