Papier Mache Bunnies

Papier Mache Bunnies #KidsCoop

Papier Mache BunniesPapier Mache is such a great craft idea for The Sensory Seeker – as not only does he get the touch sensation from the paper but also the slime from the glue. It gives him the opportunity to get his hands dirty and build his sense of achievement – as he can easily mould his creation into shape.

The materials needed for Papier Mache Bunnies are very few. There’s a number of ways of mixing up Papier Mache paste but I simply mixed PVA glue with water. Next we took a toilet roll holder each and stuffed a ball of newspaper inside to form a head – which we secured in place with sellotape. Papier Mache BunniesThen we simply covered it all in papier mache – including over the head. After waiting for that to dry we painted it all over (again great for The Sensory Seeker for tactile but also to help with fine motor (when he used a brush to paint). We also painted a white sheet of paper to cut out ears and feet (we later decided against adding on feet).

Finally once all the paint was dry we simply glued on googly eyes, whiskers (from pipe cleaners), a cotton wool tail, a pompom nose, and some teeth (made from more white paper). The boys were able to vary what their bunnies looked like by using different coloured noses, making the teeth bigger or smaller, the ears pointing up or floppy.

Papier Mache Bunnies

Papier Mache Skills for The Sensory Seeker

  • Attention: Listening skills, following instructions, patience waiting for glue to dry.
  • Turn taking: We only had one pencil, set of scissors and The Sensory Seeker needed to wait his turn.
  • Fine motor: sticking the objects on, using a paintbrush, drawing and cutting out the ears.
  • Tactile: Touching all the different materials .
  • Self-Esteem: A sense of achievement and pride. A sense of self through the individuality of changes made to the Papier Mache Bunnies.

Papier Mache BunniesThis activity was also good for The Sensory Seeker as it was made in stages – you could make the activity last longer by building up more layers of papier mache if you chose, but it also good for those with short attention spans as you could do just a few moments at a time. It also appealed to my children of different ages. You could utilise them in an egg hunt by hiding small chocolate eggs inside/underneath them.

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Roald Dahl’s The Twits Relaxed Performance: Royal Court Theatre

Relaxed Performance of Roald Dahl’s The Twits

Twits-109-EditFor children with Sensory Processing Disorder, Autism, Learning Difficulties & Communication needs, a Relaxed Performance can help to make things more inclusive. Most importantly everyone is understanding of the individual’s difficulties and support put in place. Adjustments are made to sound and lighting; free support resources are available to prepare for the visit beforehand and during the performance benefit from the relaxed (move about/make noises) and there is a supportive atmosphere (with trained volunteers on hand) in the theatre.

The Twits Show at Royal Court Theatre

Roald Dahl's The Twits Relaxed Performance: Royal Court TheatreBased on Roald Dahl’s classic Mr and Mrs Twit are not a very nice couple. They not only do nasty stuff to each other but are VILE to everyone else. Not just restricted to people as they make a family of monkeys they are holding hostage stand on their heads. Can the monkeys find a way to show those vicious Twits what for?

Families with one or more children with special needs can enjoy a Relaxed Performance of the mischievously adapted Roald Dahl’s story The Twits. Edna Walsh turns The Twits upside down and brings this revolting revolution to the Royal Court Theatre stage. For brave 8 year olds and their families on Saturday 16th May 2015 2:30pm. Tickets are priced at £12 each and lasts for 2 hours and 15 minutes (this includes a 20 minute interval)
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Directed by John Tiffany and starring Jason Watkins (Mr Twit), Monica Dolan (Mrs Twit), Oliver Llewellyn-Jenkins (Monkey Son), Glyn Pritchard (Monkey Dad),  Cait Davis (Monkey Mum), Aimée-Ffion Edwards (Monkey Daughter) ,Dwane Walcott (The Handsome Waltzer Boy), Christine Entwisle (Tattooed Fortune Teller Lady), Sam Cox (Yorkshire Terrier Man) and Dwane Walcott, (The Handsome Waltzer Boy).

