Make Your Child’s Return To School Stress Free!

how to get your ASD successfully back to school after the holidays

how to get your ASD child back to school easilyThe end of the Christmas holidays, for many parents of ASD kids can be a blessed relief. The trauma of Christmas with its over stimulus of flashing fairy lights, noise and colour can be hugely confusing and terrifying for our children, that the welcome return of school can be a God send.

But how do you get your child back into the swing of school when their sleep patterns, daily activities and so on have been geared around being at home?

That’s easy!  For a parent like me with an Autistic teenager who also has a pathological aversion to getting up before noon, I have developed a quick and stress free strategy to coax even the most immovable children on the first day back at school! So here we go to ensure your ASD child gets back into the routine of school!

 

 

STEP ONE:

  • Rehearse!  One of the best ways I have enabled my son to get up ready for school on the first day back from any school break is to do a dummy run at least one day before. That way, the stress of waking up at what he decides is an ‘unearthly hour’ will be less anxiety filled for both of you. You might want to try it two days before. Simply remind them in the best way you know how the night before that this is what is going to happen so they can expect it. The key here is to the always try and take the sting out of the event. Gradual build up to something like going back to school will always be easier on everyone in the house!
  • Use small steps! Jon never, and still doesn’t like the idea of having to deal with any event in one hit. So when I need him to get up early and be ready to go somewhere like school, I will walk him through each step of the day, one bit at a time. If I know it is going to be a very intense event for him, I will go through the day half an hour at a time. That way, he knows he can feel calmer throughout the day so that he can focus on what is expected of him. If you’re not going to be physically with him, make sure that anyone who is going to be with him that day (school support, teaching assistant) has a heads up before of what they need to do.
  • Gently Gently! Jon is so much better to coax into doing something if I take the calm approach. There is no point losing my rag with him when I know that time is ticking on and he needs to get going. I have found that there is a much better way of asking him to do something if I word it like this…

‘Jon, if you have your breakfast now, you will be able to watch a few minutes of TV before the school bus arrives..‘ Rather than ‘Jon, you will be late if you don’t hurry up and eat your breakfast’

I find that the latter will only enable him to focus on the most stress making word in that sentence – late – so that won’t help with his stress levels and is more likely to hinder any motivation to want to move. Using word techniques to help people with Autism cope with tasks has been used for over 40 years in methods like NLP, but my particualr favourite is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. It has helped people with all sorts of disorders from Autism to depression, not to mention how to help positive thoughts and keep your child motivated, happy and confident!

I have been using CBT with my son, Jonathan for almost ten years, but I will be honest with you. It has only helped Jon when I have tailored the methods and used the regularly. That’s the secret I have found to CBT. Using it in daily life, or at least a few times a week in activities is the only way to ensure that Jon gets the tools to help himself deal with the anxities of life that comes with Autism.

WHAT YOU CAN DO NEXT….

I would like you to download my FREE paper on how I have used CBT successfully in Jon’s life. I was determined to really get the best out of using techniques like the ABC Model and working with Schemas that I decided to become a qualified CBT Therapist myself.

So here I am, giving you a flying start in helping your child to be confident, independent and successful in social and communcaition skills! I think you will gain an awful lot from the technqiues I cover in this 23 page guide which I have written especially for you. It is completely FREE and the knowledge that I wish someone had told me about when Jon was first diagnosed!

 

 

Unleash The Positive Mind e-course is awarded top ratings on Udemy

top udemy courses

But there is more in store for this amazing parent and author. Read on to find out more.

The new and exciting Unleash The Positive Mind 2 hours e-course on Udemy focusing on CBT methods with Autism has, this week, been awarded 4.5 stars out of 5. Created by CBT and NLP therapist, Michelle Hatcher, she has worked hard on her research on communication skills over the last 10 years so she’s had little time to stop and reflect. With a #1 Best Seller on Amazon already making heads turn and the launch of the official course handbook, we caught up with her on her recent successes to ask why, where and what was the inspiration behind this revoluntionary course.

 

Following the mad rush to enrol by hundreds of students in its first 72 hour launch, the Unleash The Positive Mind course was expected by its creator, Michelle Hatcher, to do well, but says the mother and CBT Therapist, she was still taken by surprise. Yet her goal isn’t to stop there. Next week, she and Jon embark on some pretty life changing events…

It was quite extraordinary. I knew there was a call for parent training in Autism but we didn’t expect such popularity. It means that a lot of hard work and effort has paid off. I am delighted. My next venture is to document Jon’s forthcoming corrective spinal surgery due to his Scoliosis through a YouTube series. The idea is to do two things; one, to enable other parents out there with ASD children going through corrective surgery, and two, to help me through a pretty dark and emotional time. I never forget that I’m a parent too! It will be good therapy for me as well as helping others all over the world.

