Wednesday 25 September 2019

Christmas can be overwhelming for kids with Sensory Processing Disorder

Do you have a kid with SPD?  I do, I have 3!

Sensory overstimulation is common among kids who were premmie babies. Light and sound are the most common triggers, but they can be overstimulated by movement, scents, touch, taste, vibrations and electromagnetic fields.

For some kids, taking a few minutes time out will reset their system. For others, it doesn’t work that way. It can range from uncomfortable and intolerable. 

Sudden strong overstimulation triggers an immediate surge of adrenaline, anxiety and sometimes nausea. Lower levels can creep up and the consequences can last a couple of days. 

Now, imagine if this was Christmas. The lights, sounds and busy crowds start way before the 1st of December these days. Christmas is meant to be the most wonderful time of the year, but for some kids, it’s a constant battle to process the world around them.

What can we do to help?

It’s difficult to avoid, and really not fair to miss out on the fun of Christmas. Gradual increase in tolerance often comes with exposure and age, in a sensory friendly environment. This Christmas, if you are having an event at your work or home, maybe provide a tent or quiet corner for kids to retreat and reset. 

If you see a child having a meltdown, don’t always assume it’s bad behaviour. It could be the world is just too bright or too loud at that moment. Respect a parent who is limited in what they can do to stop it.

We will be hosting a book launch on the 1st of December at Little Gnome for my latest picture book, Little Gnome’s Christmas Wish, a book about a little gnome with sensory processing disorder who loves Christmas but struggles with the lights, noise and crowds. 

Children of all abilities are welcome to come and share an inclusive sensory friendly experience of the real meaning of Christmas, spending time with friends and family who love you and accepts you for who you are.

Thursday 19 September 2019

Mind Kind Your Child's Mental Health with Dr Joanna North

Tell us about yourself, Joanna.

I am a Psychotherapist and Chartered Psychologist working with children, adults and families. I have worked in the field of mental health and personal development for thirty years. I work as an Expert Witness for the family court in the United Kingdom and am an Ofsted Registered Adoption Support and Intermediary Tracing Agency. I meet with families and children every day in my work and talk about their lives.

What inspired you?

Working in Child Mental Health for 30 years I realised that parents need support and have many questions about Child Mental Health. This book aims to answer these questions. It doesn’t help when parents get anxious about their child’s anxiety.

What has been your journey up to this point?

I have been a mum, a step mum and a Grandmother. These roles have all been important to me. I have been in the field of personal development for forty years with thirty of these in mental health.

What is the most important thing about what you do?

Helping people to understand their own mind as well as their child’s mind.

What are the challenges you face?

I love writing and I love my work with my clients. I have to manage my time really well. My diary is the main challenge of my life.

What advice can you offer to parents?

Don’t overfill your timetable. Try and remain calm and resolve one problem at a time. Remember that Minds matter and given time we can respond mindfully and effectively to resolve things that get in the way of family harmony and a productive life.

What is your definition of successful parenting?

Being mindful that every minute counts and that you are the source of learning for your child. Taking care of yourself so that your child absorbs mindfulness and calm from you.

What is your ultimate goal?

My contribution to my world is to support parents to raise children who contribute to a society that is more kind. I have to practice what I preach. This is a complex task. Sometimes we have to be tough and be kind. My goal in writing is that this information reaches out to more people more quickly and can help them change behaviour.

Contact Joanna North


            Facebook:   Joanna North.

            Twitter:  Joanna North 23


The book is available at good retailers and online, including Amazon and at

Tuesday 9 July 2019

Why Reading to Our Littlest Babies Matters

Reading to your baby, especially when you aren’t able to touch them, not only lets them know you are there, it forms a bond that helps to fight the postnatal depression and PTSD experienced by parents of premature babies and babies in intensive and special care. I know. I was in that position, three times. I read to each of the boys when I wasn’t allowed to cuddle them and it made a huge difference.
That’s why I’m so blown away at being asked to the the Ambassador of the very first Life's Little Treasures Foundation Little Readers Readathon, as a Mum and an author. Best of all, Tommy gets to help, too!

Why reading matters…
Even the tiniest babies need frequent exposure to spoken language to ensure optimal early brain development.
During a baby’s time in the Neonatal Unit critical brain development is occurring, including the development of the pathways in the brain that control language skills. By reading to their babies, parents are not only bonding with them and reducing some of the stress associated with being in the NICU, they are also supporting their baby’s brain development.
Babies need frequent exposure to meaningful auditory experiences to ensure optimal early brain development. Research has identified a number of benefits of reading from early infancy, with a lasting effect on language, literacy and early reading skills with a boost in vocabulary at four years of age.

Little Readers read-a-thon

Who can participate?
This year NIDCAP in partnership with The Life’s Little Treasures Foundation is promoting participation in the Little Readers Read-a-thon. Any neonatal unit (NICU/SCN) in Australia can participate in the Little Readers Read-a-thon. Units need to register to officially participate in the Read-a-thon in order to be eligible for prizes and to provide access to resources.
How to register
It’s easy, just fill in the online form below and we’ll do the rest
What do you get when you register for the read-a-thon?
Once registered for the Little Readers Read-a-thon units will receive a great toolkit which includes everything you’ll need, electronic resources (factsheets, promotion posters, participation certificates, log sheets, survey tools) printed resources (bookmarks, reading booklets).
Registrants will also have the opportunity to win some great prizes for highest total number of books read and highest total numbers of reading minutes! …so let’s get reading!
What can you do to prepare for the Little Readers Read-a-thon?
Consider how you can promote the event to parents and staff and what resources you have available to you. If you do not have an existing reading library in your unit consider how you could start one – can you ask for donations from local businesses or supporters?
Can your school library or local council library provide you with decommissioned books?
Downloadable Resources

Our Read-a-thon Ambassador

Michelle & Tom Worthington
Michelle Worthington is an internationally published award-winning author of empowering picture books for children of all ages.
“My goal is to inspire all children to believe in themselves and encourage reluctant readers to fall in love with books.” 
Michelle is also an international guest speaker on the importance of storytelling. Her books have been nominated for the CBCA Picture Book of the Year Award and Speech Pathology Awards. She was awarded a highly commended in the prestigious 2018 Hilarie Lindsay Children’s Book Awards. Two-time winner of the International Book Award and finalist in the USA Best Book Awards, Michelle also received a Gellett Burgess Award and a Silver Moonbeam Award for her contribution to celebrating diversity in children’s literature.

She’s also a real-life book fairy. Her magic powers include turning coffee into award-winning books. As Founder of Share Your Story Australia, she waves her wand to coach aspiring authors and illustrators all over the world achieve their dreams of publication. Whether she’s a fairy, a mermaid, a pirate or an elf, Michelle celebrates empowering readers and storytellers to dream big.

Register Now