Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Have we stopped the peeing issues?

One of the issues our family has been struggling with for a long time is peeing issues with our son. He's old enough by now to understand the basics that most boys his age know such as you pee in private and in a toliet (or if your in the wild in the bushes) however, it is only until recently that I found out why he kept doing this. What it all boiled down to was CONTROL.
My husband and I have gone nuts but it took me sitting down with my son creating a senerio with his toys about peeing everywhere to understand that it had to do with the fact that my son was doing this because he was mad that someone told him no. There have also been the situations that he has not liked the noise/look/smell of the bathroom.
I don't have a permanent solution and I can't say what we did with our son is the first or best approach you should use. I just happened to use my son's favorite topic (earth science). Seeing my son pees a lot in the house I told him that like with most liquid it spreads as he's seen water spill from the table move into a large puddle of water on our floor. I talked about how liquid assorbs into the wood and walls and floor and weakens it. Then I was terribly mean and told him if he kept doing it when an earthquake comes the walls he's weakened will fall down first.
I felt horrible but I had to get him to QUIT peeing and find other ways to gain control so now that the peeing has stopped (we've gone over 2 months!) we're working on other ways to deal with the issues hoping to give him more skills before he realizes that I lied so it's not an issue.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Our SPD Christmas Survival Plan

One thing I have noticed about the holiday season is how overwhelming Christmas can be for a child with SPD or Autism. The lights, the presents, the stress, the noise and travel all add up and while it might not lead to a melt down on Christmas the days following are typically when we see the results of Christmas. This year we thought about previous Christmas' to help us determine what to do this year. Here is what we decided:

  • Anticipation of celebration is very high and so we decided to skip Christmas service. We know church is going to be more full than normal as 2 services combine into one. Add people with loud music and chaos and it just doesn't work for our child that well. If it was mellower then we'd consider but our church has grown considerably. Not to mention the anticipation to get home. Instead we decided to stay home and do the Christmas story with our kids.
  • We decided NOT to go to relatives on Christmas day. We will drop by on Christmas Eve but once again the preparation to go and come home is a lot of work when you multiply it by 3 children. This isn't something that is always taken lightly at other family members house especially if you are breaking tradition but sometimes it's good to pull back on a day that is going to be out of schedule for your child.
  • Rather than fussing with reading name tags on presents this year we decided to go and wrap presents without name tags. We instead allowed the kids to pick a character wrapping paper. This we're experiementing with in hopes that the kids will quit trying to open one another's presents due to the inability to read.
  • We decided to also not put presents under the tree until Christmas Eve. We also decided that our motion detector will be put up on Christmas Eve as well in case we have some early birds.
  • Lastly, we chose our children's presents this year different. We kept in mind two questions:
    • WHAT WILL HELP THEM WITH THIER SPD ISSUES - This will help me throughout the year as well as doing OT or PT with them.
    • WHAT WILL LAST - This just happens to be something that is common sense. More expensive but longer lasting meaning cost effectiveness especially seeing it's less destructable.
Overall, things this year we're also trying to be more laid back about. We've talked to our kids and let them know that the house has to be CLEAN before Christmas presents. Having things clean means that things can easily be put away and there is room to play  not to mention one of our gifts to them is a climbing toy made of what looks like colored PVC piping. We need room which means that the house has to be clean to set it up.

We're also going to be changing the food we eat to a less snack type food to a more healthy focused Christmas. Sure we'll have goodies but just not all the food that is considered 'junk'. We also limited candy this year as well because our kids scour the house looking for it at all hours.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Twas the night before an SPD Christmas

Saw this and just had to share.

T’was the Night Before an SPD Christmas

13Share













T’was the Night Before an SPD Christmas
By Patty, her husband and Hartley


T'was the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The snack packs, arranged on the counter with care,
In hopes, on our journey we’d be well prepared.
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of Chex Mix danced in their heads;


Ma in her hoodie, and I in my sweats,
were to put away pillows and therapy nets.
When in the back room there arose such a clatter,
I ran at full sprint to see what was the matter.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a puzzled old man buried up to his ears,
(In scooter boards, swings, and small colored spheres.)
Poor devil had brushed ‘gainst our therapy stash,
When it came down around him it made such a crash!


He recovered with grace, so lively and quick,
That I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
"What is all this stuff that you people collect?
Are you Circus performers?”--the old man interjects—
“I came here with toys, for the boys and your girl
But looking around I think ‘what in the world?’


This room that would normally have children’s stuff
Is packed to the gills with equipment enough
To start your own CIA torturing session!
Tell me I’m wrong and you’re not!” (oh good heavens!)


My wife and I snickered and held out our hands,
And reassured Nick we’d had no evil plans.
“Our kids have a condition; they have a hard time—
They yell when it smells and they climb up the blinds.


At first we didn’t know just what to think,
But eventually found an OT who could speak
To their curious quirks and aversion to crowds
And toothpaste and barbers and things that are loud.”


St. Nick answered back, "So, then they misbehave?"
We answered with, "Actually, no, they're really quite brave.
Kids with SPD deal with all kinds of things,
Like big hugs, itchy tags, and loud alarm rings,
Or can't get enough and spend hours on swings.
You see, our children are sensitive to all that life brings.
Yet do very well with a consistent routine.
But it isn't bad behavior you see when they yell,
But rather a problem that is hard to tell.


Our kids work hard, at therapy and play
Spending hours and hours and hours each day
Trying to find ways to control their bodies,
And working hard not to look naughty.
But what they need is understanding, and some help along the way,
Because our kids amaze us, each and every day."


The old man looked surprised, at what we had shared,
Small children with parents who did what we dared.
To seek out help, and look far and wide,
Turning over each rock, letting nothing hide.
Until we found what they needed, what would make them feel whole,
For families like ours St. Nick couldn't leave coal.


So, Nick with the bundle of toys on his back,
Frowned and thought, then sullenly sat,
(And mumbled to himself which took us aback):
“I’m quite at a loss, I don’t know what to give
To children who struggle while trying to live
In a world that is already noisy and bumpy
And twisty and scary and thorny and jumpy—"


Then he rifled again through his sack and reposed
While he tugged at his beard, and scratched at his nose
(And he huffed and he chuffed and he shifted his clothes)
Then with a wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
He drew the sack wide till the seams popped some threads,
Dug in his hand and pulled out a small box
(With very small writing) --but before he could talk
He ungloved his hand to wipe soot from his eye
(Or was it a tear? Or perhaps a sty?)


So he bid us farewell, and went back to his work,
He filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
While giving a nod, up the chimney he rose.


I said to Ma, as she turned towards the tree,
"Who knows what St. Nick left us, we'll have to see.
Yet we gave him something great, I say with fairness,
We sent him on his way with a new found Awareness."
Which is a gift to our kids, in a different kind of way,
Because when all understand SPD, that will be a new day!


Now we looked o’er the copious gifts left behind,
The tiny collages of paper and twine,
The moon-sparkled ribbons, the plastic that shined,
We spied the small box for the children to find.
“The best gifts can be pretty small--” Ma started then said,
“But our best gifts of all are still snuggled in bed.”


This Holiday season, you SPD Fathers and Mothers,
You cousins and nephews and sisters and brothers,
When you wake in the morning and throw off the covers
(And tear into presents while everyone hovers)
Do you think ‘Will I get what I wanted this year?’
Or realize ‘all that you need is right here!’
You might think it’s corny, but surely remember
Your children are better than any gift in December.


