Tag Archives: sensory processing

TOYS FOR A TENNER OR LESS AT SAINSBURYS

12 Nov
Sainsbury's at the Moor Allerton District Cent...

Image via Wikipedia

Last week it was the turn of Argos and now it’s Sainsburys, another fab retailer who has joint us on the Santa’s Little Helpers mission this November.

We have a massive Sainsburys superstore just down the road from us, it’s where we do almost all our shopping. I buy everything from my weekly shop to TU clothing, homeware and even toys and games. Seriously, we have bagged ourselves an array of bargains over the years, especially in the sales. 

 That’s why I’m super excited to have them on board. Sainsburys knows how expensive Christmas can be, hence the reason they have something to suit all budgets. Not only do they sell a huge range of brand toys but also a range of their own. It’s some of this range I’ll showcase on the blog today and better still all can be brought for a tenner 0r less!

 Cosy Dinosaur  

 This is a delightful gift for both child and adult alike. This adorable Dino is extremely cosy, its super soft body is filled with a mix of herbal delights that let of a beautiful aroma (note, this may be overpowering for some). Little man loves this Dinosaur and it’s truly become a real sensory buddy for him. 

 The ‘Cosy Dinosaur’ can be heated in the microwave and then taken of to bed for a cuddle. Both its scent and warmth are designed to help ease your child to sleep, excellent if your child has difficulty sleeping like mine. Another added bonus is the fact the Dino is quite weighted, which suits little man down to a T! Each night he snuggles up to it placing it directly on his chest which provides him with lots of sensory comfort.  

 Though Little man isn’t the only one who loves the Cosy Dinosaur! Alice also went a little loopy for it, so much so we went and brought another one just for her. 

Cosy Dinosaur displays a price tag of just £10 and can be found in the Sainsburys gift guide.

 We were massively impressed and both myself and children gave the Cosy Dinosaur a 5 star *****

Pet Carry Case

 The pet carry case is part of Sainsburys ‘Lets pretend’ range and is aimed at pre-school children aged from 3+. 

You get a small cuddly puppy with a number of grooming accessories, complete with pet carrier. 

 Even though this is recommended for the child over 3 years, Harley who is a month of his second birthday had tons of fun with this one. He is quite advanced in play and already interacts with his toys. I think this has a lot to do with the observations he makes of his older siblings, especially that of his sister. 

Harley had lots of fun taking care of his little puppy! He brushed its fur and even gave it a little blow dry which was very cute to watch. 

 His enjoyed carrying the puppy around the house in its carrier and even took it to Nannies house last weekend.

 There was only one downfall and that was Harley trying to push and trap our 6 month old cat in the tiny toy pet carrier! Poor Bella has been left a bit of a mental wreck. 

 The pet carrier can be brought for under £10 and we gave it a 4 star ****

  Toy remote control Car

 Stocking Filler

 This is a little red sports car that is controlled with the use of a remote control (It should be noted that this isn’t wireless and the remote is attached to the car via a wire). 

 The car itself is plastic but nicely made, it’s quite small in size making it the perfect stocking filler. 

 It does have a few delightful features. There are four buttons located on the control,

Open: Makes the roof come down and your car is now a convertible

Close: closes the roof.

Forward facing arrow: Car moves forward.

Reverse key: Car backs left and right and can spin a 90% circle 

Little man was fascinated by the roof opening and closing feature, though Harley was crazy about the whole thing. However I would supervise the smaller child who plays with this car as like I mentioned before, it was attached to a wire. 

 A great stocking filler for maybe a 5-6 year old as a first remote controlled car, though it’s also great for a younger child under supervision. 

 This little car can be brought from Sainsbury’s for under £10

 We gave it a reasonable 3 stars ***

So, there you have it, three awesome buys for £10 and under!

 With half price toy sales and fantastic offers taking place both in store and online why don’t you check them out this Christmas. Click HERE for the fall Sainsbury toy range.

 Look out for our vlog and review of the wonderful Flitter Fairy sold at Sainsbury’s stores nationwide… Coming soon!

The big bang campaign… Keep it before 9 p.m

5 Nov

The Big Bang Campaign… Keep it before 9 p.m

Remember, remember the 5th of November…

 My guess is, many parents of children on the autism spectrum remember the 5th of November and remember it well!

 Tonight is the night that will see the skies above us alight in an array of stunning, spectacular colours, but that’s not all we will see! Many of us throughout Britain will see not just our pets dart around the house in distress, but also our child or loved one. 

 Bonfire night is celebrated by huge numbers whether it’s by attending a large public display or hosting their own back yard antics. For some it’s a night of fun and laughter, a chance to meet friends, drink wine out of plastic beakers while eating hot-dogs smothered in mustard. For others it’s a night of hiding, turning up the TV and comforting their frighten child.

 We grow up looking forward to such events, we loved them as a child and can’t wait to share a night stood by the bonfire with our own children. What is there not to like about this fun and eventful night?

 Why don’t you ask that question to a child on the autism spectrum!

 No, not all hate fireworks, but a large proportion of child and adults on the spectrum will spend the year dreading it! I wrote a few weeks back about little mans fear of the firework! He thinks they are stunning and at a distance his not to bad with the big bang. But when there’s rockets flying about above his head, then bursting into a glittering infusion of colour, my child will likely do what I refer to as the “Army drop and crawl” Basically he fears the fireworks will come clashing back down on top of him, he freezes then drops, before embanking on his army crawl to safety. Despite this reaction, my little man could hold a sparkler all night long. As I explained before, it’s a sensory reaction, because the firework is above him and he cannot judge the distance between himself and the exploding firework, he then begins to fear it! My Little man feels much safer stood behind a pane of glass watching fireworks from the safety of his home. 

