Sunday, 12 November 2017

Application Form of Death



Disability Living Allowance (DLA) is a social security benefit in the United Kingdom paid to eligible claimants who have personal care and/or mobility needs as a result of a mental or physical disability. It is tax-free, non-means-tested and non-contributory. The benefit was introduced in 1992, integrating the former benefits Mobility Allowance and Attendance Allowance and introducing two additional lower rates of benefit. Prior to 2013 it could be claimed by UK residents aged under sixty five years. However, the benefit was phased-out for the majority of claimants between 2013 and 2015 and replaced by a new Personal Independence Payment. DLA can still be claimed by children under sixteen and can still be received by existing claimants who were aged sixty five or over on 8 April 2013.

Circumstances are reviewed periodically, our last application was in 2013 and the benefit was granted until early 2018. The application form runs to 41 pages and has 71, mostly freetext, sections. It cannot be done electronically. Just what parents need when their lives are so bloody challenging already. Just imagine, even for a moment, having to complete two!

Spare a thought…….

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

It's What We Do!

This post should get the most views but we know it won't, it defines what we do.


Thursday, 26 October 2017

Oh What a Night! STRICTLY COME PRANCING 2!!



It’s been three years in production but boy was the sequel of Strictly Come Prancing worth it!

A full house of over 120 eager spectators gathered at the Victoria Hall in Coaltown of Balgonie on Saturday night with huge anticipation of a thrilling and spectacular night of fleet footed dancing and they weren’t to be disappointed. The organisers had even managed to attract the previous winners back to the dancefloor.

The evening’s comperes were Stressed Daily and Claudio Wrinkliefellah, also known as Yvonne and Graeme Trevis. Claudio’s stylist had succeeded in wheeling him out with his trademark poker straight black hair and clinical fringe.

The judges were introduced to the audience as the renowned dance instructor Miss Elaine of Miss Elaine Dance, King of the Jive and Professional Tutor Constable Clive Allan and former X-Factor addict but now clean Daddy, whose only dance credentials are the ability to whirl through a mean Strip the Willow.

First up were the confident 70’s icons, T-Bird and the Pink Lady (aka Lyle McDonald and Natalie Hay), who took us through an electric rendition of ‘You’re the One That I Want’ from the hit movie Grease. Pink Lady performing the role of ONJ managed to stub out her cigarette on the dance floor without burning the place down before succumbing to cardiganed T-Bird John T and thrilling the audience with a fast paced start to the evening. They even concluded with a faultless Dirty Dancing style lift. They came all the way from Montrose to perform for the audience and we are so glad they made the journey!



Next up were Ivana B Akop and Wilma Fingerdou (aka sisters Gillian and Nicola Trevis) performing ‘Hot Honey Rag’ from the Broadway musical Chicago. Their amazing choreography was testimony to the unique Bob Fosse style and included the use of turned-in knees, the famous "Fosse Amoeba" sideways shuffling, rolled shoulders, and jazz hands. They wowed the audience and the judges and secured three flawless scores of ten. We only hope Ivana is giving the same commitment to her new career. Great entertainment!



The gauntlet had been thrown down but the next duo were more than up for the challenge. Rolling back the years and casting aside his judging role from last time around, Dan Gleebitz and his partner Glitzy V Jazzell (aka Morris and Jacqui Methven) danced in perfect time and movement to the Justin Timberlake hit ‘Can’t Stop the Feeling!’ Their broad smiles lit up the venue and the throbbing music was matched by the excitement of the audience.



The appeal of the event is never more evident than the story of the next two contestants. 

Miguel and Christina Olhay (aka Mike and Christine Hay) were making it a family affair as they are the parents of our first contestant Pink Lady. Miguel and Christina won a raffle prize at our first Strictly in 2014, which entitled them to dance lessons. In true Fife fashion, they got their money’s worth and showed the audience their new found skills and love of dancing. They performed a sensual, passionate ‘Santa Maria’ Argentinian tango from the Shall we Dance soundtrack. Their masks hid their faces but their smouldering expression was played out perfectly with their feet and gliding movement across the floor. 



