Posted in Autism Support, Healthy Eating, SPD Tips

Tip for sensory eating problem

I realized that Abby will eat much much more if she didn’t have to actually touch her food. Plastic forks etc is a big no no as well. Metal is also not a great option for her. So if I feed her with my hand she will eat. Some things I obviously can’t feed her with my hand so I have started doing some searching. i found these amazing little things. “Fruit sticks” They are made from bamboo, so they are not only cheap, re-usable and ‘not plastic or metal’, but also not damaging the planet.

If she wants a full apple, I can actually poke one in each side and she can eat them, holding the little handles.

She prefers fruit to anything else, so it helps a lot if I give her some cut up fruit and she can eat it with her little ‘stick’.

No messy hands – she usually goes into sensory overdrive when she touches fruit. She would cry, pull faces, panic sets in as she tries to get her hands clean. Her OCD kicks in to a point where she just can’t function.

So, yeah for small miracles.

 

They even work great for fruit bars

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Posted in Random nothings, SPD Tips

For a moment there, we were a normal family

We have discovered that Abby is a little beach bum! Yeah! So on Friday evening we had to drop something down at the beach front and the girls begged us to let them go to the beach. So we went down to the beach and they loved playing in the sand. We then went to McD’s for ice cream. Everything seemed so ‘normal’. And I sometimes wonder if parents realize that there are parents that would anything for this kind of normal. Abby did so well and we were so proud of her. She was out and about around people, no tantrums. NOTHING.

It obviously only lasted until we hit home – this is a normal situation for a lot of autism parents. As soon as they get back into their safe space they ‘let go’ and well, all hell breaks loose. She had a meltdown but we got her to bed quickly and I just held her until she fell asleep.

Tonight we went to the Boardwalk and she again did so well. My heart just wants to burst with pride. We came home and there were no meltdowns tonight. She just asked to go to bed as soon as we got home.

It is the small victories. 🙂

 

Posted in Random nothings, Sensory play, SPD Tips

Pod Swing Review

So everybody on our SPD support group are raving about these pod swings. You don’t see a sensory room without one. So when I saw some on a sale, I got 2. I know the “science” behind it, but still was a bit skeptical. How can a bag hanging from the ceiling help? Well, it does!! We just had the garden services in and that usually cause huge amounts of chaos in this house. As soon as the first lawnmower starts Abby starts running, hides in her room and won’t come out from under her blanket. Today she got into her swing and stayed there for more than half of the cut. She did then get scared and came to sit with me on the couch. But that is a HUGE improvement. She found a safe place!! Thank GOODNESS!

Her sister on the other hand, needs a lot of input as well, so she is using it as a crazy swing. The amount of times I had to tell her to calm down on the thing in the past day, is crazy. She kicks and swings and goes wild. Which is also great, she is getting the input she needs. Both our girls as SPD, but totally different problem areas. Living with 2 girls under the age of 5 both with SPD and one with Autism is sometimes (okay always) chaos. So every single thing that we can do to bring some calm, we are doing. So is the pod swing worth it??

EVERY SINGLE CENT!!!

We are busy converting our whole home into a sensory room / area. So I will be posting more about that soon. Winter is coming in SA and every SPD fear the cold. Not only is it difficult to keep jackets and shoes on them, but also difficult keeping them busy. This mom is on a mission to make this Winter work.

 

Just some specs:

The pod swing can take up to 80kg.

It is attached to the roof. I will create a post to show how to install it soon.

It is sturdy and safe

It has an inflatable seat for comfort.

Posted in Activities for little ones, Random nothings, Sensory play, SPD Tips

How to survive Easter with your SPD / Autistic toddler

Easter is a time of chocolates and egg hunts and fun! Right? Now take away the chocolates… And the egg hunt. What do you have left? You can’t ignore it, you have another child that wants those things. They see it on Youtube. It is not fair to not celebrate Easter as we are Christian and it is an important season for us. So what do yo do? Well, you become creative!

Here is some tips on having a chocolate and noise free Easter:

  1. Use other things as gifts. We got some amazing dinosaur egg bath bombs from Life with Jacqueline   these actually have little dinosaurs in the middle! Win for everybody!
  2. I got them each a bunny from Rosemary at Food, Art and Craft market    as well as from Robyn at Ripleycatco
     
  3. I made them bunny ears – these can be purchased from me at Geek World 
  4. I also made them Easter T-shirts, these can also be bought from me at Geek World 
  5. In place of chocolate eggs, we bought empty egg containers form Mambos and filled them with jelly beans etc. We also made them some geeky Easter egg boxes with sweets in them. Also available at Geek World 
  6. Bubbles! Bubbles always win!
  7. We got them “Grow a Bunny” eggs from Ackermans. They go in the water and then a bunny opens up
  8. Color code your eggs. You do not want the kiddies to have a melt down. You know that it is going to happen in anyway, so try to avoid it for as long as possible. Each child has their own color to collect. That makes sure that they both have the same amount. We have a large garden so we do it at home. If you don’t find a park near by that is not as busy as the main parks.

Good luck, may the force be with you!

Posted in Random nothings, SPD Tips

Baby wearing and SPD / Autism

I joked the other day and said that I might carry Abby in her baby carrier, into her wedding one day. And it really feel like after 2 years we still have not come to the end of our run with baby wearing. And yes, I’ve had the ‘is she not too old to be carried’ questions, and the answer is ‘no’. She will tell us when she is too old to be carried. If she needs her carrier (and she needs it often still), we provide in her needs.