 For many people on the autism spectrum the dislike of fireworks relates to sensory sensitivity as-well as the dislike of “social gatherings”.

 Even those who are not on the spectrum can have difficulties tolerating the loudness of a firework display, especially a big one! For the person with autism, this sensitivity to noise is sometimes so overbearing it causes actual pain. Now, can you even begin to imagine how hard that must be? I can’t and think myself lucky that I do not experience such a difficulty. However this doesn’t mean that it doesn’t matter, because it does, it really does! Little man only has problems when we go out, so of course we avoid the public displays, or one parent stays home while the other treats the other children to a trip to our local display. That’s just how it is and always has been. I think that we are quite lucky, some children experience such anxiety that they require comfort from their parent throughout the night meaning little sleep is had by many.

 I’m not trying to make you all feel guilty, nor am I saying this in the hope that you wont go to your local fireworks display or celebrate in your own way. I’m just asking that you all spare a thought for the families housing an autistic child or adult. I simply ask that as much fun as bonfire night can be, take a second to stop and think… Light your fireworks at a reasonable hour! Who is your neighbour, do you know a family affected by autism? Keep it early, keep it safe, keep it before 9 p.m.! That is all I ask!   

” Do you think that’s fair? If so, how about tweeting this post just once using one of the share button (tweet, Facebook, Stumble, etc.) located at the bottom of this post. You could even raise awareness on this one day, just by “Right clicking the image below and uploading as your profile pic on your social network” after all it is just one day!”  

 

Joining Forces

2 Nov

autism awareness ribbon

Image via Wikipedia

A boy with Aspergers, When I was a kid & John Crane are joining forces 

 I know that the blog has been showcasing some toys recently as part of the ‘Santa’s Little helpers feature’ however I’ve also made a very exciting agreement with ‘Paul’ the daddy & owner of the independent toy store ‘When I was a Kid‘ alongside the people at ‘John Crane’

 So, what’s so exciting about this you may ask? Well, a while back I was sent a huge (I mean Huge) John Crane catalogue that contained each and every one of their products. The Idea was for me to choose six items and then give some feed back on them. Why? Because Paul (When I was a kid) & John Crane, generally want to make their toys more autism friendly.

How great is that!

 I felt privileged that Paul came to me with his ideas and given this is a project that will benefit children like my own I wanted to get involved. 

 You see, most of us don’t actually want a special range of toys designed especially for children on the spectrum! We are forever heard saying that we don’t want our children excluded from daily activities, we state that our children should be allowed to play freely amongst their peers. We don’t want them being pushed together playing with their “specialist designed toys” 

Don’t get me wrong people, my son goes to a ‘Special school’ so plays amongst his peers on the spectrum daily, It’s not about that, It’s about making toys appealing to all.

 What we do want is for more toy brands to be aware of children with special needs whether its autism or something else all together. We want them to consider children as a whole when designing their toys. Ok, Yes, their will be toys, aimed at different interest, ages and abilities but shouldn’t brands be thinking of the benefits each toy makes to the non “Typical” child too?

 The reason I started doing the ‘Santa’s Little helpers’ feature was mostly down to the number of visitors who found my blog as a result of googling terms such as, “Toys for children with autism” or “What toys may be suitable for children with autism at Christmas” etc, etc…

 Like all children, those on the autism spectrum all have different interest and abilities and I’m not stating that one toy that is beneficial for one child with autism is beneficial for all. I’m simply stating that certain toys have that edge to them, whether it’s educational, sensory, visual and so forth. When you get one or even better, a number of these things combined you often find that the toy at hand is actually more beneficial to the child with autism than some may think.

 I do hope that what I’m about to write, isn’t taken in the wrong way!

There are to many toy companies out there who take a toy slightly adapt it and label it as a “specialist” toy! This type of toy can be found in specialist shops, may it be those aimed at the sensory side of things or Occupational side. The thing is with this toy being given the label “Specialist” it then tends to score in price! Why should it be a way to make additional pounds?

Now not all specialist toy companies do this but so many do!

Now when you get a toy with developmental benefits that states its good for all children including those with autism, doesn’t brand itself as specialist, therefore containing the same price tag as it would for a similar toy in its range that doesn’t make the above claim, then isn’t this fairer? I think so!

 That’s why when we review toys on, ‘A boy with Aspergers’ we try to look at the benefits for all children and If I feel the toy in question would also suit the child with autism or special needs, then you will happily hear me state it (Well, in most cases write it). Maybe that’s why you find toys from your everyday brands here on the blog. I hardly ever review the toys branded “Specialist” There are a great section out there, yet the price attached to many are enough to give a reader a heart attack. I have visited sites that state that they sell specialist toys for children with disabilities, I have seen some of the prices, I’ve then gone to an everyday well-known retailer and seen similar or the same toy for less. Yet many parents buy the first toy! Why? Because they think it’s the right thing to do!

 Both ‘When I was a kid’ & ‘John Crane’ already have shelves stacked with toys that offer great benefits to a child with autism & special needs. I want to help them uncover them and then share them with you guys!

 I saw some toys in that catalogue that got me very excited (I’m a big kid at heart). Many were great in their current form, others would be extremely beneficial to all if adapted slightly. 

 So, yes I’m really overjoyed to have a part in this and am looking forward to working with these guys.

 What you can expect over the Coming months

 A number of toy reviews that will be extremely detailed in order to show you the benefits of a toy for both the child with autism and other special needs as well as the child without. 

 A specially designed page both here and on the ‘When I was a kid’ website, showcasing the toy reviews and other beneficial features

 Guest post by me on both the ‘John crane’ & ‘When I was a kid’ site.

 This is more than a toy review. All toys featured will be sent to customers with an attached note detailing some of its benefits while letting you know we recommend it! 

