This film was created by people on the autism spectrum to show what it can be like to get too much information.

Autism and too much information
Autism and too much information

This film was created by people on the autism spectrum to show what it can be like to get to much information.

Please like and share to help us advance autism awareness and information about sensory overload to the wider public.

Thanks for your help! And thanks to the National Autistic Society for producing this film!

6 Signs of Great Summer Camps – not just for autistic children and other special needs

Summer camp
Summer camp

Summer is approaching again, and you have no idea what you’re going to do with your child during his or her summer vacation until you finally settle on participating in a local summer camp.  Unfortunately, you haven’t been able to pick one out yet. You worry that if you make the wrong choice, your child will never want to spend the summer being social again.

Hopefully, these six assets of great summer camps will help you make an informed and accurate choice that your child will love.

  1. The staff is motivated, involved, and experienced.

 When you met with staff members for the first time, you had a really great feeling about the camp overall. The men and women were motivated to help your child learn, involved in the planning process, and experienced in working with young children. Not only were staff members willing to answer your questions, but they seemed genuinely concerned about the wellbeing of your child. This is an important asset of any professional summer camp.

  1. There are a variety of fun and informative activities.

 Far too many camps rely on children entertaining themselves. When you tour each camp, you should be inundated with fun activities that could help your child grow and learn, like swimming, hiking, sports, arts and crafts and more. It’s rare that a child continues his or her education during the summer. If you have a chance to mix work with play, take advantage of it. Once your child is old enough to stay home alone, the moment will pass.

  1. Your child will be grouped with children his or her age.

There’s nothing more uncomfortable than leaving your child for a summer camp session, only to learn that your nine-year-old son is spending more time with teenagers than children his own age. Great summer camps will split children into separate age groups, keeping preteens, teenagers, and young child separate. Eah group will take part in age appropriate activities and learning experiences – thus ensuring the comfort and safety of your child.

  1. The meals and snacks are healthy.

 Just as parents expect schools to serve healthy food, you expect your child’s summer camp to serve healthy meals and snacks during the day. A proper summer camp will share information about food from the beginning by giving a menu to each family or by giving children the choice to pack their own lunches. There is a big difference between a summer camp that serves pizza on a daily basis and a summer camp that serves fresh fruit, salads, and whole grain.

  1. The camp is in a safe location.

 You’ll quickly find that most professional summer camps are located in a safe area with plenty of space, fences, and nature. You should avoid any outdoor camp located near a major roadway. This is a recipe for disaster – gates or not. Besides, it can be difficult to take part in popular summer camp activities without access to a wooded area or an open field. Travel offers more warning signs that your child’s summer camp may not be as safe as it seems.

  1. The counselors have experience with special needs children.

 Even if your child doesn’t have special needs, the best summer camps have qualified staff members who are prepared to be accommodating. You never know when you might need to take advantage of these accommodations – so take note from the beginning.

You can find other signs of a good summer camp through Planet Smarty. Stick to these signs, and your child will have an unforgettable summer experience – all thanks to you.

Ekbom syndrome – Do you have RL syndrome? Find out about the signs here!

Restless Leg Syndrome
Restless Leg Syndrome

Restless legs syndrome, also known as Willis-Ekbom disease, is a common condition of the nervous system that causes an overwhelming, irresistible urge to move the legs.

It can also cause an unpleasant crawling or creeping sensation in the feet, calves and thighs. The sensation is often worse in the evening or at night. Occasionally, the arms are affected too.

Restless legs syndrome is also associated with involuntary jerking of the legs and arms, known as periodic limb movements in sleep (PLMS).

Some people have the symptoms of restless legs syndrome occasionally, while others have them every day. The symptoms can vary from mild to severe. In severe cases, restless legs syndrome can be very distressing and disrupt a person’s daily activities.

Restless legs syndrome typically causes an overwhelming urge to move your legs and an uncomfortable sensation in your legs.

