Borrow books on behaviour from our library

Books on behaviour from our postal lending library header

This month we have a list of the range of books on behaviour available to borrow free of charge from our Postal Lending Library.

Advice for parents:

  • L6627 Challenging Behaviour and People with Learning Disabilities: a handbook
  • L6593 Cognitive Behaviour Therapy to Help Young People with ASD
  • L6377 Power Parenting for Children with ADD/ADHD: a practical guide for managing difficult behaviours
  • L6350 and L6286 The Explosive Child: a new approach for understanding and parenting easily frustrated chronically inflexible children
  • L6450 and L6578 Calm Your Hyperactive Child: coping with ADHD and other behavioural problems
  • L6416 and L6530 Help Your Child or Teen Get Back on Track: what parents and professionals can do for childhood emotional and behaviour problems
  • L6364 and L6296 No Fighting No Biting No Screaming: how to make behaving positively possible for people with autism and other developmental disabilities
  • L6031 Achieving Best Behaviour for Children with Developmental Disabilities
  • L1611 Bringing Up a Challenging Child at Home
  • L6460 Children with Social Emotional and Behaviour Difficulties and Communication Problems: there is always a reason
  • L6180 Encouraging Appropriate Behaviour for Children on the Autism Spectrum
  • L1610 Communication-Based Intervention for Problem Behaviour
  • L1664 The Good The Bad and The Irritating: a practical approach for parents of children who are attention seeking

For kids:

  • C0151 Don’t Behave Like You Live in a Cave

Especially in class:

  • L6551 and L6597 Including Children With Attention and Behaviour Difficulties in the Foundation Stage
  • L1532 and L1608 A Practical Guide to Solving Pre-school Behaviour Problems
  • L6188 Getting the Buggars to Behave: advice on behaviour management in the classroom

Anger for children:

  • C0157 A Volcano in my Tummy: helping children to handle anger
  • C0131 Exploring Anger with Your Child
  • C0176 and C0245 The Red Beast: controlling anger in children with Aspergers Syndrome

Anger for parents:

  • L6421 Exploring Feelings: cognitive behaviour therapy to manage anger
  • L6526 The Anger Box: sensory turmoil and pain in autism
  • L6437 Anger Management: session plans using strength based solutions


  • L6581 Gardening for Children with ASD: engaging with nature to combat anxiety
  • C0212 The Panicosaurus: managing anxiety in children including those with Asperger Syndrome
  • L6241 Helping Your Anxious Child
  • L6422 Exploring Feelings: cognitive behaviour to manage anxiety

You can also download our factsheet on Managing Challenging behaviour and Parent’s Guide to Anxiety, which gives guidance on helping your child reduce feelings of anxiety.

If you would like to borrow any of these or any other books from our library, it is free of charge. Please contact Jan the Librarian on 01267 244203 or [email protected]


Sleep Practitioner Ends Sleepless Nights for Family

No one likes sleepless nights but for families of children with a brain – related condition, sleepless nights can often become the norm. Our Sleep Practitioners are there to advise families on sleep issues and ultimately improve everyone’s quality of sleep. Sleep Practitioner Claire Varey covers the north of the country and she told us how she was recently able to help a family:

“Mum Sara came along to one of my sleep clinics to discuss the issues she had with her son Lewis’ sleep for a long time. Lewis is 9 years old and has autism. He struggled with changes to his routine, taking hours to settle at night and needing mum to be present until he fell asleep. Lewis would then wake through the night and come into mum’s bed. Sara wanted to be able to reduce the time taken to settle Lewis at night, but found most things she tried in the past did not work.

By giving Sara information on how we sleep, what influences and inhibits sleep, she was able to better appreciate what would effect his ability to fall and stay asleep. Some of the suggestions I made for bed time routine included turning off the TV an hour before bed, placing blackout sheeting on the windows (Sara had tried blinds and curtains, but he had always pulled them down in the past), introducing red light in bedroom and trying some Delta wave music to listen to when in bed.

