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New Learningrose website – by Rebecca Taylor

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About Rebecca

I am the mother to a son of 16 who has autism, severe sensory modulation dysfunction and other complex needs. I am ex British Airways cabin crew and flew for over 7 years and know first-hand how important it is for safety and communication reasons that all passengers feel at ease.

In 2018, I won the Anna Kennedy National Autism Parent Carer Award as well as being the only person to be a finalist for two other categories – Lifetime Achievement award and Autism Peoples Hero award, both of which were recognised by an official certificate of achievement: https://www.autismheroawards.com/winners-2018/.

In  2019, I won the Anna Kennedy Entrepreneurial Award which was for the work I’d done with British Airways: https://www.autismheroawards.com/winners-2019/.

Our  new  website www.learningrose.co.uk  encompasses  the additional journeys we have produced so far and our app is available on the app store.  You’ll find our cards in a full card layout as well as individual flash cards. You can contact me by email at rebecca@learningrose.co.uk and on my mobile 07973-219299.

Assuring you of our best attentions in all matters, Rebecca J Taylor

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About Learningrose

Learningrose provide detailed information cards; prepared for print and digital use to support travelling through the airport, the journey on board, its service and arriving at the destination. All cards are endorsed “in partnership with The National Autistic Society”

They have been designed to be multifunctional and multi-disability friendly; they work with any age to reduce anxiety and stress for the passenger by using the card or mobile app as well as other people on board. Through a mixture of words and pictures they can assist many passengers with a mental, hidden or physical disability and for passengers who may be anxious flying as well as people who may have not flown before.

British Airways have recently renewed their license to continue using the cards for a second year onboard their fleet.

The airport journey can be complimented with a variety of additional cards to help everyday encounters and experiences; in turn, providing a valuable tool for customer engagement and loyalty through wider habitual use of our or your own mobile app when not flying.

We support businesses wanting to enhance their current CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) with 3 services:

  1. Consultancy and support on all things Autism.
  2. Providing graphic + creative services for existing cards or designing new requested card experiences and journeys.
  3. Delivering ‘your own branding’, additional customisation and integration development for our own proprietary mobile app if required or supporting third party tech requirements.

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CARDS ACTIVE

Airport information cards Stranger Danger Getting the Bus
Going to Supermarket COVID 19 Getting on a train
Going to a Restaurant Going for a walk in a park Going to the Opticians
Going to the Dentist  Going to the Doctor  Going to a Florist

Plus many more.

 

 

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 Yoga Movement Breaks for Autism, ADHD, ADD, PDA and Mental Health

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An article by our Well-being Ambassador Giuliana Wheater

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Most of the children and young adults I had sessions with last week were all saying how tired they felt, and the week had dragged. With the nights slowly drawing in, transitions happening all the time and the stress of tests, it seemed to have been taking its toll.

Especially on those with different abilities or disabilities who quite often need to concentrate twice as hard to survive a school day compared to a neurotypical student.

The stress, tests and transitioning also take their toll on teachers, who are under incredible pressure also.

In 2016 alone 120 YEARS of teaching were lost due to stress.

And this was before Covid!

So, what can we do about this?

Well, wherever I go to train schools or simply share sessions I always talk about Movement Breaks.

They only need to be for five minutes and be spaced out between lessons or tasks – or even halfway through, as breathers, exercises for the body and brain, to recharge and refocus.

They are incredibly powerful and benefit everyone, teachers included.

Any “sillies” get shaken out, the breathing and body calmed, the diaphragm opened and the serotonin (neurotransmitter of happiness, confidence, and self-esteem) and dopamine (the neurotransmitter of reward, motivation, drive, focus, concentration, and attention) all encouraged up from the gut and into the brain.

These movement breaks also boost immunity and promote better sleep.

Kids with dyslexia, dysgraphia or dyscalculia will also hugely benefit along with students in wheelchairs. Neurotypical kids will also reap the rewards because they might have stuff going on at home or friendship issues or anxiety. It’s inclusive of everyone, regardless of age, ability, mobility, or neurodiversity.

The learning environment is hugely boosted for EVERYONE as a result of movement breaks. Stress and tension are eased. Attention, focus, and memory are boosted. Any aggression or overwhelm is regulated. Every school should do it regularly throughout the day.

Stand like a mountain – seated or standing. If seated, if you can put your feet flat on the floor, preferably with no shoes. If standing, ensure your feet are shoulder width apart.

Squeeze your fists as hard as you can and then either just release or fling, your tension/stress to the floor. Repeat several times.

Either seated or standing just shake all those giggles or anger or sillies out using your whole body.

Draw circles clockwise and anti-clockwise and figure eights above your head. This also helps with motor skills, coordination and balancing the brain.

