Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Hitting The Highlights – Our Top Posts

We have shared a lot of information with you here over the years, and we hope it has been helpful to you in some way.

Today I want to share with you some of our top posts, the ones we love and the ones you have loved.  It’s a trip down memory lane but it’s also the building of a set of great resource links all on one page.

Recently our article on Insensitive Questions hit a nerve.  We know that our child is different but we don’t need your sympathy, your questions or your well-meaning but ineffective advice. This post helps you learn how to cope with these situations without blowing your top.

5 Ways to Keep Your Kids Positive About Life really appealed to some of our readers.  In a world that can sometimes suck you down, staying positive will help you help your child to see the good things in life.

When a child enters puberty, life as you know it goes right out the door.  If your child is on the autism spectrum, the time of change may be even more difficult.  In this article we tackled the subject head on with some guidelines to help you and your child.

The View from a Wheelchair talks about the problems that children with mobility aids have to face in society, and discusses the etiquette of interacting with someone in a wheelchair. What should be common sense and courtesy seems to be blinded by the aid, but our post was designed to help people overcome their “I don’t know what to do” feelings.

We’ve shared ideas for sensory play and indoor and outdoor games.  We’ve shared our great finds and discoveries, and we’ve shared stories about our wonderful products.

We hope you have enjoyed reading the blog as much as we have enjoyed writing it. 

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Asperger's And The Sensory Funnel

This is a great clip.  A young man with Asperger’s explains why we are approaching Asperger Syndrome (AS) from the wrong end.

Danny, diagnosed with Asperger’s when he was just 12, explains the radically different approach to dealing with the daily issues that people with Asperger’s face.

If you take a "bottom up" approach to dealing with AS issues, starting with the sensory, then working up, the "top stuff" of emotions, social skills, and Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) tend to work themselves out.

His explanation of the way people with Asperger’s live in the world, and the way they experience, is very clear. Understanding that, his approach to managing it makes complete sense.  He starts by tackling the sensory issues, allowing the rest of the funnel to take care of itself.

Watch the video and if it makes sense to you, take a look at Danny’s website, Asperger Experts and browse through the blog posts.  There is a wealth of alternative information there that may be useful to you.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Picky Eaters

Children on the autism spectrum are often picky eaters.

They can be very sensitive to the texture and feel of certain foods, which makes it hard to cook a regular family meal each evening.

Instead of driving yourself crazy trying to get your child to eat the food that everyone else in the family is eating, it’s easier to look for alternatives which are nutritious and won’t upset your child.
You may have to look at meals differently. Not everyone likes to eat a meal at dinner time. Some of us prefer to nibble or graze during the day. Your child may be one of them, and that gives you a great opportunity to experiment with finger foods and nibbles.

It’s also a handy way to introduce new flavours, foods and textures without having a full scale food assault happening.

Here are some clever ways to feed your fussy eater that we’ve spotted around the internet.

1. Chopped fresh fruit and vegies in assorted colours. Serve with a dip so your child can explore touch as well as taste.

2. Macaroni And Cheese Muffins taste great and because they are cooked into a cake shape, your child won’t have to experience the slipperiness of loose macaroni slithering out of his or her fingers.

3. Chicken fingers like this Honey-Mustard Chicken Breast are great because they can easily be picked up and dipped or nibbled on while your child is wandering around or doing something else.  It’s food on the go that won’t make a mess.

4. Get some greens into them even if they hate the colour. Hide them in this clever Cherry Strawberry Smoothie – a sneaky way to get your greens into the fussiest child.

Take the pressure off yourself by looking at meals in a different way. You can still give your child healthy, nutritious food even if it isn’t served off a dinner plate and eaten at the dinner table!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Insensitive Questions

We’ve all experienced them, the snide remark, the well meaning but inappropriate advice, or the blatant insult. 