And in case you were wondering what Santa had stashed,
It may not surprise you, it might make you laugh,
“What did the children receive?” you may ask?
Well when the snowy chips are down…
…Even Santa gives cash.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A possible helpful link

I found this blog called, My Asperger's Child, and found that it has helped in our child's situation with peeing but it is not limited to urinating in all the wrong places. It deals with many autistic traits and I will definately be visiting there again.

My Asperger's Child

Monday, November 28, 2011

Project in Progress...

One thing I am attempting to do is make a I believe a PDF file for some of the things I have created that you can print off easily for various different things I have listed or have made. I am not sure how to do this but think a day out with my dad might be in order to figure out how to do that to best help those who come onto this website. Until I figure out how to do it I'll still attempt to take pictures of various projects I have made.
I have also come upon some very good sites that have been beneficial to me personally concerning my son's ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder). I am hoping to get some of those up soon as well but I have finals coming up and so I have to make that a higher priority. Hoping to get some more stuff done on here soon afterwards. Hopefully we'll find the smaller camera (which is my son's) as it seems to get better pictures than our regular one.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Stepping Stones - by request

Life is so busy lately this poor blog is getting neglected. Sniffle, sniffle.

One thing I am noticing more and more is sometimes depending on the product you need, how much you will use it compared to the price of the product you can be short changing yourself price wise. Many things you can do 'in a pinch' with a bit of creativity but depending on how well it works for your child and their needs will determine if it's better to make a purchase or not from a retailer.
There are some things that I have made or purchased that are incredibly wonderful and I wouldn't go back to a store brand such as the pacifier clip which I can use for toys or other objects to keep within a baby's reach. It happens to be something I get the most requests for and they're so easy to make. However, there are other things that I think buying through a retailer is a far better option. It really depends on the product and how much time I have and of course the cost.

I had a friend who recently talked to be about a product simular to the product on the right side of hte screen. They're the bowl looking things on a pole which are laid out on the bottom of this picture. (Two yellow and two red) She asked me what I could come up with without spending money to help her son balance. Here are my thoughts off the top of my head.Click Image To Close

My first thought without seeing what she was talking about was making your own out of plaster of paris or cement. However, I told her I would look and come up with some ideas on how she could do this without making a purchase... or at least I would make the attempt. Anyhow, here are my ideas that I came up with.
  1. She could make rounded mounds using a bowl and plaster of paris or cement. This is heavy and very hard.
  2. She could find mixing bowls out of metal or thick plastic to turn upside down for him to walk on. Sometimes these can be found at dollar stores or thrift stores. Seeing her child doesn't weigh all that much I don't think in her case it would be a lot of denting or breaking.
  3. She could do one outside in her yard using rocks. If she found say 5 or 6 rocks with different surfacing (rounded, bumpy, flat) and dug some small holes to stabilize the rocks in the ground she could make her own rock balancing path. If she wanted more color she could paint the rocks or have her children paint the rocks to make them more appealing. She has a chain link fence so if she's worried about her son falling she might consider putting it near the fence where he can hold onto the fence if he loses his balance.
Ultimately, is it worth her going and spending $160 for this activity set for these rounded stepping stone things? Probably not in her particular case. Winter will soon be over here and spring and summer will come and her kids will be outside enjoying the outdoors.
Seriously, I wish thinking about this topic we had a bigger backyard so I could make a therapy type yard or at least a portion of it to fill the needs our children have just through nature. However, as for now it is just a dream... maybe one day. :)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Quick Blurb

I am blown away at how many parents are looking for information regarding sensory issues and how to do these things at home due to the market value of anything saying 'sensory' on it. This blog while it has only one follower has had over 2,000 hits in less than 1 year!
However, I am going to be honest and let you know that during the holiday season I might slow down a little bit on posting. The first thing is that I am busy making things for the holidays. I have a fundraiser that someone wanted to me to make pacifier clips for. There is a family that is trying to bring a little boy from Russia who has Down Syndrome who will be placed in a mental institution if he is not adopted. Sadly, this is the fate of many special needs kids around the world. If they're put up for adoption and not adopted they are sent to mental institutions where they usually die within 1 year of being placed there. If you're willing to open up your family to a special needs child please consider Reeses Rainbow. (Type it up in a search and you'll find it.)
I am really working on coming up with some gifts my son in particular can't destroy or that he won't want to destroy. I'm not sure how to go about this. Maybe Christmas will give me a season of creativity that I can share with you.
Lastly, I'm just not feeling good lately. Not quite sure why I feel so icky but we'll find out soon enough. If it continues to persist I'll go into the doctors.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Newspaper fun

We get the Sunday newspaper at our house and one thing I have found is that newspaper is very theraputic and cheap. Here are a few ideas of how to deal with newspaper in a theraputic fun way that most kids enjoy.
  • Have a snowball fight. Crumple up the newspaper into balls and throw it at one another. This is a wonderful alternative if you don't have snow or want to be warm in the winter but have some fun.
  • Play sword fighting. This is probably more of a boy type of thing but my kids do have a fun time with it.
  • Make newspaper dress up clothes. This can also be done out of paper grocery bags. If you're not sure how to do this it's pretty simple. Take a sheet of newspaper and you can use one of your child's shirts as an outline. Make sure it's bigger than the actual shirt because newspaper doesn't stretch. :) Use tape to 'sew' the pieces together if needed.
  • Around holidays that presents are given have a bin for your child to shred newspaper in to use as filler.
  • If you have a shredder or a child who likes to shred you can make a sensory box and fill it with newspaper. Hide some small toys in the paper and allow your child to play in it rather than sand, rice, flour, ect.
  • Make a pinata it's messy and takes time to dry teaching your child patience.
  • Fill a pillowcase up with crumbled up newspaper and allow your child to jump on it and roll around with it. It is squishy and you can determine how squishy you want it. It also makes noise.
  • Make paper airplanes out of it.
  • Make beads. Cut small strips and roll them around a pencil and then glue the end to secure. Allow to dry and then you can if you'd like put a sealant around it. This can be very colorful if you use the comic section of the paper.
  • Take the comics and glue them to a Christmas ball. Some people only use one series of comics such as garfield. The best way to do it if you want to read the words is cut out the characters first and then put the words on the ball.
  • There is a way you can use rolled up newspapers to make a structure. I'll have to see if I can find the link. Once I do I'll stick it in the pages in the How-to section.
  • Stuff the newspapers in your clothing and pretend your a sumo wrester, a snowman or a fat clown.
  • You can use the newspaper to make a puppet of several types. For an older child if you take a foam ball you can use a paste mixture and secure a small portion of a toliet paper tube into place. Keep adding layers and crumple up pieces give the face a nose, eyes, and a mouth if you wish. Measure cloth to put around the toliet paper tube. Give yourself extra room for sewing. Next trace around your child's hand and give it enough room to slide their hands in for a puppet plus seam allowances. I'll have to see if I can make one here soon as it'd be easy to do a photo tutorial rather than a paragrah.
  • Roll up the newspaper into tubes to make a house. You can make this however big or little you wish and they can glue the papers together similar to lincoln logs.
Hope this page allows your creative juices to start flowing. :)

