Wednesday, February 29, 2012

2 Trampoline Alternatives

One thing I didn't know if my son was coordinated enough to do was jump rope. He's got great motor skills but I wasn't sure how he'd respond to it. I know it would be helpful espeically when he loves the trampoline. (I unfortunately need to make a new cover that goes around the springs especially with the baby being mobile.) Anyhow, I found some cheap plastic jump ropes at target for about $3. (In my opinion they work better than the fabric rope ones or leather ones and lighter than the beaded ones.) Anyhow, my son took to jump roping very easily and so he's been jumping in our living room. (It was snowing outside.) We kept track of how many times he got over the rope and he enjoyed it a lot. He can jump over right now 2-3 times in a row.

Another idea that works well if a jump rope won't work is sitting on an exercise ball and bouncing on it. I have used both the regular and the stability and I strongly suggest the stability if you don't want it rolling around all that much. My kids of all ages have loved the ability to be on the ball bouncing up and down and rolling around on the floor.


Honestly, I haven't been doing a ton of things sensory wise lately. I've been pretty busy with my ASL classes. One of the things that I ended up realizing helps my son a lot with motor skills as well as working on his ability to create (imagination) and his social skills is Legos. (We have Mega Bloks and Legos and both work.) Sometimes I give my son the challenge to build something I mention such as an object sometimes I just let him play. When his sister come to play with him we work on manners and social acceptable behavior so things like sharing and talking about what we need and how to get it the right way and if we don't get it how to deal with the disappointment or frustration. Its a fun task and as we play he picks up skills that help him in social situations that are in a play environment at home where he can practice doing it right.

Some things we work on in detail are as follows:
  • We work on asking for legos we need to finish a project
  • We ask for help if legos are stuck rather than putting them in our mouth
  • We work on handling the answer 'no' and the disappointment that comes with it.
  • We talk about what he has created and how it works.
  • We talk about colors and shapes
  • We work on coming up with alternative solutions to problems we face.
  • We work on dealing with frustration when something doesn't work the way we want it to
  • We work on following instructions that come in the box of legos to get the desired look
  • We work on transitioning from Legos to another task. Sometimes this includes saving a project outside of the play area or setting it in nicely so it doesn't break.
I want to write a quick post in honor of Congenital Heart Disease Awareness Month on this blog although it is not about CHD. The reason I want to post this on here is because without this mother of a CHD child I would not have the information I have on this blog today. So in honor of this month I want to share a bit about her and her son, Eli.

Eli is an adorable 5 yr old boy who you would never know has a heart defect. Sadly, many children with his heart defect don't get to see their first birthday and he almost wasn't able to. Because CHD isn't outwardly visible it is easy to assume that he is in fine perfect working order but looking at his scars tells another story which would frighten any parent. This little boy has had heart surgery.

Now I got to know Eli's mom in church. Our friendship honestly blossomed when my child who is 6 was acting up and she was able to identify the fact that he has SPD because she has a son who is autistic. Her understanding and words of wisdom brought sanity into our lives probably more than she can comprehend. We have shared many times of crying (her more so than I as I don't cry easily) about the struggles we face with our kids who have special needs. It was when I honestly began to really become aware about CHD as we shared our struggles and gave each other advice and relief in knowing we weren't going insane that there were symptoms and signs that we were seeing even if doctors couldn't.

Many people think that surgery or a transplant will 'fix' the problem but they don't realize that surgery is the LAST option that the doctors take and it has to be a life or death situation before they do it because of how dangerous it is. Unfortunately, Eli has had to have surgery more than once. Due to surgery which saved his life it also caused brain damage. He severely struggles and is delayed in almost every area except in how to warm the heart with his adorable smile. Surgery is not usually an 'if' type situation but a 'when' type situation for congenital heart patients and the timeline is only predictable in the fact that it is not predictable at all. Right now Eli's heart is stable but how long that will last is unknown. There are a lot of unknowns in Eli's case as there are in any children who have CHD.
Some of the things I have made on this blog and the posts are up because of my friend and her son Eli. Eli's mom will come up with some sort of 'I need this...' type remark and I go to work on creating something to try to help her with whatever the issue is that she is facing therapy wise for her son and then I take a picture and give her the final product. It's amazing the amout of therapy a child like Eli has from CHD due to brain damage from surgery. It's a scary thought for any parent of a child but it's a road that you don't get to choose. It's not one you can just wish your child well or give a pill or therapy and your child's back to normal. It's a hard road regardless of which way it turns. You just take it one step at a time.
If you want to read her blog it is:
Another website is:
If you want to learn more about CHD you can go to

