Tag Archives: Tips

Guest Post – How to keep children occupied during a long car journey

12 Apr

How to keep children occupied during a long car journey

Modern in-car multimedia entertainment systems give children access to the same sorts of backseat delights that you’d expect on a long haul flight.  However, while plugging kids into a drip-feed of movies and games might keep them quiet, there can be more to be gained from the experience of going on a long car journey.

Every parent knows that a long car journey can be miserable for all concerned if youngsters are not kept happy. Wailing, arguing and fighting from the back of the car can drive you to distraction. But there are many things you can do to make your journey not only bearable, but fun as well.

Joining in

Kids like to be involved in what is going on around them and that applies to car journeys too. Discovering new things is what childhood is all about, so why not use play as a way to make kids feel like they’re part of an exciting expedition?

Forget ‘I spy’ – car bingo is far more fun. Before you leave home, spend some time with the children designing and making bingo cards. Instead of numbers, draw pictures and write the names of things that you’ll see on the way. The first to spot every item on their card shouts, ‘Bingo!’

Make a stop

The longer the children spend in the car, the more likely they are to get bored and grumpy. So be sure to schedule in stops along the route and let the kids know when you’ll be taking a break.

The UK is full of interesting things to see and do. A little bit of research before setting off could make all the difference to a long car trip. A short detour to visit a castle, for example, will give young ones something to look forward to.

Treats

Be careful when it comes to handing out sweet treats during the journey. Sugary snacks may buy you temporary respite from complaining children but you could pay a heavy price later. Sweets and fizzy drinks are soon guzzled, and the rush of calories can make kids restless and bad-tempered.

Try freezing bottles of fruit juice before you leave. Children will enjoy sipping at the melted juice, which will help to keep them topped up with fluids.

Packing lots of healthy fruit is also a good idea. Treat kids to a taste of the tropics by including unusual items like star fruit to tantalise their taste buds.

Stories

Audio books are widely available either as downloads or on CD, but nothing soothes like the sound of mum or dad reading a story. Why not record yourselves reading some of your children’s favourite tales so you can play them in the car?

Alternatively, encourage children to come up with their own fairy-tales. Just start a story off and let children take turns to add the next part of the fable.

Contented children can help towards a hassle-free trip. Adequate car insurance can also give you peace of mind, so you that if there’s a problem, you’re covered.

Author Bio:

Liam Williams writes for the Sainsbury’s Finance Money Matters blog. In his spare time he enjoys motoring and organic gardening.

 

Sponsored Guest Post

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.

Top Three Tips To Get You’re Kids To Sleep

2 Feb

My top three tips for “Getting your child to sleep”

 Well, my eldest is on the autism spectrum, his a poor sleeper as many of you know, so I guess you’re wondering what tips I can possibly give?

 The following tips don’t always work for my son with Aspergers, though they do work for my youngest Harley (most of the time).

 Tip One: No heavy food for a least 2 hours before bed. Harley has a sensitive stomach, plus he needs time to burn it off, which brings me to my next tip…

 Tip Two: This actually works for my Little man too (aka A boy with Aspergers) mainly during the summer months! A good jump on the trampoline a half hour or so before bed, tends to unleash all that built up energy, meaning your little ones are more relaxed and worn out when it comes to bedtime.

 Tip 3: Harley & Alice-Sara like a story, though this is always done in the bedroom, under the covers with the night-light on following a warm beaker of milk. Little man loves a story too, though he listens to his via a story audio CD, which seems to either soothe him to sleep or bore him to it (either one, I’m not sure)!

Koala sleeping on a tree top

Image via Wikipedia

The following tips have been given as an entry into the baby budgeting www. time4sleep.co.uk competition

“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

WIN £100 OF ARGOS VOUCHERS WITH OUR COUNTDOWN TO CHRISTMAS

1 Dec

24

DAYS TILL CHRISTMAS

And as promised we are counting down in style. The Santa’s Little helpers feature is in its final month, and as we all get ready for the big “C” I thought we would finish the feature by introducing the…

BIG CHRISTMAS COUNTDOWN!

You will find the “Big Christmas Countdown” page in the blogs header which will give you a taster of all the fabulous competitions and prizes featured in the Big Countdown (We are planning to cram in as much as we possibly can)

Plus you will find details of the other features the countdown will host, such as Christmas inspiration, events, articles & tips on Christmas with a child on the autism spectrum.

