Ten Tips From Temple Grandin To Help Parents Of Children And Adults With Autism


(PCM) As the mother of a ten-year-old son with autism, I confess that I am overprotective. I definitely have the tendency to be too overly helpful, and look the other way when my son doesn’t always deliver, in an effort to always make his life journey just a little easier. But in fact, I am not preparing him to grow up and lead an independent and productive life.

On a recent autumn day Temple Grandin told me, if we don’t give our loved ones “a gentle and loving push” they will not reach their potential. She also asked me to spread the word to other caregivers of those children and adults with autism and other special needs. This advice is helpful for children with autism, but it is really sound practice for all children – those with autism, as well as typical children.

In my hour-by-hour and day-by-day effort to keep my son’s frustration level low and maintain a smile on his adorable face, I sometimes choose to help him, fix his problems, give into his demands and let him coast when it comes to homework, household chores or other responsibilities.

But after spending a recent life-altering day at a suburban Baltimore conference sponsored by Future Horizons featuring Grandin, I am re-thinking my plan.

I have heard some of this advice from therapists, friends and my loving mother, but when Grandin,the world renowned autism advocate, educator and author, tells you perhaps youlisten a little more closely.

Grandin’s fear is that those children and teens we protect now will end up in their bedrooms and basements playing video games or with other electronics and never live up to their full potential, what ever that may be.

When asked how we as parents get over the tendency to coddle our children with special needs Grandin replied, “We’re going to have to get over it, or the kids not going to go anywhere in their lives.”


She urges parents to“let go” a little at a time, and let their children both succeed and fail, and continue to “stretch” these children and adults so that they may thrive. This stretching, loving push and future job skills and training, will allow our children to have more independence, self-esteem, confidence, and a better quality of life.

Many of these tips and suggestions are detailed in “The Loving Push: How Parents and Professionals Can Help Spectrum Kids Become Successful Adults,” (Future Horizons), an important guide written by Grandin and Debra Moore.

In her book, “The Loving Push,” Grandin includes eight family stories, plus chapters about how to get your loved one on the autism spectrum off the computer (iPad, TV, video games, DVD player or other electronics) and back to caring about their lives.It also has advice on building each of our child’s strengths, regardless of his or her ability level, and gets them on the path for a successful and meaningful life.

10 Tips I learned from Autism Advocate Temple Grandin:

  1. Wean children, teens and adults with autism off the video games and other electronics, down to one hour per day.
  2. Replace the time spent on electronics with home and community activities. Figure out what your loved one with special needs enjoys and follow those interests: music or art lessons, therapeutic horse back riding, cooking, fitness programs, swimming, church or synagogue programs etc. Heading outside for a walk or a bike ride – just getting out and exploring the world around them.
  3. Find “volunteer work or paid employment” for those individuals with autism. In the 1950s there were newspaper routes, so find the replacement. Require that your son or daughter help with dishes, laundry, getting ready for school, dog walking, yard work, and any other tasks or chores. The goal: to take responsibility and learn a genuine work ethic starting at a young age.
  4. Take your child shopping for a small item – a pen or a loaf of bread. Teach them how to interact with the store clerk and how to make change. Keep practicing these skills until they are mastered.
  5. Try new things. My son says no the first time I mention nearly everything, which makes it impossible for him to try anything new. But after months of suggesting drawing, painting and other crafts, he finally said yes. He now asks me to sit at the kitchen table and draw. I have proudly put his art work of trains, trucks and dinosaurs all over my kitchen. The bonus: during the time spent on drawing he is interacting with me or a friend and he is away from his iPad.
  6. Try involving your child in a community based activity like Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts, 4H or other programs that will encourage social skills and keep him engaged. Find a troop or program that is known for its kindness to special needs and keep looking until you find one. One local karate program asked me and my son to leave after two lessons saying we weren’t the best fit; the second program we went to embraced us with open arms.
  7. Play board games to help your child with turn taking and other social skills. Some of the old favorites take time and will keep your child engaged. This is also a good way to help the child learn patience.
  8. Help them discover their passion – that early interest that could help him or her with a future job or career. Once you find that passion, nurture it. Who cares if your house is filled with rocks, modeling clay, dinosaurs or science books. It doesn’t matter if it is music, animals, art, or computers – it very well could lead to a future skill, and with the right job training and encouragement ensure your teen or adult has a bright and employed future.
  9. Use positive reinforcement – it leads to positive results. Give your child choices instead of constantly barking: “No,” “Don’t do that,” or “Stop.” Pick two preferred activities and say, “Do you want to draw today or go to the park?”
  10. Stretch the child or adult with autism and other special needs a little more each time and pull back the protective parental instincts a little more. It will be healthier for both of you, and lead to positive results for the entire family.

