Why do we do what we do?
In Australia, there are over 100,000 twice-exceptional young people (approximately 30,000 in Victoria) who have not been identified as twice-exceptional (2e) and are not supported in school or home and are going “under the radar”.
Many of them think that they are misfits, weird, and as a result, never realise or fulfil their potential.
Many 2e young people can create incredible positive social, technological, and economic change through their incredible ability to see things differently and dare to create change. However, if they are not allowed to thrive, they may also often experience low unemployability, high mental health needs and are seen as a drain on society and government resources.
The 2e profile makes up approximately 7-9% of the population; however, most of them will struggle through school and life due to the complexity of co-morbidity and identification. Only some will discover who they really are and fulfil their needs potential.
How do we make a difference?
Since Kids Like Us was founded in 2013, we have identified five key needs of the 2e young people we work with:
- A place to be
- Acceptance and pride
- Access to programs that support the whole person
- Preparation for the real world
- Support for parents and families of 2e young people
What support do we offer for 2e young people?
We provide support for 2e young people, their parents and professionals with parental, learning, and daily living strategies, contacts, advocacy, and products which may assist twice-exceptional people to succeed and become the great adults they have the potential to be.
Each 2e young person who comes to Kids Like Us will go through an intake process, we will assess their individual needs, and they will be assigned a caseworker, who will work with them throughout their journey with Kids Like Us.
KLU offers support services in six fundamental areas:
- Counselling and psychology
- Teaching and tutoring
- Social and Emotional group support
- Peer Support
- Parent individual and group support
Children and young people will work with their caseworkers to identify which services meet their specific needs and monitor their progress towards the goals they wish to achieve.
A core activity at Kids Like Us is to bring 2e young people together as our experience has informed us that one of the key issues of being 2e is a sense of isolation. This understanding is reflected in our very name! So often the feedback we get is "there are kids like me there".
Our groups focus on either academic, wellbeing and community and are created to fit the needs of the young people attending. Whilst each group looks a little different they all share the same mission:
- Increasing feelings of social connection
- Increasing ability to create meaningful connections
- Giving social foundations
- Strengthening self-identity
- Understanding, setting and respecting personal boundaries
- Having fun with like-minded peers
Our intake process
Our intake process is different from that of other organisations. The children we work with have often worked with a wide range of professionals, and it is part of our job to get a clear understanding of the journey they have been on that has led them to us.
Our process runs over 5 one-hour sessions structured as follows:
1. The Fact Finder
This appointment is generally a fact-finding mission to find out things like family history, educational journey to date, family hopes and expectations, challenges, and areas of strength for the student.
2. The Student Perspective
This appointment allows the student and case manager an opportunity to work together to hear the student’s perspective on their journey in their own words. The focus of this appointment is to allow the student to be heard and build a relationship with the student.
3. Testing Insight
Consisting of short academic tests where we are looking to see how the student might cope in a testing situation and give us a snapshot of their spelling, reading, and mathematics skills.
4. ‘Wish List.’
This appointment is an opportunity for the student and case manager to work through all the things the student may wish to change and have assistance with. From this, the case manager will produce a range of recommendations and supports for the student.
5. Family Feedback
Here, the family comes back together, and the Case Manager feeds back any significant findings, and together we work through a plan for the student. A written summary report is finalised after this appointment for ongoing support for the student. After this appointment, the family can book in with tutors and other programs.
At the end of the intake process, you will receive a written summary report detailing the comments and recommendations developed during the sessions with your child. Parents can use the summary as you see fit, but we recommend that you share the report with key professionals (such as the school) who work with your child.
Please note that reports may be available a few weeks after the final intake process to allow case managers time to complete reports and review them.
After our intake process, students can access our teaching and tutoring services. Your child’s case manager will place them with a tutor or recommend attendance at our EPIC program considering your child's needs, personality, work style, subject of concern or need for an extension.
Our tutor team consists of specialist teachers and high achieving university students. We have a strong focus on relationship building, and our tutors provide long term support to our students on their educational pathways.
We offer 1:1 tutoring and teaching across a wide range of topics for primary and secondary years.
