Tag Archives: video

A Christmas Message For Our Readers

25 Dec

A message from the boy himself to wish our readers a very merry Christmas.

Love Claire, Little man and and family.xx

The True Magic Of Christmas

13 Dec

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This enchanting, charming, beautiful house is located at 25A Hayes Lane Bromley Kent. The family who live here have been showcasing their ever growing collection of Christmas lights for some 25 years now?

Why?

Well, its all done in the name of charity. The festive home owners have helped a number of charities by putting on a spectacular Christmas light display in the hope of raising funds for those less fortunate, national and local charities and even children with special educational needs.

I first saw the house earlier in the week when I was asked to collect my son from school due to illness. Of course it was the middle of the afternoon so the lights were not yet switched on. With that I decided to take the children back tonight for a closer look and let’s just say we wasn’t disappointed!

The house is absolutely smothered in twinkling fairy lights.You will find an assortment of Santa’s displayed on the roof top, as well as a range of giant snow globes and a Santa loaded hot air balloon.

If that’s not exciting enough, the front garden has been totally transformed into something of a magical winter wonderland that leaves children bedazzled.

The first thing that catches your eye as you approach the house is a beautifully lite mini Ferris wheel with a host of festive faces upon it (Santa and a Snowman included)!

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Nutcrackers and toy Soldiers line the pond area while further along the grass the scene of a nativity really blows you away with festive cheer.

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Everywhere you turn, every inch and every corner, you will find something to amaze you. A beautiful wishing well and a life size moving Santa. Colourful wooden trains, talking elves and more.

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As you walk about exploring your surroundings, traditional Christmas tunes can be heard playing through mini speakers. They even have a special red post box just for posting letters to Santa.

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Here’s a little video I made to try and capture just how lovely the light display really was.

As I stood looking at the amazing display that has brought families from a far to see it, I realised just what a truly amazing thing the family living inside are doing for others. The surrounding communities get the privilege of visiting with their children while many charities are indeed lucky enough to benefit from such a place.

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I noted the television flashing in the window and realised that the family were probably sat indoors doing what you or would be doing… only just outside their window, their home was now something of a tourist attraction. But here they are for their 25th year… Seriously how amazing is that? That means these guys were putting smiles on the faces of children while raising essential funds for charity since I was 5 years old.

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I dunno about you guys but I think whoever is living behind door number 25 must be a pretty amazing family.

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As a mum to a child who benefits from such kindness (as you know little man has Aspergers and special educational needs) I just wanted to spread the festive cheer and if possible get those who are able to visit the house to do so.

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Children will not be disappointed. We drove 3 miles to see the lights and would of driven further if needed.

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Sadly, this is in fact the last year that the family will be transforming their home into a beautiful Christmas winter wonderland. So… Wouldn’t it be amazing to finish this lovely tradition on a high? I would love the family to make a lovely large sum of money in donations for this years chosen charities. I plan to go along again before the end of this jolly festive season, so I can give a little more! I haven’t got much but I know every penny counts.

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So, are you local to Hayes Lane, Bromley? Have you seen the magical wonderland? If yes, I’d love to hear your thoughts! If you haven’t yet visited and are within traveling distance why not pop along and help make this a beautiful end to a magical tradition.

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The Magic Of Wonderbook

2 Nov

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Featuring original new writing from J.K Rowling and set in the restricted section of the Hogwarts library, Book of Spells is an advanced textbook for budding wizard students, designed to assist them on their journey to become an accomplished wizard. Fusing traditional storytelling with ground breaking technology it’s an interactive reading experience like no other… coming to life in your living room!

Using the PlayStation Move as a magic wand, turn the pages and watch the book come to life with giant paper dragons flying above you, a pumpkin fit to burst, and spells jumping off the pages name a few – it’s so cool and kids so far are loving it!

Little man got a PS3 for his birthday and is very “into it”. We are going to attend an event tomorrow where will be able to see the game in action and share a little more about it.

I can’t wait. This looks both exciting and education and could be one for the Christmas list.

Scooterearz the New Collection

11 Oct

We reviewed Scooterearz last year and was super impressed with them.