The short course which focuses on only a handful of carefully restructured CBT methods, has been an incredible help to many families already, encouraging once non-verbal children to quickly pick up communication skills which had been otherwise, put aside.  Michelle says,

I have always had the belief that some barriers in Autism are down to a deep lack of self-trust. Once children found an ability to do something well, the progression from there on is natural. Many parents experience their child’s frustration in not being able to be heard. It can be hugely disappointing for the parents when children move into their own closed worlds, feeling safe there.

The fact that families could see results by implementing some core strategies in communication is hugely encouraging, but it still has to be said that there is still no cure for Autism. Michelle Hatcher, mother of 15 year old Autistic Jon, whom she bases much of her work and research, said,

We must be realistic in our mind set that there may never be a cure for Autism, however, the methods I worked on with my own son have indeed, worked. Taking these methods beyond our own parameters, I’ve been able to work personally with other parents and got the same positive results.

So why is it down to the parents then to teach the skills that specialist teachers and ASD units should be doing? I found Michelle Hatcher had a firm answer to this.

The key when working with Autism is not to work against it but work with it. One of the things I discovered was that a child with Autism has a very powerful bond with their primary caregiver. Thus meaning that they see this person as their lead teacher in life. So in that case, why not just train this caregiver to teach the child what they need to learn? For me, it was perfectly simple. All I had to do as a parent was to teach my son the skills that the school wasn’t teaching him, for one reason or another.

Yet perhaps the one thing that does stick out from the success of this new e-course for parents is that schools are letting our children down. Does this mean that this course will highlight the failings once more of our own educational system?

That may well be the case, but I do think that for parents, this isn’t new news. Parents for many years have felt frustrations of their own when it comes to the relationship between school and home. This course is merely handing back to the parent the dignity and importance where some schools have undermined that in the past.

You can find out more about the e-course Unleash The Positive Mind here and download the official course handbook here. 

Follow Michelle on YouTube here and subscribe to her Autism Parenting series and follow her and Jon LIVE from Monday 28th of November ‘Correcting the Scoliosis’

 

 

Parenting Autism: How To Get A Diagnosis For Your Child

how to get a diagnosis for your child

Getting a diagnosis for Autism can be a very stressful time for the parents. You have probably spent weeks, months and possibly years wondering if you’re going loopy or that there is actually, something wrong with your child. Now you have got this far, you want to know what’s going to happen next.

There is no medical test to prove whether your child has Autism or not. It is not like testing to see if they have a fractured toe. It is rather a process of elimination. You, as their carer will be asked a lot of questions about family history, environment, school (if appropriate) plus they will want you to give in as much detail as you can your child’s developmental progress as you see it.

michelle hatcher's powering parenting for autism

There will be, for the paediatrician or child development professional a checklist they will go through to determine if there are signs of Autism. Depending on how old your child is (as they can see many teenagers as well as toddlers) they will perform some role playing with them, chat to them, ask them to engage in a board game, play with toys and so on.

What he or she is looking for here is interaction, imagination and communication. These are the three areas which are particularly affected by Autism. After a few weeks (possibly 3 to 6 meetings with you and your child) they will offer a report for you to go through. It will also offer a diagnosis. You have plenty of time to read through it thoroughly to see if you agree. There will be some information on suggested support interventions to help your child develop the areas where they appear to struggle.

One of the main points in this film is that you don’t have to go with the first opinion you’re offered. If you are not happy with the diagnosis, ask to be seen by someone else.

One of the things that parents tend to do is rely heavily on what they are told by a group of professionals and ignore the questions piling up in their minds. It is very easy to feel as though you are being swept along with the tide. Along the line you may find it all very overwhelming; you though your child’s life was going one way and not suddenly it is going in a different direction. It is sad but parents can tend to be forgotten about during the process. It is vital that you talk to someone when you feel swamped. You can call either the Young Minds helpline or, if you wish, the National Autistic Society helpline. They are open 24 hours a day are specially trained to help with any worries you have confidentially.

The more supported YOU feel, the better the outcome for you and your child. So do please remember to look after yourself too.  Watch the following video on the subject of getting a diagnosis and don’t forget to subscribe so you never miss an episode!

If you like this post, please subscribe to ensure you never miss an post! I will be covering all aspects of Autism from diagnosis to Autism in toddlers, school and KS1, KS2, KS3 and beyond, transition to adulthood, social environments, hospital stays and how to cope with them, employment and independent living.

Don’t forget to enrol in our FREE Udemy course called ‘Unleash The Positive Mind’ a short, but amazingly effective course to help you become the best teacher and power parent for your child. Take the course and you will find your child’s social and communication skills will rocket, simply by using the easy to follow methods. The course is for you and your child to complete. It provides easy to follow videos, downloads plus games and role playing making the learning process fun for both of you!