A Little Time for Me

One thing I have noticed for myself that being a parent of a child with special needs is not a task for the weak in any way, shape or form. It requires all of you and then some. It is draining. You seriously are on-call 24/7. Finding someone to give you a break can be a difficult task as well as keeping that person as a resource.
As a parent I strongly encourage you to find something for yourself to do that you enjoy. When you child goes to bed or before they wake up find something for you whether it be a hot shower you can enjoy, journalling, drawing, reading, watching a movie or even looking at old photos to remind you there are good days in the midst of many draining ones. Many times I know for our family my parents have been there to step in and help watch the kids giving me a break but not all families have that ability. Not all kids are going to do okay in public school and they must be brought home to be educated. In spite of all of this find some time that you can have alone apart from your child even if it is before they get up or after they've gone to bed. It doesn't have to be every single day but try to find some time at least once a week where you are able to focus on you because taking care of a special needs child is both draining and rewarding no matter what special need you are dealing with.
Maybe the time that you set apart for yourself is time to cry and vent the frustration and grief through tears. Maybe you are going to spend that time journaling or blogging. Maybe you're going to just step back and focus on something you enjoy whether it be reading, baking, sewing, scrapbooking, listening to music or whatever. Find something even if it's for 10 minutes to take a step back and give yourself a break.
I also strongly encourage you, if you are struggling feeling like you are getting no where, to journal. Write down the struggles and progresses you and your child are making. What are things you have learned or realized about your child? What things have they mastered or have improved in? What things are you doing different that are working better for you? These little nuggets are going to be able to be looked on when you feel all you are doing is treading water to let you know you are moving forward even if it's a little bit more than where you were before. It is still progress.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

3 Games on the Market

There are some games that are used in therapy that aren't listed as 'sensory' games. Some of these you can make up your own version without paying the price if you can't find them in the thrift stores. I'll just name a few and how you can possibly make it work for you.

What's in Ned's Head - This game is basically using a bag to pull out different things from this bag with several holes. The objects in Ned's head are of various textures and sizes. You can make this game yourself using a box with holes cut out of it where only the hand can fit into it.

Twister - This game is one that most people know which has a plastic vinyl sheet that you lay out on the floor and you put your right or left hand or foot on the color that is spun. This game can be recreated by using circles. Some ideas for circles that will work on different surfaces might be:
  • felt -carpet
  • paint - outside in the grass depending on where you live or the dirt
  • paper - preferably taped to prevent slipping
  • chalk - outside on cement
  • tape - hard surfaces are best
  • sheet - this one you'll have to paint, sew, or color on various colors of circles
Please keep in mind if you're child is young then you'll have to make the circles closer together than if a child is older. The point is not to frustrate your child but to allow them to move in various ways.

Memory Match -  There are so many versions of this game and you can bring this to the very needs your child has at little to no cost. Here are some ideas on which to make memory cards
  • old deck of cards
  • paint sample cards at hardware stores
  • index cards
  • cut out felt squares
  • regular paper
  • Cardboard
  • Cereal boxes
  • Plastic lids
Now the things you can use to make pictures could be some of these items
  • velcro (squares and circles are sold as well as bigger prints that are adhesive on one side)
  • felt squares
  • stickers (raised, smelly, visual movement ones, sparkle or glitter, fuzzy)
  • yarn
  • photos
  • drawings of the child's photocopied and shrunk
  • newspaper grocery ads of items

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Sewing Cards

As a kid growing up I remember having sewing cards with laces. They were fun to string up making sure the lace went through each hole. I have purposely avoided things like this unless they're durable due to how rough my kids are with things. I finally got an idea the other day of how to make one that is more durable yet cheap.
We tend to go through a lot of containers that have recyclable plastic lids from many dairy products. Use a cookie cutter and trace on the lid the shape you want to have. (You might need to enlarge this to some degree but make sure it fits on the lid.) Then cut the shape out and punch holes using a hole punch. If you don't feel like cutting it out a circle will do just fine although it will have a rim. For safety you might consider using electrical tape and going around the edges to prevent any sharp edges.
To string the lacing card you can use a shoelace, pipecleaner, a wet spaghetti noodle, or yarn just to name a few things.

The only word of caution I will give you is that make sure there are no sharp edges that your child might scratch or cut themselves on.

Homemade Bean Bag Toss Game

My son who has SPD has a hard time regulating his emotions. When he's mad we're all on alert because he tends to get violent and destructive. (We have holes in doors and dents in walls in his room due to his outbursts.) We have suggested many things but this is a new thing I am trying.

I found a large box and cut holes into the box. Due to how rough my son is with things I chose to reinforce the edges with strong tape to make it a little bit more durable. (Thank goodness it's just a cardboard box!) I then made some bean bags. I used white rice and securely sewed it. If you can't sew that is okay. Some other options you might consider is putting rice, or something into a plastic baggie and then securely taping the bag shut. You could also fill a ballon with beans or rice and tie off the end. (To get it fuller you pull the balloon downward stretching it and it makes more room.)

Other options:
  • Make the bean bag out of different material on the outside. If you sew use different types of fabrics if you don't sew look for different objects you can fill such as a sock.
  • Fill the bean bag with different things. If you need a heavier bean bag you can try using beans or poly pellets. For a lighter one you can fill it with newspaper, easter bunny filling, shredded paper, or fabric scraps. For a noisy one you can add some plastic packaging, a bell, newspaper, or a squeaker toy.
  • Place the cardboard box at a different angle.
  • Make the holes larger or smaller.
  • Use an object different than a bean bag. I like bean bags because they don't bounce but if you want something fun that won't damage anything another option might be ping pong balls.

Fingerspelling

I have been taking an ASL (American Sign Language) class in college and one of my projects was to read various chapters out of a book titled 'For Hearing People Only' which answers questions that hearing people have about Deaf culture. One of the questions was on if signing should be something that should be mandated and the chapter talks about how kids should be required to learn the manual alphabet as well as numbers in K-1st. At first I disagreed with this but then after reading the article I had a change of view.
One of the points that this article brings up is it helps fine motor development as well as manual dexterity. I know for my kids this isn't a huge deal but for many kids with sensory issues or who are on the autism spectrum or even then ADHD they can struggle in these areas. It can be taught to children and it can be something that is fun as well as educational as you pass secret messages to one another as well as communicate in areas in which it is supposed to be quiet.
Another thing that came to mind with my son is because we've hit 1st grade many times due to a poor pencil grip his hands tire fairly easy. Being homeschooled I do allow him sometimes the ability to tell me the answers and I will write them such as in math. I am looking forward to teaching him his manual alphabet to do spelling as well as his manual numbers to do math problems. This gives him the ability to fidget and move and yet work on his school work in a non-traditional way
There are many sites you can go to learn how to do the manual alphabet but not all sites teach the manual alphabet correctly. The site below teaches the correct fingerspelling for even the letter 'f' which is usually done in books and other publications incorrectly.

http://www.lifeprint.com/asl101/fingerspelling/fingerspelling.htm

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Sensory Issues and Homework

One of the things our family does is homeschool. I don't regret it at all and it has been both encouraged and discouraged. There are many people who will end up telling parents with special needs children to not homeschool because it's hard. I can't say it's easy all the time but it's definately rewarding IF you can do it. There are some cases that this just simply isn't possible and I understand that.
I just wanted to share with you about what I have done for my son school work wise as sometimes it can be hard (especially with sensory issues) to get a child to sit down and do their homework. First of all, what is comfortable for you might not be comfortable for them. You might be surprised that your child works best laying down, sitting in a bean bag chair or even standing up. You might have to take frequent breaks to allow them to swing, hang, fiddle or whatever the case may be for 5 minutes and then return to their school work with a timer to indicate the changes. This can be very distracting for parents but in the long run it could be less frustrating for everyone involved.
Another thing I have learned through homeschooling my son is that how busy the page or overwhelming can be a huge issue. Looking at 12+ problems seems like a lot of work! What I have seen with my son is that I can cut or fold the paper and give it to him throughout the day rather than making it all in one sitting. Sure they'll have a folded homework page but it'll be done without as much stress for you.
Sometimes another trick is that they give you the answers and you write them down especially if they have a hard time with writing. Sure you want them to get better at writing but you also don't want them to tire especially if their grip is different or they have a hard time controling their pencil. Maybe you could take turns.
I have also found that a white board is an awesome tool. I am talking about the little ones that are about the size of a paper. These you can do quizes and games and they can be cleaned while your child swings or bounces or hands upside down. I was able to do this yesterday with my son to help him remember his numbers. Sometimes it's just hard to collect them from his memory bank. He has a hard time going past ten and so I showed him that 14,15,16,17,18 and 19 all have something in common. They all have 'teen' at the end. He just needs to check the second number and if the first number is a '1' then he has to add teen except in the case of 11, 12, and 13. This can also be used for the twenty-ninety family. They all say twenty if its a 2 and therefore after 20 they can just add second number at the end.
If you can play it as a game such as guess this letter and you can jump on the trampoline 5 big jumps or you can turn in the swing until it stops. Then give the next letter, number, math problem or whatever you are looking on.
Anyhow, with school in session regardless if you are homeschooling or not some of these tips might help. I hope it does work for some people who have kids with sensory issues.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Daily Schedule for Us

