Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Just a little hello.

Sorry I have been away so long. Been kind of weird here. My aunt passed away the end of December.
On other news: My son is learning to Ice Skate. I took him last weekend. He did great. Used the little learning cart to start, by the end he was just hanging on to my hand.
He was diagnosed as PDD NOS. His co-ordination isnt the best, but he caught on to skating like a duck to water! I was so proud.
I don't know how many of you will teach your kids to skate, but I think even those who use walkers could benefit from trying it at least once.
It's like I encourage Horse Back Riding for those who are ambulatory and not. The muscle strength that the rider gains is great. The learning to steer the horse with the reins and to balance is great! Does wonders for them.
Anyways. I hope you all had a great Holiday season! See you soon!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Rant:: Stupid budget cuts in schools!

Well, as I have become more involved with my sons school I have made a new friend. And with that comes inside information.
I was notified by text tonight that the teachers aides in my son's school are being let go.
The aides are there because there are a lot of at risk children and large class sizes. Plus, you add in the autistic kids that are being mainstreamed ( like my son) and you have children not getting the help they need and deserve.
I wish every child had an IEP, a contract that ensure that the children get the attention, help and education they all deserve.
As a parent, I know that my son's IEP is his saving grace. It is his key to having doors opened for him that other children would not have because he has special needs that need to be met.
I was told that my son's aides might be spared, but its all still up in the air as to who has been cut.
When the super intendant for our area did a press confrence it was said that no cuts would be made until after the new year... But that means that the aides on staff have already gotten their one month notice about termination of employment or lay offs.
I hate it! It stinks! Especially for young kids! LEAVE THE ELEMENTARY/PRIMARY schools alone you buggers! These kids need those aides! They need them to help them develop the skills you are pushing on them! The insane schedule for " growth and learning" you have written into testing!
Yep. My kindergardener gets Education based tests to see what he is learning and not learning and to see if he is going to be grade 1 ready by the end of the year! WTF! The poor teachers are stuck with making sure that kids meet those standards, despite large class sizes and now no aides to help them!
Sure parents can help out, but lets face it: Most parents work school hours or have other children. Some just have no interest in helping out.
I know I help teach my son every day, but no everyone is as patient or as in tune with their child.
I know lots of parents who really should of taken a pass on parenting because they have a devil of a temper and no ability to relate to children. They hold the bar too high and some dont let their kids have fun at all. Its all tutors, music lessons, ect. Things that the child didnt always sign on for.
Some parents are so intent on making sure that their child is going to make great grades and get into the best schools that they forget to let the child be a kid. Get messy and play with others.
Some are drug addicts that dont care they have kids beyond the money they get for support for them.
Still, there is no excuse for what the school districts are doing to kids. There is no need to cut teachers, teachers aides and their support.
What are they going to cut next, power? This is getting ridiculous.
There are millionaires balking at the idea of paying more taxes, while children are going without the help and teaching staff and supplies that they need in schools!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Best Tested Toys for Autistic kids 2011

Alright, as promised here it goes.

Ages 2-3

1) Sit and spin- Sit And Spin Toys R Us $20 I think this is a great self regulating toy. It gives most sensory seekers the input they need to get themselves back on track.

2)Fisher Price Learn Thru Music Game device- Learn Thru Music at Toys r us for $95 This is a great cause and effect toy. It also allows them to learn thru repetitive actions. This I would say can be used for both higher functioning and lower functioning. I put it here, because higher functioning kids will be able to do the activities themselves, where as lower functioning kids will have to have a parent or adult help them get the results.

3) Fisher Price Fun to Imagine Cash Register Fun to Imagine Cash Register $18 Toys R Us This is a great co-ordination toy. You have to put things in a slot, and push the correct lever to make the cash register make noise and work. It also is a cause and effect toy. You push the lever and the pretend money goes away. You can use this to teach colors and such as well. Very good priced toy that can be used for multiple games or therapies.

4)Fisher Price Grow with me Roller skates- Fisher Price Roller skates, $15 at toys r us I find that this is a great toy to help higher functioning kids with co-ordination and body space awareness. You will need to be present and have helmet and pads for the child, but the smiles and the laughter when they get it is well worth it!

5) Doctor kit- Kids Doctor bag $15 at Toys R Us I think this is a great gift. It can help kids over come their fear of the doctor. It can also teach emotions and bring out the gentler side of any kid. My son has one and has had one for three years now. I would pretend to cry and he would go get his kit and make me better.

6)Poppin fun Ele- poppin fun park elefun $30 at toys r us This cute little toy is great for a less functioning kid. The elephant pops the balls from their trunk, the kid retrieves it, puts it in the space with the others and voiala hours of pure giggles. Its great at cause and effect and can be used to teach colors.


