Children labelled ‘problem learners’ may just need a simple eye test!

Written by editor. Posted in Community News

Specsavers is urging parents to watch their kids for signs of poor eyesight once they’re back at school.
According to Specsavers’ Optometrist and Managing Director, Peter Larsen, more than 60% of children who are ‘problem learners’ have been found to suffer from undetected vision problems1.
“Almost two thirds of children who struggle with learning have undiagnosed vision problems, meaning the solution could be a simple as a pair of glasses,” he said.
“Around 80% of everything a child learns is through their vision, so good eyesight is one of the most important tools for their learning and development.
“Misdiagnosis means the underlying vision problem is not addressed and the child may continue to struggle with learning and fall behind their peers. This could result in the child being labelled incorrectly as having a learning difficulty, which could have a major impact on their confidence and their perception about what they’re capable of achieving throughout their lives.”

Mr Larsen said undetected vision problems were estimated to affect approximately one in four Australian children1, while around one in six Australian children wear glasses or contact lenses to correct their sight2.


“Even basic issues with their sight can have a profound impact on children but some conditions require swift intervention,” he said.
“For example, if a child has a squint, it can be treated relatively easily if caught early on but after the age of seven or eight, the likelihood of needing surgery increases dramatically.
“It is extremely important that a child’s eyesight is checked regularly. After eight is often too late because after this age it is much harder to correct any vision problems which may have developed.”
There are a number of tell-tale signs that a child may experience vision difficulties.  Some signs to look out for include:
  • Reading problems – Children who frequently skip lines or lose their place while reading books may have vision problems.
  • Squinting – If a student is frequently squinting at the blackboard, they may be trying to compensate for their poor vision.
  • Sitting too close to the television – Short-sighted children generally have clear vision at a close range and poor vision at a distance.
  • Rubbing eyes and headaches – If your child rubs their eyes excessively or complains of headaches regularly, it may mean their eye muscles are fatigued from straining.  
  • Clumsiness - Children might have trouble realising how close or far away objects really are. Sometimes young children who do not walk well actually have problems with their vision.
  • Behaviour - Some children who have vision problems appear to have a short attention span and may misbehave due to frustration.
Some common eye problems that can occur amongst young children include, long or short sightedness, astigmatism, which results in distorted vision, colour deficiencies and lazy eye.

Specsavers recommends children should have their eyes tested at least every two years from the age of three, and is  urging parents to book an eye test to ensure nothing is impeding their child’s vision and consequently their ability to learn.




1 Optometrists Association Australia
2 Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2008. Eye health among Australian children.
Cat. no. PHE 105. Canberra: AIHW.


Written by editor. Posted in Community News



The days are getting longer, the weather is warming up and the temptation to bomb dive Dad in the backyard pool, is building.


But despite the excitement of Spring, Swim Australia CEO, Ross Gage is asking all parents to ensure their family and pool premises, are season ready.


“No matter whether it’s fresh or salt water, a backyard pool, an ocean, creek or a splash in the bath tub, being able to swim, and enjoy the water, is not only a rite of passage for every Australian child – it’s a way of life,” Mr

Gage said. “But accidents can, and sadly do happen,” he said.


Each year, around 100 families, present a child under the age of five years, to emergency rooms, following an immersion accident.


Between 2010 and 2011, 28 children, aged four years and under, drowned – 22 were boys. Alarmingly, Swim Australia - the leading national authority on Swim Schools for learn-to-swim and water safety – says, 43 per cent of these incidents occurred within swimming pools.


“While learn-to-swim and swim classes are recommended all year round, now is a good time to not only reacquaint or re-enrol the family with swimming lessons, but check your pool and its premises are free from

potential harm,” said Mr Gage.


“It may take a few minutes, but proper preparation is the key to a successful and safer swimming season,” he said.


A few tips to consider:
  • Regularly check the pool fence and gate are in working order, with proper fencing and self-closing or self-latching gates;
  • Remove items that can be used to climb the fence - eg, chairs, tables, pot plants;
  • Never prop the gate open;
  • Remove temptation from in and around the pool when not in use - eg, toys, floaties and other swim aids;
  • And constantly reinforce the home’s water safety rule – “I only go swimming with a grown up.”


But according to Mr Gage, ensuring a backyard pool is safe and childfriendly, is only the beginning. “A family home is filled - in and around the premises - with potential water hazards,” he said.


  • To help ensure the family home is safer this season, also check:
  • Wading pools or spas are gated or securely closed;
  • Nappy buckets filled with water are kept elevated or have a lid;
  • Drink and ice buckets are tightly closed or out of reach;
  • Dog bowls are kept shallow and away from children or replaced with animal specific water bubblers;
  • Bird baths are elevated;
  • Water fountains/features have a wire mesh above the water line;
  • Livestock water containers or troughs are child restricted;
  • Toilets have a self closing or fitted safety lid.