Saturday, February 18, 2012

The importance of posting your address in a visible place

I was at my friends house for a visit and her special needs child stopped breathing in spite of monitors and a trache and ventilator. It was scary. Everyone knows when 911 is called one of the things they ask for is an address. I had no clue of my friend's address to be honest and eventually the information was gotten in the midst of the chaos. The baby began breathing again (Thank you Jesus!).
Anyhow, before the baby left my friend gave me a hug, still shaking, and I told her for safety reasons she needed her address posted around her house simple because of the special needs her one child has. So that she can focus on her daughter and someone else can focus on dealing with 911.
Of course as I drove home with two of my kids that my children don't know their address. Not only that but how many people in the midst of an emergency remember what their address is and can spit it out off the top of their head? So needless to say tonight I will be making posters with our address and putting it on the inside of our front door, the inside of our medicine cupboard, the backs of our home phones, the base of our home phone, as well as upstairs posted in the family room to get to in an instant.
My son who is 6 would be able to repeat these numbers in order but he doesn't have them memorized so it's something that I am going to be doing tonight.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

How We Hung Our Lycra Swing (Detailed)

I recently got a comment from someone asking to go into more detail on how we hung up our swing and so I'm going to try to get as detailed as I can. If you don't need this much detail then I hope you take a look around my blog and find something that is helpful in some way.

Tools Needed:
Stud Finder
2x6 board that is straight
4 hex bolts that are long enough to go through the board, a washer, the drywall of your ceiling and into the tresses securely. (I think we did a 3.5'' one but you could probably do a 4 if you're not sure and they were fairly thick.)
4 washers that fit the bolts. You want them to have a wide rim for lack of a better word.
2 eye bolts that will go through the board that you use.

Step #1: Choose your location wisely. We chose downstairs because of the risk that our children presented with their desire to climb and their need for speed and we have a rail upstairs that they most likely would try to climb up on to get a bigger thrill and we didn't want them going over the edge. However, make sure to take into consideration windows and doors. You don't want them hitting them or someone accidently hitting your child who may not realize they're on the swing if they go in a weird direction. Choose very carefully!!!

Step: #2: Once you pick your spot you need to take a stud finder and run it across your ceiling. You need to determine where the tresses are and which way they are running. Use a pencil to mark where they are and which way they are going. You will want to at least find 2 if not 3 different tresses for safetly and stability. Measure the distance between these 2-3 different tresses and add about 4 inches. (This is the length you will need for the board.) Mark the location where you need the screws and board to go. Mark the board with the same measurements for the screws.

Step #3: When you have cut your board to the length needed you are going to want your board to be able to be attatched on at least 2 different tresses. (We used a 2x6 board.) If you measure how far apart these tresses are exactly you can predrill a hole in the board. If you drill the hole slightly smaller than the screws you will find that it is far easier drilling the board into the ceiling. This is the time that if you want to sand and paint your board that you need to do it if you want it to look decent. Remember to allow it to dry if you do decide to paint it. If you look at the picture of our swing set up you'll realize the bolts are staggered and there are two on each end. Remember these must go through the length of board you have just drilled and go up through the drywall and deep into the tresses for safety.

Step #4: Drill the board onto to ceiling where you have indicated using the bolts first and then add the eye bolts. Remember the eye bolts that you want to use are going to be able to have to have a hook through them in some sort of fashion and they'll have the weight of your child and the equipment on them. You want a sturdy eye hook.

Step #5: Before you allow your child to get on the swing test it. You want to make sure it can hold more than the weight of the child and the swing as well as any bouncing/swinging they will do on it. If you do it incorrectly the board can fall off and hurt the child. This should be done any time you put the child on a swing like this. Even therapy places test their equipment and make sure that things are secure and parents need to do the same.

Step #6: If your set up is safe make sure you end up putting down some padding. Carpet is NOT enough and while I hope your child doesn't fall out of the set up you have for your child it does happen. Some ideas to put under your swing while your child is on it could be things like foam floor padding, a bean bag, a mattress of some sort, or a crash pad just for a few examples. Remember that all the padding in the world is not as good as a parents supervision.

If you have no clue of the materials you need we got all our supplies at Home Depot. If you explain to them what you are doing they can give you a really good idea of what you need. You will need most likely to explain that this is going into your ceiling and will be holding your child on a piece of theraputic equipment. Have an idea of how much your child weighs and the equipment or at least a good guess helps them. Remember also that your child will grow and that once friends realize what it is that you might be having more children over as well.