Cover one nostril and inhale slowly through the other. Then block the other nostril and exhale slowly. Then repeat doing it the other way around.

Here is a link to my YouTube video demonstrating these techniques.

Have fun with them and boost those learning environments!!

See you next week,

Take care, Giuliana. 

https://www.therapiesforspecialneeds.co.uk/

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Being Thankful for My Parents
An article by our Ambassador Paul Isaacs

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*Note this is from a personal perspective

Being thankful is a term used for many different contexts, it has different meanings, associations and be it personal or professional and it can come from an emotive place deep within someone’s being and soul to take a humble acknowledgment of the foundations laid bare that I had no control of (no person does) but giving it some thought and the time to do so has made be reflect on my early years.

I was born in 1986 and my parents had now knowledge of the word “autism” for it would be many years before the word would be uses, so one must get by the frameworks and current situation in other words my parents not knowing did it hinder? Or through this did it urge them to be me more holistic, creative, and more practical in their approach towards me as a human being? I think it did.

If I would had been diagnosed it would have been of “classic” autism this wasn’t just about milestones speech, language and motor delay were noted – I was also hemiplegic, had visual perceptual disorders, face, object and meaning blindness and well as being meaning deaf and having a language processing disorder some of this partly due to being brain damaged at birth.

I lived (and still due to some degree) in the system of sensing, was tactile kinaesthetic, had pattern, theme and feel language – but my parents saw me as their child, their son and valued member of the family this speaks values not only of one’s character and the wordless observations at the time but the patience and nurture that goes with being a caregiver.

Many adjectives and observations were made the idea that I was deaf and blind, having an attachment disorder these were all perceptions (rightly or wrongly) put upon not only me but my family. The way in which my parents dealt was in a a very holistic and fluid way the expectations they had for me was simple but would later a sturdy foundation to build from “happy”.

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Now that is one emotion of many they cared not for existential things, materials or hierarchy or work or education because that was something I would do on my terms, they offered the values of autonomy, the healthiness of failure as a normal part of life and the sanctity of self-exploration.

As I have grown, I have valued their company, their need for boundaries, direction and care which has built up a mutual respect but not tipping into areas of blurriness of misinformation, but all our cards are held to each other we know where we stand.

The greatest gift that many are denied from their parents and caregivers (at many times through no fault of their own – just repetition of generational patterns) is the ability to grow into one’s own connected self this is something I hold dear and treasure.

Paul Isaacs 2021

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Anna’s guest at Women’s Radio was Helen Eaton

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Annas guest at Women’s Radio was Helen Eaton ​
‘All things Autism” will be aired at 1pm and 1am every day this week.  Please see www.womensradiostation.com

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Helen Eaton is the author of the Arna & Ruby Autism graphic novels, has a mini-series of podcasts on neurodiversity, and gives talks and training on autism to families, schools, charities, and workplaces.

She has a post graduate qualification in primary education, which helps her understand what’s going on in our schools.

Alongside her autism work she still delivers leadership training for some of UK’s leading technology, finance, and retail companies.

After running her own training business for the past 20 years and specialising in behaviour, communication, and emotional intelligence, it seemed a natural shift to focus on autism 5 years ago. 

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Combining her two passions means that she is also a Neurodiversity at Work specialist, helping companies better understand and support their neurodiverse employees.

She does have an amazingly neurodiverse family and doesn’t think in a typical way herself.  She most definitely has lived experience when she talks about autism.

Within her home Helen has experienced the joys that autistic thinking brings and describes her 3 teenagers as funny, loving, kind, quirky and bright. She knows the challenges autism brings though, spending long hours and many years battling for an appropriate education and support for her diagnosed teen.

She also understands the anxiety, frustration, and anger that autistic children experience as they struggle to cope with a world that isn’t very autism friendly.

There are a few dents in her walls and doors!

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She believes in honesty, openness, and positivity when it comes to talking about autism.

Working with schools has shown her that far too often they rely on out-dated lists of things that autistic people supposedly can’t do.

Instead, schools should focus on what each child can do and find ways to enable them to feel safe, communicate and be able to learn.

Each month she offers one free talk on Autism in the Classroom, along with a series of live training sessions on Zoom.

These can be booked online at www.heleneaton.co.uk.

She can also be found on Twitter @HelenEatonASC and on Facebook Helen Eaton – Autism & Neurodiversity

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Buy your AKO Charity Christmas Cards 2021! (UK Only)

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Each of the winning designs from our Christmas Card competition last year – where our talented supporters Chris Rathbone and Natalie Sherriffs, will be included in each pack of assorted cards. Along with previous creations from the talented Patrick Steele-Bodger and our wonderful Ambassador Harvey Price – which are included in the designs below.​

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Anna Kennedy – Women’s Radio Station award

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I have been a presenter on Women’s Radio Station since the beginning talking ‘All things Autism’.

