Five CBT & Autism Q and A’s

What is CBT?

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Autism has been widely researched over the last 30 years seeing such courses which claim to practically cure young people of Autism. Of course CBT alone does not. There is no cure for Autism. However, with careful intervention of a number of alternative therapies, diet and lifestyle, there can always be a significant change in the individual.

I believe that Autism is a disorder which is the result of the environment the person is in at that moment. Shift the environment and the traits of Autism ‘disappear.’ The key to the ultimate intervention is the environment. All the other methods and strategies simply support rather than remedy.

CBT was designed to help people with post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and eating disorders such as anorexia. Yet the intervening CBT with Autism is still a relatively new concept which is being found to be highly beneficial with many clients and their families.

Who will it help?

CBT will help your child enormously if they fit into the following criteria;

  1. They are of an age where they can be responsible for their own actions (for example, from the age of 8 upwards)
  2. They have at best some reasonable control over their behaviour
  3. That behaviour is led by a thought process.
  4. They have the following disorders: Asperger’s syndrome and/or high functioning Autism.

Cognitive behavioural therapy focuses on how someone thinks and encourages them to identify negative thought patterns which cause unwanted behaviour. For your child, CBT can be highly effective for helping ease meltdowns and outbursts; shouting, swearing, pathological demand avoidance syndrome and communication.

CBT helps people who have social and communication issues and also those who would benefit from developing these skills for a more rewarding lifestyle. It looks at how we think and who we behave in relation to how we interact with others and how our behaviours affect people and society around us.

Will it help my child to cope with society?

Where people are keen to develop a sense of being so that they can fit into society, then CBT is a very good place to start. With my son, Jon, he found CBT very effective as his belief was not to stand out from the crowd as being ‘different’ but the desire to want to fit into the world and live as normally as possible. With many young people on the spectrum who have a capacity to think outside their Autism, there is a notable wish to be accepted in society, therefore CBT is another pathway that is open to them to make the transitions needed. CBT gives these people the right tools to help them overcome situations which they would ordinarily find troublesome and stressful.

Can it help stop meltdowns?

We covered thought processes and keep a though log in the first part of the Masterclass course. This is an exercise which is widely used to help people understand the link between thoughts and behaviours. We looked schemas and negative thought patterns which are often the cause misinterpretation thus leading to meltdowns. In my book ‘Extraordinary Journey’ I talk about the time when my son Jon, had the most incredible meltdown in a café which had been triggered by his misinterpretation of my mother’s actions. A meltdown that would have been avoided had he realised what she was doing.

CBT can help enormously with the following:

  • Anger and aggressive behaviour
  • Anxiety
  • Depression in teenagers
  • Social difficulties
  • Self-harm
  • Repetitive behaviour
  • Communication problems

Where Can I Find Out More?

You can find out more by downloading our FREE guide here which covers signs and symptoms of Autism, Asperger’s syndrome and early intevention. Or you can sign up below if you want to join our Member’s Only Unleashing The Positive Masterclass

get your child's social and comunication skills up to speed today!Like this post? You will love How To Turn Your Child’s Autism Around And Save Money!michelle hatcher

Michelle Hatcher is the author of the Progress Pentagon parenting courses and founder of the best-selling : Unleashing The Positive Mind Masterclass. She is a certified CBT Therapist, NLP Practitioner, mother of 15 year old Jon who has Autism and PDA and certified Life Coach.

She is also a member of the Complimentary Medical Association, the International Alliance of Holistic Therapists
and The Association of Integrative Psychology.  Her autobiography, How To… uncovers the secrets of Autism and how to overcome it plus it tracks her life as a mother of an Autistic child, how she developed her best-selling courses using CBT and NLP with Autism. She is also a public speaker on Autism Awareness.

She lives in Wiltshire with husband Nick, son, Jon and three cats; Apple, Missy and Augusta.

Good mental health parenting Autism

I received a very interesting idea from a reader this morning who wanted some guidance on mental health for parents and carers of Autism.  For something which is not often talked about, I was very very keen to get my thoughts and ideas down on the old electronic paper. So let’s think about this concept for today’s blog post.

How is your mental health and more importantly, how is it going to be over the summer holidays?

As parents, many schools would argue that rest is for those giving care within the home during the hours of 9am and 3pm (if you’re in the UK.) And they would be right, or would they?

Raising a child with Autism or any other disorder for that matter can be tough, and schools fail to appreciate that. It is emotionally draining as well as financially exhausting. Parents, like myself in the past, will often forgo visiting public places and not take part in normal activities simply to avoid the embarrassment and stress of a meltdown.  When Jon was much younger I would feel like having a meltdown myself. Starting a family day out with high hopes would often be thrown by the curbside due to shouts, swearing, punching and kicking only to return home half an hour later.