Basically scooterearz are gloves for scooters. These are simply placed over the handle bars of the scooter then the child is able to place their hands inside. This means the child doesn’t feel restricted and is able to have a comfortable grip on the scooters handle bars. The child therefore keeps control of the scooter while keeping their hands warm… Simple but brilliant!

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We were sent a pair of scooterearz in one of their latest limited edition designs… The Union Jack. These look fantastic on the handle bars of Harley’s Mini Micro.

Scooterearz come in their own bag for storage, they are totally waterproof and have a warm fleece inner lining making them really warm and comfortable.

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These are compatible with both scooters and bikes so no one has to experience cold hands.

Here’s a little video of Harley giving them a try.

These really are great and myself and the little one would recommend them to any child who likes to scoot about whatever the weather.

The New Limited Edition Union Jack Scooterearz are available for £14.99 with free P&P.

Little Man The Secret Agent On A Mission

21 Sep

When little man was asked to review items from the Spy Net range he was more than happy to oblige.

Me, I didn’t mind! Yes, I’d be required to record his thoughts and opinions but a little writing never killed anyone, especially when it means you can sit back and enjoy watching your sons confidence grow as he gains more and more self confidence with each review he does. Growing up he had limited interests but this kind of thing was right up his street. For starters it’s Tech and he relates to this very well. Secondly it involves spying and he quite enjoys this too.

Was I worried… No…. After all it’s just a toy isn’t it!

But as usual I had spoken way to soon, and I mean way to soon!

The Spy Net™ range isn’t just some plastic fantastic toy that lets the child feel like a spy… No, no! It’s the ultimate in cool spy technology, Spy Net™ offers a range of fully-functional gadgets and I’m not talking alarm clocks or fancy sound effects!

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Spy Net™ provides today’s secret agents with everything they need to do the job and do it well.

Little man was sent two products from the range, one being the Spy Net™ Video Watch RRP £49.99. Now I understand this is for today’s spy but again I didn’t think to much about it, after all, as mention, it’s just a kids toy!

Yes, the clever device had me fooled! So well in fact that the Little man and his watch have caught me of guard more than once.

The Spy Net Video Watch looks just like your everyday watch (if anything a tad bulkier, but not obviously different from the norm)! As one would expect, it tells the time like an ordinary watch, but hidden deep within its packed with a whole host of innovative features, the type that only an under cover secret agent would require.

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Amazingly one of these features is a real-working hidden video camera and audio system that allows its owner to record and store over 20 minutes of video (thats a lot of time to collect some pretty incriminating evidence). Whats more the watch has the capability to collect over 4 hours of audio evidence, or even 2000+ still photo! All features are displayable on a built-in, full color 1.4 inch TFT video screen so Mr Secret Agent can sit back, relax and watch the playback!

Once back at their headquarters, agents can upload to SpyNetHQ.com via USB where analysing of evidence commences

If this isn’t enough the watch has even been loaded with lie detector software… Yes, I did just say lie detector software! With this the little agents can check if your telling lies during a conversation or instead analysis the audio produced on that secret video you know nothing about.

When they are finally bored of spying on family members they can move onto something else like having a go at ‘Secret Code Cracking’ or maybe train for missions in way of the preloaded mini games.

To say little man loves this watch is to much of an understatement! His bonkers about it. Again I’ve been proven wrong this versatile Spy Net Video Watch that also downloads video missions from the HQ is far beyond a toy.

Do you know that thing we do as parents! We’re tired, stressed and not in the mood. The kids go on & on about something and we end up saying… “Yer maybe” or “OK, Ok whatever” Those with a child on the autism spectrum will particularly understand as the child with Aspergers has mastered the fine art of obsessiveness. Well, Little man has been doing this about his birthday and the little sneaky devil (that’s a polite term) has been secretly recording me as he bangs on about wanting the entire contents of Amazon. He has some pretty strong evidence of myself saying “OK, OK, we will see” as well as “Yes… Yes” I try not to do this as a child will never let you forget it, especially one with Aspergers but Yesterday I received a little shock. We had a discussion on the subject of birthday lists and he states i’ve agreed to get him something that I’m pretty sure I haven’t! To my complete and utter horror it turns out that I kinda have agreed to something and he holds the proof in that of his little watch. I’m considering suing the boy for entrapment… Seriously! His even got me singing (extremely badly) as I dance with the mop in my PJs… Something I’m not wanting leaked on YouTube! The boy has the potential to make a mint in blackmail money but we won’t tell him that ah!

