Help and support for all aspects of family life & more... 

Julie Wales offers a specialist and unique counselling service for all aspects of family, and in particular special needs families. She has a long history of helping clients with a variety of issues, from child disability, stress, low self-esteem, family conflict, caring roles, relationship issues and more. 

Short or long-term counselling available 

Whether you are a parent, carer, teenager, couple or simply an individual who is struggling, Julie can help. 
 
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Special Needs Counselling Service 

Julie has personal experience of dealing with special needs and carer issues, so if living with the effects of ill health or disability has left you feeling isolated, alone or unheard, you will be able to find the support and understanding you need here. Please feel free to get in touch to discuss how Julie may be able to help you. 
 
Asking for help is hard if you feel low, depressed or anxious. You want someone to listen to you, but find it all a bit daunting. 
 
We are all human and need support now and again. Julie Wales has a passion for people... and it shows. Julie's aim is to help you find a positive outcome, no matter what the problem is. 
 
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For more information on the various counselling services offered by Julie, please click below...  

Counselling for Parents, Partners & Carers 
Counselling for Teenagers & Siblings 
Special Needs Counselling 

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Latest Blog 

How to communicate with your Teenager 
Does it often feel like a hurricane has swept through your house and you are reeling from the aftermath of an anger outburst or a major strop?! 
 
I’m a counsellor who helps parents to improve their family life. After all, we are not given a training manual when we become parents! It’s one of the hardest jobs we will do. So, to ease some of the potential stress, here are some tips and ideas on how you can communicate better in a lot of situations involving your teenagers. 
 
Communication Fact: Only 7% of the message we communicate to another person is through the words we use. Our tone of voice accounts for 35% and our body language 58%. 
 
Hence, that’s why we need to model what behaviour we would like to see by offering a calm, caring and non-judgemental approach to our teenagers – at least on the outside! 
Some DO’s to guarantee a better relationship with your teenager: 
 
☺ Do use Active listening skills. Really empathise and hear what your teenager is saying by giving them your full attention. Respond with positive body language, good eye contact, nodding, saying “mmm” or “I see”, let them speak before you offer any input, even if you have silences to allow them to think. 
 
☺ Accept their feelings even when they seem negative and completely out of proportion. They need to feel these feelings before they can self-soothe after feeling angry, frustrated, annoyed or disappointed. 
 
☺ Allow your teenager to come to their own solutions and if they come up with a plan, then talk through the pros and cons and allowing them to try them out. 
 
☺ Follow up the conversation later with a casual, “How did it go?” or use open questions like “How, What, I wonder….want went well, what do you think you could do if that happened next time…what would help… 
 
☺ If arguments are escalating about household chores, take a step back, think about what they need are and what you also need. Tips: Chat as a whole family and make a list of one or two things each that you can all do. Ask what your teenager would like to do, e.g. empty dishwasher. Or if they refuse then try making a list and leave it on the side with their name on and ask them to choose one job from the list whilst you are out at work. Praise them when done. 
 
☺ Use “I” statements: Say “I feel really tired or overwhelmed….and could really use your help with…”. “I would be really grateful for your help when you get a chance to ….” 
 
☺ Use of humour, but only when you are both feeling calm and relaxed… sharing a joke or something you both find funny is an integral part of bringing you closer together. 
Some Don’ts: Guaranteed ways to end a conversation with a teenager: 
 
☹ Don’t try to solve their problems. (“Well, obviously you need to….”) As usually happens if they have fallen out with a friend they could be back to best friends in a couple of days and been able to resolve things for themselves. We need to have these skills to negotiate life and improve our inter-personal skills with people at school and work. 
 
☹ Don’t interrupt them while they are talking to you. Bite that tongue rather than jumping in with your opinions and advice. 
 
☹ Don’t lecture them (“You’re not being very mature about this are you?”). This may only lower their self-esteem at a time when they are going through huge changes, whilst their brains are forming and developing reasoning skills and their bodies are changing physically. 
 
☹ Don’t moralise (“Well, maybe it wouldn’t have happened if you hadn’t ….” I don’t think you should have” …) 
 
☹ Don’t minimise their worries (“Oh it’s not that bad… you’re being a bit over dramatic….) 
 
Before you respond when your son/daughter is telling you something important, think back to when you were a teenager and how you would feel if you’re parent responded in this way. We tend to do parenting different from how we were parented. 
What about your needs as a Parent? 
 
We don’t get a training manual for being a parent and our job is to support our child’s development from a baby until they are an independent adult and leaving home. A crucial part of being a parent throughout this time is maintaining your own self-care and meeting your own emotional and physical needs.  
 