ENROL HERE!!

michelle hatcher's powering parenting for autismMichelle Hatcher is an Autism researcher and campaigner, consultant CBT Therapist, NLP Practitioner, Accredited Life Coach and mother of an Autistic teenager.

She is also a member of the Association of Integrative Psychology, the Institute of Leasdership and Management and the International Association of Neuro-linguistic Programming and Coaching. She has studied Autism and childhood conditions over over 15 years. She is the author of the #1 Best Selling parenting book: How To Turn Your Child’s Autism Around And Save Money. She currently conducts Autism parenting classes along with her practice. She lives in Wiltshire in the UK with her son, her family and three cats. 

 

 

 

3 things parents need to know about meltdowns

It can be scary. The day your child turns against you. What did you do wrong? What could have triggered this anger, this aggression? But have no
fear. Take apodcast series - living with autismdeep breath. Here are three things to make you feel OK with your role as a parent again.

  1. It’s not your fault.

This might be a no brainer but it is incredible how the feeling of guilt can swallow you whole when your child has a sensory meltdown in front of you, and usually in a busy public place. Those eyes might be judging you and boring down into the back of your neck, but take no notice. They have no idea. They are only thinking the way they are through limited knowledge. That’s all. It is far from your fault whatever has triggered off your child at that moment. It could be something that happened five minutes ago or five weeks ago. Whatever it is, it is nothing to do with you or your actions. The aggression is out of anxiety or stress overload.  Stay tuned and loving. Your child will resume normal service when the time is right.

  1. Your child isn’t naughty

You child is suffering what we would call a wiring fault, or, as some prefer, a different type of wiring to the rest of the world. It allows them to feel a hundred times more than the rest of us.  We have receptors, right? Sight, hearing, taste, smell. Well, what happens is that every day there are roughly 9 million bits of information floating around us at any one time. Our filters in our receptors take in on average around 126 of those 9 million. It is my firm belief that children on the spectrum, like people with PDA take in a heck of a lot more than just 126 bits. They take in thousands perhaps. This is what we know as sensory overload. When this happens, your child will go into a state of that overload which causes anxiety. The body needs to release that state of anxiety that’s building up and it comes out as aggression, shouting, violent actions, movements and anger. Some Jon aged 7. He had a passion for tractorspeople might become introverted to deal with their stress. It this case, they will become withdrawn, quiet, avoid eye contact or any other form of communication. Either way, they are experiencing too much information and need to get away from it as quickly as possible. Don’t forget the difference between a meltdown and a tantrum; a tantrum is when a child is in control of the behaviour. A meltdown is the opposite.

My son Jon (aged 7, pictured left) tends to walk away suddenly while he tries to control his anger. As he has got older, he will tell me he is feeling anxious and that he needs to leave. He will take himself into a place away from the overload to deal with it. It is about then he will ask that no one approaches him and talk to him. My job is to ensure his safety so I move with him but I keep my distance from him to give him space to calm down. Other around you will think he is being naughty. He is not. He is just dealing with a lot of information too quickly and needs to find a place to chill out.  You child is doing exactly the same but in their way. As PDA people get older, then tend to find a way to deal with their panic attacks and may tell you what they need and what they don’t need to calm themselves down.

  1. Your child desperately wants to fit in with the world.

True. So very true. Sometimes the anxiety of feeling that they can’t fit in weighs them down making meltdowns even worse. The world around your child is very scary to them. A lot more scary than it is for the rest of us. There are a multitude of sounds, smells and feelings that are all trying to hammer their way into your child’s brain all at once, or at least, that’s how it feels to them. Don’t think for a minute that your child just wants to terrorise the place and show you up (that was how I used to think, I will admit that!) They do want to fit in and sometimes, don’t like being different. There may be a rule of thinking that suggests that the world needs to change. That could be true, but when Jon stands at school with 15 of his fellow buddies from the ASD unit, there is a resounding desire to simply just, be normal. What we mustn’t do is fuss over them. If I had a pound for every time Jon has shouted ‘stop fussing Mungie!’ Then, well, you know the rest.  So for the parent still trying to understand what happens when their child kicks off; let me introduce to you My Four ‘S’s

  • Stuff it: Does the request really need to be done? Is it worth a meltdown?
  • Space: Keep your child in easy reach if there was danger ahead but give them some space to come down. Instead of guiding them to where you want them to go, try just letting them go where they want to. You will find they will calm down a lot quicker.
  • Solitude: A difficult one when your instinct as a parent is to want to reassure them, but this won’t help them calm down. They are trying to get away from the sensory overload, you will be giving them more if you add your voice to it. No matter how gentle it might be.
  • Soothe: When you child is willing to come back and join you, reassure them that they are not in trouble. Don’t shout at them, don’t judge. Just soothe. A child can be where their brain might want to reach that state of anxiety again, so tread carefully at this point and offer a hug or a hand to hold.

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.