Using Social Skills and Emotional Self-Regulation Strategies to Live Resilient, Happy and Successful Lives [Interview][Transcript]

Claire_Orange_Best_Program_4_KidsGuest: Claire Orange
Presenter: Wayne Bucklar
Guest Bio: Speech Pathologist, Professional Counsellor, Accredited Resilience and SEL Trainer and Professional Parenting Coach. Employed in major teaching hospitals in Australia and overseas since 1993. Established a Community Kindergarten with attached Language Development Centre, worked in private practise and developed a small group therapeutic program for children experiencing social issues at school for implementation in Allied Health clinics. Author of Highway Heroes; Smart Life Skills 4 Kids and the Kids’ & Parent’s Notebooks – Social and Emotional Toolbox series (2015).

Segment overview: In today’s Health Supplier Segment, we are joined by Best Program 4 Kids Director Claire Orange from Western Australia. Their mission is to help kids, parents and professionals all over the world to understand, learn, teach and use social skills and emotional self-regulation strategies to become resilient, happy and successful. They offer new social and emotional learning programs and resources for kids, parents and professionals. They believe that social and emotional learning is the cornerstone of happiness and success and those who are competent in this area have positive and healthy relationships and a greater chance of positive mental health outcomes throughout life.


Health Professional Raido

Wayne Bucklar: You’re listening to Health Professional Radio. Today my guest joins me from Perth in Western Australia, Claire Orange is the director of the Best Program 4 Kids. Claire welcome to Health Professional Radio.

Claire Orange: Thank you.

W: Now Claire tell me a little bit about Best Program 4 Kids because the name itself kind of doesn’t illustrate what it is that you do so fill us in.

C: Alright. Well Best Program 4 Kids is run by myself and Helen Davidson who was Kidzmix Australia. And we’ve come together to form BEST which stands for “Behavioral, Emotional, Social Skills Training” for kids. But it is the BEST for kids. So I guess it just all came together for both of us.

W: Now is this a training program that you offer only in Perth? Or do you offer it on a wider footprint? How is it delivered?

C: We do do a lot of training in and around Perth, but certainly we have an audience over on the east coast of Australia as well. So Helen Davidson looks after Victoria, and we both speak widely at conferences and have products going out to schools, clinics all over Australia all the time so we offer training widely. We also have a market in Hong Kong so we’re working with an occupational therapist up there and developing a very big market and a lot of the resources we’ve written are being translated into Chinese. And 2016 is an exciting year we’ll be both in Canada and the UK next year, so definitely growing.

W: Well that’s a good thing to be doing if you’re a business and fortunately, all the countries you’ve talked about are the countries where we’ve got stations. So we’ll give it a little plug in those countries for you while we’re going.

C: Fantastic.

W: Now Claire a lot of what you talk about on your website is about resilience as one of the keys to happiness and success for children. Explain what you mean.

C: Resilience is something that we all need in back at low. So it’s just a given, we say it’s a children life is, we say it’s a FOPL it’s a Fact of prep Playground Life theirs you’re FOPL, F O P L, FOPL.

W: Uh huh.

C: That you’re going to come across big and little adversities. In our program we call them “bumps and hazards.” So we’re all traveling along the highway of life, every single one of us, and were all going to experience bumps and hazards – it’s a given. If we have good tools to get past those bumps and hazards we’re being resilient, we’re bouncing back out of this thing we call life that happens to every one of us. And both Helen and I as mental health clinicians working with children and with families know that the big problems we’re hitting our children are often due to low resilience factors in children, where they haven’t quite figure out how to bounce back out of the tough bumps, that’s just in meshed in the fabric of living. So we’re both very big on promoting resilience as a core mental health preventative factor in children, teens and adults. So it’s our driving force for Australia’s building resilience.

W: And the idea of or the analogy of explaining it as “bumps and hazards” on large highways it just brilliant, congratulations on that, the image that brings forward. Now you talk about tools, can you give me some example of the tools that you talk about with children?

