Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Communication Shutdown

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) has a profound impact on those with the disorder, particularly in relation to social communication.

Not only do they face huge challenges socially but they can be left feeling alone and isolated.

Communication Shutdown is an initiative instigated by the AIEOU Foundation, a not for profit organisation dedicated to providing intervention programs for children diagnosed with ASD.

It is aimed not only at raising funds for autism groups in over 40 countries, but also to highlight the isolation and loneliness experienced by those unable to connect socially with others. The initiative involves shutting down your Facebook and/or Twitter accounts from midnight on November 1st 2010, for a period of 24 hours.

You can also show your support, and donate to the cause, by downloading a charity application (CHAPP) for $5 on Facebook. The CHAPP will show others that you have donated and are supporting autism, helps to spread the word, gives you a badge and adds your profile picture to a mosaic of supporters from all over the world. Including the celebrities!

You don’t need a Facebook or Twitter account to donate, and you’re more than welcome to donate more than $5.

Join us in spreading the word, raising much needed funds and experience what it’s like to be disconnected socially.

For more details and to become involved, visit

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Halloween for ASD Kids

Halloween is almost here, bringing with it festivities including dressing up, trick or treating and far too many lollies.

Although Halloween isn’t something we celebrate in Australia as much as they do in the USA, or on the same scale, there’s still a lot of fun that can be had with the kids. Dressing up in scary costumes is just part of it, even if we’re not into wandering around the neighbourhood knocking on our neighbours doors, demanding lollies or threatening tricks if they don’t hand them over!

For ASD kids, however, it can be a quite overwhelming.

Fancy dress costumes may be uncomfortable or restrictive, particularly those with masks, and your child might refuse to wear the costume. The child might ever overreact to the way it feels. The whole night can be full of fearful things. After all, not everyone likes to see skeletons walking their streets. Your child is even less likely to understand it.

You will need to manage the night in a way that protects your child’s sensitivities. Halloween Is a night of noise, colour, people and movement not to mention lollies.

I found a great article over at the Autism Support Network that offers some fantastic ideas about how to include your ASD child in the Halloween festivities. They are simple ideas that will help you to enjoy the day as a family without having to cope with extra stress.

Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Thomas and Friends Edison Chopsticks.

These cute Thomas, James or Percy Characters training chopsticks will have any little boy smiling.

What a great product these are. The Edison Chopsticks™ enable children aged 3 and older to immediately learn the principles behind the use of chopsticks and help to develop finger motion, concentration, focus, and intellect.

Did you know that when you use chopsticks you exercise 30 joints and 50 muscles of the body? No wonder it is a hard skill to manage. The Edison chopsticks help children to co-ordinate all those joints and muscles in a really simple way. The posture and angle of the Edison Chopsticks™ is very similar to the pen holding and writing grip - so it great for children who are learning to write and it encourages fine motor skills.

They are made out of high-quality, non-toxic, BPA free material.

Choose from Thomas (right and left hand), James (right hand) and Percy (right hand).

Size: L 17.5cm x W 4.5cm

Age: 3+

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Sensory Sensitivities

The term “sensory sensitivity” refers to issues relating to the senses, particularly sight, touch, sound and movement.

When your child starts to show some odd behaviours you might want to look around, listen and even smell what is happening around them. It can gie you clues about what is bothering the child - what the sensory senstivity is.

Sensitivity can relate to “hypersensitivity” or heightened senses. People experiencing hypersensitivity are highly receptive and can become overwhelmed by sensory information, and can feel, see and hear things at an level much higher than the average person.

This can lead to behavioural issues, such as being abnormally frightened or distressed by noises, find colours or shapes disturbing or become anxious or bothered by the smell, taste or feel of things.

Brain overload might result in the child becoming inactive beause they can't make sense of what signals they are receiving. Alternatively they might become hyperactive as they react to the signals that are hurting their brains.

Others may experience “hyposensitivity” where senses are dulled. They may not be able to hear certain sounds or voices, or not feel touch or pain as others would. As with hypersensitivity, children with low sensitivity may become inactive as their brain can’t decipher what is coming in.

Alternatively, they may become hyperactive due to a need for more sensory information, either through self-stimulation or inattention.

Children with autism are likely to experience sensory sensitivity, which may lead them to display apparent obsessive behaviours, such as wearing the same shirt (they like the feel of it) or refusing to wear a different shirt (the tag on the back irritates them to the point of frustration). They might talk to themselves a lot in an effort to block out other noises. Perhaps they have to touch everything as they walk along - even to the point of feeling the wall as they move from room to room. Your child might need some tactile stimulation.

Others may become frantic at sounds and sights, such as music and lights, hurting their ears and causing their brain to overload. They may scream or hit their head, as it is literally hurting them.

If you can pinpoint what it is that is causing 'odd' behaviour in your child you can find a way to manage the behaviour. Teaching your child to cope with their sensitivities is often a matter of pre-warning your child about what is going to happen or involving them in activities which help them to extend their boundaries.
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