Royal Court Theatre, Sloane Square, SW1W 8AS

Sensory Processing Disorder and Relaxed Performances

Roald Dahl's The Twits Relaxed Performance: Royal Court TheatreOur experiences with The Sensory Seeker and Relaxed Performances have always been very positive. For myself the nicest thing is not feeling that The Sensory Seeker’s behaviours maybe disturbing anyone else’s viewing of the performance (as everyone who attends the performance is either in the same boat or has opted to attend that performance). For our son the important things are that he is able to get up and move about, make noises, clap his hands – without us trying to make him stop (or bribe him with too many sweets!). Other benefits have definitely been the support of making the experience familiar before it happens.

If you have any questions about Relaxed Performances or anything about this particular show then do comment below or contact me via e-mail or social media and I shall try to get it answered for you.

This is not a sponsored post. Photo Copyright belongs to Manuel Harlan and not to be used without permission.

Cheltenham Autism Support Group

Cheltenham Autism Support Group – For Families with Children on the Autistic Spectrum

About Cheltenham Autism Support Group

Cheltenham Autism Support is for families with children on the Autistic Spectrum run by Laura and Wayne. They provide the opportunity to meet with other parents and children affected by Autism. There is a soft play area, sensory room, dressing up, arts & crafts, lots of toys,and an outdoor play area. They also provide refreshments for both the adults and children.

Cheltenham Autism Support Group“Receiving a diagnosis of Autistic Spectrum Disorder can be somewhat overwhelming for parents, carers and siblings of the affected child. Many families feel isolated and lack vital support and understanding of the condition. Cheltenham Autism Support Group aims to combat these issues and provide families with an emotional and practical support network, enabling them to tackle and understand the uniquely wonderful world of Autism.”

Whether you strongly suspect your children to be on the Autistic Spectrum or have a diagnosis why not visit to access a wealth of information, resources and support and/or share your experiences. You may be able to offer help to others. Or just to let your child/ren benefit from the facilities and interactions with other children in a supportive environment.

When Cheltenham Autism Support Group Meet Up

Cheltenham Autism Support Group meet up for their Rainbow Days Sessions meet every THURSDAY at Gardeners Lane Children’s Centre, Cheltenham, GL51 9JW between 3:15pm-5:15pm: Plus every THURSDAY during the school holidays/half term between 9:30-12:30am and alternate SATURDAYS 1pm-5pm.

Cheltenham Autism Support GroupThey also meet once a month on SUNDAYS at Hop, Skip & Jump, Seven Springs, Cheltenham, GL52 9NG 10am-1pm – where there is also a Sensory Garden.

No need to book in an advanced just drop in and out when it is convenient to you. Find help with issues such as diagnosis, the new EHC plans, accessing Grants for the disabled, help with sleep, sensory issues, schooling, transport to school, diet, relationships, speech and language, and much much more.

Cheltenham Autism Support offers support, advice and a listening ear. You can also find them on Facebook or Email them at: CheltenhamAutismSupport@outlook.com

 

Flowers - 40+ Craft ideas and Activities from The Weekly Kids Co-op

Flowers – 40+ Craft ideas and Activities from The Weekly Kids Co-op

Flower crafts and activitiesFlowers are such a useful craft as they can be utilised at so many times of the year. Obviously now for Spring and then there’s Valentine’s, Mother’s Day, Birthdays or just because they are pretty. I was really inspired by the Coloured Eggshell Memo Holder from Playful Matters that I featured last week and it really got me to thinking about how different activities with flowers could help The Sensory Seeker. I do have egg shells in a bowl ready for some sensory flower fun for him. But here are some more:

40+ Flower inspiration activities from The Weekly Kids Co-op

Our very own Weekly Kids Co-op host B-Inspired Mama has a wealth of Flower related craft and activity posts of her own – check out 28+ of them: Spring Flowers Egg Carton Craft; Spring Flowers Candie; Spring Flower Pot Rice Krispies Treats; DIY Kids Sewing with a Spring Flower; Kids Paint Chip Flower Craft; Make a Flower Pen for Mom; Fine Motor Skill Flower Beading; Felt Shaped Flowers Activity;  20+ Cool Kids Plant Activities & Crafts; 30+ Flower Crafts – B-Inspired Mama

