Queensland Child Protection Award Recipients

Queensland Child Protection Award Recipients

Dr India Bryce and Dr Simone Collier have been the award recipients for the Professional (Non-Government) Award category in this years QLD child protection awards.

With more than three decades of child protection and advocacy work between them, Dr Simone Collier and Dr India Bryce have worked tirelessly to raise awareness, build capacity, and empower practitioners, leaders, and survivors to interrupt the cycle of cumulative harm and protect children from chronic maltreatment.

Simone and India have built on their extensive front-line experience of tackling cumulative adversity in children and families to develop a suite of tools and resources which build awareness and equip professionals with the skills to identify and address cumulative harm.

Simone and India have successfully implemented a Cumulative Harm Aware Approach, and a Cumulative Experiences Index (CEI) which provides an innovative, and evidence-based means of identifying the interconnectedness and complexity of exposure to different forms of adversity that accumulate over time, including intergenerational trauma. The CEI is a vital information gathering tool created to promote family preservation and reunification.

Between 2022 and 2023, the CEI has been used in practice by Act for Kids’ Goonawoona Jungai service for First Nations People of the Doomadgee Community. The program offers assessment and support for vulnerable families, in kinship, foster care for the Department of Child Youth Justice and Multicultural Affairs, as well as in schools and education institutions.

Referee comment by Kieran Smith, Director – Service Partnership & Growth, Act for Kids.

Unique Minds Consultancy (UMC)’s CEI program is ‘cutting edge’ in terms of child well-being and approach. It has opened up new thinking on the cumulative effect of harm on children and allows practitioners to make better quality decisions regarding this harm and therefore increases the safety of children.
India and Simone recognized that I am of Badtjala heritage so they approached me asking if I could provide a cultural perspective during the development and evaluation of their Cumulative Experiences Index (CEI).
I am very passionate about the work I do at Act for Kids and our strong focus on redressing the over-representation of Aboriginal children in the child protection system. That’s why working closely with Traditional Owners and Cultural Authorities connects Child and Family services with our culture.


Professional (Non-Government) Award Names of nominees: Dr India Bryce, Dr Simone Collier Organisation/positions held: Co-Directors at Unique Minds Consultancy

Nurturing Unique Minds: Understanding Comorbid Disability and Developmental Trauma in Educational Settings

Nurturing Unique Minds: Understanding Comorbid Disability and Developmental Trauma in Educational Settings

Last month, Unique Minds Consultancy’s own Simone Collier and India Bryce published an article in the MDPI journal. The study sheds light on the challenges faced by children with comorbid disability and developmental trauma in educational settings.

Click below to read the full article 

A Systematic Literature Review of the Teaching Considerations and Practices Provided to Children in an Education Setting with Nurturing Unique Minds: Understanding Comorbid Disability and Developmental Trauma in Educational Settings Disability and Developmental Trauma


This ground-breaking study delves into the challenges faced by children with comorbid disability and developmental trauma in educational settings and offers valuable insights into effective teaching considerations and practices to support these unique minds.


Here is a summary of the article:

Understanding Comorbid Disability and Developmental Trauma:

Comorbid disability refers to the co-occurrence of two or more disabilities in an individual, making their learning experience in educational settings particularly complex. When combined with developmental trauma, which results from adverse experiences during early childhood, these children face additional obstacles in their academic and emotional growth.


The Importance of Inclusive Education:

This systematic literature review emphasises the significance of teaching considerations within the context of inclusive education. Children with comorbid disability, mental illness and developmental trauma can be particularly challenging to teach in a mainstream classroom unless full understanding of the complexities and resourcing is properly considered so the child’s special needs can be adequately met.


Tailored Teaching Considerations and Practices:

This review considers five key themes that highlight the key issues impacting quality practice when teaching students with these needs:

  1. Mental Health conditions caused by trauma contribute to the disability
  2. Disability is a risk factor for childhood abuse
  3. Capacity of classroom teachers to achieve inclusion
  4. Quality relational practice needs to encompass social, emotional and behavioural skills
  5. Importance of cultural responsiveness


By understanding these challenges and implementing tailored teaching considerations and practices, educators can create a nurturing and inclusive environment that fosters the growth and well-being of these unique minds. As a society, we must recognise the importance of supporting every child’s individual journey towards a brighter and more successful future.


Source: Full Article



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Anxiety in Children: Understanding and Helping Them Cope

Anxiety in Children: Understanding and Helping Them Cope

Anxiety is a common and natural response to stress, but when it becomes excessive, it can become a problem that affects a child’s mental health, social skills, and overall well-being. It’s essential to understand the signs of anxiety in children, as well as the ways in which we can support them to cope with it. In this post, we’ll discuss what anxiety is and some steps you can take to ease your child’s anxiety.

What is Anxiety in Children?

Anxiety is a feeling of fear or apprehension about the future. It is a natural response to stress, and it helps us prepare for potential threats or danger. However, excessive anxiety can interfere with a child’s daily life, relationships, and schoolwork. Some common symptoms of anxiety in children include:

  • Constant worry or nervousness
  • Difficulty sleeping or nightmares
  • Irritability or anger
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Avoiding social situations
  • Physical symptoms such as headaches, stomachaches, or muscle tension

Anxiety can manifest differently in children, and not all children will experience the same symptoms.

Five Steps to Ease Your Child’s Anxiety

  1. Create a Safe and Comfortable Environment

Anxiety can be triggered by an unfamiliar or uncomfortable environment. Creating a safe and comfortable space for your child can help them feel more relaxed and less anxious. Make sure your child has a designated space in the house where they can relax and feel safe.

