Anna Kennedy Online – Autism Awareness Charity
Yoga for SEN, Autism, ADHD, PDA, Rhett’s Syndrome & other neurodiversity’s – an article by Giuliana Wheater

Yoga for SEN, Autism, ADHD, PDA, Rhett’s Syndrome & other neurodiversity’s – an article by Giuliana Wheater

Yoga for SEN, Autism, ADHD, PDA, Rhett’s Syndrome & other neurodiversity’s ​

An article by our Well-being Ambassador Giuliana Wheater and her video!

Yoga is now well recognised as a therapy to encourage wellness, focus & peace.

This week I have included six very simple yoga poses for EVERYONE, including if you need to be assisted.
Everything I share, I love to think that it is all TOTALLY INCLUSIVE. Here is the link to this week’s YouTube video demonstrating them.

Did you know that yoga improves mental flexibility so is amazing for autistic people for instance ?! When we exercise our bodies, we are exercising our brains. Just simple yoga exercises with our hands and fingers stimulate the brain as the muscles found here relate to the muscles of the brain.

Yoga also promotes self-awareness, interpersonal awareness, compassion, body awareness along with self-esteem as the neurotransmitters of happiness, confidence, productivity & motivation are pushed up from the gut & stimulated in the brain ! Ninety percent of our happy hormone, serotonin, is made in the gut!!

Yoga balances the nervous system because of the release of these vital neurotransmitters & eases stress as well building our resilience to stress & boosting immunity. Much needed in these challenging times of the “new normal “.

Through the regular practice of yoga self-management, self-regulation & emotional/social intelligence are given a turbo charge! Depression is reduced as well as anxiety. Sensory integration is boosted too …. fabulous for our children with autism & other different abilities.

Yoga incorporates mindfulness, sound, breath work & meditation too so it flows beautifully alongside & interwoven with my other therapies.

Yoga should never hurt contrary to a common myth & can be done seated if there are mobility issues along with assisted yoga.

Yoga is also HUGE fun & can be turned into stories, charades, games & even songs, or music as I frequently do with the children & families I work with. Everything is an invitation & everything is fun & inclusive. I have lots of videos on my YouTube channel where I “play” with yoga in this way so that even tiny children want to explore it … all whilst getting these amazing benefits!!

The butterfly

Reclining side twists

The butterfly

The boat

Easy pose

See you next week, Stay safe, warm, and happy!
Lots of love, Giuliana

Yoga for SEN
Yoga for SEN
Yoga for SEN
Yoga for SEN
Yoga for SEN
Yoga for SEN
What is it to Be? An article by our Ambassador Paul Isaacs

What is it to Be? An article by our Ambassador Paul Isaacs

What is it to Be? An article by our Ambassador Paul Isaacs

Note that is is from a personal perspective 

What is it to be in the treading of a nobody?

To let the leaves crumble beneath ones feet

The ability to saunter the stars upon bed sheet

What is it to be in the treading of a nobody?

In which the days are tempered by adventures 

The soul inward cladding of innocent ventures

What is it to be in the treading of a nobody?

Walking on the brains rainbow of jellied colours

You find your map most noble between them and others

What is it to be? A question that is asked by many a person and why is this such important thing to reflect upon – many people don’t know whom they are walking in a world in which their sense of “self” has been governed by others, they may have lacked love by their caregivers, or suffered the burden of being over-loved producing a constant need to saved and rescued time and time again.

These two examples are to do with a lack of balance, objectivity and solace in ones self but equally one must help them through not pity but empathic understanding but at the same giving room from boundaries, self and assertiveness, this takes time and time is what we have little or more this is to be accepted.

If one knows whom they really our it will bode no surprises, no need for defence and no need for question because the answers have already been met and consumed long ago. A journey beyond the flesh maze, bone puzzled mess and jiggling organs can be an uncomfortable but interesting venture it is not always meant to pleasant but you can have opportunity to face yourself and come at peace with this.

The one thing I have learnt is simple you need expectations, no obligations, no choices, no matters interest, nor worries or desires all you need is to just be and first friend that you need to make is with you,  with whom’ mind soul do you cart around in your flesh cage from place to place? Make peace with it and understand that your are neither special nor unique, neither undesirable nor repulsive because real beauty is being. Just be.

