Tuesday, October 25, 2011

What Are Your Insects Up To?

Fact: Little people are fascinated by little things.

Your child can learn so much from studying the comings and goings in the lives of the insects in your very own yard.

We have child-friendly insect magnifying glasses that are perfect for enhancing your child’s view of the little critters that make up such an important part of our ecosystem.

What foods do they naturally choose? Where do they live? Do they live in large communities, or spend most of their time alone?

There are endless activities that can be based around the study of insects and even favourite songs such as “That Ants Go Marching” and nursery rhymes such as “Ladybird, Ladybird” take on a whole new level of meaning after you have watched thousands of ants marching one by one or waved goodbye to a ladybird as it flies away home.

There are safe experiments that even the youngest child can take part in, such as sprinkling a pinch of sugar or some cake crumbs along a line of ants and watching how their activity changes.

It can be an enlightening experience to follow one ant from a food source, all the way along the ant super highway, to the point where it enters the nesting hole. What an epic journey for such a little creature!

This can also help with your child’s understanding of analogies of insect behaviour that are sometimes used in nursery stories.

Check out our colourful Insect Magnifying Glass and open your child’s eyes to the amazing world of insects.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Halloween Sensory Bag

Halloween can be hard for kids on the Autism Spectrum, but that doesn’t mean they should miss out on the fun. All the cool kids are joining in, so why shouldn’t they?

The cool thing about Halloween is that the ‘mainstream’ toys are all pretty sensory anyway! Think all things slimy, spiky, squidgy and squishy and that pretty much sums up the kind of party favours kids like at this time of year.

The Toy Bug knows how important it is to be inclusive and http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifsensitive so that ALL kids can take part in ALL events! They have put together a collection of 12 sensory toys and completed the package with a colourful Halloween bag to boot.

These toys are great for all events and occasions, and are a great travelling ‘kit’ of toys that will stimulate, soothe and occupy even the most fussy little ghoul, goblin or zombie. Kids can squeeze, stretch, bend, turn, spin and squish in this pack of Halloween horror.

The set, for ages 3+, includes:

* Halloween Bag (approx 36cm x 38cm - excluding handles)
* Soft Spider Squish Ball
* Pumpkin SLIME
* Wind up Ghost or Pumpkin
* Pumpkin Touch Bubbles
* Wooden Spin Top
* Bendy Skeleton Keyring
* Sticky Halloween Toy
* Hand Clapper
* Mouth Whistle
* Spiky Ball Keyring
* 2 "Happy Halloween" Balloons

This set is so cool that ALL kids will want one, and at $16.95 for a $22 value it is a fantastic way for your kid to stand out in the crowd during Halloween for the best of reasons.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Going To The Dentist

The one thing all parents of children who fall under the umbrella of ASD quickly learn, is to take away the element of surprise from upcoming events as much as possible.

Regardless of your child’s individual sensory requirements and level of understanding, preparing them for any event that may present challenges is always a good plan, and a visit to the dentist could be quite harrowing for your child without adequate preparation.

The most important first step to making a trip to the dentist run as smoothly as possible is to find a dentist who is child friendly. Ensure they have some experience of working with children who have special needs and know how to make their dental visit a fun and non-threatening event.

Ask other parents in your network of friends and through your child’s school or care facility for recommendations, most will gladly recommend a dentist who has been caring and accommodating of their child’s needs.

When you ring to make an appointment, have a talk with the reception staff about your child’s needs. Ask if it is possible for your child to have a tour of their rooms before his/her consultation, to have a look at and touch the equipment that may be used and become familiar with the process.

Allow your child to take along a comfort item or favourite toy with them for their dental visit, and keep the first visit short and positive, more of a familiarisation than a treatment if possible.

Keep in mind that many children with ASD sensory issues are easily overwhelmed by noises and sensory overload, therefore ear muffs or headphones with soothing music may help to drown any disturbing noises made by drills and suction tools. Several short consultations are often more successful than trying to rush through treating more than one tooth at a time.

Make sure the dentist explains each step of each process before it happens and shows each tool and explains its purpose before using it. It is important that your child does not feel rushed and is given enough time to absorb and become comfortable with each piece of information and process.

No matter how well you try to prepare some children, the entire process of a dental examination and treatment can simply be beyond their scope of coping skills. Sedation may work for younger children, or the option of a general anaesthetic may be offered to your child through some dental hospitals or clinics.

Above all try to encourage your child to maintain their own oral hygiene and health as it is the best course of prevention for dental problems.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Going To The Hairdresser

There are many social situations which can cause stress to a child with an Austism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) - taking them to get a haircut with a hairdresser is one of them.

A hair salon can be extremely distressing and invasive for an ASD child. If they are sensitive to noise or smell then they may be put off by the sounds of hairdryers and clippers not to mention the smell of chemical based hair products. Often the lighting and mirrors can be too much for them to handle as can the touch of the hands and scissors scraping against their neck.

So other than attempting to cut your child’s hair at home, there are some things you can do to make the experience more enjoyable for both of you.

It is definitely worthwhile visiting the salon prior to the appointment without your child. That way you can make special requests in terms of appointment times (opt for a quiet time in the salon) and establish the best place for your child to sit during the appointment. Advise the salon of your needs and mention that you will need a double appointment as it may take longer than usual to cut your child’s hair. Also let them know you would like to avoid any waiting time if at all possible prior to your appointment.

Make use of social stories and role play prior to the appointment and if necessary, take a photo of the salon on your first visit to use in the story to help familiarise your child with what is going to occur at the salon.

Distraction is important when scissors are involved so a portable dvd player, games console, headphones, or their favourite book or toy can help draw their attention away from the haircut. Use whatever works in terms of reassuring your child during the process - hold their hand, have them sit on your lap, hug them – anything that will help them relax.

Do not be upset if you are unable to complete the haircut in one visit. It may be worthwhile revisiting the salon in a few weeks to help continue the desensitising process. Further work may need to be done in terms of role play or social stories.

Choosing the salon that is best for you and your child may be one of the biggest aspects you have to overcome however once you do, your child may soon learn to feel proud of their “new haircut” and look forward to their next special visit.
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