Sara felt sceptical that these would work, but was willing to give the new routine a go.

I contacted Sara the following week to see if she had managed to get started and she was so pleased to tell me that she had tried all of the above and Lewis had reacted positively to the changes. He was already settling easier and quicker, and Sara had even been able to leave the room before he fell asleep on one night. He seemed tired at the point he was in bed and asked for his ‘relax music’. He appeared to have a better quality of sleep, not waking as early and Sara was happy for him to come into bed with her at that point. Lewis was waking in a better mood very quickly”.

Sara told us: “The help Claire has given me has worked by getting Lewis to go to sleep in his own room again. Even though he is not staying there all night, he is spending longer in his room than before and this is getting better. Most nights he will now sleep about 3 or 4 hours in his own bed. This is great because before he wasn’t staying in his room more and half an hour.

Claire was brilliant to talk to as she didn’t make me feel like a failure or made me feel judged. She had a lot of very good ideas that I had tried before but this did not stop her coming up with more. I did it in steps – the delta music first which did help a bit, then came the red light bulb. Both together works really well. I then got some black out film for his window with his black out blind he already had. That really helped and because that has made him calmer I have been able to put curtains up which has also made a big difference.

Claire gave me the confidence to try these things with him and also the music idea has helped us with some of his autism melt downs so a big thank you.”

You can find out more information about Cerebra’s Sleep Service on our website.

Why I Ran for Cerebra by Ben Horne

Ben during the Cardiff World Half Marathon

Ben during the Cardiff World Half Marathon

Ben Horne completed the Cardiff World Half Marathon on 26th March, raising over £150 for Cerebra. He gave us his own frank and honest account as to why he runs and why he wanted to raise money for Cerebra.

“My name’s Ben Horne and I’m a Personal Trainer based in Newchapel, Pembrokeshire. My passion is guiding people to success in the world of physical training and personal self development. I’m on a journey myself, and I’m just so happy to be able to help others along the way.

I have a bug. I was 15 years old when I got ‘the bug’. I wasn’t particularly sporty in school, but discovering a person could overcome great challenges with simple grit and determination sparked something in me that’s never gone away.

I fell in love with physical training and 15 years ago I threw myself headlong into it. It’s been just as much a mental/emotional journey and I think that’s why it’s been so fascinating to me. I’ve seen myself try greatly, fail well and succeed spectacularly. It’s all character building I suppose!

I don’t particularly specialise in running but my philosophy suggests that most healthy individuals should be able to run 13 miles without major problems. I was asked to run for Cerebra late last year in the Cardiff World Half Marathon. My first thought was that this wasn’t a convenient proposition, but as I thought it over I concluded that brain dysfunction was infinitely more inconvenient. My perspective on convenience shifted.

I have a nephew (hello Harvey!) with autism so this was definitely a charity I had a connection to. I knew there were probably plenty of likely candidates out there who would readily run for this charity and it’s work, but that wasn’t the point. I was being asked. Me. I resolved that if anyone should run this, it would be someone well placed to take advantage of their health. I knew I was one of those ‘someones’.

For philosophical reasons, it had become personal. If I turned this call down I felt like I would be forfeiting my integrity. So I agreed to run and I began designing a training schedule to rehearse for the race. I had run a little cross country in school and the opportunity for some longer distance runs appealed to me. Usually my training included short, sharp runs, never usually more than 1-2 miles. And even then, the run would normally be mixed up with weightlifting activities and gymnastics (I do CrossFit for my general physical preparedness).

The weeks passed, the sponsorship money came in and the local countryside lanes became very familiar! Race day came around quickly and I took every opportunity possible to live in the moment, taking in the atmosphere and the experience as a whole. I’d never run 13 miles before. I was relying on the experience and knowledge behind my training to see me through. 90% of my training runs were 4 miles long. Theory said I should manage the distance with relative ease because of the type of training I’d been doing, the lifestyle I live and the ‘barefoot’ style I run with – but the problem with theory is it’s only theory until it’s tested! That test began at about 14:20 on Saturday March 26th.

