Category Archives: Child & Family Psychology

Brando – Therapy Dog

Brando – Therapy Dog


Brando is the canine companion of Kids First psychologist, Lincoln Comans.

As cute and friendly as he looks, Brando also plays an important clinical role because his ‘boss’, Lincoln, has extensive training in Animal Assisted Intervention therapies for kids.

Brando helps children to build trust, self-esteem and the courage to talk about tough topics.

He is a very effective ‘social lubricant’ and many children find it easier to talk about big feelings, worries and problems in Brando’s comforting presence.

International studies have shown that the inclusion of animals in therapeutic settings can make a big difference to the outcomes that children can achieve. For example, animals have been shown to:

  • Support people with Autism Spectrum Disorder symptoms to build more positive social interactions and communication skills
  • Help children with behavioural problems such as verbal resistance, aggression, violence & compliance with rules by giving immediate feedback that helps them to better manage their responses
  • Assist children and young adults experiencing issues such as anxiety, fear and depression by providing opportunities for positive interactions that build emotional well-being and self-esteem

Brando knows when he is ‘on duty’ and helps Lincoln to provide a sense of calm, comfort and safety in psychology and counselling sessions.

Brando (and Lincoln!) work at Kids First on Thursdays and Saturdays.

Parent resources: How Manage Mean Kids and Playground Politics

  It can be difficult to help your child to develop the social skills and resilience they need to cope with playground politics. As an adult, understanding how these skills develop in children may be helpful start as you parent your child. Equally, resources that you can use with your child to build their understanding… Continue Reading

Kate Kartikeyan – Psychologist

Kate Kartikeyan – Psychologist

  Kate is a highly experienced psychologist who combines her role as a Senior Psychologist with the NSW Department of Education with her membership of the Kids First children’s health team. Kate is also a fully qualified and experienced Special Education teacher and so she has unique insight into the challenges that children with learning… Continue Reading

How to choose a school for your gifted child

  For some gifted kids, their brains are as busy as their bodies! If you have suspect that your child may be gifted, it can be hard to sift your way through all of the schooling options that are available and to make informed choices that will meet your child’s unique learning, social and emotional… Continue Reading

Playground politics: Great comeback lines that won’t get your kids into trouble

  It can be tough knowing how to respond when we’re being teased or bullied.  Sometimes what we say can make it worse! This article by Kids First’s psychologists may help you and your child understand what bullying is, and know how to respond to bullies in a way that won’t inflame the situation. What… Continue Reading

Free Event: How to Help Your Child Make and Keep Friends

Does your child: Have trouble fitting in with other kids? Struggle to meet like-minded mates? Feel excluded by friendship groups Miss the social cues that other children send? Find it hard to compromise or follow the rules of games? Feel lonely after starting at a new school? Have conflict with peers because of their need… Continue Reading

Kids and the cricket scandal: There’s more to talk about than just being a bad sport

  A leading parenting expert and teacher has said that the scandal currently engulfing the Australian cricket team is about more than sportsmanship and fair play. Sonja Walker is an author and the founder of award-winning children’s health practice, Kids First Children’s Services in Sydney. A qualified teacher for more than 30 years, Sonja has… Continue Reading

Free event: How to Help Your Anxious Child

Does your child: Feel frightened by many situations Avoid experiences that other kids take in their stride? Complain of physical symptoms like headaches or a sore tummy when they have to do something they are uneasy about or unfamiliar with? Have sleep difficulties, including difficulty falling asleep, nightmares and trouble sleeping alone? Have lots of… Continue Reading

3 benefits that OC Classes offer bright kids

  If you have a gifted or academically talented primary schooler, it can sometimes be hard to meet their learning needs and interests in a mainstream classroom. However, if you live in NSW you are in luck, because your child may have access to an Opportunity Class, often known as an OC class, which could… Continue Reading