Anna Kennedy Online – Autism Awareness Charity
ANTICIPATING & HANDLING MELTDOWNS – Giuliana Wheater

ANTICIPATING & HANDLING MELTDOWNS – Giuliana Wheater

ANTICIPATING & HANDLING MELTDOWNS

 

Here is a neuroscientific & psychological fact : Every single one of our trillions of cells in our bodies react to everything your mind says.

 

They also react to everything other people say to us, especially if it is repeated more than 20 times.

 

It’s part of how our neurological pathways are built.

 

 

Being autistic in a still very mainstream world, was described to me once as being forced to be a lobster when you’re a human being. It is stifling, limiting & you have to bury every single part of who you are just to appear “normal”.

 

 

No wonder mental health co-morbidities such as depression, OCD, anxiety & even psychosis, trichollotomania ( hair pulling, skin picking) are 2-6x more likely for autistics.

 

 

Continual masking & existing in survival/fight or fight mode leads to autistic hangover, then burnout, then meltdown & worst case scenario, shutdown.

 

 

Some days it’s just SO hard trying to survive another day as a lobster.

 

Sometimes you’re just far too exhausted to fight.

 

Brain fog, suppressing your stims, over stimming, not asking for help & pretending not to be overstimulated ( which in itself leads to burn out ), the inability to focus or make decisions, feeling easily angered, heightened senses, visual overstimulation are all signs of an imminent meltdown.

 

 

When your child ( or yourself ) has a meltdown, like all behaviour it’s communication. It’s saying give me some time and some patience too.

 

It won’t be long until I come back to you.

 

I just need to recharge and that’s ok.

 

I desperately need a break.

 

I need to step off this overwhelming world for a short time to just be me.

 

It’s so lonely in this world where I am not understood, where I’m told that my traits are flaws ; a world that preaches inclusion but segregates, separates, judges and limits me.

 

 

So when your child has a meltdown, as heartbreaking as it is, hold that space for them. When children’s emotions are high, their logic & language are low.

 

Don’t try to reason with them.

 

Just connect with them, hold that space and “be”.

Focus more in those moments on who your child is rather than what your child does.

 

 

Always remember that whatever the neurotypical world tries to brainwash your cells with, you are raising a child, not fixing a problem.

 

 

Sometimes we are assigned mountains to show others that they can be moved.

 

Our children face daily mountains of ignorance, isolation, limited beliefs, judgment & a chronic lack of expectation.

 

 

So if they want to hurl their climbing gear to the ground occasionally & just take time out, they will soon pick up their climbing sticks again & show others that mountains can & are being moved.

 

 

My journey with my own son is living proof of that.

 

And the reason why I have dedicated my life to helping others break those barriers.

 

 

Take care,

 

 

Giuliana xx 

 

 

 

 

https://www.therapiesforspecialneeds.co.uk/

 

https://youtube.com/@giulianawheaterrainbowkids6329?si=R3GqwcsaB8YSdKIr

 

https://www.facebook.com/groups/rainbowtherapieskidsandfamilies/?ref=share_group_link

 

https://www.facebook.com/groups/482455567249684/?ref=share_group_link

ANTICIPATING & HANDLING MELTDOWNS – Giuliana Wheater

STILL THE MIND 🧘🏽‍♂️ – Giuliana Wheater

STILL THE MIND 🧘🏽‍♂️

 

So many autistic/neurodivergent children hit meltdown.

 

It’s heartbreaking for us .

 

It’s heartbreaking for them.

 
 

 

And meltdowns continue in various ways into adulthood.

 

They don’t just magically disappear when you turn 18.

 

Autistic children become autistic adults.

 

 

Trying to blend in with a neurotypical world is exhausting. I often smile wryly when I hear about parents or employees pushing for “reasonable adjustments” : autistic people are making HUGE and often unreasonable adjustments every single minute of every day.

 

 

This leads to autistic hangover, autistic meltdown, and finally autistic shutdown.

 

 

Burying every aspect of who you are is beyond exhausting, very frustrating and distressing.

 

Burying all that fear, anxiety, dread , so many bottled up emotions including anger , deep in your gut causes not just poor mental health but also gut and elimination issues.

 

The gut is the second or enteric brain; the seat of meltdowns, dread, anxiety and anger.

 

 

Intrinsically linked to our first or cognitive brain, the two are talking to each other via the vagus nerve continually, even when you are asleep.

 

 

This yoga pose is a deeply restful, grounding and nurturing pose.

It is wonderful to do for a couple of minutes every morning to quiet the mind, clear the brain and ease whatever you are storing in your gut.

 

 

It pushes the dopamine ( the neurotransmitter got attention, focus, perspective, concentration and motivation from your gut into your brain.

 

 

Our gut also produces 90% of our serotonin ( the neurotransmitter for mental health : happiness, confidence & self esteem).