Well I ran the distance, and the theory was spot on. I covered every mile with a consistent and comfortable pace. My primary objective was to complete the course. My secondary objective was to run at my leisure the whole way. Afterall, I’m not a competitive runner. Just a ‘someone’ with their health. The run was a success and easy enough. The experience was fantastic. I came in in under 2 hours which I’m quite happy with really. I wondered what I could do if I were competitively running!

I’d urge anyone who’s so much as curious to do something like this themselves for charity. To use your body to do some good in this world. And now I’ve archived that half marathon in the mental-vaults of experience hoping to draw upon it in future in my continuing work in helping others achieve their goals.”

To find out more about Ben, check out his website.

You can find out more information about how you can take part in an event for Cerebra on our Run for Cerebra page or you can contact Cecilia Bufton at [email protected] or 01267 242586.

Manchester Marathon Success for Team Cerebra

Sarah's medal

Sarah’s medal

This year’s Greater Manchester Marathon took place on Sunday 10th April and Cerebra were very privileged to have two runners taking part to raise money for us.

The first was our very own Trust Fundraiser Sarah Robey. Sarah is a keen runner who has taken part in many running events before this one. She can’t resist a challenge and the Greater Manchester Marathon was just one more obstacle to overcome!

Sarah told us: “It was perfect weather for a run around Manchester, albeit a very long run. I’m not going to say never again because I said that last year!”

Our second runner was Andrea Chantler who had a very personal reason for supporting Cerebra.

“My niece Amy was born prematurely 11 years ago and her diagnosis has always been uncertain. The doctors advised her parents that Amy had a bleed on her brain which occurred due to a problem with the platelets in her mum and dad’s blood.  She is partially blind, has cerebral palsy, is autistic and cannot walk. Amy’s main carers are her Mum & Dad. Despite her disabilities, she is a happy go lucky young girl and attends a school which she really likes.

Sarah with her two sons at the finish line

Sarah with her two sons at the finish line

I have run since the age of 19, entering 10k’s and some half marathons, but never a full marathon. I decided as I am 40 this year it was now or never! I wanted to do it for Cerebra as my brother and sister in law told me the charity has been very supportive to themselves and Amy.

Training was difficult but I managed it. As I work 3 days in a hospital and my husband works full-time I tried to get out when I can. I made the most of any opportunities and my family and friends have been very supportive.  I trained 3-4 times per week and managed to get to 18 miles longest single run. In total over a week I was covering around 30 miles. I know I could not have done anymore and I am very happy with how far I have come.”

You can still support Andrea and Sarah through their Just Giving pages.

If you would like to find out more about Cerebra’s upcoming running events, to see if we have any places in runs near you, or if you have a specific event in mind that you would like to take part in, check out our Run for Cerebra page. You can also contact our Events Coordinator at [email protected]

Being a woman with Autism

Mair Elliott

Mair Elliott

We share Mair Elliott’s latest blog on living with Autism and Mental Illness. In this article Mair talks about what it’s like to be a woman with Autism:

“I don’t fit any stereotypes, I am not the non-verbal low functioning boy that rocks back and forth in the corner of the room. In fact the majority of people with Autism don’t fit that stereotype. I wasn’t ‘naughty’, I reached most of my developmental milestones and I can look at you in the eyes. I am not a genius or prodigy either, I am intelligent, I am academically able, I do have the ability to obsess over things until I am very knowledgeable or able in that particular field, but I am not the next Einstein or Mozart.

Autism is a spectrum condition in which someone can be anywhere along it. Each person will have a different combination of symptoms at differing levels of severity. Each person with Autism is different to the next person with Autism. You may ask why it is important for everyone to understand this fact? It is important because at the moment, despite the fact that many people in society have heard of Autism, people with Autism are affected by these stereotypes and misunderstandings which can be detrimental to a persons well-being and abilities to function. For example, employers may not hire someone who is autistic because they have prejudged this person by their diagnosis.

