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There is still time to enrol your child as a Secret Agent Society (SAS) cadet for August 2018! Last day for enrolment is Monday the 9th of July, 2018.

This espionage-themed, social skills group program teaches 8-12 year old children important social and emotional communication skills. The program has scientifically researched results and uses innovative and well-targeted resources to engage children and make learning fun. The program makes a big difference to how children with social and emotional difficulties manage their lives at home, school and in the community. Melbourne Child Development have been running SAS groups since 2013 and are regarded as one of the most experienced practices running the program in Melbourne. 

Time & Dates
The group will meet each Wednesday afternoon from 4:15-5:45pm, and the program runs over 9 weeks. Included each week is a parent feedback session from 5:15-5:45pm, where one of the Speech Pathologists facilitating the group will meet with all the parents and discuss the weekly session and how the strategies can be used at home and at school during the week. Click here for the full SAS Group 2 timetable. 

To learn more about the program or to enrol your cadet please contact the team at reception. 
Each school holidays Melbourne Child Development offers a variety of programs for children to engage with their peers and work on similar communication goals in a unique group environment with the specialised guidance of our Speech Pathologists. The groups are designed to be fun, while helping your child to improve their communication and develop important social interaction skills typical of everyday playground and classroom interactions. 

We are excited to announce four new social skills programs that we will be offering over the July school holidays:

Making Playmates
Suitable for preschool aged children (3-5 years of age)
Dates: Monday 2nd, Wednesday 4th, Thursday 5th, & Friday 6th of July
Time: 9:00am - 11:00am (parent coaching each session: 10:30am - 11:00am)

Playing with Friends
Suitable for children 5-6 years of age
Dates: Tuesday 10th, Wednesday 11th, Thursday 12th, & Friday 13th of July
Time: 9:00am - 11:00am (parent coaching each session: 10:30am - 11:00am)

Building Buddies
Suitable for children 7-8 years of age
Dates: Monday 2nd, Wednesday 4th, Thursday 5th, & Friday 6th of July
Time: 1:00pm - 3:00pm (parent coaching each session: 2:30pm - 3:00pm)

Hanging Out
Suitable for children 9-11 years of age
Dates: Tuesday 10th, Wednesday 11th, Thursday 12th, & Friday 13th of July
Time: 1:00pm - 3:00pm (parent coaching each session: 2:30pm - 3:00pm)

Click here for more information, or contact our team at reception to register your interest. Be quick, as places are limited!

On May 28th, 2018 Melbourne Child Development's Director and Principal Clinician Robyn Stephen was presented with the Speech Pathology Australia (SPA) Service to the Association Award! This award is presented to Speech Pathologists in recognition and appreciation of their valued service to Speech Pathology Australia, the governing body for Speech Pathologists in Australia. Robyn was the Chairperson of the Victorian Independent Speech Pathologists network for many years before serving on the board of Speech Pathology Australia for 6 years including fulfilling the Vice President role for 2 years. Robyn has represented Speech Pathology Australia as an advisor or witness  on several  government committees and inquiries and has recently been part of the Steering committee for the development of the National Guideline for Autism Spectrum Disorder Assessment. Robyn was presented with this prestigious award by SPA National President Gaenor Dixon, at the 2018 SPA National INSPIRE Conference in Adelaide. 
My son has a lot of difficulty when reading out loud. He will often make up words, or swap the words written in the text for other words that look similar. How can I support his reading?

The foundation for reading, spelling, and writing is oral language – listening and talking to others. In turn, reading can help to further develop oral language skills, by expanding your vocabulary, furthering your knowledge of different sentence types, and improving your knowledge of grammar. Reading is one of the primary ways to receive information. Written communication is used to deliver instructions and teach content across school, university, work and through our daily activities. So if you are concerned that your son or daughter is having difficulty with their reading, it is worth speaking to their teacher or contacting a Speech Pathologist, to ensure that their reading difficulties are not having an impact on their learning and academic performance.

There are many components of reading, which means there are many areas of reading that your child may be having difficulty with. If your child is making up words, or changing the words in the text to other words that look similar, it could mean that they are having difficulty sounding out the word and blending the sounds together- or ‘decoding’. For example, the word 'elephant' can be broken down to the sounds a-l-e-ph-a-n-t and then blended all together to be read accurately. Difficulty decoding a word can suggest that your child does not have a solid knowledge of the sounds that letters and letter combinations represent (sounds you can hear, letters you can see) and therefore is unable to read the letters within a word.

Your child may benefit from having some strategies they can use to break the word up, so they aren’t trying to tackle a long word in its whole. This can be helped by furthering their awareness of syllables and understanding of syllable rules. It is important to note that if your child is having difficulty decoding while reading, this will most likely be affecting their reading rate and comprehension or understanding of what is being read.