Plus we will be continuing with all our fab toy reviews (sharing all there developmental benefits too) making sure we introduce toys that are great for child with autism and additional needs and those without!

With just 24 shopping days left have you got all your presents?

Check out the Argos HALF PRICE toy sale

Or 

Why not check out their kids clothing range

SO… With 24 days left till Christmas, who fancies winning some Argos gift vouchers, I dunno, lets say £100 worth, how’s that sound?

HERE’S HOW TO WIN.

Compulsory actions

Share your best Christmas tip!

&

Comment on any Argos review my Santa’s Little helpers have done

Argos Reviews you can choose are

Lego & Nerf Blaster

KER-O Bumble bee

Baby Annabell 

Share your tip and let me know what Argos review you commented on in one comment leaving an email or twitter ID to validate your entry

Additional entries

ENTER AS MANY AS YOU LIKE BUT ALL MUST BE COMMENTED ON SEPARATELY TO BE VAILD!

Use the share buttons in this post to share the competition

REMEMBER TO COMMENT FOR EACH SHARE BUTTON USED LEAVING A WAY TO BE CONTACTED.

You have just 9 days to enter (COMPETITION CLOSING DECEMBER 9TH 2011) You then need to respond if you win within 24HRS.

T&C

The competition will run for 9 days including today! This means the competition will close on the 9th of December midnight. All comments must contain a means of contact (email or twitter id) due to the competition being part of the Christmas countdown and in-order to try and get the prize delivered before Christmas we are giving you just 24 hrs from time of contact to respond. You should therefore keep a watchful eye on your emails or tweets on the 10th. The winner will need to supply a postal address that I will need to pass to a reperesentive of Argos who will then dispatch the prize to its winner. Please note that it is your own responsibility to unsure you have followed the instructions correctly as I will not be able to chase people to verify entries! UK RESIDENTS ONLY PLEASE 

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.

 

Back to school with Matalan

6 Sep

Some weeks back, I wrote a post giving some, ‘Back to school tips’ to fellow parents of children on the autism spectrum. One of these tips related to shopping and the common issues experienced when having to shop with a child on the autism spectrum. With these issues in mind, I made the suggestion of purchasing your, “Back to school necessities” online, and to do so within good time!

Well, I must admit, that I myself failed, “Yet Again” to follow my own advice. Last week I still had school shoes, lunch boxes, PE kits and more to buy!

Well, thank you Matalan for saving me from what may have been, a shopping nightmare! Little man has been known to have some almighty mid shop meltdowns and I didn’t fancy another!

Yes, the lovely people at Matalan sent me an email setting me a challenge. I’m pretty used to challenges, but in this case it was the welcomed type!

The Challenge

Matalan online sent me a £50 voucher,  all I had to do was spend it carefully, getting as much for my £50 as possible. Lastly, I was to share my bargains here with my readers!

No problem, I’m not only a mother but a woman who loves to shop!

Bring it on!!!

So,  from the comfort of my sofa, with no meltdowns, anxiety or tears, I went shopping at Matalans online store.

On loading the site, I discovered that there was a sale showcasing items from just £1, (Oh yes, that’s my type of sale)!

So, voucher at hand, here’s what I got…

1) Girls button shoes (Black) Price: £8

2) Boys black trainer (Black) Price: £7

3) Black slash design leggings, Sale Price: £1 (reduced from: £6)

4) Back to school wheel design lunch bag, Price: £5

5) Back to school wheel design drinks bottle, Price: £2

6) Girls red school cardigan, Price: £4.50

7) Grey baker boy girls hat, Price: £3

8) Red Pump bag, Price: £1.50

9) Black Velcro Plimsolls, Price: £2.50

10) Girls five pack of briefs, Price: £3.50

11) Girls Hooch studded biker boot, Sale Price: £3.75 (reduced from £15)

After having added all the above to my trolley, I discovered I still had £8.25 left to spend, and what with having already got all I needed, I decided to get…

12) 3 Price red pan non stick pan set, Sale Price: £5.50 (reduced from £22)

13) Non padded Balconette bra, Sale price: £2 (reduced from £6)

14) Daisy white D plus bra, Sale Price: £1 (reduced from £6)

Total £50.25

Ok, Ok, I went 25p over, though I think that’s good for me.

That’s 14 items listed there, didn’t I do well?

