Change

#contentology

#nicolasmoras

Certainly change is the only thing we can really guarantee and given this previous week, we’ve certainly become become experts at navigating last minute changes. Whilst some of these can be unpleasant and stressful, overall change can have a transformative impact and be triggers for growth and evolution. Sometimes change is gradual, sometimes it is abrupt. Either way, when a change happens TO us, finding a way to make it work FOR us is important. So no matter your relationship with change, notice if you are encouraging it, avoiding it, hiding from it or welcoming it.

And when all else fails with understanding change, I come back to a favourite quote that is attributed to Mahatma Gandhi: “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”

Creating Inspirations

Today I was going to talk to you about how inspirations is an important part of feeling positive and motivated and how we all need it.  But today I’m in Melbourne with my gorgeous sister and her family, so I thought I’d write to you instead….(just because my gorgeous 13month old niece was going to make it difficult to talk over!)…..

Today I was thinking about the role of inspiration and how having that inspiration can have a ripple affect.  One of the aspects of my job, as I see it, is to inspire others.  And although that’s not something that I set out to do by my behaviour, it’s always great if something I do inspires others.

More specifically in the therapy room, I want to give my clients feelings of hope, positivity and inspiration when they think of themselves and who they are and what they can be. 

Often many of my children and teen clients have developed not so positive ideas of themselves, whether it’s because they are struggling to manage emotions, have difficulties with friends or have conflict within their families. 

Part of their journey of discovering that they are autistic is showing them examples of how being themselves is a really great thing, but that also showing them people who are also autistic, having done extraordinary things that everyone admires and is grateful for.  I want them to believe that being successful or being accepted can happen because they are autistic-and how exactly their autistic differences have helped them. 

So as part of building this process, we talk about autistic people who have done great things in history, and great individuals that are currently doing things.  I show them books of autistic individuals, we look up individuals who have had impact in different fields, hoping that this has a positive impact.  I want them to begin to look at their differences as strengths, not deficits. 

The way we talk about the difference of others, really does make an impact on how we conceptualise this difference, so I’d definitely encourage you to have conversations like these with your young person/young people as often as you can, with this in mind. 

This is not to be confused with pressuring them to have to achieve at a high level to be admired, but that showing admiration for individuals who are just like them to the core.  So paying attention to rather than excluding this group of individuals is a way of encouraging admiration of autistic people and what they can accomplish.

We all need inspiration from others who have gone before us, I know I need it to do the work that I do in trying to expand the message to many people. 

And….children and teens are no different. 

They are always looking for role models, for examples to live by, for things to look to as what can be possible.  So by opening up the awareness that there are many, many individuals that have led inspirational lives, just might help inspire your child to begin (or continue) thinking of themselves in a really positive way.

Happy Friday to you and your family!

Kate

First days of school

#contentology

#appleVSpc

First days.
First days of school for a new year.
First days for some beginning school for the first time.
And whilst firsts can be exciting for some, for others there is more
anxiety and concern.
These first days are filled with lots of unknowns and for lots of my
clients and their families, there can be anxiety about a range of things
including: *. do the teachers and support staff have enough knowledge of their
child to support their child,