  1. Encourage Open Communication

Encourage your child to express their feelings and fears openly. Active listening can help your child feel heard and understood. Try not to dismiss your child’s concerns, even if they seem trivial to you. Validating your child’s emotions can help them feel more secure and understood.

  1. Help Them Learn Relaxation Techniques

Teaching your child relaxation techniques such as deep breathing or visualization can help them feel more in control of their anxiety. These techniques can also be used to calm down during stressful situations. You can find many resources online or through professional services to teach your child these techniques.

  1. Encourage Healthy Habits

Regular exercise, healthy eating habits, and good sleep hygiene can all help reduce anxiety. Encourage your child to engage in physical activity, eat a healthy and balanced diet, and establish a regular sleep routine.

  1. Seek Professional Help if Necessary

If your child’s anxiety is interfering with their daily life, it may be time to seek professional help. A therapist or counselor can provide your child with the tools and support they need to manage their anxiety. Unique Minds Consultancy is a great place to seek help, as they specialise in providing child and adolescent therapy.

Anxiety in children is a common problem that can interfere with a child’s daily life. By creating a safe and comfortable environment, encouraging open communication, teaching relaxation techniques, promoting healthy habits, and seeking professional help if necessary, parents can support their children to cope with anxiety. If you have concerns about your child’s anxiety, consider contacting Unique Minds Consultancy to discuss your options and find the best way to support your child.

Animal-Assisted Child Play Therapy

Animal-Assisted Child Play Therapy

Animal have been known to have a therapeutic effect on people for centuries. In recent years, the field of Animal-Assisted Interventions (AAI) has grown significantly, with many different types of therapy animals being used to help individuals cope with various mental health conditions. One specific type of AAI that is gaining popularity is Animal-Assisted Child Play Therapy.

Child Play Therapy is a form of therapy that supports children’s psychosocial, emotional and mental health and well-being through the therapeutic powers of play. This type of therapy is particularly beneficial for children who have experienced trauma, have disabilities, or are dealing with other mental health disorders.

Animal, especially dogs, have a unique ability to connect with children in a way that humans sometimes cannot. They are non-judgmental, loving, and always willing to play. This is why therapy dogs are such a valuable addition to Child Play Therapy.

Our Child Play Therapy program is supported by our trained therapy dogs, Lizzy and Archie. These dogs have been approved by Therapy Dogs Australia, which means they have undergone extensive training and testing to ensure they are suitable for therapy work.

When a child is referred to our Child Play Therapy program, an assessment of the child’s response to the dog is made. This assessment helps us determine whether Lizzy or Archie would be the best therapy dog to work with that specific child.

Animal Assisted Interventions (AAI) have significant benefits for many clients with disabilities, trauma backgrounds, and other mental health disorders. Studies have shown that children who participate in AAI have lower levels of anxiety, depression, and stress, and they are also more likely to engage in therapeutic activities.

In addition to the benefits that animals can provide to children, Child Play Therapy also helps children develop important social and emotional skills. Children learn how to communicate effectively, build trust, and form healthy relationships. They also learn how to express their emotions in a healthy way and develop coping strategies to manage stress and anxiety.

In conclusion, Animal-Assisted Child Play Therapy is an effective and innovative way to support children’s mental health and well-being. With the help of our trained therapy dogs, Lizzy and Archie, we are able to provide children with the support they need to overcome their challenges and reach their full potential.

Trauma-Informed Individual and Group Therapy

Trauma-Informed Individual and Group Therapy

Trauma is a common and debilitating experience that can have a lasting impact on an individual’s mental health and well-being. Trauma-informed therapy is a type of therapy that takes into account the impact of trauma on an individual’s life and aims to help them heal from the effects of their traumatic experiences.

Trauma-informed therapy is often provided in both individual and group settings. Individual therapy provides a safe and confidential space for individuals to talk about their traumatic experiences and begin the process of healing. Group therapy, on the other hand, offers the added benefit of support and validation from others who have also experienced trauma.

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) is a type of therapy that is often used in trauma-informed therapy. CBT is a form of talk therapy that helps individuals identify and change negative thought patterns and behaviours that are related to their traumatic experiences. This type of therapy is available for parents, families, and other cohorts to support change in behaviours and thinking to improve mental health and well-being.

One of the key principles of trauma-informed therapy is that it is a client-centred approach. This means that the therapist works with the individual to identify their specific needs and goals, and the therapy is tailored to meet those needs. This approach is essential for individuals who have experienced trauma, as it helps to create a sense of safety and trust in the therapeutic relationship.

Trauma-informed therapy also focuses on building resilience and empowering individuals to take control of their healing process. This can involve teaching coping skills, such as mindfulness, stress management, and self-care. Additionally, therapy may also involve addressing any physical symptoms that may have resulted from the trauma, such as sleep disturbances, headaches, and body aches.

The objective of trauma-informed therapy is to help individuals understand the impact of their trauma on their lives and to provide them with the tools they need to heal and move forward. This can include addressing the physical, emotional, and cognitive effects of the trauma, learning healthy coping mechanisms, and building resilience.

In conclusion, Trauma-informed therapy is an important form of therapy that helps individuals who have experienced trauma to heal, cope, and move forward with their lives. Through individual and group therapy, individuals can receive the support and guidance they need to understand and process their traumatic experiences. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) is a particularly effective form of therapy that helps individuals change negative thoughts and behaviours that are related to their traumatic experiences.