Ages 4-5

1) Mickey's Camping Adventure Play set $40 at toys r us This cute little play figure set allows kids the chance to express their imagination. Act out their favorite shows or cartoons. Allows them to make believe. You can use this set to teach them social skills and consequences as well.

2)Dont Break The Ice game $5 at toys r us This is a great turn based game to teach kids the value of sharing. It also focuses on co-ordination and cause and effect. Very worth while game to have!

3)LeapFrog Explorer System $70 at Toys R us This little system is absolutely worth getting. It teaches them colors, and all kinds of good things. They get better at co-ordination. It addresses problem solving and math as well! You can connect this to your pc and it opens up a new little world that they can explore and learn with! This lil gem also allows YOU to track their progress!

4)Fisher Price IXL- IxL available at Toys R Us for $60 This little gem has saved me HOURS of frustration. It allows them to do math, is touch screen like the explorer. It does have a limited amount of games, but it is SO durable! The battery life is amazing ( my son has had this for 1 year and has only gone thru 3 batter changes and he uses it frequently). It loads MP3s, pictures from your pc. Come loaded with 1 game/book/song series on it and has some of kids favorite characters to play with as extra add ons for later! It teaches math, works on co-ordination. teaches phonics and cause and effect.

5)48 inch enclosed trampoline- available for $90 at toys r us This is a great self regulating toy for various ages. I put it here because at this age, they are starting school or pre school and might need more down time to regulate than previous years.

Ages 6-7

1) Operation game $19 at Toys R Us This works for either gender. It works on turn taking again and also on co-ordination. It also does have some sound to it to work a little bit on audible sensitivities in Autistic children. The pieces are small tho and can be easily misplaced, be sure to watch carefully as they take out the pieces.

2)Transformers- $14 at Toys R Us There are many models. These little gems help with co-ordination, imaginative play and problem solving! Most girls will not like these, most likely. But I know many young boys who do! Make sure to get the sturdy kind. They can take more abuse. If they are small and fit in your palm, please be advised that they can break and pieces can go missing!

3)Fijit Friends-$50 at toys r us These little cuties teach sportsmanship. They are all girly! Loves games,dances and responds to 30 or so commands! These are very interactive. Encourages interaction via voice or music. I think this is the cutest thing EVER!

4) Nintendo Wii- Nintendo Wii available in various bundles for around $160 This gaming system i have found to be great. It works on co-ordination. Promotes Turn taking ( if you do family or sports related games) and teaches and encourages sportsmanship. It allows them to work on their co-ordination by seeing and feeling what their body does and what the results are. There are so many wii games available. Wii sports ( the baseball, tennis, boxing one) is my sons favorite. But there are other engaging games. Be sure to look up games: I encourage Pet based games because it teaches how to handle a pet, shows that they need care and demonstrates responsibilities that any child with autism can understand. Dog is hungry, you feed dog. It's dirty, you bath it.

5) Nintendo Ds- Nintendo DS hand held gaming system $150
I think this is a great system. It is very responsive, is pretty durable, and has various apps you can find for non-verbal children with autism. It has a little more variety for learning games than the wii so far, but i think its because it a personal system.

Ages 8+

For this age I recommend the last 2 from my previous age group recommendations. Build to their likes here. If they are good at problem solving/puzzle games, purchase those for them for a gaming system.

At this age, most of the time you can usually start to go more high tech if you can. Look into things like the ipad, an android tablet ( be sure to check which brands are supported by the market if you are looking to purchase. Just because it says android does not mean you can get into the marketplace. They do have listed which brands are able to down load their applications. Some of these tablets are only able to load third party stuff. Sure they are cheaper, but not all the games/ app are available for you.) Kindle Fire, or ipod touch.
These are great ways to expand their horizons and still have therapy tools and apps for autism available to you. Kindle Fire doesn't have too many yet, but its a new device. It is great tho for reading and watching videos.

Those are my Toy recommendations for kids with autism. Obviously there are things I didn't include for lower functioning kids.
For them things like building blocks,Bounce ball with handle to ride on, weighted blankets, writing aid tools ect might be a better fit than what i have listed above.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Parents need to stand up

Ok for all of you who are saying " the occupy wall street people are wrong", i want you to justify how. Especially when everyone pays taxes, but children pay the most! Volunteer at your local school and look those kids in the face when you see them not have the support they need.
Tell them YOU don't support what would be best for them with restructured taxes.
You tell them you're sorry that they get more cuts every year because YOU don't want to pay more money to make sure they get the education YOU did!
I dont want excuses, I want action.
Go ahead. See what teachers go thru in a day.
See what supplies these kids DONT have.
Feel good about what you have now, because your kids ( unless you send them to private school) will be screwed later because you are not on board now.