  • did we had enough time during our transition days?,
  • will my child have a good experience?,
  • what will they do if they didn’t have a good transition day last year,
    can we change their attitude?
  • is it too late to have some more transition days now?
  • what can we do to make sure the new school year in 2021 is positive?
    Having COVID-19 restrictions still in place across schools in 2020 has
    certainly not made this preparation and transition easier, with the
    number of transition days having been reduced for most schools last
    year.
    But in the spirit of controlling what we can, and leaving the rest to the
    universe, there is a few things you can check to see whether these
    things would help make upcoming ‘first days’ positive ones:
  • if you are anxious about your child having a good experience with
    their upcoming first day, don’t share that with them directly or in front of
    them. Be supportive and confident in front of them that this first can be
    a positive experience (vent to others who get your nervousness and
    concern away from the ears of children!) and that all children feel
    nervous about new things, first days and that they have experienced
    these before and things do get easier gradually.
  • ask your school about extra transitions across the summer school
    holiday break-inquire when the school will be open to staff and if it’s
    possible for extra visits to happen in the weeks prior to students being
    back at school.
    Even if the school is empty(in fact this can be quite helpful) it can be
    helpful to see the school environment and get familiar with it before
    students are there. This is one less thing for them to process on their
    first day.
  • Ask if the school can provide photos or video be taken of the school/
    classroom environment so that these can be reviewed later by the child.
    Having visuals to share and talk about, can be really helpful.
  • Can the upcoming class teacher/s have a photos of them and or their
    classroom forwarded to parents via email. Again having visuals to help learn the identify of staff and their role at
    the school can be very helpful. This is especially helpful for students
    transitioning to high school where they go from a classroom teacher to
    7 or 8 new staff members to get to know.
  • See if you can get a map of the school and identify safe and calm
    spaces that the child can spend time in. Having this map also makes it
    easier to ask about their day and help them plan where to go when they
    need to for certain classes or during breaks.
  • Create a Social Story (TM) with the words and photos that the child/
    young person can read/reread as you get closer to the official first day
    (of school).
  • Also if you’ve not already, visit the Positive Partnerships website for a
    look at their checklists and templates and any training you think would
    be useful as this website is all about supporting families and schools to
    understand how to support kids on the Spectrum
    http://www.positivepartnerships.com.au
  • And lastly be prepared with information for your child’s teacher which
    is a 1 page snapshot (brief summary) of your child. Their strengths,
    interests and how they learn best, so it is easier for your child’s teacher
    to get to know them and for them to form a good relationship.
    I hope that these upcoming tips are helpful for school firsts coming your
    way.
    Kate

Gratitude Journal

#contentology

#journalling

Writing is something that I used to do in a diary as a young child, as a
teenager and as a parent. Each time the writing had a different purpose. As
a child, it was somewhere to share secrets or vent upset feelings, as a teenager, again a wonderful way of expressing strong emotion that you knew
was probably best not to share with friends or family-only because it was
most likely about them! And as a new parent, I wrote detailed journals of
how I was feeling being a new parent, the different milestones my babies
met-to help me document this for the future, but also so I could remember
afterwards!

Journaling is a great way to get our internal thoughts down on paper (or into
an electronic document). The process of recording a thought helps to create
distance between our thoughts and allows some analysis of them, which can
help to develop clarity of thought. I don’t journal all the time, consistently,
but go in phases. However when I do, the style is usually one with a focus
on gratitude.

I’ve found journalling or writing in response to prompts, very helpful for
motivation, for bringing awareness to unhelpful beliefs and for finding
evidence and gratitude for current states of mind. I like it to bring focus to
an intention about the future and to help develop ideas I might have for goals
or aspirations.

I certainly feel that writing is a powerful way to develop insight about your
thoughts and feelings. It can be very helpful to reduce intensity of emotion
and to help switch on helpful logical thinking as well.
I would certainly encourage you to try gratitude journaling if it’s not
something you’ve every tried, because it is one of the very powerful ways we
can bring more happiness and contentment into our lives.

Blue

#contentology

#blue

Blue is my favourite colour and the blue of the Coral Sea is one of my most
favourite blue’s. It is a symbol of freedom, expanse, and invigoration, where
anything is possible.

This year we did not get to travel up north to Queensland, like we’ve been
able to before, so I’m missing the shade of the Coral Sea blue, missing the
expanse of the ocean and the way it makes everything seem small by
comparison. So thinking about not seeing this blue, actually makes me feel
a little ‘blue’. Conversely when I’m surrounded by blue, I feel as sense of joy
and peacefulness.