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Verdict: 9/10 it’s a brilliantly clever piece of kit that I’m considering borrowing when I speak to his father next * Evil Laugh*

Parents be careful your child could be spying on you.
www.SpyNetHQ.com

Little Man also received the Spy Net™ Bionic Ear Stealth Listening Device RRP £19.99
Another devices that allows him to become a top spy and does so by allowing him to hear distant sounds through walls and doors in-order to detect intruders and defend against enemy… AKA the parent.

By Putting on the Bionic Ear a long with his Spy Net Video watch, Little man has all the tools needed to be a super agent. The Bionic Ear has real ultrasound technology and allows him to listen in on all the action (not always appropriate I know)! He can even use it to hear round corners ensuring him a safe distance from his enemy (in our language… Little sister).

Does it work? Just look at the Little mans cheeky chops! Do you really need to ask?

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At £30 cheaper than the Video Watch it’s a good price! However it doesn’t compare in terms of what it is able to do and the many features that come with the watch does put it way up there on a pedestal! I do love the watch and together with the Bionic Ear it’s the perfect set to delight boys and girls alike.

Verdict Bionic Ear 7/10 Great product that kids will love.

Both products are available from all good retailers including Toys R Us & Amazon.

Disclaimer: I was not paid for writing this post! Little man received product samples for the purpose of the review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

We’re Toys R Us Toyologists

13 Sep

As some may already know myself and the children have been selected as 2012 Toys R Us Toyologists which means from now till Christmas we will review and share some fantastic toys.

Last week we received our first box and we’ve had great fun with the toy testing.

The reviews we will be doing are aimed at those aged 7+ so its Alice-Sara and the little man who have the exciting job of testing all the toys. Though I’m sure Harley will find his way in there some how.

We are so pleased to have been selected as part of the blue group of Toyologists. We were one of just 24 families from over 800 who were selected. How cool is that!

Yesterday we did our very first review. Below is the trailer…

Visit the Toys R Us Toy Box to read the review and discover who the other 23 Toyologist are and what they are reviewing.

Plus check out the Toys R Us Facebook page for all the latest Toyologists news, including future applications for the TRUtoyologists programme.

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Learning through Play

7 Aug

It’s the 6 week holidays, time for the children to have some fun. But just because it’s the holidays this doesn’t mean we should reframe from education, after all education can be fun.

I don’t know about you guys but I like to keep the children’s mind stimulated. This can be difficult for Little mans, his interests are quite obsessive, a trait of his Aspergers Syndrome, I worry he will isolate himself, fallout of routine and have difficulties reintegrating back into school. Alice-Sara is also currently being assessed for dyslexia. She has been placed on the SEN register at school and I sadly wasn’t informed. Thankfully though things are improving with the school, it’s now my aim to involve Alice in lots of fun educational play throughout the summer. Lastly there’s Harley, his 2 with a mind like a sponge and as his mother I hope to help him to learn all there is to know during these early pre-school years.

As a blogger I receive a number of request from brands & PRs and one from RM Education ( a leading provider of technology for learning) has really helped me to undertake the above mission.

RM Education have a mission of their own, “To make learning fun” and as a result they have launched the fabulous online resource “RM At Home’ with the help of presenter Philippa Forrester.

I’m so pleased that I have been introduced to the ‘RM At Home’ website, it’s overflowing with great articles and resources for both parents and teachers.They also cover lots of different topics on different areas of Special Educational Needs (SEN) and have some lovely inspirational ideas for creating a sensory room.

As well as the above resources presenter and mum of three boys, Philippa Forrester, is helping RM At Home raise awareness among parents of the products that are available through ‘RM At Home’ that make learning enjoyable and effective outside school hours. It’s a few of these products that the children have been having fun discovering.

RM At Home have some excellent fun yet educational toys that both parents and child can experience together.