So, next time you google that question, “What can I buy my child with autism as a gift?”  My guess is… you’ll now get your answers and for me that’s pretty awesome. 

Why some children with autism may hate the 5th November

26 Oct

It’s almost here, the one night of the year that has my son crawling around on the floor like a solider in combat. 

The 5th of November is bonfire night and as much as Little man likes watching the fireworks at a distance from the safety and comfort of the living room window, it’s a whole different ball game when outside.


In a way I’m extremely thankful that we know it’s on the way so we can therefore avoid being outside on that evening. However I’ve noticed that the fireworks are already lighting up our skies. 

That’s when It’s most difficult, when he doesn’t expect it. He will flip out and quite literally drop down to the ground. It’s not only the loud whistling, sizzling & loud bangs that frighten him, his also frighten that they are falling from the sky on top of him.

Again I think that much of this comes as a result of his sensory processing, the way in which his senses work. His also got a fear of tall buildings fearing that they will fall and flatten him. I remember speaking to the occupational therapist about this issue who confirmed that it was is in-fact something to do with his sensory processing! It actually has a name which is “Proprioceptive Dysfunction” 

Let me explain a little… We all have a range of senses and one of these sense is our proprioceptive sense which works by feeding the brain information that tells us about movement, and where our body position is in space.

When we received Little man’s OT report it was clear that he had difficulties within all his senses which in some ways made me feel quite sad. 

Well, if your child has difficulties in the sense his Proprioceptive sense isn’t processing as it should be then they will likely experience the difficulties that Little man does. He states that looking at tall building makes his head spin and everything moves around him making him feel that his feet are no longer on the ground. This kinda leads me to believe that when Little man looks up at the fireworks directly above him in the sky, as they explode and drop lower he becomes confused and is unable to sense how near or far the firework actually is.

The above combined with the loudness of a fire display is enough to send him crazy. 

Note: Little man loves sparklers and will happily hold one, this is also confirmation that yes, his fear in fireworks are a sensory problem.

I remember at the beginning of the year, I was out with the children shopping then we met up with a friend to grab something to eat. It was a freezing evening in January so nowhere near November. Can you imagine his horror as we stepped out the restaurant and onto the street where the sky suddenly turned into a mass of beautiful golds and pink as a spectacular fireworks display took affect above. We were already on route to my friends card who was parked a good five minutes up the world. The shops in the high-street were now closed and the restaurant was now way back in the distance! With no place to run he did what he does best in such a situation, he drops. My son is no “tiny little man” believe me his grown. He was ten at the time, far to big to pick up, throw over my shoulder and make a running bid for the car. Like I guessed Little man refused point-blank to get up from the ground and proceeded to crawl instead. 

Can you imagine the looks on the faces of those passing by, some people really are rude sometimes when they point and stare, (is it entertaining seeing a child in distress)? 

My friend ran for the car which we finally got him in, but my goodness it was extremely stressful for him and a memory that will stick with me forever more.

Yesterday fireworks began going off right outside the living room widow. Little man ran towards the window where he stayed and enjoyed the show in till they had disappeared. He then turned and said to me, “Lucky we weren’t outside mum” 

We have been to a few well organised public displays but always get the same result. 

This year I think we will stay indoors, grab some toffee apples and lemonade and put some comfy cushions up at the living room window. 

Lets just hope we are not caught unaware in the run up to the big night. 

The NAS have created a list of tips for bonfire night aimed at families with children with autism

 This can be found by clicking HERE  

If anyone has any tips of their own, do please let us know in a comment. 

My week full of chuck up and poo

22 Oct

One week + One bug+ three kids= One nervous breakdown

It all started last Sunday evening when I realised that my youngest Little Harley was getting unwell. It’s horrible when your children are sick, especially when they are so young as it is much harder to disguise the root of the problem. How did I know Harley was getting sick? Anybody who is a mother will know what I mean when I say it was mothers intuition!

Harley was moaning for England and I had this feeling it was just the start of something worse to come!

Yes, Harley got a temperature that refused to shift, he became clingy, so bloody clingy I couldn’t take a pee without him hanging from my ankles.

What happened next was all too much for this mother to bare. Little man returned home from school Monday evening removed his coat and shoes and fell onto the sofa! Before I could count to thirty the child who doesn’t sleep till at least 3 am was snoring heavily.

“Please god… No”

This wasn’t the usual Little man, by now he would be in his bedroom building buses from Lego or sat at his computer on the hunt for new buses in-order to record their number and destination, but instead sleeping… something wasn’t right. Again this was mothers intuition and mothers intuition is never ever wrong!

Some hours later he woke complaining of a headache.

“Brilliant, just Brilliant!”

I gave both the boys some medicine and prayed it would be over quickly! You see when your child has Aspergers he either has a high tolerance to pain and discomfort or is highly sensitive! There’s no guessing to which category Little man falls into!

So, there I was with a 22 month old sat on my hip, trying to cook a dinner that no one even touched. I was ready to fall into bed but found myself clearing up sick ten times through the night.

These are my children and of course I love them like nothing else, but I don’t love they’re whining, sick and sorry… Shit!

In the days that followed there was plenty of the above to deal with. It was Harley doing all the throwing up which in a weird way was better than Little man. You see, Little man really can’t do sick! He gets really upset and scared when he throws up. He panics and actually screams and shakes… So thank heavens it was the other way around.

Of course like a true pro my words were spoken too soon and yes, Little man began chucking up on Wednesday night… 3 days after first becoming ill and 4 days after Harley. By now I was a flipping mess, Harley was still clinging and the only time I got to see the bath tub was when I was putting my sick brood into it in-order to wash the smelly sick from their hair. Seriously I even tried to engage in a quick strip wash with Harley having a full-blown tantrum on the floor screaming,

“NO MUM, NO…”

… like the flannel was trying to murder me or something!