How strong we feel today affects how well we respond when someone gets it wrong.  We are often chronically sleep deprived.  We live with uncertainty, fear and worry about the future, coupled with even more mother guilt than usual.  Catch us on the wrong day and you might get an earful far worse than you expected, possibly deserved, but perhaps not very effective in educating or stopping it from happening again.  Preventing another parent or family member from feeling the same pain, by making the other person consider their words next time, is the best we can take from a poor situation.
So what are our options?
Start by remembering we all have our own battles, especially if the insensitive person is related to you.  They may not be able to express it, or feel like they don’t have the right, but your child’s diagnosis doesn’t only affect you.  Assume that insensitive remarks come from lack of understanding or education, or even fear, or grief, before you jump to conclusions and down their neck.  By acknowledging that those close to you have legitimate and understandable worry and sadness related to your child can make a huge difference to your response and give them an opportunity to open up.  You have your own struggles and the last thing you may want to hear is how sad they are, but if they love you and your child they will be hurting too.
Take the opportunity to educate and inform if you can, if not at the time but at a later date, when you have both stepped back from the situation and most importantly never discuss the incident in front of your child.  If the comments are from a family member and not isolated, it’s important to try to address each incident individually if possible, instead of waiting until you reach boiling point.  If it was a throw away comment or a rude and probing question from someone you are unlikely to meet again, try not to respond at all.  Are they really worth it and do you think you are going to make a difference?  Choose your battles, in all likelihood you have enough already.  Education is a good goal but so is self preservation.
Perhaps the question itself was ok but the terminology or timing was poor.  Not everyone is as educated in the most appropriate words or descriptions as chances are they are not as immersed in the life of your child as you are.  Sadly, as much as we like to assume the best, sometimes the hurt was intended and once again this is just as likely to be someone you know well.  Try not to give them the satisfaction of upsetting you and draining your energy, because this is probably exactly their goal.
As much as taking out your frustration on some ignorant person is tempting, especially if today was harder than usual, it’s really not worth it; you may feel better momentarily but you don’t need the added stress on a tough day and your loved one doesn’t need to see you lose control either.
"Learn to respect all kind of people.  Because everyone is fighting a battle on their own.  We all have our problems, bad sides and bad days.  But there is so much more behind it.  Behind me, behind you, behind everyone."
- Unknown

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Wind Up Toys For Fun and Sensory Play

What child is not entertained by a wind-up toy?  They are fun to play with.  I remember the feeling of control which the wind-up toys gives you.  It only goes when you allow it to, by giving it a good wind up and setting it free.

These toys are not just for fun.  They are excellent for developing your child’s motor skills and for sensory play.

Learning to turn the little key the right way with the right amount of strength takes practice but the little toy rewards your child’s efforts by moving or shaking.  The motion is a direct consequence of your child’s action.
Most toys make a little whirring sound as they wind down and, if picked up, your child will still feel the motion of the toy.
We stock a range of wind-up toys and each is priced below $5 so you can afford to keep a variety of different toys in your toy kit.
My favourite are the Wind Up Racing Ducks.  Simply wind up the cute ducks and laugh as they race in your bath or pool.  Which duck will win the race this time?
Another clever toy is the Wind Up Non Fall UFO.  The UFOs with alien driver slide across the table or floor.  They are very clever and will not fall as the UFO changes route whenever it reaches the edge or encounters an obstacle.  You never know which way the toy will go so your child learns to track and follow the little toy as it moves.
You might also like to look at the Wind Up Dinosaurs. I  love the way these ones move!  They are available in 4 styles – Stegosaurus, Triceratops, Diplodocus and T-Rex.

Choose a variety of wind-up toys to keep your child's attention and interest.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Build A Gift Box

There can sometimes be a lot of pressure to find 'the perfect gift', but actually, kids love variety and novelty. Sometimes, 'the perfect gift' can be a selection of  little gifts, that all together add up to a lot of fun!

The Toy Bug has a wide selection of inexpensive gifts just waiting to be added to a toy box or basket, all you have to do is enjoy picking out what combination will work best!

Maybe you are looking for items just right for Easter. What about a Hatching Chick Easter Egg? It is water activated, and absolutely amazes children as the little chick hatches from the egg and continues to grow for over a week! They will also adore a Wind Up Jumping Bunny, a clever little windup toy covered in soft white faux fur.

