Digestive health clinic – check out our new video with Dr Pixie McKenna

Dr Pixie McKenna

Dr Pixie McKenna

Log onto our WebTV show where Dr Pixie McKenna explains digestive issues such as bloating and trapped wind and gives advice on how to manage these conditions, as well as answering all your questions

Digestive health issues affect millions of us every day; in fact, new research shows that two thirds of us have suffered from bloating and or trapped wind, with around 60% saying it affects them at least once a week.

The symptoms associated with digestive health problems can be annoying, uncomfortable, painful and worrying for those suffering from them, while more than half say they feel embarrassed about the symptoms.

Less than 30% say they would visit a doctor because of them, despite the fact for many they can have a big impact on their life.

However, bloating and trapped wind are often triggered by food and lifestyle choices and in many cases can be corrected with some simple changes.

So if you suffer from digestive health issues then log onto our WebTV show where Dr Pixie McKenna discusses the causes, myths and ins and outs of bloating and trapped wind, giving advice on how to manage these symptoms as well as answering many of the most commonly asked questions questions.


Check out the video of here http://noeditorial.studiotalk.tv/show/maalox-plus-web-tv


Website: www.maalox.co.uk

Maalox Quiz: http://www.maalox.co.uk/bloating-and-trapped-wind/what-bloats-most-quiz

Hospital one of the scariest places for people with Parkinson’s to be – according to a new report from Parkinson’s UK

Parkinson's UK

Parkinson’s UK

A new report released by Parkinson’s UK paints a deeply disturbing picture of life in hospital for those with the degenerative condition. Watch the following video to find out about the report and to hear one woman’s story

From being forced to smuggle in medication to being subjected to shocking levels of drug deprivation by hospital staff, data commissioned to time with the launch of Parkinson’s Awareness Week paints a deeply disturbing picture of life in hospital for those with the degenerative condition.

The report finds that almost half (46 per cent) of people with Parkinson’s were denied regular access to the medication they need to keep their Parkinson’s under control– often leading to catastrophic consequences.

Medication is a lifeline for people with Parkinson’s, with many people taking around 15 tablets a day as part of a strict regime just to be able to move or communicate with those around them. Without it, over half of people with Parkinson’s felt there was a significant impact on their health. Yet in hospital – one of the places where people with Parkinson’s should feel safest – almost six in ten (59 per cent) who did not have regular access to medication in hospital felt there was a significant impact on their health.

Far from being isolated incidents, seven out of ten of people with Parkinson’s reported experiencing increased levels of anxiety whilst in hospital because of the difficulties around getting their medication.

Watch the following video to hear more about the report and to hear from Patricia McWilliam-Fowler, 68, who cared for her husband Ian, 74, before he died unexpectedly and suddenly in February last year.



Website: www.parkinsons.org.uk


This blog is now on vacation

Just to let you know that this blog is off on holiday for a few weeks.

Normal service will resume at the end of the month! That being said there may be a few posts and guest appearances from the Indian Ocean.

We hope everyone has a great Easter break!

Painted Easter Eggs


SimplyFun’s Mapping Project

SimplyFun’s Mapping Project

Lori Williams has asked us to share the post below.  Williams says “Very excited about this! Please spread the word to families, teachers, therapists, schools and organizations. You can check out my website www.simplyfun.com/loriwilliams for more details. You can also LIKE my facebook page Simplyfun, Lori Williams, Independent Consultant-Playologist to keep up-to-date on what’s new with Simplyfun!”

SimplyFun’s Mapping Project

It is often difficult to know what games a child with autism or other special needs might like, or even if a game can be modified to compensate for or build on the child’s abilities.

The purpose of the SimplyFun’s Mapping Project is to help you make informed decisions about whether a game will be appropriate for your child.  Each Simply Fun game has been analyzed to determine whether it might be a good fit for a child with autism, or similar characteristics.  The mapping first outlines some of the major characteristics of children with autism.  Eleven social, communication, cognitive, and behavioral characteristics are identified that children may demonstrate:

  1. Appears to ignore others’ communication and/or has difficulty giving eye contact to a communication partner
  2. Has difficulty understanding complex verbal directions