As I first suspected, Little man didn’t deal with the sickness side of things to well. He refused to eat & drink in the fear that he may chuck up again!

It may sound selfish but I was losing the will to live!

It’s funny, Harley is quite a daddies boy, but he wasn’t interested in daddy it was mummy he stuck to like glue. Children do seem to have a tendency when sick to seek comfort from their mothers.

Luckily the sickness side of it passed quickly for little man but by Thursday when you would have thought God had dished out enough crap, I heard the sound of coughing coming from my daughters bedroom and yer, I knew it!

Alice-Sara, was sick on the stairs (better than my hair, Harley had already fulfilled this task).

Now I ask you is it true what they say about “Man flu?”

OK, OK, Little man is highly sensitive which is down to his Asperger’s and Harley would be clingy after all he is still a baby, but Alice at eight just got on with it! I felt kinda bad that I couldn’t be more hands on in her care but what with Harley becoming an extension of me, I swear It was as if I had grown an extra limb or something, and Little man telling me he thinks his dying, I was finding the task at hand pretty difficult.

There was once or twice I think I shouted,

“Oh… shout up Harley”

As he throw himself on the floor every time I tried to detach myself from him. Yes, it’s true I even cursed loudly (Bad mother) when Little man woke in a panic, waking his sibling resulting in myself flying out the bath, (the bath I waited so long to get in) slipping, falling hard on my arse, I may have shouted..

“For F…. sake….”

I am only human!

Yes, by now, I was a baggy eyed, bruised arsed, over sensitive mother!

So my question is…. Why do people always state, “Its better they all get sick at the same time?”

Please…. People are you mad lot serious? How is this somehow better, better for who, for me? Doesn’t it make sense to be dealing with it at different intervals, at least getting some shut-eye in between?

It’s now Saturday and the first day in what feels like forever… that Harley has sat and played with his toys.

I even peed alone!

I type that with a fat grin releasing that I have always taken peeing for granted & never will again!

Little man just scoffed some chicken so I guess his recovering and my daughter, well she’s still a little tender!

So, Little man was off school for a total of four days and Alice two days, we now have a half term to get through!

What a Joy… Bring on, I’m ready!

Tinyme comes to London

18 Oct

As many know I’m a member of Blog-match the site that specialises in matching brands with bloggers. a few weeks back I was very lucky to be invited to a fabulous event, an introduction to the world of Tinyme.

Yay, I’m going out… That’s right I don’t get out much!

So, before I get down to the serious business of giving you  the low-down on these guys, I must first tell you about the awesome meal they laid on at the swanky courthouse hotel London.

All my hard earn willpower flew out the sodding window like it had never ever existed! Diet, What’s that then? Now the main, that was actually quite well balanced in terms of calories but my goodness the pudding, well that was another story altogether… Beautiful but so deadly on the hips.

Well, enough of that! Not only am I making myself slightly hungry but I’m starting to sound like an M&S ad here. On a more serious note I should state that I wasn’t only here to scoff my face and meet lovely fellow bloggers such as Romanian mum, Mumsarus and the Macies world, I was also here to discover the world of Tinyme.

Tinyme, an Australian company which was founded by  three fathers who happen to have 13 children under the age of nine combined are a company specialising in a comprehensive range of affordable yet premium quality personalised products for kids. The brand is doing great in the big land of 0Z and as a result they are considering brunching out even further and eventually creating a second base, here in the UK… “Bring on boys!” It’s all getting very exciting for these three Daddies  

  On hearing that Blog-Match were organising an event with a company that specialise in personalised products, I became a tad excitable. Seriously people do you understand how hard It is for me to get personalised products for my children?

As you all know ‘Little man’ is a nick name (at least I hope you do). This isn’t just for the purpose of this blog! His Asperger’s syndrome means he finds it hard to separate the two (that’s adults and children) often thinking anything I do he can do too! I’ve always referred to him within all my writing as the Little man as at times this is exactly what he is… a Little man!

 

Little man is in fact ‘Giovanni’ as a first born son he took the name from his father who took it from his father and  so forth, I think you get the picture! Now, unless we are shopping in the beautiful Italian sunshine then we are not likely to find many personalised products here in the UK unless like Tinyme they are made to order.

I’ll be honest now, when it comes to stationary I’m a bit of a stationary freak. I have more diaries than I possibly will ever need in one year, I just love address books (despite the modern technology that can be found in the shape of my iphone and Macbook air) and far to many pens and note books with randomly scribbled words spread across each and every page. These guys had some lovely stationary. There was one product in particular that I cast my beady eye over, a beautifully designed dairy that came in a number of designs and sizes and could also be personalised to display the names of different members of the family. (Subtle Christmas hint directed at any family members having a nosey at me blog *wink, wink*) 

The founders of Tinyme were dead friendly guys who displayed lots of enthusiasm for their products. They had bucket loads of passion which I’m guessing to be the key ingredient to their success on the other side of the world and that growing here in the UK. Only two of the three founders of Tinyme were actually in London on the night of the event, but both done an awesome job promoting some extremely well designed items such as their name labels, bags, stationary, wall decor alongside a whole host of other amazing products that could be personalised to state pretty much anything you wanted.

The designs were some of the best I’ve seen on name labels, the bright colours used make them easy to read, plus the gloss coating gives them extra protection against scratches or that of wearing and fading text. They are even able to sustain different temperatures making them dishwasher, microwave and freezer safe. 

 Name labels are always of interest to me, “God how sad am I?” But when your child can be irritated by clothing labels these are a godsend. The use of iron on labels allow me to cut out clothing labels instead of writing names in permeant maker then watching your child itch like a cat with fleas. The iron on type lay flat, you therefore have no seams, thread, scratchy material to contend with, the child isn’t even aware of their presents, making them a “must buy” for a child with sensory processing difficulties (tactile defensive being one of the worst). 

