Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Siblings and Autism

Having a sibling with a disability can be challenging and when the disability is ‘hidden’ or not so obvious like Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), it can be even harder.

‘Normal’ family life is rarely problem free. A family that never disagrees would be incredibly odd! The presence of an autistic child is unlikely to be the sole cause of such problems, although it may complicate or exacerbate struggles at various times.

Often the sibling with ASD will require extra attention from the parent, and the other children may understandably feel left out or resentful. It’s perfectly normal. No one likes to feel left out, regardless what age they are, or the reasoning.

So what do you do about it? Can you do anything? Absolutely!

Consider setting aside a short period daily or at minimum, weekly, to connect with the other family members and let them know they are special in their own way. Perhaps use the time when a child is travelling from school, undertaking a sport or activity or after siblings have gone to bed. Share a milkshake, a trip to the park or the shops, a book or a game, something simple where the sibling without a disability is not the centre of the activity or event. How special would it be to have a designated ‘date’ with mum or dad, or better, both!

Don’t forget kids are pretty resilient too and research suggests that in the majority of families, the benefits of having a sibling with special needs far outweighs the disadvantages.

Tolerance, acceptance, patience, compassion, a strong sense of equality, social justice and a greater understanding of people and their differences are all common traits in people who have the blessing of a person with additional needs, Autism related or otherwise, in their family.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Sesame Street Puppets

Since its first airing in 1969, Sesame Street has been a firm favourite with children of all ages and there are many good reasons for that. Designed specifically with an educational curriculum and aimed at creatively explaining cultural and social situations in a way that young children can relate to, it was the first television show of its kind and still remains one of the most popular.

Many parents of young children these days were avid viewers of Sesame Street in their own childhood and we all get a little warm and fuzzy when we see our favourite muppet monster captivating our own little ones.

The show has continued to evolve over the last forty years, with developing technology and changes in our day to day world, but many of the key characters are still the same.

We have some wonderful Sesame Street Hand Puppets in store and they are perfect for encouraging creative role playing with your children.

It’s easy to role play with characters we all know so well and most mums, dads and even grandparents can just as easily slip into character when it comes to Sesame Street muppets as well as any three or four year old can.

Colourful and cuddly, these plush hand puppets are just the ticket for endless hours of imaginative play and your children can easily become the puppet masters that bring these wonderful characters alive.

A cute addition to a sing-along or a counting game, for learning the alphabet song and even being a familiar friend in unfamiliar situations, these puppets will quickly become a fun part of your toy family.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

ASD And The Drama Of The Airport

Airports are huge, noisy, brightly lit areas of CHAOS!

They can send anyone over the edge, especially a child on the spectrum.

As with all new environments, it is important your child feels safe. Bring activities they enjoy to keep them occupied, familiar foods and anything that keeps them calm and helps them to feel secure. This is for both during your time at the airport and on the flight itself.

It’s also important they are dressed comfortably and it's really helpful if you dress your child in brightly coloured clothes. It makes them much easier to spot in crowds, should they wander off!

Set them up with activities whilst you’re waiting in lines as well as waiting for the flight to take off.

In preparing your child for the airport, the use of social stories is fabulous and helps your child to understand and anticipate what is coming. Ideally, and if it's an option, try a trip or two to the airport itself, so they are more familiar with the environment.

Your best strategy, however, is to ask for help. If you have someone to be a second pair of hands and help keep your child entertained, then that’s what you want to aim for.

However, that is not always an option, so don’t be scared to ask the airline staff for help. Explain your child has special needs, and that they don’t do well with lining up. Being open and upfront will ensure your needs are respected, and it will also help the airline staff to help you.

If you can afford it, avoid the low-cost airlines as they often don’t have the resources to help. That is, they may be slightly understaffed and frazzled and not able to give you the assistance you require.

Finally, be aware of the strong smells and loud noises of the airport, as well as the visuals; strong, bright lights, and loads of people!

Travelling on an airplane should essentially be fun - however as with anything, the more familiar they are with an environment the better.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Colour and Number Puzzle

I like the look of this puzzle. I love the rainbow of colours and the soft, curving shape of the pieces. They are very inviting and little hands enjoy feeling the smooth curves of every piece.

The Colour and Number Puzzle is a great toy for hand-eye coordination and learning numbers and colours. The pieces are double-sided: one side has the name of the colour and the other has a number.

Apart from the obvious use as a puzzle, you can invent all sorts of games using these pieces. If your child is struggling to learn about colour, invent a game that makes them select the right colour to win.

Adding each piece of the puzzle into its spot is excellent for developing hand-eye co-ordination, too.

The puzzle is made of wood for durability and it comes housed in a solid wooden tray.

All materials used are child-safe and non-toxic.
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