“Being able to swim not only makes one safer around water, but leads to a lifetime of health benefits, and general enjoyment,” said Mr Gage.


To find out more about Swim Australia, log on to


To learn how to stay safer in, on and around the water, tap on the SwimSAFER tab, and search for ‘Layers of Protection’. In just one click, you can even find your closest swim school registered with Swim Australia.


Kids drown without a sound!

Learn to swim, and SwimSAFER ... it’s great!



Celebrate Tickety Toc merchandise launch in Australia

Written by editor. Posted in Community News

Tickety Toc merchandise products launch in Australia by Zodia Kids


Zodiak Kids is delighted to announce that it will launch a range of licensed consumer products in Australia from September 2013 for its CG-animated preschool television series, Tickety Toc. Zodiak Kids have also announced a brand new acquisition deal with Nickelodeon for a second season Tickety Toc. The series currently airs on Nick Jr and Eleven’s Toasted TV in Australia.


To celebrate the launch of a range of merchandise for it in September, OurKidz members are offered the chance to win one of the 2 Tickety Toc prize packs, each valued at $155. To enter the competition, click HERE.


Tickety Toc has been a huge international ratings success for Nickelodeon since it made its debut in the UK in April 2012. It was the number-one rated show on Nick Jr. in the UK among kids in its launch month and remains one of the highest rated shows for the UK channel. Tickety Toc launched in Australia in May 2012 and has reached over 1 million viewers since.

Tickety Toc is a colourful CGI animated series which follows the fast-paced, energetic, comedic adventures of twins, Tommy and Tallulah and their remarkable friends as they race against time to keep the clock ticking and chime in the time. Through Tommy and Tallulah’s madcap adventures, Tickety Toc explores concepts of teamwork, social responsibility and problem solving in a fun and engaging way.

Zodiak Kids boasts one of the largest, high-quality kids catalogues in the world, which includes Totally Spies!, the international hit animation series; Tickety Toc, the new animated series; Waybuloo, the CBeebies pre-school hit; Redakai, a brand new series on Cartoon Network US; Mister Maker, the ultimate arts and craft show; Gormiti, based on the extraordinarily successful figurine range that sold over 100 million pieces; Street Football, one of the top rated animated shows in France and Italy and the newly launched The Ranch.


Colouring-in pages for free download:

OurKidz Colouring Activities: kids online printable page Tickety Tock Pufferty OurKidz Colouring Activities: kids online printable page Tickety Tock Madame Au Lait OurKidz Colouring Activities: kids online printable page Tickety Tock Tollulah OurKidz Colouring Activities: kids online printable page Tickety Tock Hopparoo

That's Life! - $20,000 community hearts awards

Written by editor. Posted in Community News


Across Australia there are countless groups of valued people helping out in their local communities. Whether your organisation is a sports team, the local Scouts or a school breakfast club, That's Life! magazine is giving a helping hand, recognising the important part community groups play in making our country so great.

That's Life! has $20,000 cash to give away to community organisations around Australia in our Community Hearts Awards 2010. Ten finalists will each win $1,000 cash. That's Life! readers will then vote for their favourite group and the organisation that receives the most votes, will receive $10,000 cash.

The finalists will be announced in issues 16 and 17 of That's Life!, with voting running from April 14 to April 30, 2010.

The winning community group that receives the most reader votes and the recipient of the $10,000 cash prize will be announced in That's Life! issue 20.

Nominations open on March 3, and close on March 24, 2010

To prepare your organisation's nomination ready for March 3 and to find out more information on how to enter go to

The Community Hearts Awards is an initiative of That's Life! magazine. To find out more information on how to enter and to see full Terms & Conditions go to


Bradman Foundation Dream Cricket Day for children with disabilities

Written by editor. Posted in Community News

The inaugural Dream Cricket Day at Bradman Oval last Friday, 29 October, gave children with disabilities the opportunity to play a game of cricket on the historic Bowral ground.


The day saw more than 80 children from the Southern Highlands, Penrith, Goulburn and Queanbeyan given the chance of a lifetime. They were also inspired by World Down Syndrome Swimming Champion Daniel Rumsey, who tossed the coin to start the matches and presented medals to the winners at the end of the day. Daniel won 14 gold medals and broke 13 world records at the event in Taiwan in October.


The Kookaburra men’s hockey team striker Glenn Turner also met the children and presented medals to the winners at the end of the day.


The children also visited the neighbouring Bradman Museum. The day was intended to promote their health, wellbeing and interest in cricket.


The Dream Cricket Day is an initiative of The Movement Disorder Foundation conducted by The Rotary Clubs of Berrima, Bowral-Mittagong and Moss Vale with the support from the Bradman Foundation, the Cerebral Foundation, Northcott Disability Services and many generous sponsors.


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