Paul Isaacs 2022

Yoga for SEN, Autism, ADHD, PDA, Rhett’s Syndrome & other neurodiversity’s – an article by Giuliana Wheater

Simple Yoga for Sleep – an article by Giuliana Wheater

Simple Yoga for Sleep

An article by our Well-being Ambassador Giuliana Wheater and her video!

Really fabulous too for Autism, ADHD, PDA, reduced mobility and Mental Health

Sleep is key to helping us cope and function. It reduces stress and anxiety, keeps your heart healthy, boosts your memory, increases focus and alertness, significantly reduces the risk of depression, and helps your brain function better – so it makes you smarter!

Melatonin is the neurotransmitter of sleep, mood, and aggression. It is actually made from Serotonin, the neurotransmitter of happiness, confidence and self-esteem.

When we do not sleep, we use up all our daily quota of Serotonin while we lie in bed tossing, turning, worrying, and feeling frustrated.

We wake up feeling tired, foggy, and down.

Because we no longer have the serotonin there because we used it all up the night before. guess what?! Yes, we do not have enough to make melatonin. And so, the vicious circle begins… insomnia, mental health issues and challenges.

Sound familiar?

In today’s short video and article, I share five extremely simple yoga poses specifically for sleep. They do not take long and with regular practice you can really turn things around.

Some of the poses can also be assisted for the less mobile. You see, I do not leave anyone out!! I love you ALL!!

That gorgeous Serotonin and Melatonin will soon be doing Strictly Come Dancing all around your bodies and you will begin to feel that focus, clarity, freshness, and that feeling of getting through and staying on top.

Have a lovely week everyone, Love, Giuliana

Simple Yoga for Sleep

Yoga for SEN, Autism, ADHD, PDA, Rhett’s Syndrome & other neurodiversity’s – an article by Giuliana Wheater

Facial Massage for Anxiety, Autism, ADHD and Mental Health – an article by Giuliana Wheater

Facial Massage for Anxiety, Autism, ADHD and Mental Health

An article by our Well-being Ambassador Giuliana Wheater and her video!

Facial Massage for Anxiety, Autism, ADHD & Mental Health.

The Incredibly Soothing Power of Touch 

Touch has long been proven since the 1950’s right up to the present day to have enormous neuroscientific benefits and a huge impact , when used on a regular basis , to positively rewire our brains, the memory in our 37.2 trillion cells, the memory in our water which is a huge percentage of our bodies and even our the memory contained within our immune systems !!!!! It is absolutely incredible just how PERFECTLY we are put together, with so much naturally and freely at our disposal.

Never has it been needed more as we approach the third year of Covid and mental health for so many has gone haywire. Everywhere I go people are struggling, exhausted, bursting into tears without even knowing why at times and they are scared.

Never has touch been needed more for the simple fact that it actually also BOOSTS IMMUNITY!!!

In this week’s video I demonstrate deeply soothing, gentle but powerful massage techniques for the face.

The face relates directly to our second or enteric brains which are the seat of anger, fear, meltdown, anxiety and overwhelm.

It is wonderful to spend just even five minutes each morning and evening practising these techniques. I do them every day so I can feel clear, calm and refreshed when I begin my day but also at night so that I can calm my furiously busy, incessantly chatting brain to a state of relaxation, peace, and sleep.

I also do this regularly for my clients either face to face or through zoom sessions.

It is really important to me with any therapy I practise that I get my clients to mirror me. This way they have the tools at their disposal, and it is empowering as it immediately boosts serotonin (the neurotransmitter of confidence, self-esteem, and happiness)

For someone who is touch averse or nervous of touch, by putting them in control of it, it overcomes that barrier. For a severely autistic person it lets them control that touch so that it does not tickle or burn them.

We need to do as much as we possibly can to help ourselves during these extremely trying times where no one can see doctors and waiting lists for therapists and CAMHS are immense.

So, I hope these few simple techniques will help you all.

I will be chatting with Anna Kennedy OBE and Aston Avery this coming Thursday (13th January) from 11.30am on Gateway 97.8FM where I will be freely sharing more therapies and practical advice.

