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s I sit down to write this article my ears are alerted to the radio quietly murmuring in the background. Radio 4 is running a series called Books to change your life by. Bel Mooney is introducing 15 minute segments of some of the most famous so-called self-help books. On Monday it was How to Win Friends and Influence People. The authors point seemed to be that if we show genuine interest in others then others will warm to us. On Tuesday the chosen book was Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. This was a book that one of my sons tried to get me to read years ago - but two pages in left me cold with disinterest. Hearing a section of it made me see that I had missed a very important read, for this author had seen a system in motor bikes and their engines and journeys that I would never have dreamed of. However, I have recently discovered that Zen thinking is hugely useful for getting this world of ours into perspective. The Wednesday extract was from Dorothy Rowes The Successful Self. To my delight, she was discussing the very topic of this article. She maintains that suffering comes from three places: the planet, our body and our refusal to understand ourselves. Alone, our ability to influence the planet is pretty minimal, although together we can do much. The other two sources of suffering are inextricably linked - but our refusal to understand ourselves is the relevant one for this article.

Are you being served?

While decisions and choices made long ago can serve us well through life, they can also keep us stuck in a rut. Life coach Jo Middlemiss encourages us to start 2007 with a greater degree of awareness so we can move on from decisions that are no longer of benefit.
with What look, Miss? which caused even more annoyance. Consequently my school life was not a great experience, but during my teaching days I could always recognise that look on the faces of my own pupils! For years I never thought to challenge my decision - and perhaps my teacher would be surprised at the effect of her sudden burst of anger. My teachers would also be surprised to know that my lifes work now is about helping people to understand, deal with and release emotions rather than suppress, repress and bury them. A relative by marriage was badly beaten by older boys at his boarding school. He sobbed in a cold toilet cubicle for hours because he didnt want to be seen by his peers or by the bullies, but on that night a huge part of his emotional life was shut down. The next time he dropped a tear was at the death of an aged Labrador. He is a very senior person now, but the decision to bury tough emotional reactions turns up in his shoulders and in sleeplessness. So in this first article of the New Year I would like to encourage readers to review decisions made once but which no longer serve. You will recognise these decisions in yourself and others when you hear, I never; I always; I dont; In our family thats not the way we do things and so on and so on. Although we make some valuable decisions which serve us through life, for the most part we can stay stuck in unhelpful positions simply from a failure to look at decisions with some degree of awareness. Only last week I attended the funeral of an old friend. Another friend, who was even closer to them, chose not to come because she never goes to fu-

nerals. That of course is her prerogative, but it is also a family tradition: The women of our family dont go to funerals. She missed so much from that decision. The funeral was uplifting and joyous and enormously supportive to the bereaved family. To challenge old decisions, one has to be prepared to embrace change. Much has been written about change but two quotes encompass my view very well. I believe it was Winston Churchill who said something like, Take change by the hand or it will take you by the throat. Another favourite is credited to Gail Sheeley: If we dont change we dont grow. If we dont grow, were not really living.

I believe
As we start this year it is a good idea to review the past year and make note of all the things that worked well for us. All the things we are grateful for and all the things we could have improved on had we the luxury of that very fine science - hindsight. Then make a What I believe about list. Here are some ideas to help you: Women Men Young people Work Relationships Money Friends My body Myself Commitment Life Death. As the answers you give are completely private there is no option but to be honest. When you have finished, put an asterisk beside the beliefs that uphold and support you and circle the ones that cause negative thoughts in your head. Where do these beliefs come from and are you being served by continuing to live by them? Could they be a result of conditioning from a long time ago? I have a client who believes that Women cant be trusted. He holds this belief because he perceives that he was let down by both his mother and his ex-wife. Now this man professes to want to be in a stable and loving relationship and also to work with women, yet his underlying philosophy about women is that they cannot be trusted. The result? - Internal conflict on a grand scale. Looking at and challenging that belief became our task. We did a search for women that he did in fact trust. (I was glad to be included in his list but there were several others.) So the belief was recognised as a very unhelpful sweeping generalisation. We then set about changing the nature of that belief. Firstly he had to learn to trust himself and his own instincts. Secondly he had to be completely trustworthy himself, recognising that most people are capable of

Survival decisions
At a very early stage in our lives we make survival decisions and we begin to design our model of the world. Tiny children learn that, to be looked after, they need to be good. This conditioning is reinforced endlessly by well-meaning and malevolent adults alike. I once heard my very loving and generous husband saying to our toddler, Big boys of two and a half dont cry! Really! But that very little boy of two and a half learned that day that crying somehow wasnt manly. My big husband of fifty eight has since learned the value of crying.

For years I never thought to challenge my decision - and perhaps my teacher would be surprised at the effect of her sudden burst of anger.
When I was five, I too made a crying decision. One day during my first year at school I was picked up and spanked for playing with a big blob of paint on a cleaned surface. I shook for the rest of the day with humiliation and shock, but can remember to this moment my decision that I would never cry in school. And I never did. This resolution did not work for me because I acquired a look that irritated teachers beyond knowing. I was frequently told to wipe that look off your face and I would always respond




Phrase Maker is an AAC device where users can select pre-recorded words and / or phrases to create their own sentences. It includes a single switch mode and costs $429.95.

