I was in Dunbar, a town on the east coast of Scotland, near Edinburgh, where I took my family on a wee walk to see the Dun-bear – Dunbar + Bear! This particular brown bear is 5 metres high, made of steel and is a tribute to the great man John Muir. John Muir was born here, in Dunbar, Scotland, in 1838 and a museum is located in the town centre dedicated to this great man. The area around the Bear is well laid out with many concrete paths, and open spaces of fields. It is suitable for wheelchairs too, … Continue reading Dunbear – John Muir
Recently I held a Mindfulness session at one of the most beautiful and serene places in Edinburgh, and it has had such an impact on many people, that I wanted to share this with you. Thankfully we arrived on a day where the weather was almost perfect, with a little frost underfoot, yet we were fortunate that the usual cold biting wind from the adjacent loch, was not present by late morning. The Secret Garden is formally known as Dr. Neil’s Garden, which lies next to Duddingston Kirk, built in 1124, at the foot of Arthurs Seat, which is an … Continue reading Secret Garden – Mindfulness
Recently, I was going through the family photo album with my children. “Who was that young man with the flared jeans and long hair” they asked? I remember the style of that era very well, and yes that was me alright – it seemed like not so long ago, maybe a couple of years at most?! We carry on looking through the photo album and come across another person I could not quite fathom out who, but it was familiar.. When I look at the old man in the photos, with receding hair and plain looking clothes, I stop myself … Continue reading Age is just a number!
I feel like a Fraud. I am not good enough to do this job. They will find out. I don’t deserve to be in such a good job. Imposter Syndrome is a Psychological expression for a suppressed feeling that someone is undeserving of the position they are in and that they will eventually be exposed. Imposter Syndrome is the persistent feeling that you’re a fraud and a fake and that someone is going to figure out that you don’t know half as much as you pretend to. This pattern of behaviour affects their performance and there is no let up … Continue reading Imposter Syndrome
The following exercise is suggested for anyone that needs help in coping with a Panic Attack. This also works for Anxiety Attacks. This strategy is one of the best and comes with the best intentions to alleviate the stress. Being aware of your Five Senses. Look around you. Name 5 things you can Hear Name 4 things you can See Name 3 things you can Touch Name 2 things you can Smell Name 1 thing you can Taste. You can feel your Senses at work, reinforcing that you are very much alive and making connections to the world you live … Continue reading Strategy for Panic Attack
Experiencing a panic attack is not simply about experiencing a moment of severe fright or nerves. They run much deeper than that. Contrary to popular belief, experiencing a panic attack is not simply about experiencing a moment of severe fright or nerves when you are about to make that speech in front of five hundred people or the morning of that important meeting or exam you have been preparing for. Panic attacks run much deeper than that. Some symptoms of panic attacks include: Out of body feeling Breathlessness Chest pains Palpitations and racing heart Feeling of impending doom or death … Continue reading Panic Attack
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disorder characterized by the challenges it causes with social interaction, language skills, nonverbal communication; repetitive patterns of behavior; and the display of unique and highly specific strengths and differences compared with other people. One of the most amazing things that I have come to learn about people who are on the Spectrum, is their ability to see the world we live in from a very different perspective than I can. In my discipline of Psychology, I come across many individuals with interesting and varied backgrounds, including perceptions on how their own life path … Continue reading Autism – a young perspective.
At first glance you may see a person squeezing a bunch of grapes, yet on closer inspection, you can see that these are not real fruit. I see adverts regularly while surfing the internet, for toys that help calm your kids down. Squishy balls, Chewy toys, Spinners, Fidget toys in fact anything to keep the hands busy. There are many different types of toys which are predominantly meant to distract the user from the anxieties they experience in their minds. Are they aimed at children only? No, is the short answer. They look like something that you would amuse a … Continue reading Items to help Cope with anxiety
When we are afraid of a situation, the brain sends a signal to the body to prepare itself. Have you ever wondered at the complexity of the processes involved? I don’t imagine we have time to think about the goings on inside, when faced with Fear, however it is worth knowing more if only to understand what really goes on “behind the scenes”. First of all, it is useful to know how our Nervous System actually works. The Nervous System consists of 2 parts known as the Voluntary and Involuntary Systems. The Voluntary Nervous System controls the movement of our … Continue reading Our Nervous System – Fear
Gratitude Meditation – (Being Thankful) By taking a couple of minutes first thing in the morning when I wake, and then just before I retire for the night, I read the following gratitude statements. These help me to put life into perspective. Have a try and see for yourself? I am grateful for the air in my lungs. I am grateful for my heart that beats and keeps me alive. I am grateful for my senses that help me perceive the world. I am grateful for my comfortable bed. I am grateful for my clothes that protect me and keep … Continue reading Being Thankful