Another great product I loved was the wall stickers that looked great displayed in the venue on the evening of the event and came in an array of designs, catering for a whole spectrum of ages and taste. The stickers are easy to apply and work on most services. These can also be re-applied and more than once, so a change of bedroom or even house means the stickers can come too 🙂 

The guys have created a fabulous geeky site that allows you to pick a product, personalise it then at the click of a button an image preview is generated allowing you can see exactly how your item will look (meaning there will be no nasty surprises) Not happy, you can change the design & wording only placing your order once it’s just how you want it.

  If all this isn’t enough already the site also have a range of free printables on offer. Just download, print and use! This is a freebie and a good one at that!


Download and print anything from the 19 dedicated pages of awesome printable that you are even welcome to personalise. Here you will find cupcake toppers, animal mask, bookmarks and much more!

So, if you fancy a look (which is completely up to you) Click HERE!

Want name labels? A little birdie tells me there is a very special offer going on over on the Tinyme site, 50% off name labels and the offer of 150 mixed labels for the silly price of £23.99 with the choice of 100 different designs and colours. 

Like Tinyme on Facebook for the latest news and awesome competitions

HERE

(plus look out for their pending launch off personalised Christmas cards coming soon)

How to approach 5 of the most common difficulties that occur for children on the autism spectrum

9 Oct

How to approach 5 of the most common difficulties that may occur for children on the autism spectrum.

(1) Sleepless nights: Who ever said it was babies that caused you sleepless nights? Whoever you were you lied. Its well documented that children on the autism spectrum have difficulty establishing a bedtime routine, getting to sleep or waking during the small hours.

Now, I don’t have all the answers here, how could I possibly when my child is still awake now at 2.43am! However I have tried things that have had an effect but sadly not for long. Don’t panic every child is different and not every child on the spectrum will have difficulty sleeping. Here’s some tips that have worked for us short term but for others they never stop working.

For those that have difficulty establishing a bedtime routine, consider making a schedule. These can be brought but tend to be costly and can be easy made with some paper, a laminator, some Velcro, brightly coloured pens and some stickers for decorating (I will upload an additional how to post to demonstrate how to do this in the near feature)

The schedule will contain a set of personalised images, e.g… a bed, toothbrush, story book etc… Keep all images in a little pockets attached to the schedule and the child can stick each image on the schedule (with the help of the Velcro) as and when each action is carried out. Many children with autism adapt and even enjoy this independence they just find it hard to do things in sequence without visual prompts. Rember schedules are great for all children with or without autism.

For the Child that can’t settle try story tapes the tone and gentleness of the story teller could well send them off to the land of dreams.

Sensory reasons may restrict your child’s sleep. Weighted blankets, sensory lighting, sleeping away from a window all may help.

Reduce the amount of food and drink your child has one hour or more before bed. Make sure they use the toilet as this combined may avoid your child waking in the night.

(2) Meltdowns: No, these are not the same as tantrums and yes there is normally a reason behind them whether its anxiety, sensory processing difficulties, an inability to express oneself or a lack of understanding.

Those children on the autism spectrum that have meltdowns will often feel completely out of control and are very hard to comfort.

There are times they seem to come from nowhere, yet most of the time a parent will be able to sense one coming (Especially after so many)

There are triggers everywhere and of course these can’t always be avoided, however here’s some tips for certain situations you may find yourself in as a parent to a child on the spectrum.

(a) If your child has sensory sensitivities then be aware of the environment a child is in! You may notice that supermarkets are a prime meltdown hotspot for the sensitive child.

(b) Prepare a weekly schedule, e.g… times, place, events displayed on a visual timetable or planner. Depending on a child’s age you could use pictures or words. This allows the child to know what it is that’s coming next. For a child who is very dominated by a routine, consider making a handheld travel schedule and for those who can afford one, get one on your ipad.

(c) If your child is becoming very confrontational with you, don’t react by arguing back with the child, it will only make the situation worse and will likely carry on much longer.

(d) Be consistent and don’t give in. A child on the autism spectrum can still work out what gets them what they want, which will therefore encourage the behaviour. (I really need to take my own advice here as I’m still having problems with this one).

(e) If safe let your child get it out their system & avoid becoming overpowering.

(3) Anxiety: My own child knows all about anxiety, he drives himself nuts worrying about things that no child should worry about.

Be careful what your child sees on TV. Little man can become very upset, frightened and distressed when hearing something on the news.

Give your child lots of reassurance if they are becoming distressed.

Be careful what types of conversation are taking place in the child presence.

Use social stories as a way to offer the child reassure. When they are fully informed in what will happen, when for example visiting a dentist etc, the anxiety will be reduced.

Speak to your child in a non-ambiguous way, avoiding misconceptions and upset.

(4) Lack of support from external services: You may feel that your child on the autism spectrum is not having their educational or social needs meet. However it is likely that the local authority (LA) will disagree.

Note: In the UK you don’t have to wait for a senior teaching member/SENCO to apply to the local education authority (LEA) for a statutory assessment of your child’s special educational needs as you the parent also have the right to make such a request! However this does depend on whether the child has been assessed in the past and how long ago this was.

If the LEA refuse your request you can make an application to the SEN tribunal.

You should keep letters and documents filed and in-order as you may require these as evidence in the event you need to appeal.

You are your child’s best advocate, if you feel something isn’t right don’t give up on it in-till action is taken.

If able, take video evidence of your child’s behaviour or meltdowns, this can be used when trying to obtain respite, a statement of sen, or even a diagnosis.

When dealing with the LA/LEA or school do so via email aswell as written letter! This will create proof of contact and what was said.

If you believe your child needs more help than they are currently getting then you’re properly right. Trust your instincts.