The sensation may also affect your arms, chest and face, too. It has been described as:

tingling, burning, itching or throbbing

a “creepy-crawly” feeling

feeling like fizzy water is inside the blood vessels in the legs

a painful, cramping sensation in the legs, particularly in the calves

These unpleasant sensations can range from mild to unbearable, and are usually worse in the evening and during the night. They can often be relieved by moving or rubbing your legs.

Some people experience symptoms occasionally, while others have them every day. You may find it difficult to sit for long periods of time – for example, on a long train journey.

Just over half of people with restless legs syndrome also experience episodes of lower back pain.

Periodic limb movements in sleep (PLMS)

Up to 80% of people with restless legs syndrome also have periodic limb movements in sleep (PLMS).

If you have PLMS, your leg will jerk or twitch uncontrollably, usually at night while you’re asleep. The movements are brief and repetitive, and usually occur every 10 to 60 seconds.

PLMS can be severe enough to wake up both you and your partner. The involuntary leg movements can also occur when you’re awake and resting.

What causes restless legs syndrome?

In the majority of cases, there’s no obvious cause of restless legs syndrome. This known as idiopathic or primary restless legs syndrome, and it can run in families.

Some neurologists (specialists in treating conditions that affect the nervous system) believe the symptoms of restless legs syndrome may have something to do with how the body handles a chemical called dopamine. Dopamine is involved in controlling muscle movement and may be responsible for the involuntary leg movements associated with restless legs syndrome.

In some cases, restless legs syndrome is caused by an underlying health condition, such as iron deficiency anaemia or kidney failure. This is known as secondary restless legs syndrome.

There’s also a link between restless legs syndrome and pregnancy. About 1 in 5 pregnant women will experience symptoms in the last three months of their pregnancy, although it’s not clear exactly why this is. In such cases, restless legs syndrome usually disappears after the woman has given birth.

Read more about the causes of restless legs syndrome.

Treating restless legs syndrome

Mild cases of restless legs syndrome that aren’t linked to an underlying health condition may not require any treatment, other than making a few lifestyle changes, such as:

adopting good sleep habits – for example, following a regular bedtime ritual, sleeping regular hours, and avoiding alcohol and caffeine late at night

quitting smoking if you smoke

exercising regularly during the daytime

If your symptoms are more severe, you may need medication to regulate the levels of dopamine and iron in your body.

If restless legs syndrome is caused by iron deficiency anaemia, iron supplements may be all that’s needed to treat the symptoms.

Read more about treating restless legs syndrome.

Who’s affected by restless legs syndrome?

As many as 1 in 10 people are affected by restless legs syndrome at some point in their life.

Women are twice as likely to develop restless legs syndrome than men. It’s also more common in middle age, although the symptoms can develop at any age, including childhood.

Outlook

The symptoms of restless legs syndrome will usually disappear if it’s possible to address an underlying cause.

However, if the cause is unknown, the symptoms can sometimes get worse with time and severely affect the person’s life. Restless legs syndrome isn’t life threatening, but severe cases can severely disrupt sleep (causing insomnia) and trigger anxiety and depression.

The charity Restless Leg Syndrome UK provides information and support for people affected by restless legs syndrome, and may be able to put you in touch with other people in your area affected by the condition.

Understanding Autism: The Superhero Brain explains self calming and sensory issues – A great way to share ideas with children on the spectrum!

Understanding Autism - The Superhero Brain explains self calming
Understanding Autism – The Superhero Brain explains self calming

A few days back we share a brilliant post from Christel Land about her new book for children on the autism spectrum called  The Superhero Brain

You can read the article here.

Over the weekend Land created these two fascinating videos to help children on the autism spectrum understand sensory processing disorder and the concept of self calming.

If you have children on the autism spectrum you may wish to share with them.

Thriving with Multiple Sclerosis- An Inspirational interview with Montel Williams

Thriving with Multiple Sclerosis with Montel Williams
Thriving with Multiple Sclerosis with Montel Williams

Montel Williams shares some of his tips with fighting multiple sclerosis.

He talks about his diet, his diagnosis with multiple sclerosis and his attitude to doctors.

Check it out below!