Flowers - 40+ Craft ideas and Activities from The Weekly Kids Co-op

Say it with Flowers – Craft Ideas – Pinkoddy

Mother’s Day Craft: Mother’s Day Chore Pop Up Cards - Christianity Cove

Spring Yarn Flowers – Fun with a Message

Number Flower Garden – Adventures of Adam

Easy Spring Craft for Kids - Study at Home Mama

Fun Science: Crystal Flowers – Danya Banya

Spring Kids Craft: Sticks and Tissue Paper Blossoms – My Nearest and Dearest

Egg Carton Flowers – Enchanted Home Schooling Mom

Popsicle Stick Sunflowers –  Boy Mama

Paper Flowers – Lessons Learnt Journal

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Is there any point seeking a diagnosis of Asperger's Syndrome as an adult?

Asperger’s Syndrome: Is there any point seeking a diagnosis as an adult?

Is there any point seeking a diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome as an adult?

I often wonder whether it is worth being assessed for whether I have Asperger’s Syndrome or not. But as an adult is there any point in seeking a diagnosis even if I did? It has been hard enough fighting for support for my children, never mind myself. Is there even much support out there for adults with Asperger’s Syndrome: For women even? Where would I begin and what would it achieve.

Why I even considered that I may have Asperger’s Syndrome

Is there any point seeking a diagnosis of Asperger's Syndrome as an adult?I first started to consider that I may have Asperger’s Syndrome when a seed was planted in my head when my oldest son was diagnosed. We were asked whether I had any traits as part of his diagnosis. I often have `meltdowns’ but have always just put them down to all the undealt with issues from my childhood. We did mention the fact that I cannot have hangers with nothing on them left in the wardrobe in between clothes. I hate change and really struggle with it. And of course I really struggle with relationships whether people want to admit it or not.  I do not understand really the concept of things not being the way the rules say and just ignoring it. I know people do not like to be corrected and if I think hard about it I can stop myself from acting – but the thoughts are still there. I am sure there a lots more reasons that put me in the three areas of the triad but I try not to think about it too much as I feel like I am trying to make myself fit when I may not.

What would a diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome mean for me?

Is there any point seeking a diagnosis of Asperger's Syndrome as an adult?But a diagnosis (if I were) – well that wouldn’t change any of that would it. Possibly if I knew there was a cause would that make me feel any better about myself? And what if it was determined that I wasn’t on the Spectrum – would that make me feel bad that I have these behaviours with no reason – would the Asperger’s give me a reason to feel so different? Am I just hoping that it would give me a sense of belonging? Would there be any help I could access to help me fit in better? I mean I know that I am useless at small talk: I can barely even manage to say hello how are you on social media when I have something I want to discuss. I have made myself aware of this and try to at least apologise and say it afterwards – or is this normal? Am I actually just too self-absorbed?

If you have been diagnosed, or know of anyone who has, as an adult – then how did you know? And what did you do?

You may have found this page and discovered that I do not have Asperger’s Syndrome, or would like to talk to someone who has received a late diagnosis, therefore I can recommend that you visit Jax’s who has.

I would really appreciate any feedback on this topic please. x

Easter Cakes

All about the Eggs

For those with Sensory Processing Disorder, and other difficulties such as those on the Autistic Spectrum, times like Easter can be difficult for them. All the changes of routine and added stimulation can make it a very disorientating time. It is more important than ever that carers make sure they have the right things put in place to help them cope.

Easter CakesPersonally I like to embrace whatever season it is in order to help The Sensory Seeker understand the time of year – and possibly even help him prepare for it in future years. For me Easter is all about the Eggs (and I hope to push that idea more than the chocolate). He is possibly a bit too young (cognitively) to understand the significance of new life, and we are not religious so do not really talk about Jesus.I do like to take the time to craft and cook with my boys though – and make sure that they know that Easter is a family time of year (not that everyday family isn’t important). This year we have made rice krispie cakes (simply covering them in melted chocolate) and to give them a little twist we decided to hide a smartie inside them (as this was cheaper than Mini eggs).