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Jon aged 6

Parents can feel as though they are being held prisoner in their own homes on sunny days at weekends because of their children’s Autism. As much as there have been campaigns up and down the country for Autism friendly parks and places to visit, sometimes, it is just the getting to these destinations which is more than families can bear.

So what can we do about it? I have come up with some solutions which I hope you will find useful to stop summer passing you by from behind a closed door. They are good for your child and good for keeping your mental health in excellent shape during the coming weeks;

  • A kick around in the park with a ball; Ok, so this might sound like a no brainer but a vast open space where there is a minimal chance of traffic and no noise from other children can be the best way to spend an afternoon. Jon would make immediate enemies in the busy playground as he would sit, mumbling to himself or follow other children around when they clearly did not want to be followed! Jon was happiest when walking around a nature reserve, or park with a duck pond and trees to hug. If I thought about taking him to an indoor adventureland, I was usually asking for trouble. National Trust places are great for having vast open estates of rambling woods and fields to run across, and because you need to be a member, they don’t get hugely busy during the week. English Heritage is another good one. Sporting ruins of castles, (just remember English Heritage buildings tend not to have ceilings) they are great places to roam.
  • Weekday Outings; When Jon was smaller and not glued to the teenage laptop years, I would take him out all over the place during the week. Of course, during term times this can be very tricky, but even during the holidays on weekdays and on slightly cloudier days, places tend to be less busy. One of Jon’s favourite things was to ride on trains. Living close to London at the time, I would spend the entire day riding up and down on the DLR. It didn’t matter to me. If he was happy, then that was fine by me, and that brings me on to the next point….
  • Be flexible; I found the best thing is always to be flexible and leave the days full of errands for another time. Go wherever your child wants to go. Even if it means spending three hours in Warhammer or Early Learning Centre. I spent days in the latter, often taking meals in with me. Don’t be stressed out before you step out the door or your child’s switch in mood will only make you feel worse.
  • Have a list; I would keep a list in my head of places to go. If you’re not keen about keeping stuff in your head, make a map and put flags on it for all the places you know you can go or you can take your child to so you have back up plans. Jon would change his mind at an instant, usually as we were going out the door. It is a good thing to refer to pinned up in the kitchen. With Jon’s PDA, his mind would shift violently so much so that if I didn’t come up with an alternative destination in five seconds, he would refuse to leave the house. You might not think having a list is needed in your household, but it will make you feel better if it’s there anyway.
  • Avoid visiting family; You might think it’s a good idea but seeing too much of your family will only give them the chance to give out well meaning advice which might set you on edge. For me at least, visiting family was often more stressful.

Getting out in the fresh air even for half an hour will help keep your sanity running smoothly.  Talk to your GP or the school or if you prefer, call the National Autistic Society Helpline if you’re concerned about how you feel mentally. Bringing up a child on the spectrum is normally what everyone else can’t begin to imagine. They will try to help, although it might not feel as though they are helping at all. Keep them at a distance if you think they will make you feel worse.  And always, always make time for yourself. Even if it’s a trip to the supermarket for an hour.

You are not alone. Being the parent or carer of a person with Autism can really suck sometimes. But that’s ok. You’re doing a brilliant job. Just be kind to yourself and give yourself breaks during the day during the school holidays. Even if it is just to go sit in another room with a cup of tea. No one is going to tell you off.

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Like this post? You will love How To Turn Your Child’s Autism Around And Save Money!michelle hatcher

get your child's social and comunication skills up to speed today!Michelle Hatcher is the author of the Progress Pentagon parenting courses and founder of the best-selling : Unleashing The Positive Mind Masterclass. She is a certified CBT Therapist, NLP Practitioner, mother of 15 year old Jon who has Autism and PDA and certified Life Coach.

She is also a member of the Complimentary Medical Association, the International Alliance of Holistic Therapists
and The Association of Integrative Psychology.  Her autobiography, How To… uncovers the secrets of Autism and how to overcome it plus it tracks her life as a mother of an Autistic child, how she developed her best-selling courses using CBT and NLP with Autism. She is also a public speaker on Autism Awareness.

She lives in Wiltshire with husband Nick, son, Jon and three cats; Apple, Missy and Augusta.