Another thing that many people do not realise about Autism is that girls can have it as well as boys, not only that, but Autism affects girls differently to boys. I was 15 years old when I got my diagnosis, but it was at the age of 6 that I actually realised I was different. I noticed that my peers could see and interpret a world that I couldn’t comprehend. I noticed that my world was brighter, louder, and over all more overwhelming compared to the world my peers lived in. At 6 years old I felt the intense vulnerability that came along with being different, I felt this uncomfortable feeling of being exposed. I wasn’t one for sitting back and not doing anything about it, so I decided to learn to be ‘normal’. Of course being Autistic meant that I didn’t feel the need to involve any other people in my plan or how I was feeling, not even my family.

So over the years I went through the process of watching other people communicate, how they used their hands, facial expressions, the words they used etc, practising what I had observed, and then incorporating it in my bank of diagrams and flow charts in my head to navigate socialising. It wasn’t until I fell ill and my psychiatrist noticed I was on the spectrum at the age of 15 that I was diagnosed.

Apparently, many women and girls with Autism take the same approach and from an early age ‘mask’ their difficulties. You may think ‘what an ingenious way of overcoming the difficulties Autism can cause’, which in some ways it is an incredibly effective way of coping. But it also means that many women don’t get a diagnosis until they become severely affected other problems like mental illness.

I fell ill when I was 14 years old with Depression and Anxiety, and very quickly became so unwell I developed an Eating disorder and psychosis on top of that. I had to live in a psychiatric hospital for 4 months and I have been in mental health services for over 4 years now. The main reason for my illness was that the task of maintaining my ‘mask’, trying to appear ‘normal’ to the outside world was so exhausting and mentally draining that my brain couldn’t function any longer.

Being a woman with Autism means that I am misunderstood frequently, it means that people don’t understand the difficulties I face everyday because I appear ‘normal’ on the outside, it meant that lack of knowledge and understanding of Autism in girls prevented me from getting a diagnosis at an early age and getting the right support from an early age which could have prevented mental illness. Being a woman with Autism means that when things do go wrong and I struggle people can’t comprehend why because to their knowledge I am ‘normal’ and am perfectly capable of functioning in the same way as them. Being a woman with Autism means that I am frequently told by people, both professionals and non professionals, that I couldn’t possibly be Autistic because I’m ‘not weird enough’.

The world to me feels a bit like being dumped in the middle of a vast lake and not knowing how to swim. The majority of my time is spent trying trying to keep my head above water, and avoiding the strong currents of mental illness. I find socialising terrifying, confusing and complicated. My life is spent trying to understand things that neurotypical people don’t even batter an eyelid to.

I am not ashamed to be Autistic, and I am not ashamed to be a woman. If I set my mind to something you can be assured that not only will I get it done, but it will be done at the best quality I can possibly achieve, I have high standards, and I work hard. When I get interested in something I will get so knowledgeable and able in whatever it is that I could probably get mistaken for a professional. I am reliable, I am truthful, and I am organised. Being Autistic in a society built for neurotypical people is not easy and can cause lots of problems, but being Autistic in itself can prove to be a gift.

If people simply understood that just because I appear to be ‘normal’ and able to cope doesn’t actually mean that it is true. If people were aware that autism is different for girls compared to boys then maybe less girls will have to grow up feeling like a failure and a freak. If people knew that each person with Autism is an individual then maybe some of the harmful stereotypes could be vanquished”.

Mair gave us full permission to publish this article which first appeared on her blog

You can also read Mair’s articles “Puberty and My Autism Diagnosis” and “Autism and Mental Illness: A Teenager’s Perspective”.

