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
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

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

Play Therapy / Feelings Uno – an article by Giuliana Wheater

Play Therapy / Feelings Uno

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

A very happy New Year to you all! I have missed you and it is gorgeous to be back for 2022!

January is an infamously challenging month for so many but as we go into our third year of Covid with jobs at risk and our children being forced through an intensive sausage machine factory of catch-up learning and tests, many of us are feeling trepidations and anxious.

The most important thing to remember is to KEEP TALKING. I have found through my 15 years of experience, and I mean this with no disrespect, that keeping things playful and light is far more effective than questioning someone or making them feel like a box ticking exercise.

Play therapy is a wonderful way to achieve this and has long been proven since the days of Plato, Einstein, Carl Rogers, Freud and more recently Anna Freud, Carl Rogers and Gove Hankridge and Virginia Axline amongst many others.

I personally weave it into so many of my other therapies because I find it is so effective in helping a child speak naturally. Through play emotions well up from inside them without prompting and this led to discussion, exploration and coping mechanisms. I always “play” with them so that I meet them on the same level. My ken honesty somehow promotes their own in return. It is trust and teamwork and can be vital in helping them take control and self-regulate.

In this week’s video I demonstrate a simple game of “Feelings Uno” which is tremendous fun and tackles important core emotions in a light-hearted but powerful way.

i hope you enjoy it and have fun with it!

In these times of a global mental health crisis, particularly among our young people, it is crucial we keep those lines of communication open at all times.

I hope 2022 brings you all peace, joy, good health, warm memories, and growth.

Much love, Giuliana

Charity Well-being Ambassador, Anna Kennedy Online

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

Seated Yoga for Additional Needs and Anxiety – an article by Giuliana Wheater

Seated Yoga for Additional Needs and Anxiety

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

Ease anxiety and get our inner Christmas parties going!

Anxiety is at an all-time peak. Suffering from long term or persistent anxiety is a silent and vicious disability that is affecting so many of us, particularly during this fear based and uncertain times. Left untreated it can often have extremely serious and even fatal effects. Currently the UK has the highest suicide rate in the world, particularly among our young people.

For those of us with autism or any other sort of neurodiversity PRE-COVID we are already 2-6x more likely to pick up an additional mental health issue or challenge. Imagine what that figure must be now?!! I absolutely dread to think …

This Christmas people seem more anxious than ever before, uncertain about what the future holds or suffering with mental health illnesses, many of which are anxiety-based. Almost three years of Covid has deeply taken its toll on everyone now.

So here are some COMPLETELY INCLUSIVE seated yoga tips to naturally boost immunity, stimulate all that deliciously gorgeous serotonin (happiness, confidence, self-esteem) and dopamine (drive, motivation, focus, feeling on top of the world!)

Whether you have disabilities, different abilities, or mobility challenges I am really hoping you can do most, if not all these poses!

Remember that yoga should never hurt and remember to breathe – especially if you can breathe in through your noses and out of your mouths.

The lungs and diaphragm will open and start to work to full capacity, and we really work our gut – the enteric or second brain which houses a whacking great percentage of those feel good and coping chemicals!

We ARE all in this together and we WILL get through it.

Stay strong and safe.

Have a happy, relaxed, and warm Christmas and a huge thank you to everyone who must work over the holiday period to keep us safe.

Take care everyone, Giuliana xx

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

Story Massage by Giuliana Wheater

Story Massage by Giuliana Wheater

Touch is life! It boosts immunity and stimulates all the neurotransmitters which we need daily. It makes such a difference!

Touch and story massage are very effective way to get our daily D.O.S.E:

Let me explain….

Dopamine, my favourite; the neurotransmitter of reward, focus, attention, and motivation.

Deficiency in this can lead to low self-esteem, low energy, an inability to focus, anxiety and mood swings.

Oxytocin: the neurotransmitter of love and nurture. It also stimulates emotional intelligence! Recent studies show that just 20 seconds after putting your hands on someone, oxytocin is released.

A deficiency in this can result in feeling lonely, stressed, insomnia, anxiety and not being able to maintain friendships.

Serotonin: the neurotransmitter of happiness, confidence, and self-esteem. A deficiency in this can lead to low self-esteem, anxiety, and panic attacks, being overly sensitive, social phobia, OCD, and insomnia.