You have the right to request copies of your child’s educational and medical records. Educational records can contain evidence for a statutory assessment or a statement of special educational needs (SEN). This can be done by using the Freedom of information & Data protection act. School’s will be given 15 days to comply.

(5) Sensory Processing: Children on the autism spectrum are likely to have difficulty with their senses whether the child is over or under sensitive both can create a host of problems.

Here is a few common issues that some children may experience, though it is important to remember that all children are different regardless of their condition. Your child may face all of the examples below where another may face only a few if not any at all.

Tactile defensive: A child who is said to be tactile defensive will have difficulty with the senses relating to touch. This child may not be able to tolerate certain materials (Little man hates raincoats). A child with autism may feel physical pain from wearing certain garments and this may trigger challenging behaviour. If your child refuses to wear certain items of clothing then note down the fibre that is used and avoid these when out clothes shopping.

If your child is expected to wear a school uniform and is sensitive to the texture of the fabrics it is made from, talk to the school to see if there is a way to compromise and maybe find something that is very similar as to avoid your child standing out from his/her peers.

Wear new uniform in just like you would new shoes. Do this for around five or ten minutes per day increasing the time along the way. This can be done during the school holidays

Some children are sensitive to loud noises, others are even sensitive to certain tones and pitches a noise can create, including the way a person sounds when they speak. Be sure to keep your child’s school fully informed of such difficulties so they are aware of triggers, e.g fire alarms, break-time bell , etc.

Try your child with ear defenders and if successful request that your child wears these while in school.

Sensory seekers: Those children who sensory seek may flap, fidget and swing back in their chair at school. This means the child is lacking sensory stimulation, fidget and sensory toys can help.

Make the child’s environment inviting, bedrooms could host a different range of sensory items as well as bold and fun colours being used on textiles and interiors. There are lots of ways to create this type of environment on a budget and I will try to write a post on how to do this sometime in the near feature.

 

Little man takes over the blog!

6 Oct

Well, Hello everyone

Very special post for you all today, a treat for all that voted for me as their Most Inspiring blogger, I’m humbled and still on cloud nine that I won.

Anyway enough off all that, I’m boring every one with my over excitement.

So, as for this treat I have to share? Those who have been following this blog from day dot will know how hard its been and may remember a post I was preparing back in late 2010?

It was in actual fact an interview as opposed to a post.

The person being interviewed would be my very own Little man (aka a boy with aspergers)

Yet things got messy and things were now far to uncertain in little man’s life. I was confused! Can you just imagine how he felt!

I made a claim to the tribunal on the grounds of discrimination against Little man’s old mainstream primary who were now teaching him in isolation, hiding him from ‘Ofsted’ inspectors, excluding him daily, which they did once or twice on an unofficial basis! This soon stopped as I set about learning the Ins and outs of educational law.

Little man was never able to mix with his peers, he missed one school trip after another, till he snapped and began throwing his whole body into brick walls, scratching his arms till they bleed and whacking his head against the wall!

He even sat in a room alone as his peers enjoyed Christmas Carols in assembly.

Final straw was well and truly pulled and I withdrew and become his mum and his teacher for a few months. He then got a home tuition programme on the grounds there were medical reasons.

We were now fighting for an assessment, then a statement. We got both, but the statement wasn’t worth the paper it was written on. Only a few months back did we receive his now final statement with everything in it (OT and SALT)

best of all his attending an independent special school for children with Autism and Aspergers.

We withdrew the discrimination case at the last-minute settling outer tribunal. We now have the apology letter for the heartache caused. It’s not going to repair things but it’s something and little man can look at that one day when he needs to as he often blames himself.

I was also taken to court for Non school attendance, what a disgrace I know! At least I didn’t go to prison, though it was possible.

Now life is better, I look at that mess and think about how stressed and unhappy we were as a family! That’s why I think now would be a great time to got that bit further and let Little man do a bit of the talking for a change, hopefully building up some confidence along the way.

We don’t have a magical tale to tell, just some pretty normal random stuff and a bit about the issues above. All the same we really hope you enjoy reading…

It’s 4 pm Little man returns from his day at school via his transport/taxi. He doesn’t ran off to his room like he always did in the past, things are different somehow now!

He came and sat with me and he spontaneously begins telling me about his day. He received ten thumbs up the highest achievement one could get! I was chuffed and he was just as happy, I could tell by the big fat grin spread across his chops.

Mum: So, Little Man do you fancy being interviewed

LM (Little man) Being What?

Mum: Interviewed!!!

LM: Like on the news mum?

We’ve both done reports with the BBC news and ITN as well as local papers and radio.

I can’t blame him for thinking it!

I explained what I wanted to do in terms of sharing it with readers from the blog. He looked at me like a weird crazy chick.

Mum: If I interview you the readers will hear your own voice instead of your mums!

LM: How, if its written?

Yep he has a literal understanding to which I try my best to avoid them little sayings but they sometimes slip of the tongue.

LM: What do you mean they want to hear my voice instead of my mums! You are my mum!

Yep, I’d hit him with a double dose of confusion!

Mum: Oh,You know what I mean (as soon as I said it I thought what a stupid thing to say).

LM: Umm Nooooo

A little bit more prep and we were back on track (though I avoided making that statement out loud)!

Ready steady go…..

Mum: Hi there, what’s your name and how old are you?

A burst of laughter filled the air!

LM: You know my name mum stop asking me stuff you know.

Mum: It’s not for me, it’s for our readers, come on let’s do it!

LM: Do What?

Mum: The blog… Do the interview!

LM: Oh… *giggles* I know now! My name is G and I am 10 years old!

Mum: *cough-cough, How old?

LM: Oh, Oh, I’m 11 actually I had a birthday on Saturday.

Mum: Sign you’re getting old.