All about the Eggs on The Weekly Kids Co-op

Here are some fantastic egg ideas from last week’s Weekly Kids Co-op:

All about the Eggs on The Weekly Kids Co-op25 Awesome Easter Egg Decorating Ideas for Kids -Elemeno-P-Kids

Dinosaur Egg Hunt & Hatch – Adventure in a box

Decorating Easter Eggs – My Big Fat Happy Life

Watercolor Easter Eggs – Sensory Mom Secrets

Easter Eggs Marbling with Nail Polish: Kids Activity – The Practical Mom Blog

Easter Practical Life Activities; Coloured Egg Shell Memo Holder; Coloured Egg Shell Luminaries;  Eggshell Craft: Butterfly Mosiac – Playful Matters

Easter Egg Toss for Learning Addition –  Mom Inspired Life

Easter Egg Ideas – Coffee Filter Princesses – Lalymom

How to Plant Seeds in Eggshells – Start a Mini Garden – Apple Green Cottage

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dinosaur books

Dinosaurs #KidsCoop

All about the Dinosaurs

Dinosaurs are always a popular area of interest but with the new Jurassic World film coming out this year I think that they are going to be more popular than ever. Dinosaurs are popular in our house – we had a dinosaur bedroom, a dinosaur party, played with the dinosaur in ice and even invited the dinosaurs to dinner!!

We have just had The Sensory Seeker’s annual review (as he has a Statement of Special Education Needs) and have discovered that he is now working at National Curriculum levels in Maths and Reading. This is fantastic news and we feel that he has benefited from all the extra support he receives. So I am pleased to share with you two books that Parragon have sent us to review on the subject of Dinosaurs.

Dinosaur Books

dinosaurs

Dino Supersaurus T-Rex Terror – The Supersaurus Legend Begins

Dino Supersaurus T-Rex Terror - The Supersaurus Legend BeginsThis is a beautifully illustrated book set in a cartoon strip. That’s lots of action and the pictures tell the story to help with the words. It really is a book for slightly older children but it was good to read with The Sensory Seeker picking out high frequency words I know he knows. Thus making it fun and rewarding for him. The only thing he found confusing was that the speech is written in capital letters – but it was good to explain to him about different types of text (not that I am sure he got it at his age).

£5.99 ISBN: 978- 1 -4723 – 6466 – 1

Gold Stars Travel Back Through Time to The Land of Dinosaurs

dinosaur booksThis book is fantastic and maintains interest for a long time. Again fantastically illustrated and filled with lots of facts and fun. The book has contents, glossary and index pages which I think are great in a children’s book. Through the book children learn all about dinosaurs in an enjoyable and interactive way with puzzles, mazes, colouring in, observations and much more. Every page is just bursting with life, and there’s so much to see, do and learn.

£7.99 ISBN: 978- 1 – 4723 – 5781 – 6

Find over 450 great dinosaur posts on my Dinosaur Pinterest Board

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I was sent the 2 books free of charge from Parragon Books as part of their blogger programme. All words and opinions are my own.

Sleep and Sensory Processing Disorder

Sleep and Sensory Processing Disorder

Sleep and Sensory Processing DisorderSleep is possibly the most significant factor with our son’s Sensory Processing Disorder, and when I say sleep I mean lack of it. Have no fear that he has burnt off the calories he has eaten because he doesn’t eat much or keep still. In fact even when he is playing a computer game he is jumping up and down. At almost 6 he still cannot sleep throughout the night. The paediatrician told us that she thought if we could manage to get him to sleep better, then it would help all other things fall into place. We have now managed to establish a good bedtime routine so that he is able to fall asleep every night. The trouble The Sensory Seeker has is staying asleep.