  3. Uses vocabulary inaccurately or demonstrates echolalia (repeating another’s speech)
  4. Gets stuck repeating a verbal topic or physical actions and/or has difficulty attending to others’ actions or topics
  5. Has difficulty producing speech/communication
  6. Has difficulty sequencing multistep actions or doing complex abstract tasks
  7. Demonstrates difficulty initiating and maintaining social interaction
  8. Acts out or demonstrates avoidance behaviors when frustrated, overwhelmed, or needs more sensory input
  9. Has a short attention span for non-preferred activities
  10. Needs sameness or consistent routines and/or has difficulty with transitions from one activity to another
  11. Has difficulty understanding others’ feelings and intentions, and the reasons for others’ actions

Children with autism and other disabilities may exhibit several or even all of the above characteristics to varying degrees.  SimplyFun’s mapping enables you to examine a game related to each of the characteristics relevant for your child.   To access information on individual games, select the game in SimplyFun’s online catalog then select that tab marked ‘autism’. This will bring up the full panel of information on the characteristics outlined above.  Next identify the characteristics that apply to your child. The chart will first indicate if the game is appropriate or inappropriate for a child with this characteristic to play.  If it is appropriate, examples of modifications for making the game more enjoyable are offered related to the specific characteristic listed.   After checking out recommendations for the characteristics that apply to your child, you will have a good idea whether the game, with suggested modifications, is a good match for your child.

SimplyFun’s goal is to provide parents, educators and therapists with information to allow for a solid match of skills, fun and learning for all children!   For more information on playing games with children with autism, please see Toni Linder’s blog on ‘Game Play and Autism.’

Find the game that’s right for you here.

About the Author

Dr. Toni Linder is Professor Emeritus at the Morgridge College of Education at the University of Denver in Denver, CO. She is nationally and internationally known for her work on behalf of young children and their families.

Autism Awareness Month 2014 – pass it on

With World Autism Awareness Day just gone I thought I thought it would be a useful reminder that April is also Autism Awareness Month.

That being said everyday should be autism acceptance day.

Anyhow as a reminder we have made another graphic to promote the month and asd awareness.

So please pass it on!

Autism Awareness Month

Autism Awareness Month

Do you suffer from fatigue because of a medical condition?



Over the last couple of years we have talked about fatigue on this blog quite a lot.  From covering what it is like to suffer from fatigue  (http://patienttalk.org/fatigue-like-wet-cement-exploring-the-difference-between-tiredness-and-fatigue/) to share a few tips for keeping more active in the afternoon (http://patienttalk.org/how-to-stop-the-3-oclock-drop-fighting-fatigue-in-the-afternoon-short-guide/).

As regular readers of this blog will know one of our key objectives is to provide a space where people can share their experiences of living with , in this case, fatigue and how how they deal with it.

Lots of medical conditions can have fatigue as a symptom such as rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia and multiple sclerosis to name a few.  But so, of course, can being a caregiver.

The aim of this blog post is to get a feel  for our readers fatigue stories.  In particular what cause their fatigue.  How common is your fatigue?  And your tips for dealing with fatigue.

Firstly you will find a short poll below on fatigue and it would be great is you could take part.  Secondly we would love it if you could use the comment box below to share your fatigue story.  Anything you wish to share will be of great interest to our readers!


World Autism Awareness Day 2014 – Thanks for supporting #WAAD

I thought I would say thanks.

Erm, that’s it really.

For many of us in the autism community yesterday was, I feel, a massive boost in getting autism acceptance (and not just autism awareness) on the global map.

Just have a look at the posting on our Facebook Page AutismTalk (https://www.facebook.com/AutismTalk) to get a feel of the power being unleashed -

So we have made a card to show our appreciation – feel free to use it to keep getting the message out!

World Autism Awareness Day 2014 #WAAD

World Autism Awareness Day 2014 #WAAD

The Star – How I told my son’s class about autism. Read Jennifer Roberts Bittner guest post

Autism Awareness and EducationChildren

Autism Awareness and Education

Jennifer Roberts Bittner has very kindly offered us a fascinating glimpse into how she raises autism awareness in her latest guest post for us.  You can read the original here http://seriouslynotboring.com/2013/05/15/the-star/.

She writes “Yesterday my youngest turned seven. SEVEN! He is in First Grade, and every student is his class has an opportunity to be Star Student of the Week near the time of their birthday. He was instructed to make a poster about himself and present it to his classmates. He was also allowed to bring someone with him to help explain more about himself and his heritage. My son and I decided that this was the perfect time to explain to his classmates about Autism. Earlier this year we explained it to him for the first time, and he was glad to learn more about how his unique brain worked, and is now proud to share that information with other people.