For more information about Temple Grandin and “The Loving Push,” please go to: www.FHAutism.com or call: 1-800-489-0727.

To follow Debra andAdam’s adventures with dinosaurs and more go to Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/1wallacemediaservices/

For Suburban Philadelphia programs, events and life skills opportunities go to the Autism Cares Foundation, www.autismcaresfoundation.org. Or call 215-942-2273.

The post Ten Tips From Temple Grandin To Help Parents Of Children And Adults With Autism also appeared on PCM Lifestyle.

Study Reveals That ‘Netflix and Chill’ May Actually Help Strengthen Relationships


(PCM) We have some fantastic news for couples out there who enjoy nothing more than putting plans to the side and snuggling on the sofa to binge watch Netflix and “chill” all weekend!  A new study that was  published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships has revealed that couples who spend time together binge watching various TV shows and mores are actually strengthening their relationships in the process.

The study found that couples who bond together over TV shows, movies or reading books begin to feel more intimate with one another and their relationship gains a new level of confidence and of course what couple wouldn’t benefit from a bit of extra cuddle time with one another as well! The lead author on the study Sarah Gomillion, PhD, went on to explain that it has been known for quite some time that couples who have mutual friends create a stronger bond, however this new study further reveals that perhaps fictional characters in a TV show, book or movie can act in just the same way.  Any die-hard fan of those particular mediums can attest to just how attached we find ourselves to certain characters and we then of course share that emotional attachment with our partners.

Binge-watching Netflix used to be associated with being lonely or depressed, but now research has found that it has some important social benefits, as it is far less isolating than it used to be, unless of course the two of you can’t decide what to watch. That then becomes a new issue all its’ own!

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Study Reveals 1 in 4 Young Women Have Mental Health Issues And Social Media Is To Blame


(PCM) An eye-opening new study has revealed that 1 in 4 young women are currently suffering from various mental health problems and they are placing the blame on an obsession with social media. Young women who are between the ages of 16 and 24 are at the highest risk for mental health issues, as the report from the UK’s National Health Service (NHS), found that 26% of participants in the study that fall into that particular age range suffer from some form of anxiety or depression.

The research showed that the young women were highly affected by the imagery found on their various social media accounts and the overall fact that we are in a “selfie” obsessed culture. There is more pressure on young women (and men as well) to be looking their very best at all times and there is a constant comparison going on between their own lives and the lives of others that they see played out on social media each and every day. This can also lead to serious issues regarding body image, self-worth, cyber-bullying and more.

The NHS last did a similar study back in 2007, when social media was still on the rise, but a rather new concept. At that time we were certainly not as obsessed with it as we are today and the number of young women suffering from mental health issues was only at 21%, so it is definitely on the rise. The age range of young women between the ages of 16 and 24 currently are of special concern to mental health researchers, as they are the first generation to grow up completely immersed in social media, whereas individuals who are a bit older can remember a time when we were not so dependent or concerns with these types of things.

So, please be sure to keep in mind that a lot of what is seen on social media is an altered version of reality and majority of the time the type of “perfection” that is seen via social media does not even truly exist. Take some time and unplug for a bit as it is a bit scary that our obsession with social media is actually beginning to make us physically sick.


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Has Science Finally Revealed A Way To Get Rid Of Garlic Breath?


(PCM) Guess what? It may be easier than you think!  At some point in our lives, especially those of us who love garlic, have had to deal with the dreaded stench of “garlic breath” after we have scarfed down a delicious meal. While garlic may taste fantastic when it is being consumed the after effects are often less than desirable. While many turn to items such a gum or mints to hide the effects of “garlic breath”, science has now shown us that other household items can get rid of “garlic breath” once and for all.