Is your little giftee a lover of creepy crawlies? They would love a pack of Stretchy Lizards and Stretchy Frogs. These creatures are brightly coloured, heaps of fun to twist and wiggle, and spring back to their original size and shape again and again. You should also check out the Jointed Worm, also great for little hands, and made of brightly painted wood. The Very Hungry Caterpillar Magnetic Game, based on the Eric Carle classic, is another favourite. It is also wooden and a colourful challenge for kids. There are a lot of options, so have a look around. 

Budding geographer in your midst? Set them on the right track with their own Wooden Compass. It has a painted wooden exterior with a loop to hook on their belt or bag, and on the inside, their very own compass that really works! They would also learn a lot and have heaps of fun playing with Around the World Snap Cards. These are filled with great facts about countries, flags, capitals and capitals.

There really is something for everyone. Whether they love butterflies or dinosaurs, music or maths, have a look through The Toy Bug site and pick out a selection that is just right!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Trouble Sleeping - 5 Tips to Help Your Child Sleep

It is not unnatural for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders to have trouble sleeping. If your child has been having problems with falling asleep or sleeping calmly lately, you need to know that this can change with some effort on your part. The 5 tips below will acquaint you with practices that, if taken into consideration and practiced regularly, can change your child’s sleeping habits and improve the quality of sleep for both them and you.

Tip 1 – Keep a Sleep Diary

A sleeping diary may help you find a pattern in your child’s problems with sleep. With its help, you can find out if the sleeping problems occur after particular activities and what enforces them. In the sleeping diary, you can keep track of the routine of your child – what they eat and drink at dinner and when dinner is, if they have a snack (when and what), what time they go to bed, when they fall asleep, how much they sleep, when they get up and if they have any naps. You can also note what problem/problems they have every day – if they don’t want to go to bed, if they can’t fall asleep, if they feel afraid or uncomfortable to sleep alone, sleepwalking, bedwetting, waking up in the middle of the night, etc. All this can help you figure out where the problems come from - if the culprit lies in particular drinks, food or activities - and how to avoid them.

Tip 2 – Prepare Your Child

Sleep is a process that can be affected by many factors. If there are any activities or habits that make your child energised or excited, it will obviously be good to avoid them before bed time. This may include drinking energising drinks, eating chocolate or sugar, eating late dinner, watching TV, playing video games and so on. On the other hand, some activities may have the opposite effect. For example, listening to a story before going to bed or quiet talking may be beneficial. Make sure your child has pyjamas that are soft and label-free, and that he or she enjoys the feel of the bed and bedding, too. 

Tip 3 – Introduce Sleeping Rules

When it comes to ASD, routine is the way to make things happen the right way. Routine with specific rules can help with sleeping problems, too. For example, you may need to make it clear that the bedroom is for sleeping only. If your child associates it with playing and activities requiring energy it may be hard for them to relax in the same area. You can also start certain traditions and habits that may help make your child eager to fall asleep – putting the toys to sleep, drawing the curtains - helping put your child’s focus on sleep.

Tip 4 – Take Care of Sleepwalking

Children with ASD often sleepwalk or wander after bed time. In order to maintain their safety and the sleep of other inhabitants of the house, it is worth installing a system that notifies you when the child gets out of bed or tries to get out of the room. Some parents rely on baby monitors to listen in to what happens in the room but others choose a camera based system so they can see the child in his or her bed. Other systems have an alarm that will go off if the child goes out of the door.  When you find out that your child is up and sleepwalking, try to direct them back to bed and sleep without waking them up.

Tip 5 – Try Alternative Medicine

There are many products that help people with sleep disorders, including medicines, therapies, etc. If you are planning to try a medicine, it is advisable that you consult a doctor. The options include Melatonin and Tryptophan. You can also look for foods and drinks that will help your child get to sleep, such as hazelnuts, warm milk or mango. Another option is massage – different techniques may relax your child and make them more prone to falling asleep. In such cases, relaxing music can also be of help.
Remember that these tips may work very well or not work at all depending on the person – every child with ASD is different so you need to find the best way for your child to get over their sleeping problems. However, where there is a will – there is a way, so don’t lose hope. Try out ifferent methods until you find the one that works for you.