Have the paracetamol at the ready as I will be on for half an hour!!!! And you know how much I love to talk!!!!!!

Have a good week everyone, Lots of love, Giuliana

Elective Home Education

Elective Home Education

Elective Home Education

This guidance from the Department of Education from April 2019  describes elective home education as “a term used to describe a choice by parents to provide education for their children at home or in some other way they desire, instead of sending them to school full-time. This is different to education provided by a local authority other than at a school, for example for children who are too ill  to  attend  school”.

The recent case of Goodred v Portsmouth City Council [2021] Ms Cristina Goodred, after a successful crowd-funding campaign, challenged her local authority by way of Judicial Review as she considered they were interfering unnecessarily in the way she was educating her there children out of school and this was tantamount to bullying and indeed was nothing more than an attempt  force her to send her children to school despite what she was providing them was suitable. The Councils position was they were just complying with the most recent version of their policy “Elective Home Education” which was issued in 2020.

The difficulties started when the Portsmouth County Council wrote to Ms Goodred in July 2020 to review her children’s elective home education provision. She responded by providing a description of what the children had been doing but this was not seen to be sufficient, and more detail was asked for.  Ms Goodred responded by quoting paragraph 2.11 of the above guidance which states when electively home educating:

There are no legal requirements for you as parents educating a child at home to do any of the following: 

  • acquire specific qualifications for the task
  • have premises equipped to any particular standard
  • aim for the child to acquire any specific qualifications
  • teach the National Curriculum
  • provide a ‘broad and balanced’ curriculum
  • make detailed lesson plans in advance
  • give formal lessons
  • mark work done by the child
  • formally assess progress, or set development objectives  
  • reproduce school type peer group socialisation
  • match school-based, age-specific standards

This did not satisfy the Council and Ms Goodred was served with a notice to satisfy (NTS) pursuant to 437(1) of the Education Act 1996 which places the burden of proof on parents to demonstrate that they are causing their child to receive a suitable education.

Ultimately the matter ended up before the High Court and Portsmouth successfully manage to defend its position. But what did The Hon. Mr Justice Lane say and how did he clarify the requirement on parents who choose to electively home educate?

Anyone who wants a comprehensive answer to the above question is encouraged to read the judgement, but it is important to be mindful that, when doing so, it relates to how Portsmouth’s policy related to Ms Goodred rather than the application of the policy generally.

In any event, perhaps the judgement provided the following clarification:

a) Parents do need to satisfy a local authority that they are providing suitable education. In respect of what must be provided, the Judge confirmed that there are no legal requirements to teach the National Curriculum, give formal lessons, mark work done by the child, formally assess the child’s progress or set development objectives.

b) The local authority must simply satisfy themselves that the education is suitable to the child’s age aptitude and ability.

c) There is no definition of a ‘suitable’ education in English statute law. A court will reach a view of suitability based on the individual circumstances of each child. The Department of Education’s guidance suggest that the term ‘suitable’ is assessed on the following grounds:

  • it should enable a child to participate fully in life in the UK by including sufficient secular education.
  • the home education provision does not need to follow specific examples such as the National Curriculum, or the requirement in academy funding agreements for a ‘broad and balanced’ curriculum, nor the independent school standards prescribed by the Secretary of State. Conversely, however, if the home education does consist of one or more of those, then that would constitute strong evidence that it was ‘suitable’.
  • local authorities should interpret ‘suitable’ in the light of their general duties, however, there is no requirement on parents to actively promote the Fundamental British Values in the same way as there is for schools.
  • a local authority may specify requirements as to effectiveness in such matters as literacy and numeracy, in deciding whether education is suitable, whilst accepting that these must be applied in relation to the individual child’s ability and aptitudes.
  • home education may legitimately cater specifically for particular aptitudes which a child has, even if that means reducing other content; it is not simply a matter of academic learning but should also involve socialisation.
  • any assessment of suitability should take into account the environment in which home education is being provided.

d) The local authority can request that the parent meet with them or provide copies of the child’s work. The parent is not obliged to do either of those things but must provide sufficient information to enable the local authority to be satisfied that the education provision is suitable.

e) A local authority must not be unreasonable when the seeking to assess whether the education under consideration is suitable.

f) A local authority must always explain any concerns it has so parents can respond in a meaningful way

g) Home educated children are not expected to work to school based standards.

