Tag Archives: sensory processing

Do you see what I see?

2 Apr

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I see a boy sat alone, yet smiling and playing

You see a loner, the strange kid, the odd one!

I see a boy frustrated, confused and distressed

You see a brat with no respect, no decent upbringing!

I see a boy stood talking, trying to make a connection, a possible friend. He gets it wrong because of something he said wasn’t seen as appropriate. His been left rejected and upset.

You see a trouble maker, a boy who is rude and makes it his mission to offend.

I see a boy walk into a busy playground, I then see parents like you shaking your heads as you rush to gather your kids. I now see a boy stood playing in a large empty space alone!

You see “That Kid” from before, the one who swore as he throw himself on the floor, shouting at children like yours for accidentally running into him, pushing him as they chased a ball.

I see a boy stood drawing a tear as he watches the school coach leaving!.

You see the boy who ruins it for others. you see it as a blessing that he isn’t attending the school trip. Beyond this you see nothing.

I see a gathering of mothers stood at the school gate laughing. I see the reaction they give as I’m passing… Silence whispers and staring.

You see that mother, the one who drags up her kids… Failing to install good values, respect and self discipline

I see a sweet boy who has the tendency to become easily distressed

You see a boy who throws a wobbler whenever he fails to get the things that he wants.

I see a boy excitedly speaking to others about his interest. He speaks quickly announcing all he knows on the subject. A boy who hasn’t yet released its his time to quit speaking .

You see a boy who dominates conversation, his rude letting no one get a word in edge ways. You see a bore, a child who is self obsessed and selfish… Spoilt and for that you blame me… The parent.

I see a boy who counts to ten before speaking a child who has learnt that this may stop him from potentially offending.

You see an odd boy, one who can only be described as slow and profoundly stupid.

I see a boy who cares about “The Rules” who therefore reminds his peers that those rules are not to be broken.

You see a boy who is bossy. A child who is likely raised by a control freak!

I see a boy who is actually very bright, he has qualities that others could only hope for. I see a boy who continuously tries to get it right. A boy who gets up every time his knocked down, never giving up, nor giving in. Yes he can be naughty his a boy after all. But should you gather your kids and run when you see him… No! why… what ever for?

You see nothing I see.. How could you ever see what I see if you refuse to look a little closer.

You can’t see autism, it doesn’t get stamped on the head of a baby at birth. But knowing just how autism can present is an education you need. With numbers rising there is a good chance the child who sits next to yours at school or even that work colleague you have drinks with on Friday is on the autism spectrum.

My child like many is capable of just as much as you or I. He is an individual, with interests, talents, weaknesses and at time difficulties… We all are as human beings.

Certain areas of his brain work somewhat differently making some areas of life more challenging… Social communication, sensory processing and black and white thinking are to name but a few! Yet that doesn’t mean he should be judged or discriminated against.

Its not the traits of autism that make my sons life more challenging but the way others perceive them traits. His happy with himself 98% of the time and just wants you to except him but more importantly… Understand him!

After all… Where does being “Average” get you?

So I ask you… One this day aimed at raising awareness for those with autism and Asperger’s syndrome. Do you see what I see?

Or Will you at least try to see it Now?

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Tips For Parents Of Tactile Defensive Children (Part 1 – Hygiene Problems)

6 Feb

Many children On the autism spectrum have some degree of sensory integration difficulties. As a parent of a child diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome with accompanying sensory integration problems, I know just how difficult some situations can become for both parent and child.

One of the senses in particular that little man has problems with Is that of his tactile sense, hypersensitivity to touch/tactile input. As his aged with appropriate Interventions Little man is slowly learning different types of coping strategies to deal with such difficulties.

As a child and still to some extent, I myself was very tactile defensive growing up. As a child with OCD I also developed compulsions and rituals that involved me having to touch certain textures that I didn’t like, a required number of times in order to stop bad things happening. This itself made my sensory defensiveness very hard for others to spot!

I guess the above means that to certain degree I have that much of a better understanding of little mans difficulties within the area of tactile hypersensitivity. Nonetheless, there was areas of difficulty for little man that I had never experienced and to some extent would have never related both the symptom and associated behaviour together. A good example of this would be little man’s reluctance to bath. It took a while for me to realise that it wasn’t the fact he was lazy with no desire to wash, but it was instead the way his body felt when getting out off the bath (wrinkly tight skin, the feeling of wetness within certain areas of the body etc…).

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So, that’s why today I would like to share some of the tips and strategies I have learnt, that help my little man with some of the difficulties he experiences at the hands of tactile hypersensitivity. All these difficulties affect the area of personal hygiene.

Teeth Brushing: Little man hates brushing his teeth and will try and avoid at any cost. This is because the way his mouth feels during & following this action. He also gets rather upset that his taste buds have changed when he drinks anything shortly after brushing his teeth. Just explaining that such experiences are short lived and resolve themselves quickly, doesn’t make any difference to a child like little man. So what do you do?

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Tip… Buy only soft tooth brushes. I buy brushes designed for toddlers milk teeth. Its not ideal him using them at 12 years old, nonetheless, I’d rather he brushed with this than nothing at all. As well as the soft brush he also uses toothpaste designed for smaller, younger teeth. This toothpastes doesn’t give off the same sensations. They are lower or except from certain ingredients altogether, therefore avoiding any burning or ultra cooling sensation in the mouth. This also leaves little taste behind and that first drink isn’t as daunting as it was before. I know he will need to use better toothpaste as he goes into his teenage years so have therefore started to look at the different options available in terms of products… Is there actually a toothpaste designed for those with tactile defensiveness? Big gap in the market there if there isn’t! Any suggestions, please do leave them in the comment section.

Bathing: Little man will need me to start requesting he baths in the morning in order to ensure he eventually gives in on the refusal front and is in the tub come late evening. Reasons for the refusal is mainly centred around tactile sensations shortly following a swim in the tub. He understands that the feeling of wetness within certain body areas is quickly fixed with a towel but it still concerns him leading to avoidance. One of the reasons this is, is that he also hates the sensation of tight clean skin, wrinkly fingers etc… That are very present (probably more so) once you have towel dried.

Tips: I must first add, that little man actually loves the shower, sadly we don’t have one and can not afford a shower fitment over our bath. So, why is it different and why might a shower be a better option for your tactile defensive child? Well… the water is aimed downwards in a continuous flowing motion, there is little opportunity for water to really sit on skin in large amounts. When showering the body has not been submerged in water. This therefore removes that sensation of tightness to the skin and wrinkly fingers and toes.

Little man again loves swimming and this itself confused me. Later, I actually discovered he liked the smell of Chlorine and thought that it cleansed his skin of dirt, meaning he could avoid a bath later on at home lol. The fact there is a shower at the swimming baths is another big Incentive to swim. He will protest on an evening his been swimming, that he don’t need the bath his been in the chlorine filled pool plus showered too! For me it was more reason to get him in that bath.

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Good products… I never give little man soap to use. This itself makes the skin super tight and squeaky clean, sending him loopy. I myself, don’t use soap for the dislike of tightness plus sensitive skin. We instead use a good sensitive body wash with little fragrance. But saying this Little man also seeks out certain smells and some actually help encourage him to bath. The boy loves lush and colour changing bath bombs can have him running to the bathroom. These are normally quite highly fragranced so I am pleased they are all natural handmade products with many of them correcting some of the tactile sensations he develops.