C: We have lots of tools, we know that and I’m sure you have those experiences. Well you been under pressure, you’ve gone to bed that night and you’ve thought “I wish I said that. That would have been a snappy comeback.” But it’s far too late and the moment has pass you by. So what we trying to do is give children tools that are memorable. So we have lots of “triple As.” So we have the triple A’s for teasing – so you can accept, you can go thru all of these processes whereby you start to become in control of the experience. You might ask a question or you might assert yourself too. So when you’re learning in the classroom, we’ve got the triple A’s there. So you need to avoid distraction, you need to know how to apply yourself and how to approach a task – there’s your triple As. So we use lots of things for children that help them remember them in the moment. And that helps to develop their control and there inner … of controllers as well, instead of having to run to an adult to get assistance. So we have lots of acronyms like the “Friendliness Life” or the “Triple As,” we’ve got “Triple Bs” that we teach children to allow them to take control of their experience of life. So those are the tools that they pull out of their tool box.

W: It does sound like an amazingly pragmatic intervention tool. I’m sure a lot of people feel very disempowered by.

C: I agree. And it’s quite remarkable how many people have said to us when we present it. So I was presenting it to school last week and there was a woman who approached me at the end in tears and said “If only I knew this when I was a child,” If only I knew this when I was a child, it’s not rocket science, but it’s control that I’ve gone through my life, seem like others are in control of me and my happiness. And it’s actually me, and she is right.

W: Yes, what an insight. Now Claire many of our listeners today will be clinicians of some sort or other, mainly in acute care and in aged care. And I know aged care is at the other end of the spectrum where you normally work. What would you like clinicians to take away from hearing you today as your key message?

C: Well my biggest thing that I talk about to clinicians is that prevention is far better than any cure, that we can come up with. So anyone in acute care is having to come up with very rapid decisions about caring for people. We know that if we keep older people well, mentally well, physically well, cognitively well, they do better for longer. And we know that with young people as well, that if we take the time in their early years to promote this, rather than doing it when they are feeling suicidal or getting into self-harming behaviors, that we can circumvent that journey for so many by doing good preventative care. So for clinicians running social skills groups, running self-regulation training groups for children, what it does is it takes children out of the care system later on and we can and should teach all children this from early on.

W: Yes, it does sound like one of those circumstances where we’re spending money at the wrong end of the spectrum a little bit, doesn’t it?

C: Absolutely. But you know if you look at the whole story in mental health, when we talked about mental health we’re not actually talking about mental health, we’re talking about mental illness. So we’re dealing with mental illness, we haven’t really got the handle on dealing with mental health which is preventative, keeping the mind healthy.

W: Yes. Claire in every industry there are misconceptions and it’s my favorite question in every interview. What are the biggest misconceptions in your business that drive you crazy and keep you up at night?

C: Well I think probably the thing that frustrates me the most is when people ask me what I do and I tell them they’ll say “Oh yes, all of those children with problems.” But this isn’t just children with problems, I do work with children with significant issues with their mental health. But the stuff that best resources is about if every child every day, that every child needs this not every child is a social butterfly. In fact very few are, which means that they will experience social anxiety. Not every kid despite being bright knows how to learn and we need to teach those skills. People feel that when we talk about mental health, it’s for people with issues. And it’s not, it’s for every single one of us. We all brush our teeth twice a day generally, it’s the given rule – some more, some less. So we take a lot of care about oral hygiene. And mental hygiene is no different, it’s every person every day. Not just when you become unwell, and then things start to fall apart in your life. So I think that’s the bit, that I have this constant communication about it, this is isn’t just for children with issues, this is for every kid.

W: Let’s hope that today we can spread that message a little further for you, and help with that misconception just a little. Now Claire I have a website here for you on my notes and I guess it’s the best way for people to get further information if they need it. I have so that’s best programs and then the digit number 4 kids dot com.

C: That’s the one.

W: So that will be on our station notes. Folks if you tried and you’re confused about the spelling or the mixed of digits and letters, it will be on the notes on the story on our website along with transcript of my chat with Claire if you’ve just missed my conversation with Claire Orange the Director of Best Programs 4 Kids. Read the transcript, it’s on our website, along with an audio archive as well on YouTube and SoundCloud. And you can get all of those resources at Claire I do appreciate your time today, thank you for joining us.

C: Wayne thank you so much for giving this on air, and giving it an audience and a platform to be heard on. I’m very grateful.

W: My pleasure. You’re listening to Health Professional Radio. My name is Wayne Bucklar and I have just been chatting with Claire Orange Director of Best Programs 4 kids.

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