Research has now shown chewing on some raw lettuce or eating a few apple slices will significantly reduce the smell of garlic on an individuals breath! See it really is that simple! The study was published in the Journal of Food Science and says “raw lettuce and raw apples reduce the concentration of “aroma volatiles” in your breath by up to 50% within 30 minutes. Cooked apple, apple juice, and cooked or heated lettuce may also be effective as well, but further research would be needed.

So the next time you run out of gum or breath mints when out on a hot date, just reach for that handy head of lettuce or take a trip to the apple orchard and all will be okay!

The post Has Science Finally Revealed A Way To Get Rid Of Garlic Breath? also appeared on PCM Lifestyle.

Teacher’s List Of 101 Ways To Cope With Stress Goes Viral!

(PCM) We all deal with various levels of stress on a day to day basis, so of course we are always open to discovering new ways to both manage and cope with stress as it happens in our lives. One psychology teacher by the name of Mr. Phillips has created a list of 101 Ways to cope with stress that has now gone viral after it was tweeted out by one of his students.

stress-list1 stress-list2

It is truly a fantastic list that takes the time to remind us to appreciate the small things in life and make slight changes to our routine to reduce the amount of stress we deal with each day and help us become more well-rounded and balanced individuals. Time to go print this list and stick it on our walls right now!  Great job Mr. Phillips!

The full list can be found below:

1. Get up 15 minutes earlier
2. Prepare for the morning the night before
3. Avoid tight fitting clothes
4. Avoid relying on chemical aids
5. Set appointments ahead
6. Don’t rely on your memory … write it down
7. Practice preventive maintenance
8. Make duplicate keys
9. Say “no” more often
10. Set priorities in your life
11. Avoid negative people
12. Use time wisely
13. Simplify meal times
14. Always make copies of important papers
15. Anticipate your needs
16. Repair anything that doesn’t work properly
17. Ask for help with the jobs you dislike
18. Break large tasks into bite size portions
19. Look at problems as challenges
20. Look at challenges differently
21. Unclutter your life
22. Smile
23. Be prepared for rain
24. Tickle a baby
25. Pet a friendly dog/cat
26. Don’t know all the answers
27. Look for a silver lining
28. Say something nice to someone
29. Teach a kid to fly a kite
30. Walk in the rain
31. Schedule play time into every day
32. Take a bubble bath
33. Be aware of the decisions you make
34. Believe in yourself
35. Stop saying negative things to yourself
36. Visualize yourself winning
37. Develop your sense of humor
38. Stop thinking tomorrow will be a better today
39. Have goals for yourself
40. Dance a jig
41. Say “hello” to a stranger
42. Ask a friend for a hug
43. Look up at the stars
44. Practice breathing slowly
45. Learn to whistle a tune
46. Read a poem
47. Listen to a symphony
48. Watch a ballet
49. Read a story curled up in bed
50. Do a brand new thing
51. Stop a bad habit
52. Buy yourself a flower
53. Take time to smell the flowers
54. Find support from others
55. Ask someone to be your “vent-partner”
56. Do it today
57. Work at being cheerful and optimistic
58. Put safety first
59. Do everything in moderation
60. Pay attention to your appearance
61. Strive for Excellence NOT perfection
62. Stretch your limits a little each day
63. Look at a work of art
64. Hum a jingle
65. Maintain your weight
66. Plant a tree
67. Feed the birds
68. Practice grace under pressure
69. Stand up and stretch
70. Always have a plan “B”
71. Learn a new doodle
72. Memorize a joke
73. Be responsible for your feelings
74. Learn to meet your own needs
75. Become a better listener
76. Know your limitations and let others know them, too
77. Tell someone to have a good day in pig Latin
78. Throw a paper airplane
79. Exercise every day
80. Learn the words to a new song
81. Get to work early
82. Clean out one closet
83. Play patty cake with a toddler
84. Go on a picnic
85. Take a different route to work
86. Leave work early (with permission)
87. Put air freshener in your car
88. Watch a movie and eat popcorn
89. Write a note to a far away friend
90. Go to a ball game and scream
91. Cook a meal and eat it by candlelight
92. Recognize the importance of unconditional love
93. Remember that stress is an attitude
94. Keep a journal
95. Practice a monster smile
96. Remember you always have options
97. Have a support network of people, places and things
98. Quit trying to fix other people
99. Get enough sleep
100. Talk less and listen more
101. Freely praise other people

BONUS: Relax, take each day at a time…you have the rest of your life to live

The post Teacher’s List Of 101 Ways To Cope With Stress Goes Viral! also appeared on PCM Lifestyle.

