Thursday, October 24, 2013

It’s A-maze-ing

A maze is a clever way to help little ones develop fine motor skills while they play.

Let me show you some of our favourites.

Suitable for children aged 3 and over, the Jungle Animal Maze is made of wood.  It has animal heads which slide along cut out paths and children are asked to move each head through the maze until it reaches the right body.

Of course, it’s even more fun to create your own animals by putting the wrong head on each body!

At 29cm x 21cm x 2.5cm, this is a great size for small fingers.

The Magnetic Farm Animals maze is fun, too. The task is to fill the bellies of these hungry farm animals while matching colours, by using the attached magnetic wands.  Slide the wand over the acrylic cover to select one of the colourful balls and guide it into the matching animal's belly!

The Farm Maze puzzle is a new twist on the old favourite farm wooden puzzle.  Just glide the chunky pieces on the slotted tracks around the colourful, detailed wooden play board to find their proper places.  Can your child place all the animals in their right homes?

We have some wonderful maze puzzles to choose from so make sure you stop by for a browse. Remember Christmas isn't that far away and these would make great gifts for the kids. 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

What Is Happening For Our Autistic Teens?

The results from recent surveys in Australia show that the number of people with autism spectrum disorder has been constantly growing for the last 15 years. Nowadays 1 in 100 people under 18 is diagnosed with autism, which means that 230,000 people in Australia have the disorder. However, although the statistics are disturbing, recent research carried out by Aspect shows that not much is done for the personal development and realisation of people with autism.

The results of the research raise a number of questions about what will happen with the following generations of autistic Australians. One of the main problem for autistic teens is related to education – 70 out of the 100 surveyed adolescents with autism report that they are not receiving a proper education answering their needs. The main problem seems to be that tutors and teachers are not aware of the needs of autistic students, which results in the inability of the students to concentrate in class, to pay attention to the teachers and to understand them, to prepare for lessons and exams, to do their homework and to cope with the assignments in class.

Another aspect of the life of autistic teens in Australia appears to be loneliness and depression. The research shows that 69% of the teens feel lonely and almost the same per cent need more support when dealing with depression and stress. Their parents are of the same opinion; about half of the surveyed parents of teens with autism pointed out that their children need more support to deal with their mental conditions. A lot of attention should be paid to bullying and discrimination, too. According to the experts, children with autism are more likely to be bullied than those without the condition. It is really important to pay attention to the need for more ASD-friendly groups for sports and hobbies.

If we do not make more effort and take immediate measures for the well-being of autistic children and teens, their future is clear. Previous research by Aspect shows that only 54% from all fit-to-work autistic adults in Australia are in paid employment. On the other hand, the surveys show that teens with autism look for a job or study and want to become well-trained professionals. For now, given the current study and career support for ASD individuals, many of them are unlikely to succeed in continuing their education or starting work.

In short, while the number of people with Autistic Spectrum Disorder in Australia grows, not much is done to facilitate their lives and give them equal educational and career opportunities. If that doesn’t change, however, people with autism (currently about 230,000 in Australia) will be unable to find a suitable education course or even to graduate from high school, which lowers their chances to start a paid job and thus making it hard for them to lead a normal life.

We need to make ourselves heard on this issue for all our sakes.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

The Toy Bug - What’s New!

"When looking recently for a gift to give a child with Aspergers Syndrome I came across an online toy store that specialises in a range of sensory toys and games for children,

I was impressed with the large variety of choice. There is everything from arts and crafts, musical toys, active play, games and puzzles and everything in between. And if you simply can't decide then you can always give a gift voucher.

The first place I checked out was the ‘What’s New’ section of the site to see what was up and coming in the world of sensory play for kids. What fun it was to discover some really cool stuff and it was hard to decide, I wanted to order it all!

I was especially taken with ‘The Panicosaurus’, a fun, easy-to-read storybook that inspires and gently teaches children who experience anxiety on how to deal with their insecurities in a safe and easy to understand way.

Another item I thought was a great idea is the Train Floating Ball GameBlow through the wooden pipe and see how long you can float the ball or how high you can float the ball in the air - fun for all ages! Cheap enough to get for each of the kids.

You just can’t beat a Hacky Sack! I have wonderful memories of kicking them around on warm summer days at the beach over the school holidays. Hacky sacks are both fun and versatile - all you need is a little space and some clever feet. Such a fun and simple little ball, and so cheap. Get a bunch of them for the whole family to join in.

I was pleasantly surprised to find the Rotary LED Ribbon Lamp, because my child's lava lamp night light recently gave up the ghost. This cool lamp with colourful ribbons and glitter that swirls around is the perfect replacement.

No matter what your budget or occasion you are certain to find something for everyone at The Toy Bug."

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Sensory Activities For The Holidays

Right from the beginning of life, in utero to birth and beyond, we develop and learn through sensory experiences.  Sound, touch, taste and smell are all important senses that help us evaluate the world around us, and our place within it.

Some of us struggle with this more than others, and engaging in specific sensory activities, such as music or art, can help connect us to what others perceive as normality.

Do you have a child with sensory issues, motor skills delay, or other learning differences?  Give your child the gift of connecting to others with specialised sensory activities, such as those found at The Toy Bug.

Many children are either over-stimulated or under-stimulated by one of their senses.  When these senses are not integrated properly, the world can be a scary place, especially during the holiday season such as Christmas.  With so many lights, sounds and people about, this time of year can be an anxious one for many.

Plan your holiday season early to avoid idle time with idle minds.

Have fun with a variety of sensory activities to keep the kids busy and engaged.  Great ideas can be simple ones such as these listed below.
  • Baking is great for developing taste and smell.
  • Arts and crafts are great for touch, sight and spatial development.
  • Music whether making it, listening to it or dancing to it; is perfect for sound, movement and spatial growth.
  • Head outside for active fun with balls, kites and play equipment which can help movement and balance.
"Although taking extra precautions with your 'sensational' child may lessen the number of meltdowns during the holidays, they may not be totally eliminated.  Watch for cues and remove your child from overwhelming situations whenever possible", suggests Roianne Ahn, PH.D., Psychologist in Greenwood Village, Colorado.

Above all, however, the holiday season should involve fun and lots of it.
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