About Courageous Kids
Born from a need to further empower her children, the Courageous Kids app was developed by Dr. Kathryn Hackman, a loving mother of two little boys. The Children’s storybook app offers a growing collection of unique social stories, with an exclusive personalisation feature that allows your child and their grown ups (parents, teachers, doctors etc), to be at the centre of each story. Through this visualisation, Courageous Kids prepares children to face a multitude of social situations, and life challenges, with confidence.
Courageous Kids was designed by Kathryn as a toolkit for her 5 year old, who had no problems riding his bike down the stairs, but required extra time and assistance to prepare for new events or changes. He also struggled with the unspoken rules and expectations in social and educational situations. Sometimes this resulted in him being chastised by his teachers or upsetting his friends. Kathryn decided to help her son by writing him stories to explain the everyday situations he would encounter, along with all the “rules” we adults take for granted.
Social Stories Are Effective
Social stories are a powerful learning tool intended to provide clear exchanges of communication between parents and children. This form of storytelling describes a context, skill, achievement or idea in a clear and direct way, making it easy for children to grasp.
Courageous Kids’ stories are passionately written from Kathryn’s first-hand experience as a mother, and include specific information to teach children what to expect in a given situation. Developing familiarity with upcoming situations and explaining expectations means children are prepared and ready. Each story serves to teach coping and social skills, develop emotional intelligence and help guide behaviour.
The Courageous Kids children’s storybook app is designed for children aged 2-6 years as this is a time of immense change and growing independence.
The concept of teaching through social stories was originally developed to assist children with anxiety and autism, but has been expanded as a useful tool for all children faced with change. The unique collection of stories in this app have been highly effective in helping Kathryn’s eldest son, along with her three-year old and her friends’ children, sparking this entire passion project.
Why Courageous Kids?
We can’t always do what our kids would like. Occasionally parents need a night out together, or are required to travel for work.
The stories included, prepare children for these situations, which may seem commonplace to us, but are significant to them. Our stories are not aimed to prevent children from being upset, rather to make space for their emotional responses. Stories are designed to be read by primary caregivers who will then help the child understand and cope with their feelings. Being angry, disappointed, worried or scared is hard for anyone. These are powerful emotions, and especially difficult for our kids to carry alone. Having a parent name, discuss and help guide them through these feelings in advance (with plenty of hugs) will help them be calm, and confident, when the time arrives.
Many of our stories prepare children for tricky moments. By providing clear guidance as to what will happen, and discussing how they might feel, we allow them to articulate and understand their own feelings. This minimises surprise and fear when they encounter something new and potentially overwhelming.
Alongside these preparatory stories we also provide celebratory ones. These stories reflect on moments where kids successfully manage new situations. By explaining unknowns and praising successes, Courageous Kids caters to the needs of children and their carers, fostering harmony and confidence for the whole family.
Types of stories provided by Courageous Kids
Describing new experiences, such as starting school or kinder.
Social Skills stories
Learning routines stories
Specific behavioural issues stories
Expected behaviours stories
What the Courageous Kids App offers
Searching for a method to present everyday situations, and challenges, to your child in a relatable way? You’re not alone. Through her own experience, and by listening to other parents and childhood educators, Kathryn realised there was a need within the community to empower children in an easy and enjoyable way.
The app Courageous Kids, was developed in collaboration with a child psychologist, speech pathologist and occupational therapist. The children’s storybook app offers 3 powerful and fun learning tools to prepare your child for upcoming situations with confidence:
This is a growing list of scenarios for our children’s storybook app, and
we would love your feedback or requests through our
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Who we are
Dr Kathryn Hackman
MBBS FRACP PhDFounder of the Courageous Kids children's storybook app, is a practicing clinician and loving mother of two beautiful boys. Motherhood has helped her develop a greater understanding of, and empathy towards, the emotional development of young children. Through her career as a medical practitioner, she has honed her skills in clear and effective communication. This expertise has been translated into the stories and games that she has created for Courageous Kids.
Dr Eda Ruschena
D. Psych (Clinical - Child and Adolescent)
Dr Eda Ruschena is a child and adolescent clinical psychologist with over 20 years' experience. She has worked in public health and hospitals, schools and private practice. She is passionate about helping parents find practical and effective ways to help their kids.
Mrs Julie Kelleher-Byrne
Julie is a leading paediatric occupational therapist with over 25 years' experience. She is also the mother of 5 gorgeous children. She has worked in kindergartens, schools and private practice. She brings out the best in children by teaching them (and their parents) how to self-regulate through movement. Her sensory movement breaks and sensory diets assist to calm a wired nervous system to enable a child who is over- or under-stimulated to self-regulate and process the incoming information from their sensory environment effectively.