How to boost your child’s self esteem

dawn-nature-sunset-woman-largeWhat if I was to say to you, that each group of difficulties you have with your child could be dealt with effectively in simple, digestible brain games?

Sounds too easy?

Ok, that’s the answer I was expecting and to be honest, I would have said the same thing 2 years ago. We have all spent long hours searching the net, being talked ‘at’ by professionals and therapists telling us we should do this and that but not really caring about your plight and our children. After all, every kid on the spectrum is different. I know that, you know that, and the reason why we know that is because we are parents, and we care about our children. We want them to thrive just like any other kid on the planet. Why should they not have the chance to lead rewarding lives? This isn’t have to be a ‘best dog wins’ world. We know we have the best kids because of their Autism, right?

So, today, you’re going to hear a mum talk. Today, I am going to tell you how I work with my son, Jon; the strategies I came up with that work because I have 15 years of bringing up my child who has Autism, PDA and Scoliosis, so yes, I know what I’m talking about, and what’s more, I understand your needs, worries and fears too.

Ok, today, I am going to walk you through the plan I came up with, how I implemented with my son, Jon and saw it work, permanently.

I called it ‘The Progress Pentagon. (Catchy name, huh?)

And it looks like this…

The progress Pentagon
Copyright Michelle Hatcher 2016

I took each problem I had and parents I asked around had and divided them up into five categories (making up the pentagon shape.) This are;

  • Meltdowns
  • Food intolerances
  • Social interaction
  • Communication
  • Daily routines

I found that after studying Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Neuro Linguistic Programming, we could take the principles behind these alternative methods of adjusting thought processes, an tailor them into methods we could use to help our children. NLP and CBT has been proved across the world to help people with depression, borderline personality disorder, eating disorders, anxiety and a number of other psychological and cognitive disorders.

Take for instance, shifting mood.

We know that we can shift our current mood by shifting our physiology. That may sound all well and good for a Nero typical person but what about a person on the Autistic spectrum? We can still help our children to shift their ‘state’ into a ‘state’ which is more appropriate for them. We can also use these methods to help with your self-image, self-esteem and confidence in communication.

For example;

We can use a simply NLP method called Anchoring. You might have come across this before but not worked with it in terms of helping someone with Autism. We ask them to remember a time when they felt happy/confident/excited/motivated and when we recognised they are at the peak of that state in remembering, we anchor that feeling for them by touching the back of their knuckle, for example, on their hand, so when they need to feel in that state again, they can either anchor the state required themselves or you can do it for them.

The kind of technique is hugely powerful and highly useful to young people who need to get through something which is causing them a state of anxiety, such as taking an exam, going to a new school, starting a new job, attending a social gathering and so on.  Anchoring can be an effective way of dealing with states of anxiety.

A word of caution needs to be added here; if your child is in a heightened state of meltdown, you won’t be able to simply trigger the happy state by touching their knuckle (if that’s the place where you anchored the positive feeling.) Once a child or young person is in meltdown, they are usually unresponsive and need to come down from that state of stress themselves by taking themselves away from the stressful situation. What anchoring can do is help a child get through something before the anxiety has time to set in. It is a means to use prior to a stressful event and not to get out of one quickly. Changing the state of someone in

meltdown requires these types of strategy highlighted in a previous post you can find here.

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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.

How to understand and manage PDA outbursts

How to deal with PDA outbursts and meltdownsWhat are the triggers of outbursts and meltdowns? What is the meaning behind them and what really goes on in your child’s mind when the anger, shouting and aggression starts? Here is a short list of the most important things every parent should know about the outbursts children have when suffering with Pathological Demand Avoidance syndrome. This list is far from exhaustive, however what it will give you is an idea of what causes PDA aggression and anger and the best way to handle outbursts.

  1. Outbursts of aggression have their roots in stress and anxiety; this means that as much as your child may want to shout you down over the avoidance of a request, like tidying up their room or brushing their teeth, the outbursts are usually a tactic to distract the request and thus avoid doing it. The best way to handle these outbursts is to play the PDA at its own game and use indirect requests instead or direct ones. In other words, use open-ended questions or make the request sound like a game or a competition. ‘Bet you can’t brush your teeth as fast as I can.’ Or ‘Do you want to tidy up your room now or after dinner?’
  2. Outbursts may occur to cover up feelings or embarrassment or not understanding the rules; children often will throw themselves into a shouting or aggressive outburst when they are unsure of what is expected of them, over something they don’t want to take responsibility for or when they feel embarrassed about what they are doing or being asked to do. The best way to handle these moments is to lessen the importance of the request or action you wish them to take. Lower the expectation and shrug off the request, no matter how important it is to you. Once your child sees that it is not such a big deal, they are more likely to respond to an indirect request and take responsibility for it.
  3. Outbursts may occur when the child is worried about something which is not worth worrying about; children with PDA can often worry about things that you and I wouldn’t really think was worth a big deal worrying about. They can hide this worry inside themselves and will often be over-concerned about a situation which has come and gone, often feeling the emotion of feeling let down, annoyed over something, overly cross with someone, when we have already forgotten about it. PDA children are very thoughtful and can be very considerate even though they appear not to show they care, they actually do. The best way to handle these situations is to reassure them there is nothing to worry about and change the subject or move onto another activity. Another thing to note here is tell someone about the incident and say how well you thought your child acted, and let them overhear. PDA children like indirect praise like this.

Like this post? Then you might want to read this book!

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 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.