School is back in session for most kids at this time and one of the challenges is getting back into a routine or at least a consistent one. One thing that works for most kids is seeing a visual schedule. Some kids need pictures, others words, and some kids need calendars. If you can I would suggest making one up for your afternoon or if your child is in preschool or 1/2 day kindergarten it might help to have one for the morning as well.
I will freely admit that I am not a scheduled person. I tend to like running by the seat of my pants and going where ever the wind may take me however, having a special needs kiddo can change all of that. With my son I have to be specific. I tell him quite a few things. The first thing is I tell him the places I am going to go. An example of today was the following:
1) Doctors for Itsy to be weighed and measured.
2) Dollar store
3) Pet Store
4) Sears
Then following that I told him what we would do in each place so:
1) It will be a short visit and we will only be getting her measured.
2) Poster board and stickers
3) Crickets for his lizard Joker
4) Get shoes
My day didn't go exactly as planned. I decided to save gas and go to Fred Meyer instead as it was right next to the pet store. I also forgot about getting chicken for dinner. However, over all it went very smoothly. My kids DID run around the shoe department at Sears and yes my son lost his Crocs that were thankfully his junky pair although I don't know if it was my son or my daughter that hid them. Oh well, he has new ones and I was going to throw the old ones out. :) However, overall it was a fairly smooth day. The thing I did notice was I started my day out allowing them to use the sensory swing and then did my errands. I then allowed them to go and get back on the swing once we got home. The one we used was the trapeeze bar because they told me they wanted to 'hang' (meaning dangle with your arms not a noose). Anyhow, it went fairly smoothly.
I know there are some kids that must know things way in advance I can't say that I would do well with that at all. We have our own week with certain days that we do things although we are starting to skip church due to just appointments and so forth. It's hard to fit everything in and sometimes church doesn't offer all we need having a child with sensory issues. Many people don't understand the that it's not an inconvience but a need in his case. Anyhow, basically you have to start prioritizing things and seeing what can and can't fit into your schedule because with all the therapies, doctors visits, and so forth it can get kind of hectic. Do what you can and the rest will have to wait until later.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Can you hold this for me?

One of the things I am learning with my kids is how I tend to not always know what sensory needs will strike and when it will happen. (I tend to not stick very well to routine or a schedule which isn't a task that kids like mine tend to handle well.) One day I was in the fabric store and I had already gone through my purse. I had taken out toys, pens, and whatever else I had stuffed in there and yet my kids were still putting their hands on EVERYTHING. Being in the checkout line I began handing them things that were in the cart and telling them I needed their help holding things. Slowly my cart emptied as their hands and arms got full. Customers in the checkout line began grinning as they understood what I was doing as they had seem them grabbing things off shelves and hooks moments before. Finally, their arms and hands were full and they couldn't get into anything and I was at the front of the line and able to help empty their arms and put my purse back into some sort of order.
It did work quite well at the drop of a hat. Maybe this is something that will help you out when you end up going out unprepared. I do admit having a 10 month old I make sure my keys have toys or objects on them which sometimes the older kids do play with. Fisher Price has made some of their old toys into key chains and there are all sorts of things that light up as well as koosh balls too which give great input.

Shopping Cart Fun

One dreaded task I try to avoid is going to the store with all 3 of my kids mainly because it's hard to get them to call down with their sensory issues. The truth of the matter is there are days I HAVE to do it and slowly I am getting better. This is one thing I have learned is that it's amazing what happens when my children get to push the cart (especially when it's heavy by adding groceries or a sibling). I will stand at the front and steer it but they use their muscles and push. If there is a fight over the cart I make sure I get a basket for the other to carry and I fill it according to the child who is holding or dragging it across the grocery store. Sometimes they get tired but I try to make a game out of it. 'Can you see if you can push it to the end where you see the chips?' I try to make them think and use other ways to move the cart besides pushing with their hands on the handles.

Maybe if you are someone who as the toy shopping cart you can use that instead although a stroller or a basket with wheels will work just as well and fill it with heavy items and have them push it around the room.

How we have used 'How to Read 100 Easy Lessons'

One of the challenges we have faced having a special needs child(ren) is reading. We are homeschooling and I spent last year (his K year) watching how he learned. I found that a lot of things simply were not going to work for him. I was hesitant about buying this book called, 'How to Read in 100 Easy Lessons' but I did it and I have had to change a few things. The last thing I want is my son overwhelmed with information or dislike reading so I try to make it simple and do things in a way that he'll remember them easily. Anyhow, we're on lesson 20 and I'll just post what I did in one of my other blogs for easy of location.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I was asked by a friend to share with people how I am teaching my son who learns like an autisic child/ADHD child how I was helping my son with the book we are using called, How to Read in 100 Easy Lessons. Maybe it might help someone else. I'll also post it on the therapy blog I have as well. I will try to do this lesson by lesson so it can be copied and printed out for easy of use with the book.

Lesson #1 -
This chapter introduces the sound 'm' and 's'. The way I helped my son remember these sounds was was through a story. Mind you all the letters unless marked otherwise are all lower case. 'm' really liked what his mom made for dinner he said, 'mmmm' so she heaped another two helpings onto his plate. This allows for how the letter m is formed with two bumps. The 's' sound I told him was a snake try to remind you by saying 'ssss' what he says. I talk about it's form.

Lesson #3 -
This chapter introduces the short 'a' sound. I told my son that the letter 'a' went to the dentist and he opened his mouth and said 'aaaaa'. The 'a' is written as it is seen on the screen.

Lesson #5 -
This chapter introduces the long 'e' sound. This one I told him is smiling. When he thinks of this letter he must smile when he says it.

Lesson #7 -
The letter 't' is introduced in this chapter and I told him that he's trying to learn how to tell time. If your child can tell time you can tell him that he can't tell if it's 3:00, 3:30, 9:00 or 9:30.

Lesson #9 -
This chapter introduces the sound 'r'. This one I came up with the story of 'r' being so mad he puts his head down like a ram and says 'rrrrrr'.

Lesson # 12 -
This chapter starts with the 'd' sound. I told him that this letter the ball fell down the pole and landed on the ground. He can remember this sound because the ball fell down to the ground.

Lesson #14 -
The short 'i' is the star in this page but his tummy got upset before the performance and said 'i'. He threw up on the stage (which is why the dot is there) and he said 'ick'.

Lesson #16 -
The sound of 'th' is introduced here. Notice the two letters are joined together at the bottom as one sound. I told the story of how the 't' was being mean one day and stuck his tongue out at the 'h'. Now the 't's tongue is stuck on the 'h'. He now says 'th' trying to get unstuck.