I have long wanted to talk with my son’s class about Autism (let’s call him Josh), and that desire has increased as the school year progressed. Most of his classmates are very kind to him, but a few have started to notice and comment negatively on some of his behaviors. He struggles at times with peer interaction, so I thought maybe things would get easier for him if I explained more about his personality to the other children. This feeling was affirmed by an article I read at Pathfinders for Autism that stated, “If you’re the parent of a child with AS worried about what will happen if other students find out, here’s a thought: they already know. They know they have a classmate who has different and difficult behaviors. But they don’t realize the reasons. And the reasons they imagine are much worse than the facts.” I felt that my son’s classmates were more likely to be kind if they understood more about why he acted the way he did. And besides, as the article stated, “… children are never too young to learn that we’re all different and that we need to treat each other with patience, kindness and understanding.”

Earlier in the year, when I was first mulling this over, my husband had some concerns about making our son stick out by the way we approached the subject. I was almost afraid to bring it up now, worried he would say no. Turns out he simply hadn’t wanted me to show up and make a big spectacle of an Autism Awareness Day. We both felt that sharing about Autism in the context of other information about Josh while he was Star Student was more subtle, and that hopefully it would just be viewed as one aspect of his personality. After wanting to do this for so long I was thrilled that the right time had finally presented itself. I received permission from the teacher, gathered my thoughts, and I was ready to go! And I mean READY. I had pretty much known exactly what I wanted to say for over a year, in part because I had received some inspiration and tips from a talk given by the Executive Director of our local chapter of the Autism Society. She told us that every year she would go into her son’s grade school classroom and talk a bit about her son, his strengths, weaknesses, and how the other kids could help. She made sure to point out that even though her son was a little bit different, he also was just the same as the other students. As a result her son grew up surrounded by classmates who understood and supported him.

The morning of the talk I was nervous, but mostly excited. I was so glad to have the opportunity to help raise awareness of special needs and help children learn to be more accepting. I knew that this would be a tricky subject to discuss, and how important it was to get it right. I didn’t want to overplay my son’s unique abilities, and I also didn’t want to stigmatize him by pointing out his struggles. During my prep I needed to keep in mind that I had to deal with limited time and limited 1st grade attention spans. I was not able to talk in great detail about Autism in general, so I had to focus on how it specifically affected Josh. He has more characteristics of Asperger’s, so the words I used would not be as appropriate when discussing someone with classic Autism. I wish there had been more time to talk about all special needs and acceptance of disabilities in general, but I had to start somewhere. Here is what I told them:

I am Josh’s Mom, and I am very proud of Josh. He is a really cool kid! Josh is smart and funny and creative. He loves Pokémon and Angry Birds Star Wars and Legos and Mario. Josh is just like you.

Josh also happens to have a very unique brain, and the way it works is just a little bit different. For Josh, that difference is called Autism. But different isn’t bad, it’s just different.

Autism is name for a way the brain works that makes some people think, act, and feel a little bit differently than other people. For some people Autism makes it really hard for them to talk, or they might be really sensitive to loud noises or bright lights. Today we are going to talk about the way Autism affects Josh. Some people call the kind of Autism that Josh has “Asperger’s”.

First of all, Autism can give some people like Josh really special strengths that are almost like superpowers. It can make them think in really unique, creative ways, and be really focused on what they find interesting. They can accomplish amazing things that a lot of people can’t. Many famous people had Autism. Some people think Albert Einstein had Autism, the famous composer Mozart, and Sir Isaac Newton, the man who first wrote the theory of gravity after seeing an apple fall. A lot of people know a well known person today with Autism named Temple Grandin, and there is even a movie about her! The man that created POKEMON even has Autism!

Do you remember Josh’s Pokémon Acts of Kindness poster? Using Pokémon was a really cool, different way of doing an that poster. I think maybe Josh did it in an unusual, cool way because the Autism helped him think a little bit differently and creatively. And did you notice when Josh read his poster on the announcements that he is a really good speaker and reader? He loves to perform in front of people. And he could read before he started Kindergarten. He is VERY smart. Plus even before he could read he could memorize a whole book after we had read it to him only one time.