I have seen the hours teachers put in! Some of them even take work home and still not get them all done.
A teacher with children with special needs needs more support. They used to have Aids to help in classrooms, now its just paras. Which will be likely cut soon because budgets are getting really tight. Even tho they are funded by the government under a different sanction.
Those teachers have large classrooms already because of job cuts and they are expected to make kids reach a certain test result or they lose their jobs! Its not fair to say they deserve it! Because they dont! Too large of class and not enough help to teach young kids ( especially those with special needs) is to blame, not the teacher!

As a parent, I am appalled at how badly my school district is cutting jobs and costs to make it work.
The " parent liaison" was cut ( they were the people who helped parents be sure the kids get the best they can, understand whats going on, and bridge language differences if need be. They were the go to person if you were having problems with your childs teacher.)
I am a member of my PTO, but even we as parents cant make up for all the jobs cut, because we too have to make a living to make sure we can provide things for our children.
I think Occupy Wall street protesters base message is right: Things need to change. Taxes need to change. The way the money is spent needs to change.
As long as the USA has only 2 parties in government, I don't think anything will change tho. Because no matter what, its about who is in power, rather than doing the right thing.
Every law or decree that has come across so far has almost always been abolished by the opposing party. Why? Because it would make the current party look good and lose them votes the next election.
There comes a time when things are bigger than politics...
Children's futures is bigger than the rise and fall of stocks, bonds and companies. They deserve what we all have had growing up. Yet, they don't get it.
I am ashamed of people who think its okay to let children pay for what they as adults could fix. No child should be forced to go without music education, art supplies, text books, writing materials, the best computer technology to help them learn at school.
They should have the aids and para's there to help them if they need it to learn.
There should not be any corners cut! Screw " No child left behind"! They should know their phonics, how to sound out words not just know them by sight!

Saturday, November 26, 2011


Sorry about the delay in my " Christmas kids list" post. I have the flu.
I do wish how ever to mention that everyone should always check Amazon for Cyber Monday deals.
The reason why I say this is: last year my list for family was about $300 ( not including my sons stuff) but I managed to find every ones stuff on amazon for $125. Same kind of thing the year previous.
I use amazon to check other sites prices against. I find a product online, take its name/model number( ect), and search for it on amazon.
I usually have good results in finding a more reasonable price on amazon. Even if its just -$10.
Plus Amazon has a great section for Autism related items! Lots of selection and wonderful things to have!
Happy shopping everyone. My list will come soon. Sorry.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanks Giving

As a parent, I am thankful for my son. He is the joy of my life.
Even tho he is sick, he seems to be having a good day. He is having fun watching the Macy's Day Parade!
I find the many of the traditional foods for this occasion are not served in my house. Turkey yes ( even tho my son wont eat it), but he will eat stuffing. No mashed potatoes for him either. I make Mac N Cheese for him instead! We sub Green Bean Casserole for plain beans or Corn.
So, with him being sick I am going to be glad if he just drinks lots of fluids today. Apple Juice, water, Gatorade, ginger ale and freezies here we come!
I hope you all have a great Thanks Giving.
I should have a blog up about toys by tomorrow. I have been working on it for about a week, but it isn't finished quite yet.
Let the Christmas/Yule/Kwanzaa and Hanukkah (Chanukah) shopping begin!
Find lots of deals everyone!
Feel free to share the ones you find with me here later!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Great new Site I Found!

Sensory World Link. So Fun!

As a parent of a child with Autism, I am always on the lookout for great new things to expose him to, and expand his horizons.
Today while trying to do just that I found a really cool site. It is all about sensory. Helping them be stimulated, or calmed.
Letting them create a scene just for them of their choosing by clicking on the computer mouse icons in the picture. They can edit the floor, furniture, music/sounds, lighting, and walls ( what they look like from a scene background, to a solid color).
Each room is different. Some have only a few things you can change/customize. Others let you do it up all the way, in a style all your own!
Right now as I write this I am actually, myself, enjoying the "Sensory Room" option on the site!So relaxing.
In the picture you see below, it is actually me messing around in the " Sensory room" making it into a night scene with music, lightning bugs flying around, bunnies ect.

That is all for tonight folks! Be sure to check out my older entries for great ideas on: Free apps for the Ipad, great therapy toys on the cheap or how to be very sure you are getting exactly the right kind of trained professional caring for your child!