 

 

Not to sound too nerdy, but the melatonin we need to regulate sleep, mood and aggression is made from serotonin so that is boosted too.

 

So it is really effective to do regularly each evening before bed too.

 

It really doesn’t need to take long !

 

 

Closing down the body in this “Child’s Pose” also stimulates oxytocin – the neurotransmitter with which babies fill when they are breastfeeding. It’s the ULTIMATE in love and nurture.

 

It also stimulates our emotional intelligence.

 

 

This yoga pose, when practised regularly, is a very effective and proactive method to quiet the mind and soothe the gut.

 

 

If someone has ready hit meltdown, they won’t feel like doing this.

 

By being proactive we can help to prevent or at least lessen the frequency of meltdowns.

 

 

As parents, carers and teachers living or working with SEN it is a really good practice to get into.

 

We can also get frayed, frustrated and yes, traumatised too.

 

 

Parents of autistic children often have what’s called secondary PTSD as a result of having to watch their children be misunderstood, not supported in the right way and the continual fight to achieve every small step for their child.

 

 

So do this easy pose together and release all these DELICIOUS happy and coping chemicals. It will go you the world of good.

 

And it feels simply gorgeous too !

 

 

Take care,

 

See you next week,

 

Giuliana Wheater BA Hons MCMA

 

 

https://www.therapiesforspecialneeds.co.uk/

 

https://youtube.com/@giulianawheaterrainbowkids6329?si=IQGbnaW9SLOXrOLw

 

https://www.facebook.com/groups/rainbowtherapieskidsandfamilies/?ref=share_group_link

 

ENGAGING YOUR AUTISTIC CHILD IN SOCIAL INTERACTION

ENGAGING YOUR AUTISTIC CHILD IN SOCIAL INTERACTION

ENGAGING YOUR AUTISTIC CHILD IN SOCIAL INTERACTION 

As parents, one of the biggest worries concerning our autistic children is the isolation which being neurodivergent brings. So often I meet adults who share with me that the worst and most disabling aspect of their lives is the loneliness. I’ve also had young adults tell me that they don’t want to always be lonely because life would be unbearable and they wouldn’t want to be here.

Wherever I do talks or trainings I am always asked by parents and carers what they can do to help children interact and play with others. Just to reassure you, many small children often begin exploring through play on their own and want things on their own terms. Sharing is a common skill to learn for all children of all abilities. But what can we do when our children really do struggle to engage with others ?

In my experience as a mum to 4 neurodiverse children and as a professional with almost 20 years experience, I would advise that tapping into something your child loves is a great place to start. Begin to play with them as a parent first. For instance if it’s trains or dinosaurs, musical instruments or building blocks that they adore, just get down on the floor with them and copy how they are playing. Put them in charge. Then slowly introduce your own ideas such as adding a bridge or an engine house if they are really into trains for example. I find this to be a really successful way to sow the seeds of the idea of playing and sharing play with other children.

With music I have done the same. I have copied the child and the noises they make which immediately gets their attention. I’ve often made huge break throughs in this way. Then after a few sessions I might introduce softer playing of an instrument and that gorgeous exploration through play starts to grow as they then copy me. If you make any activity you share COMPLETELY child-led, you build that essential trust, that communication, and the doors into their works beautifully open.

If your child is very sensory, set up floor or table play using sand, water beads, rainbow rice ( using food colouring) and water. Then just add cups, spoons or pans. After you have played with your child in this way, it introduces them to playing with others. Tables full of fidget toys can also help.

Many professionals are now urging parents and teachers to encourage sensory play as a part of the daily routine. Routine for autistic children is an incredibly important factor in their development. Adding sensory play into their daily routine helps them to process information, including atmosphere and surroundings and help them to become more comfortable in social situations.

Playful activities such as rough and tumble play, which are very physical can also help tremendously. Activities that involve jumping up and down, squatting, climbing, throwing and balancing stimulate gross motor skills as well as providing your child to explore their environment, and interact with other children. Best of all, this leads to playing with neurotypical children also, so they will begin to learn from each other in the most natural and inclusive way.

All children need all the warmth and advice they can get, but our differently wired children need these things even more. They need to feel they belong and the earlier this happens the better. It’s within human beings to be social; it’s part of who we are. No one should be excluded and as Einstein himself said, the best way to access education is through play.

I really hope this helps.

If you’d like to have more ideas, I share lots of ideas and activities every week ( almost daily ) on my public Facebook groups https://www.facebook.com/groups/rainbowtherapieskidsandfamilies/?ref=share_group_link

https://www.facebook.com/groups/482455567249684/?ref=share_group_link

Thad care everyone and I’ll see you next week.

Lots of love,

Giuliana

QUESTIONS TO ASK YOUR CHILDREN INSTEAD OF “HOW WAS SCHOOL?”