Last up, as a result of having just arrived, were our last winners, father and son act, Old Spice and Barry Soap aka Corgi and Lee George. Corgi had made it in the nick of time as he had been refereeing a rugby match in Glasgow then hot footed it straight to the venue and Lee was lucky to make it at all, having recently recovered from a broken bone that needed a stookie! Their set was suspiciously similar to their winning Evolution of Dance medley from last time. They took us through a pastiche of dance favourites, which included classics such as YMCA, Grease Lightening, Kung Fu Fighting, and Thriller. Their choreography was once again spot on showing the years have not diminished their ability!



The judges’ paddles had the sister act and husband and wife tango team in a joint lead with a perfect 30.



As the audience then played their part and swithered and made their choice they were further entertained by some fabulous show dancing from youngsters Jacob and Alish who astonished the audience with their Jive to Queen’s ‘Crazy Little Thing Called Love.’ They then mesmerised the audience with a bold Cha Cha to ‘Word Up’ by Cameo. 



Judge Clive’s grandson Joel and his dance partner Anna then followed that up with a wonderful Waltz to the Daniel O’Donnell favourite ‘Could I Have this Dance (for the rest of my life).’ The show dancing was rounded off in majestic style with a rousing Samba to the sound of ‘Cheap Thrills’ by Sia. 



Great stuff by these wonderful young dancers who clearly have a glowing future on the dancefloor ahead of them.

The votes were then totalled and Claudio and Stress announced the winners as Ivana B Akop and Wilma Fingerdou who were presented with their trophies by Mummy and then took to the floor for a wonderful repeat of their winning routine.



Congratulations to all of the contestants for your bravery and skills and for providing great entertainment. We hope you enjoyed the Prosecco delivered to each contestant for your glorious efforts!

The raffle was once again outstanding, so many prizes of great quality, people really are very kind. Huge thanks to Greig Brown and Gill Allan for cajoling everyone into emptying their pockets of change. The prize giving went on forever and Claudio and Daddy suffered colour blindness when they couldn’t differentiate between their buff, pink and green tickets!

During the night Isabel McNab was peddling her Strictly quiz sheets, testing the knowledge and expertise of our Strictly devotees. Thanks Isabel for compiling the quiz, even we got some of them right!

Fiona Mackay once again rounded everyone up to take part in her 50/50 fundraiser whereby half the proceeds went to the boys’ program and the other half to the winning ticket holder. How kind is it that the winner, Christine McSorley gave over her half of the winnings to make it 100% of the money raised to the boys, thank you so much Christine.

We then all indulged in the best buffet ever, a hog roast from Puddledub served up with homemade sage and onion stuffing, teeth shattering crackling and lashings of apple sauce. A doorstep of gateau followed then we danced the night away to some more floor filling classics.

It was a fantastic night, which raised over £2,000 towards Ben and Finlay’s 2018 trip to Skybound Therapies in Pembrokeshire!!!!!!!!!!!!! 



The monies are a combination of the proceeds from Strictly but also from a JustGiving page set up by Team Troon (Graeme and Yvonne Trevis and Greig and Nicola Broon) who recently ran in the Great Scottish Run in Glasgow on behalf of the boys.

Greig and Nicola excelled in the half marathon and Graeme and Yvonne reaped the rewards of months of pounding the streets of Glenrothes by achieving PBs in the 10K event. Well done guys, great effort in terrible conditions!

We are so lucky to have such thoughtful, generous and downright decent friends as Graeme and Yvonne Trevis, their lovely daughters Nicola and Gillian and son in law Greig. We can’t thank them enough for planning and organising this night in support of our boys and feel humbled by the efforts of everyone on the night to raise as much money as possible. It was clear that everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves. Big, huge thanks to all who made this night possible, including Fiona Mackay; Isabel McNab, Gill Allan, the judges, the DJ and the guys from Puddledub.

