All About Me is an in-depth guide describing the practicalities of telling a child or young person about their autism diagnosis. It discusses when to tell, who should do it, and what they need to know beforehand. In this blog, author Andrew Miller explains his reasons for creating the book, and who can benefit from it.
What motivated you to write All About Me?
Telling children and young people that they have autism and trying to explain what it means to them is difficult. The abstract nature of autism, its associated differences in cognition and its lifelong implications make it hard for children to understand, and finding out that they have autism could potentially cause some individuals emotional and psychological upset. Therefore, in some cases it could create more problems for an individual than it might intend to solve.
Things Jon Didn’t Know About: Our Life After My Husband’s Suicide is an honest and moving account of the day-to-day practicalities of raising a family as a single parent survivor of suicide with advice on how to talk to children about death and how to support them as they grow up. Author Sue Henderson draws on her experience as a social worker to discusses theories of grief and men’s mental health. Here are her ‘top tips for keeping it together’, taken from chapter 2, ‘A Crash Course in Widowed Single Parenting’: Continue reading
Moving into residential care is not an easy decision. Some people won’t even consider the idea, whereas others might just accept it as an inevitable step. In this blog post, Colleen Doyle, co-author with Gail Roberts of Moving into Residential Care: A Practical Guide for Older People and Their Families, shares her personal experience and gives some advice on what to do when a loved one might be moving into a care home.
“No care home is perfect, so people need to work out what is most important to the individual and focus on how to achieve that”
Moving into residential aged care is a step that is dreaded by many older people. My parents were born in the 1920s and were part of the generation that valued stoicism as an approach to many of the challenges that life brought. Before I was born, my parents spent many years living in remote Australia while my father worked along the railway line that snaked its way through the central deserts of Australia. My mother coped with caring for my two older siblings while living in the desert. My father was by necessity a great inventor whose creative solutions enabled them to live independently when support services were non-existent. When he came to the end of his life he, like many people, let it be known that under no circumstances whatsoever would he consider moving into a nursing home. For someone who had spent most of his life in control and fending for his family, the thought of being at the mercy of health services was too much to bear. In fact he faced his terminal cancer at home, being cared for by a wonderful palliative care team, and spent his last week of life in a palliative care unit of the local country hospital. When my mother was faced with the same challenges at the end of her life ten years later, she acknowledged that care at home was not an option and asked her children to ‘find me a good home’, a task that was very daunting even for those of us who had worked in aged care for a long time.
Both circumstances are commonly faced by families and older people who have all to work out what is the best solution for providing good quality of life, when people’s health may also be deteriorating and services may not match what an individual wants. Families need help to choose the right services for their older relative in a time when there seems to be very little that will satisfy all the needs of the individual. Sometimes if the older person is having to move unexpectedly, the rush in decision making can make the situation even more stressful. Very often the emotional response to residential care is very negative. In our book we emphasise that allowing the older person themselves to have control and lead decision making as much as possible will assist them to adjust to the move. We have found that there is information available, including for example checklists to help with choosing residential care. However the checklists are generic, and what needs to be considered are the main priorities of the individual – not only what their health care needs are but what gives them purpose or meaning in their life. No care home is perfect, so people need to work out what is most important to the individual and focus on how to achieve that. The coping styles of individuals will contribute to how long it takes to adjust to their changed circumstances. One of my mother’s favorite responses to her own chronic pain was ‘it will pass’. Being able to let go, and focusing on the positives in the moment can help older adults to get through difficult days. Older people have a lifetime of experience, diverse backgrounds and varied family supports, all of which will impact on how they approach moving into residential care.
We hope that this book will provide valuable advice to help older people and their families and friends who are considering a move to residential care. Our book brings together the latest research on what helps and what does not help during a move to residential care, advises where to find some of the latest resources that are available on the internet, and describes some stories from people who recently experienced the move. Everyone has different life experiences and circumstances, but we share the common goal of having the best quality of life possible, no matter where we live.
Colleen Doyle is Professor of Aged Care at Australian Catholic University and Honorary Research Fellow at the National Ageing Research Institute. She is the co-author with Gail Roberts of Moving Into Residential Care: A Practical Guide for Older People and Their Families, Jessica Kingsley Publishers, December 2017
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Joy Rees discusses the importance of life work in helping children to understand their personal stories and experiences, but says that too many children’s services lack enough time to carry out this vital work. Her article has been adapted from her new book, Life Work with Children Who are Fostered or Adopted, which emphasises that life work is best achieved using a collaborative approach.
As a social work practitioner, manager and trainer, I have worked directly and indirectly with children in care throughout my career. Most of these children were living with, or about to move to, permanent substitute families. Many were placed years prior to my involvement, and it was with the benefit of hindsight that I began to reflect on the purpose of life work and the effect that this had on the children I met. Continue reading
Companies are becoming more aware of the need to include non-binary people in the workplace, to attract a diverse workforce and create an inclusive environment and brand. This new book from J Fernandez and Sarah Gibson, both of whom identify as non-binary, provides an ideal introduction to including non-binary workers in your business, and presents practical solutions to basic workplace issues this group faces. We spoke to the authors on the launch of their new book.
To start us off, when did the idea for Gender Diversity and Non-Binary Inclusion in the Workplace originate?