The Cannon Stomp: There is no other word but funky that describes this toy. Aim it then Fire it to see how far your ball can travel. Cannon Stomp is great fun and can easily be played together with others. When your child jumps or stomps on the silicone cannon a foam ball is dispensed with great speed, the harder you stomp the further & faster it travels.You can make it extra fun by making and setting targets for the ball to hit! You may wonder why or how a child can learn anything by playing with The new Cannon Stomp! But they really do as such an activity will better the child’s skills and development in ‘Reaction and agility training’ which is great for a child like Little man who is on an Occupational Therapy programme integrated into his school timetable as a result of his difficulties within this very area.

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This actually has come at a very convenient time. Have you noticed my blogging over the last few weeks has been a bit non existent when my life remains as chaotic? No, it’s not down to the kids being of school but the fact I’ve been unwell with flu and a horrid chest infection. Cannon stomp gave Little man something to enjoy while developing some important skills. Honestly, I’ve been laid up on the sofa and his been keeping himself busy with it in the garden for decent periods of time at a go.

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My tiny tot ‘Harley’ is only 2 but already his loving the Cannon stomp. Admittedly he spent sometime trying to figure out just how to get the ball out from the Cannon. However, when he did finally discover how from his big brother ‘Little man’, his Been non stop bouncing up and down on it trying his hardest to launch the balls… They fly out, he does this seriously adorable giggling and cheers with excitement.

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Little man loves his new sensory friendly toy which is easy to use. All you do is load the ball by pushing one of the two foam balls down the cannon and stamp to shoot. Simple, educational, yet extremely fun too.

I feel the the Cannon Stomp is a really good toy which is particularly great for those on the autism spectrum, children with Gross Motor Skills & coordination difficulties as well as those child who sensory seek.

Another product sent to us for testing was the children’s New Recordable Magnifier which allows a child to record and share a 30 second audio message about what it is they see, therefore introducing essential learning skills in a fun way.

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Where Alice Sara is Dyslexic she struggles with writing and spelling. However, My daughter is very vocal and is able to express herself in the most creative of ways (singing, story telling, vlogging, acting, singing etc) This would therefore be an assets for schools who have pupils registered with SEN and also those without SEN.

This recordable feature is a great way to get your child talking about their observations before they forget them without the pressures of writing. Or you can leave your own messages on the magnifier for a fun treasure hunt or tips on finding creepy crawlies etc.

The Magnifier can be brought as one (ideal for the parent) or in a pack of six (perfect for schools/playgroup etc). The Magnifier is a fantastic size, its bright and chunky yet extremely Lightweight which is perfect for small hands, it can also be attached to a lanyard.

Alice-Sara and my youngest Harley had great fun with this one! Little man however was sticking with his Cannon Stomp (the close ups of those creepy friends in our garden were freaking him out a little)! Alice-Sara spent a good proportion of her day on Sunday becoming amazed at the close ups she obtain of a number of creepy crawlies. I did shoot some awesome pictures but these are unfortunately still on my memory card due to my lack of living I’ve been doing while sick! However, don’t worry! I’ve included one of the RM At Home videos that shows you how the Magnifier works and why it can benefit your child. As for my pictures I’ll be adding these to an up and coming post on ways to education children with SEN at home.

Check out this video on YouTube:

All of RM At Home products have proven educational value – they are used and trusted by schools throughout the country so the quality is extremely high – it has to be to survive in a classroom!”

Commenting for RM Education, Senior Educationalist Kat Howard says: “You can buy fun stuff that’s not educational and you can buy things that are educational but not fun. We are fulfilling a need for learning resources that have proven educational worth while also being enjoyable for children to play with.”

“One product we’re particularly excited about is Easimaths. It’s an online maths tuition software for children aged five to 11 and it’s adaptive, which means as soon as the child masters something, they are immediately moved on to the next level. It’s bright, colourful and games-based and costs just £34.99 a year.”

RM At Home also offers another solution for parents – RM School Finder. There is currently no one place parents can go for information about their local schools – they have to trawl through several sources of data. RM School Finder, which is free to use, takes all available school data and presents it in a user-friendly format so it’s easy to see not just Ofsted reports, but exam results, extra curricular activities, what pupils achieve, plus softer information on the culture of the school direct from the establishment itself.