Holiday fun for Lily Mae

Vallecchia, our holiday home in Hook, Pembrokeshire allows families to enjoy a break away from home without some of the difficulties they might experience on a standard holiday. For many it’s the only chance they have to spend quality time away together.

The Robinson Smith family recently enjoyed a great holiday together at Vallecchia. Eight year-old Lily Mae has Asperger’s Syndrome and took full advantage of the mild Easter weekend weather to get out and about.

Mum Amy said: “We had a lovely time at the holiday home. It was nice to enjoy a well needed family break in an environment that exceeded my daughter’s complex needs. The space, sensory room and enclosed large garden was so well equipped and thought out.

It was the first holiday that we have come back from feeling refreshed and like we had a break but mostly it was lovely to see our daughter so much more relaxed and independent to have her own freedom and space, while also being away with us.”

You can find more information about our holiday home on our website.

Sleep Practitioner Helps Family With Sleep Issues

Sleeping boyOur Sleep Practitioner Pattie Everitt tells us how she was able to help a family with their sleep issues.

“Twelve year-old Stephen who has ASD lives with his parents in Birmingham.  His main sleep issue was waking up very early (around 4am) and not being able to go back to sleep.  His parents encouraged him to go to bed and try to sleep and he was very good at staying in his bed but he did not feel tired.  As a result he was very tired by tea time but kept awake by his parents until around 8:30pm/ 9pm, with the hope he would sleep in until a reasonable time.

I spoke to Stephen’s mum Alice on the telephone for thirty minutes to support them in putting some strategies together.  They were advised to try a much earlier bedtime for a temporary basis, by following Stephen’s natural sleep pattern (the time he feels tired and sleepy), and then to then make gradual changes.

They tried a bedtime of 5:30pm to start with and moved this by fifteen minutes each day until they got to 8:30. They found that by moving the bedtime gradually, this resulted in gradually waking up later in the morning, finally reaching 7am.

This was a big achievement for the family, as this programme had being going on for many years.”

You can find more information about Cerebra’s Sleep Service on our website.

Recognising Signs of Anxiety

Improving Mental Health and Wellbeing for Young People with Autism, ADHD and Learning DisabilitiesOur new three part Cerebra Anxiety Guide: A Guide for Parents has been developed to give up to date information on how to spot the signs of anxiety and anxiety disorders in children with an intellectual disability and looks at what can be done to help.

This is the first in a series of articles taking extracts from the guide and will be looking at recognising the signs of anxiety. The full Anxiety Guide can be downloaded free of charge here.

Anxiety and fear are our body’s built-in response to danger – our alarm system. When we are anxious or fearful our hearts beat faster and blood is directed to our muscles so that we are ready to protect ourselves from the danger by either ‘fighting’ or ‘fleeing’. We experience ‘fear’ when we have to tackle an immediate threat (e.g. getting out of a burning house); however, anxiety is experienced when we anticipate that something threatening might happen in the future (i.e, moving to a new home).

Signs of anxiety

There are many different signs that someone may be feeling anxious. These can be changes in the person’s body; changes to thoughts/thinking patterns; changes to emotions; changes to behaviour:

Changes to the body:
  • fast and irregular heartbeat
  • sweating
  • tiredness
  • muscle tension
  • dizziness
  • trembling
  • pale complexion
  • stomach aches
  • nausea
Changes to thoughts/ thinking patterns:
  • inability to concentrate
  • repetitive thoughts about perceived threat
  • concerns about losing control
  • inability to relax
Changes to emotions:
  • irritability
  • feeling worried
  • distress
  • crying
Changes to behaviour:
  • avoiding situations
  • fidgeting/ moving more than usual

Children and individuals with mild communication impairments often have difficulty describing their emotions despite having some speech, so may describe physical symptoms such as stomach aches or feeling sick. As many of the signs of anxiety overlap with signs of physical health difficulties, it is very important to always ensure that a health problem is not underpinning your child’s behaviour and emotions and if you are in any doubt, contact your GP or paediatrician.

