Why we can’t talk about Anything anymore…

man wearing white tank top
Photo by fotografierende on Pexels.com

I love hearing other people’s ideas, thoughts and suggestions. Why? Because I know that maybe, just maybe I don’t know everything about everything… I know shock right? There is so much to learn from other people and I think we can learn a lot more from people than we would from books (that was painful for me to say… as I love my books).

I am going to be honest… I had a strange weekend. My son, who has sensory issues was quite highly strung and I was having to use a lot of patience being able to work with him. He was discussing his goals with me about wanting to make $10 more to pay for a LEGO set he had wanted. I told him how I could not give him $10 in one day for chores… I was going to suggest other options but instead he reacted before I could get there – strongly. His words were “You don’t care about my goals, or that I would like to try to buy Continue reading “Why we can’t talk about Anything anymore…”

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Why Australia needs Koosh Balls.

koosh So my son has sensory issues and for a long time I was thinking how much he would love a Koosh Ball. I looked everywhere for them, and assumed they just weren’t made anymore. I assumed they were one of those “vintage toys” that had to make a comeback someday – like everything else.

I remember them quite vividly as a preteen/teen in America and it was just naturally part of our existence. I remember everyone having one and we would play, throw, and just enjoy the sensory experience of touching it. So I guess this was the sort of thing I first thought of before the fidget spinner (however the new LED ones look amazing) became so popular!

In this regard I assumed all my Australian family and friends knew what it was too and that it was just accepted that these were no longer made – until a certain Jimmy Kimmel and Justin Timberlake skit.  I giggled and showed my husband who turned to me and said “What’s Koosh?”. WHAT???? “WHAT??? So I was like “you know, Koosh balls“. “He just shook his head and “nope”. So I had to google it – sure enough this lovely little gem is still very much alive and selling in the United States – so why the heck is it not down here in AUSTRALIA??  I found it on an Australian online “therapy” store (which happen to be “out of stock”) but I thought how can this not just be in every single store in Australia? We need it! Don’t even get me started on the fact that Australia does not carry Candy Land (which I desperately looked for when my children were 3 and 4 – tried ordering it online and again “out of stock”).
Please, American companies, please branch out and sell some of your product here, or someone with a decent warehouse in Australia need to think about becoming distributors! I would do it if I had a warehouse! There are quite a few other things I wish would make it down here to Australia if I had my way (and if anyone reads this blog besides my mother).
The I HEART GUTS is also a company I am desperately sold on (being a regular hospital visitor). Anyway… If anyone has a good business sense and would not screw up the bringing of a few of these products to Australia – PLEASE do so, or I would even be happy for someone to mentor me to do it myself!
Koosh Balls and I heart Guts, this is just a sample of wonderful products that I believe Australia would eat up, not just for “therapy” or “hospital visits’ but for education and fun! Plus – my husband needs to be educated on how fun these toys are (and it’s extra fun when all your friends own them too. We don’t want to be the only ones with Koosh Balls on the street).

Strangers and friends…

Shopping

I’ve had some weird encounters over the years when it came to understanding that my son was different and there have been differences between these encounters between strangers and friends….

I remember the time reality hit me about our situation was when out of tiredness and begging. I had gotten my son a McDonalds Happy Meal (It really does make him happy) and he tripped and dropped his fries. He screamed nonstop outside of the supermarket. It didn’t matter if I promised to buy him new fries or that I threatened to take away things if he didn’t just “get himself together”. He screamed, and cried, and he wouldn’t move or be calmed down. The fries on the ground are the ones he wanted and no replacement would help.  That is when it hit me “Is this normal?”

You see, all I was going in the supermarket for, was some bread. So I was pleading with him “let me just go in and get some bread… Can you come in with me for just some bread”. My daughter who was also with me and was quite stressed, tried everything to make him feel better.

An aboriginal man came up to me and said “Can I buy the bread for you? I have  a grandchild who is autistic, so I understand”. I tried to say through my sobs “My son isn’t autistic, he just needs to get over this” but he didn’t hear me but I nodded through my own tears of frustration. He asked me what kind of bread we buy and somehow the words fumbled out. I am a fiercely independent woman so it was hard for me to accept help, but also I was mad at the word… mad that someone assumed my son was autistic when I wasn’t there yet. I hadn’t accepted any “difference” yet. I did thank him when he returned with bread and I found some money in my wallet to pay him but I vaguely remember him giving me words of encouragement to keep going.

It’s strange because strangers have seen the worst of my family, and they have been the most encouraging (a lot from men who expressed their relation to somebody with some diagnosis). Yet most of my friends have seen the best. Some of my friends don’t even know that my son has been diagnosed with anything because they see him on his best days… but even if there is just a little thing “out of the ordinary”, I have had some less-than-encouraging comments. “You know, there was a kid that couldn’t sit still when I was young, you know what fixed him? Spanking!” which is usually the general gist of a few of the comments made by people who have known me for years. I instinctively have known never to mention what my son deals with because I knew they wouldn’t understand and yet, have found understanding, kindness, and grace in strangers who have witnessed the worst meltdowns in the most public places. The kindness of strangers sometimes has brought me to my knees of crying tears of joy when all I needed was just a bit of grace through difficult times and feelings of failure.

