Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Kimochis – helping kids get in touch with their feelings

One of the greatest challenges for people with autism can be to understand the feelings of others and to adequately communicate or demonstrate their own feelings. This is often one of the first things that can alert parents and caregivers to the possibility of a child having autism or any of the autism spectrum disorders (ASD).

Using visual aids has been shown to help teach children with autism about how to read the various expressions of others and how they might be feeling, as well as teaching them how to successfully express how they feel themselves.

Kimochi (Key-mo-chee) means “feeling” in Japanese and the Kimochis Bug is a specially developed educational toy with various “feelings cushions” that the child can place in a pocket on his belly, showing how the Kimochis Bug feels inside.

The Komochis Bug is a safe friend who, like many children with autism, is scared of change because change is a big process for a caterpillar. Kimochis Bug’s secret ambition to fly means that changes are things that he must be prepared for and find the courage to deal with.

Bug is highly intelligent, fairly wary of new things and new people, but really good at carrying on a conversation when he feels comfortable. He is brightly coloured, soft and promotes tactile stimulation.

Because new things can be terrifying, Bug has become very clever at talking his way out of just about anything, but he is smart enough to know that he needs to be brave and find new ways of learning to participate if he wants to achieve his goals.

Kimochis Bug comes with a 'How to Feel Guide' plus Happy, Brave and Left-out child-safe “feeling cushions”, packed in its own peek-a-boo box.

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