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.
Dr Nicola Davies is a health psychologist, counsellor, and writer specialising in raising awareness about health, wellbeing and weight loss. She is a member of the British Psychological Society and the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy. Nicola also keeps a health psychology blog and runs an online forum for counsellors. She is the author of I Can Beat Obesity! and I Can Beat Anorexia! and the co-author of the Eating Disorder Recovery Handbook.
While generally regarded as two separate, very different issues, anorexia and obesity actually share many similarities – not only in terms of risk factors, but also psychological, behavioural, cognitive, genetic, and neuropsychological similarities.
When writing the text for What are you staring at?, a graphic novel about restorative justice in a school setting, I couldn’t resist taking a side-swipe at the antiquated system of school detentions, as a repost to the endlessly repeated rhetoric calling for ‘discipline’ to be brought back into the nation’s schools. By pointing out that more often than not, slapping a detention on a young person for wrong-doing is actively counterproductive, I hope to illustrate how ineffective a punitive system is for resolving behavioural issues or engendering self-discipline within a school community. In one of Joseph Wilkins’ most evocative images, our protagonist, Jake, is seen sitting alone in a large classroom. He is serving a detention for punching Ryan, a pupil in the year below, and we see him simmering with anger and resentment at the injustice of it all. At this point in the book, no one has taken the trouble to tease out the story behind his violent behaviour, and because the punishment hurts (as it is designed to) he is minded to take revenge on the very person he harmed in the first place – namely the innocent Ryan – for being the ongoing cause of his pain. Precious little scope there for reflection, understanding, resolution or healing. Continue reading
Betsy de Thierry, author of The Simple Guide to Child Trauma, discusses the pressures on children and young people and how societal influences are causing an increase in anxiety and depression.
Some recent data has become available which gives evidence to our experience in the services we are running in the UK.
• 235,000 young people in England were in contact with NHS mental health services at the end of June 2016
• Almost a quarter of a million children and young people are receiving help from NHS mental health services for problems such as anxiety, depression and eating disorders
• 235,189 people aged 18 and under get specialist care, according to data covering 60% of mental health trusts in England (11,849 boys and girls aged five and under among those getting help)
(The Guardian. 3rd October 2016)
• NHS study finds:
o 12.6% of women aged 16-24 screen positive for PTSD
o 19.7% self-harm
o 28.2% have mental health condition
o Between 1993 and 2014 there was a 35% rise in adults reporting severe symptoms of common mental disorders.
(The Guardian. 26th October 2016)
Children have never been so stressed and lacking in healthy relational experience. The irony is that parents are hugely stressed too, often with the need to earn enough money to buy their children what they think they need to stop them being bullied (the right brands or electronics). How ironic and sad.
Diana Hudson, author of Specific Learning Difficulties – What Teachers Need to Know, looks at the common challenges that children with ADHD may present in the classroom, and suggests ways that teachers can help them to stay focused and get the most out of their lessons.
Sensitive teachers can make a huge difference to the happiness, confidence and academic success of children who have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Continue reading
In this extract from The Secrets of Successful Adoptive Parenting, Sophie Ashton discusses how it is perfectly normal to feel emotionally overwhelmed soon after your child moves in, how the process of successfully integrating them into your family does not simply happen overnight, but that in the long term adopting can be a wholly rewarding experience that brings joy, hope and fulfillment. An honest and reassuring account of what it can really be like to be an adoptive parent, The Secrets of Successful Adoptive Parenting is a practical hands-on guide that will help you prepare for the highs and lows of being an adoptive parent. It discusses preparing for the journey ahead, parenting with empathy, facilitating your child’s attachment, helping your child feel listened to, and providing structure and consistency in order to successfully integrate your child into your family life.
>>Click here to download the extract<<
In this article Sophie Ashton, author of The Secrets of Successful Adoptive Parenting, talks reassuringly about the emotional challenges of adopting a child.
It is quite common for adopters to feel emotionally overwhelmed soon after their child moves in
In the early weeks post-placement many adopters feel a mix of emotions in response to their child. For some adoptive parents the challenging and negative emotions seem more prevalent than the positive ones, and can on occasion lead to them starting to question their reasons for wanting to adopt. Sometimes these challenging emotions can put the adoption placement at risk of breaking down. I know this – because it almost happened to us.
After four years in the adoption process we were very ready for the arrival of our daughter. Although emotionally exhausting, the eight-day introduction period went well. We warmed to her – she warmed to us; she and our birth son seemed to get on well. We were all beyond excited when she moved in – we adored her. Happy days! Our dream of a perfect family was coming true!
Our honeymoon period didn’t last long
Unbeknown to us, however, just the other side of a brief two-day honeymoon period were some pretty challenging and debilitating emotions lying in wait for us to experience in full. These emotions turned our excitement into panic, our hope into despair and our happiness into gloom. We felt heavy and weighed down by the mixed emotions we felt in response to the placement of this little girl in to our family.