Monday, September 16, 2013

10 fun and education things you can do with Popsicle sticks

I am finding there are a lot of things to do with popsicle sticks that have helped my kids tremendously. One thing I am finding about the joys of ADHD is my child's inability to sit still and the inability to pay attention. Both things drive me nuts and present a challenge especially when it comes to learning. So here are some ideas but let me remind you that markers of any sort on popsicles can bleed according to the grain of the popsicle stick.

  1. Using popsicle sticks with tasks that need to be done during the day allows a child to see their tasks one task at a time rather than seeing a huge list of things they need to do. If you can find a way to mount this in the areas in which you are needing them to work this can help them remember what they're supposed to be doing.
  2. It is a great way to do school work. Recently I found on pinterest an idea for math called Zap. We were struggling with getting my son to do math and retain his math facts. Adding this activity provided him with the ability to wiggle and do something while limiting the overwhelming amount of problems before him. He in fact did far more math problems than he would have on the paper and played it twice.
  3. If you get the colored popsicle sticks you can play a sorting game. There are many things you can sort such as colors, letters, numbers, math problems, ect.
  4. Another task is using it as a boredom buster. Have both fun and work type activities for when your child complains they are bored or need a transition or break from a task. Some activities can be like walk on your hands while someone holds your feet. See how far you can jump. Jump on the trampoline 25 times. Give your mom a tight squeeze. Go get a snack. Make 5 funny faces in the mirror. This can also be used when a child is having a melt down.
  5. Using a popsicle stick can help in writing by giving a child the ability to make spaces between words.
  6. Make a popsicle catapult for doing math. Set out paper plates or bowls and try to have your child shoot a pompom onto the plate with the right answer.
  7. Make a house out of popsicle sticks
  8. Hot glue different textures onto the sticks for a tactile toy.
  9. Use them with playdough or large marshmallows to create structures.
  10. Make various objects such as a train track or a ladder with the objects.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Academic Balance Beam

One thing I try to do is incorporate therapy ideas with learning. I have this wonderful idea of using a balance beam. Not all kids are able to use one but if they are or even with a child's help it can help a child use coordination and balance. This week we will be making a balance beam and decided to incorporate reading and math into this task. I will use index cards with words or math problems on them or answers and allow my children to walk down the beam and find the answers or word I am asking for. There are several ways to use this type of technique.
  1. Having the child bend down to reach the card on the ground. In this case you'll want a low balance beam or even in some cases tape on the floor or chalk outside. It really depends upon the abilities of your child. If you have a young child it could be asking them get a toy or a snack.
  2. Another one is having a child walk over the cards or objects to get the right answer or object.
  3. Lastly, you can have the children walk down to the end of the beam jump off pick up the object or card and get back on and give it to you. You could put a crash pad, couch cushions or whatever needed at the end for more of a sensory impact.
For me, my kids are at all different levels academically. I tend to meet them where they are and because they're kinesthetic learners they do best with movement. If balance is required while learning this task can be very similar to a 'T-stool' which can help concentration.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Update on us

Okay so I thought it would be helpful to share with some of you the diagnosis we are facing as some things have changed since I last wrote.
So there has been a lot of questions about what my son has or doesn't have. We've been through the ringer in a lot of ways trying to get a diagnosis and help in this area and not because he's a bad kid but just that we needed answers to know how to help him deal with his issues. His final diagnosis is severe ADHD (both the impulsive and compulsive), SPD, and dyslexia. The part that hinders him the most in my opinion is the first two diagnosis. Sometimes one is worse that the other but we just take things one day at a time.
My middle child is un-diagnosed but I am assuming because ADHD and dyslexia are hereditary at least in our family that she probably has ADD and dyslexia. For her the more severe issue is the dyslexia.
My youngest child is unilaterally hard of hearing and has sensory issues. Once again the sensory issues is worse than the hearing loss.
All of my SPD kiddos are seekers. All of my kids are mostly kinesthetic learners. That means they are on the go craving input constantly. It's exhausting but through prayer and talking with other SPD mommies I have found a nice support of friends. I also have found a few support groups on Facebook that have been a huge help as well and have gotten a ton of ideas off of pinterest.

Car seat solutions

I am not sure about everyone else but one of the struggles I have found with all of my sensory kiddos is finding a car seat they can't escape from in one fashion or another. The biggest problem I have found is with the chest clip and in spite of warnings left and right about not altering their harness I have found to keep them restrained and safe it was necessary until something better off came into the market. So here are my tidbits of advice and experience and product reviews.

1. One problem I hear from a lot of parents that we have experienced is that children are undoing their chest clip. I have found it is a LOT more difficult for my child to get a chest strap that requires you to press the chest clip button toward the chest rather than the clips that you push from the top and bottom. I seriously wish I had some pictures for these but I don't. There only two different chest clips I have been able to find and this type is so far our most successful.