The station has received a brand new award: “Most Dedicated Mental Health & Wellbeing Online Radio Service – UK” in the Small Business Awards 2021 of Corporate Visions whoop!!

Congratulations to all the presenters and founders Howard and Russell we volunteer our time to spread the word of all our causes.

 

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Polishing Our Cockpits!

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An article by our Well-being Ambassador Giuliana Wheater and her video!

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As always, we are having a heatwave as our children return to school …. Beautiful but it really can deplete them (and you!) of energy. Having continual tests and pressure along with still transitioning out of Covid can also sap a great deal of energy.

If you or your child have different abilities, disabilities, or challenges, it can be particularly heightened.  Mental health has taken an absolute bashing and it can all get too much to deal with, leading to overwhelm and meltdowns.

As I always say, when life gets too much and on top of you, look at your hand and remind yourself of what you DO have control over because we so often can do very little about the things we can’t control, like transitioning, school, and exams.

All our higher or executive brain functions are all inside the frontal lobe of the brain. If you imagine yourself as a jumbo jet, the techniques I’m sharing this week are like taking a huge bottle of Polish and getting those higher brain functions shiny and firing on all cylinders!!

This week’s short video demonstrates some really useful techniques to keep you going

When you massage your temples, you are right on the Capital City of the four main happy hormones and coping chemicals. You’ll be ready for take-off in seconds – literally!

Focus, attention, motivation, drive, concentration, alertness, memory and feeling able to cope and function will immediately be boosted, sending those messages to not just our brains but the memory in our cells, water, and even immune system!!!

By pushing your fingers up through the roots of your hair and then squeezing the roots into a ball as you lift the scalp is just the most unbelievably delicious feeling!! It also pushes all the blood and oxygen to your brain!

By gently massaging the sides of your head with your finger pads gets you working directly on the path of dopamine to the brain. Dopamine is the neurotransmitter which many of our SEN children, especially those with ADHD, PDA, ADD ASD and dyslexia are deficient in. It’s just a different wiring of the brain and we can take charge of that by stimulating party loads of the stuff!!

Massaging the forehead is completely WONDERFUL too for getting those higher brain functions so shiny they might even be seen from space!

I was running some free training in schools last week explaining to teachers how these would be such good tools for the WHOLE classroom after morning and afternoon registration as well as for breathers in between lessons. Everyone will be at their optimum, the teachers will have less stress and the learning environment calmer and more inclusive.

Our kids have been so brilliant through these challenging times. So, giving them a five-minute break to refresh and reboot is not only advisable but absolutely gorgeous.

See you next week!

Take care,

Giuliana

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Anna Kennedy Online calls out for votes to bag a share of Tesco’s bag fund 2021

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Anna Kennedy Online are bidding for a cash boost from the Tesco Community Grants initiative. Tesco works with community charity Groundwork to run its community funding scheme, which sees grants of up to £1,500, £1,000 and £500 awarded to local community projects.

Three groups in every community have been shortlisted to receive the cash award and shoppers are being invited to head along to Tesco stores to vote for who they think should take away the top grant.

Anna Kennedy Online is one of the groups on the shortlist for our Autism Hero Awards 2021.

Anna Kennedy shared: “A HUGE thank you to Tesco this is appreciated. The Autism Hero Awards recognise the extraordinary achievements of people that show dedication, commitment and courage of all the nominees and winners is inspirational. The awards are a great way to celebrate these accomplishments and unforgotten heroes and what life changing impacts are made on people’s lives”.

Voting is open in all Tesco stores in October, November and December and customers will cast their vote using a token given to them at the check-out each time they shop. Please see below a list of stores taking part in the voting on our project:

Tesco’s Community Grants scheme has already provided over £90 million to more than 40,000 projects across Britain. Tesco customers get the chance to vote for three different groups every time they shop. Every three months, when votes are collected, three groups in each of Tesco’s regions will be awarded funding.

Claire De Silva, Head of Community at Tesco, said: “Tesco Community Grants help support local good causes but especially those projects supporting young people, those providing food, and local causes close to our colleagues’ hearts.”

Groundwork’s National Chief Executive, Graham Duxbury, said: “Tesco Community Grants continues to give local projects the boost they need to help their communities thrive. By funding services which support young people and reduce food poverty, we hope to facilitate positive change from the ground up across the UK. We are pleased to have been able to help so many local good causes over the years and look forward to seeing what community organisations can achieve in the future with the right resources.”

Funding is available to community groups and charities looking to fund local projects that bring benefits to communities, particularly those helping to provide food and giving children the support they need for a good start in life. Anyone can nominate a project and organisations can apply online. To find out more visit www.tesco.com/communitygrants.