As dearly departed Bruce (RIP) would have said Keeeeeeeeeeeeeeep dancin’!


Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Orthotist Endorsement!

Ben visited the Orthotist at the Queen Margaret Hospital today as he's been having problems with a lack of support from his insoles and as a result his Physiotherapist referred him. The Orthotist, Ramsay Wallace, has known the boys since their first visit to him probably about 7 years ago.

Ben was an angel and was fitted for nifty new insoles in no time. As we were preparing to leave, Ramsay asked if Ben was now off to school. We replied that he is home schooled on a Monday, Wednesday and Friday. 

Ramsay remarked and we quote "you're obviously doing a super job, I see a huge difference in the boys."

Another day, another appointment but one that ended with a smile for a change with a professional who is dedicated to his work and really does want to help.

Saturday, 14 October 2017

Is Food Refusal Even a Thing?

We have copied this excellent article by Georgiana Barzey of the All Behaviour Consultancy as it captures perfectly the procedures we went through at the start of our journey with Skybound in getting the boys to eat. It is still a work in progress but the boys now have a healthy diet and don't live on dry Cheerios alone!


With food refusal being considered a normal part of typical development, how do you know if you have a fussy eater or a food refuser? If you have a child with a diagnosis of a neurodevelopmental disorder without any other medical conditions such as cleft palate, cerebral palsy, problems with their kidneys or intestines, the chances are that you are dealing with food refusal. Children with neurodevelopmental disorders such as Autism are 40-80% more likely to experience food related disorders such as food refusal than those without neurodevelopmental disorders (Chatoor, 2002). 

Researchers have defined food refusal as the repetitive or constant pattern of accepting only a limited range of foods or in some extreme cases none at all leading to inappropriate weight gain (Field, Garland & Williams 2003). Food refusal can also lead to nutritional deficiencies and can increase the likelihood of cognitive and physical delays (Manikam and Perman, 2000.

Food refusal manifests in a range of behavioural problems around mealtimes that often leave families feeling very restricted or isolated from social events. Going to restaurants, holiday celebrations and even meal times at home can lead to disruptive behaviours. These behaviours include but are not limited to, crying, choking, vomiting, tantrums, closed mouth, spitting out food, gagging and eating on an inconsistent schedule. 

What causes individuals to refuse food?

There three main factors that can cause and contribute to food refusal; medical, oral and behavioural (Piazza, 2008). Medical factors include, allergies, disorders of the gastrointestinal tracts (e.g. reflux) and neurological conditions. The second factors are oral motor difficulties, such as swallowing, chewing and weak oral muscles. The third factor is behavioural. Inappropriate behaviours as mentioned above often serve to avoid or delay intake of non-preferred food that are often related either the medical, oral conditions or a dislike of the texture, colour or taste of the food being presented. Increased attention during mealtimes as caregivers try to encourage food intake can also contribute to the negative cycle of food refusal.

What can I do about it?

Firstly if you are a caregiver and feel that the description above is relevant to you then please do seek professional help. 

The first thing you should do is to explore medical and oral causes of food refusal. Your GP can help with this. Other professionals working in this field include, Speech and Language Therapists, Occupational Therapists, Nutritionists and Behaviour Analysts. In most cases a combination of these professionals would be most helpful. If you know that the problem is non medical or oral then as Behaviour Analysts we can help. 

Research supports the use of behavioural interventions to decrease food selectivity and refusal in individuals with neurodevelopmental disabilities. At All Behaviour Consultancy our aim when addressing food refusal is to increase the amount of food intake, broaden the range food intake and to decrease behaviours and the time it takes to eat. The interventions that we use are grounded in the science of Applied Behaviour Analysis and have documented research evidence to support their efficacy:

Appetite manipulation: Limit access to food and snacks between mealtimes. Try to avoid food intake for up to two hours before mealtimes. Meal times could be scheduled for 8a.m, 12pm, 3pm and 6pm. If you are struggling with food refusal the likelihood is that mealtimes last an average of an hour.