Also make sure you teach your child and all in your house about safety not just for the person on the swing but the people in the house. We have established in our home something called, 'The Whacking Zone' in which the swing's radius is and people are to stay out of it when the swing is up and someone is on it as well as the person on the swing has to remain aware as much as their ability allows them to those how might not be aware of the rules or understand them who could get hit.

I would get pictures but I have new camera and I'm not sure how to use it yet. It's not like our old one as you can't see what you are taking a picture of or how close you are until we get a screen for it. I hope this helps. If you need more help then respond to this post and leave your email or I can give you mine and I can discuss this further or get exact measurements.


One thing I am learning is the importance in labeling things in various ways. It helps so many different areas in which a child may struggle. I want to share a few labeling tips that have helped me or others that might be things you can do to help your child.

One thing I have learned with an ASD child is that sometimes it's hard to accept 'no' from a parent but if you change it to someone else saying the 'no' the child accepts it more willingly... sometimes. I have that labels give me the ability to tell my child 'no' without it being me that is saying 'no'. When we look around there are plenty of labels that give warnings, ratings, cautions, and so forth. I have found that with some products it is very important to share with my son the warning or caution statements on them. This warns him of the harm that can happen if he happens to get into it or on it. Sometimes they give directions on how to use it and it allows him to know he's using whatever he has inappropriately and it's not allowed. Other times it allows him to know he's not mature enough such as a movie rating. Now, not all warnings, cautions, or ratings are going to 'fix' the problem but it's one less thing that a child may see as you saying 'no' to and understand that it has a different purpose than whatever their intentions were for it.

Another thing labels are good for is learning new words or spelling. This helps kids in a lot of ways regardless if they've got special needs or not. They can catagories, organize, learn to spell, identify letters, find the right spots for things, read and learn to write by copying just to name a few. I got a book a while back for homeschooling and it has a picture with tabs you can cut out in the shape of bandaid to put on a bear. Each band-aid has a word that states where the band-aid goes. This is very good for reluctant readers which we will be trying with my son who can read but doesn't want to.

Labels also show many times a symbol for those who can't read. It is very good even if your child can't read to learn certain symbols so that he or she can be made aware of things that are around them. I know Mr. Yuck stickers are hard to find now but they've helped my kids know the different between various bottles of things that are okay and what isn't.

Sometimes letters, words, or symbols won't mean anything to your child because they have a hard time identifying them. You might try colored dots or animals or whatever works with your child. Be creative and think outside the box!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Hand Washing

One issue we really struggle with concerning our most severe SPD child is handwashing. Now, I'm not a germaphobic in any way. I think that things like hand sanitizer has it's place but I also think that people can over do it. However, handwashing is important and when your child struggles with control issues like mine does it becomes more of a hygenie problem.
One of the things I haven't done but should is find a handwashing poster for each bathroom for him to learn how to follow the proper steps of handwashing. My son knows the steps but it's kind of like I have to be a bathroom monitor to make sure it happens. With my middle child I can't keep her out of the water... or soap.
Another issue is that wet sleeves tends to be an issue in our household. I think this is one huge reason why my kids tend to wear short sleeves or not wash their hands. My middle child has gotten used to dealing with this due to being in preschool. Helping a child role up their sleeves and immediately pull them down can be helpful after handwashing.
Another thing that works for us in a pinch is babywipes. For my son this is not something we strongly encourage but it works in those rush where I can't get him to wash his hands. It's a compromise that we sometimes make due to melt down issues. It's not often but we do use this method sometimes.
Hand sanitizer is other option in some places. The problem I have found with this is some of my children tend to lick the liquid gel of their hands. YUCK! Due to an allergy to various chemicals that are in soaps and household products I have to be very careful even with hand sanitizer and so this is not a good option for our family. Rather than deal with the gel I'm almost always guarenteed to have to deal with and touch I have found that the foam type works better for us.
Other ideas that I haven't tried but you might consider is using a wet washcloth to wash hands. If your washclothes are rough you can buy the baby washcloths which are a lot softer than regular ones and they don't have the bumpy texture. Using the spray feature that is on a lot of kitchen sinks or the shower if you can take the handle off sometimes works especially if they have different speeds.

There is one more product that I am going to list later on for this issue simply because I do have some of the products and LOVE them. It is a body washcloth that you don't need to use soap with from Norwex I believe. I'll see if I can find the website of the sales person I go through in case you are interested in purchasing something like this. It works well for people with sensitive skin.