EPIC Programs (Education, Personal, Interpersonal, Community)
EPIC programs have a strong academic focus and progresses students from prep - year 12 providing an opportunity for students to develop academic skills and resilience whilst being extended in their area of interest. Current EPIC programs include:
- EPIC A online for 2e students in years 1-3 who are not able to travel to KLU (Mondays 2.30-3.30pm via teams)
- EPIC A at KLU for 2e students in years 1-3 (Fridays 9.30 - 12.00)
- EPIC B at KLU for 2e students in years 3-5 (Fridays 12.30 - 2.30)
- EPIC C at KLU for 2e students in years 4-6 (Wednesdays 9.30 - 2.30)
- EPIC D at KLU for 2e students in years 7-9 (TBC)
- EPIC PATHWAYS: a 9-week program for high school students and their parents to hear some of the pathways available to navigate the journey through high school and beyond: VCE, VET, Open Uni, finding and doing work experience, the importance of a portfolio, the how and what does matter in subject choices, accommodations with the end of school exams,
After our intake process, students can access our mental health and wellbeing services. Your child’s case manager may continue working with your child, recommend a mentor or youth worker, or refer your child to one of our many well-being programs considering your child's needs, personality, work style, subject of concern or need for extension.
Students are encouraged to meet with their case manager at least once per term to check in with their trusted adult.
Psychology and Counselling
Kids Like Us (KLU) offers both psychology sessions and counselling sessions for children and young people on a regular basis is offered for those who would like frequent check-ins and ongoing support.
Our psychologists have extensive experience with giftedness and a range of disabilities, including neurodiversity, and can work with students with various needs.
Social Emotional Group Programs (SEGs)
Group programs are led by our well being team and provide a place where 2e young people can come together with like-minded peers to explore the challenges and benefits of being 2e. These group programs run across all age groups, all with a slightly different focus including: Social skills, relationships and friendships, identity, emotional regulation, executive functioning, diversity and gender. Speak to your case manager to find out if there is a group that would benefit your child's development.
Current programs include:
- BRIGHT SPARKS play group for pre-school children
- BAMBI program for 2e girls in years 4/5/6 as they move into adolescents (weekly program)
- FAWN program of neurodiverse adolescent girls and their parents (6 week program coming soon)
- BOOM! program for young adolescent boys with a gaming and music therapy theme.
- High school transition group for students currently in year 6 who are anxious about moving to high school
- ART SATURDAY for high school student who connect through art
- Sensory Box Holiday Program for 13yr+ students to explore their sensory world (Jan 2022)
After intake, you may wish to have your child's case manager, psychologist or counsellor participate in school support meetings for your child. This can be to provide support for you as an objective outsider, offer ideas for the teaching staff to support your young person, or ensure there is a united approach for all professionals working with your child or young person.
All of our wellbeing services can be funding through NDIS. Sessions with our psychologists can be accessed with a Mental Health Plan from your GP for Medicare rebates.
A Kids Like Us core value is how we can impact both the 2e community we work with and the community we live and work in. Within Kids Like Us, we have developed a KONNECT program that achieves just this.
After our intake process, your child’s case manager may refer your child to one of our many Konnect programs considering your child's needs, personality, work style, subject of concern or need for extension
Konnect programs are available after the intake process and are made up of weekly, fixed-term, or ad hoc events. Konnect programs include:
- Weekly age-based peer after school club, held Monday - Friday after school to support academic study, develop friendships and connect with other like-minded young people.
- Kamp Konnect holiday programs are available to children aged 8-14. Kamp themes change every holiday and are designed to keep your young people busy and connected with their peers during the holiday periods.
- Parent Konnect is held on the first Monday evening of each month. Often, our parents are so busy parenting that they have few opportunities for self-care. This group is designed to be a safe space for parents of 2e students to meet each other, share their triumphs and challenges. There is a focus topic presented by one of our team each month.
- Konnect Away - an overnight camp to introduce to the school camp experience in a safe environment (coming in 2022)
- Duke of Edinburgh program. The program will include: community inclusion through working with aged care residents, learning new skills such as first aid , and trying out new hobbies such as forging. (Commencing Jan 2022)
- Dungeons and Dragons club (coming soon)
These are advertised as they arise and advertised via email and the closed Kids Like Us-parents facebook group
Speak to your child’s Case Manager or KLU office staff for a list of what is coming up. These group offerings are constantly changing as the needs of our young people change.
The wider community
We partner with local service organisations to support our community and provide our young people opportunities to get involved. This includes events such as assisting with the Lions Club BBQ at events, running Trivia nights and picnics with local community organisations, attending Rotary meetings and dinners, supporting the elderly in aged care facilities and providing judges for the Youth of the Year Awards. We are always looking for more opportunities to get involved in our community and welcome any suggestions you may have.