Recently we discovered a product from Olay that is a body wash with added body lotion helping to lock in moisture therefore removing the dry, tight sensation. It seems weird as body lotion is something we apply following a bath but it does really work.

DIY… When we recently ran out of our Olay product sent from the gods, and I couldn’t find it anywhere in the shops, I decided to get all DIY! I added some Johnson’s Baby Lotion to a bottle of Simple body wash and can you believe it? It really did work! Excluding the odd oily blob of floating mixture in the bath, its actually a really clever and effective solution.

So… Overall use good products to help reduce sensations, apply good body creams and lotions following a bath too.

Use a good quality towel that isn’t hard or stiff. If you have a tumble dryer then use it to keep towels fluffy and warm.

Make bath times fun and sensory inviting with water colour changers, bath paint and our favourite… Crazy Soap.

If you have a shower, give your child the option. Its my experience that a shower is less likely to bring on such extreme feelings of tactile discomfort.

Hand-washing: Little man needs constant prompts to wash his hands. Sometimes seeing is believing so if he can’t see dirt he thinks there must be no germs so no need to wash them. Again he hates the sensation of wet hands or those that feel funny after using certain soaps or hand wash. Other times little man just plain forgets, especially after using the toilet.

Tips….

Prove It: I used an ultraviolet light to reveal the unseen germs on little mans hands…. After all education is important for any child. I also directed him to online youtube videos and resources that explain the differences about dirt and unseen germs (what you can’t see really can hurt you). However, for you a more gentle approach maybe necessary. Children on the autism spectrum can be easily frightened and become over obsessive about subjects, therefore worrying about contamination and then as a result, engage in too much hand-washing! You know your child best!

Visual clues: Just a sign on the toilet wall that states “Now Please Wash Your Hands” that is visible when your child goes to pull the chain, can be enough to jog their memory and have them running to the bath room sink. We had one of them cute posters in a cartoon format that read pretty much the same reminder.

The Right Handwash & Hand-cream: A good handwash instead of soap. Little man then applies a hand cream to replace moisture back into the skin correcting the sensation of tightness. Buy your child a pocket travel size hand cream to take out and about with them, including school.

Child Friendly Hand Sanitisers: Sometimes when out and about your child may refuse to use a public washroom sink for a string of reasons like the horrid liquid in the soap dispensers or a fear of the electronic hand fans (used to scare Little man rotten). On the market there are now really good alcohol free Hands sanitisers (we have reviewed a few here on the blog). These, followed by the application of travel sized hand cream could be the answer.

Nail clipping & Cleaning: By far one of Little man’s worst feared hygiene task. It’s highly embarrassing for your child to have dirty nails and it’s also highly embarrassing for you, the parent that your child has such dirty nails. Little man just finds the sensation of freshly cut nails totally unbearable. He also freaks out when cleaning instruments are used, saying it makes him feel fuzzy. Now, I can share some tips I’ve been given but sadly we are still struggling. Nonetheless, you may have more success. If you have any tips of your own, that you feel myself and the Little man could benefit from then please leave a comment below.

Tips: Crystal nail files can help! I have a Leighton Denny glass file and its gentle and kinder to nails. Still its a struggle for use as he still refuses, freaks out and dislikes the cleaning process that you need to undertake first.

Allow your child to clip and clean nails themselves. Your child then has better control over how short to cut them and the sensations felt with differing lengths. Again we still struggle (Only ever provide such an option to older children.)

Incentives aka good old bribery. Not really a tip as such and quite bad advise but something I admit resorting to. Funny enough he still often doesn’t give in, even if I’m offering something exciting.

Try nail brushes for cleaning. We have a very nice soft nail brush with extra fine bristles that Little man is leaning to tolerate.

Remember, don’t cut too short. If the feeling of freshly cut nails is really overpowering, you will get nowhere near them with the clippers next time. Plus if you catch the skin you may as well forget ever trying again… Not gonna happen!

Try nail scissors instead of clippers. These don’t cut so bluntly decreasing the sensation that’s felt following the task.

Warning: Don’t ever, ever, even try and cut your child’s nails while they are sleeping! One minute he was snoring, I was clipping away thinking “Gotcha Now” When the next thing I knew the clippers were on the floor and I was following them with a freshly punched nose. Not his fault, he acted on impulse having been woken due to a sensation he finds horrific! Yes, just because they are in the land of nod doesn’t mean the brain doesn’t produce messages of uncomfortable tactile sensations!

The Transition To Secondary School For A Child With Aspergers Syndrome

6 Sep

So, the time finally came, Little man’s return to school as a secondary pupil.

I noticed that in the run-up to the big day, Little man’s anxiety levels rose and as a result we did have a rather difficult last few weeks of the holidays.

I was dreading the whole “getting him up in the mornings” scenario. He tends to be the ultimate nightmare to wake, given he usually doesn’t go to sleep till the small hours. Unless you experience such sleepless nights paired with early mornings, you can only but imagine the utter tiredness his experiencing. Consequently I do understand… After all someone needs to keep a watchful eye on him over night.

I’ve tried my best to maintain his bedtime routine during the holidays (that’s if you can really call it a routine)! He usually goes to his room and just doesn’t shut down. His like a long life battery. Melatonin isn’t something we rate highly, and even through the slow releasing type sometimes has a small effect every now and then, it’s far from a reliable answer to the problem. On a high note, little man is more wary of the problem and understands that bit more that it’s this situation leaving him feeling crap throughout the day. He now gets rather upset when struggling to fall asleep and by 3am his almost certainly at the point of tears. When it isn’t a school day and his little eyes haven’t closed till 4am, I’m tempted to leave him to sleep throughout the day. However, as one would expect, this is no solution! Things just become a million times harder in the long run.

So, back to my original point… I was dreading getting the Little man up and ready for school. The nasty insults that fly out of his tired mouth are nothing… I’m used to these! It’s just the whole destruction it causes to the morning. He will often refuse to wash for sensory reasons and once he has I’m faced with the struggle of convincing him to dress. The taxi can be sat outside while the escort is stood at the door and he will still be in his pants. Not ideal but something you get used to.

His first day back was in-fact yesterday (5th September 2012) and to my utter surprise, the morning wasn’t as bad as expected. He almost seemed excited about his day. Tuesday I took little man and the tiny tot to Drayton Manor Theme park and zoo. It’s the home of Thomas Land and we were there to review a new Thomas film just released on DVD, and of course the park itself. Little man had an awesome day and didn’t experience a single meltdown while at the park (in the car was a different story but given it’s a 3hr drive each way, he can be forgiven). I think it was a combination of the long car Journey and the whole day spent at the park that resulted in him actually sleeping before midnight.

