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Health News

Empowering families for safer school holiday screen time: tips from Triple P

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The school holidays are here and making sure kids are engaging in safe screen time activities is front-of-mind for many families.

Empowering families for safer school holiday screen time: tips from Triple P

 

The school holidays are here and making sure kids are engaging in safe screen time activities is front-of-mind for many families. Experts from the Triple P – Positive Parenting Program are supporting parents and carers with simple strategies to help provide kids with a safe environment in the weeks ahead.

With many parents and carers needing to work or manage end-of-year activities, Dr Alan Ralph, Triple P International Head of Training and Clinical Psychologist, said there will be an understandable increase in the time children spend on screens.

“Living in a digital age has lots of upsides for families and can be useful in situations where adults are busy or concentrating and need to give children something interesting and engaging to do. However, there are a range of concerns around cyberbullying, identity theft, online addiction, and sexual predation, that are important to address,” Dr Ralph said.

“A recent E-Safety Commissioner report revealed that half of the parents surveyed underestimated the prevalence of children’s negative online experiences and alarmingly, more than half of children admitted to communicating with strangers online, yet only one in three of their parents were aware,” he said.

“The good news is, parents and carers can take a proactive, positive approach to help make sure their children’s online world doesn’t end up impacting their health and wellbeing in the real world. This includes problems with sleep, behaviour, as well as their social and emotional development.”

Dr Ralph - screen time expert.

Dr Alan Ralph, Triple P International Head of Training and Clinical Psychologist.

With these helpful tips from Triple P, parents and carers can make the most of their time together these holidays while promoting a healthy relationship with technology:

  • Level up your digital knowhow. Try to stay informed about current digital trends and get to know the apps and games your child is into. Take some time to explore parental controls and read reviews, and even play games yourself to check if they’re appropriate for your child. Talk with them about important topics such as not sharing their personal details, privacy, and being respectful online. Guide them to check and update privacy settings regularly.
  • Show an interest in your child’s screen use. Talk with your child or watch what they’re playing while they’re involved in an online activity. Show them you’re interested by asking about the rules of the game, what programs they are enjoying, or which friends they are interacting with.
  • Check content is appropriate. Take some time to have conversations with your child about the content they’re accessing online. Keep it relaxed and try to avoid interrogating them with too many questions. Praise them when they make good choices and reassure them you’re always there to help if they are confused, worried, or upset by anything they experience online.
  • Role-play ‘what if…’ situations. Use real-world examples from the news, TV shows, or movies, such as when someone receives a message that contains confronting content and explore ‘What if that happened to you?’. Have a chat about what they could do to prevent it, or how they would deal with it if it happened.
  • Set a holiday screen time schedule. As a family, plan daily and weekly routines for screen use to provide variety and predictability. For a healthy balance, replace some of the time you would normally spend on a device with something else like a creative pursuit, physical activity, or time outside so your child can engage their brain in different and new ways.
  • Boost your parenting confidence. Level up your parenting skills with Triple P’s free online, evidence-based positive parenting programs to help you calmly and confidently build your child’s resilience and self-regulation so they can face challenges in the real world and online. Chatting with other parents and friends whose children use screens can be a great way to get some extra reassurance and ideas. You can also find helpful resources at www.esafety.gov.au

Alan said, “The holiday season isn’t always smooth sailing for families, and tackling digital safety is just one more challenge to add to the list. It’s OK if you’re not across everything in the online landscape or you feel like your child is speaking another language. Try looking at it as an ongoing learning opportunity for the entire family, rather than a daunting task or a quick fix. Praise your child when they make good decisions, rather than only react when they haven’t.”

“The online world is always changing, but building a strong, positive relationship with your child can help them to always feel safe coming to you if and when they have issues online, in addition to having their own toolkit of skills to navigate their online world safely and confidently,” Dr Ralph said.

Delivery of the Triple P – Positive Parenting Program to parents and carers of children in Australia is supported by funding from the Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care under the Parenting Education and Support Program. Parents and carers can access free, online parenting support 24/7 here.

 

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Time for action on a NSW Autism Strategy

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Time for action on a NSW Autism Strategy

 

STATE Member for Lismore Janelle Saffin says she welcomes the Australian Government’s recent release of the Draft NSW Autism Strategy.

Ms Saffin says “it provides the State and Territory governments with the opportunity to engage with the Draft National Autism Strategy.

“We need a NSW Autism Strategy and I have had discussions with the relevant Minister in the Minns Labor Government, Kate Washington,” Ms Saffin says.

“I raised the importance of an autism strategy in the NSW Parliament last year. South Australia is way ahead of us.  Now we have the Draft National Autism Strategy, we need to seize the momentum and get a New South Wales strategy to break down barriers for autistic children and adults and their families.”

President of the Northern Rivers Autism Association Micheal Lynch has teamed up with Business NSW Northern Rivers Regional Director Jane Laverty to co-host an Autism@Work business luncheon at the Ballina RSL Auditorium from noon today (Tuesday, 9 April).

The event, titled Embracing a Neurodiverse Workforce, celebrates Autism Awareness Month and guest speaker will be former dual-code international for rugby league and rugby union Mat Rogers.

Ms Saffin says she will be an apology as she is recovering from Covid.

“A panel of speakers for today’s event is sure to discuss the Draft National Autism Strategy,” Ms Saffin says.

“It is clear from the draft that the states and territories and Federal Government need to work together because the strategy covers polices across both levels of government.

“The states have primary responsibility for the key areas of education, health, justice and housing.