Nina Sidell’s ‘Parenting for Life’ – A Revolutionary New Paradigm for Families

131337-473954-3_320x400(PCM) Many parenting books that are filled with advice for parents with children of all ages seem like a tug-of-war; but now there is a book with an honest, empowering, and extremely positive and helpful approach to parenting

Author Nina Sidell, M.A. has written “Parenting for Life,” an exciting new parenting book focused on strengthening your relationship with your child — starting from the baby and toddler stages, through the teen years, and continuing until they are mature adults. A true visionary, she has found a way for adults to look back to discover and heal the way they were parented.

“Parenting for Life,” received the internationally prestigious “Mom’s Choice Award,” which honors excellence in family-friendly media, products and services, and the cutting-edge and thought-provoking book has also been endorsed by Deepak Chopra, MD, who said: “If you are interested in conscious parenting, this book is an excellent guide.”

Sidell explains in her powerful 288-page book, that other typical parenting books most often explore what is wrong with a child, where the child gets stuck, or how to remedy behavior problems.

Although these books are well meaning, Sidell says that they leave out “the essential opportunities for mutual learning and growth present within the parent-child relationship, and what the parent brings to the table.”

Many parenting books are filled with advice for parents with children of all ages yet miss the importance of the parent-child relationship across a lifetime. Now there is a book with a positive and revolutionary approach that holds parents accountable and propels healthy family relating; ideal for the times we are living in today.

There are many personalized aspects and developmental stages to deal with when raising and relating to children and young adults. “We now have a parenting manual that is designed to help parents, children, and families navigate their lifetime relationship better.”

“Parenting for Life,” Sidell explains, “Is a guide book for parents who are contemplating, expecting, raising, or relating to their children. The manual is designed to educate, encourage, and inspire individual and coupled parents.” Sidell’s award-winning new book, “Parenting for Life,” provides vital tools to help you connect with your growing and grown kids in new and powerful ways.

Sidell is a skilled, highly intuitive therapist in private practice. She has a B.A. in psychology, and her Master’s Degree in Expressive Arts Therapy. She works as a therapist and life coach with children, families, teens, women and couples; as well as writes, lectures and facilitates workshops on parenting, relationships and personal development. The mother of two sons, who resides in Suburban Philadelphia, has also written numerous articles for newspapers and magazines.

There are three sections in the book and her hands-on approach provides “homework assignments” at the end of each chapter for parents to follow.

One major piece of advice from Sidell is that “the best approach is to “view and enjoy our children for who they are from the get-go,” she explains in her book. “Our expectations are best managed when we look at ourselves, our histories, our attitudes, and our children as they are. It is most effective to be unconditionally loving, respectful, realistic, and supportive of your child in each moment.”

Sidell, who has worked as a therapist with children, couples and families for more than 25 years, goes to explain that “we must value children’s feelings, opinions, wishes, and limits as the lifetime relationship grows.”

Sidell said that families are no longer the picture of the popular ’50s TV show “Father Knows Best.” She explains while the meaning of family has remained relatively the same; the configuration and needs of today’s family has changed in modern times.

Her book on formulating successful lifetime parenting also encourages readers to create a Parenting Journal to work on each of the 20 homework assignments in the chapters of the book. “By applying the principles and practices of the book, you can personalize your own inspirational parenting journey.”

mca_book_coverHere is a close-up look at Nina Sidell’s vital lessons from “Parenting for Life.”

Q: Please tell me about your book.

NINA SIDELL: “Parenting for Life,” Creates a new niche’ and paradigm in parenting. The sub-title for Parenting for Life is “Consciously Creating Your Lifetime Relationship with Your Child.” This book helps readers connect with their children at all stages in their lifetime relationship. It holds parents accountable, discusses the importance of mutual love, respect, and empathy as well as healthy roles and limits. There is homework at the end of each chapter to support the parent on their journey. Practical and powerful, “Parenting for Life,” offers parents of all ages tools to strengthen and heal relationships with their children.

Q: Overall, how do you see your book, “Parenting for Life?”