3 ways to a stress free summer

As we draw closer to the end of term, your plans for the next six weeks might involve going away for a family holiday. Yet for us ASD parents, the thought of attempting to get your child out of the house calmly will be filling you with dread. However, it’s time to breathe out for a moment, I have come up with three good solutions which will take the edge of the stress of a relaxing holiday! Read on to find out…

 

This is what I call The Extraordinary Travel Triangle.

The extraordinary travel triangle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I shall talk you through the three sides so let’s get going!

 

PLAN

Can’t say this enough. You know what it’s like. You want to be spontaneous whilst away on your hols but you can’t with an ASD child. So plan everything as far in advance as you possibly can. I usually talk Jon through where we’re going the minute it’s been booked and give him regular updates. I post pictures of the hotel, destination, places we’re going to visit on his wall in his bedroom so he can see them every day. I also give him website addresses to look places up. It takes the surprise out of the holiday but it means that your child, like Jon, is well up to speed with what exactly is going to happen!

 

PROVIDE

When travelling, (and I still do this) I have always made sure that there is enough with me to take care of every possibility. As ASD mums and dads, we never gave up the tissues, baby wipes and bottles for our children, no matter how old they got, so take more than enough than you need when going on holiday, even on day trips. Provide entertainment in the car for easy distractions (from traffic and hold ups) and don’t worry about them being plugged in to whatever gadget it is they are in to, what you are trying to avoid is stress and overload. Meltdowns are the last thing you and your child want to experience so prep to avoid these. Make sure you are travelling at quieter times, visiting places when it will be less busy too. I often take Jon out of school (with permission) and go away during the week instead of weekends. Make the first day of your holiday a chill out day and let your child adjust into the hotel or wherever you are staying. Jon would have to check out the bathrooms first and often spending lots of time sitting. That’s ok too. You may feel that you are designing the whole holiday around your child but that’s ok. A less stressed child equals a less stressed you.

 

POWER

Only go to theme parks and resorts if your child loves going to such places otherwise, don’t do it. Just because everyone else takes their children to Thorpe Park or Alton Towers doesn’t mean you have to too. If your child finds such places too stressful, just don’t go. Jon can’t stand loud noise and crowds of screaming children, so that rules out any theme parks and places for us, full stop. But that’s ok. If your child wants to wander around a museum full of old aircraft instead, then that’s good. Letting your child take the lead on holiday is far from giving in to them for the sake of a holiday without the meltdowns. It’s ok to have your holiday around your child. Jon hates beach holidays and gets very bored lounging around by a pool. That might be heaven to me but it can’t be helped. I would much rather Jon had a good time away than have tantrums because we don’t want to do the same things as him.

 

So the key here is let them have control of the things that make them happy on holiday. You will find you are less anxious and stressed if your child is having a good time. Holidays are best spent when you are doing something they enjoy doing. That might involve sitting on the floor in the hotel room. Dive into whatever your child wants to do and take the moment given to you to find out more about your child. You will never stop learning about them. Holidays are a good time to focus on this, so have some fun!

Do you like this post?

Like this post? You will love How To Turn Your Child’s Autism Around And Save Money!michelle hatcher

get your child's social and comunication skills up to speed today!Michelle Hatcher is the author of the Progress Pentagon parenting courses and founder of the best-selling : Unleashing The Positive Mind Masterclass. She is a certified CBT Therapist, NLP Practitioner, mother of 15 year old Jon who has Autism and PDA and certified Life Coach.

She is also a member of the Complimentary Medical Association, the International Alliance of Holistic Therapists
and The Association of Integrative Psychology.  Her autobiography, How To… uncovers the secrets of Autism and how to overcome it plus it tracks her life as a mother of an Autistic child, how she developed her best-selling courses using CBT and NLP with Autism. She is also a public speaker on Autism Awareness.

She lives in Wiltshire with husband Nick, son, Jon and three cats; Apple, Missy and Augusta.

 

How to get financial help living with Autism

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The cost of bringing up a child with Autism can affect parents, carers and families emotionally. Not only do you need time to digest the diagnosis, but there are the endless calls and emails getting the right support, meetings with schools and so on. What fails to come to mind is the financial cost.

In 2014, paediatric study in the U.S printed by Time Money found that it costs the average U.S family in one lifetime, $1.4 million bucks. Ok, so they don’t have the NHS to fall back on, but don’t think the U.K gets away with no cost to the family at all. In fact, in the U.K, the figure is around £220K. Now, don’t get me wrong, that’s an ordinary lifetime where the child is state educated, takes one holiday a year and where the Autism is not severe.

If we were to compare that figure to how much it costs to raise one non-autistic child in the U.K, to raise one autistic child, it’s three times as much.