Red pump bag £1.50, black plimsolls £2.50 and 5pk of girls briefs £3.50

Girls Baker boy hat, £3

Left: Boys wheel design lunch bag £5 and right matching bottle £2 

Red girls Cardigan, £4.50  

Delivery

delivery was super fast, arriving at my door with a smile just two days after I placed the order. My delivery was free as part of the challenge, however, Matalan are offering all customers spending £40 or more a special delivery rate of just £2 for a limited time.

Exclusive

I also received an exclusive reward, ‘A boredom busting voucher booklet’ entitling me to a discount of 20% of at ‘Yellow Moon’ as well as lots of other offers to keep the kids smiling such as, Kids bowl free, kids go free to Merlin attractions, (Legoland, Chessington and more) 2 for one on visits to Merlin attractions and many more.To little man’s delight the boredom busting booklet also contain a 25% off City sightseeing bus tours (yep, we’re going next week).

I am unsure if the promotion is still active. To find out, or check for any other offers, check the Matalan site or the blog (URLs at the bottom of the page).

Sale

The Sale is currently still on and is offering some items at a massive 75% off  As you can see from the above, it hosts some great bargains!

For me my best buy has to be the Hooch boots that had a fabulous £11.25 saving. These will do Alice-Sara proud in the winter I’m sure! They look really well made, as-well as being bang on trend.

Leggings £1 (were £6) Girls biker boots by Hooch, £3.75 (were £15) 

The non stick pans, well, how can you resist a price like this? £5.50 is a steal.

Non-stick pans in Red, £5.50 (was £22) 

The two bras are a bargain at £6 each but getting them both for £3 is super, and was simply my little teat to me! (Sorry guys I haven’t posted a pic of these but you can check out the underwear range online)

We decided that the leggings were much to nice for PE and having only cost £1 we are very pleased with them.

Even the items not in the sale were a steal. Little man has problems with his fine motor skills, making laces a problem! His black trainers with velcro fastening are ideal and a great price too!

Girls Black button shoes, £8 

Boys black trainers, £7

Autumn range

I was sent some fantastic books showcasing the new women’s and homeware range for the Autumn. The books were super posh and came with CD-ROMs

It’s clear to see that Matalan’s have had a redesign and I was pretty  impressed and excited at what was on offer throughout both of these books.

Looks like its going to be a fantastic Autumn at Matalan this year.

to shop at Matalan just click HERE

Visit the Matalan sale Here or the blog HERE

Like Matalan on Facebook Here Twitter heads, follow Matalan on twitter by clicking HERE

The Christmas Survival Guide

19 Dec

Getting into the seasons spirit of good will, I thought I would do my bit by sharing some Christmas DOS & DON’TS

This is the Parental Christmas Survival Guide.

DO… be prepared for your little darling to hand back that present he considers RUBBISH.

DON’T… invite anyone around your house who you’ve gossiped or nagged about in the past. All children have a mind like a sponge, but our little Aspies have a mind like a safe! Your child telling that Aunt or cousin, “Mummy thinks your a pain in the backside once drunk” isn’t a great situation to land yourself in!

DO…. visit Santa with caution! If you haven’t done so yet be prepeared if your child like Little man is a non believer… Anything could happen! Little man has called the man with the White beard a FAKE, laughed at his fat belly, asked him if he has a real job with meaning, and made him a list of the things he knows he will never get.
Oh and warn Santa that your child may want an indepth conversation surrounding their “special interest”

DON’T… Expect to have control of the TV remote control this Christmas.

DO… Make sure all children have the SAME number of gifts. If they have a present that was more expensive, be sure to make up the numbers with little things. Nothing worse then a Christmas morning meltdown.

DON’T… Run out of gift wrap to find the only thing you have left in the house is left over pink birthday wrapping paper. Believe me it’s so not worth the migraine.

DO… Stock up on essentials! Alcohol & strong painkillers spring to mind. A glass of White to take the edge of the stress and Painkillers for the end of the day when your dragging your arse to bed!!!

DON’T… Be shocked if your little Aspies ask everyone who gives them a gift how much it cost! Little man just can’t help himself.

DO… Not expect a quite Christmas. This one goes for anybody with Children… Full Stop!

DON’T… Even dare take your child on the spectrum out shopping with you. This is the busiest time of year… You wanna get through it alive don’t you!