LM: I’m just 11 years old, your very old…

Charming!

Mum: So you have something called Asperger’s syndrome can you tell us a little bit about it if you don’t mind?

LM: I can, Aspergers is a very, very clever thing, But I didn’t used to think this. Some geniuses have Aspergers.

Mum: What… Ginger’s?

LM: Nooooo Genius

A few months ago he would have taken that as me taking the “piss” out of his hair resulting in a meltdown. This time he laughed at my mistake alongside me 🙂

Mum: are you a genius?

LM: No! Well actually I’m a genius on buses and bus numbers I think!

We then get stuck into his favourite game for a further 10 minutes. I have to shout out random bus numbers and he states their destinations.

LM: Mum, I really Like the lady’s voice who announces your destination on the bus! Is she a computer?

Mum: Umm yes, I think so!

LM: Mum is she foreign?

Mum: What, why?

LM: I just need to know!

He continues mimicking her voice in a monotone type of way!

Redirection was needed, Buses could kill this interview!

Mum: What School do you go?

LM: xxxxx school for autism

Mum: Where did you go before?

LM: With my tutor!

He looks sad as he misses him dearly. The tutor taught him on a one to one basis at the library for 5hrs per day during the week as no school would take him (apart from his current one who the LEA first refused). He was with his tutor at least 6 months.

Mum: What school did you go to before that?

LM: A horrible one!!

LM: Why wasn’t I allowed to play or be with other children. The head told me I was rough and made me miss all trips at last-minute. He made me angry, he didn’t like me.

LM: Mum, I don’t understand why I was never allowed in classroom when I was good? Is it because I have Aspergers so I’m not the same?

Mum: No you’re not the same your better!

Slight smile…

LM: Mum tell the readers about the day he called us at home and wouldn’t let me on the coach!

I said two words and he cried… It still hurts, So we skip it.

Mum: What’s the best thing about your new school?

LM: Time!

Mum: Time… I don’t understand.

LM: You are not told you have 10 minutes or 20 minutes no one rushes you and makes you feel worried about doing work. That’s the best bit!

Mum: That’s good babe, anything else?

LM: The children some are like me. They don’t pretend to like me I think they do.

I’m rubbing a tear 🙂 a happy one of course.

Mum: Whats the best lesson?

LM: PHSE… No, no actually Social skills!

Mum: What’s that then?

LM: Faces and stuff…

Mum: Faces?

LM: Yes, faces and feelings and the way faces look!

Mum: Oh… I see.

LM: We can’t do science in special lab yet.

Mum: Maybe soon?

LM: Yes, maybe!

Mum: What are you good at?

LM: Maths… you know that mum because I’m better then you!

No, his not joking… He is!

Mum: What lesson are you not so good at?

LM: Handwriting, I don’t like it as it hurts my fingers.

Mum: What else don’t you like?

LM: A knife and fork scrapping on the plates like Alice does!

He pulls a funny face and wiggles

LM: It makes me fuzzy mum!

Mum: So, What do you really love like?

LM: Lots… I like buses best ever, then trains & tube and black taxies.

Mum: Anything else?

LM: The word international and music, I like Bruno Mars.

Then his gone…

Mum: “Where you going” I shout!

To which he replies…

“We are finished mum”

Charming, so, bloody charming indeed!

Autumn’s frights and delights

24 Sep
The leafs on the tree’s have that tint of brownness, the conkers have started to fall! The air is becoming somewhat noticeably cooler, and as the days go on, I notice more and more children heading to school in their wooly hats and winter coats!
google image
Well, all except little man that is! His a hater of coats (though his worn them in the summer when it resembles Spain outside the window)
I’ve spent so much money on these things, it’s driving me bonkers!
he isn’t outgrowing them, he isn’t even wrecking them , his just simply refusing to wear them. 

Do I get some deadly stares from fellow mothers when we are out and about?
GOSH, YES…
… You can see just what they are thinking, though the stare of their spiteful eyes…
“SHAME ON YOU, HOW CAN YOU CALL YOURSELF A MOTHER”
Raincoats are the biggest No, No!
Trust me, put one of them things near his skin and he’ll eat you for tea. 
A tactile related & highly upsetting meltdown, will be delivered quicker than you can possibly redirect your horrendous mistake.
Then there’s the issue of scarfs! 
I try to keep my baby warm, his hyperventilating accusing me of strangulation!
Wooly jumpers, Please don’t!
“I wanna get out the door alive”
Gloves, make sure there the right material, fingerless are my best bet…
despite the fact his fingers may drop of with frost bite!
This is what he likes!
I love the colder months, the festive events that near! 
I love being by the warmth of the fire, while a casserole slowly cooks in the oven releasing that savoury aroma.
I love the autumn smell that you get in the air and the extra bedding loaded on my bed at night!
I love the 5th November when the bonfires alight and the fireworks fly up into the dark musty sky. 
google image
Fireworks, these send Little man into almighty panic, throwing himself down onto the ground and army shuffling out of sight!
Oh Yes, we are now passed the fear of sun burn (hence the coat in summer).
Little man will no longer need to run from the buzzing bees & warps or shake his head at the flying ants
But with the fall of Autumn comes a whole different set of sensory related triggers & anxieties, ones you would never have imagined!
.Related articles

How probiotics are helping my son with Aspergers Syndrome

15 Sep

It’s  a little over a week since myself and the kids started on the OptiBac Probiotics and here’s a progress report!

 As many will now know, OptiBac are sponsoring me for the Mad Blog awards, this is the perfect partnership, what with the link of probiotics and there effect on gut and digestive health in children on the autism spectrum.

 This was an issue that was getting me down. More lately, little man had been experiencing gut problems, including bloating following a small meal, reframing from using the toilet other than those at home (always been the case, yet stomach aches had really increased somewhat of late) awful wind (I mean awful) and generally, a lot of tears. 