I thought I would share one of my Mindfulness Meditations. Close your eyes and ask someone to read this out to you for maximum benefit. Imagine you are a bright and beautiful caterpillar. You are full and resting on a leaf. You have eaten, explored, and ready for a rest. Now, take in a deep breath, and imagine yourself becoming more still. You feel calm and settled. Notice the gentle wind passing your body making you relax and feel sleepy. Your chrysalis is beginning to form and wraps around your body and you notice the sensation of being close to … Continue reading Transformation
What Is a Weighted Blanket? Occupational therapists have been prescribing weighted blankets to help manage sensory-related symptoms for decades – especially for children and adults on the Autism spectrum. A weighted blanket is a specially made therapeutic blanket with some additional weight, generally weighing between 5 to 30 pounds. They come in different weights to accommodate the user’s size. The idea behind weighted blankets is to make them a little heavy so they can apply a firm pressure on the user’s body. Depending on the manufacturer, these blankets are filled with different weighted materials, including barley, glass beads or even some kind … Continue reading Weighted Blankets
Fed up with screen freezing or poor Internet connections? No closure at the end of a session? Missing the personal interaction? Eye contact is just not the same on Zoom or Facetime. Consider a socially distanced meet-up with me, and feel free to wear a mask too. Walk-and-talk therapy has also proven to be a stress reliever for people who don’t consider their home a safe space for online therapy — whether they can’t find enough privacy to feel comfortable opening up, or their family or partner disapproves of therapy, or someone they live with is the reason they’re seeking … Continue reading Online Therapy too stressful?
Recently the US Government started to offer Covid vaccinations to children aged 12 +, and hopefully the UK and other Nation’s Goverments around the world will follow suit. While there are many differences of opinion on whether vaccinations should be given to young children, I wanted to outline some recent research highlighting the increased risk of death for people with Developmental or Intellectual disabilities. As this affects both my children; one with Autism, and the other having an Intellectual Disability, I am very keen to protect them from the virus, even more so since reading the following information. Individuals with … Continue reading Autism and Increased risk of Covid
Someone once said, “If life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” This is solid advice for every one of us to keep in mind at some point in our lives. Simply put, make the best out of a situation; see how it can be turned around and most importantly, learn from it. Life will constantly throw difficult challenges your way that would make you fall hard to the ground, but you should always get back up, dust yourself off, and keep moving forward with a smile on your face. Know that these challenges are a test of your endurance, of how … Continue reading Life, Lemons and Lemonade
If only life came packed, With manuals we could read, A list of clear instructions and All parts guaranteed. But oh, life’s not so simple, No useful hints or tools, We have to muddle through it Without the help of rules. Yet one thing that we do have Are others by our side, To help support and cheer us, In whom we may confide. For as we share our knowledge, So ignorance takes flight, By working close together We’ll surely get it right. Continue reading A Life Journey
On the days we all experience at one time or another, when one hundred and one things have to be attended to immediately, if not sooner, try keeping the following words in mind: “The shortest way to do many things is to do only one thing at once.” Written by Samuel Smiles, a doctor, writer and social reformer. He was born in Haddington (my hometown), Scotland in 1812. His book, Self-Help, was published in 1859 and was a best seller book, selling a 1/4 million copies, to the British public. In the book, he proposes knowledge as one of the … Continue reading The first Self Help book
I remember reading a story about a woman who goes into a shop and finds God behind the counter. She asks what they are selling and God replies “Whatever you want you can get here.” Proving herself worthy of this opportunity, the woman asks for peace, love and happiness, adding that she wanted this not just for herself, but the whole world. She is expecting great things and can’t help but be rather disappointed when God hands her a small packet. God explains ” We don’t sell fruit or the finished article, only the seeds.” In other words, the whole … Continue reading Sow the seeds
A friend of mine took up a new hobby to help cope with the boredom of being stuck indoors recently, and decided ontaking up landscape painting, something she always fancied doing. She shared with me that she was becoming very frustrated with making so many beginner’s mistakes. This had led her to consider giving up, on more than a few occasions. She confided that she would spend hours trying to capture some glorious view, only to realise that she hadn’t come anywhere near doing it any justice. This quest for perfection was eating away at her. I shared with my … Continue reading Ever Failed – Fail Better
Going to the hairdressers can be a very distressing experience for autistic children due to sensory issues such as a sensitivity to noise and touch. In this article Jim the Trim, a hairdresser from Wales whose barbershop was awarded the National Autistic Society’s Autism-Friendly Award, gives us his Top 5 Tips on how hairdressers can make autistic children more comfortable during a haircut. Top 5 Tips Take your time to get to know the person and for them to get to know you. You may have to be very gradual and just allow the person to come in and watch … Continue reading Cutting Autistic child’s hair
