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!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Review of Ipad free apps for Autism

Alright, since my son has started using an Ipad with his Nana, I have now seen a few and before I got lost in the Ipad world of Apps, I thought I would review them from the childs view point and the Parents view point.


Model Me- Going places:
This little app is handy. As a child who has limited vocabulary, it engages them with little stories about various places they might visit. As a parent, it is kind of limited and the places they show might not be relevant to your local area. Tho, on the plus side it does encourage speech and explains in a way that is clear as to what the places is and does.
The Model me series is awesome tho, overall. They have youtube videos about behavior and things they should and shouldn't do. i encourage you all to check them out!

Tom the Talking Cat:
My son LOVES this thing! It does have some interactive aspects to it and the voice that repeats them seems to engage. Yet, as a parent it does encourage the repetitive behaviors or phrases that you might be discouraging. It does have other features that you have to purchase, if you so desire ( tho i have not yet). The voice is annoying.. VERY VERY annoying if you have to listen to it long enough. Yet, it is sure to become a hit! It does encourage pronunciation I have noticed. If my son does not Annunciation his words right, it will say it and he will fix his mistake and try to say it correctly the next time.

This is an app that a child can love because it repeats after them! It has engaging pictures and makes them think outside the box. As a parent you will get to see them laugh and smile as they learn how to pronounce new words! You will see what they learn as they learn it. It has different Categories to choose from. The cards are easy to read and understand ( even if they are not high tech as far as visual color or drawing goes). I find it is a great accessory to use as a follow up to any speech therapy that my son may be using at school.

abc PocketPhonics Lite: letter sounds & writing + first words:
This works great for my son. He can use his finger or a stylus to write or learn to write his alphabet or his numbers. He loves to see his work pop up on the screen as he does it. This app gives voice instructions on how to write. I must say, once he did it a few times, and did the letters correctly, he was finished with wanting to use this app. It wasn't that interesting for that long. Too much like school work I think.

Balloons: Tap and Learn
This game is great for interactiveness. It engages by using stars as a reward. My son didn't even know he was learning anything! He just loved the balloons and how cool the experience was! While I got to see him identify numbers, colors ect. They also have a math expansion kind of thing for older kids ( late kindergarden to grade 2 I would say), where they add, subtract and multiplication using the same concept.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Interactive Virtual Environment

Link to article

After reading the article several times, I have come to a quandary.
First of all, I have been trying forever to get a community of autistic children together online, with games they can play against each-other and interact via voice/and/or text with modified content.
Most of the children are lacking in social development, not because they are not out in the community interacting with others, but because most of the time the other children don't know how to talk to or engage a child who is different from themselves.
Even if the child were in a wheelchair, the way another child reacts to them is different.
I have found that most of the time my child doesn't care what another child looks like or acts like, as long as they are willing to play beside or with him, he is okay with that child.
Most Autistic children are not the same. They have different quirks, and abilities. They react differently to their environments.
Yet, here in this article they are suggesting that MAYBE this program will help them socialize at a more appropriate level to their ages.
I have to wonder tho, if this is true, why is it just now that this program is being introduced? How long has it been sitting on a shelf out of reach of society? What are the touch-screen programs they used to base this project on?
True, a program like this used at school could show a teacher insight into the world of the child in question, but who has a 1 on 1 teacher these days? Especially with all the education cuts?
What would this program mean for us as parents? Would it mean that as a parent of a child with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) would be required to have and Ipad, Ipod touch or Iphone? Would this program be available to Android users? Or what about those of us who use regular laptops?
This raises more questions as I sit and think about it's possibilities. Sure they say it will be shown at a convention this month, but what will it show? It said " demonstration" but will it feature all the qualities it will have as a final, for sale program? Also, what will it cost? Will it be another $200 program that is out of the reach of many of us as parents of an ASD child?

Thursday, November 3, 2011


After a lot of up and downs, I am back blogging.
In my absence I have made two trips down to Riley Children's Hospital in Indianapolis for my son. I have lost my grandmother and endured countless illnesses between me and my son ( it seems when one of us is healthy, the other is not.)

So, I have been thinking. What does it mean to be a parent of a special needs child?
To me it means seeing all the great things about my child, the unique qualities, that other children don't exhibit. Eg: Going to the zoo is more than just looking at animals. Its looking at signs, trees, trains, cars and letters and discussing them at length because they are of interest to him. Most children might notice one or two things, but would not notice that the monkeys in the trees are making a triangle, like the sign to the left of the cage. The other children might discuss the behavior of the monkeys, but not comment on how many holes in the cage there are.
To me it means you embrace all they are and work to help them be the best person they can be.
It means standing up to other parents who look at your child and think less of them. Who dont invite your child to birthday parties because they are afraid of them, when they could simply ask you to help chaperone the event.
It means putting in more hours in therapists and doctors offices than most kids and other parents.
It means explaining situations many different ways to make sure that they get it and know how to react to situations if they cross them.

What does it mean to you?