You might be noticing that your child is asking you lots of questions, looking for more play and physical affection, having more ‘meltdowns’, pushing the boundaries, crying more or seeming less bubbly than usual.
Whatever you have noticed, it is a signal that your child is trying to understand and cope. Just like the rest of us. And just like the rest of us, they will need a bit of extra support at this time.
Parents of children with non-neurotypical learning profiles are some of my favourite
They have learned, often through blood, sweat and tears, to gather resources, accommodate learning outcomes, collect a support village, and reach for joy. They also remind the rest of the world that diversity is wonderful and education systems must be inclusive and hospitable places for every learner. However even this group of survivors have their limits, especially when it feels as if their carefully cultivated equilibrium has tilted and begun to careen off in a bizarre direction.
Across Sydney over the last week alone, families have had to adapt to a new COVID-19 normal. There have been fears, tears, and meltdowns (not just the children!) as schools scramble to move lessons online and parents negotiate working from home. Against a backdrop of global fear, the times are incredibly challenging, and a sense of what has been lost for our families has grown with every update.
However, here we are; adapting.
We are adjusting to new ways to shop, work, and educate our children. The challenges are undeniable, however parents of neuro-diverse children have an edge – we understand that learning involves striving. We are used to smashing through barriers and we are good at grabbing the resources we need to turn striving into thriving, against the odds.
However, we are also vulnerable to overwhelming stress without our usual supports, and our children become vulnerable too.
The psychologists and therapists at The Centre for Effective Living are passionate about what they do in the parenting and neuro-developmental space and it’s business as usual (now that Zoom has become usual!). We have worked with our child, adolescent and adult clients significant transitions and chronic stress. We are able to support families in the following areas:
- Stress management + self-care for parents
- Communication strategies for talking through difficult global issues
- Strategies to address family stress
- Managing compliance with home learning (giving instructions, communication strategies, establishing family rules + routines)
- Emotional and psychological support for children with specific learning and neurodevelopmental disorders (Eg Dyslexia, ADHD)
- Sibling rivalry
- Helping children manage bossy thoughts and relentless worries
Children don’t need to lose their village, and parents don’t need to suffer alone with family stress. We can step into that space with you. We have expertise and evidence-based strategies to help you survive and thrive.
If you are feeling overwhelmed with the task of managing your neuro-diverse child’s home learning, why not call the centre for more details?
Decisions are being made so quickly during these times that we can feel like we have reached our limit. However, be aware that making decision on the run and with little resources yourselves could make things worse.
During these turbulent times we can try to exert control over our environment by worrying. This is because we look to have certainty in an uncertain world. However, recognising that the world was never really a certain place and re-investing our mind in other ways can help. Here's a video that explain it
What do you feel when you look at this picture? For me, I instantly feel anxious and a kind of fear. Deep oceans feature in my dreams. I do not like swimming in the ocean when I can't touch the bottom.
It took me a really long time to figure this one out. What I finally connected it to was a memory of my younger brother falling into the swimming pool, seeing him sink to the bottom, feeling helpless, and my dad jumping in and yanking him out. I was a child then. I don't remember if the pool was really that deep, or even if my memory is accurate. However, I do remember the fear of the unknown, feeling helpless, and watching threat unfold.
I returned home from work to find my high schooler eager to talk to me. There were so many things they had discovered that were unusual and perhaps a little unsettling about the experience of distance learning. I realised that for someone with limited life experience, this plunge into distance learning by sudden "dangerous" reasons was being encoded in their memory. A good dinner conversation uncovered a couple of things that I share here with you:
1. Realising there is a difference between solitude and isolation. Many of the lunchtime and recess friends are no longer available in these online classroom environments.
2. The vacuum of silence and the uncertainty of how long this will go for: It's a different thing to know that school holidays is a limited experience, and not knowing . Children who go to school are surrounded by noises and laughter, and chatter.
3. Not moving! Not walking to class, or to school, or around the classroom
4. Staring at a screen the whole day
5. Not knowing if they could go outside the house - or go to the toilet mid-way class
6. Distractions and sensory weird-ness from different sounds that came from having headphones and hearing every rustle, crunch and page flip
At the end of the conversation there was a comment "I need to get a hold of my life..."
