Anna Kennedy Online – Autism Awareness Charity
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

SELF CARE & FILLING YOUR OWN CUP – Giuliana Wheater

EMOTIONS AREN’T GOOD OR BAD : HERE’S WHY WE NEED TO LISTEN TO THEM – Giuliana Wheater

EMOTIONS AREN’T GOOD OR BAD : HERE’S WHY WE NEED TO LISTEN TO THEM

Our day to day emotional state is a direct communication of how we are feeling mentally.

Particularly for those of us who are neurodiverse, this emotional communication is even more important to listen to due to all the masking, autistic hangovers, burnout and eventually complete shut downs as a result of trying to “appear normal”.

 

 

The lack of true awareness and education surrounding neurodivergence only emphasises and supports the chronic lack of support and understanding.

Our emotions are signals to us ; our bodies bringing our attention to something, often letting us know when something within ourselves is out of kilter.

Stress means we need to slow down and apply some self care. Not always easy in this fast paced world, I know.

Anxiety means you’re not feeling safe and need calm and grounding.

Anger and frustration can often be tiredness, overwhelm, a result of masking for too long.

 

Not feeling bothered or having enough energy for personal care, self isolating from those who love you, falling behind with things, a negative change in your sleep pattern, or a lack of passion for things you normally enjoy are strong symptoms of depression.

If you are isolating, not responding to family of friends, struggling to get out of bed, feeling less patient or more irritable, feeling overwhelmed or on edge, living in clutter or mess and have stopped doing the things that keep you mentally healthy, you could well be suffering from mental health illness.

Taking some time for you is so important.

 

 

Whether it’s a simple 5 minute daily yoga routine, self massage/self soothing, journaling, exercising, meditating ( including listening to guided visualisations which can be accessed freely on apps like YouTube, reducing your social media intake, spending time in nature or simply reading a chapter of a book will all help.

A good diet and exercising/ moving your body is also invaluable.

Here are a few ideas and therapies you can use daily to regulate and boost your emotions and mental health.

Daily routines

 

Yoga for sleep

 

Self massage/self soothing routine

 

Meditation to release anxiety

I hope that some of these ideas will help you all stay on top of those emotions and nourish your mental health in these busy and uncertain times we live in.

See you next week !

Lots of love,

Giuliana xx

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

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

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

https://youtube.com/@giulianawheaterrainbowkids6329?si=wL-BZeCXAKiqA0VD

SELF CARE & FILLING YOUR OWN CUP – Giuliana Wheater

ANXIETY & KEEPING IN TOUCH WITH OURSELVES & OUR CHILDREN ♥️

ANXIETY & KEEPING IN TOUCH WITH OURSELVES & OUR CHILDREN

 

Anxiety is at an all time peak . Suffering from long term or persistent anxiety is a silent & vicious disability that is effecting so many of us now. This is often heightened during times of transition, especially the return to school.

Left untreated anxiety can often have extremely serious & even fatal effects. Currently the UK has the highest suicide rate in the world, particularly among our young people & self harm has increased by a staggering 68% in the last 5 years

There is a world of difference between moments of anxiety & suffering with anxiety.

Anxiety is truly disabling & panic attacks paralysing.

Feeling anxious all the time impedes life & living fully. It’s truly horrible.

 

 

It’s really important that we check in with ourselves & our children on how exactly we are feeling each day & where we are feeling this in our bodies.

Non verbal children can eye point or finger point to the charts I’ve included here.

Rather than ask “How was school today ?”, why not ask how you or your children have felt today. Were they sad or worried at any point, or happy or excited. Were they lonely or upset & most importantly why? Where did they feel it inside their bodies and what can we do to get the positive happy and coping chemicals flowing again ?

 

 

Taking care of our mental health is paramount. If we don’t take care of our mental health, everything else will spiral, often leaving you mentally & even physically ill.

Self care & being in touch with ourselves & others couldn’t carry a greater value.

Here are some easily accessible ideas for self care that you can do by yourself or with your family or even classrooms for 5 minute rest/movement breaks during lessons if you are a teacher.

 

 

Productivity, motivation & learning will be massively boosted along with all that gorgeous serotonin, dopamine, endorphins & oxytocin.

If you think of the well known saying “An Apple a day keeps the doctor away”, even if you choose just one exercise of activity from the enclosed self care charts, that one activity daily will help you to take charge of your mental health.

Wishing you all a very happy week,

Lots of love,

Giuliana

 

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

https://youtube.com/@giulianawheaterrainbowkids6329?si=RwH3Ag_zUgoqQwM3

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

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

 

SELF CARE & FILLING YOUR OWN CUP – Giuliana Wheater

The Return to School and our Daily D.O.S.E – Giuliana Wheater

Embrace Your Daily D.O.S.E 

 

As we all begin a new academic  year we may have many conflicting emotions,

thoughts and anxieties.

 

For those of us whose children are neurodiverse in a mainstream world anyway, it can be a daunting transition.

 

So, here is the first massive sunbeam of light to help us all find our way through.

 

Whatever lies ahead as we move forwards, YOU GROW YOUR OWN BRAINS! 

 

 

Yes, it’s absolutely true!

 

Brains stop growing physically at around the age of 18 … but what we do with the grey matter inside them is under our control throughout our whole lives!