Language Games
A Plymouth Sure Start team has released a CD of resources. Language Games includes original artwork for the user to make games to promote young childrens communication skills in a variety of settings. The material includes lotto boards, Funny Faces and Washing Line. Prices are from 47, with discounts for orders of more than 5. Details: Wendy Myers (Receptionist), LARK Childrens Centre, tel. 01752 313293.

RCP leaets
double-dealing in certain circumstances. Finally he had to put his mind to attracting trustworthy women rather than repelling them with his own lack of trust. His new belief became: I trust myself to recognise the many trustworthy women that I meet. As you listen to other peoples conversations this week, notice the level of sweeping generalisations that go overlooked in everyday speech: All politicians are liars; Men dont show their emotions; Young people today; Muslims; Catholics...; Americans... etcetera, etcetera. It all adds up to a mesh of subtle prejudice which may have a base in real incidents but is multiplied by myth. The Royal College of Psychiatrists has produced leaflets on obsessive compulsive disorder and self-harm.

Fixing the NHS

The BBC and the Open University are supporting the 3-programme television series Can Gerry Robinson Fix the NHS? with a website.

The Fragile X Society Winter 2006 newsletter includes several articles relating to transitions, including holidays from residential placements, death in the family and supported living. Tel. 01371 875100

Parkinsons Awareness
Parkinsons Awareness Week runs from 16-22 April 2007. The Parkinsons Disease Society will be launching a DVD aimed at all newly diagnosed people.

Deafness story
Moonbird is a story book for 4-8 year olds by Joyce Dunbar, whose son, like herself, went deaf at the age of 5. A synopsis ( says, A Moonchild blows a bubble that pops on an Earth baby and surrounds him in silence. He cannot hear or speak. His parents, a King and Queen, are devastated when they realize but a Moonbird teaches the little prince how to use his hands and eyes to communicate. (Source: oneinseven (RNID))

Put an asterisk beside the beliefs that uphold and support you and circle the ones that cause negative thoughts in your head.
We cant challenge it nationally or internationally until we challenge it individually. So that is how I intend to launch 2007. Dont let old decisions and resolutions blight your happy tomorrows. As Mahatma Ghandi almost said, We must be the change we want to see. References Carnegie, D. (2007) How to Win Friends and Influence People. London: Vermilion. Mooney, B. (2007) Books to Change Your Life By. Radio 4, Monday 1 Friday 5 January. Pirsig, R.M. (1999) Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. London: Vintage. Rowe, D. (1996) The Successful Self. London: HarperCollins. SLTP

Changing Places
The Changing Places Consortium website includes a map showing the locations of Changing Places public toilets. These have enough space for disabled people and their carers and the right equipment. Six Changing Places toilets won certification in the 2006 Loo of the Year Awards.;

Signalong on CD
Signalong is phasing out photocopiable resources in favour of CDs and is planning to make publications available for purchase online. Other new resources include Babys First Words, Going to School, On the Slopes and We Have Feelings Too.

Global contact
Contact a Familys web service to ease contact between parents of children with rare conditions across the globe is now available to speakers of languages other than English. The site itself has also been translated into Arabic, Farsi, Simplified Chinese and Somali, to cater for the majority of new entrants to the UK.

Medical translation
Doctor Babel offers translation of a simple medical record into other languages, for people to take with them when they travel abroad (20). The website includes a printable leaflet for professionals to give to clients and a free translatable dialogue for use by medical professionals. (Source: The Encephalitis Society)

Head and neck guidelines

The Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network has published clinical guidelines on diagnosis and management of head and neck cancer. Emer Scanlon was the speech and language therapy representative on the group.

Jo Middlemiss is a qualified Life Coach with a background in education and relationship counselling, tel. 01356 648329, www. dreamzwork. Jo offers readers a complimentary half-hour telephone coaching session (for the cost only of your call). You may want to phone Jo if you are going through a major change (such as coping with being a student, starting a first job, promotion or returning to work after a career break), or if you find yourself in circumstances which make it difficult for you to do your job in the way you want to. While all Jos work informs Winning Ways, your contact is confidential, and no personal or identifying details will be given.

Screening test
GAPS (Grammar and Phonology Screening) is a new 10 minute test for 31/2 - 61/2 year olds designed to be used by a variety of professionals and parents. Researcher Professor Heather van der Lely is confident that the test will pick up many cases of language problems that would otherwise be missed by teachers, parents and clinicians. It may also identify the true extent of language impairment in children.

Home software
Topologika Software is offering a buy three, get the cheapest free promotion on its home editions.

Boardmaker 6
Boardmaker V6 is now available from Don Johnston, with special prices until 30th April.

Reading scheme
POPS (Plenty of Potential) resources started two years ago when the mother of a child with additional support needs got frustrated with the limitations of his reading scheme. (Source: Afasic News)

New avours
SLO pre-thickened drinks now come in a peach version (available on prescription) and a Cadburys Hot Chocolate. The manufacturers have also produced an information leaflet which can be included in a patients notes on discharge.

Disability training
Scope has developed an interactive training toolkit for Disability Equality Training to enable people in organisations of any size to gain an effective understanding quickly.

The Health Professions Council has sample continuing professional development profiles on its website.


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