 Something I didn’t know before, was the possible links to the use of probiotic supplements improving anxiety, behavioural problems and other non related digestive health concerns, when given to children on the autism spectrum.

 I love Little man the way he is, and certainly wouldn’t change him! However, I would like to make things easier for him by improvement of any issues that cause him great difficulty, and therefore affect his overall health (wouldn’t we all as parents)? 

 I admit, I’ve always been a big sceptic about supplements and their improvements on autism! We tried the fish oils and saw no improvement what so ever (plus he hated taking these) However this hasn’t been the case with the OptiBac Probiotics.

For those of you that are not aware of what Probiotics are, they are a type of friendly bacteria living in the gut. It is documented that Children with autism may have more digestive health problems due to the imbalance of good and bad bacteria. 

So, this is what the lovely Soraya over at OptiBac sent me for the Little Man

 For daily Wellbeing: OptiBac Probiotics Extra Strength 

The Extra Strength Probiotics contain 20 billion live microorganisms and five friendly bacteria strains, in one capsule. This is the premium range and will give a child on the autism spectrum a good kick-start in achieving good digestive health, therefore bringing with it a range of other benefits.

 Test Run

 Little man had no issues taking the capsule (if preferred you can open these up and sprinkle in a glass of water or juice as the contents is flavorless)

These are recommended to be taken in the morning with breakfast! That was our problem, Little man doesn’t eat in the mornings, through we have him taking this with a glass of cold milk. 

 Any changes in digestive health?

 It’s early days but yes, there has already been some changes in his digestive health! Pretty quickly after having first started the probiotics, Little man seemed more comfortable, the last few days I have noticed that he is able to eat more of his food without it upsetting his stomach. By day six I noted that Little man wasn’t nearly as bloated as he usually gets. His of course continuing to refuse to use public toilets waiting till his at home, though he doesn’t get as uncomfortable in the process, whereas before after ten minutes this would have caused himself to double up in agony. 

 As for the wind, hardly a trump to be heard! This, ladies and gentlemen, is heaven, my little man would break wind non stop (no matter who was there) For some reason it is always worse at night, his farting wakes me, I swear. (and no my son will not be at all embarrassed that I wrote this, he would pretty much laugh his arse off)! 

This, I can only put down to the Probiotic extra strength supplement, as nothing else has every worked!

What a result!

 Other issues, non gut related

 What I’ve noticed

Slight improvements in anxiety levels

 Again, It’s just over a week, I can’t say a 100% that the probiotics are the reason behind a slight improvement in his anxiety levels, though I think it’s looking pretty likely to be the case! 

Even such a small decrease in a week, to me is fabulous. Anxiety is the thing that triggers a lot of little mans impulsive behaviours, along with his difficulty with sensory processing.  

Any improvement in this area are much welcome! 

 Little man is a little less likely to over think things, reading too much into things, which he does a lot! This past week, there has been fewer questions asked by little man, which is often fired at me so to offer him reassurance! He will normally do this even if he knows that something will or will not happen, just so his that bit more reassured. When increased anxiety has risen, there has again been a small improvement in the speed in-which his anxiety is again reduced to a clam state, therefore allowing reasonable thinking.

 Behaviour

 This has obviously also sightly improved, due to the reduction in anxiety which again, along with sensory processing, is one of his main triggers for behavioural difficulties.

 Sleep

 No improvement here as yet, though he is getting up quicker and dressing a little faster! There is definitely something happening here folks and for just over a week I’m seriously impressed.

 The siblings 

 Alice-sara and little Harley are taking the 

‘For your Child’s health” probiotic and prebiotic 

 These come in individuals packets and are powdered so can be added to cold drinks and cold food. The range is safe for children, pregnant women, and mothers who are breastfeeding.

 The box contains 30 powders and at one a day (more if desired) they last one month.

 Results

Alice-Sara has always experienced bloating and discomfort and over the week, this is again starting to decrease. Harley has not had any more stomach cramps (These were regular before using the probiotics) his had no constipation what so ever! Bonus!!

 And as for me… (Mum) 

 Product: Maintaining regularity!

 It’s working! Enough said (Hide’s glowing red face and cringes with embarrassment)!

Though this are also good for gaining a flat tum, No that hasn’t happened as yet!

 So, what more is there to say, except… OptiBac Probiotics don’t cost the earth so are really worth a try, especially if your child has autism. Watch this space for another OpticBac progress report soon.

 OptiBac Probiotics Facebook Competition

 Wouldn’t it be great to test run these fabulous supplements for free?

 Enter the facebook competition on the OpticBac facebook page, to bag yourself , child or both, some OptiBac Probiotics!

 Win… Extra Strength premium capsules (that Little man is currently using, and reviewed above) Awesome for those with autism but equally as great for those without.

Win… ‘For your child’s health’ probiotic and prebiotic (as taken by the siblings and reviewed above, good for children with and without autism).

 Win… For Bowl Calm’ trail pack.  Great for upset stomach and can be given from three years plus.

 OptiBac asked me to invite my lovely readers over to their facebook page.

 If you are willing to quickly click the like button, letting them know ‘A Boy with Aspergers’ sent you, before finally sharing the competition by pressing the share button on their page, you’ll be in the running for both kits with a prize value of over £40! 

CLICK HERE FOR THE OPTIBAC FACEBOOK PAGE

 How easy is that!!!

  Most products are Ok for those on, gluten & yeast free, vegan & vegetarian diets and are also free from artificial colourings and sugar. Each of the products vary slightly, check the OptiBac Probiotics website, where you will find a full list of info for each product. 

 Note: The competition is hosted by OptiBac who will draw the winner from random, please see their full T&C when the website by clicking HERE

Remember to let them know who sent you.

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