Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Gluten Free Eating

Did you know that studies of children with autism show that a gluten intolerance can lead to behaviour changes? Healing Thresholds says that children with autism are not able to properly process gluten through their digestive systems. This leads to a build up of the gluten proteins in their system which affects their behaviour in the same way that a dose of red cordial can affect others.

“Specifically, in these children, gluteomorphines could reduce their desire for social interaction, block pain messages, and increase confusion.”

A lot of studies examine the role of gluten as well as milk protein called casein in the behaviour of children with autism. By eliminating these products from their diets some parents found that their child’s behaviour improved.

When your child, is diagnosed as allergic to gluten or you are putting them on a gluten-free diet for behaviour issues like we did for our son, the first instinct is to panic. What on earth will you feed your child now?

Once the panic subsides and you start to look around there are actually lots of food choices still available to you. Many big companies are also starting to produce gluten-free products. Freedom Foods is just one company that caters for dietary intolerances. Have a look at their breakfast range and you'll see that your kids can eat their version of corn flakes and still look the same as everyone else. Online sites Taste and Cuisine have big collections of recipes that are gluten-free.

My son loves pikelets and the best recipe I have found is at Kidspot.com.au It's fast and easy, gluten and nut-free but best of all it is very appealing to kids. If you click on the Kidspot link it will take you drectly to that special recipe.

I'd love to know what gluten-free recipes you use for your child. Leave me a comment and tell me about them.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Autism and the iTouch

The arrival of the iTouch, like an iPhone without the phone, has proven to be a surprisingly good thing for children with forms of autism. All over the internet there are stories of the difference it has made in their lives.

Children seem to adapt to new technology really quickly which makes the iTouch a great tool for learning.

There are lots of apps that can be downloaded that will suit your child’s specific needs. Some apps help children learn to focus while others help them to communicate.

Model Me: Going Places” is a free app that helps kids learn to navigate challenging locations in the community. Each location contains a photo slide show of children modelling appropriate behaviour in places like restaurants, shops and hairdressers.

The “Grace App” is described as a picture exchange for non-verbal people. The beauty of this app is that now your child can show you what he wants or where she wants to go. They can take photos and add them to the app so it becomes quite a personalised communication system.

These are just two of the apps that have been developed. There are lots more out there and I am sure that there will be more to come as this idea catches on. Isn’t it exciting to think of all the families that can now really connect with their autistic child? It’s a whole new communication channel that really seems to work.

For older children, who want to look like everyone else of their age, the iTouch helps them blend in with the crowd. The fact that this little device is actually a tool to help them cope in social situations is something that no one else has to know. It can help to keep them organised as well as show them how to join in a conversation.

The iTouch and the iPad are even being used in schools. The iPad is larger so it is easier to read and has a better keyboard, making it great for the classroom. It opens up a whole new world of interaction between the child, the teacher and the classmates.

Click here for a list of apps that might be useful for you (along with direct links to the app itself) I hope you find the right app for you and your child.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

♥Today is The Toy Bug's 3rd Birthday♥

A few years ago I had a dream - about creating a business where parents could purchase quality, value for money educational toys that would help with their children’s skill developments and toys that their children would enjoy playing and learning with at the same time. Three years ago, that dream, The Toy Bug, became a reality.

Today I spent the day with my son, going to visit an old school friend who is just about to experience the wonderful joy of becoming a mum herself, taking my son for a haircut and having him sit there without screaming (a huge triumph) and then taking him to McDonalds as a reward. While sitting at McDonald I thought about my journey over the past 3 years and what a journey it has been! It has been a HUGE and wonderful learning experience for me not just in the terms of business but personally too.

We have come so fair since the 1st catalogue went out in July 2007 to now being online and having the most wonderful supporting customers. You, our customers, are the soul of our business – you are the ones who I am celebrating today. ♥SO THANK YOU ALL FOR MAKING THE TOY BUG WHAT IT IS TODAY♥. Your lovely emails and feedback motivate me, inspire me and sometimes moves me to tears of joy and I thank you every single day for allowing me to bring our wonderful products into your children’s lives.

I too have to thank my silent supporters who hold my hand when my life starts to gets too much, who give me brilliant ideas, who push me to strive and believe in me – I thank you from the bottom of my heart♥:

My Gorgeous son Lachie – who is my biggest inspiration and without him there would be no The Toy Bug! He is the best thing that has ever happened to me. I love him more than words can say - I love him Autism and all and would not have it any other way! We have climbed many mountains over the past 6 years and I know there will be many more to climb and I thank him for showing me that I possess many qualities I never knew I had in me like patience, acceptance, understanding, strength and to appreciate the smallest things in life like a smile, hug or hearing the words most take for granted like “mum”. I believe all parents are given their child/ren for a reason and I am happy that God found me for Lachie and that I am a changed person with having him in my life!

My Husband - for having faith in me and allowing me to follow my dream and using our hard earned savings to start The Toy Bug. For his continued love and support in all I do and for helping out with the cooking, cleaning, ironing, stocktakes, packing orders and being my critic – yes I am a very lucky lady!

My son’s therapists who helped my son, taught me the most amazing skills, given me wonderful advice and helped my family in more ways than they will ever know.

My beautiful family and friends who helped me along the way with looking after Lachie when I needed to get things done, for giving me brilliant ideas, helping pack orders, giving me a shoulder to cry on when life gets too much and for making me take time out for myself so I don’t burn out!

A big Thank You to all the beautiful families touched by Special Needs – I thank you for your support and spreading the word about The Toy Bug. You are all an inspiration to me – how everyday you put one foot in front of the other and deal with whatever is thrown at you. For fighting day after day for your child’s rights so they can lead a fulfilling life and promoting public awareness.

A big Thank you to the wonderful networking communities I am apart of - I have meet some of the most amazing and inspiring people who have guided me, supported me and inspired me to be a better person, business women and Mum.

2010/2011 is going to be a big year at The Toy Bug, I am working on some wonderful new ideas, bringing you new products and supplying old favourites and I’m looking forward to sharing the journey with you!

So please grab your glass of whatever tasty beverage you have (mine has bubbles) and toast with me today to another year of The Toy Bug and too many more to come!

*Clink *Cheers*

Welcome to The Toy Bug Blog!

Here you will find all sorts of useful information about The Toy Bug including sneak peeks at new products coming into the store, profiles on toys and information and stories about our Autism Journey.

We hope you'll check back often to see whats new :-)
Cheers Jo xo