“It is the states that have responsibility for pre-schools for example, where children are at critical age for early intervention which can make a huge difference.

“This is an opportunity for National Cabinet to tackle the crossover of responsibilities and ensure that this is an effective, properly funded strategy without gaps for people to slip through.

“Being in a rural or regional area can add another layer of disadvantage, so it is important that people from this region give their feedback to the national strategy.”

For more information on the Draft National Autism Strategy and to give feedback, visit here.

 

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AI-Powered MedTech Breakthrough: CSIRO and Singular Health Unveil Revolutionary Spinal Vertebrae Segmentation Technology

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An example of spinal segmentation software. CSIRO

AI-Powered MedTech Breakthrough: CSIRO and Singular Health Unveil Revolutionary Spinal Vertebrae Segmentation Technology

 

A groundbreaking AI-powered medical technology, developed through collaboration between CSIRO‘s Data61 and Australian Medical Imaging Company Singular Health, swiftly segments spinal vertebrae with an impressive 95% accuracy rate within a mere two minutes. This innovation holds the promise of revolutionising surgical planning and facilitating the design of customised implants for medical professionals.

Traditionally, the segmentation of spinal vertebrae in computerised tomography (CT) scans has demanded extensive manual labour, involving countless hours of meticulous identification and markups. However, the advent of AI automation heralds a transformative shift in this arduous process, significantly reducing time and effort while ensuring exceptional segmentation precision and localisation accuracy, as elucidated by Dr. Dadong Wang, Research Lead at Data61.

Singular Health’s Executive Director of Innovation, Dr. Guan Tay, underscores the game-changing potential of this automated segmentation technology. By integrating AI-driven automation into the segmentation process, medical professionals will now only need to make minor adjustments and validate the software’s outputs. This semi-automated approach empowers surgeons and radiologists to fine-tune the results according to their interpretations, ensuring meticulous compliance with image analysis standards while substantially streamlining processing time.

The utilisation of artificial intelligence in medical imaging, particularly in radiology, stands poised to profoundly reshape workflow dynamics for radiologists.

Leveraging a comprehensive dataset comprising over 200 CT scans of labelled data, the Data61 team meticulously explored various AI models and pre-processing techniques to achieve precise instance segmentation, labelling, surface meshing, and spatial localisation of individual vertebrae.

Dr. Wang elaborates on the AI development process, highlighting the adaptation of deep learning-based instance segmentation methodologies such as nnUNET, SC-NET, and Dense-NET. These models were rigorously trained using the VerSe’2020 dataset, comprising 100 CT scans of spines from individuals spanning diverse age groups and genders. Subsequently, the trained models underwent rigorous testing on an additional 100 CT scans, generating segmented labels of the spine, individual vertebrae, spatial coordinates, and vertebra identification.

The integration of this cutting-edge technology into Singular Health’s MedVR software represents a significant milestone, offering a transformative solution for hospitals, clinicians, educational institutions, and universities alike. This milestone achievement was made possible through the CSIRO Kick–Start initiative, which extends funding and support to innovative Australian start-ups and small businesses, granting access to CSIRO’s unparalleled research and development (R&D) expertise and capabilities.

 

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Northern Rivers Business Community gets behind Autism Awareness Month

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Autism Awareness Month

Northern Rivers Business Community gets behind Autism Awareness Month

 

Aprils is National Autism Awareness Month where recognition raises awareness about autism acceptance and promotes inclusion and connectedness for people with autism.  Social and community support can help people with autism achieve optimal health and reach their full potential.

Business NSW Northern Rivers is co-hosting the Autism@Work Business Luncheon with the Northern Rivers Autism Association on Tuesday 9 April 2024 in Ballina as part of Autism Awareness Month and the official launch of the Northern Rivers Autism Association.

“Micheal Lynch, Chair of the Association has been working tirelessly with our team on this event and we hope to demonstrate the support we can put behind such a great initiative to embrace a neurodiverse workforce in our region.”  Said Jane Laverty, Regional Director Business NSW

The luncheon will feature guest speaker, Mat Rogers a dual code international with a prominent career in both rugby league and union.  After a stella career representing Queensland, the Kangaroo’s and the Wallabies, Mat finished his career back in the NRL with the Gold Coast Titans, retiring in 2011.

With his wife, Chloe Maxwell, Mat is devoted to the charity they established, 4ASDKIDS, after discovering their son was autistic, so they could help other families with autistic children.

“We are excited to have Mat lead the conversation along with an expert panel sharing thoughts on the amazing value we can bring to our businesses and employees with a neurodiverse workforce and inclusive workplaces.”  Mrs Laverty said.

“This is going to be an inspiring event and an opportunity for Micheal Lynch to share his vision for the Association.  The Northern Rivers business community is looking forward to being part of this month of awareness raising and promoting inclusion and acceptance.

The expert panel includes:

  • Luke Terry, CEO of Whitebox Enterprises/Beacon Laundry (located in Bangalow and newly formed social enterprise)
  • Andrew Cashin, Professor of Autism and Intellectual Disability with Southern Cross University
  • Samantha Albertini, Senior Manager People & Culture with Social Futures
  • Jodi Rogers, locally based counsellor (Birds & Bees) who has just authored a book called Unique – what Autism Can Teach Us about Difference, Connection and Belonging

“Most of us know someone on the spectrum and know that autism can be a superpower.  With more than ¾ of Australians on the spectrum being young (between 5 and 24) it is important that we look at how our workplaces can adapt for neurodiverse people and enable greater inclusivity.”

 

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