Monday, March 31, 2014

World Autism Day 2014

World Autism Day is Wednesday 2nd April 2014. Each year it is recognised with events around the country.

One of the biggest events is Light It Up Blue.

"Light It Up Blue" is a global campaign that sees thousands of iconic landmarks, cities and towns around the world turn blue on April 2 to recognise World Autism Awareness Day. The campaign highlights the pressing need for greater public education and awareness of autism in our community.

Each state is celebrating the day by lighting their most celebrated monuments with blue light.

If you’re in Sydney, head to the Harbour to see what this year’s blue surprise will be.  In other states, your capital city will light up your buildings blue on the night of April 2nd, too. If you are in regional areas, check with your local council or health centre to see what is happening locally.

In Melbourne this year, World Autism Day will also be celebrated on Saturday 6th April at Luna Park where families will be given private access to the funfair between 9 and 11am.

The park promises:
  • Reduced sound
  • Reduced lighting effects
  • Understanding staff
  • Quiet area available
  • Ability to stop rides if needed
  • Closed to the public
We think this is a great idea and would love to see the concept spread around the country.

It is not too late to hold your own Light It Up Blue event but you need to register quickly. Light your home or office up blue, or wear blue clothes to work.

If you’d like to make a donation to show your support please click here to go to the donation site.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Easter Toy Ideas

Easter is approaching and your kids probably think they’re in with a good chance of a week-long diet consisting of chocolate and hot cross buns and not much else.

It’s terribly easy to purchase more chocolate than intended, particularly if you inadvertently get caught up in the idea of Easter Egg hunts and the giving of Easter themed chocolates as gifts.

Rather than the gift of chocolate, and the likelihood of the overeating of chocolate, there are plenty of other ideas for kids that are much healthier, rely on the use of their imagination and creativity or are just fun to play with for months after all the chocolate is consumed.

Packs of crayons, pencils or textas and Easter themed colouring books featuring rabbits, lambs and chicks are great for creative kids.

If they’re more into craft and love doing things with their hands, then do-it-yourself kits to make rabbits and chicks is a great alternative to the all the confectionary available. Whether this involves cutting and pasting, sewing or fine motor work with beads and threads is up to you.

An Easter hat craft kit is a perfect gift for crafty kids. They can even put on a fashion parade for you afterwards.

Stuffed toys, particularly those with highly textured fur or that feature a variety of textures over its surface are great, and can often make a long term beloved toy for your child, providing them with something that helps them to feel calm and safe.

Smaller items, which could readily replace an Easter Egg Hunt are small, egg shaped music shakers, which fit neatly in the palm of a child’s hand, make a great sound when shaken and still work with the Easter theme.

Play things such as the Sylvanian Families characters and play sets are great for fine motor play, imagination and creating stories, and feature many of the creatures we associate with Easter.

Toys make Easter last longer than a long weekend, and provide experiences and memories for years. They’re a healthier alternative to chocolate on many levels, and a good option to include, as it’s always far too easy to overindulge in the chocolate, even if you don’t intend to.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

On Sale!

Who doesn’t love sales? We certainly do!

We have a huge range of goodies on sale now so take a look at them… while they are still in stock!

Carrot Skipping Rope - An ordinary rope, you would say…but no, it is not! Unlike many other ropes, this one has convenient handles, shaped in the form of a carrot and a bunny. Each handle is 7cm x 4cm, designed to be convenient for little hands. This skipping rope is 1.8m long, which is a great size and we can say without doubt that your child will love it!

Little Hands Card Holder - This great and certainly innovative item will make card games fun again! If your little partner struggled to hold their cards in fan shape with one hand, they can be sure that the Little Hands Card Holder will solve this problem. No more card dropping and ruined games!

What I Wish I Knew Before I Became A Mother - Sisters Peace Mitchell and Katy Garner undertook this writing project in order to prepare other women for this wonderful but a bit scary period of their life. The book deals with all the major topics related to pregnancy, birth and the period after it, and can be considered an invaluable preparation for the big event.