There was a beautiful moment not long ago where my son got “fixated” on a toy in which we definitely could not afford but he had emotionally become attached to. This led to a  minimum half an hour (of a meltdown) in the store. Yup. I’m that mother!  I felt by this time, knowing he had been diagnosed with sensory issues along with other things, that I had “toughened up” and thought I could had handle this, but I had started to grow weary. This old man, who I assumed must have been judging me and had been in our “vicinity” for a while, walked up to me, looked me in the eye and said “You’re doing a good job”. I could feel myself take a breath (in which I hadn’t noticed that I was holding so much in) and I smiled at him, and he smiled back and kept walking. I knew I couldn’t say thank you because I would have just cried… cried and cried. I was very thankful for those words.

This is all I ask sometimes of a community. We don’t know what we are all going through day to day but sometimes we need someone to witness our most painful and frustrating moments and still find a way to say something encouraging.

This is not to say that I haven’t had some amazing friends be there for me and my son but Sometimes strangers give unique encouragement in those moments.
Keep going! Be better!

6 Ideas on how to get a child with sensory issues and anxiety to the dentist

dentist2

Today I had to bring in my sensory child to the dentist. He had anxiety and had decided not to go. So here are a few things we put in place:

1. I called and called and called the dentist beforehand to let them know of my child’s needs. I explained how he will need to be warned of any noises, feelings, or light.

2. We got him something he’d been asking for, for the last few months: Mariokart by nintendo. We told him simply that he will not receive the game unless he goes to the dentist. Maybe you call this bribery but you do whatever you can when you have a child that has anxiety and sensory challenges.

3. We brought his noise cancellation headphones. These I highly recommend if you do not have some. They are great for children who don’t have sensory issues for ball games and concerts.

4. Ankle weights. For those parents that don’t have a child with these needs, this sounds a bit weird but it truly does help my son feel “grounded” when sitting. He usually requests me to bring them whenever he has to sit for very long.

5. Something I FORGOT to bring today but certainly would have been a help is something for my son to hold. He usually likes holding a smooth stone which helps tremendously with those nerves and anxiety.

6. Lastly, I wish I had brought his pair of sunglasses. Despite having a pair at the dentist he felt the light was “still too bright” for him, and he became a bit distressed by it.

The main issue he had trouble with was the seat “going down” and moving. If I had to do this over again for the first time I would have warned him about the seat moving but that he is safe. Because he has trouble understanding where he is in relation to other objects, it is very unnerving for him to be in a chair that he does not control the movement of. He was loud enough to let us all know that he was not liking it. Thankfully though, most of the other issues was taken care of. The dentist would put a tool on his hand first (like the vacuum and blower) to help him feel it first before putting it in his mouth. This was a huge support for him and he “allowed” the dentist to do what she needed to do. Good luck out there Sensory parents!!

P.S. extra bonus points if you can find a dentist that has a TV on the ceiling. This helped keep my son concentrating on something visual despite not liking other things going on around him.

 

 

3 ways to sleep more..

Who doesn’t want to have better quality sleep this year?

Sleep

If you are anything like our family, sleep tends to be a hot topic that varies in issues depending on who you are.
My husband who has Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) needs to have a CPAP machine which has been hard for him to get used to. We have updated machine, changed masks, changed air intensity – it’s amazing the variables that come with just getting enough oxygen at night time. At times his mask can be knocked off by the way he sleeps. I only just discovered recently that there is an actual CPAP Pillow that assists in keeping that mask on securely during the night, and I believe it might solve his mask problems.

My husband also moves and thrashes around a lot at night. My son who is seven and who has sensory issues has had this problem too, and he wakes up frequently tossing and turning. Thankfully his Occupational Therapist and Teacher both recommended a weighted blanket. This has helped tremendously. He went from waking me up 2-3 times a night, to waking me up maybe twice a month. I know there are ways to make your own weighted blanket but I couldn’t tell you as I am the least craftiest person I know (I still need work on my fine motor skills). I would highly recommend getting one. My daughter has asked for one for herself – she is next on the list to receive one.

These blankets are also called “gravity blankets” and are now proving to be a useful tool to help calm nerves for those suffering from anxiety – if this is a problem for anyone in your family, this blanket can also assist with calming the mind.

My daughter’s problem, from the moment she was born had trouble closing her eyes to sleep. She wanted to look at everything. She’s very visual and has trouble closing those peepers. The only thing that helps is an eye mask. Most people think of eye masks for travelling but if you have a child that just can’t help but look at the whole world, getting a cute or cool one to wear every night might do the trick. Also, eye masks have come a long way since we were young. There are some amazing ones out there. Take a look

Lastly, if you are anything like me, if you have addressed the rest of the family’s sleeping issues you may actually get some shut-eye yourself, and hopefully no one will wake you.

First blog post

fireworks
Fireworks at the stadium

So 2018 is a new year and time to start something that I have been thinking about for a long time. A Blog. I started one last year but it was not at all going in the direction I had hoped it would and after much thought and planning decided that I have a chance to take this into the right direction.
Since I can remember I have been a person who never understood doing things the long way if I could think of a better and faster way of doing things. I have had some challenges, especially recently that has made me research better and improved ways of making my life simpler and easier. I wanted to share my results with others… sometimes this includes pointing to a gadget, sometimes it points to ideas to corporate into my own life, and sometimes it includes a little bit of inspiration from those that have overcome challenges or achieved things when no one else believed in them. My goals are to become healthier, more active, and kinder.
I’m also looking at ways I can become a better mother to my two children. One of them has sensory issues which can prove challenging in different environments. I enjoy finding new ways to help him overcome and move forward.

I also find great fulfillment in encouraging others. So that is the direction I am moving this blog towards.

Hope 2018 finds you successful, healthier, open to finding new ways to overcome any challenge that comes your way.

Jenny