According to the charity, Ambitious about Autism, having the means to put in place some relative care for your autistic child for his or her life time, costs homes, savings and pensions. At the present time, only 11% of parents in the U.K say they can actually work full time, leaving around another 70% of parents saying that the support they receive is far from enough to allow them to do so. Families often have to survive on one income alone, leaving the other parent the full time carer which can have a devastating impact on self esteem, confidence not to mention, their own independence.

This means it is more vital than ever to intervene as early as possible to get your child up to independent speed by the time they are 25. Not only will this take the pressure of the already heavily burdened NHS, but it will give you back your hard earned savings, your home and your time off. People who care for people live shorter lives becoming more susceptible to chronic or long term illness earlier in life.

The most the average working, healthy person can expect to receive from the state pension at 70 is less than 7K a year. So where will that leave your child? To the state? Where’s the money going to come from if the government intends to undercut the social budget? Will they end up being homeless? Jobless? Alone?

It’s a frightening thought.

You can find out more from my book, Extraordinary Journey on Amazon and CreateSpace (Amazon partner) now to find out how I got Jonathan up to speed, and got me, the peace of mind knowing that I wouldn’t have to sell my house!!

In the meantime,  I have put together for you, a quick list of what you can do to help get support from the government now, if you qualify.

Apply, It’s always worth trying.

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  • Working Tax Credit – if you household income is under 15K or there abouts (check the direct gov website for a more accurate figure)and work at least 16 hours a week. You can see if you can claim here by using the direct gov calculator.  If you have a partner living with you, you will need to their employment and salary details which will be requested for on the form.
  • Child Tax Credit – you don’t have to be working to claim Child Tax Credit,  however, you will need to give details about any household income you have, such as from a partner. You need to fill out a Form TC600 for Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit. You can request one of these by calling the HMRC Tax Credit Helpline: 0845 300 3900 or you can go to the link here to find out if you are eligible. If you find that filling out forms is hard work and stressful, you can contact Ambitious About Autism of the National Autistic Society to find support groups who can help you.
  • Carer’s Allowance – if you are caring for someone for 35 hours a week or more, you might be eligible. The weekly rate is around £62 for one person and they don’t have to be living with you. You can apply online and the form isn’t that long. You can apply here. It is worth mentioning here that this benefit can affect any other benefits you may be claiming. You will also need to take into account your own income and not earn more that £100 a week. This only focuses on you, and not any other adult living in the house bringing in an income, although to complete your claim, you may need to send in further information at their request. You can only claim this or Carer’s credit, not both. If you prefer, you can call and ask for a printed form to fill out to claim by calling this number 0800 882 200
  • Disability Living Allowance – is what you can get for your child if you are helping them with daily tasks, such as eating, washing and getting dressed. The amount you can be entitled to is split (care component and dependent living rate) depending on what your child needs assistance to do. The form is long winded and very detailed. You will need to write out exactly what your child needs you for in order to get through the day. However, once you claim it, it will run until your child is 16, then you can apply for them to receive PIP. You can go directly here to claim.
  • Personal Independent Payments – (if your child is over 16) is the new next step from DLA. As 16 years old is seen as the age of financial responsibility, this regular amount can be paid directly to your child’s account. However, if this is not appropriate, then it can be paid to you as the carer. You need to be between the ages of 16-64 and can be claimed if you have a long term disability, such as autism. But like DLA, what you get and if you qualify largely depends on how your condition limits you and your daily living and care for yourself, not actually what you have. Think mobility and independence. Again, the forms are very lengthy and will need a lot of writing, so get someone to do this for you if you need help. If you call HMRC, they can also help you with the form. To claim, click here. 

Did you like this post?

Like this post? You will love How To Turn Your Child’s Autism Around And Save Money!michelle hatcher

get your child's social and comunication skills up to speed today!Michelle Hatcher is the author of the Progress Pentagon parenting courses and founder of the best-selling : Unleashing The Positive Mind Masterclass. She is a certified CBT Therapist, NLP Practitioner, mother of 15 year old Jon who has Autism and PDA and certified Life Coach.

She is also a member of the Complimentary Medical Association, the International Alliance of Holistic Therapists
and The Association of Integrative Psychology.  Her autobiography, How To… uncovers the secrets of Autism and how to overcome it plus it tracks her life as a mother of an Autistic child, how she developed her best-selling courses using CBT and NLP with Autism. She is also a public speaker on Autism Awareness.

She lives in Wiltshire with husband Nick, son, Jon and three cats; Apple, Missy and Augusta.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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