I did not carry Sky as baby, and I am actually sorry I didn’t. But Sky was such a easy baby, we would pop her into the pram and there we’d go. Abby, obviously not the same story. Being separated from me would cause her huge melt downs, so as baby we carried her all the time. She grew up attached to me, because that is what she needed. Now 2 years and 4 months later, we still carry her in her ‘Zozi’.

Zozi is our word for a Zozinette, which is the make of carrier we use. And if you know anything about children with autism or SPD, you will know that if one thing works for them, you stick to it because the next might not. We tried a few different carriers and they just never had the right ‘fit’, until we met Bianca, the owner of Zozinette. To my surprise it was a local company, but their products are world class! We went to Bianca’s house and she helped me to get the right one for us. And the rest is, history. We first had a stretch wrap for when she was small. It was soft and she loved sucking on the material. Then she got a little heavy for the stretch and we moved to a full buckle carrier – and we still are on a full buckle carrier. We used the same one for 2 years! About 3 months ago I realized that Abby was getting too tall for her carrier and I started looking for a new one. To my absolute delight Zozinette was running a competition for a toddler carrier. I wrote in the comment box why I needed one so desperately and to my total astonishment, strangers started entering the competition on my behalf. I have never been so stunned by the goodness of others that I have never met! We won the competition and I got to choose a brand new carrier! Abby approved of the new one and I could gift my old one to a friend of mine that needed one. Paying it forward 🙂

We started in a stretchy wrap
Our trusted Zozi for over 2 years
We tried a ring carrier but she never liked it
Our new toddler Zozi for the win!
Loves being on daddy’s back

 

I know that it might sound weird that we are still carrying an almost 2 and half year old around, but because of her condition she needs the input. And especially since her need is for us to pick her up and hold her close, but not touch her! Good luck with that one without a baby carrier! The carrier helps us to strap her to us, but not actually touch her if she needs us to not touch her. I am pretty sure both of us would have been even more crazy than what we already are without our Zozi.

Reasons why baby wearing a child with SPD / Autism is such a great idea:

  1. Bonding time: You get to have your child near you. In our case Abby wants to be near me all the time, but not so much with her daddy. Most days she won’t even let her hold her. But if he puts her in the carrier, she is very happy for them to bond.
  2. Compression: The tightness of the carrier around them really help with compression and deep pressure they so often crave. If you don’t have a weighted vest for your little one, this is a good alternative.
  3. Blocking out people and noise: The carrier has a hood. I just pull it over her if there are too many people / sounds around her. It forms her own little cocoon against the world.
  4. Safety: Abby is a runner. If we put her down in public, she might get lost. And although she is very verbal with us, she won’t really speak in front of others, making it difficult for her to communicate her name etc.
  5. Convenience: Having her strapped up helps to have both hands free to hold her sister’s hand, do shopping, push a trolley etc.
  6. Sleepy dust: Struggling to get them to settle down, pop in a carrier and wait for the sleepy dust to set in.

My tip is: try a few carriers, you will find the one that works for you and baby. And this is not a ‘carrier snob thing’ but really, buying cheap will not do when it comes to carriers. You are going to hurt your back, hurt baby’s legs and just be uncomfortable. Buy one decent carrier and it will be all you will need (okay you will want more and more, but that is a total different topic)

Posted in SPD Tips

Helping your child (or partner) who is sensitive to noise

After this weekend’s disaster at the restaurant, I decided to give more advice / tips on handling these kinds of things, because I got a lot of feedback from others that has the same issues.

Following these tips can help you and your loved one to function much better in a noisy area.

  1. Warn them before the time. If they know what is about to happen, they can mentally prepare for it. It might sound ‘simple’ but it really helps to know what you are stepping into
  2. Earplugs!!! Or earmuffs. Or in our case – earphones. Do what is best for you to cancel some of the noise out. Just make sure they can still hear you. If helps them focus more on what they are doing and just takes away some of the background noise. It works like a charm
  3. Let others help. My children loves smoothies, but both hate the noise the smoothie maker makes. The little one actually calls it ‘the loud’. If she asks for ‘loud’, she wants a smoothie. We made it a game. If I go make it in the kitchen, both girls jumps on daddy and hide under his arms. Causing lots of giggles. As soon as the machine stops, they jump off and runs to the kitchen for their smoothies. Get the family involved. My 3 year old knows when things gets too much for the 1 year old, she will take her hand and take her outside. It’s a family problem, not an individual problem.
  4. Go to malls and play areas during the week if possible. We prefer to take them to play parks during the week. There aren’t a lot of children around, they have more space to play and the noise if much less. If you are going to a new place, tell them what they are going to see and what to expect and make sure before the time there aren’t going to be a function with lots of noise (sometimes schools will have day trips etc. Phoning the play center to hear if they have bookings might be a good idea as well)
  5. Teach them it’s okay to say no. A while ago one of my friends wanted to touch and play with my 1 year old. She felt very uncomfortable being touched and she lifted her hand and said: STOP! I felt so proud of her. She needs to know it’s okay to say if she is uncomfortable in a situation. Letting you know they are unhappy before the melt down will empower you to get them out before things gets out of control
  6. Let them make some noise. This might sound weird, but let them make some noise themselves. A lot of noise sensitivity has to do with ‘feeling out of control’. If they can control the noise, they are more at ease. Usually children with noise sensitivity are the noisiest!
  7. Use your ipad, phone, tablet to distract them. If they focus on something they enjoy, other noise becomes background noise and they do not focus that much on it. Distract them with their favorite youtube channel. I have no idea what we would have done without youtube!
  8. Expose them to more noise. I am very guilty here. I try to protect them and keep them away from noise. And then things like the weekend happen, when they have to be in noise and a meltdown happens. The more they are around noise, the more it will be just part of their lives. We are working on this one…..