Interestingly, the neurotransmitter of sleep, mood and aggression, Melatonin, is made from Serotonin. So, if we do not produce enough serotonin, we become moody, aggressive and cannot sleep.

Endorphins: the neurotransmitter of that feel good factor, feeling able to cope and function. It also helps with pain relief.

A deficiency in this can lead to anxiety, depression, mood swings, insomnia, impulsive behaviour as well as aches and pains.

Everything I do with anyone is always an invitation and always about where I meet THEM. Not the other way around. Story massage is a very impactful way to do this.

To invite and engage, to let the child choose and lead is empowering and floods them with the main happy and coping neurotransmitters. By involving them, they are also very quickly learning simple touch techniques through story massage to use anytime.

It is enormously beneficial for sensory issues too.

I was putting touch into stories for quite some years to help engage children with autism, ADHD & SEN; particularly for describing their passions, problems or favourite songs or toys.

Then I came across the incredible work of the Story Massage Programme founded by Mary Atkinson and Sandra Hooper.

This training MASSIVELY enriched my own work. It really cemented, simplified, and grew from what was doing myself – and I loved the format.

I am bursting with pride to share that my “Rainbow Kids” won the first ever Junior Practice Story Massage Award for groups and then I was awarded a Best Practice Award for the incredible results I was getting with the children.

The Story Massage programme consists of just twelve easy massage strokes. Particularly for autistic children that repetition of the strokes is comforting, grounding and does not surprise them with anything unexpected. It is a hugely useful calming and regulating tool.

But such enormous fun!!

I use it every day as part of my therapies.

It can even be used to teach parts of the curriculum!!

It is wonderful to see this work growing so much within schools. It is so needed, especially after almost 2 years of no touch.

The touch is always safe and respectful, with permission being asked first. It can be done anytime, anywhere.

Or as part of the school day for EVERYONE!

Did you also know that although our brains stop physically growing at around the age of eighteen, what we do with the grey matter inside our brains is up to US, ALL our lives! We can shrink or grow the grey matter around the amygdala or emotional brain/fear centre, the frontal lobe which houses all our higher brain functions and the hippocampus which is all about memory and learning.

Touch and story massage play a huge part in this.

When a child is in a relaxed state, they only need the same message repeated to them 4-6 times and a new neurological pathway is formed inside the brain! Not only that but through repeated touch you are then changing the memory inside the very cells of our bodies, the memory contained within our water and even the memory carried by our immune system. It becomes positive, able to cope and function, more confident and out of that crippling flight or fight scenario that so many of our neurodiverse children suffer with.

Babies with autism or other neurodiversity’s are actually born with higher levels of the enemy of the body, Cortisol, a stress hormone.

Babies born with ADHD immediately have brains that do not produce enough Dopamine – hence their inability to focus or concentrate. It is not a “conduct disorder “or wilful. It is just a differently wired brain.

Lots of our children also experience some kind of trauma as they try to navigate school and our world. As parents we can actually suffer from what is known as secondary PTSD. I know I do from the journey with my own autistic son.

Touch and story massage can help this so much. It brings the body back to “rest and relax,” calming the entire nervous system. It releases all those important and essential “coping chemicals” and “happy hormones “. It calms, bonds, builds trust, melts barriers and is such a useful tool for the whole family, including the siblings of autistic children.

I ran a story massage family workshop before Covid, and a father just broke down because he said it was the first time, he had touched his autistic son with ADHD “just because “in almost 6 years.

By putting touch into stories, it often removes the barrier of fear or distrust, especially if you make it about the child.

Through using the story massage programme, I have even had several nonverbal and selective mute children say their first word!

I have also had children who are undergoing extreme anxiety, phobias, or challenges: story massage, particularly when we write the stories together, will often give that problem a voice for the first time. And we can then work through that challenge.

Here is a link to the experience of just one parent and reflexologist:

Story massage reduces and eases anxiety and stress, fear, meltdown and overwhelm.

It could even be made up to do as homework to describe a historical event or a creative writing piece for children with dyslexia as well as autism!

Story Massage
Story Massage
Story Massage
Story Massage
Mental Health and wellbeing Campaign