A reading assessment with a Speech Pathologist will identify which area of reading your child is having difficulty with. From there, they will be able to recommend what type of strategies or therapy will best support their development of reading and help to strengthen  areas of difficulty. Melbourne Child Development also runs the Cellfield Program, which is a  multi sensory, computer based program based on neuroplasticity, motor learning, phonemic awareness, phonics and vocabulary development.  Cellfield is appropriate for children as young as 7 years old, and into adulthood. Cellfield focuses on strengthening decoding abilities by targeting sound- letter links ( phonics), blending and chunking of sounds together (phonemic awareness) , and strengthening scanning abilities. By strengthening decoding, Cellfield makes reading comprehension easier for children.

Click here for more information on the Cellfield program. Alternatively, if you would like to find out more about whether the Cellfield program is a good option for your child, please contact the team at reception and ask to speak to a Speech Pathologist.

Looking for some hilarious books that will drive your kids crazy? Try these books by Beck and Matt Stanton. With strikingly simple text and art, Books That Drive Kids CRAZY! are ideal picks for emergent readers. These books play on humour and are perfect for children who may often respond literally to humour.  Appropriate for children 4 years old and above, there are four books in this series:
  • This is a ball.
  • Did you take the B form my _ook?
  • The Red Book
  • Wait!

Click here to watch the trailer for ‘Did you take the B from my _ook?’, or click here to find out more about the Author.

Want to have a closer look? Ask our friendly reception to see a copy.

Please note: Melbourne Child Development is in no way affiliated with the 'Book of the Month' and we did not receive any financial incentive to promote it. 
Have you ever sent a lunchbox off to school with your beloved little one, only to have it come home still full or to find that the healthy snacks you snuck in there were passed over completely untouched? Well, you’re not alone! Putting together healthy nutritious lunches for our kids that they actually want to eat is one of the biggest challenges that parents face on a daily basis.

Fellow exacerbated mother, Gillian Fein, was so exhausted by this daily battle with her own kids that she created a fun, interactive lunchbox planning app called LaLa Lunchbox, which gets kids involved in the process of choosing their lunch. Research shows us that when kids participate in the process of meal planning and/or preparation, they are more likely to actually eat the food put in front of them, leading to less waste and fewer untouched lunchboxes! 

The app allows kids to select their lunch in advance – this can be done on the weekend for the entire week or it can be done the night before or morning of school. The options available ensure that each lunchbox is balanced and meets the nutrient requirements for growing bodies, including a vegetable, a fruit, a protein rich food, and a snack everyday. The app encourages kids to express their preferences and develop independence, while full parental control is available for customisation of the ‘food library’ so that Mum and Dad remain in the drivers seat at all times.

LaLa Lunchbox is available for all phones and is totally FREE!

Click here for more information about LaLa Lunchbox.

Please note: Melbourne Child Development is in no way affiliated with the 'LaLa Lunchbox' and we did not receive any financial incentive to promote it - we just think it is a totally awesome and incredibly useful tool!
Stuttering is common and usually starts between the ages of 2 and 4. Onset may be gradual or sudden, and while there is currently no known cause of stuttering the research suggests that there may be a genetic link. Stuttering is regarded as being a physical disorder, and is not caused by psychological factors or parenting practices. Stuttering impacts on a child’s communication, and often their emotional well-being, so it is important to commence immediate intervention to prevent long-term effects. 

When making a decision regarding whether or not to commence intervention, Speech Pathologists will take a number of factors into consideration. These include:
  • The presence or absence of a family history of stuttering
  • The presence or absence of secondary behaviours (e.g. eye blinking, facial grimacing)
  • The presence or absence of psychological behaviours (e.g. anxiety or frustration around talking)
  • The length of time your child has been stuttering for
  • Your child’s age
  • Your current family situation and lifestyle
The Lidcombe Program has shown to be highly effective for pre-school and early primary school aged children who stutter. It is a behavioural-based intervention program that aims to increase your child’s stutter-free speech using positive reinforcement. Both you and your child will attend speech pathology sessions where you will be trained by the Speech Pathologist to deliver the therapy. You will then take the knowledge and skills you learn in sessions to carry out the intervention at home, at the park, in the bath, in the car – wherever works for you!

Click here 
to learn more about the Lidcombe Program. If you would like to find out more about whether the Lidcombe Program is a good option for your family, please contact the team at reception and ask to speak to a Speech Pathologist.

For more information on any of the above programs or articles, please contact Natasha or Tara at reception on (03) 9890 1062 or via email at

Please visit our website for more information 
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