I am going to stop here for now and discuss the writing tasks that follows each lesson in the book. My first suggestion is lined paper for elementary kids. I personally choose some thicker paper already sliced like in the picture below to have him write his letters. (There are only 2 letters to be written in each chapter.) This allows him to see it isn't going to be overwhelming because he can easily see the end of the paper. I typically try to get him to write each letter 3-5 times. If you're child has an issue with spacing I suggest you use a marker (different than the color of the paper, lines, or writing impliment your child has and draw lines below of where you want the letters. I also allow him to make one silly/creative letter with wiggly lines or teeth just for fun. I follow up this with getting out some stickers and allowing each of us to pick his best written letter of our own choosing.

One other thing I am going to mention that I have seen is that my kid can rhyme but on some of the pages he can't do it the way it is told. I improvised to make it work for us and he says the beginning sound and I quickly follow behind with the ending and then he gets to say really fast what we said together.

I hope this will help some people who are teaching kids kind of like mine and maybe this things will help someone.

Sensory Storage Ideas

One of the things that drives my husband nuts is clutter. He doesn't mind it in the kids' rooms but downstairs it's a huge problem. This has made it difficult at times to deal with because some sensory stuff can be hard to put away. Hopefully some of these ideas will help you.

  • When you purchase equipment make sure you can quickly take it down. A good example of this is a small trampoline. Many times these can be folded up or the legs can be taken off for ease of storage.
  • Hang up what you can. Things like the sensory swings (in general) can be hung up on a hook of some type in a closet, on a wall, or in the garage.
  • Look around your home and find out what you can already use rather than buying something else. For instance, rather than going and buying new playdough. Make some of your own and put it in the playdough container that is now empty.
  • When you buy things make sure it can be used for a variety of things and a variety of sensory needs. If you do this then you'll find it makes things easier.
  • Rather than blowing up an exercise ball can it be used as a chair somewhere? If not can you put in on a rack or in closet on the floor?
  • I know of some people who will take an old mattress and use it for a crash pad. If you do this can you take it and shove it under a bed or even then an extra matress?
  • Another idea is to make things that are easy to clean up or put away. For us, a huge obstacle to dealing with my daughters sensory issues was the table was always a mess. I finally bought some thick vinyl and no joke I stapled it to the underside of my table. This was an awesome idea as the table is so much easier to clean and the kids can use dry erase markers on it.
Some of these ideas will be feasible and others not depending on what you have and the layout of your house. Begin looking for things that will fill a variety of needs that your child has. If you go to OT then take a look at the closet they're pulling things out of. Teach your kids to help you put away the stuff where it belongs and only one therapy toy out at a time!

Sign Language can be good for many things

I am taking an ASL course to help my youngest daughter who has unilateral hearing loss. In the learning process one of the books I used explained how learning the manual alphabet is a very good thing to learn even for hearing children. It is very good for hand-eye coordination as well as manual dexterity. It also gives the child another way to communicate which can be a huge bonus especially if it is a setting where your child is supposed to be quiet and they talk non-stop provided it's not like my son's friend who just talks to hear himself talk. There are some kids that are autistic that are not verbal and that is not my son but sign language whether ASL or some other manual form of language has helped these families tremendously.
Another bonus to it is depending on how your child learns this might be a way to help them improve their reading and spelling if they must have movement.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Gigaball

I am up and running and now it is time to get an external hard drive. I didn't do this before and lost ALL my pictures and websites. It's ALL gone. :(  Unfortunately some of the pictures I had were to go on this blog and I appologize. I didn't listen to my dad and do something so simple. (See why you're supposed to obey your parents!)
One of the things I have been doing lately is dealing with my son hanging off our stair rail and my daughter climbing up the closet shelves. I have found allowing my son and daughter to play in the lycra swing is benefical. Somehow my son is able to physically climb up the lycra swing and touch the ceiling allowing himself the ability to climb and yet swing. My daughter being younger and smaller gets a good work out getting in and out of the swing and thus takes care of her climbing escapades.
Another product we bought and have been using is a product called a 'Gigaball'. It is a huge ball with two openings. It can hold I think 150 lbs in it. You can climb into the ball and roll around. It is nice because should you ball get punctured there are quite a few air chambers allowing much better change of finding the leak and patching it. We do not use shoes in the ball and pockets must be emptied of any possible objects that might pop the ball. We also only used it in the grassed area of our yard. (Other areas in our neighborhood that are tracks tend to have sticker bushes.) When the ball slowly deflates our children tend to climb up on a toy structure about 2 ft high off the ground and jump on top of it making a great crash pad. The ball is quite durable because it hasn't seemed to effect the ball at this point in time. We have also had more than one kid in the ball at a time and made them work as a team to roll the ball across the yard. Do not use the ball on a hill and send your kid rolling no matter how much they enjoy spinning or forward rolls. Not a good idea. In fact, if your kids are like mine keep them AWAY from hills as the temptation may be too great.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Chewing on Pencils

With school approaching I have found that we HAVE to use pens for my son. It's not really an option. My son tends to chew the pencil tops (below the metal if it has it) to the point he breaks the top off. I have noticed with pens this is harder. I know as he learns to write he will need a pencil of some sort. My solution was to take rubber tubing you can find at a medical supply store, spots store or even then some fishing store tubing to put on the top of the pencil to allow them the ability to chew as needed without breaking their pencils constantly or chewing off the erasers. I have noticed him doing this with pens too but they tend to be harder to break and he doesn't have to worry about them being sharpened either... just another task. I would suggest mechanical pencils EXCEPT then he'd be playing with the part that makes the lead come out. Maybe when he's a little bit older.

Making Visuals to help Memorize

Once again I still don't have my PC so I thought I would share some ideas that might help and then later post pictures. One of the tasks I am doing to help my son learn his days of the week is provide visuals. Most kids on the Autism Spectrum and who have ADHD are very visual. Long time ago I was helping in a girls church program which required Scripture memorization or they didn't pass. Not all the parents helped their kids with the memory verses and so I began to use visuals. I wondered if I did the same thing but with the days of the week if it would work and it is paying off.
I do have pictures but I'll let you be creative.

Sunday - a picture of a sun
Monday - my son learned the sound 'M' makes so I put a big letter 'M' up.
Tuesday - my son knows the number 2 and so I have a number 2 up.
Wednesday - this picture I made a picture of a cloud blowing making it windy.
Thursday - this one was tricky. I finally decided to make a 'Th' seeing it has it's own distinct sound. I tell him to stick out his tongue on this one so I suppose that might work too. :)
Friday - I made a frying pan
Saturday - This one is tricky too but I make a chair for the 'sat' part of Saturday. Might need to change it because my son keeps calling it 'sit' day. LOL

Later I will make pictures of different things we do on these days. So Sunday and Wednesday will have a church by it. Days my husband has off will have a picture of my husband home. And of course we will add or change things as they come and go so he can have an idea of what is expected on those particular days.

This can be used for anything though not just the days of the week. The key that I have found is that the item or picture doesn't have to be the word or a picture of it but something that will jog their memory. Sometimes you can get really creative and do things like shooting a rubberband through a toliet paper tube for the word 'through'. Or putting something in a cup for the word 'in'. Cutting out a picture of an eye could work for 'I'. Remember these are just visual clues. This won't work for all children but for the younger kids I have worked with in the past this has worked fairly well. I hope it'll help someone with memory work.

