Tuesday, March 26, 2013

World Autism Awareness Day 2nd April

This year’s World Autism Awareness Day falls immediately after Easter.  For the last six years, on April 2 the world has celebrated World Autism Awareness Day by lighting up blue.

Autism Awareness says “April 2 is the United Nations sanctioned World Autism Awareness Day, which sees countries all over the world light up their iconic buildings blue. From The Empire State building, to the Pyramids, famous buildings and landmarks across the globe will all take part in the ‘Light it up blue’ campaign to shine a light on autism.”

I love the World Autism Awareness Day Facebook page which is filled with photos of children wearing blue in support of the day, and of the world’s major buildings showered in beautiful blue light.

This year the Sydney Opera House won’t be showing much colour, thanks to the decision of the Premier of NSW who has decided to only support second-rate lighting.  Our Opera House won’t glow like the Empire State Building or buildings around the world.  It will be a limp blue grey colour.

If you would like to support the cause by contributing towards the funding of decent lighting, you can do so at Everyday Hero and show that you care.

Join the World Autism Awareness Day page on Facebook or visit Light It Up Blue to show your support.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Sensory Play Ideas

There are some brilliant ideas for sensory play and recently I have come across these which are practical and developed by families to meet the needs of their sensory challenged child.  They are simple but really effective.

Developed by Familylicious, this Slime Basket looks like fun.  You can almost feel the soft, cool slime snaking through your fingers, can’t you?  It might be a little messy so make sure you set up in an area that is easy to clean or cover the floor with paper.

The Sensory Spectrum shared this clever idea for making music.  Set up a sturdy frame and hang different containers and objects.  Plastic bottles filled to different levels with rice or water make great sounds.  Empty tins, sticks of wood – anything you can find.  Then simply let your child tap or shake them, or just move them as they walk past.  The different sounds could be captivating.

GummyLump has a great idea for sensory Easter play.  Cut large Easter egg shapes out of sturdy cardboard and decorate with items that each have a different feel.  Twirled pipe cleaners, cotton wool, tinsel – whatever you can find – can be glued to the egg so that the surface feels different when you touch it.

Mom to 2 Little Divas has an idea that I would love to play with.  Fizz, Bubble & Pop! Experimenting with Vinegar + Baking Soda is a combination of science experiment and pure fizzing fun.  You know what happens when you mix baking soda and vinegar but your kids won’t.  Add a dash of food colouring and you will have colourful fizz happening right in front of their eyes.

Most of these activities take imagination rather than expense to prepare and they will be just as much sensory fun for you as they are your children.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

A Non-Chocolate Easter

Not everyone can safely eat chocolate and during Easter, that can put a strain on celebrations.  The last thing you want is some sugar-driven, chocolate inspired meltdown.

Not everyone understands the impact that chocolate can have so be prepared for family and friends to arrive bearing chocolate drama in the shape of an egg or a bunny.

We like to give non-chocolate gifts at Easter and we’ve found a selection that are Easter inspired yet won’t break the bank. 

Easter Egg Putty - It looks like an Easter egg but it’s not.  It’s soft and squishy and can be formed into different shapes.  So much sensory fun in one little egg!
Jumping Egg Putty - Squishy, slimy and bouncy!  This bright yellow putty stretches and tears and moulds and shapes.
Decor Egg Lamp - I love these.  They are great decor Egg Lamps with fantastic mood lighting through 7 different colours.
Egg Chalk - This is a pack of 6 egg shaped chalks in an egg carton.  Each chalk is designed to fit snuggly inside a little hand.
Easter Carrot Containers (set of 3) - What a clever idea.  If your child MUST have chocolate, add a tiny portion inside one of these containers and he or she will get the chocolate they want and a toy to play with too.  They will hold little gifts as well.
These are all Easter inspired gifts that your child will love and which will take the emphasis away from all that chocolate.  Best of all, these gifts are all priced at less than $7 each.
Make your Easter a little happier by swapping chocolate for a long-lasting toy.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Does Diet Cause Autism?

If you are the parent of a child with autism, chances are great that you are constantly seeking ways to help your child with the unique challenges that they face as they grow. In your quest to understand more about autism, you may look for ways that can help them to adjust and cope with their environment. One of the factors that you may have considered is the role of diet in its development and treatment.

In the past, there has been considerable debate among parents, teachers, physicians, psychologists and others as to whether or not diet plays any role in the development or progression of autism. It seems there are plenty of studies that support both sides of this discussion. So, what are parents who wish to provide the best care and support to their children with autism supposed to do?

While the research still remains unclear, most of us who are familiar with autism know that our kids are more sensitive to many things in their environment. Whether it’s noises, textures, movement - you name it - many things seem to affect our children more than others without autism. While it is unclear if certain foods in our diets may cause or worsen autism that does not mean that we should not take the time to be aware of the effects certain foods may have on our children.

Many parents of children who do not have autism are familiar with the excess energy and erratic behavior that sometimes occur in children when they have eaten too much sugar. If this occurs in non-autistic children, it is simply common sense to consider that our autistic kids may be more sensitive to the effects of sugar and other common ingredients found in foods, such as caffeine, chocolate, food dyes, preservatives and more.

You may wish to keep a food diary to document any reactions your child has to specific foods. Keeping a food diary may help you to discover if specific foods seem to increase certain behaviours or reactions in your child. Over time, if you keep noticing your child has the same effects to a particular food, you may wish to limit their exposure to this item.

While sugar, caffeine and chocolate are known for being likely culprits, other children may have gluten sensitivities  or even low level allergies to other food items such as nuts or milk.  While identifying a specific food sensitivity probably won't "cure" your child's autism, anything that you can do to help reduce your child's stress and sensitivity levels from factors in their environment certainly won't hurt.
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.

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Cheers Jo xo