He woke Wednesday morning with a somewhat positive outlook towards the day ahead and given it was his first day back, this left me astounded. The fact that Little man had spent the last two weeks of the last term before the summer holidays integrating from the primary building into the secondary department, had obviously helped him a great deal. Now he was better prepared mentally! Yes their was lots of anxiety still, but at least he wasn’t just stepping into the unknown. Anxiety seems to be a pretty common trait for those with Aspergers Syndrome and for me It’s one of the hardest issues to tackle. It’s both heartbreaking and worrying seeing your young child so stressed, especially when the cause is beyond your control.

Little man had his new stationary that was kindly given to him by STABILO all packed and ready and his lunch loaded into his lunch bag when the escort knocked at 8.30 am. He was quite literally ready to go as soon as she arrived. I’m guessing this was something of a surprise to his escort… But a pleasant one all the same!

Throughout the morning I received no emails or calls from the school highlighting any concerns. Any parent can tell you, especially those of a child with SEN, this is always a lovely sign that things are going well.

Come afternoon however, I did receive an email from the class teacher! Luckily this wasn’t to report some challenging behaviour or other equally concerning matter! It was just in-order to let me know that as from the next day, little man wouldn’t be allowed to bring in his chicken burger as they will no longer be heating his food in the microwave! Little man’s school has such a small number of pupils that school dinners are not practical, and even if they were, I’m guessing so little children would opt to have them. Little man wouldn’t even entertain the prospect of even trying school dinners during his time spent at his old mainstream primary school. This wasn’t a huge concern as living 2 minutes away, I was able to collect him, feed him, then drop him back.

Little man will not touch a packed lunch regardless of what’s in it. He may eat such items at home but as soon as your packing it, his not touching it. Warm wrapped sandwiches, warm yogurts, and warm apple juice don’t appeal. Putting it in the fridge doesn’t seem to make much difference, the issue that it was put into the box more than an hour ago seems to be a big no-no for him.

It was decided last term that he could bring a chicken burger and heat it up in school. He has no cheese, sauce, or anything else. Just a flame grilled (not breaded) piece of chicken in a bun. He also has lots of fruit and a drink. His concentration levels were therefore reported to be better in the afternoon as he was finally eating, and I was pleased that I was no longer being presented with an untouched lunchbox at 4pm… I couldn’t afford to keep this up!

The new teacher has stated he needs a healthier lunch and I’m lost at what I’m going to do. Don’t get me wrong, I understand the school have their reasons and I’m in no way stating they are in the wrong, I’m just at logger heads at what to do! Today little man arrived home with an untouched lunchbox. I don’t even thing he touched his drink.

20120906-183846.jpgLittle man’s untouched packed lunch.

He was really upset yesterday. Having received the email I had replied stating that I wished the school to inform him of this change, I knew he wouldn’t be happy and I didn’t want him thinking it was my doing. Of course when he arrived home screaming and yelling, I had to support the school in-order to be consistent! He would otherwise struggle more with this decision and a challenging child at school was the last thing I wanted. However he did cry on his return yesterday, he protested that he had done all his work, tried his best and behaved appropriately! He felt as if it was some type of punishment (as always I blame the old school for such a way of thinking)!

We obviously had some difficulties this morning but despite his upset and empty tummy, I’ve received an email from his teacher alerting me to the fact he has had a really good day. His reported to be doing great in secondary and is settling into the routine better than expected. She also informed me that they had a chat about lunch and suggested maybe taking a flask of soup or pasta. We will try this as on his return today his eaten half the contents of the fridge which for me is much more unhealthy than the burger.

So… There it is, an update of little mans first few days as a child with Aspergers attending secondary school at an independent special school. How I’m relived to have gotten him out of the mainstream education sector in time! I’m convinced that this post would have contained content that displayed nothing but heartache if I hadn’t!

Sensory Fun with Crazy Soap

26 Jun

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We have massive issues trying to convince Little man to jump in the tub.

His very tactile defensive which can make the whole malarkey of washing something of a battle.

I use sensory play to help the little man get used to certain textures in order for him to cope with them on a daily basis.

Sensory play can also be really fun for the whole family especially pre-schoolers. I’m forever looking for ways to bring sensory fun into the bathroom, especially for the little man (no mother wants bath time battles after all).

This year I was really excited to discover that Crazy Soap would be the main sponsor of the inspire category in the Mad blog Awards. The guys at Crazy Soap have some really fun sensory bath time products that kids and grown ups alike love.

I’ve tried all the products out with the help of my three children, it was really important for me that this sat well with little man because as mentioned bath time is still a struggle for him.

Before letting the children loose with some crazy soap in the tub, I filled a huge bowl with water and with the children tried out the crazy selection as a team.

We did have some really good sensory fun with all the products we tested and each one has become a regular addition to the bathroom cabinet (especially for Little Man).

For Little man in particular the Crazy Soap bath time fun soap was really enjoyed. This pliable foam soap can be shaped and even bounced (no seriously this stuff does actually bounce). As we are a family who engages in lots of sensory activity we would normally use shaving foam for this type of play. However Crazy Soap has a much firmer texture and is more easily moulded into various shapes making it much more fun to play with. Plus this has a PH balanced formula to gently cleanse and moisturise delicate skin which all of my children have. We tried the Glorious Green and Original White which for me smelt very fresh and clean. Some wash products are far to over powering for little man but this was just right.

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Next up we tried the fabulous Crazy Soap bath paint which i thought would mean I’d be left with lots of mess to clean! So, I won’t lie… I wasn’t wrong, but it was mess that was easy to clean. The paint comes in a squeezy tube with a sponge on the end (perfect for little hands which meant my toddler of two had lots of fun). Children can paint pictures on the tiles around the bath to keep them entertained or even paint themselves (this counts as washing without actually realising it, great for kids with sensory processing disorders or autism). Again the product has a PH balanced formula to gently cleanse and moisturise delicate skin it rinses off the body and bath easily and is available in the colours Red and Blue.

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Crazy Soap Bath Goo… I loved this stuff! Thick scoopable bath gel that once added to water creates thick long lasting foam bubbles. This isn’t like other goo, it has an incredible texture to it. As mentioned Little man is mainly tactile defensive to lots of different materials and textures. However when he does find a texture he loves he becomes a sensory seeker. He absolutely loved the texture of this goo and we ended up going through one pot in just a couple of baths (Little Sister wasn’t impressed). Bath goo is therefore fantastic for any little sensory seeker and is a great way of making bath time fun. Bath Goo has a PH balanced formula to gently cleanse and moisturise delicate skin.

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So there you have it. At long last some fabulous bath products that are really great for all children including those that have difficulty with sensory processing.

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Crazy Soap isn’t the cheapest of kids bath ranges available but in my view there are certainly not the most expensive either. Crazy Soap Products range from around £2-£3 and are available in most big name stores and supermarkets such as Tescos and Sainsburys.

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Visit the Crazy Soap website to find out more or find them on Facebook

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This is not a paid review but I did receive some product samples to enable the children to try these out and for me to share our honest feedback. Crazy Soap is now a product I buy on a weekly basis.

Why your child with Aspergers Syndrome May need an OT Assessment

24 May

Does your child with Aspergers Syndrome have difficulties with their fine and gross motor skills as well as that of their sensory processing.

If the answer is yes, you should consider getting an assessment from an occupational therapist (OT).