QUESTIONS TO ASK YOUR CHILDREN INSTEAD OF “HOW WAS SCHOOL?”

QUESTIONS TO ASK YOUR CHILDREN INSTEAD OF “HOW WAS SCHOOL?”

For most parents, including those whose children are neurotypical, asking “How was school today?” vary often results in “Nothing” or “Same as usual”. For parents of neurodiverse children, those kids have already given every last ounce of their energy usually in just trying to survive.
The last thing they want to talk about is school, especially after  a day spent wlth either frequently being told off, misunderstood or totally masking every part of who they are, just to get by & appear “normal”.
   
As I read recently, that prolonged masking, which actually leads to autistic hangover, meltdown & then shut down, is like forcing a human being to be a lobster. 
 
I have found with all 4 of my neurodiverse children as well as the literally thousands of others I have worked with for over 16 years, that there are far more engaging, fun & open ended questions to encourage them to open up about their day. Not only does this engage them but even more vitally, it’s a mental health thermometer to help you know where exactly they are “at”. 
 
If a child doesn’t feel like talking, or is non verbal, encourage them to journal their day with similar encouraging journal prompts. If they are younger children, get them to draw & colour their day! 
 
So often when I work in children’s homes or residential colleges, I might arrive early while they are all eating & at times the silence has said so much. As a society since Covid we have literally become so “contactless”, so separate from each other, so inside our own bubbles. 
 
The statistics for mental health have shot up to dangerously high levels, so reach out, communicate, touch base & keep on top of feelings, including your own, with some of the ideas attached. 
  
 
I really hope this helps. 
 
 
See you next week! 
 
Lots of love, 
 
Giuliana xx 
 
 
My website
Facebook Group
My YouTube Channel

https://youtube.com/@giulianawheaterrainbowkids6329?si=J3qqfexEDHPcrVcq

CALM DOWN YOGA FOR YOUR AUTISTIC CHILD

CALM DOWN YOGA FOR YOUR AUTISTIC CHILD

CALM DOWN YOGA FOR YOUR AUTISTIC CHILD

By Giuliana Wheater

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

And is wonderful for ANY child regardless of neurodivergence or neurotypicality.

This week I have included 6 very simple yoga poses for EVERYONE , including if you need to be assisted.

 

Everything I share , I love to think that it’s all TOTALLY INCLUSIVE.

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 ! 90% 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 !!

https://youtube.com/@giulianawheaterrainbowkids6329?si=EYdP-XQp0Br-cgv8

Here are six simple poses to get started with.

 

 

Take care everyone!

See you next week!

Lots of love,

Giuliana xx

https://www.therapiesforspecialneeds.co.uk/

SELF CARE & FILLING YOUR OWN CUP – Giuliana Wheater

SELF CARE & FILLING YOUR OWN CUP – Giuliana Wheater

SELF CARE & FILLING YOUR OWN CUP

Last week I had the absolute joy of speaking with Anna Kennedy and Aston Avery on Gateway Radio 97.8pm.

Tips for mental health and well-being were high on the agenda but we also touched on using tips for self care also.

As parents or carers for our autistic /neurodivergent children, we ourselves are very often suffering with fatigue, stress levels equivalent to veteran beck from the front line, as well as secondary PTSD.

Our children are also a whopping great 4x more likely to suffer with PTSD than the military.

We have no training and are so often fighting a system that is failing or children beyond miserably. That fight continues into further education as well as employment.

If we are continually pouring from an empty cup we end upon burn out ourselves and we are not firing on all cylinders or being dunks to stay on top of everything our children need from us.

 

 

So please, even if it’s just for ten minutes a day, here are a few tips you can do for yourselves to keep your own happy hormones and coping chemicals on a good flow.

1. Massaging your temples backwards and forwards with your fingertips.

 

 

2. Stroking upwards on your forehead, under your cheekbones and up your jaw.

 

 

3. Doing gentle seated spinal twists.

4. Lying with your legs up against a wall to lower heart rate and blood pressure ( unless you’re epileptic)

5. Doing an online meditation ( they are free on YouTube)

6. Going for a walk/ getting outside into nature

7. Reading

8. Taking a bath with candles or mischief playing

These may seem like simple things but as mothers, as parents we are so needed.

As any latent of a neurodivergent child will tell you, everything – absolutely everything – is a heartbreaking fight full of closed doors.

So keep yourselves topped up so we can keep on kicking those doors down.

 

Stay positive and have a great week everyone,

Lots of love ,

Giuliana

https://www.therapiesforspecialneeds.co.uk/

https://youtube.com/@giulianawheaterrainbowkids6329?si=C_7rG9_yMIeV418V

https://www.facebook.com/groups/rainbowtherapieskidsandfamilies/?ref=share_group_link

Mental Health and wellbeing Campaign