So I will focus on my goal of being able to look at this ocean again, I will look
at pictures of past trips and dream locations and places I’ll go to in the
future. I’m imagining how much I’ll enjoy it, how wonderful it will feel when
we go there again.

So for now I’ll enjoy the blue of my children’s eyes and the blue colours I can
create with my art.

It’s amazing how colour has different associations for different people. I
know that in my work with emotions, many people have different
attachments and meanings to different colours.

For lots of people we association red for example, with anger, but we need
to be mindful that everyone has different associations, so refraining from
making assumptions for others is important-, as I also know a few children,
where red is their very happiest colour! And ironically enough, the colour of
red is strongly associated with Christmas!

Do different colours evoke different emotions for your? Try and surround
yourself with those that make you feel centred and calm, especially in your
relaxing home spaces.

Rule Breaker or Rule Follower

#contentology

#rulebreaker

#rulefollower

Thinking about whether you are a rule breaker or rule follower, I instinctively
think I’m more of a rule follower than a rule breaker. I’m averse to getting
into ‘trouble’ and certainly followed most of the rules when I was growing up.
Although as I’ve gotten older, what became clear was that even more
important than following rules, was for me to understand why the rule was
there in the first place,who made the rule, (how long ago?!), how it was
helpful it is the certain individuals versus others, whether it was helpful in my
personal situation and what would the consequences be if I didn’t adhere to
the rule and whether the rule in fact was outdated and needed to be
changed?!
So when all those questions were answered, my actions could change from
rule follower to rule breaker quite easily.
More and more in my work in the area of autism the concept of breaking
rules or expectations arises.
It comes up when a child’s behaviour gets notices developmentally for not
following the expected developmental pathway, it gets noticed when social
rules are not being followed with friends and peers (such as in conversations,
games etc). Conversely we can also break rules, if we try and follow them
too literally! -as this then breaks more social rules!-how confusing!
So for me, rules are helpful when we are trying to create cohesiveness and
group and safety. They are not so helpful if they have no flexibility for
individual needs and variation, or when the purpose does not serve everyone
equally.
For me it’s finding the balance between following some rules, because it’s
good for me and for others, but also breaking some rules that are more
harmful than helpful, or actively seeing how we can re-write the rules to
make the more relevant and helpful.

What kind of rules do you like to break and which ones do you think we need
to break more often?

Kate

Helicopter View

#contentology

#helicopterview

Taking a helicopter view or a big picture view is a skill that takes some
practice. It’s the attempt to zoom out and look at your own life from a
distance, while we are still currently living it. This is not an easy skill, and it
can just be plain hard when we are busy living life. I know that I can get too
caught up in the detail of life and forget about zooming out and getting a big
picture view again, to make sure I’m still on track, and to make sure that I’ve
not overlooked anything really important.
It’s something that is easier for someone else to help you with, especially if
we are at all overwhelmed (because the adrenalin makes it harder to have
clear thoughts). So for me, I have coaches, mentors and supervisors who
can have a clearer view of me and my world and then can then communicate
what they see and suggest changes or things to consider.
And because I know this is difficult for others to do for themselves, in my role
as psychologist sand coach, I get to help others in taking this helicopter view
as well. As a psychologist and coach, I can share my perspective, my
impressions and communicate them with the individual. I can help them
make predictions about how actions taken in one part of their life could
affect them now as well as in the future. When this information is shared in a
therapeutic manner you can begin to get a clear picture in your mind about
where you are and where you need to go.
Helping others to be on this path and when to take what steps is part of
what I really enjoy about my work.
So if you think you’d like some help on understanding how to zoom out and
get a big picture view and then work out how to take the steps to make your
plan a reality, reach out.

Kate x

Do 4 Fun

#contentology

#Do4fun

Things we do for fun?! Fun can sometimes seem to be the world of children
and less of adults, but as a child psychologist I try to keep in touch with
ways to make therapy fun; using toys, art, music, movie clips, games and
each child’s own interests. At home for fun it’s either bike riding with my girls or watching a tv series together-the Mandalorian has been a favourite for all
of us this year!