Things to consider about Sleep and Sensory Processing Disorder

What is keeping them awake? Is it the noise? The visuals? The tactile? This could be because of the lights (do they need a light on? Or is there some sunlight seeping in that is annoying them?), textures – are their pyjamas annoying them or are they not getting enough tactile input?), are they disturbed by noise of others? Or is it too quiet? Is it too hot or cold? Do they have enough pressure on them (from blankets) or too much? Is their pillow soft enough? Or too soft? Do they need a tidy environment or one with lots going on?

Things that can help with Sleep and Sensory Processing Disorder Prior to Bedtime

Once you have established what it is keeping them awake you can try to work towards trying to resolve it. Think about all the things that happen in the run up to bedtime that affect their senses. Think about all the things that the individual with Sensory Processing Disorder requires and try to match those needs.

Developing a routine and a consistent way of doing things is helpful and can reduce the impact of over-reacting. Organisation can give the child a sense of control over their day. Avoid television or computer games an hour or two before bedtime and provide a quiet winding-down time, with a low-key story. We have a bath routine, which then follows brushing teeth, getting into pjs and a story. We did start with a short story and a song, as his attention has expanded we have been able to make this longer. As he has become more and more interested in things we have been able to engage him more easily too (such as with his current LEGO book). You could also try providing a snack that can provide slow-release nutrients through the night to avoid a drop in blood sugar.

Sleep and Sensory Processing Disorder – The Environment

Think carefully about the environment you are trying to get them to sleep in, and again try to adapt it to their needs. If it is too noisy then would they sleep with ear plugs in? Could you reduce the noise (shutting the door, not flushing the toilet at night)? Is it the birds – is there a window open? If there’s not enough noise is it possible for them to sleep with a radio on? Can you adjust the temperature with central heating or blankets? Are they comfortable in the bed – the mattress/pillow/pjs/blankets – could you help them with a weighted blanket or by surrounding them with teddies? Tuck them into the bed with their blankets. Could you cut out light with blackout blinds, a thick curtain or an eye mask? Or how about one of those tunnels that goes over the bed. How is the room decorated – what colour are the walls – is there too much information on them, or not enough?

The Sensory Seeker and Sleep

he is disabledWe are finding that The Sensory Seeker does sleep much better than he used to but still wakes throughout the night. We have kept him in “night pants” at night because he still wets in the day, and is not ready to be dry at night. We have tried to leave him in pants (as he is aware that he is getting older and does not want to be a baby) but this was further disturbing his sleep, which I agree is further adding to his problems of concentration and so on the next day. We have tried him in his own room and he kept coming in to us. So now he is sharing with his brother (on the bottom bunk) but still he is unable to sleep throughout the night. I think the main factor is noise that disturbs him but cannot be sure.

Please if you have any further tips on Sleep and Sensory Processing Disorder then add them below.

Sensory Processing Disorder Bathtime Problems

Sensory Processing Disorder Bathtime Problems

Sensory Processing Disorder can be a problem when it affects day-to-day life, such as personal hygiene. Bathtime and keeping clean can be a problem but it is identifying exactly why, for each individual, in order to try to help it become more bearable. I have previously discussed teeth brushing and now to consider the whole bathtime experience.

Identifying the Sensory Needs at Bathtime

Sensory Processing Disorder Bathtime ProblemsFirst discover what it is that is bothering them. Keep a diary to determine whether your child is a seeker or avoider in the 7 sensory types. Note when things calm them down and when they arouse them. Try to note all the different things occurring. For example, if they do not like having their hair washed and are screaming, “get off me, get off me,” as if you are trying to kill them – don’t assume it is because they do not want the shampoo in their hair. There could be all manner of factors at work here. Bathtime may help calm them down, or rev them up. This may also depend on what their sensory diet (things they have done to satisfy their sensory needs and make sense of their environment) has been like that day, or whether it is morning or night. Even as a seeker bathtime may help calm them down (as they have got what they want) or it may overload them(as they are taking in too much). Make bathtime an hour before bed, as it  may help them calm down and establish a bedtime routine.