Even though he is smart he sometimes he has to work really hard at paying attention. He has a lot of extra energy. I know you all have noticed that. Josh is also REALLY funny, but sometimes he has a hard time knowing when it is time to stop being silly. Sometimes we have to be patient with him and help him remember when to stop being silly. Josh has REALLY big feelings. He gets really excited. If he gets too loud it is okay to nicely ask him to be a little quieter. Sometimes he needs to be reminded.

Sometimes Josh also gets very sad or very frustrated. That might be because of his big feelings, or because he is tired from working so hard to pay attention. When he gets upset like that he isn’t trying to be mean, he is just having a little trouble. When he feels like that Josh could really use a friend. Don’t you need a friend when you feel sad or frustrated?

The things Josh touches feel a little different to him. He digs in the dirt because his brain is extra sensitive, and to him the dirt feels extra neat. Plus sometimes he does it because it helps him feel nice and calm. That is because sometimes it makes Josh really tired to work so hard to pay attention, so he needs a little bit of time by himself. If he plays alone instead of with you, it does NOT mean he doesn’t like you. It just might mean he needs a break, but he is still glad you are nearby. He loves to be with his classmates, and he loves to be asked to play. Sometimes he is playing by himself just because no one has asked him!

I am telling you all these things so that you can understand Josh better, andmaybe you can help Josh. He has things that he is really good at, and he has things that are hard for him. But that is the same for ALL of us. Every single person is unique, and they have things that they are good at AND things that are hard for them. Josh is working really hard to be a good student and a good friend, and he really needs you all to be his friends. He wants you to ask him to play. He needs you to be patient with him when he gets too excited. When he gets sad or frustrated it would help him if you were kind to him to make him feel better. Those are ways that you can be a friend to Josh, but also to everyone. In this school it is always our job to be kind to ALL our classmates. We shouldn’t make fun of people who are different, or tell them they can’t play with us. Instead we need to always be paying attention and looking for ways that we can be a helper and be a good friend to each other. We can all help each other. We NEED to help each other. Each one of us is special and has things that make us different. And different isn’t bad, it’s just different!

The children piped up many times during the talk, sharing personal details, trying to ask questions, or commenting that they could relate to what I was saying (I will talk more about it in my next blog post). Sometimes it seemed like the kids I most wanted to listen were tuning me out, but you never know what they retain. When it was over at least three children had decided that they must have Autism too. Most everyone was smiling and they seemed to understand, and I had a feeling that it went very well. I then asked them, “Do you have any questions?”, and to my delight, the first one was, “Hey Josh, what is your favorite color?”

I walked to the back of the classroom and sat and watched as my son, my little shining star, talked to his classmates and happily answered their questions about normal stuff like Pokémon, shark’s teeth, and birthday cake. He is just like them, and just a little bit different. But different isn’t bad, it’s just different.”


Jennifer shares her thoughts at the blog Seriously Not Boring, and can also be found onTwitter and Facebook 

Your health and you! Are you in control of your healthcare?

Alzheimer's disease - a guide

Alzheimer’s disease – a guide

This morning as I was checking through a few health orientated web sites I came across ‘Listening to you – Your health matters’ a consultation paper from the Welsh Government.  While the page is written in what I can only call splendid governmentese the objective does seem a sound one to me.  That is to find out what people think about proposed legislation which would impact the delivery of health services.

But how does this work in practice?  Have you ever been involved in this kind of consultation?

If you have or have any opinion about it please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments boxes below.

However it also prompts the question to what extent do you as a use of health services actually feel in control of those you get.  Not exactly from a clinical point of view but rather from a managing point of view.

So it would be great if you could take part on the poll below which asks the very simple question  - do you feel in control of your healthcare?

World Autism Awareness Day – What are you hopes and fears for the future of autism awareness?

Autism Awareness Day 2014

Autism Awareness Day 2014

Today as the whole world seems to know is World Autism Awareness Day.  (It does seem amazing how social media has transformed autism awareness or is it just me?)

While thing about the day over breakfast I was pondering where after awareness and acceptance?  With the latest figures of 1 in 68 being diagnosed with ASD this is going to become a pretty important question.

Remembering that I had spent two decades in the world of survey research I realised that the best people to answer this question is you.

So in this blog I would like to ask a very simple question what are you hopes and fears for the future of autism awareness?

It would be great if you could share your thoughts in the comments box below.

Thanks for caring!