We’ve both been working in equality and diversity for some time and we see employers coming to us and asking for help and advice because they simply haven’t been equipped to deal with non-binary inclusion yet. The business case for inclusion has been growing over the years and when we were approached by JKP we saw it as an excellent opportunity to engage with employers in a new fashion. Now is a great time for businesses to get up to speed on the issues and put themselves ahead of the curve.
We know that there isn’t much research about non-binary people’s experiences at work or many comprehensive guides on the topic, and we wanted to put something accessible together to help those without much experience grasp this. There are guides to help employers understand trans issues more widely, but in most cases, the specific problems faced by non-binary people simply haven’t been addressed in any depth.
We thought the book was a great idea, so decided to go ahead with a long process of research into different areas, helped by Jos Twist and with input from GI and the Scottish Trans Alliance. The areas we looked at ranged from how non-binary people are affected by dress codes, to what barriers non-binary people face during job seeking, to experiences of hate crime at work.
When does a crowd of people become a mob? And what makes them act dangerously?
In this extract from The Interbrain, Digby Tantam examines the psychology of crowds, explaining why people are drawn to crowd-participation, why crowds become mobs and what makes them behave in the ways they do.
For more information on The Interbrain, or to buy a copy of the book, click here.
10.00 – 17.00, Monday 12th February, 2018
Farrer & Co., 66 Lincoln’s Inn Fields, London WC2A 3LH
Following the revelations of sexual offending by Jimmy Savile in some of the leading organisations and institutions in the UK, some 75 detailed reviews of practice, process and procedure, both at the time of Savile’s abuse and currently, have been undertaken in settings where he was known or believed to have offended. Those reports and the learning from them that give an unprecedented opportunity to understand how organisations and their processes work in practice to safeguard their staff and users form the starting point of this book.
Chapters contributed by experts in their field consider the range of important issues which the Savile inquiries identify and crucially the implications for practice in a range of settings for the future.
This day conference provides the opportunity to hear directly from a number of those experts and delegates will also receive a copy of the book.
Speakers: Steve Reeves; Marcus Erooga; Anne-Marie McAllinden; Jane Wonnacott; Jon Brown; Peter Spindler; Jane Foster
£115 – including lunch, closing drinks & a copy of the book
Enquiries & bookings to Kirsten.Hendry@farrer.co.uk
Embarassment is a highly contagious emotion and easily shared between people. In this extract from The Interbrain, author Digby Tantam explores how the interbrain connection can explain why we so often cringe when other people display embarrassing or shameful behaviour.
For more information on The Interbrain, or to buy a copy of the book, click here.
Richy K. Chandler author of You Make Your Parents Super Happy! and When Are You Going to Get a Proper Job? talks through the challenges that come with creating diverse characters in stories, and why it is so important to do.
When I was working on You Make Your Parents Super Happy! (my recent picture book for children whose parents have separated but still both want to be part of their child’s life), I was conscious of keeping the gender and race of all characters ambiguous. While the book deals with a very specific situation, I hope that the universality of the characters’ appearance means that as many children and families as possible can see themselves as the beings found within the pages. This could be two dads, a mum and a dad, two mums and a multitude of relationships also representing the full range of cultures and ethnic back grounds that exist.Similarly, with Lucy the Octopus, my webcomic that looks at the effects of bullying and bigotry (hopefully in a humorous and super cute way), I wanted to make the lead character as universally relatable as possible. The strip touches on racism, homophobia and not fitting into gender stereotypes but it’s never made clear exactly why Lucy, the heroine, is so unliked. Lots of readers have told me that they see part of themselves in Lucy, and not always for the same reasons. I’m usually both happy that the character is relatable and saddened for the readers to have gone through similar horrible experiences.
As a writer who has no desire to create comics starring myself (hats off to those brave enough to make candid, graphic autobiographies), there are other good reasons for making characters more universal. With Lucy the Octopus, I wanted to talk about experiences of feeling picked on and ostracised in my own school years, but I’d rather avoid the spotlight being on myself. Making Lucy a girl and an octopus certainly did that job and frees me up to wildly exaggerate my own experiences within her fantastical world. For example, my own family were not terrible to me like Lucy’s are (except that year I got Scrabble for my birthday instead of the Crossbows and Catapults game I’d wished for, but I’m a survivor and made it through that bleak day). Continue reading
Winston Wallaby Can’t Stop Bouncing is a fun, illustrated storybook that will help children aged 5-10 with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) and/ or Autism Spectrum Conditions (ASC/ASD) to recognise their sensory needs and to develop tools to support them. To learn more about the book, who better to ask than its authors, K.I. Al-Ghani and Joy Beaney? Chatting to them, we learned a lot about hyperactivity in children, what to look out for and what can help. There’s even a downloadable activity sheet for teachers. Read on to find out more.
What motivated you to write Winston Wallaby Can’t Stop Bouncing and who is the book for?
Joy and I have worked together in special education for many years. We noticed that there were not many books available that could explain hyper-activity to children in a story format. We decided to collaborate on this project using Joy’s expertise in Sensory Processing Difficulties, my skills as a story teller and Haitham’s ability to bring it all to life, through his illustrations.
We think the book has something for everyone: It is a story all children can enjoy. A story in which, we hope, children with hyperactivity will be able see themselves in Winston. They will learn that it is not their fault and instead of being the problem, they could learn to be part of the solution. Parents and educators will have tools and strategies they can use that can help the child to manage their hyperactivity and, if successful, perhaps avoid the need for medication.