Support for Roebourne’s Children
Thinker in Residence, Dr Stuart Shanker, is visiting Roebourne to discuss how communities can strengthen children and young people’s capacity to regulate their emotions and behaviour.
The Thinker in Residence is an initiative of the Commissioner for Children and Young People, Michelle Scott and was created to provide WA with access to leading research and knowledge concerning the wellbeing of children and young people.
“The theme of Dr Shanker’s residency is self-regulation, which refers to the ability to monitor and modify emotions, to focus or shift attention, to control impulses and to tolerate frustration or delay gratification,” Ms Scott said.
“I was very keen for Dr Shanker to visit regional WA so he is able to share his understanding of self-regulation with teachers, parents and others, and discuss strategies which have been effective in his work with First Nations people in Canada.
“While clearly there will be differences, I hope that many aspects of Dr Shanker’s work will have relevance for Aboriginal people in Western Australia.
“Dr Shanker is keen to hear from members of the Roebourne community and service providers about what is working in Roebourne to provide children with a positive start to life.”
Nearly 41 per cent of Aboriginal people in WA are under the age of 18 years, compared to the 23 per cent of under 18s in the State’s total population.
The 2006 census shows there are 225 Aboriginal children and young people in Roebourne.
“This means that if we can provide the right supports and programs we can positively influence the lives of a large generation, and hopefully break the cycle of disadvantage,” Ms Scott said.
Robyn Sermon, General Manager – Communities with Rio Tinto, said the company was pleased to work with Ms Scott to bring Dr Shanker to Roebourne.
“Our partnership on the 2012 Thinker in Residence program builds on Rio Tinto’s commitment to support the health and wellbeing of children and young people in the Pilbara, and throughout Western Australia,” she said.
“Dr Shanker is a world leader in child development.
“It is a wonderful opportunity for community representatives in the region to learn about his strategies and how they can benefit their relationships with children at home and in their work.
“It is initiatives like this that can make a real difference on the ground.”
Ms Scott said she was pleased many organisations have recognised the value of Dr Shanker’s visit by supporting the 2012 Thinker in Residence program.
Rio Tinto and the departments of Education and Health have provided particular assistance for the Roebourne visit.