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Making days out more Financially Accessible for Families with Children who have Additional Needs

Max Card: Making days out more Financially Accessible

Life with a child with additional needs can be more difficulty financially and access wise. It is why I feel that parents should not be ashamed to claim any benefits they can to help enable their child a normal life as possible. Days out can be more difficult – financially, physically and emotionally: From trying to set off until the time you get home.Disneyland with Sensory Processing Disorder

Sometimes the day can be spent so much dealing with the additional needs that it feels unjustifiable for such a financial expense. For us that usually means we do not arrive on a day out until lunch time, which then means we have to eat and have missed half a day. Or the sensory input becomes too overwhelming (especially if he gets wet at all) – and then we have to leave early.

The Max Card

The Max Card aims to create memories and bring families closer together through fun and enjoyable days out. This is achieve with the help of supporting local authorities, selected charities and venues which then gives access to free or discounted entry to over 1,100 attractions across the UK to eligible children and their families.’Max Card Making days out more Financially Accessible for Families with Children who have Additional Needs

Max Card Attractions

The discounted and free attractions available with the Max Card are available throughout the UK – which can be browsed on the Max Card Website (by Region and then by County) – as well as having some online only offers. Some you can just turn up and show your card and others need to be booked in advanced. The Max Card states that the card is for two adults and two children – but this is dependent on the venue. Discounts include things like Merlin Attractions and Annual Passes, Sensory Oojamabobs, Chewigem, Leisure Centres, Tenpin Bowling, Lasertag, Paintballing, Virgin Experience days, Libraries, Museums, Fun Fairs, Safari Parks, Farm & Fun Parks, Go Apes – and much much more.

LEGOLAND Windsor, Brick or Treat, Halloween, Fireworks and the Hotel

Ordering a Max Card

To order a Max Card contact the local City Council who will be able to let you know if you qualify (it is also for Foster Families) or email hello@mymaxcard.co.uk if you’re not sure who to contact. If you do not have a local authority or charity who issue the cards and you know of one that would be happy to help then please contact Max Card who are always on the look-out for new ones to join in so that more families can benefit from their worthwhile scheme. The Max Card is valid for two years from the month that the local authority receives the card: The expiry date is on the reverse of the card.

Find Max Card on Facebook and Twitter

Gloucestershire currently do not offer The Max Card so I was sent one in return for promotion. All words and opinions are honest and my own.

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.

Proprioception – Sensory Processing Disorder: Body Position

What is Proprioception?

Our brains are very busy-bees. They receive a continuous flow of information from each of our 7 different sensory systems all day long, everyday- & the brain has to sort through it & prioritise the information to decide how to best understand what is going on & then decide what to do based on all of the information available. The sense Proprioception is that of body position, location, orientation, and movement. The information is received through receptors in muscles and joints – for example force, speed and control, about how and where we are moving in the space around us.  This is basically where each part of our body is in relation to others, and how much effort is required from each of the parts to get the desired movement. This can affect how we drink from a cup with control, throw a ball to hit a target, how to move our body to fit through 4 desks in a small space.

Proprioception - Sensory Processing Disorder: Body Position

Proprioception is probably the hardest area to really pin-point as a sensory processing issue. There’s lots of overlap with other skills (like motor planning) so the thinking part to do with making a plan about how you’re going to carry out a movement & going along with it.  Issues are to do with too much or too little information processed by our brains. Horse riding has been found to help with this sense, as swimming.

Proprioception - Sensory Processing Disorder: Body Position

Impairment of the proprioception sense is most reported at times of growth particularly during adolescence and is worse when the individual is tired.

The Sensory Seeker and Proprioception

We noticed with The Sensory Seeker that at preschool he was unable to pour something from one container to the other, as he was unable to understand the relationship between his body parts and the effort (when to stop) of when to pull back (from pouring). I think that him standing on his head/spinning etc is his way of trying to understand this – but this is my Mom theory and not based on anything scientific. We find plenty of time on the trampoline helps and taking things slowly when walking down stairs/slopes.

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Identifying Sensory Processing Disorder with Proprioception

TOO MUCH  – Can be seen by movements being stiff.

How we can help

•Have a ‘time out’ corner
•Provide slow rocking movements to help relieve muscle tension
•Allow breaks from movement activities

NOT ENOUGH

• Use way too much force with objects e.g. jerky when drinking from a cup, push really hard with glue
• Push or lean heavily against people or walls
• Might prefer tight clothing
• Toileting problems (e.g. lack of awareness of need to go)
• Drooling
• Spill from mouth when eating
• Might appear rough or aggressive, like ‘rough-housing’

How we can help
• Allow them to lean on something when sitting (compensating when already fatigued/ end of day)
• Sit on a therapy ball

Proprioception - Sensory Processing Disorder: Body Position

• Use heavy or weighted items to give more awareness about where their body is (e.g. heavy cups and spoons)
• Place something weighted on their lap while sitting e.g. bean-bag, back-pack over shoulders/ weighted products – lappad, jacket etc.
• Give them ‘heavy-work’ jobs- e.g. moving chairs, carrying books/ boxes of toys.