Party Hop Potato Sack Game - Some games never grow old! One of them is the Party Hop Potato Sack Game. You must remember it from the times when you were a child – when playing outdoors was something much more preferable than sitting in front of the TV. Now you can change your kids’ thinking with the help of this Party Hop Potato Sack Game, which consists of 6 woollen hopping sacks that will give much joy to your kids and will turn the family picnic in a fun Hop Potato Race.

Deluxe Pound A Peg - This great game is exactly what your toddler needs in order to properly develop their motor and colour recognition skills. The happy smiling pegs in different colours go up and down and the player will have to pound them with the sturdy mallet included in the set. A great tool to keep your toddler engaged in something that will not only give them pleasure, but will also develop their skills!

You will be glad you had a chance to browse the current range of gifts on sale and you will probably find that many of them will bring back memories of your own childhood.  Items like potato sack races, skipping ropes and pound a peg toys never go out of style.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Sensory Play Ideas

We all know the benefits of sensory play for processing and stimulation as well as both fine and gross motor development and skills. However, coming up with fun new ways to keep stimulating your little one’s senses can be overwhelming and tricky.

Sand play is always fabulous, and you can vary this up by using other items, like rice, for example.

As a great bedtime and relaxation play idea, try Lavender Rice which provides stimulation for little fingers, as well as colour and a calming aroma that also aids in relaxation and sleep.

·         Place 2 cups of uncooked rice in a plastic bag or large mixing bowl

·         In a small bowl, mix a few drops of red and blue food colouring to create purple

·         Pour the colouring into the rice

·         Add a few drops of lavender essential oil or lavender flowers

·         Mix ingredients well

·         Spread rice across a shallow baking dish and leave overnight to dry

Play dough is another great tool, and aside from making your own, there are variations of this product that provide different textures and strengths for varied stimulation.

Ice Cream Dough

·         ½ cup of cheap hair conditioner

·         1½ cups of cornflour

·         Mix well

·         Optional: divide up and add a drop or two of food colouring to each portion for a variety of colours

Mud Dough

·         In a mixing bowl or sensory play tray, add 1 cup water and 1 cup of vegetable oil

·         Add dry dirt and mix well. It’s a good idea to add a bit at a time and mix well to determine if you need more

·         If needed, add a little corn flour to remove moisture

Rainbow sensory balloons are another great idea, and fun for the kids (and maybe a bit of stress relief for you!).

·         Grab a rainbow coloured selection of water balloons and an equal number of tubs of play dough

·         Roll the play dough out and feed into the balloon (1 tub for each balloon)

·         Once full, roll or squish the balloon to remove all air bubbles

·         Tie the balloon and draw faces on each, varying the expressions, with a permanent marker

You can also fill small balloons with a variety of items, like sand, instant coffee, flour, rice and marbles to provide a range of stimulation for little hands and fingers.

Kids love this kind of sensory play especially when they see mum or dad getting involved in the fun as well.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Are Our Children's Toys Contributing To A Rise In Disorders Along the Autism Spectrum?

As parents and caregivers of children with ADHD, or disorders along the autism spectrum, we know that our children can be much more sensitive to their surroundings than many of their peers. So, we take steps to help our kids cope with the added stress that too much stimuli from their environment can bring. But, I wonder how many of us have ever stopped for a moment to consider the possibility that it might be the actual common, everyday items in our environment that have contributed to rise in the diagnosis of these disorders

A recent article in The Sydney Morning Herald discusses the results of a review of recent research in The Lancet Neurology. The article states that studies show that many common, everyday items, like our clothing, dinnerware and even our children's toys may be filled with hazardous chemicals that can directly and indirectly cause neurodevelopment disorders such as dyslexia, ADHD and autism spectrum disorders.

