Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Celebrating World Autism Month

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) affects every family in some way.  Most people are aware of someone who has an ASD and therefore they are aware of the strain these disorders can place on parents, carers and families in general.

The month of April is internationally recognised as Autism Awareness Month and each year the awareness grows thanks to many varied organisations and supporters.

One of the very worthy supporters is Australia’s Camp Autism Inc.  Camp Autism Inc is run by a group of volunteer parents who have children with an ASD.  These parents have recognised how valuable it can be for families to enjoy quality time as a “normal” family without facing the stigmas that society places on ASD children and their families.

Through their amazing efforts many ASD families have been able to attend Camp Autism Inc and not only enjoy a family holiday, but also meet other ASD families and make new friends along the way.  The chance for the family to enjoy family time without any fear of judgment is one that provides lasting and treasured memories for these families.

Without the support of businesses and volunteers, these dreams would not be able to be realised.

Here at The Toy Bug we are giving our full support to this fantastic cause and throughout the month of April, we will be donating 10% of all sales towards Camp Autism Inc to support their pursuit of creating a special needs holiday venue for Australian families.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Top Toys Under $10

It doesn’t have to cost a fortune to put together a collection of sensory toys to keep your child interested and engaged.  We have a huge selection of toys each priced at less than $10.

LED Finger Lights - The set consists of 4 little LED laser pods (red, green, white and blue) with each giving out a different coloured LED beam of light comes with an elasticated ring to fit around finger. Play with them in a darkened room and follow the lights across the walls and ceiling as your child waves his hands around.

Connecta Puzzle – I love these and most people just can’t help but play with them.  It is a 30 piece set of wooden connectagons which is a wonderful toy to promote hand eye coordination, cognitive thinking and imagination. They are brightly coloured pieces which connect simply by slipping one piece into the slot on the next.

Pop-a-Turtle – How cute are these?  These shy turtle friends are so happy to see you they pop their smiling faces out to say hello with every squeeze of their rubber bodies!  Let go and their smiling faces pop back into their shell.  These are a great fidget toy and resource for gripping skills, motor development and cause and effect.

Woodpecker - Slide the woodpecker up to the top of the pole, and watch it peck his way back down.  This is quite an old-fashioned toy and it still fascinates today though we live in an electronic world.

There are many more toys to choose from and no matter how much fun they are, you know they will have a serious purpose behind them.  Of course, your child doesn't need to know that.  Let the child play in peace.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Pretending To Be Normal

I think we all do this to some extent but for people on the autism spectrum the challenge can be huge.

While none of us can define what ‘normal’ is, we can easily say what it is not.  The easiest way to stop people noticing that you are not ‘normal’ is to avoid eye contact.  Keep looking at the ground and let no-one in…
Pretending to Be Normal (Eye Contact)
If you try to look into my eyes
you might succeed, if only for a moment
until I feel your gaze incise
and my skin wires buzz with too much current.
Long ago, I began to invent
a way to wear a kind of compromise –
“normal”, like a suit of skin. But you circumvent
this, if you try to look into my eyes.

It’s not your fault. This is my own disguise,
trying to hide my alien skin, to prevent
my green strangeness from showing through. If one’s wise,
one might succeed, if for more than a moment,


This poem was written by Nicole Nicholson of Raven Wings Poetry and it reflects her experiences with Asperger’s Syndrome.

I know you will be reacting to those words already so I encourage you to go over to Nicole’s site and read the rest of the poem and share it with people who need to understand why so many people on the autism spectrum prefer not to make eye contact.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Explaining Death To A Child Is Never Easy

Explaining death to a child is never easy, but this task can be even more difficult if the child is also autistic. Most autistic children are capable of sensing the void in their life from the death of a loved one. What you say to your child when explaining a death will depend on many factors, including their developmental level and how close they were to the deceased. In general, there are a few tips that you can keep in mind that may make this task a bit easier on both you and your child, whether or not they are autistic.

Look For Ways To Explain Death Before It Happens

Sometimes it is not always possible to try to prepare a child for the death of a loved one, particularly if the loved one passes suddenly or when they are young, but death is a topic that should be discussed rather than avoided. If a loved one is facing an illness that is likely to result in death, you may wish to be on the lookout for opportunities to discuss death with your child. If you happen to be driving by a graveyard or perhaps a pet that belongs to your child’s friend dies, these are good opportunities to bring up the subject of death and explain that it is a natural part of life. Explain that it is natural to feel many different emotions when someone close to us dies, but that death is something that is a natural part of living.

Reassure Your Child That It’s Not Their Fault

Your child may understandably feel confused and perhaps distressed at the loss or void in their life from the person’s absence. When explaining death to your child, reassure them that the death is not their fault, that nothing that they said or did made the person go away and that it is not a means of punishing the deceased. Explain to the child that the loved one is also no longer in any pain and still loves them, even though they will no longer be able to see them.

Try To Maintain Normal Routines

It is important to try to keep the child’s schedule as normal and regular as possible, but also important for the child to attend the viewing and funeral of the deceased loved one. It helps everyone to give and receive comfort and to be allowed to show their grief.
Understand The Signs Of Grief And Offer Comfort
We all express our grief differently. Some children may temporarily regress, or perhaps act out more and display outbursts of temper and frustration. Others may express their feelings in nonverbal ways such as losing sleep or appetite. It is important for adults to express to children that all of these behaviors are normal and that they are still loved and that it is okay for the child to seek comfort from them.
Death is hard enough for adults to understand and accept.  Don’t expect too much of your child.
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