Friday, September 9, 2011

I have to admit I am a bit frustrated and hope to be posting soon. My PC is still broken but it doesn't stop the ideas I am waiting to post about. If my dad doesn't fix it soon I'll get my lap top a boot up disc so I can use that until my regular PC is fixed. It's been hard not posting.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Broken PC Will Hopefully Be Fixed Soon

Agh!!! My PC is still down. I think the video card is broken and my dad has been swamped with work so he hasn't been able to get to it. Hopefully this week it will be fixed. I do have posts I want to get done but I don't go to my folks all that often and use their PC. I have several blankets I have made and things I have been working on for our church nursery, friends and my daughter Itsy that I am hoping to post soon.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Tips for the park

One of the things I love about good weather is the flexibility of playing outside. Many times there are quite a few parks about and you can take your pick. Having a kid with sensory issues at a park can be a different story and make a pleasurable activity into a horrible nightmare.

First of all, you must think about what your child is like and their issues to determine what park and time would be best. What specificially are their needs? Do they crave physical input? How do they do in social situations? What about noise? What about bathroom issues? What about unorganized chaos around them? Think about these things one by one and what the ideal park setting would be for your child to allow your family to have an enjoyable time.

Second, do some research. Most areas have a park and recreation office and they are more than happy to share about the features of the park(s) they manage. They can share with you the different features the park has as well as an idea of busy hours. You might also try driving by and investigating the park by yourself. Little things that usually someone doesn't think about that might affect your child or make your park experience less pleasent are great things to check out. For instance, if your child has a senstivity to noise a good place to check out would be the bathrooms. How loud are the toilets? Is there a paper towels or a air dryer? These may seem like small things until your kid needs to go to the bathroom but won't go due to noise. It also is not good to find the bathroom so far away from the play area that your child might not want to go to the bathroom when needed.

I have gathered up a list of ideas of things to think about before deciding on a park to make the most of your trip. Ideas I never would have thought about until I had a kid with SPD.
  • When are the busy hours?
  • What types of kids play there (younger kids or older)?
  • Is the park close to a road or a parking lot (noise and danger)?
  • Does the park have bathrooms? What are they like? How far away are they?
  • What types of toys does the park have to play on? Are they skill appropriate for your child's needs?
  • If there is a beach or a pool is there a life guard? How easy is it to get to the water? How easy is it to get wet?
  • Is there a place to rest such as a picnic table or chairs or even a place to lay a blanket out? What about shade?
  • Is it a park that allows animals like dogs to roam on or off leash? Do you have to watch out for doggy doo or worry about your child's safety around animals?
Some ideas before you go to the park:
  • Eat lunch first.
  • Bring a snack as well as a drink.
  • Bring an extra set of clothes in case of getting dirty or wet
  • Bring sunscreen or a hat
  • Bring a timer and set a limit of when you are going to leave
  • Make a few rules on behavior before you go
  • Have something ready to do once you get in the car that the child will anticipate.
  • Bring a game like a ball or something that go out of the car but not be too bothersome to carry around.
  • Avoid things like squirt guns if your child may squirt others who are not playing.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

The blessings of labels

I am not sure why but my son tends to have a hard time realizing what things are dangerous and what are not. He tends to think he's super human which tends to keep us on our toes. The thing I have learned with my son is many times trying to keep him safe isn't easy as telling him you can't do that you could get electricuted or you can't watch movie because it's bad.
We found that showing our son, for instance on movies, the warning/rating label that he quit hounding us about watching movies we deemed not age appropriate for him. He quit trying to get them from their high spots and was able to much easier identify which movies were okay and which were not. This also worked on other things too such as electrical cords, toys, shampoo, plastic bags and any other thing in your household that might have a label. We realized that words like 'warning' and 'caution' were so important for him to be able to recognize because of how these two words he tended to listen to.
Our house is much better simply because he has learned these 2 words as well as movie/game labels. It takes a lot of fighting and arguing because he realizes that it's not people being mean to him and telling him 'no' but it's the product telling him he needs to be safe or not to use it so he can stay safe.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Summer Time Thoughts

With summer just around the corner many kids are out of school. The bad thing about summer time from a lot of kids who have sensory issues tend to be the fact that they have a hard time adjusting to a new routine especially not having school. These kids tend to do very well with structure and routine and if you are a parent like me you don't do so well with it.

Here are some things I have tried.
  • Alarms for exact meal times is a huge one including snacks. Sometimes that 10-30 minute wait is just too much and then you have behavior issues. Now living by an alarm is not a fun thing but it does help you do things on time for those kids who do things according to a strict schedule.
  • Lists of what will happen in your day is another one. It's hard to record every detail but many times giving a child an overview of what you are doing works well.
  • If you are going out give your child a detailed agenda. For my son he needs to know what we are getting at the store and he's really good at keeping me stick to my list. If I don't then we tend to hit some behavior problems. He knows when the list is done we can go home.
  • Lastly, you need to have a list of activities or things on hand to meet those days where you will have sensory issues galore. For my son it tends to be physical activity so things like going to the park or if we're not going to the park going to a fast food resturant playland after we eat and when it's not busy because they have air conditioning. For my daughter it would be things like shaving cream, playdoh, vinegar and baking soda, and aggression cookies.
  • Another task is that depending on your child's sensory issues if you can declutter it can seriously help. I have found this true with our son. Our house is no where near de-cluttered but when we strip his room bare he does so much better. (This is one reason why I don't do happy meal type toys and cheapy toys.)
  • Lastly, many times when people think about summer they think of water but I have some kids that don't like their clothes being wet. Try to find some way to involve them in the summer fun without being wet. Some ideas might be an aquadoodle mat or playing with ice cubes in bags. Using squirt guns or spray bottles on different spray levels to decorate or paint or making popcicles are all good fun summer activities that involve some sort of liquid but don't have to have direct contact with the child.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Practicing Buttoning Quiet Toy


The turtle follows the ribbon from one corner to the diagonal corner.

I saw something simular in a sensory magazine and immediately thought how boring it looked although it had a great concept. The point of the product was to help kids learn how to button or to develop fine motor skills. I took that idea and made something simular.


A close up of the turtle bead I used for this project.
 Rather than using a plain bead I used a sea theme and added a turtle and sea printed fabric. I made some squares and made buttonholes large enough for the bead to go through. This keeps the fabric in place. Due to the ribbon sewn into the product I was able to go and make sure that unless it is cut or broke the bead will not fall off.
This product will be going to Little Mr. E who is 5 and still struggles with many daily tasks such as buttoning. I am sure his mother will update later after it is given to her and Little Mr. E plays with it.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Make Nice Flashcards

One tool often used in various speech therapies happens to be flash card type of games. While I have no games to list I thought I would share some ideas on how to make various flash cards without purchasing 3x5 cards.

Option #1
You can buy precut ready to be printed on business cards from almost any office supply store. Usually these are set with what type of template you need on your computer to make sure it prints correctly on the cards. This can get kind of spendy especially if you decide to laminate. (A cheaper way than laminating is appling contact paper.)

Option #2
You can buy a deck of real cards and then purchase mailing labels. These cards happen to be more durable due to their coating and slide far easier than 3x5 cards. In most cases that I have experienced dollar store playing cards don't have that nice coating. (Many times you can get them free or for real cheap if you call a casino and explain what they are for. They do have a hole punched out usually in the middle and so in that regard you might have a sticky spot. A simple way to fix this is by putting a small piece of paper in the center of the mailing labels.) I have found

Option #3
The last option I can come up with is when you make your flashcards if you are using a printer to use a glossy paper like photo paper. You can use many of the Microsoft Templates to get things in the right spot if you're worried about centering things. This too can get spendy but it's an option.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Shoe Tying Products

I was planning on posting this earlier but we are working on making some decisions on our baby daughter who has hearing issues this week and what steps we were going to take. So please accept my apology as  know I promised some people to update earlier than this and I just haven't gotten to it until now.