2. The other issue we have had is the chest straps being pulled down and this has been the biggest problem for us overall.
  • We have tried distracting our children and it hasn't helped but sometimes this can be done by buckling a toy or something they can fiddle with onto their harness somewhere before you secure them in. We didn't have much luck with this strategy.
  • Another alternative which isn't the best is using zip ties to hold the clip in place. This is not recommended but because we couldn't afford a new car seat and there wasn't one on the market we were stuck.
So what are some other options you can try?
  1. Britax was very smart and invented a system that has silicone rectangles that go on the straps to hold the chest clip in place. The only negative thing we have seen with this was that my 2 yr old figured out how to pull them down within 5 minutes and she was free. While I can't say what your child will do you can always try this out at a store like Babies R Us or some place that carries the Britax brand. Now some people can't buy a $300 dollar or even a $250 dollar car seat for their child. One recommendation I would give is call up Britax and see if you can order the silicone chest clip strap. This would be far cheaper than purchasing the carseat if they will allow you to do it.
  2. If you can find a way to put the no slip type flooring mat that goes into your cupboard or under your carpet this might be another solution to put under the straps if you can to prevent it from slipping. I'm not sure how you'd secure it but it might be an if you put it under the chest clip slots and the harness.
Now for the recommended car seat I'd have to go with Chicco Next Step. It is the one carseat my kids CAN'T get out of. :) Their design is great and a lot of it has to do with the shoulder straps believe it or not. The non-slip material is put into the shoulder straps of the carseat as well as they come down low enough that you can tuck the top part of the chest clip in to so that a child can't push it down as easily. This by far is the best product we have seen or used. Unfortunately it is just as expensive as the Britax brand so how can you get it for cheaper is probably the next question.

  • Coupons. Babies R Us has a lot of coupons and sales. We were able to get 20% off this car seat and while it is NOT that much it is better than the $300.
  • Sometimes Babies R Us does a car seat trade-in and you can get more than 20% off. I have done this a few times with various products. It's a great program.
  • Another alternative is seeing if your medical insurance will cover it. This one I am not sure if it is even possible but there are some of them that realize that this is a huge issue and will fork over the bill.
  • Look into car seat programs and see if there is a way to get help in purchasing this carseat.
  • Rather than getting birthday presents and toys or Christmas toys you might see if family and friends will chip in to get your child this car seat for their own safety.
  • Lastly, if you unfortunately have been in an auto accident and a carseat is involved the insurance is supposed to pay for it. I have gone back over a year to get replacements that I didn't know they were supposed to cover. If they want proof and the photos they have don't have the car seats and your children were in the car ask them to look at the bodily injury claim to see how many people were involved in the wreck and explain that you wouldn't have a child unharnessed in a moving vehicle. Some insurances will only reimburse you for the same carseat and others will just tell you to go buy one. I can tell you from personal experience that Allstate insurance was better than Farmers insurance. Both companies did put these on our claims although they were closed claims at the time.
So there is my little okay long blurb about car seats and car seat solutions. Also do not wash the straps on your child's car seat. You can wipe them down but they're not to be saturated through washing.

A few products we have gotten or will be getting

I have deleted some of my other blogs but I have kept this one open because I know people still refer back to it quite often. I know I have severely neglected this page but life can take you on unexpected twists and turns not to mention I got tired of struggling to post pics on blogger. I think it's due to my PC but who knows.
There are some products I'd like to share on this blog post that I have either tried or will be trying to help curb some sensory issues that we are dealing with in our household.

1. I recently purchased a climbing dome. It's not here yet but it was FAR cheaper than a climber or most swing sets. Seeing we live in an HOA the metal kind of swing set is not allowed not to mention my children would probably ruin in within a year. So we found this site and purchased one of these for our backyard:

I realized that this type of structure would allow my children to hang but not on the stair rail. I could easily tie some lycra to the structure to allow the kids to swing. (We got the 10x5 if you are curious.) We could put a blanket or tarp over it for them to hide under and just allow their imagination to run wild. There were some problems during purchasing but over all we worked the kinks out and it seems that everything is going smoothly. (There were issues with Paypal). This company is in Texas and honestly the shipping is reasonable if you don't live in Texas.

Another product that I am loving is a curriculum which is called Handwriting Without Tears. These books have really helped my son and some public and private schools use them. This book really helped with my son's handwriting. The only problem we have had is that my son doesn't lift up his pencil like he should when writing in print. One of his doctors ended up telling us to move him into cursive which this company does have to curb this problem. This curriculum can be purchased through multiple places including Amazon, Rainbow Resource Center and their actual homepage. I found that the teacher's handbooks are more or less for a larger classroom so I didn't purchase the one for 3rd grade.

One product I am planning on buying happens to be a product that costs about $3. I know you can find it at Walmart and they're called Bubba Straws. They are silicone and for kids, like mine, that are chewing on everything and you want to make some chewable jewelry this is one cheaper route to go that allows you to have some color. 5 straws come in a pack and are in pastel colors. They also can be purchased off amazon or their own company.