Further information about assessing whether your child may be experiencing pain can be found in Cerebra’s Pain guide.

Dr Jane Waite, Research Fellow and Clinical Psychologist at the Cerebra Centre for Neurodevelopmental Disorders will be talking about how to spot the signs of anxiety disorders as well as what can be done at our conference on Improving Mental Health and Well-being for Young People with Autism, ADHD and Learning Disabilities.


Sleep Practitioner Gives her Top Tips for Sleep

Clare Varey, Cerebra’s Sleep Practitioner for the Yorkshire area, gives her top tips for getting your child to sleep.

“Sleep for some children is just like any other skill that has to be learnt. It can take time and patience and requires repeating many times before it becomes mastered. One aspect that can have a huge impact on sleep is having an effective bed time routine in place. This helps the child understand how to fall asleep and what is expected at bedtime. Once established the routine can help them to feel safe and reassured, reducing time taken to settle and reducing the impact of night waking/early rising.

Here are my top tips for an effective bed time routine:

  • A bedtime routine should not last longer than an hour. Any longer and children won’t be able to link what they are doing with feeling tired and sleepy once they are in their bed
  • Turn off TV/computers/tablets and phones. These devices all emit light into the brain which will be telling the brain it’s still daytime, making it harder for children to ‘wind down’ and feel tired
  • Start with an activity downstairs that will help them to calm down. If you’re stuck for ideas, have a look on the internet
  • Offer a light supper. Foods that contain Tryptophan are good as this makes Melatonin – our hormone that makes us feel sleepy
  • Move to bathroom and offer a bath (only if they can relax, if you find its stimulating bath earlier in the evening) teeth and toilet
  • Into the bedroom – it should be dark. Use a red based night light if children are scared of dark. This can be kept on all night as red light doesn’t stimulate the brain or affect Melatonin production
  • Introduce a smell to bedroom, such as Lavender
  • Put on pyjamas, offer a massage. This releases a hormone called Oxytocin which relaxes you.
  • Read a short, familiar story
  • Try using a low level music such as alpha/delta wave music which can be kept on all night if needed
  • Say goodnight and leave /stay if needed initially
  • By helping all the senses, this can provide your child’s brain with reassurance and understanding of how to fall asleep, avoiding the bedtime battles that many of us experience

I can provide parent presentations, workshops, sleep clinics, telephone support and in some cases I am able to offer home visits to discuss the sleep difficulty”.

Please visit our website for more information about Cerebra’s sleep service and how to get in touch.

Same But Different

We’re taking a look at Same but Different, an organisation that uses the arts to raise awareness of disability and counteract prejudice.

Ceridwen Hughes, founder of Same But Different, explains: “1 in 17 people, or 7% of the population, will be affected by a rare disease at some point in their lives. This equates to approximately 3.5 million people in the UK and 30 million people across Europe. There are between 6,000 and 8,000 known rare diseases which means collectively they affect a considerable number of people. (Source: Rare Disease UK)”.

As awareness around a condition grows so too does acceptance. The Same but Different organization was established after Ceridwen recognised a need to highlight the people behind the conditions.  She herself has experience of a rare syndrome as her son has Moebius Syndrome.

One of the organisation’s recent projects is the Rare Project and its aim is to shine a light on some of these rare diseases, highlighting that just because a person has a disability it should not be all that people see.  In this project they introduce people, through a series of high profile exhibitions, an online gallery, social media and press articles.

Ceridwen is also the photographer behind the project and takes time to ensure the images capture the personality of those being photographed. She said: “Sometimes the person being photographed has complex needs and we take time to accommodate them and ensure they feel comfortable.  My son has a condition that means he looks different and therefore I appreciate the need to really ensure the images taken capture the personality.”

Among the children to be featured as part of the Rare Project are Isobel and Abigail, twins who have Down’s Syndrome. You can see their images, along with the other children who have been featured as part of the project here.

If you would like to take part in the project please contact [email protected].