This is not a sponsored post.

Many thanks to the Children’s Occupational Therapy Gloucestershire Care Services NHS Trust for supply this information and granting me permission to use it.

Scooby-Doo Halloween Party

Scooby-Doo Halloween Party

When planning a party for Halloween why not consider having a Scooby-Doo theme. Not only can you incorporate all scary monsters, ghosts and ghouls into it, but you can also feel protected by Velma and the gang. We were invited to a fantastic Scooby-Doo party as part of an exclusive screening of the all NEW original Scooby-Doo movie, Franken Creepy. Here I picked up some tips to share with you for hosting your own Scooby-Doo Halloween party.

Scooby-Doo Halloween Party

Halloween Scooby-Doo Costumes

Halloween costumes are a must at a Halloween party, and that goes without saying, but my youngest son absolutely loved that he did not need to be a ghost but could instead be one of his favourite cartoon characters Scooby-Doo himself. The costume also went over his head which is really good for his sensory processing disorder.

Halloween Scooby-Doo face paint

If you have a child who does not like dressing-up then maybe they could settle with some Halloween face paint. There are plenty of ghosts, ghouls, spiders, bats, monsters in Scooby-Doo so there is plenty to pick from. Or it could add to the costume. Face-painting whilst at the party gives the children something else to do too.

Scooby-Doo Halloween Party

I liked the idea of using a stencil to add Halloween designs to hands (or you could do it on their cheek). I think this is a great idea for children who are not keen on even having Halloween face paint on because they are tactile resistant.

Scooby-Doo Halloween Party

Halloween Scooby-Doo Scenery

My Sensory Seeker absolutely loved all the visual stimulation at the Scooby-Doo party – simple to do really as it was just coloured paper, cobwebs, spiders, tomb stones, bats etc. All different kinds of pumpkins too – I loved the one made of Lego.

Scooby-Doo Halloween Party

Halloween Scooby-Doo Balloons

There were plenty of Halloween balloons – with ghosts, skeletons, etc and these added not only decoration but gave him something to again appeal to his sensory tactile nature. There was also a Balloon Modeller there – once again providing a good source of entertainment for the children.

Scooby-Doo Halloween Party

Scooby-Doo Snack – Biscuit Decoration

I loved the Scooby-Doo shaped biscuits* set up ready for the children to decorate. This also was good for my Sensory Seeker’s hand development as he had to squeeze the icing out onto the biscuit. It also utilised hand-eye co-ordination and creativity.

scooby_snack_biscuits

Of course he was also able to eat it!

Scooby-Doo Halloween Party

Scooby_Doo Halloween Party food

There were some great ideas of how to turn everyday food into a Halloween theme. One of my particular favourites was by decorating a pot and filling it with fruit.

scooby-doo halloween party

I think the children’s favourites were the numerous sweets around!

Scooby-Doo Halloween Party

Scooby-Doo Halloween Movie

Then we all went into the theatre to watch Scooby-Doo: Franken Creepy. Scooby-Doo and those “meddling kids” Shaggy, Fred, Daphne and Velma are back! With reference to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, we learn the reason why Velma is so intent on getting to the bottom of spooky mysteries. After the Mystery Machine blows up (as a warning) the gang end up going to Transylvania, Pennsylvania for Velma to claim a cursed castle she has inherited from her great-great uncle Dr. Von Dinkenstein: This mystery is personal!

Scooby-Doo Halloween Party

It was great to see the original crew but now with a modern twist. There was lots of signs of the modern age such as laptops and referencing to social media. It held its same great charm it always did, and my boys were truly captivated as the mystery unravelled. I liked the educational references (such as Frankenstein was the doctor not the monster) and was really impressed with the sound and graphics.

Halloween Scooby-Doo Party Bucket

The boys then got to take home a bucket full of Scooby-Doo goodies and sweets and other treats. A great way to end the party and keep the fun going.

 

*Biscuits courtesy of Biscuiteers: Biscuit Boutique & Icing Cafe


We were invited to an exclusive screening of the Scooby-Doo movie Franken Creepy. My Sensory Seeker was provided with a Scooby-Doo costume and we cannot say thank you enough. All food and entertainment was provided free of charge and the boys took home a Scooby-Doo goodie bucket. All words and opinions are my own.