I am not sure if you have seen this product. It is called Loopeez. It is a shoe tying aid for kids that is actually fairly cheap being only $4.00 for a pair. Basically, after you cross the laces and put one lace under the other and pull. You stuff the laces (one lace up each side) to make loops. The loopeez holds the lace(s) depending on if you're doing one or two loops in place while you finish the rest of the knot. There are videos of how to use this on their site.

I made one out of a plastic lid from a sour cream container and used a hole punch. The only problem I can see with this model personally is that there is no point in doing the first part of the knot before you make bunny ears. Once the bunny ears are made with this help aid the problem is that the bunny ears will not stay tied unless you make a double knot. Other than that it works well.

Another product that is simular in nature is this something called Tie Buddies. These are put on a particular part of the laces to allow you to tie shoes easier. The bad part about this particular product is it doesn't work on ALL shoe laces. The product is about $9 from what I can tell.

This product I tried to do something simular basically what I had to do was find two objects and just because my kids are extremely quiet when they're getting into trouble and don't always respond I chose to try it with jingle bells. I tied them less than half way up the shoe lace (closer to the shoe than the end of the lace). This seemed to work much better. It's not perfect and it can be harder to untie your shoes. I would use their instructions for how to do it though.

My last thought is that it might be helpful to find a clip that will go over the knot on the shoe to prevent it from coming undone especially if the knots in your shoe get loose and untie easily.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Nursing Necklace

One of the things that drives me nuts with my nursing baby is the fact that she always seems to have a death grip on my hair. This is not uncommon as my other kids did it and if it didn't happen to most nursing mothers there wouldn't have been an idea for nursing necklaces.
After going on Etsy and looking around you get a pretty good idea of things you can make yourself. Having children with sensory issues I decided to make one but with a sensory flair.
Working on Etsy products I bought a bunch of beads. Many of my projects will use plastic beads because they're appealing to small children, less likely to break with rough use, and they come in all sorts of shapes and colors. However, with anything you allow a baby to play with you must watch them.

Sorry the picture isn't all that great. It is in the colors of
pink, yellow, cream and lavendar. The animals are safari
animals (elephant, rhino, zebra, lion, and giraffe).

First task is find your cord. There are several options but I strongly encourage you to use something that will not break after being slobbered on or washed after several uses.
The next step is deciding on what beads to use. The plastic pony beads come in many shapes and colors and string them on in any order you choose. (I chose a safari girly colored theme in this picture.)
An option I did was adding some taggies (ribbon) of different textures. This is something that my baby really enjoys. (You can heat seal the ribbons by using a lighter or a woodburner to make sure they don't fray.)
Lastly, tie a secure knot at the end and slip it over your head and allow your child to play with it as they're nursing.

Pulleys

One thing I have been thinking to do and finally got what I needed to accomplish the task is getting my son a pulley. My son loves pulling cords, string and any long piece of fabric if I let him and usually I don't mind it provided it is not a trap or tied up everywhere with knots that aren't standard as they're twisted in several directions.
So I went and bought him a pulley to hang from our sensory swing to go with the rope I bought to hang up his tire swing. I took the rope and heat sealed the ends and made sure I tied a knot in it so that it wouldn't come undone in case he accidently let go as I knew I would get tired of getting up on a stool to rethread the pulley.

I knew that he could find a bucket to use to tie the rope to and I let him figure that one out by himself to give his brain a creative workout.

Dream Catchers Free Weighted Blanket Giveaway

Thought I would pass this on. It's customed designed! Weighted Blanket Giveaway

Friday, May 13, 2011

Marble Fabric Mazes


This project specifically is about 6" square.

Okay, I finally made one just to try it out and see how well it worked. My son happened to be the guinea pig for this one. Anyhow, this was a very easy sewing project and you can make it as difficult and elaborate as you wish. I started out with a sewn square and a few lines. I made sure I put the marble in the maze while making this lines to make sure I had enough room. Here is one of the ones I made. It has 3 dead ends and I just made it as I went. The only thing I thik I wish I would have done differently on this particular one was make sure the backing is a solid color or make the end and beginning of the maze very clear.

This is my son working on completing the maze. Notice
how he's using two hands. He did figure out he could slide
the ball as well especially if you were going in one direction.
Anyhow, my son loved this project and took it to bed with him. Hey, it's quiet and non-destructive so I am not going to complain too loudly. Here he is using it. He found the marble and now he's just pushing it through the maze. It helps with fine motor skills and hopefully I'll add some more variety to this idea later.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

A List of Tools I Want On Hand

I decided to honor a place in our home for tools that I can use for therapy tools that are small to have all in one location. (I'm still working on a location where it will be out of grasp or locked up to avoid huge messes.)

Here is my list:

  • Paper
  • Crayons
  • Markers
  • Elmer's glue
  • Glue sticks
  • Clothes pins
  • Water color paint
  • Tempra paint or something simular
  • Paint brushes
  • Pom-poms
  • Bubble solution
  • Bubble wands
  • Playdough or something simular
  • Stress balls
  • A large empty tray
  • Aprons
  • Scissors (different styles)
  • Coloring books
  • Beads
  • String
  • Sponges
  • Cookie Cutters
  • Fidgets
  • Contact Paper
  • Bubble Wrap
  • Stickers
  • Pipe Cleaners
  • Resistence Bands/Tubing
  • Shaving Cream
  • Spray Bottle
  • Flashlight
  • Tape
  • Sensory Box
  • Dyed Noodles or Rice
  • Recipes Box for activities
  • A list of kitchen ingredients
  • Tweezers
  • List of kitchen material frequently used
  • Index cards

Controling the slimy texture craver

Having one kid with sensory issues is a challenge but when you begin understanding the many aspects SPD can have and how it affects each child individually and uniquely it is amazing what you end up missing. I got this book the other day through Amazon or Borders. I was flipping through the book skimming various activities when I saw this cartoon. (Sorry about how dark it is I was taking pictures of stuff last night and the flash made the cartoon almost impossible to see.)
Anyhow, I got this book for my son and his sensory issues. I didn't think anything of my almost 3 yr old daughter at all as she is nothing like my son at all. This picture PERFECTLY shows her to a 'T'. I was so frustrated at the constant emptying out of bottles of shampoo, ointment, cooking oil, and teething gel. No matter what I have tried it has been a fruitless attempt to say in the least. Now that I see this picture it helped me see that my daughter craves tactile input... mainly slimy input. I have to admit that I am thinking 'Oh great, A slimy mess to deal with.' I realize at the same time I already have them to deal with constantly with her. The difference will be that I will be able to control what she gets in to deal with her need for playing in slimy things thus controling the mess to some degree.