NS: I feel that my book is a socially relevant and revolutionary guidebook for individuals and couples, both before and after they become parents. This new approach heals lives. It can also help heal adult children who need to better understand and forgive their parents.

Q: What is important to understand about your approach to parenting?

NS: We must tune into where our expectations as parents come from. With this orientation, we can better accept and allow for our children’s individual process. Development cannot be rushed; nor can individuality. Your responsibility is to try to understand what your child is both saying and showing to you, all the days of your lives.

Q: How important is being a role model for our children?

NS: Being the best role model possible is always the goal, since children follow their parent’s lead. I advise parents with children of all ages that the consistent messages they send and model to their children will take hold in some way. A parent models strength and vulnerability as the family leader and how to navigate their inner and outer worlds.

Q: What do you feel is a good path for a healthy parent-child relationship?

NS: It is helpful when a parent identifies their parental feelings and goals around being a parent and welcomes the development of this lifetime relationship. See and love your children as individuals with unique gifts and needs to be valued, cherished, and encouraged. Keep your child safe and grow alongside him or her as you both evolve. Beyond trying to be a friend to your child, a parent’s job is to be the team leader, primarily to be a protector, guide, safe role model, and consistently loving and responsive caregiver to your child. The process of learning and relating lasts a lifetime between parent and child. The relationship starts from the beginning of your time together until the end of your time together. Keep your mind and heart open every step of the way as you both learn and grow.

Q: Why did you write your book?

NS: After a near-death experience I realized that I wanted to expand my work as a practicing psychotherapist to reach more people. I found that the practices and tools that were effective for me as a mother and clinician working with families, couples, and children provided a powerful and practical set of tools — valuable information to share with the world. “Parenting for Life” creates a new parenting paradigm that heals lives.

Q: Please tell me more.

NS: Well, as parents we often learn while in the throes of the parenting experience. We hope to do the best for our children, with the love, skills and knowledge we have at the time. Sometimes parents behave as their parents did, which may or may not have worked then or be effective now. Children need the best start in life that they can have while parents need to take responsibility for their parenting style, history, and role in co-creating this unique lifetime relationship.

Q: Do you have advice for parents just starting out?

NS: I feel that the best approach is to view and enjoy your children for who they are from the get-go. Your feelings and expectations are best managed when you look at yourself and your attitudes about your children. Managing your time and self-care are very important to fortify your energy as life with a child unfolds. Educate yourself and seek support when need be as you learn about your child and how to best parent them.

Q: What does ‘effective conscious parenting’ mean?

NS: Effective conscious parenting is described when a parent is self-aware of their intentions, feelings, attitudes, words and actions toward their child, applying this awareness for the benefit of the child and the relationship. It is utilizing tools and practices that offer growth-focused parenting.

Q: What are some primary roles of an effective parent?

NS: An effective parent’s job is to provide the physical, emotional, intellectual, social, and spiritual anchor that stabilizes your child’s sense of safety and security, and the wings that give him or her freedom to explore the environment and his or her identity. Another key, aside from keeping children feeling loved and safe, is supporting individuality. This includes accepting and supporting a child’s individual personality, gifts, self-expression, and needs.

Q: What else would you like to say about this?

NS: No two children are alike and each one must be treated as uniquely special. For every family there is typically some dysfunction and up’s and down’s. A parent who can be heart-centered ensures the importance of unconditional love and respect. Inviting appropriate, open dialogue, creating healthy routines and boundaries, and learning experiences are key. An open learning environment, such as welcoming “insight moments” and “lifetime insights” are practices that help the family focus on growth as opposed to challenges- which builds life skills for all.

Q: What is another key to keep in mind?

NS: A home that is filled with love fills up the giver and the receiver… one major key to successful parenting is that love and respect go together, and that they are valued as mutual practices between parent and child. Knowing home is a safe harbor provides shelter from the storms of life, reassuring your child that he or she is not alone. Living in a home that is treated like a sacred place is the best way to start the day and the most reassuring way to end the night.

For further information about Author, Speaker, Life Coach and Therapist Nina Sidell, M.A. and “Parenting for Life,” please go to: www.LiveInspiredwithNina.com. The book is available from Amazon, Create Space, Kindle, and Barnes & Noble.

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