A man had four sons. He wanted them to learn to judge things carefully, so he sent each of them on a quest to look at an apple tree far away. The first son left in the Winter. The second son left in the Spring. The third son left in the Summer. The fourth son left in the Autumn. After they all returned home , he asked his sons to describe what they had experienced. The first son said that the apple tree was ugly and twisted. The second son said the apple tree was covered with buds and full … Continue reading The Complete Picture
Each day is a fresh beginning For yesterday has gone, Another chance to start anew To change things and move on. Another opportunity To love and smile and give, And act with generosity To look up and laugh and live. Each morning is a fresh, clean page As yet unwritten on, The threshold of an unlived day But not yet walked upon. So choose how you will live this day As on your way you go, For through our acts we all leave tracks Like footprints in the snow. (Kathleen Gillum) Continue reading Each Day
Burt Lancaster played a trapeze artist in the film Trapeze in 1956. Most of the stunts, he performed himself. Burt, had trained as an acrobat since the age of 9. Burt and his friend Nicholas Cuccia formed an acrobatic duo and went on to join Kay’s Circus in the 30’s. When Burt auditioned for this particular job in the circus, he had to prove his worth, not relying on being only an acrobat, but by becoming part of the team who performed each night in the show. The boss of the Circus asked a young Burt, to try out the … Continue reading Burt Lancaster inspiration
I offer Psychotherapy sessions for survivors of heart attacks/cardio events, which are available at my other website: Adjustment Therapy, however the Covid pandemic impacted on my ability to provide any sort of face to face therapy, even with masks, so this was not an option. It has not been safe for me to go out since March 2020 because of the risk of getting the Covid virus and only now, with the vaccine being available to me by May this year, I plan to offer Therapy sessions for people of all ages, who have been affected by a recent Cardio … Continue reading Post-Cardio recovery
8 Signs of a toxic friendship 1. Putting You Down Constantly You should feel like your friend’s equal, giving and receiving positive feedback that makes you both feel good. However, a toxic friend may find ways to make you feel like you’re less than they are. For example, they might draw attention to your insecurities and reinforce them as true. Or, they might discourage you from trying to achieve your dreams (telling you that they’re not realistic for someone like you). 2. Blame Everyone makes mistakes in relationships. Good friends can apologize for their part in such arguments or other … Continue reading Signs of a toxic friendship
What are good friendship qualities? It comes down to 5 crucial qualities in my opinion, yet there may be more. Anyone wish to comment? Nourish. The friendship nourishes both individuals. Each feels supported and cared for and both look forward to each other’s company. Trust. Each knows they can count on each other to be honest and accepting, even when one or both change. Commitment. Both are prepared to put time and effort into the relationship even when physically apart. Balance. The give and take of a relationship balances out over time, as each provide support when required. Relationship. This … Continue reading Good friendship qualities
Today is World Obesity Day (4th March 2021) Body Mass Index (BMI) is a calculation of body fat on the basis of height and weight applying to adult men and women. Your Body Mass Index score indicates whether you are underweight or overweight. Based on the score that you get, you may be advised to bulk up or lose weight. It is done to ensure that you maintain a bodyweight that may be healthy, and you may be advised to change your lifestyle to attain a healthier BMI. The BMI scale was developed in 1832 by a Belgian mathematician named … Continue reading Adolphe Quetete and BMI?
Do you make choices of your own free will, or are you being nudged along by an unseen force to comply? The Government, Retail and Medical professions, amongst many other industries employ strategies to shape your behaviour. Nudge theory is the science behind subtly leading people to the ‘right’ decision. It works on the principle that small actions can have a substantial impact on the way people behave. For organisations wanting to drive positive behaviour change, it’s a handy concept to know about. Nudge theory is also concerned with the design of choices, which influences the decisions we make. Nudge theory … Continue reading Are you being nudged?
All around the world, people remain uncertain about the future. I don’t know what the outcome will be, however I have continued to use some strategies to keep myself going. I want to share them with you, in the hope that you may get some benefit from this particular method. A) Do something every day to reduce anxiety; whether it is a relaxation technique, exercising or getting in touch with some friends. This all amounts to finding some calm in your daily existence. B) Stay informed. Decide to allocate yourself 30 minutes each day to check the Local news and … Continue reading Uncertainty
Most parents are familiar with a child’s temper tantrum and the disruptive, angry outbursts where the child demands attention, including getting their own way. In contrast, when a child or adult on the Autistic Spectrum has a Meltdown, they are reacting to emotional overload, and their brain struggles to make sense of a situation or behaviour. Ultimately, a Meltdown is a loss of control brought about by changes to the routine or expected behaviours, resulting in the senses being over stimulated all at once. Explosion of emotions! The Meltdown responses displayed by the Autistic person may include verbal expressions, of … Continue reading Autism and Meltdowns