Monday, May 9, 2011

Auditory Sensory Issues and Headphones

One thing that most parents with sensory issues soon realize is that their child's sensory issues may not be something that is present all the time but is spuratic. Our child happens to be like this especially when it comes to hearing issues. Our church isn't all that loud compared to many. We go to a very small church which we happen to love. However, in spite all the measures we have put in place for our son the sound is too loud for him on occassion. There are certain songs that go from soft to quiet or quiet to loud that really set him off that he can't handle (one being one of the pastor's favorite songs). There are times he can tell us the noise is too much for him and other times he never says a word other than through his behavior. Sometimes it's hard to tell if it's him or his sensory issues and this last sunday it was his sensory issues although we thought it was just his behavior.
One thing we thought about getting was some headphones for noisy environments. We've had this thought in mind for some time and just haven't done it hoping things would get better. They haven't so yesterday I bought some. We have not tried them but we'll see if they work. They can be used to hook up to a CD player but we're trying to see how he does with the noise being shut out to some degree. If that doesn't work we'll bring kid worship songs or maybe some bible story tapes. He only has to sit in our service for worship right now so we'll see how it goes.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Mr. Buttons the Turtle


One of the tasks some kids have problems with is fine motor skills they need for every day things that most people don't think twice about. One of these important fine motor skills happens to be learning to button. I was inspired by another site and asked one of my friends if one of her sons had issues with this. I decided to try this out to see how well it worked. (Mind you, I had to learn how to do a button hole on my sewing machine so it took a while.)

The Front of Mr. Turtle

The Underside of Mr. Buttons

Anyhow, her son LOVES turtles and so I made this felt turtle that is full of buttons. You must button the arms, legs, head, tail and eyes on as well as his 8 different spotted colors. Each piece is zig-zagged stitched around two pieces of felt. Then I put the button holes on each piece and sewed the buttons in place so the pieces would fit.


Wood, Nails and a Hammer

You have seen some toys that are for kids with wooden or plastic mallets to pound pegs through however many times this is geared to a lower age group. Many times by the time the kid hits about 3 they're done with this toy looking for more bigger and challenging things.
One thing my son loves to do is use scraps of wood, nails and a hammer to pound or make things out of. Now I can't say I'd trust the sturdiness of his projects but the ability to pound the wood is very theraputic. This is obviously a task that requires adult supervision at all times especially with a kid with sensory issues. You might find you may have to assist them by starting the nail very firmly in the wood. Also, I would highly suggest the hammer you use doesn't have the claw on the back.
If your child is older something that might be a little bit more challenging and rewarding is building an actual product and figuring out how to put it together. This is great for busy little minds and bodies. Simple projects like boxes, birdhouses, bookends, and so forth are fairly easy to do.
If you want to spend time together building something what things like T-stools, tables, benches, shelves are all other things that might get their interest and allow them to do projects and have quality time with you.

Balloon Volleyball

One thing my kids love is balloons which we have to be very careful around with the new baby seeing she just started crawling. Now if your child won't put hte balloon in their mouth a fun game is to play balloon volleyball or keep the balloon off the floor. You and your child track the balloon making sure that you hit it up in the air before it touches the ground. Another option is to blow to make it go higher. How many body parts can you use to keep the balloon up? For more of a challenge you can pass it back and forth over a chair or a couch to get it high enough and far enough to the other person.
There are other things you can use besides laytex balloons to do crafts like this such as juggling scarves. You can't throw them but they're pretty easy to keep up in the air. Sometimes women's scarves work the same way. We have also used a somewhat deflated myler balloon as they don't pop and they don't have laytex in them which can be a huge problem for some kids especially if they're allergic to bandaids as most bandaids, rubbers like elastic all have some form of laytex in them unless otherwise stated.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Remove the Stickers

My children love stickers and recently I came across a site done by an OT that talked about different activities. One of the posts was about how she goes and puts stickers on her clients and the clients get to take them off. This probably wouldn't be a good thing for a child with laytex or tape sensitivies but for those who aren't it allows the kid to move in various ways. If you put the stickers in hard to reach spots then you make them stretch more so than they might normally.
(For kids that are unable to physically reach various parts of their bodies easily this can be a task that might encourage them to reach just a little bit farther. It is especially helpful for kids that might need exercise to help bring their foot closer to them to put on socks or shoes.)

Thursday, May 5, 2011

A Cool Site I Found

One of the tasks that I enjoy is finding new things to do with my son to help him with his SPD but I also enjoy finding things that might work for other people with kids who struggle with special needs.
I came across this site called, Therapy Fun Zone, and thought of my friend who has a son with a heart condition and one with autism. (Here is her blog) This site has a lot of ideas that I think I will do not necessarily for my kids but just for the fun of doing it because they're quick and simple and my son can help me put them together for my Etsy shop I'm hoping to start up in the next month or two and he can get paid for it.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Make Your Own Ispy Bag

This I Spy Bag is at the Etsy Shop Giggle Junction.
The link to her site is below but this is what the I Spy
Bags look like although the instructions below are
for a simplier style.
I have seen these on Etsy.com where you can buy multiple styles and shapes. This bags have a small viewing window that you can use to find the hidden things inside the bag. To do this toy you must have a sewing machine. If this lady had her Etsy site up I would share that too but since I can't find it I won't be able to until she opens another one.

How to Make An I Spy Bag

Here is an Etsy shop that sells them: Etsy Store: Giggle Junction I am not sure if this seller has the items to find listed on the back but I know some of them on Etsy do so you know you found everything.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Sensory Issues and Going to the Store

One of the challenges I tend to face on and off is going to the store... any store. If you think about a trip to the store there are a lot of things that can trigger your child's sensory issues from people, lights, sounds, stuff, and sometimes even how you keep your child with you such as the cart or a harness.
Hopefully some of these might help you cope through the store.

#1 - Prepare your child. Let them know in advance you are going to the store. Inform them what it will be like and how they are to behave in the store.
#2 - Make sure you bring with you some supplies to help your child cope. Snacks, drinks, small toys, a comfort item, and so forth can make your trip a lot easier. We ended up getting a small fanny pack quite some time ago for this purpose and sometimes we use a backpack depending on our son's needs.
#3 - Make a list and follow it. While this isn't always easy it is amazing to see how my son does when I tell him on a sensory type day that we are going in for 3 things and list them off. Each item I get I tell him what is next on the list until I am done with my list. This helps him know that we aren't going to be out forever. This can also be done with the stores or errands you have to do. I usually got straight home afterwards.

The other thing I have found that I have to do constantly is think outside the box. My child is sensory seeking and so I tend to think in ways he can have various sensations. For instance, at Walmart I found something called a Fusion Ball. It is one of the most annoying toys I have found as it is a ball and it vibrates all over and makes noisy music that you can't turn the volume down on. It is $5 and it was well worth it although it didn't last more than a couple weeks as the outer cage broke. (I have mixed feelings about that.) My son would bring the ball with him and hug it to himself really close as we would go through the store as it jiggled him around. People I am sure were sick of the noise but it kept my son under control.
What can you do to help your child? If lighting bothers your child then what about getting them a pair of sun glasses? Find something that works for them regardless of your opinion on how they look on your child. If sound bothers your child what about some thick headphones? The nice thing about headphones is that they can be connected to some device that can play songs or tell stories. If they are overwhelmed by people then maybe bringing in a blanket for them to cover their heads and bodies up might do the trick.

The truth of the matter is we have to go to stores and while many times not bringing our SPD child is easier it isn't always practical. Maybe you need to make a sensory kit for when you go out to fit your child's needs that is strictly for going out in public. There are many small toys and gagets that you can make as well as tiny toys that you can get from a party store such as Party City.

Most of all, make sure you compliment your child. Going out in public tends to be a very stressful thing. I have been told that it can affect your child not necessary immediately but show up a few days later. I have yet to be able to identify this with my own son. I have noticed a lot of praise has worked wonders especially in the small things that he's able to do. It doesn't happen all them time. In fact, his abilities vary day by day but with each day I am reminded that he's learning tools to cope in the world he will soon face on his own. Try to find one thing... even a small thing that they did right whether it was respond one time appropriately to a command or remark you made. If it even means they held the cart for 1 minute. Look for those little opportunities to compliment them espeically on a hard day.