Why note check out this excellent video to discover a little more about this excellent resource or check them out at any of the links at the very end of this post.

Myself and the Children highly recommend RM Education (RM At Home) to all families of both pre-school and school age children. Its a brillent resource for the teacher/parent of a child with SEN but equally as fab for those who don’t. Visit RM At Home or like them on facebook follow on Twitter

Help… Alice-Sara needs you!

8 Jun

So yesterday we were sent a very exciting email with an attached copy of the Ice Age 4: Continental Drift trailer to download. The film is the upcoming fourth instalment of the Ice Age films and to celebrate this exciting new release, ODEON are searching for their first Official Junior Reviewer for the film – which will be showing in cinemas from July 13th. It’s a brilliant and fun opportunity to be a part of, and the winner will receive some very exciting prizes.

My daughter Alice-Sara is a huge Ice Age fan and was really excited to get involved. All she had to do was film make a short review of the trailer and tell us why she would like to be chosen as the Official ODEON Junior Reviewer for Ice Age 4.

We would then need to upload her video onto YouTube and post it and then get as many friends and family as we can to view the video.

The top five videos will be shortlisted based upon the number of views received, and a panel of judges will pick the overall winner.

Here’s what the winner will receive. It’s an amazing prize.

The winner will receive their own ODEON Platinum card, which gives them access to visit any ODEON cinema, anytime, with a friend, FREE for a year! In addition 4 tickets to one of the very first ODEON screenings of Ice Age 4 will be given, with the full Junior Review professionally filmed afterwards. This will then be featured on the ODEON Facebook and YouTube page, as the Official Ice Age 4 Junior Reviewer.

The winner will also be invited on an all inclusive Ice Age 4 Pirate family trip for four, to Bristol which will include:

· A two hour cruise around Bristol’s historic harbour and to add to the excitement, your child will also have the chance to steer the ship!
· 1 nights accommodation in a 4 star hotel in Bristol, including breakfast
· £100.00 towards travel and spending money
· An Ice Age 4 goodie bag

The four runners up will also receive an exciting Ice Age 4 prize.

So here it is… Please please just click and watch that’s all it takes to give my little princess this awesome opportunity is a view because the more views she gets the more chance she has of becoming an official reviewer. I think she did awesome.

We had such a great time making the video and if you checkout my YouTube channel you will find a very funny video of Alice-Sara’s very funny out-takes. She really is a star.

Help a child with Autism communicate with the world they live in

3 Jun

So, I was on twitter recently (nothing new there I know) when I came across a very interesting tweet from one of my new followers.

The tweet in question contained a link to a very interesting website and article focused around a campaign that is aiming to help children with autism by providing them with a way to communicate with the world they live in! Here’s how.

With your help a child with autism can be given the tools needed to better communicate their needs, making the world a much easier place for them to live in.

The charity making this happen is “Hearts & Minds Challenge

They don’t need you to give funds, they don’t want your money, all they need is your old mobile phones, even those that are no longer working!

Here’s what the charity had to say!

Once upon a time, a mobile phone was a status symbol, a way to tell the world that you were so important that people had to be able to reach you all the time. Nowadays a mobile is a necessity, but we still like to have the latest model with features that can improve our daily life.

Now; when you want to trade up your old phone, you could be helping someone with Autism to communicate their basic needs and for the first time, truly express what they want. And the phone doesn’t even have to be working to help….

Autism is a developmental disability which typically affects social interaction, imagination and the ability to communicate. Half of all people diagnosed will have severely delayed speech and as a result, can become frustrated, leading to behavioral challenges and social exclusion.

In the past, these individuals could be taught to use picture exchange communication or “pecs” a system of handing over a picture to request an item. Thus replacing that negative behaviour with a vocabulary of different pictures, all of which have a huge value to the individual. They are prompted to try to say each word and can slowly learn to speak independently with the picture system as support.

However, at least a 1/4 of all people diagnosed with Autism will have to use an alternative communication system for life, which can become very unwieldy as their vocabulary grows.
They must also rely on carers and therapists to update and maintain the system, so they never have independent control of what they want to say.