In Little mans case, this was highly recommended by an independent educational psychologist during an assessment in preparation for our pending tribunal hearing early last year. I’d always had concerns regarding some of his motor skills especially that of fine motor skills, handwriting mainly. I guess i wasn’t fully prepared for the final report, which admittedly came as somewhat of a shock!

However, knowing the true extent of these difficulties has allowed me understand why little man struggles within certain areas, plus since getting the statement amended he now has regular OT sessions within his special school.

The final report which was written by an independent OT based in Harley street London was a real eye opener, not only highlighting his motor difficulties but that of his poor sensory processing too.

It’s extremely important to think along the lines of OT when applying for a statuary assessment and beginning the process of requesting a statement of SEN. Once you have that statement and it’s all agreed, it will be a good year before the annual review, your next opportunity to request amendments!

Below I’m sharing some of the findings from Little mans OT report.

The report is sadly far to large to include everything so I’ve chosen some important factors that may affect others like little man.

Many see Aspergers as just a social communication and behavioural condition. This is simply not always the case!

Note I have Removed my sons real name and replaced this with the name you all know… Little man.

Behaviour during Testing
Little Man presented as a friendly young boy and was generally co-operative whilst completing table top activities during the first half of the assessment was and able to complete the assessment tasks with prompting and encouragement. However, Little man found the gross motor tasks during the second part of the assessment more challenging and needed constant prompting to complete the assessment.

Strength
Little man showed some difficulty with completing the given tasks of maintaining postures against gravity and practicing push-ups and sit ups. While practicing push-ups, shoulder abduction and pelvic tilt were noticed. It has to be noted that such activities apart from the strength, require a good level of motor planning sequencing of movements, and overall body awareness. Little man’s performance points to a mild difficulty in this area that is related to sensory input processing from joints and muscles.

Running Speed and Agility
Little Man scored below the average expected for his age group when tested on the subtest for Running Speed and Agility, showing some difficulty in this area. Items included a shuttle run and hopping activities. Little man managed appropriately with the shuttle run but showed some difficulty with hopping on one leg whilst stationary. He also struggled with items such as stepping sideways over a balance beam, and doing a two-legged side hop, which requires a high level of motor planning.

Results following a number of different tests

Little man presents with difficulty coordinating complex motor movements and higher level motor planning due to reduced vestibular-proprioceptive processing. These systems work closely together to give us a sense of where we are in space and of how our body works (strength, muscles, balance). He does not always rely on autonomic control and this means it will take him longer to complete tasks and need additional time to acquire new skills. His movements are not always refined and timed.This will directly impact upon his ability to produce handwriting at an age appropriate speed and develop more complex gross and fine motor skills that involve higher level motor planning and overall body configuration.

HANDWRITING

Little man held the pencil in his right hand with his thumb overlapping his index finger. He applied increased grip and writing pressure. He needed prompting to use his left hand as a stabilizer whilst writing. Little man sat on the edge of his seat with his trunk in flexion, leaning forward a lot.
Little man presented with some difficulty with handwriting, in particular letter formation and the spacing of his letters. His handwriting speed was also slow and appeared laborious. His increased writing pressure, poor knowledge of mechanical elements of handwriting and decreased planning suggests Little man must work extra hard to complete handwriting tasks, which involve fine motor control. It also indicates difficulties with sequencing and planning.This will impact significantly on Little man’s ability to complete written work in an expected time frame and to complete written tests on time.

Results of Little Mans sensory profile indicated difficulties with sensory processing and sensory modulation.
In addition the factor summary of the questionnaire indicated that Little man shows a Definite Difference with sensory seeking, emotional reactivity, low endurance/tone, oral sensitivity, inattention/distractibility, poor registration and sensory sensitivity.

Sensory Processing
Sensory processing refers to how we process sensory information from our environment and our bodies. We receive information from the following senses: touch (tactile); hearing (auditory); taste (gustatory); smell (olfactory); sight (visual); proprioception and vestibular. Little man has difficulty with sensory processing in all the above areas.

The auditory processing differences for Little man are apparent in the fact that he is distracted or has trouble functioning if there is a lot of noise around. It is reported that Little man appears to not hear what people say at times and that he enjoys strange noises.

The visual processing differences for Little man are apparent in the fact that he occasionally expresses discomfort with or avoids bright lights and becomes frustrated when trying to find objects in competing backgrounds. It is reported that he frequently has a hard time finding objects in competing backgrounds.

The vestibular sense allows a person to sense body movement, direction, and acceleration, and to attain and maintain postural equilibrium and balance. This then impacts on all areas of the person’s development and in particular, motor-co ordination. Little man’s difficulties in this area of processing are apparent in that he constantly seeks movement to the point where this interferes with his daily routine. It is reported that he spins or twirls himself occasionally throughout the day.

The touch processing differences for Little man are apparent in that he is sensitive to certain fabrics. It is reported that he expresses distress during grooming. Little man also has difficulty with standing in line or standing close to other people.

The multisensory processing differences for Little man are apparent in that he has difficulty paying attention and looks away from tasks to notice all actions in the room.

The oral sensory processing differences for Little man are apparent and that he will only eat certain tastes and prefers sweet food. It is reported that he is a picky eater and that he craves certain foods such as sugar drinks and coffee.

Sensory Modulation
Modulation is the ability to regulate/maintain arousal so that you can orient, focus attention on meaningful sensory events, and maintain an alert but relaxed state. It is this optimum level of arousal which allows us to function meaningfully within our environment. Some people have difficulty modulating sensory information. This can result in being over or under stimulated. We all have thresholds that need to be met by incoming sensory input. Without adequate sensory input we are unable to maintain an organised calm state. If an individual’s thresholds are too high they will need more intense input to meet their needs. If their thresholds are too low they will be easily overwhelmed. Little man is easily overwhelmed and becomes emotionally over reactive. It is reported that he easily becomes distressed at home and school when he finds situations difficult and overwhelming.

Conclusion
These clinical observations as well as the standardised assessments indicate that reduced sensory processing and modulation, and low muscle tone may be impacting on Little man’s ability to perform gross and fine motor tasks successfully.

Vestibular processing is our sense of movement and is closely related to the proprioceptive system. It tells us what direction we are moving, where we are in space and what speed we are moving at. Vestibular input can help to organise and refocus the body. Little man has some difficulty with registering and processing vestibular information, which is impacting on his co-ordination skills and ability to sit still for extended periods of time.

Proprioception is the understanding of where our limbs are in relation to ourselves. This information is provided by the stimulation of receptors in our muscles and joints. Proprioceptive feedback informs us where our arms and legs are without looking (e.g. being able to unfasten an apron that ties at the back).

When our proprioceptive sense works well, we make continual and automatic adjustments in our position. This sense helps us to stay in an optimal position in a chair; to hold utensils such as a pencil or fork in the right way; to judge how to manoeuvre through space so that we do not bump into things; to know how far to stand away from people so we are not too close or too far; to plan how much pressure to exert so we do not break a pencil lead or a toy; and to change actions that we are not successful with, such as the throwing of a ball that was off target.

Since proprioception helps us with such basic functions, difficulties in this system can cause many challenges for a child. Little man has difficulty with this and this is impacting on gross motor and fine motor tasks in all areas of daily living such as school work and play.