For tonight, the conversation just sits as a validation that things are different, unknown and without definition. Tomorrow we spend some time putting structures and substitutes into place to make the world just that little less scary and undefined.
WHAT A BLAST!!!!! Valerie Ling had 5 days together to RAPID RESET with a group of people, and it was just what was needed during these stressful times. GUESS WHAT??? You can get your hands on the ENTIRE program for less than $50 - immediate tools to reset your mood and perspective. Details in comments ...
At the Centre for Effective Living, we have been thinking about how the coronavirus situation is impacting our clients. In this blog, we wanted to highlight some tips for psychological well-being during COVID-19. In particular, we are mindful of individuals who may be likely to worry about health-related information. If you are finding that you feel increasingly worried about the situation, be aware of the amount of exposure you are getting to news, images, and talk about the coronavirus. People tend to talk about what they are worried about, and stress can spread from person to person. So, give yourself permission to switch off these channels, and instead use this time to do an activity that can help you feel calm. You can stay informed by only reading official sources of information, such as government health websites, once or twice a day.
We are also thinking about how children might be affected by this situation. No doubt, many parents are wondering how to discuss the coronavirus with their kids in a way that will not make them more worried. We would encourage parents to not be afraid to discuss the coronavirus, as keeping kids in the dark may make them worry more. Instead, answer your child’s questions by sticking to small amounts of information to avoid overloading them with details. Focus conversations on what you are doing to stay safe, as knowing what to do to stay healthy can help your kids feel empowered at this time.
In a situation like this, staying connected with people who support you is very important in maintaining our psychological well-being. Even if you cannot see people face to face, there are electronic ways to stay connected, such as Skype or FaceTime.
If you are unwell and unable to come into our clinic, video-calling consultations on Zoom may be an option for you. You can learn more about how to do this here https://www.effectiveliving.com.au/telehealth-services/
We hope that all of our community at The Centre for Effective Living keeps physically and mentally well at this time.
Make hand washing during Covid-19 something we do because we care AND throw in some self care. Why not give yourself a hand massage in the mix and enjoy moisturising after. Taking care of our mental …
Make hand washing during Covid-19 something we do because we care AND throw in some self care. Why not give yourself a hand massage in the mix and enjoy moisturising after. Taking care of our mental health means looking for ways we can increase our positivity and pleasure in the midst of difficult times #covidcare #selfcare #together
Are you stressed out by study? It’s only the start of the school year, but already homework, assignments, and exams are piling up, your stress is rising, and you wish you could do something about it.
As psychologists, we understand that study stress can be tough, and we want to help. That is why we are running a 6-week 'Study Without Stress' program for Year 10-12 students. In a small group setting, this program will equip students with practical strategies to help them overcome the stress that can arise from study and assessment pressures. This program is designed to help students stop procrastinating, break out of perfectionism, manage their time, learn how to prepare for exams, and reduce their anxiety levels.
Here are 3 tips from the program that you can put into practice right away:
- Feeling anxious before an exam? Try slow breathing. When we are stressed, our body is trying to prepare us for a dangerous situation. One way it does this is by making us breathe faster. To turn off the stress response, slow down your breathing.
- When something goes wrong, do you tend to think that everything is a complete disaster? When our mind produces catastrophising thoughts, it can make us feel anxious. Start to notice the kind of thoughts in your mind. If there is catastrophising, ask yourself, “Is there another way of looking at this situation?”
- Do you procrastinate? People who procrastinate often feel overwhelmed with a task. Instead of trying to do everything at once, ask yourself, “What’s the next step?” Break a task down into do-able steps, then slowly work through them one by one. Perhaps you could reward yourself as you tick things off!
Want to know more?
Our Study Without Stress program will run for 6 Wednesdays at 4:30 – 6:00pm from the 25th of March to the 13th of May (with a break for school holidays). The cost for all 6 sessions and material is $520.
If you are interested in joining, book your place at: https://www.trybooking.com/BIHHJ
For more information contact us at: email@example.com