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’

 

 

Cause and Effect; Human psychology in the 21st Century

the mind blowing walk through modern social historyCause and Effect is the next in the explosive series of self help psychology books by Michelle Hatcher.

Taking the bull by the horns, this extraordinary journey of self discovery is the ultimate companion for anyone going through the mid life stage of wondering what life is all about. Light hearted and bittersweet, Michelle gives a frank and open account on how she managed the news of her son’s diagnosis of Autism; how she felt, what she did to move forward against a backdrop of schools, authorities and even close family members defying the odds. She comes clean over her expectations for his future highlighting and confronting many of the questions parents are met with on facing Autism alone.

Moving into the external world, she encourages the reader to take a good hard look at society today. Using a backdrop of events that shocked the world from the sudden death of Princess Diana to the unimaginable loss of Robin Williams, Michelle takes a walk through what happens when we’re hit by loss, grief and suicide and how we can grow and move on from tragic events with a stronger outlook despite the odds.

Michelle opens up the world of human psychology and takes a fork and dives into the strange universe that man has yet to conquer successfully. Using 20th century events, 19th century beliefs and 21st century logic, this book will have you laughing, crying and thinking deeply about your life, the future of the world and why we are the way we are.

This wonderful mind blowing book about the mind is available now on Amazon Kindle.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01DM96FB8?ref_=pe_2427780_160035660 

How An Autistic Child Sees The World: Parents Evening

fitting in
Me and Jon

Autistic children are gifted.

Now, there’s a statement.

What sort of gifts then to they have? The ability to find something funny? The ability to view the world from a different angle? Yes. The ability to make us feel proud from their achievements. Yes. A resounding yes.

Jonathan is almost 15. He is bright, top of the class in most subjects in fact, he is sharp witted, clever and a damn good solider on Heroes and Generals. He is to me, the most extraordinary and most accomplished son I could have ever imagined to have.

But there is a problem.  A big problem that day which we had to get through…

Parents evening

Jon’s mind works on one level. We stand in the corridor at school, that evening and we’re waiting to go in and see his English teacher. Dad asks him what he wants for dinner. Now this presents a problem in Jon’s mind.

Jon’s brain says to him, ‘hang on a minute. I need to deal with this first. I am standing in the corridor at school, its dark and its the evening. I am never at school at this time of night, and it doesn’t fit in with my world. THEN, I have to deal with the fact that I am surrounded by people I know, school friends, but then who are those people who are standing with them? I don’t know them. Are they parents? Siblings? Oh dear, I don’t like this. This situation doesn’t make sense to me. We are next in to see my English teacher, which means I have got to walk out of my comfort zone, across the corridor and everyone’s going to look at me!! NOW Dad asks me what I want for dinner???? Can’t he see I am dealing with this awful nightmare??’

Dad paces up and down impatiently.  He hates being at school. It reminds him of his own parents evenings from decades ago.

Jon’s brain says ‘I’m going to have to deal with this question now and I don’t know if I can.’

I can’t answer that right now Dad.  Dad doesn’t understand… and then Jon storms out with an overloaded brain and we don’t get to see his English teacher after all.

Autism is a complex adjustment to the world around us. A world that you and I take for granted most days. Our brains are like filing systems; rather like having a secretary standing at your brain’s desk with glasses on the end of her nose and pen and pad posed ready to take the actions for the day.

Our brains say ‘Now, Miss Doyle, I want you to take this down, we are currently standing in the school corridor waiting for the English teacher, but we need to start thinking what we want for dinner. Can you come up with a few suggestions for the board please Miss Doyle? And, oh yes, we need some milk and bread on the way home, and we need to think about if the Sky box was set correctly for EastEnders.’

Yes Mr Brain (she scribbles down with such speed)

‘Oh an Miss Doyle? Can you make sure that we have the shirts ironed ready for school tomorrow?’

Yes Mr Brain.

Job done.

In Jon’s brain, there is a very different scenario going on….

‘Miss Brown!!!  Miss Brown??? Oh bugger, why won’t she come in? Oh blimey, I haven’t got a secretary…. right better sort this one out myself… and where’s that banging noise coming from? I can’t concentrate…. argh! Science homework, I can’t think about that right now… ok, deep breath…. right, where are we? Oh yes, school corridor…. for what? English teacher…. but it’s dark outside. What the Hell are we doing in school? It’s dinner time… I shall call down to stomach, see what’s going on down there…. (beep beep) ah yes (picks up the intercom) Stomach? what’s going on? What do you mean, you can’t talk right now? Sorry? Dinner? Well, I can’t think about that now can’t you see we’re in a corridor at school? What are we doing here? It’s parents evening, stomach, are you not keeping up with this? Yes, I know it’s dark outside…. hang on… there is someone else on the line…. (beep beep) hello? Ah yes, feet, all ok down there? What? Oh I see, you need to walk across the corridor…. you say you can’t do it why? Oh…. so what did eyes say then? Someone looked at them funny?  Well who? Oh….. they don’t know…. well, there’s no point asking voice box to ask them, voice box is not having a good day. Well, you see its Thursday and they always have Thursday’s off…. hang on, there is someone on the other line…. Hi ears, how are you? What? When? well, this can’t be? I can’t deal with that question! Dinner you say you heard? Well, I’m sorry there is just far too much going on!! Miss Brown? Miss Brown??? Oh yes… I don’t have a secretary…..’

All we need to do is feed information to them clearly, correctly and using the right tone, and preferably one thing at a time. If we remember that these children are better at dealing with only one scenario at a time, they would feel more secure and happy. Routine is a key thing I have learned from Jon. The idea of parents evening might be something that is in our sphere of understanding twice a year, but to Jon, it is like being on another planet at the wrong time of the day.  It is overload and the only way for Jon to clear overload in his mind, is to walk away from the whole thing. I completely understand that and have spent many years happily following him out of buildings and places of interest, everywhere.

It is something I will always do.

These kids are brilliant, their brains are sharper, quicker and deeper than we will ever understand, they just need a different kind of guidance, support and love.  Then we can really watch them flourish.

As for the English teacher, well, we will see her another time.

In daylight preferably….

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