Positive reinforcement: It sounds simple but provide positive social praise for acceptance of food. Providing rewards related to food or access to preferred items or activities after feeding has also been shown to be successful in decreasing/eliminating food refusal. Given the negative cycle often associated with eating, including positive reinforcement based strategies could help to break the negative associations of food and meal times by developing association with positive activities, objects and praise.  

Negative reinforcement: As best as you can ignore disruptive behaviours, keep your language short and your voice neutral and only provide the instructions related to food acceptance. Do not allow negative behaviours to lead to the avoidance or escape from food intake. Consistency holds the key. 


Shaping/food chaining: Mixing and blending non-preferred with highly preferred food also works! Start of with a higher percentage of the preferred food to non preferred food. For example 95% preferred to 5% non-preferred and then work to systematically in increase the amount of non-preferred food whilst decreasing the amount of preferred food It should come to you as no surprise that there is research evidence to support that adding ketchup to vegetables led to an increase acceptance of vegetables without ketchup over time (Ahearn, 2003).

Generalization: As soon as you are able to, explore eating in different areas of the house and out of the home setting. Introduce new foods early on.

-Extinction- You may be successful with a combination of all the above but in most cases extinction procedure will be required. Extinction basically means withholding access to everything but the food until they accept it. Extinction must be done in combination with the above strategies and under the supervision or advice from a professional such as a Behaviour Analyst. 

CASE STUDY

Below is a testimonial from a Learning Support Assistant (LSA) at a mainstream school whom we have provided extensive training in ABA to over the last few years. This LSA asked us for our support with a boy who was refusing food. We were able to provide her with a food refusal program and she was able to use what she has come to know as best practice strategies such as visuals, fading, shaping and reinforcement to support this young boy. Well done to this special LSA! 

When we first started with this boy he would sit on the lunch table and not even face the plate of food that was put in front of him. If asked to turn around or even hold his fork he would grasp at his neck and show signs of anxiety. The only thing we could get him to eat was a banana, at home he would only eat McDonalds chips and bananas and a few other foods such as yoghurt.

After Georgiana set us up with the program we got to implementing it as soon as possible. I also made a picture resource with Velcro.

We started by just putting a small chunk of a new food on his plate and watching it take him 30 minutes to nibble at, but by the end of the term we saw so much progress to the point where he would eat a whole plate of foods that he had tried. An example of this would be; 2 Quarters of a ham sandwich, a box of raisins, a biscuit and a fruit. He would also take a fruit out every playtime on top of this! It’s genuinely so heart warming to see him eating with his friends and seeing the anxiety and fear slowly drop off him as he keeps trying! 

We then sent the programme home with his mum for them to continue over the summer. 

He still will not eat hot foods yet, but we are heading in the right direction! 

Thanks Georgiana  

Reference:

Ahearn, W. H. (2003). Using Simultaneous presentation to increase vegetable consumption in a mildly selective child with Autism, Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 36, 361-365.

Chatoor Feeding disorders in infants and toddlers: diagnosis and treatment
Child Adolesc Psychiatr Clin N Am, 11 (2002), pp. 163-183.

Field, D., Garland, M., & Williams, K. (2003). Correlates of speciļ¬c childhood feeding problems. Journal of Pediatrics and Child Health, 39, 299–304.

Koegel, R. L., Bharoocha, A. A., Ribnick, C. B. Ribnick, R. C., Bucio, M. O., Fredeen, R. M., & Koegel, L. K. (2012). Using Individualized Reinforcer and Hierarchical Exposure Increase food flexibility in children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Journal of Autism Developmental Disorder, 42(8), 1574-1581

Majdowski, A. C, Wallace, M. D., Doney, J. K., & Ghezzi, P. M. (2003) Parental Assessment and treatment of food selectivity in natural settings, Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 36, 383-386.

Piazza, C. (2008). Feeding disorders and behavior: What have we learned? Developmental Disabilities Research Reviews, 14, 174–181