Low muscle tone relates to the tension of the muscles. A certain amount of tension is required to maintain positions and to allow co-ordinated controlled movements. For some children, the level of tension in the muscles is lower than other children of the same age, and so they require more effort to maintain the same positions/postures. Little man’s low muscle tone means that he would find it difficult to maintain a good seated posture for lengthy periods in the classroom setting.

Autism and Chores

25 Mar

Lets face it, household chores are really not much fun. We all need a little encouragement every now and then to get going.

My son, who’s now 11 and has a diagnosis of Aspergers Syndrome quivers at the word housework or chores, but then so does my 9-year-old daughter. Little man just needs a hard dose of motivation that’s all!

This isn’t only down to the fact he despises any housework related activity, though this does account for the majority of his reluctance, it’s also other factors, such difficulty following instructions, doing things in sequence and that of poor sensory processing.

As Little Man’s mother I’ve admittedly at times thrown in the towel and given up, though this maybe the easiest option at the time, it makes things a whole lot more difficult later on! This is part of life and as my mother still tells me to this day, “Life sometimes requires us to do things we don’t like, but that’s just life!”

In order for the little man to grow up and become fully independent, he will need to require simple skills such as these to make it on his own in the big real world. He must learn how to do the basics accruing more complex skills as he grows older! Another important factor in this situation is the fact he will also need to learn the value and importance of helping other people… So what if you didn’t drop those wrappers on the floor, helping shouldn’t be an issue non the less!

Firstly, I must say before rambling on any further, I’m just a mother, and I don’t have all the answers, in fact I’m unsure to whether I actually have any! Though I will always try to find answers, when I succeed, or even partly so, then I’ll share with you all, in the hope it helps you too!

So… here’s some suggestions on how to encourage a child on the autism spectrum to actively engage in household chores without all hell breaking loss and then regrettably freezing over. These tips may work for one child and not the other, you may be required to try a number of different techniques or maybe just the one, every child is different regardless of abilities and diagnosis. Note: I’ve also tried this with my 9-year-old daughter who isn’t diagnosed with the condition and she’s actually done brilliantly with many of them.

1) Children on the autism spectrum tend to be visual learners, they may use written or symbol prompts as to plan events, following instructions in completing a set task, or just to alert them as to what happens next. Little man has been using both a visual schedule at home and school keeping it consistent. He likes to know what’s planed and this is the same with chores, so, if he has chores as well as homework etc, these are added to a chore chat which he helps to devise on a weekly basis.

2) Don’t give rewards for every completed chore as this then doesn’t become a normal daily routine but instead a way to gain rewards. If one week you wasn’t in a position to provide the promised reward, failure could result in undesired meltdowns. Rewards can be given as a weekly treat and you should ensure its done for all children in the household.

3) Help your child to chose their weekly chores as in number 1, however try to encourage some weekly chores in-which you can both contribute in together, making it a fun bonding experience.

4) Don’t change the chores without giving a warning to your child, keep them consistent in the way in which you and your child devised them. Also try to agree on a time your likely to keep too, as this will only cause problems otherwise.

5) Do the same as in part 1 and 4 but remember to not make your child overly reliant on his routine, so try to adjust times for different weeks, but as mentioned in part 4, stick to them for that entire week.

6) Teach your child how to have a focus, this works fantastically for Little man. An example would be if vacuuming, say the living room, point out the half way mark highlighting how his almost there, then point out the finishing post. You will find that even though the break is offered at half time, 9x out of 10 they’ll keep pushing themselves all the way.

7) Don’t keep asking as it drives children like little man round the bend. If your child fails to look at the chart remind them to do so, if they just refuse then you may need to decided if a sanction may need applying. Stick to your guns and be consistent, as you will be in an even worse position for next time.

8) Don’t bombard a load of request upon your child at once, example, take up washing, put shoes under stairs, hang coat up then run your bath…. overloading will produce the undesirable. Remember children on the spectrum tend to be unable to follow instructions if not given time to process the information given, this is why I’ve suggested the chore chart.

9) Have something nice to look forward too! I’m not talking a treat as such, more like something you’ll be sitting to watch as a family that evening. Talking about the film etc why doing chores with your child, will help them complete without the dragging boredom.

10) If like little man, your child on the autism spectrum doesn’t do well in supermarkets (despite how much he protest he wants to join you) ensure you have prepared distractions and you are aware of any sensory triggers, avoiding where possible. I get Little man helping me write the list, this helps his handwriting and spelling skills, reading the list while we shop also helps reading skills (so they don’t know they are doing chores and a fair bit of education based work too). Little man is also fantastic at maths which he actually enjoys too. To keep his mind from distractions that may cause sensory overload or some type of social anxiety episode I ask what’s best value for money when deciding if to buy a product (example, buy one get one 1/2 price coke or that of the 50% extra free priced at 10p more) His actually quicker than I am and has on occasions save me some money.

Another thing that Little man loves is the “Self Service Checkout” I guess he feels independent. It’s a great way to distract your child or engage in a little social skills training.

11) Little man loves music and despite sensitive hearing (he can hear a pin drop, or a buzzing freezer sends him barmy) music however doesn’t have the same effect, he loves music, and the louder the better.

If you can tolerate a bit of loud music then its an awesome way to motivate both child and adult into doing the chores and it really does do well to speed things up.

12) Since being in special school little man’s become a dab hand in the kitchen. He cooks or bakes at school every Tuesday and has brought home some delightful dishes. I do think its the Italian in him as the kitchen isn’t my favourite place to be. Because of this I ensure he is appointed jobs that he really enjoys, like helping prepare a meal under supervision. He loves this and it’s simply not a chore in his mind at all.

13) One thing extremely important for the child on the autism spectrum, is that of prise, your child should be praised for the smallest accomplishments as these will eventually lead to those bigger ones, plus you’ll find over time that your child is setting out to please you.

14) Little man love’s some items that many other children have considered strange and undesirable. On little man’s christmas list, I’ve found all sorts such as juicers, smoothie makers, blenders and even a chip pan (don’t ask). His always begging to get his mitts on some type of appliance. This can be used as reinforcements, allowing your child to use the popcorn maker to create a movie snack under your supervision! However, your child will need to clean up and wash any dirty dishes (making sure sharp objects and blades have been removed first).

15) Occasionally, surprise your child with something nice. Do not directly state that it’s a reward for his engagement in chores but prise him for how his displayed good skills and is a good role model for younger siblings and now seems more grown up. This kind of thing makes Little man very proud, he then thinks about other ways of impressing me, not just for treats but the overall confidence boast he receives.

16) Don’t overload chores, give little on Saturdays and none on Sundays, allowing them some chill out time and space. They will continue their chores more efficiently once rested or having had some fun.

17) If your child has hygiene difficulties due to sensory reasons, then you should work with him to remove or reduce the trigger if at all possible, adding these activities to the chores chart also.

18) Encourage your child to recycle by speaking about the fascinating things that it involves and how certain objects can cleverly be used to make something completely different. Do a scavenger hunt, encourage your child/children to collect as many newspapers as they can as well as other recyclable items that can each be placed in its own boxes, example…. Glass, Paper, cans etc… making this a fun afternoon game.