DO… Make sure when that lady in Argos asks, “Do you want batteries with that” you say, “YES” When you tell a child with Aspergers you forgot to buy the batteries… You can expect a response that isn’t a great one!

DON’T… Try to force your child to like all the latest toys, because the thought of buying them… Batteries, Pad locks, and 20 cans of Dr pepper make you wanna cry. I used to buy Little man toys that he had no interest in because I convinced myself that he will play with them soon enough… Because that’s what children do! Isn’t it? Now if he wants a battery charger or a food processor… That’s what he gets!

DO… Be prepared to watch that DVD you got them… Over & Over again.

DON’T… Pull crackers without due notice.

DO… Expect ignorance! No not from your child, but from others! If your having people over… Choosing those who know and understand your child is always best.

DON’T… Ask your child if your Christmas party dress looks Ok! Unless very Honest opinions are being sought!

DO… Let them wear themselves out. If like Little Man your child has a poor sleep pattern at night, You will be grateful when they do sleep! For us it’s normally Christmas, after a long day out, Birthday parties… Ect…Ect.

DON’T… Make big plans for Christmas at a hotel, holiday park, or aboard! This maybe Ok for some families… However your child will be most comfortable at home where he can escape the mayhem of Christmas day to retreat to his sanctuary of loveliness… The Bedroom! This also goes for parents needing that five minute hideaway!

DO… Make sure your day is well planned out. Just like any other day, your child will want order and routine to their day. They will want to know what time dinner is and who’s visiting and when (of course this has a lot to do with the gifts people will bring as opposed to the person bringing them!)

DON’T… Get drunk and make a complete tit of yourself! Your child will never let you live it down… Telling everybody what you did for weeks, even months after!

Chessington the aspie way

31 Aug

The school summer holidays are almost over! to end things on a high we took the children to Chessington world of adventures curtesy of Merlins (Who we are most greatful to)
The day brought a mixed package of emotions but on the whole it was a great day. Little man did receive a ride access pass to avoid queueing, equally meaning this should aid the avoidance of meltdowns. However through this helped in a huge way, we did not avoid meltdowns completely in fact we did encounter a few.

First Meltdown: Before leaving.
Second Meltdown: Within 30 minutes of arriving at the park.
Third Meltdown: During the Journey home.

Although the above meltdowns are never easy and will be tough on all concerned they were bearable and easier to tackle compeared to some encountered in the past. These are what I refer to as Grade 2 meltdowns. it’s the grade ones that I really can’t bear!

Well from our own experiences, I would like to share some top tips. Looking back at the time leading up to our trip, the journey, and overall day, I think these tips could be extremely beneficial to any family like ours planning a day at Chessington world of adventures.

THE LEAD UP TO YOUR DAY OUT.

a) Adjust schedules and timetables as needed.

b) Prepare your child for the trip well in advance. We began this process weeks before. This enables the child time to adjust to the idea and prepare themselves mentally. (sadly they may also go on and on and on)

c) Avoid postponement where possible.
we had to postpone hence reason for meltdown number 1:( This is a disappointment for any child! For those on the spectrum it’s a disaster. You as the parent will pay the price.

d) Be sure to have the right documents for a ride access pass. New regulations state Photo ID is needed and proof of disability that relates to a condition that makes it hard for the child to cope with the concept of having to wait/queue.
We used a osyter 5-10 card and little mans writen diagnosis. More information can be found on the website.

e) Look online for any offers that can be used in the park. Some sites offer vouchers that enable you to receive 20% or more off food and gifts brought in certain food halls and gift shops within the park.
Note! Food can be expensive and you may want to bring your own.

f) prepare child for queues. Yes you can obtain a ride access pass but you will still need to queue for use of toilets, food outlets, gift shops e.g. My little man often pushed his way to the front while holding his arm in the air displaying his bright yellow wristband. He was shouting: “Clear the way, I have a wristband and don’t have to queue” Yes not ideal and a tad embarrassing.

g) Download a map of the park. if u have an iPhone or blackberry download as a PDF file. Maps can be picked up on the day but by doing it this way your child can familiarise themself with the park and it’s contents (Worked for us)

h) Check travel updates. Driving? check traffic update before leaving. If like us you use public transport be sure to check departure times of trains and buses. Long waits at busy stations are never easy.