First Days

#contentology

#Firstdays

First days. The first day I’m thinking about is that we have just had the
first day of the last day of the month, for the last month of 2020!
And for December it means excitement climbing for all things Christmas,
putting the Christmas tree put up over the weekend, Elf returning to cause some mischief and delight for the month of December.
But there are some other first days happening on the horizon, that might
be filled with more anxiety than excitement and the first that comes to
mind are those transition days for practicing being in a new grade or at
new school. With transitions coming up in coming weeks, I know that
this is on many students and parents minds.
These first days are filled with lots of unknowns and for lots of my clients
and their families, there can be anxiety about a range of things
including: do the teachers and support staff have enough knowledge of
their child to support their child, will there be enough opportunity to get
settled during the brief transitions, will their child have a good
experience, what will they do if they don’t have a good transition day,
how can we make further transitions days more likely, which could
hopefully lead to a good start to the new school year in 2021.
Having COVID-19 restrictions still in place across schools has certainly
not made this preparation and transition easier, with the number of
transition days having been reduced for most schools. But in the spirit
of controlling what we can, and leaving the rest to the universe, there is
a few things you can check to see whether these things would help
make upcoming ‘first days’ positive ones:

  • if you are anxious about your child having a good experience with
    their upcoming first day, don’t share that with them directly or in front of
    them. Be supportive and confident in front of them that this first can be
    a positive experience (vent to others who get your nervousness and
    concern away from the ears of children!) and that all children feel
    nervous about new things, first days and that they have experienced
    these before and things do get easier gradually.
  • ask your school about extra transitions across the summer school
    holiday break-inquire when the school will be open to staff and if it’s
    possible for extra visits to happen in the weeks prior to students being
    back at school. Even if the school is empty it can be helpful to see the
    school environment and get familiar with it before students are there.
    This is one less thing for them to process. * Ask if when the child visits the school can photos or video be taken of
    the environment so that these can be reviewed later on. Having visuals
    to share and talk about, can be helpful.
  • Can the upcoming class teacher/s have a photos of them and or their
    classroom forwarded to parents via email-again having visuals to help
    learn the identify of staff and their role at the school can be very helpful.
    This is especially helpful for students transitioning to high school where
    they go from a classroom teacher to 7 or 8 new staff members to get to
    know.
  • See if you can get a map of the school and identify safe and calm
    spaces that the child can spend time in. Having this map also makes it
    easier to ask about their day and help them plan where to go when they
    need to for certain classes or during breaks.
  • Create a Social Story (TM) with the words and photos that the child/
    young person can read/reread in the months coming as you get closer
    to the official first day (of school).
  • Also if you’ve not already, visit the Positive Partnerships website for a
    look at their checklists and templates and any training you think would
    be useful as this website is all about supporting families and schools to
    understand how to support kids on the Spectrum
    http://www.positivepartnerships.com.au
    I hope that these upcoming tips are helpful for school firsts coming your
    way.
    Kate x

Emotional Coaching

#contentologyNov2020

#nicolamoras

#threesteps

#emotioncoaching

Learning to support your child’s skills in managing their feelings can really
come down to parents taking these three simple steps.
Particularly when we are trying to help our kids with their expression of anger
we should pay particular attention to the following:

  1. Take a moment to reflect on how you manage your own anger-modelling is
    important
  2. Identify strategies for getting rid of the high energy that occurs in intense
    levels of anger and strategies or activities that could be calming to be used
    for lower levels of anger.
  3. Look for the emotion underneath your child’s anger and use empathy to
    connect with this. Anger is usually covering up a more vulnerable feeling.
    Taking these three steps will be very helpful in understanding and responding
    to your child’s emotions, which will ultimately lead to a more resilient young
    person.
    See how you go with these three steps!
    Kate x