Think about the Environment at Bathtime in relation to Sensory Processing Disorder

Be aware of the environment at bathtime. Is there carpet on the floor? Or mats? The noise in the bathroom may echo, they may not like the sound of the running water. If the bath running is a problem then run it before hand, when they are out of ears reach. Invest in earplugs.Give them warning about what you are going to do and how it may upset them. Encourage singing and/or clapping to help regulate and be a distracting dose of sensory input; or put on some relaxing music. On the other hand, they may like the noise of the water, and a shower may provide more sounds.

Things to do for the individual with Sensory Processing Disorder in the build up to Bathtime

Before it is bathtime do activities that provide deep touch input, e.g. rest your hands on their shoulders and apply moderate pressure. The upset before getting in the bath could be to do with getting undressed – this could be to do with temperature or pressure. Make sure the room is the right temperature. Let them test the water with their fingers, to ascertain that it is the right temperature for their needs.  Again do deep pressure touch before washing, and wash with firm pressure (if they are seeking this), especially when shampooing and drying. Make the transition from getting undressed and into the bath as quick and smooth as possible. Make sure the towel and pjs are the right texture for them.

How to help the individual with Sensory Processing Disorder during Bathtime

During bathtime give them control. Let them chose the flannel, sponge or loofah – for size and texture.  If they don’t like being washed then encourage them to wash independently. Try letting them see what is happening in a mirror. Or tell them how long you will wash for – like until you have finished counting to ten. Offer a bubble mountain right before washing their face. If they do not like the water in their eyes have goggles – or a towel at hand so they can dry their eyes. After the bath rubbing lotion in may be effective. It may also be about the level of the water – do they want a deep bath – to cover them up, or do they only want a little bit – reassure them that it will not touch them too much.

Sensory Processing Disorder Bathtime ProblemsEncourage positive water experiences – make it fun and not rushed. For those who need the stimulation then why not let them have messy play. Take toys in that are their current interest, or ones that light up, and have different tactile stimuli. Take a doll that they can wash, whilst you wash them. Maybe consider making the bath glow in the dark,blow bubbles, or a product such as squishy baff. Consider the smell, how it appears visually, and the texture of the shampoo or soap. Or possibly dry shampoos. Those who need calming try epsom salts, benzonite clay baths, lavender oils & lavender soap, or natural (non-perfumed) soaps and shampoos. As you can see from the state of the soap are boy is a sensory seeker. Bars of soap are just no good for him, instead liquid is much better as he can get the sensory seeking tactile by rubbing it all over his body.

The ability to keep clean is a basic need. If someone you care for is finding it difficult then they may be entitled to financial help in the form of Disability Living Allowance (for the under 16s) or Personal Independence Payment (over 16s) to help manage this.

Pirate Captain Says Game

Pirate Captain Says Game

Pirate Captain Says Game

The Pirate Captain Says game is an adaptation of Simon Says. Players listen to the commands of someone who is not actually in the game. If they say “The Pirate Captain says” then players do the action of what has just been given. If the action is said without saying “The Pirate Captain says” first then they have to do a forfeit of star jumps (the number dependent on the ability of the player).

Pirate Captain Says GameWe chose to make a Pirates game to fit in with our trip to LEGOLAND Hotel Windsor, where we stayed in a Pirate room. It helped keep The Sensory Seeker focused and count down the days. The commands used were then all related to Pirates: Walk the plank, Scrub the decks, Climb the rigging, load the cannon, sailor’s salute. Some of the instructions none of my boys understood and had to be shown, but soon picked it up. The Sensory Seeker did very well and watched what his brothers did and copied.

Benefits of The Pirate Captain Says Game for The Sensory Seeker

The Pirate Captain Says game is good for The Sensory Seeker because it helps with his attention, gross motor skills, sense of body perception, noise, touch, attention, visual, build on vocabulary, social and just down right having fun! In fact next time I have told the boys that I will give them real brushes to “scrub the decks” – well they may as well clean the floor whilst they are down there! This would be a good game to transfer outside too. I really liked how it was suitable for my younger three boys bridging the gap between their ages and abilities.