19) If your child has their own pet (little man has Bella our pregnant cat) get them involved in feeding and grooming making it a responsible job and good practical chore.

20) Take the chores out into the garden this summer. With the beautiful sunshine and longer days. Little man and his sister enjoy the garden, and along with their father they are already planting and getting there fingers all green, which is perfect for me, given I hate gardening.

So, there you have it, a nice long list of 20 things that may help your child on the autism spectrum to complete their chores.

If you’re a parent of a child with or without autism, I’d love to hear of any tips with in your comments.

10 positives to parenting a child with Aspergers Syndrome

5 Jan

Having posted a post full of doom and gloom a few days back (Questioning your coping mechanisms) I wanted to post something a tad more upbeat and cheery today.

So… with this in mine, I have created a list of the top ten best things that come with parenting a child with Aspergers Syndrome. Yes, its full of them quirky little traits I love and the reasons while I just couldn’t live without them.

(1) HONESTY: Now don’t believe everything you read, a child with Aspergers can tell the odd porky pie, why? Because they are intelligent and learn how to do such a thing! However, 99% of the time you will find that your child, friend or family relative on the autism spectrum is indeed extremely honest! Little man speaks his mind and although this may have gotton him into the odd spot of bother (example… telling the head teacher at his old school that his breath smelt similar to that of a dog) it’s also a credit to him. When little man tells you something that sounds like it is the stuff of make believe, you’ll likely be surprised to find that… yes it’s actually true!

(2) SPECIAL INTEREST: When your child has a diagnosis such as Aspergers, you’ll find that

Wikipedia: Image of London Bus Child Ticket

Image via Wikipedia

with that title comes that of the ‘Special interest’ and if like little man, that special interest happens to be London Transport… you’ll never miss a train or a bus again!

(3) EYE FOR A BARGIN: When out food shopping with the Little man, there is a high prospect that the breakout of a meltdown may occur (what with the crowds and the tendency to become over stimulated). I try my best to keep the Little man calm and focused by getting him to help me with the shopping list! Here’s the great thing… I never end up out of pocket due to purchasing offers that secretly are not really offers at all! Little man has the tendency to act like a human calculator. I remember going to buy a bottle of coke that had so much free and at what I considered to be a good price! That was in-till my Little Man informed me that actually by buying the two smaller bottles I’d end up with more litres for less money… Clever lad!

(4) RULE BOUND: When Little man recently took a trip with a friend to the little row of shops around the corner from our house he went knowing the golden rule, “Cross at the traffic lights and only at the traffic lights!” When his friend tried to persuade him to cross the main road without the safety of the lights, little man refused and came back home! That’s my boy!

English: A Led Traffic lights

Image via Wikipedia

(5) YOUNG & BUSINESS MINDED: Many children at eleven are not sat for hours, days, weeks or years even, planing their business empire! Well, Little man is… ambition: To be the next Richard Branson (not a bad ambition for an 11-year-old kid, is it)? My little man already has a name for his brand and plans how he will take the world by force on a daily basis… Watch this space!

Image representing Richard Branson as depicted...

Image via CrunchBase

(6) TAKES A SHINE TO YOUR VAX: No… Not Fax, though I’m sure if I had one he would love it! I mean, ‘VAX’ a brand of vacuum cleaner. Oh… Yes, I can just see all them parents of children on the autism spectrum nodding their heads at speed because yes, the child with Aspergers Syndrome does have a tendency to like household gadgets or items considered odd by peers of the same age! Why is this a good thing? Well, what other 11-year-old do you know who offers to hover the living room and stairs for you on a daily basis? What a great job he makes of it too!

(7) HAVING A LAY IN: OK, OK my son isn’t the best at going to bed and falling a sleep of a night, he often struggles till 3am or later even with the use of Melatonin (natural sleeping medication) however when his head hits the pillow he refuses to move it and after a late one making sure he gets of to sleep, I deserve a lay-in! (NOT GREAT ON SCHOOL DAY, JUST WEEKENDS)!

(8) PERFECTIONIST: Not always a good thing, especially when it means they refuse to do school work as they feel they just can’t do a good job of the task at hand so outrightly refuse to try at all. Nonetheless when the child is passionate about something, they do a mighty good job of it, making the parent a very proud one (I have some amazing pictures of little man’s LEGO creations).

(9) MANNERS: Little man has huge problems with his use of swearing and at times I’m dead embarrassed when out and about a meltdown breaks out which often starts with some really offensive obscenities. Yet, when the Little man is polite and his engaged in a conversation of interest or sat talking to the elderly lady on the bus, his manners are outstanding and many comment how proud I must be 🙂 Put it this way… My son has never got of a bus without thanking the driver, always holds doors open for little old ladies and once offered FOR ME to carry someone’s shopping to their car at Tesco!

(10) AMAZING MEMORY: Little man may not have the best short-term memory especially when asking him to fetch his dirty washing or find his shoes, but when something interests him he gathers the facts surrounding the topic and stores them away safely. It is truly amazing that Little man can tell you where almost every bus in London is destining for just by giving him its number!

A fMRI scan showing regions of activation in o...

Image via Wikipedia

Christmas Meltdowns, Supermarket Style

20 Dec

Anybody with a child on the autism spectrum will know that meltdowns are that bit different from your more ‘typical’ tantrum and that during this festive time of year they tend to be on the increase.

This is true for Little man, what with all those emotions mixed together, excitement, anxiety and more, there is just bound to be an increase in this behaviour, however knowing about it can make it that bit easier… OK, not that much but hey any improvement is better than no improvement isn’t it?

It’s extremely hard to avoid those things that make our children over stimulated especially when it’s the whole business of Christmas itself that tends to bring about such behaviour! Supermarkets are always that bit more crowded, then there’s all the festivities happening around us.

My Little man has never coped well with the whole shopping situation and I discovered last year just how much worse this becomes at Christmas! Seriously, there is no quite time to shop in December, nonetheless this is a good time however to try to raise some awareness for the condition and how sensory overload can play a huge part in our children’s behaviour! Just think about it, how do you feel when you’re darting around the supermarket last-minute trying to get all the bits for your Christmas dinner, everything is sold out, the place is bursting at the seams with other shoppers who are walking about at the pace of a snail and in the background you can hear people rattling charity tins as the local choir stood at the stores entrance belts out the sounds of “Ding Dong Merrily On High” yet there you are feeling a little less than festive when you’re in a rush and somehow no matter how fast you go… Nothing seems to get done!

Come on, we’ve all been there haven’t we? Well, I know I have and I’ll be honest when saying… It leaves me feeling bloody stressed out to the max.

Yes, we shouldn’t leave things till the last-minute but not every family is in a position to shop at the beginning of the month, myself included!

I don’t know 100% but I’m guessing this is how my son feels on trips to the local supermarket, just how I feel when christmas shopping at the last minute, so can you imagine how much worse it becomes for the child with Asperger’s during such a festive period?

I say I’ve learnt my lesson every year, have I really? No of course not, I still return to the supermarket the next year, kids in tow, battling the crowds as I try to do my Christmas food shop and it’s always the same… the end result is… Cans of baked beans rolling down aisle 10 and Little man shouting some pretty offensive language (at me of course) while kicking anything or worse, anyone in his reach! Not a pretty thought is it!