JOURNEY TO THE PARK

a) Don’t even think about exploring the stations M&S or WH. Smiths. This didn’t go down well with little man.

b) If your child is like mine a transport enthusiast then be prepared. Once on the train little man beeped all the way there, pressed the button opening the train doors at each and every station, repeated all the names of the stations we stopped at, and took notes on the route for use later (AT HOME, AT 3AM)

ONCE AT CHESSINGTON

a) We had curtesy tickets meaning no long queue at the ticket sales at the gate. I suggest you order your tickets online. Pre-purchased tickets can be sent to you in advance meaning you two can avoid the massive ticket sales queue. If this isn’t possible be sure to arrive early.

b) Once inside head for Market square where you will find the admissions & information office. This is where you obtain your childs ride access pass (wristband) You are required to show your documentation before the child is fitted with the wristband. I found the staff most helpful and very understanding. (Ride access enable your child and between 2 to 4 carers to enter a ride via the rides exit area. This means the child avoids queueing. This is only for adults and children who don’t fully understand the concept of queueing or just can’t cope having to do so.)

c) While at the admission centre do get your child/children measured. Some of the big rides require you to be aleast 1.4 meters tall. We didn’t think to do this when we arrived. Little man spotted a ride that required him to be 1.4 meters. He just reached the top of the measuring stick but only because his fluffy hair encounted for aleast 3 inches. Me and the member of staff who was measuring him could not help but laugh when I pointed out just how lucky it was his father had not given him a hair cut. After much debate on Little mans part that consisted with a few worries “Does this ride ever break or get stuck?” followed by “what’s the odds out of a 100 of the ride becoming stuck while I’m on it?” We were allowed down to the exit to await instructions to board. Just as we went to jump on another member of staff asked to remeasure the little dude! With that we were pointed in the direction of the Admissions centre for a prober measure up. We were then told to come back with a blue wristband to show he met the requirements of the ride. He had the largest meltdown of the day. He was shouting “I have a F***ing yellow wristband!!! I don’t want a blue one”
He then sat with his head in his hands on the dirty floor. I stood asking if everyone was enjoying the show and his father who came with with us was running for the gate.

d) This ride should come with a Warning! It should state the BUBBLE RIDE may cause sensory overload!
I assumed little man would love this ride. After all I did as a child. I didn’t consider the sensory impact it may have on a child with ASD.
Note: This ride would be ideal for sensory seekers. The things a person on the spectrum may find unbearable.
. WATER: Its a slow moving ride that is water based.
. SMELL: The changing smells of bubble gum, soap, to fruity pop amoung others were very over powering.
. NOISE: The loud music that changed suddenly each time the ride entered a different area was messing with my head, so it must of done a great deal more to little mans!
LIGHTS: The ride features strobe lighting. A warning sign is displayed to show the risk for those with conditions such as epilepsy or pregnancy.
This ride frighten the life out of my little man. We purchased the ride photo that showed little man covering his head with his arms with the fear of god in his face. Another child with ASD enjoyed this ride and was now having their second turn. I had got speaking with his mother in the queue for photos who was telling me how much her son loved it. So this shows it can go either way. Sadly for us it was the wrong way. (at least Little sis had fun)

e) Bring spare clothing or waterproof wear. As fun as those water rides can be! there is nothing worse then wet wringing children! (Note the park provides halogen heated booths, but my children would not go near them)

f) Make time to visit the Zoo and Sealife centre. We did not visit the sealife centre as little man was having problems with the small queue. The Gorilla house is fantastic and worth a visit.

g) Do not wait for all the rides to finished before heading to the gift shop (open for extra 30min after park’s closing time) We did this and were faced with huge queues and a very crowded gift shop:( Stick to spending amount and do not cave with the added pressure from childs threat of tantrums.
I ended up spending way to much:(
Note: The best gift shop that offers best value for money (pocket money gifts) was the main Chessington Gift shop located in Market Square.

h) Leave before park closng time! Why? unless you want to be faced with huge queues for the bus (station a ten minute walk, little man cried like crazy as we promised the bus) Or a packed out very noisy train, that is very overcrowded? Then take my advice! We sat on the train and were surrounded by teenagers screaming and laughing. No wonder this was the reason for little mans final meltdown.

Yes we run into a few problems but we managed to still have fun. Little man loves rollercoasters and there were some smaller one like the runaway train. A train that’s a rollercoaster! Of course he loved it!

So there you have it! Chessington the Aspie way. I hope you enjoy your day, and with the help of my tips you get the best out your trip to chessington.

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