Currently, the list of chemicals that are known to cause such conditions has doubled in the past few years from six to 12. Some of these chemicals are already either banned or strictly regulated in Australia, such as DDT and lead. Others such as industrial solvents, or the methyl mercury that are found in fish, are not as tightly regulated. Scientists can't even agree on which chemicals are to blame, as some say that the fluoride that is found in treated water could be one of the culprits.
Perhaps the most frightening fact to come out of the article is the fact that most chemicals haven't been tested at all to see if they might affect the development of children or unborn babies. According to the article, over 80,000 chemicals that are used in industrial settings in the United States have never been tested for their effects on the neurodevelopment of children and unborn babies. Australian authorities are just now working on prioritising the risk of over 38,000 chemicals that may contaminate the environment or leech out of manufactured products and contribute to these disorders.
While scientists continue their research and conduct more studies, it is hard to know what one can do to keep their children safe.  As a parent, it's chilling to realise that if this article is correct, science and industry can't really say if these chemicals and the products that are made with them are truly safe for our children.
Going forward, I will continue to look for ways in our daily life to minimise our contact with chemicals.
After reading the article, what steps do you plan to take to minimise your family's contact with these potentially dangerous substances?

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

5 Ways To Keep Your Kids Positive About Life

Life can sometimes bring you down, and kids are not really different to adults. Their priorities are different, and they don’t have the big stressors that adults have; mortgages, job insecurity and being 110% responsible for children, for example, but the world around them can get to them, too.

Whilst children tend to live in the moment, each of those moments can forge the direction they’re headed in life and whether they’ll take a positive or a negative outlook on life in general, and themselves specifically.

All is not lost and you can help kids to keep positive about life, particularly when things are seeming to drag them down and sadness is settling in.

1. Stay Positive

Model the behaviour you want your children to inherit.

They will notice how you handle situations and this will be their education when faced with the same or similar scenarios.

The way you speak about others, or situations in general, the emotions you give off and your behaviour in general; whether this is sitting, hunched and sad, or being proactive and productive and taking control, for example, will be what they learn and how they approach life.

Use positive language; ‘do’, ‘can’ as often as possible, and speak positively about what’s going on.

2. Find the Positive

Regardless of the situation, there is always a silver lining, a rainbow or a bright side. Sometimes, that silver lining is hidden deep within the dark clouds surrounding the situation, or it is difficult to attribute to a situation.

Look for the a positive, however small, or find a different way of looking at the situation. What is another perspective, how may someone else view the scenario? Or what can be learnt from what’s happening in your, or their, life right now?

3. Encourage

Keeping with the positive language, encouragement rather than condemnation or finding fault will help them stay positive.

Know it is okay to fail, and that many successful people have failed multiple times, gives them a positive outlook in a sad moment. Point out the things they did right, and the opportunities for learning, rather than stating them as failures.

4. Quit the Comparisons

It’s very easy to compare children with their siblings and peers, or even what you were like at that age.

It’s important, however, that children are recognised as individuals, with their own likes, dislikes and, in this case, talents. Most kids will be ‘average’ at most things, but all children will have something they either enjoy doing or are good at doing.

Usually, if they excel in one area, they may be just average in another; if they’re great at maths, for example, they may not be so great at P.E., and that’s okay.

Let them know this, remind them of those things they’re good at and that no one person is great at everything. Encourage and be positive.

5. Laugh

Laughter is not only the best medicine, but it is also great for the mind, body and soul.

Although some moments may be hard to deal with, finding a way to laugh at them will help. We can also get a bit caught up in it being taboo to laugh in some situations; but laughter will help deal with the situation much more easily, break the ice and allow for more open discussion and connection between people.

If nothing else, find every opportunity to laugh throughout your day, for no other reason than because you can.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Salt In The Wound - Misconceptions About ASD

For those of us with children along the autism spectrum, it is often a difficult task to navigate our local educational system and other sectors of society just to ensure that our children receive the support that they need as well as to make the most of the unique gifts and talents that they also possess.

Sometimes, it seems that one of the biggest challenges that we face is that we spend so much time and energy educating everyone about what autism spectrum disorders are and are not.

Whether it's the teachers, caregivers, well-meaning family members and friends, or society as a whole, we each have our own private mission, our own private battle, to educate and to explain. We do this so that our children and their peers can live in a better, more informed, more understanding world that supports each member in a positive, nurturing manner.

