Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Autism products on the cheap part #1

There are many different varieties of Autism. Some are high functioning ( where you can hardly notice they are Autistic) to low functioning ( where you notice they don't talk, dont interact, and sometimes have other issues).

Well I am going to share some links and helpful hints for various aspects of delay that some/most Autistic children/adults might find helpful.

In this part of the series I am going to cover some fun mouth instruments that help blow, suck, and use the tongue for motor control.. Here's the best part: They wont cost an arm and a leg!!!

Bubble blowers: I find the best ones come from the dollar store, and you can let the child/person pick it out themselves!

Water whistles: you put water in them up to a certain level and they sing/tweet. I found them:

Blowing things up is a good trick. Be it a beachball, a balloon, pinwheel or other inflatable/wind powered toy item, they strengthen lips, lungs and other facial muscles while blowing into the object.

Then there are your whistle varieties: These help them strengthen their lips, flex their tongues and also allows them to work on their diaphragm by blowing or even inhaling.
Link 1: the kind you can blow in and out of that goes in your mouth

Link 2: the kind that goes in your mouth, but works mainly by blowing out.

Link 3: The kind that you can blow in and out but does not have to be inserted in mouth, but just pressed to the lips.

Link 4: The train whistle: This is a good one because it uses lip control to be able to blow in the small 4 holes that differ in pitch.

Link 5: straws. Cups with see through sides that bend, curl and make designs are a pleaser. These novelty items show a child that when they suck on it, they get a drink of their favorite drink/food ( milkshakes for the advanced or milk for the beginner).

Whistles that work on more than just oral control are ones like the Flute slider. A flute slider has the child blow into the item ( its an insert into your mouth usually) that also has an insert that the child can pull at the end to change the pitch of the whistle. So it's a co-ordination kind of toy as well as oral exercise.
A kazoo is another example of a more complex oral toy that is cheap. The child has to make a noise and blow into the kazoo at the same time.

Fart whistle: Definately a silly toy indeed. Yet, because of the way it is made it makes small vibrations usually too the lips as the child blows into it. This for a child with a sensation integration problem is hard to do, but a toy that could help them slowly adjust to it.

Blow out whistles: These have a curled paper bit that when you blow out will straighten in a line, but usually make noise. Tho you can find the kind that does not make noise if the child has audible sensory issues and avoids loud or sudden noises.

Then you have the toys that don't make noise.
One of the options is for a child to use a toy to strengthen their jaw muscles. They give you all kinds of ideas for this, but i find that a bath toy that squeaks usually is a good option. But you put it in water instead of just letting it take in air. you put the toy in a shallow pool, have the child place part of it in their mouth and just using their mouth take water into the toy and squirt it back out.

Fun blow an item up kind items that are cool are ball blowers. They are inserted into the childs mouth, and then as the child blows harder the small balls will float, spin and often fall down. You can even make it a game if you have more than one. Who can blow the ball highest, longest or make it do the funniest tricks.

Some children find that chewing on something is soothing and will sometimes chew on anything and everything when they are feeling out of sorts. Here is a set of tubes that are also good for different textures.

Sometimes you just need to let them make their own noise and let them hear what it sounds like. An echo microphone is the best example!

I realize most of these links supply more than one of any given item, but as a parent I have learned that having multiple is very advantageous. Mainly if one gets lost or broken, you have a back up. Or if a sibling wants one too, you have enough to share. Even a visiting friend or family member might want one to play with and to prevent meltdowns I have tried to keep multiple of many things on hand.

What products have you found on the cheap that you think others should know about, feel free to share by commenting or even email me with a link and a review.

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