There are electronic picture devices, but the vocabulary is static, the devices bulky and expensive and the individual cannot express exactly what they want.

However, thanks to the development of a simple App, which recreates the picture system in a digital format, so called ‘non-verbal’ people can communicate exactly what they want on an Apple iPod or iPad. The Grace App, named after the little girl who inspired it is a basic picture vocabulary in a digital format which the user selects then shares to communicate what they want. Most importantly, they can actually add to their pictures themselves using the device camera, or google and save an image if they cannot find and photograph what they need.

Lisa, who created the Grace App says:
“Just because someone is not yet talking, it doesn’t mean they have nothing to say”

Lisa said the App has allowed Grace to express herself clearly and her frustration and tantrums, which could last for hours are now vastly reduced.
“Grace is also interacting with us a lot more, and I’m delighted to hear her using her own voice, as her speech continues to improve”

There are a lot of families that could benefit from trying out Grace or one of the many Apps developed to support the needs of people with autism – but they need the device to use it. This is a big commitment for a family who may have limited means, and a lot of demands on their income due to the pressures of raising a child with Autism.

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Hearts and Minds are a charity with a mission to raise the quality of life of individuals with autism have come up with a scheme to turn old mobiles into new technology like the Apple iPad, while raising funds towards opening an Education Centre For Autism in Greater Manchester.

To help: Go through your drawers and cupboards and clear out all those old mobiles that are taking up space, contact the school and donate those devices in the envelopes provided. Not only will you be giving a child with autism the chance to communicate, but you will go into a draw to get your mortgage paid for a year – who wouldn’t like that?

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Once I read the above I just had to write this post and share this great campaign with my readers.

I also found a great video on the Hearts and Minds website that really does share a strong message with the world on what a difference we can make by donating our old mobile phones. The video shows a selected number of children with autism using their iPad at home or in school. Attached is a message from the families of these children who state what a remarkable difference the iPad has made to their child’s life.

Warning… The video is a real tear jerker! I sobbed all over my iPhone!

I was actually about to write a sponsored post for a company that specialises in recycling mobile phones, saving the environment and making us a bit of extra cash in the process. Then I read about ‘Hearts and Minds’ who are not only saving the planet but helping a child with autism to communicate. Of course it’s Ok to recycle your mobile for cash, especially if you have little… We all need some extra pennies sometimes. But remember this charity are happy to take any mobile phone, regardless of the state it’s in… Broken, old, “a brick” it really doesn’t matter!

Thankfully my son is verbal and actually speaks very well! However he does have an array of communication difficulties and even for him such technology is a godsend. Little man attends a special school and as part of an OT programme he is now learning to touch type, his fine motor skills are very poor and his handwriting hardly legible. An iPad is on the Birthday list and it’s something I’d purchase with the knowledge of knowing that for little man it’s so much more than a fancy handheld tablet.

I hope that others will read this and next time they open a draw to discover an old dusty mobile they remember this post and therefore remember that for a child with autism that dusty mobile is a door that opens into a world of communication!

Remember families and schools wanting to register for the programme can do so over on the hearts and minds website

For more information on the programme visit Grace App or Hearts and Minds to see if you can help give a child with autism a way to communicate.

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored or guest post. I have not been asked to write this and have not received anything for sharing this information. I have done so as a way to help a charity on their mission to help others.

#Mad blog awards 2012 finalist plea

2 Jun

So, there are just 5 days left till the voting closes for the Mad blog awards. I’m chuffed to have made it to the finals of the Mads 2012 (most inspiring category). This year there’s some fantastic blogs amongst the finalists and it’s worth just popping over to discover some fabulous new reading material.
Mum and Dad Blog Awards 2012

However if you do love what I do then please vote A boy with Aspergers for most inspiring 2012. Voting closes on the 6th June 2012 at 5pm. Just click the button above.

Here’s a video that myself and the little man created to drum up some support and thank those who have supported us so far

Huge thank you to all our readers and supporters and to that of Sally for making the Mad blog awards what it is today…something I’m dead proud to be involved in!

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