When boarding a plane we are given the safety talk about putting our own oxygen mask on first before helping our child…that is exactly how we need to parent by looking after ourselves and modelling a relaxed and calm and approachable stance whereby your teenager finds it easy to talk to you. 
What do you do for yourself? 
☺ A few ideas: 
Regular exercise, walk, run or gym. 
Being creative, knitting, sewing, drawing and colouring are all mindful and relaxing in a busy family life. 
Connect with people, see friends for a social, cuppa and a chat, volunteer if you have spare time. Helping others always boosts our self-esteem and will help you as a parent. 
Sleep better. If you are struggling with sleep then look at how you can sleep better – warm bath or shower, read before bed, body stretching, or yoga stretches can all help. 
Couple time with your partner can help both of you support one another whilst parenting. 
 
Conclusion 
 
You will really see the benefits in a short time if you look after you and keep a calm and relaxed approach. You are the ‘glue’ that sticks your family together and if you are less stressed your teenager will be too. If you would like some more help with communicating with your teen then please do get in touch (my contact details are below). I’d love to help! 
Parents Summer Survival Guide 
 
I help parents who are caring for children and young people with special needs or disability. 
 
How do you manage the new routine in the summer holidays? 
 
We all like to have an idea of what is going to happen in our day. Children with autism miss most of the language and social/behavioural cues that help the rest of us understand what is happening.  
 
Autistic children can also become anxious, resistant and may misbehave simply because they have no way to anticipate the events that come upon them each day.  
 
Visual schedules quickly inform the child about the day's expectations in the long summer holidays. 
The advantages of using printable visual schedules for home and daily routines for children with autism are: 
helps to utilise the individual’s visual strengths and therefore provides a receptive communication system to increase understanding 
helps the individual to learn new things and broaden their interests 
provides tools that allow the individual to use skills in a variety of settings 
predictability can help the individual remain calm and reduces inappropriate behaviours 
the child can develop independence and resulting self-esteem. 
 
Some children with autism very obviously have difficulty with receptive and expressive language.  
 
It is clear to us that these children need visual supports as a supplement to verbal communication. 
Other autistic children appear to have good or even excellent receptive and expressive language skills.  
 
However, even the apparently capable child with autism can have difficulties understanding language for the following reasons: 
The child may have slow processing time, which interferes with his ability to really "take in" verbal instructions. Much of what is said may be missed. 
Children with autism may often he is dealing with sensory malfunctioning; the sensory system may be either over or under-functioning. Hyperfunctioning systems can make sensations almost unbearable that would otherwise be ordinary and make it almost impossible for the child to attend to what is being said. When a system is hyperfunctioning, a youngster may be preoccupied by a need to create sensation or stimulation (functioning of the sensory system can vary from day to day). 
Children with autism are almost always highly stressed by their lack of understanding of the social milieu in which they must function. The child may be so overwhelmed with attempting to deal with social events and expectations, that he or she may entirely miss language-based input. (Stress can even be brought on by the experience of being physically close to other children.) 
The child is least likely to process verbal information when he or she is upset, worried or angry. 
Children with autism often have poor sleep patterns. Their sleep may be brief or interrupted, and they will therefore often be too tired to be attentive. 
Some Children with autism do not understand the pragmatics of communication. Gestures, vocal intonation, facial expressions, conversational pauses and emphases are lost on these children. 
Summary to Managing Change and Transition Anxiety 
 
Try Special Yoga stretches at home together with your child to aid relaxation for you both. 
Watch TV/Movies wearing your pyjamas together. 
Dance around the house to your favourite Music. 
Camp out in your garden or build an indoor den using blankets, etc. 
Lay down using a weighted blanket. 
Use a special clock or Mobile Phone Timer to countdown end of computer time or task. 
Use a Visual Schedule to display day or week ahead as discussed above 
Talk about what is happening and explain in basic language using your families means of communication, e.g. Pictures, look at places visiting on the computer before you go. 
If holidaying abroad, most UK airports now provide a ‘Sunflower’ lanyard for the child to carry and also have staff who can help offer special assistance to your family if needed. If you are wearing the lanyard, staff should recognise it and understand that you have a hidden disability and that you may need a little extra help or time. 
Allow your child to come up with their own stress solutions. Use of objects, favourite toys, photo’s, Makaton signs, PECS symbols, drawings, taking a set of cards out with the child, etc. 
Match your child’s enjoyment and passion with your activities, e.g. my son loves trees, so he likes to visit Forest areas where he is so relaxed and calm and happy. 
If your child loves computers then use their tablet for enjoyment and learning or as a reward for visiting somewhere they were anxious about. 
 
 
Finally... looking after yourself is so important. Self-Care really boosts our own mental health and self-esteem.  
 
Ask yourself: What can you do for yourself, this summer?  
 
When we take time to care for ourselves, we can: 
1. Lower stress levels 
2. Teach our children to value their health and wellbeing 
3. Be better, healthier, calmer parents 
 
Parenting can be tough. It’s okay to ask for help. Phone me anytime on 07412 651 894 for a chat. 
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