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Touch and Story Massage for Autism ADHD, PDA, Dyslexia and Anxiety 

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An article by our Well-being Ambassador Giuliana Wheater

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Touch is life!!!! It boosts immunity, releases oxytocin (the neurotransmitter of love and nurture which also stimulates our emotional intelligence) after just 20 seconds!!!!!

It also releases endorphins, serotonin (the happiness and confidence neurotransmitter) and dopamine, my favourite one – feeling driven, motivated, full of concentration and focus and that deeply gorgeous feeling of reward!

Everything I do with anyone is always an invitation and always where I meet THEM. It’s never about making anyone meet me where I want them to be.

To invite and engage, to let the child or young adult lead, I’d empowering and floods them with the main happy and coping chemicals. By involving them, they are also very quickly learning simple touch techniques and tools to use anytime. They feel in charge of something and I’m these challenging and uncertain times I’m finding this approach more vital than ever before.

The transition back to school has been really difficult for most of the parents and teachers I’ve been working with this past week – particularly for those with special needs, different abilities, and disabilities. Life is hard enough in a mainstream world, but school allows very little adaption or movement for those who are different.

So, this is where touch comes in!! It can be done in the morning before school (although in let households it’s total bedlam at the time!) but more especially at night. It will also reduce and ease anxiety and stress, fear and overwhelm, and can be woven into stories and songs nursery rhymes. It could even be made up to do as homework to describe a historical event or a creative writing piece!

You can also just write words on paper or coloured lolly sticks which are so cheap and put them in a massage lucky dip box where each “player” takes out a world and you take turns to draw that word on the other person’s back until they guess the word.

You could even choose a few lolly sticks each and make a story, however random, funny, or crazy! Then do the story as a massage.

It’s all about having fun with it, playing with it, and engaging your child. Without even realising it, all this utterly fantastic neuroscience is then having a ball! And your child will feel super grounded and hopefully have a wonderful night’s sleep and you’ll love me forever!!

Take care everyone.

See you next week.

Giuliana xx

https://www.therapiesforspecialneeds.co.uk/

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Anna’s guest at Women’s Radio was Dr Ian C E Hale

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Annas guest at Women’s Radio was Dr Ian C E Hale ​
‘All things Autism” will be aired at 1pm and 1am every day this week.  Please see www.womensradiostation.com

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Dr Ian C E Hale shared:

To be clear …. it’s important to put my book and other work into context by knowing a little of their origins. I’m an Autistic person. It’s an indivisible part of who I am as an individual; it informs, goads and limits every thought and act of my life-but I refuse to let it define me. I’m a sportsman, poet, photographer, medical scientist and more-but first and foremost, a human being, with the same fears, hopes, weaknesses and feelings as everyone else.

I’m Asperger’s Syndrome, with mild Autism, Dyslexia and moderate Dyscalculia. To the best of my knowledge these traits have been passed down through previous generations of the family on my father’s side since the 18th Century. I have found written records: correspondence, diaries, and poetry from family archives of many forebears, their friends and colleagues.

I’m from the historic City of Bristol, England, a member of British Mensa, the World Academy of Medical Science, The Athenian Society and a graduate of Portsmouth, Bristol and Bath Spa Universities. My professional background is in Further and Higher education, SEND and genetics. I have four cats, Tisha, George, Pearl and Thor.

Being an author and private consultant https://policy.onuniverse.com/ in neurodiversity is one thing, but by being one I bring a unique dimension to its understanding and implications, which is one of the main reasons for writing the book-only someone who lives it truly knows what it’s like. This isn’t only academic theory or clinical observation- this is how it lives, good and bad.

I believe that WE are the best judges of what we need and should be involved at every level in all decisions made about us. The book is a definite aid to informing and empowering that goal. Because of that family experience, autism was always a part of everyday life for me. That understanding, combine with my experience, gives my work a unique perspective.

Autism is for life, including senior care, a fact seldom considered by social agencies. No-one “grows out” of Autism; it’s not “a phase”. The vulnerable child grows into a vulnerable adult at all stages of life. That’s the reason why parents and carers worry so much about the future of their children and are often accused of being “fussy” or “over-protective”.

The harsh truth is they are always thinking; “what will happen to MY child when we have passed or are no longer able to protect and speak for him/her”? That’s my goal-to be the voice for those who have none.

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Useful links and references

Asperger’s, Autism & You Paperback

A Peace Collaboration: The Matchsellers An Animated Poem About A Homeless Vet

Golden Girl by Dr Ian Hale – Produce by Xperimental Productions

Corona the Answer – eBook

LinkedIn profile

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