If you’re in a position to leave that little darling at home, I’d say… GO FOR IT! If you’re not then if you can, then do it as early as possible to get it out the way!

There is always the option of paying for your Christmas at the beginning of the year, and this isn’t just for the reason of spreading the cost but also avoiding the big Christmas rush and therefore huge Christmas meltdown.

Still, I don’t know why I’m telling you this? Do I take my own advice?

Never… though I really should! Still like many, I always find that Christmas is the last thing I want to be thinking about come January and then before I know it we’re in November and this mum is panicking BIG STYLE!

Maybe next year I’ll order myself a big fat hamper filled to the rim with Christmas goodies! Who knows, I can only but hope I hear myself saying that in January!

I hold my hands up, I do still have stuff to buy and I do see one or two meltdowns on the horizon.

Here’s a couple of things I will be doing to help avoid a blow up or a least a monster scale meltdown!

The biggest advice I can give myself or anyone else who are yet to shop, would be not to get too stressed! (Easier said than done, I know). However, when I’m stressed Little man easily picks up on my mood and therefore becomes more stressed himself! This is an important lesson I’ve learnt to date, regardless of the time of year or situation.

Another example why stressing is a super bad idea is the fact that it causes me to parent poorly, I can’t do the job that I’m meant to do, I become a wreck and becoming a wreck results in a worse meltdown from Little man. It’s all about remaining calm, dealing with the children best I can and getting the hell out off there!

Another piece of advice of valuable advice I can offer, is… Ignore the judgemental finger pointers, the glaring eyes of your fellow shoppers, who gives a rats arse what they think? Seriously it’s so not worth it!

Yes, I’ve stood in the supermarket trying to educate my fellow shoppers on autism, aspergers or sensory processing and at any other time I’d say, ‘Yay… go for it’ but at this busy & already stressful time of year, my advice is worry about no one but you and the children, get your shopping and get on out of there.

You could always do what I’m planing and wear a t-shirt with the words,

“Merry Christmas my child has Aspergers”

“Mum, your christmas presents belong in the trash!”

2 Dec

23 

Days till Christmas

On Christmas morning the children wake you up at the crack of dawn, keen to get going on their marathon of gift unwrapping. Your Child squeals with delight and surprise when they discover what’s been hiding under the tree! 

 But what if they don’t? I mean, what if they say..

 “Thanks but no thanks” 

 How would that make you feel?

 As a mother of a child with Aspergers, I know all to well how that feels, except the words above are a not exactly of his choosing!

 “Yuck, that’s nasty”

 “How much was it?”

 “I don’t like these mum”

 “Have you got the receipt so we can exchange it for something way better”

 All these terms and more have been used by the Little man, you may feel his spoilt or selfish, greedy maybe!

 The reality is Little man don’t do well with surprises, the thought of someone getting him something not of use or something he doesn’t like is a total worry that could literally mess up his whole entire way of thinking. 

With this in mind, it is safe to say that,“No, my son does not believe in Santa Claus” that much is clear to see.

 His choices for gift have always been… Well, lets say a little “absurd” though I’ve noticed that since his been “allowed” to be part of a school community his slowly becoming interested in other things, things that are considered more “Socially accepted” (though I’m pretty sure that nothing will be able to replace his “special interest” in transport) you may think his a bit of an anorak? If he wasn’t my son, would I think the same? 

 Anyhow, regardless of any of that above (to be honest I don’t know why I’m even bringing that into it) because it will always be the same whether he likes buses, Lego or the latest Nerf blaster! The bottom line is, he don’t do well with surprises and unfortunately when them “Surprises” are not to his liking he doesn’t do well on subtlety either and it would seem that Little man isn’t the only one!

 Yes, I created the A boy with Asperger’s (ABWA) Facebook page around a year after this blog as kind of an extension, that I hoped would somehow do well in the world of  “Social media” and to my surprise, it went down a storm, so much so we now have eleven amins and almost 4,500 members. The page has seen myself and many others through some difficult times and for many Christmas seems to be one of those! 

 We are quite lucky in the fact that despite Little man’s present opening can be somewhat disastrous, if not thought through, and the fact he can be quite impulsive especially around lots of people, he still copes far better than some children on the spectrum during Christmas

 After engaging in a group discussion on the Facebook page this week, it came to light that the whole situation surrounding gifts and surprises, was by far one of the biggest issues for our children at Christmas. However there was a lot of discussion around the topic of Christmas dinner, social gatherings which sadly included visits from the extended family.

 I found many parents with the exception of a few, complained that their families failed to fully understand or even accept their child, which made occasions like Christmas even more difficult families.

 I mean… Our children don’t mean to be so blunt, it’s not as easy for them to smile politely and say thank you, when let’s be honest they feel the given gift is best of in the trash than actually taking up space in their bedrooms.

 I remember from such a young age, Little man would so bluntly show his utter disappointment in a gift he had received. This made me dread Christmas and birthdays, I used to try desperately hard to… “BEG” him if you like, to not say anything rude and if he didn’t like something we would sort it out when everybody had left to go home! He would just look at me before coming out with a thousand and one… “But why” questions. Once convinced he knew the drill I’d just about relax and out it would pop… “Nan… what ever made you think I wanted this” I’d go darting over from wherever I was and quite literally gag him.

 This isn’t always the case anymore and most of the family understand this is just his way! My mum learnt her lesson quite early on and began taking him shopping for his own gifts (not usually a great idea is shopping, what with the tendency to quickly convert into meltdown mode, due to the sensory overload of the busy situation) but like myself, my mother has a plan (one that doesn’t always work… it a 50/50 thing) quite periods and the mid relaxation break at a costa branch normally helps! Strange choice for an 11-year-old I know but a decaf with cream seems to somehow make a bad situation a not so bad one.

 While on my Facebook page reading some Crimbo tips from my fellow parents of children on the autism spectrum, I discovered a few I wanted to share!

 Please bear in mind some of these children find the whole occasion that is Christmas far too much to bear and cannot cope with it at all. Many really do not like the whole social situation that comes with Christmas, where little man wants to socialise, he just has difficulties doing so.

 Christmas tips for the family of a child with autism  given by parents from the ABWA facebook page.

 One of our admin on the page… My tip is, don’t do it! Jo has asked for no decorations, to know what presents are, to do very little, to spend it at home with a mince-pie or two just me & him & Dr who! I think the buffet idea is the best tip I’ve heard of, that and allowing aspies plenty of space away from it all if there is a family gathering taking place (L)

Parent from page… Jamie hates surprises and too many presents overwhelm her so Xmas starts tomorrow for us, a present a day for advent and anything she isn’t happy with I will swap for something she wants. Xmas day will be very casual with a couple of presents to open when she’s ready and no Xmas dinner, just a normal day as far as food is concerned!

 Parent from page… Eli is obsessed with his nintendo dsi and zones out when playing games so we take it with us when we go for family holidays and he has as much down time as he needs. We don’t force him to sit with us or socialise…. He seems to visit when he wants and the dsi gives us all some peace.