 

In other words, WE can define US! 

 

We can grow or shrink grey matter around our amygdala/ emotional brain (sometimes called ‘the fear centre’) and we can grow or shrink it around the hippocampus (memory and learning) and our frontal lobe which contains all those higher executive shiny brain functions.

 

 

If we are stressed for prolonged periods, or in flight or fight, the grey area around the emotional brain grows and it shrinks around the other areas causing learning and judgment to be compromised.

 

But we can turn this around? Yes! 

 

“How?”, I hear you cry!

 

Well it’s all about getting your daily D.O.S.E – your “happy and coping chemicals”.

 

 

Let me explain…

 

– Dopamine is the neurotransmitter of reward, focus, attention, concentration and motivation.

O – Oxytocin is the neurotransmitter of love, nurture which stimulates emotional intelligence. We start flooding with it within 20 seconds of touch.

S – Serotonin the neurotransmitter of happiness , confidence and self-esteem. And never has this been so needed!

AND if you make enough serotonin you then have enough to make Melatonin the neurotransmitter of sleep, mood and aggressio!

E – Endorphins the neurotransmitter of pain relief and that euphoric feeling of well-being .

 

And that’s not all..

 

Did you know that memory isn’t just carried inside your brains? We carry the day to day memory of how and who we are in our water (young children are made of 90% water and this drops to about 75% during adolescence) and it’s carried in every single one of our 37.2 TRILLION CELLS!

 

Touch, mindfulness, massage, acupressure, reflexology, yoga, mindfulness and meditation all HUGELY boost the positive memories we carry, that positive way of “being”.

 

Play therapy and any Positive Growth Mindset games /activities do the same.

 

The key is to meet the child where THEY are at and not where you want them to be. 

 

By feeling invited, by knowing they can change the insides of their brains (and yes, I share it with them all, however young), guess what happens next ?!…

 

THE BRAIN MAKES A NEW NEUROLOGICAL PATHWAY!

 

As Rick Hanson PhD proved, “What fires the brain wires the brain. Every day our MINDS are building our brains”.

 

In other words, what we tell our children is what they become.  

And what we tell ourselves, is what WE become.  

 

In a relaxed and playful state, a child only needs to receive the same positive message 4-6x for a new neurological pathway to be formed !

Touch is key to this.

 

How can I utter this as we transition out of a pandemic? Because touch boosts immunity! And we can self-massage too which can lead to self-awareness, self- management and better self-regulation which leads to more empowerment!

Since the controversial experiments on monkeys by Harry Harlow in the 1950/60’s to the present day leaders in the field such as Darlene Francis, Michael Meaden and Tiffany Field, touch has been proven to ease stress, boost resilience, build bigger brains, better physical health, significantly higher levels of emotional and social intelligence as well as better trust and bonding.

Tiffany Field also carried this research into yoga and proved how breathing and the poses push up the dopamine and serotonin from the gut (90% of our serotonin is made in the gut).

Our gut or second/enteric brain carries so much dopamine and serotonin it could actually run as an independent nervous system. It is also the seat of meltdown, so it is a win-win!

Yoga can also improve breathing, perspective, sleep, self-awareness, focus , attention, positivity and calm.

Meditation and mindfulness MASSIVELY stimulate our 37.2 trillion cells on a subconscious level, dropping our busy heart rates down to the ideal theta level, promoting clear thinking, deep sleep, wellness, perspective, attention, resilience and productivity.

 

Everything we need is inside us already. We are deliciously complete, perfect and exquisite jigsaws! 

 

Our MINDS build our brains, not the other way around. It’s called Neuro (brain) Plasticity (being bendy).

 

AND IT’S YOUR SUPERPOWER! 

 

 

Written by Giuliana Wheater

 

Author of ‘Indian Head Massage for Special Needs’, multi-award winning therapist , Wellbeing Charity Ambassador for AnnaKennedyOnline and autism Mum

 

 

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

Not giving up –  A Message on Bullying and Autism

Not giving up – A Message on Bullying and Autism

When Anna asked me to write a blog for her website it really made my day.

All my life I have been bullied and now I am being bullied online as well.

I love helping people, it’s a huge passion of mine – I am autistic and struggle with communication and social interaction but I always try my hardest. I connect with Anna Kennedy on social media and I enjoy helping her share all things related to her charity and the different things I love and support. I do this because I enjoy spending time helping share the word to reach more people and raise awareness about topics close to my heart such as autism.

Over last 3 months people being unkind to me – I feel pressured, used and hurt. I didn’t realise doing a good thing could turn into something awful. Even though I can mute and block people – people seem to still be able to sign up using a different name. There doesn’t seem to be any barriers to stop this and it’s not nice.

I’ve had to come off social media because I’m very anxious and scared, it’s affecting my mental health along with made me feel terrible that I’ve let people down, the people who are kind and appreciate my help and support. I do want to be brave and not let these people get to me but it’s not easy.

I feel bad for anyone in same or similar situation to me. I wish I could do something to make social media easier, more positive and a better experience for everybody with or without autism. Technology and software is always changing so l’m sure there is a solution. I haven’t found it yet but I’m not giving up.

Thank you

– Anonymous

Mental Health and wellbeing Campaign