Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Transitions – Back To School

Well summer holidays have officially ended and school has returned to its normal schedule.  For some parents it is a relief, for parents of kids with autism it can be a time for concern as their children may experience social problems and transition issues.

The daily routine which would have changed since school ended last year will need to alter once again as kids head back to the classroom.  For many kids, it will be their first time attending school which will bring about a whole new world of issues to navigate around.

Have a look at some of our back to school products which may help your child adjust to their new surroundings.

One item which may be particularly helpful is the book entitled Arnie and His School Tools:  Simple Sensory Solutions To Build Success.  This book written by Jennifer Veenendall, a school-based occupational therapist, is useful to introduce elementary students to basic sensory tools used to help kids in classroom settings such as fidgets, chewy pencil toppers and weighted vests.

Lacing shoes can be particularly problematic for little ones and this dual action board has a set of 3 different types of footwear including a hiking boot, football shoe and sneaker to help them with their shoe tying practice.  Each shoe can be taken out and used individually.
The My Busy Week Magnetic Chart is designed for school age children to give them a visual view of what is happening in their school week from day to day taking out some of the surprise element.  It is also a great way to acknowledge achievements and positive behaviour throughout the day. 

As parents, we know there are going to be issues we have to face this school year and the best thing we can do is to stay as organised and as prepared as we can to deal with each and every concern as they arise.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Can You Outgrow Or Recover From Autism?

Recently there has been a lot of discussion and debate around the notion that some children with autism may grow out of their symptoms and fully recover.  An article in The Wall Street Journal titled “Who Can Outgrow or Recover From Autism” discusses this topic in detail.  The article talks about a recent study that had identified 34 people who had been diagnosed with autism by the age of 5 but years later were indistinguishable from peers on language, socialisation and communication skills. 

This study was led by a team from the University of Connecticut and was undertaken as a result of comments and observations by clinicians and parents who had described how the symptoms of their patients and loved ones seemed to disappear completely.  As no study had been undertaken to examine this issue, it was decided they formally investigate and assess how children with autism fare over time and whether they could achieve an “optimal outcome”. 
Based on previous studies it estimated that 10% to 20% of children who were diagnosed with autism may achieve an optimal outcome.

For more information follow the link above to the article in The Wall Street Journal or follow this link to the actual report that was in The Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and titled “Optimal outcomes in individuals with a history of autism”.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

The Panicosaurus

With the new school year about to commence, it is normal for any child to have some anxiety or uncertainty about going to school.  A book worth reading that can help with this situation is called The Panicosaurus:  Managing Anxiety in Children Including Those with Asperger Syndrome.

This book is ideal for parents, teachers or carers with children aged at least 6 years old who may be suffering from anxiety including Asperger Syndrome. 

The Panicosaurus is that feeling of anxiety or panic your child may feel when faced by certain situations they are not used to.  The book focusses on one character, Mabel, who is sometimes tricked by the Panicosaurus into panicking about certain challenges such as walking past a dog or when her favourite teacher is away.  With the help of the Smartosaurus, Mabel realises that there really is nothing to be afraid of.  Together they manage to defeat the challenges from the Panicosaurus.

The examples used are very practical and your child will have no problems reading and understanding the book as it is fully illustrated, fun to read and importantly will inspire your children to face the challenges and defeat them.

The book also has practical sections for the parents, teachers or carers as the introduction provides an explanation of the anxiety in children and the end of the book lists the techniques for lessening the anxiety.

The Panicosaurus is definitely a worthwhile book to have on your bookshelf.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Extreme Love – Autism

Earlier this week I highlighted on The Toy Bug Facebook page the program recently shown on ABC 2 that was made by Louis Theroux called Extreme Love – Autism.  The program is about some of the challenging circumstances that are faced by parents with children with an autism spectrum disorder as they grow older.

In particular they focus on a mother who has a 13 year old son who can have explosive tantrums, a 19 year old who is about to leave school as well as a 20 year old who is severely autistic, sets the house on fire and attacks his mother.

In addition, the program also visits an innovative school in the USA to find out how specialised intervention can help.

The program is powerful viewing whether you have an autistic child or not.  I encourage everyone to watch and learn.

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