Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Rainy Day Activities

If you are in the northern part of the country, your kids are probably feeling the effects of being stuck inside.

We spotted a great article over at The Savvy Source that had some really great ideas for keeping children amused.

One of the activities is making slime. Who doesn’t love the feeling of that slippery goo sliding between their fingers? It’s a wonderfully textural way of appealing to the sense of touch. If your child has sensory issues, he or she is likely to decide to touch the slime at some stage because their curiosity will get the better of them.

You might also like to try making a masking tape race track. We spotted this beauty on a Facebook post. Whoever would have thought that masking tape could solve so many problems? Of course, you need to be careful of the surfaces of your furniture or floors but masking tape comes off very easily. This sort of track has hills and valleys and crevices – perfect for little vehicles to navigate.

In some states, school has not yet begun so why not spend your rainy days helping your child prepare? The Shoe Lacing Puzzle will teach your child how to tie shoelaces all ready for the big day.

I hope these ideas help to keep your child amused during these wet and dull days.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Computer Applications for Special Needs

The latest tool to help people with special needs is the app. There are many apps out there with new ones seemingly entering the market each day.

Not all apps are created equal however and some are not even worth the time they take to download. However, for those who like anything hi-tech and are interested in the apps suitable for those with special needs, here are a few of our favourites.

1. Anyone who has communication problems or development delays will benefit from the First Then Visual Schedule from itunes.apple.com. At just $10.49, it prompts the child to follow their usual schedule with visual tools to help lower anxiety during transition periods. It is available for the iPad and iPhone.

2. Similarly, iPrompts also uses prompts via the use of visual images. It has a countdown facility so that the child knows how much time is left before the next task is to be done. This is a little more expensive at $49.99 so be sure to assess it before you purchase.

3. iReward at just $4.99 is a clever app which shows the child how many times they have to do something to receive a reward. This is great for reinforcing behaviour in individuals who are difficult to teach.

There are many apps on the market which help teachers, professionals and parents to track the behaviour of children with special needs. These are great for those who forget to keep journals, or for those who just don’t have the time. The general idea then is that anything that happened in between doctor’s visits or specialist’s visits will be tracked and analysed correctly.

Take advantage of these tools because for the most part they are inexpensive and children take to them naturally.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Educational Puzzles

Puzzles are a great way to educate children just with the general matching, sorting or problem solving involved to complete a puzzle. Add to the mix the variety of puzzles available on the market today and you can essentially pick a puzzle to suit your child’s learning needs.

Whether your child is at the early stages of learning or looking for more complicated challenges there seems to be something for everyone. From colour matching to number learning, alphabet pairing to opposite fun – no educational stone is left unturned.

Our favourites include the Australia puzzle, left and right puzzle, shoe lacing puzzle and the wooden fractions puzzle. Subjects like geography and math are given new life and simple obstacles for children such as tying shoes and learning the difference between left and right can be made easier to understand.

When doing puzzles with children, parents have a natural tendency to want to help their children complete the puzzle. Try and resist this temptation and let them solve it by themselves if they can. If they ask for help then by all means give them a hint. You can certainly teach them relevant puzzle skills such as grouping colours or shapes that may go together for ease.

Start with simple puzzles and graduate to more difficult ones, once you feel your child is able to progress. This will allow your child to get the most fun out of a puzzle – after all – who says education has to be boring!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Autism in Poetry

Parents cope with their child’s issues in different ways. One of the most expressive of them is the writing of poetry.

I read this poem and it resonated with me so I want to share it with you. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

My Child

When people laugh,
they don't see the hurt;
But I do.

When people speak
such unkind words,
they don't see the pain;
But I do.

When people turn away
Because they don't understand,
I do.

So many tears,
so many broken hearts,
they don't feel;
But I do.

A simple smile,
just one kind word
could ease the hurt.
Oh, don't they see;
I do.

Please understand
My fervent plea;
Think before you speak.
It could be YOUR CHILD…

Written by Fran Sanzone

There are some wonderful and unique autism poems at Child-Autism-Parent-Café. I encourage you to go and read them.
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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.

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Cheers Jo xo