Dealing with the misinformation and negative stereotypes surrounding ASD is very frustrating, time consuming and draining, but it is a battle that we each must fight so that our children can receive the support that they need.
As a result, many groups have sprung up to help parents and others who have children and loved ones with a diagnosis of ASD. As expected, most of these groups have been very helpful and supportive to those of us who have loved ones with ASD. Most ASD groups are usually founded and composed of people just like us. It's comforting to have someone to listen to our frustrations, hopes, fears and dreams when that person knows how we feel because they've "been there."
So, one would naturally expect and assume that having "been" there themselves, all of these ASD support groups would automatically portray and represent children and grown-ups with ASD in a fair, balanced and positive light. After all, while having ASD has its unique challenges, it's not like having a terminal illness or a contagious, deadly disease. Children and adults with ASD are like others in the fact that they each have individual talents, individual strengths, individual gifts - they just need some specialised attention and assistance to make full use of them.
So, when those who are ignorant go out of their way to portray those with ASD in a highly negative light, as though having ASD is some great curse akin to having the bubonic plague or leprosy in the Dark Ages, it is very hurtful. What's even worse is when these hurtful remarks come from individuals or groups that should know better. It's akin to rubbing salt in a wound when those words come from "one of our own."
Recently, in an open letter written by Susanne Wright of Autism Speaks, Wright referred to  the "grave illness" of autism, and blamed a host of ills on ASD, saying it causes families to "split up," "go broke," and that families with those "afflicted" aren't really "living." Since this group claims to support ASD individuals and families, wouldn't you expect that she should know?
Of course, other ASD groups have come forward to condemn Wright's words. Some, even go so far as to suggest that those of us who have a moral compass should call for a boycott of the supporters of Autism Speaks. I am not going to tell others how to spend their money, but at the very least, as someone who has "been there," I will add my voice to others who are speaking out for our children and other loved ones with ASD. I encourage you to do the same. Living with someone with ASD has its challenges, certainly, but it also has its blessings. Blessings that are so perfect and pure that I would not trade my children, or my journey.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Disappearing Disability

“Seven years ago we were disabled.  Now we’re not.”

It sounds impossible, doesn’t it?  Yet those words were spoken by a boy with what most people would call multiple disabilities including being born with no eyes and having Aspergers.
We’ve written about Rudely Interrupted before but this band is just so inspiring that they are worth following.  If you have a teenager with some form of disability just show them this clip and see how a perceived disability can disappear.
I’m not saying that life will be any easier, but with bands like Rudely Interrupted opening the possibilities for your children, life must be more fun.

This is only a short clip but it’s quite inspiring.  Please enjoy it and share it with your teenagers and anyone who needs to see it.  You might like to follow them on Facebook, too.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Learning Social Skills With Kimochis

Attending school can be difficult for children with ASD and they can struggle with social and emotional challenges as they try to connect with both their teachers and their peers. One brand in particular seemingly has their finger on the pulse when it comes to helping children identify, understand and manage their feelings, and that brand is Komichis. Kimochis, (pronounced key-mo-chee) meaning feeling in Japanese, create plush educational toys to allow learning in a fun and comfortable way.

The products encourage kids to express themselves as they learn about appropriate feelings-driven behaviour and also how to manage those feelings.

At The Toy Bug we have a range of Kimochis products available from the basic feelings packs which cover a wide array of emotions as well as a variety of soft adorable character toys.  

Huggtopus - Huggtopus is, needless to say, all smiles and hugs. She is very affectionate and strong and sometimes gets a little carried away by her big friendly personality. Huggtopus doesn't know her own strength and can sometimes be a little overbearing. She always means well but has to learn about boundaries!

Bella Rose - Bella Rose is very sweet and conscientious of others. She loves nature and is accepting of all the living wonders that the Kimochis World can bring. Bella Rose’s sensitive side and ability to empathise always has a way of bringing emotional balance to the group.
Kimochis Cat - Cat is full of surprises! She knows what she wants, when she wants it and why. Cat can be very persuasive and when she makes up her mind there is not stopping her. She loves to be in charge but can sometimes be a big bossy!

What is unique to this range of toys is that loved in each Kimochis character is a personality of strengths and challenges for children to relate to, recognise and celebrate.

Watch this video for more details on the delightful Kimochis range of products and if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us.

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