Perhaps the above can be summarised by saying that elective home education is a big step which imposes the duty on the parent that their child must receive a suitable education. That said, when deciding whether this standard has been met, a local authority must not behave unreasonably.

Dog walking, a new way of walking together – an article by our Ambassador Tess Eagle Swan

Dog walking, a new way of walking together – an article by our Ambassador Tess Eagle Swan

Dog walking, a new way of walking together
An article by our Ambassador Tess Eagle Swan

All of us with dogs do it. How we do it and why can make significant changes to you and your dog’s mental health… In today’s busy world we are losing opportunities to slow our pace, take a moment, be in the moment and deepen your bond with your dog. Dog walks can be a powerful tool to relax, destress and restore harmony.

Mental health matters not just to humans to dogs too. And I would like to point out assistance/service dogs need time out to let go after working. In fact, it is essential for them to have time out. Take off the harnesses, the work gear. I see many wearing a lot of paraphernalia. Go outdoors together for some freedom time.

boop 1

Rescue dogs too can find new homes, new families/lives stressful. They need time to be themselves. There is so much pressure on dogs and people.

Switching that pressure off and a reconnection with nature is free, available at any time and just waiting for you to open the door to a new way of walking. All dogs deserve time to be just dogs.

This way of walking allows just this.

​Dog walking, we can take this to a whole new level of understanding and learning together. Observation is important. Start there, with where you go.

Where is your favourite walk? where is the dogs? Is it the same or different?

Do you try new places? Do you notice what happens if you change where you go? My dogs love new places! They cannot wait to bury their noses deep into the new information smells.


maia holeHow much do you notice on a walk? Or are you on the phone? Always in a hurry to get the walk finished because you have other things to do. We can miss out on such magical moments and also what is necessary, needed by dogs.

Enrichment for dogs on walks. What is this? and how do you do this?

Letting your dog do what dogs should be doing for a start. They need to relax, destress, and breathe deeply, it is so important for their mental health. What we want and expect for our dogs is often not what they need.

raffy tongue rollThey need to have the freedom, and the loose lead (or off lead, you should know if you can let them off) to sniff, explore and investigate their environment.

They want to be able to explore the multitude and multiple scents, stick their noses right in, inhaling these rich sources of information! a variety of surfaces, walk on soft grass, crisp crunchy leaves, velvet soft moss, get wet in puddles, rivers, streams, mooch around in mud.

They hear sounds, animals, birds, everyday sounds and far more than we are aware of, have a relaxing roll-on leaves or grass, sit, stand, stare… all senses activated. Senses in use! smelling, hearing, touching, feeling and being dogs.

All senses being in use is the ultimate grounding, mindfulness exercise. Join in! start listening, touch a leaf, or some grass, a stone. Listen to the birds, sounds around you, breathe in fresh air. It is amazing to see them, how they are naturally and to share this time together. Silence from a busy world and embracing stillness unites us.

raff field​You can learn a lot and deepen your bond. It is enriching, relaxing for you too. A wonderful deep meditation and release of stress. Issues, problems forgotten, released, our mental well-being will be restored to rejuvenated and anxieties calmed. The ability to cope with life strengthened for both of you in these moments. Remember as people suffer with anxiety, dogs suffer too. We both need time to relax and reset ourselves. Or we stay overloaded and less able to cope with our daily lives because it is simply too full of what does not serve us well, or stress and heavy energy. Let go. Learn to enjoy a walk together. Feel lighter and happier. Emptying/releasing the heavy energy means new lighter ways can enter. Happiness, joy, and inner peace are three of my favourites.

Listen to your dog more, listen to nature. When we are open to listening, being in the moment, it creates a sense of well-being. You and your dog will benefit hugely from walking with no purpose and just being at one with nature and each other.

#dogwalking #mentalhealthmatters #autism #outdoors #takeyourtime #slowdown #enjoy #smile

the happy pack