Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas With The Autistic Child

Christmas can be a hectic time for the average family but with an autistic child in the home, it can be even more difficult. As parents you will have to prepare a little differently.

Your home will be filled with colourful lights and decorations: the cooking smells will be different and many visitors are possible at this time of the year. Your child might not easily cope with some or all of these changes to routine.

The best way to prepare is to begin well in advance for that all important day. Put up a big board and write on it what will be happening and when. As a family, check the list each day and work out what comes next. This will help prepare your child for change and at the same time, keep the rest of the family on track at this busy time.

Put Christmas baubles in jars around the home so that the child can see them at every turn and get used to them. Do the same with the lights too so that they get used to the colours. A little at a time is a good rule to go by.

On Christmas Day at meal time, have your child’s usual favourites on standby in case they refuse the new dishes. It is enough for them to get through the new routine without having to try different foods as well. Also, stagger the gift opening so that they are not overwhelmed with too many toys, etc. If they stop playing with one then move it out of sight until they finish with the next one.

The general idea is not to overwhelm the child if possible. Get some more tips from Stuart Duncan so that you can be fully prepared for a great holiday and minimise the chances of your child becoming upset.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Autism Affected Children Being Bullied

Children who are on the autism spectrum are sometimes the subject of bullying by their peers. Often, children with this syndrome display exceptional levels of intelligence and it is this that other kids seem to find terribly disturbing. Of course, when kids see something out of the norm they will pick on it without exception. However, the victim will have no way out and usually doesn’t understand why it is happening.

Schools are also left with a worrying problem because parents of autistic children will complain, and rightly so. Most schools have introduced support systems for children on the autism spectrum and this has helped to minimise the amount and impact of classroom bullying. It hasn’t wiped it out completely, but that probably amounts to changing human nature.

The question is what impact does this bullying have on a child on the autism spectrum?

For parents of these kids who are being victimised, a US site called ianproject.org has set up an online survey where parents across the world can write down what has been happening. Also on this site, parents can interact with other parents and share tips and advice on their next best move.

The survey is open for parents with children between six and fifteen and is meant to give a clearer picture of what is going on in schools today. It is only open for a couple of months so those who want to participate should do so at the earliest opportunity.

"That will provide some hard evidence for parents who are going into a principal's office and trying to say this is not just this little thing that happened here with my kid. This is something that is a pattern that is happening everywhere. These children are especially vulnerable."

Every voice counts so if you have something to say, go and say it.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Mini Time Tracker – Staying On Track

You know those times you’ve said to the kids “I’ll be there in five minutes!”? Or done the “You have half an hour to finish that off,” then completely lost track of time?

Or you promise them if they spend twenty minutes doing their homework, they can then have 20 minutes on the DS, and they ask every 2 minutes “Have I done 20 minutes yet?”

It drives you crazy and, really, there are things that need to be done that prevent you from sitting in front of the clock, watching it count down and calling out “Ten minutes to go! Five minutes left!”, et cetera.

Kitchen timers are brilliant for this exercise, except they don’t give countdowns or warn when the timer is about to go off, startling everyone and causing a sudden end to the activity. The kids might appreciate it for an end to homework, but not when they’re doing something they enjoy. They do like a warning.

The Mini Time Tracker makes up for these deficiencies, as it not only counts down (up to two hours) but also has the capacity to set “warning” countdowns as well, which can be set to give as much warning as you like - five minutes, ten…

Aside from the standard kitchen time alarm going off when time is up, the Mini Time Tracker has a visual component, which can be viewed from anywhere in the room. The top of the tracker changes from green to yellow (warning time countdown), to red when the time is up.

The alarm volume is adjustable to cater for room size, number of children and the noise level of their activity. You might even like to switch it off and have the visual, green-yellow-red countdown only.

Your time is then freed up to worry about the things you need to and spare you the unnessary task of clock watching.
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