 Parent from page… All my family are very aware of Liams need to get away so they always tell him which room he can hide out in when he wants and we bring his ds and he is happy. No one is allowed into his chill out room, as for presents he gives me a list of what he wants including stocking fillers… I get what I can and pass the rest on to the others then we move onto a ratio, vouchers so many previous Christmas ruined because we bought what we thought he might like …..big mistake

 Parent from page… For kyles bedtime routine (kyle is just 5) we have made a picture board using photos we took of him doing various things, they look so nice and also I think it makes it more personal for his understanding when he sees himself doing it in his room etc. I am hoping to get something to attach the pictures with at the moment so its like his “diary” he has at school. I am now trying to get some of the other things we do like taking a bus trip out etc 🙂 hope this helps x

 Parent on page… My 7-year-old son knows every present he’s getting! Last year he went on and on and on and on and on and on for a month before xmas, I learnt this year and he helped me choose everything so no surprises but he doesn’t care lol. x

 Parent on page… Limit the amount of time friends and family spend visiting you – everyone has this big thing about spending the whole festive period together but for my son this is like torture. So we have family over on the xmas day bit and have a limit on the amount of time they can spend with us , and this helps my son to stay focused and calm as he knows there is an end in sight and he knows when the time is coming where he can chill and just be himself. I will say that my son has a thing about being fully dressed, and eating in front of people, so for him it is good to know that he only has so long left till he can strip and stuff his face with xmas goodies!

 Parent from page… For those, like my son, who hate opening presents if they don’t know what it is, ask the giver to write the label ‘To Jake, a toy tractor with love from Auntie Julie xx’. It takes the stress out of the moment. Of course,if they don’t want the tractor that could be interesting too!!. X

 Parent on page… It doesn’t matter if you don’t open the presents all in one go, we do ours over the whole day and sometimes keep hold of some for the next day too. It seems too overwhelming for my lot and I wouldn’t say they’re spoiled either!

All the comments above have been left on the ABWA facebook page and permission has been obtained for their use within this post. Please remember these are personal comments from parents of children on the autism spectrum and the comments will be protected by the copyright that protects this blog

Brush-Baby Oral Hygiene For Little One’s

18 Nov

As many will already know, I recently bagged myself a Mad blog Award, which meant attending a lavish awards bash in Soho London and after a fabulous night with the “mummy bloggers” I was handed my Mads Goodie bag. 

 There was a host of fab items in that bag, from makeup to jewellery, there was just loads of it. 

 Brush-Baby were one the brands that put a few goodies in the bag, and so kindly sent me an email congratulating me on my win a few days after the awards. 

 After chatting some with the lovely guys at Brush-Baby, I agreed to do a review of some of their items.

 Those that follow the blog will know that Little man has a number of sensory processing difficulties, especially when it comes to the sensation of touch.

 This tends to be a difficulty that arises when it comes to teeth-brushing, it’s like a military operation trying to get the little guy to engage in such an activity every morning and evening. I therefore worry about his oral hygiene. 

 My daughter, thank goodness gives me no problems in this department, and so far so good with my 23 month old. 

 Nonetheless despite my youngest being keen to brush, I do worry “Mr independent” isn’t gaining the full benefits and he wont let me help, No way!

So my main focus was on the two boys. 

 After having a chat and expressing some of my concerns with the guys at brush baby, they sent me a bundle of stuff to try!

 Brush-Baby baby and toddler toothpaste

Brush baby Chewable toothbrush

Brush-Baby FlossBrush

Brush-Baby Children’s Toothpaste

Brush-Baby DentalWipes (finger sleeve type)

Brush-Baby Chewable toothbrush

 We were sent two of these one clear and one pink (the pink I gave to my niece 10 weeks younger than Harley)

The Chewable toothbrush is designed for little one’s between the age of 10 months to 3 years, and has been designed to not only help aid dental hygiene but also provide relief for the little one with sore gums.

 You can use the Chewable brush with or without toothpaste, it can be cooled in the fridge to help soothe teething gums and is dishwasher and steam steriliser safe.  

 This was awesome and fits perfectly into Harley mouth. Little H has most of his teeth at 23 months however the back ones are only just starting to push through and after chilling this in the fridge for a bit it proved a god-sent, Little Harley chomped away on it for ages. 

 It did seem a little strange applying toothpaste to the brush, nonetheless it works as the paste sits between the  actual bristles in a small ridge. 

 Brush-Baby DentalWipes 

 These are aimed at them first teeth and are recommended for babies up to 16 months, however I found them useful for both Harley (23 months) and even Little man (11 years) Ok, Little man wont get a full clean and will not benefit from them a great deal, but when you have a child who is highly sensitive and finds teeth brushing a huge task then why not try as the smallest of benefits is a benefit nonetheless! These prove great to use in between brushing, allowing both little man and baby H to keep on top of things. I highly recommend a pack of these when out and about, they are awesome!

 The Dental wipes are designed as a finger sleeve and are also good for cleaning around the month. Harley loves these and he forever has one stuck to his finger! I think they are brilliant and I’ve already been out and brought a couple more packs.

 Brush-Baby FlossBrush  

 This Flossbrush is aimed at children 3-6 years but as mentioned Little man age 11 is highly sensitive to tactile input and this goes for teeth brushing. I tried the brush on Little man and although his still not keen and it’s a huge struggle, he will now opt to use this brush! It’s quite soft and has short bristles to clean the tooth’s surface and slightly longer bristles to reach between the teeth and into the gum line. We liked the small brush head and easy grip handle making this difficult task that bit easier for the little man.

 Brush-Baby children’s toothpaste 

 Again this toothpaste is aimed at children between the ages of 3-6 but suited Little man to a T, although he is some 5 years over the recommended age! The way I see it is, Its got to be better than using nothing at all! This is honestly the first ever toothpaste I have found my son wanting to use. He will openly state that he loves the taste of this toothpaste but still cannot stand the after effects that come with teeth brushing, such as the sensation left in his month and how everything taste weird for the next half hour or so! However the fact he likes this is a great starting point. The toothpaste contains both ‘Xylitol’ (which prevents the build up of bacteria) and ‘Fluoride’ (which strengthens the tooth’s enamel). It’s SLS free and comes in an awesome ‘Tutti Frutti’ flavour which just swung it for the Little man. His sister quite likes this one two and has used it whenever big brother isn’t watching!

 Brush-Baby baby and toddler toothpaste

 This toothpaste is designed for both baby and toddlers up to the age of 3. It contains both ‘Xylitol’ and lower ‘Fluoride’ 

 I loved that this is a low foaming paste making it ideal for both baby and toddler, it’s SLS free and better still its safe to swallow which is reassuring as this tends to happen a lot for Harley. The gentle Apple-mint flavour also proved a huge hit with Little Harley and he uses it regularly with his new Chewable toothbrush. 

 I really like the Brush-Baby range of oral hygiene products. With the exception of the chewable brush and the FlossBrush, I have already brought more of the other products (both types of toothpaste and the dental wipes) Which I picked up from our local supermarket.

 All Brush-Baby product seem reasonable priced and can be brought from a number of well-known stores including Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Lloyds Pharmacy.

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