0

Softplay Success!

Finding a new place that Dylan thoroughly enjoys and caters to his needs is always a bit of a struggle and a huge success when we do. Recently we found a place that ticks all of the boxes and I hope that it will be a place your children can enjoy too if you live or are visiting the area.

When Ad is off work and able to go places with us I like to go somewhere new. It means that there are two sets of hands in case things don’t go our way and another set of eyes to keep a close watch while Dylan explores! It also means that if things don’t go the right way it is someone to talk to while I bundle him up to leave, help me ignore the judging eyes and grab the bags.

We headed to a soft play called Indiana Land and we couldn’t have found a better place to spend some time together! We paid £2.50 to get in, which is a bargain for soft play. There was only a few other children there, so nice and quiet for Dylan’s first time exploring.

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He was settled from the moment we got in and couldn’t wait to get exploring. It has a nice amount of empty space which gave lots of room for running around and some great slides, rope bridges, obstacles and a ball pit. Dylan really enjoys open space because when you go to a soft play or even a park he finds it very overwhelming trying to decide what to go on. He loved just being able to running without having to make any decisions immediately. He then took my hand and wanted me to go exploring with him. Which many soft play places don’t like, so I was really pleased that they didn’t mind me going on with him to help him familiarise and get used to everything there was to offer.

After a while it was obvious that he was getting overstimulated from all the running, jumping, sliding and just having a good time. Ad then spotted a sensory room!
It had a passcode on the door so we asked the lovely workers at the reception if we could go in and they happily opened it. Inside it was amazing, big bean bags to relax on, ear defenders, several different light features that you could change the colour on, timers and a fiddle board.

 

I really liked that it had a passcode because it meant that others couldn’t just come in and out while he was having his chill out time before heading out to run around again.
I’ve never seen a sensory room at a soft play before so this really is such an inclusive place.

Highly recommend here if you live around or are visiting the area especially for parents with ones on the spectrum/sensory needs etc as it’s a struggle to find places that cater to them and this place is perfect!

The only thing that would worry me about going on the weekends would be that the freefall may be open. It was locked when we were there as it was during the terrific tots time which was a big relief if it was open and Dylan took a notion to go down it we would have probably had to leave as once Dylan gets an idea in his head it is pretty impossible to distract him.

-WeeOhana

 

 

10

The start of a new journey!

We started this year off with a rather big and unexpected thing.

Amellia had an appointment with a pediatrician to see what they thought and how to best help her in day-to-day life. Seeing as this was her first appointment I assumed that it was just going to be a chat with the paediatrician about our concerns, getting a first impression on Amellia and referring her on to a long waiting list if she thought necessary.
No referring on, no come back in a few months,  no we want to get in touch with the school and see what they say, we walked away with a diagnosis, a prescription and a review in 6/8 week to see how it is going.

Amellia got diagnosed with ADHD.

The pediatrician said that it clearly affects her every second of every day and that she needs the help as soon as possible to help her achieve all that she has. I was also told that they think she has dyspraxia, a social disorder, sensory issues and a learning difficulty. Though we are going to get her medication right and let her get adjusted to this before they investigate the others as this is the one effecting her the most at the moment.

It was a tough day for me as I said before I thought it was just for a chat. I suppose in reality we were expcting the diagnosis at some stage, but not that day and not along with the other things too. My mind is all over the show at the moment and sometimes I want to just cry and others im just so glad we have got her the help she needs and hopefully now once we have the medication sorted she will be able to achieve all she is capable at school and in life.

One thing that I am adiment on and that I made very clear to the pediatrican is that if I feel the medication is changing her personality I will be stopping it. I want it to help her settle etc but I do not want her bubbly and fun loving personality to go. She reassured me that we would find the right medication for her to keep her personality.

What I found incredibly amazing from Amellia and showed just how self aware she is was when the pediatrican asked her how she coped in school and Amellia said she wished she could sit still longer to learn and that she got annoyed at always having to move.

Amellia is aware about her diagnosis and about the tablets that will help. I have also made her very aware that it may take a while to get the right dose. We have also started a diary that we are doing together each night to keep a check on how it is making her feel and how she feels about it all.

Over the next few weeks I’ll share more as I come to terms with it and how the medcine etc works for her, how she feels about it all etc to help anyone else who is in or goes through the same thing.

-WeeOhana

 

9

Leaps & Bounds of progress!

These past few months Dylan has been slowly progressing, but over the past month it seems to all be coming together. We have many words now which is absolutely incredible seeing as every time he has been seen by his pediatrican we kept getting reminded that not all autistic children talk and not to get our hopes up. He can request things like his iPad, juice etc, it’s amazing to see and I have got a lot of hope for the future now and I’m sure his language skills will continue to develop and maybe one day we will be able to have a conversation with us! It gives us a lot of hope and really lifts spirits.

In school they have started to use pecs to help him move from one place to the next, his anxiety is brought down a lot with these pictures and I am now running about like crazy taking pictures of everywhere we go so that I can use them at home with him too. I am hoping it will help when out and about with him so that we can keep him calm and hopefully enjoying what we are doing rather than worrying about what is to come next.

He is starting to try new foods, well he has licked a yogurt and they are trying to encourage him to try new things in school via pictures and are going to get me some to try at home with him, which is a really exciting prospect. Dylan’s eating has always been a worry for me, as much as the dietician says it is fine because he isn’t losing weight it cannot be healthy for him and is not ideal. I would love to be able to just pick him up something when out and about but unfortunately at this moment in time that isn’t really attainable as he doesn’t eat very much at all especially for dinners and lunch. Maybe one day he will eat a sandwich, now that would be incredible!

He has also started to interact a lot more with Amellia and the other children he knows. He will ask them for races using his makaton that he is starting to pick up and what is even more amazing is that the kids around us are so great too him. They understand him really well and it is so great to see them running around together and enjoying each other’s company. Something again I wasn’t sure I would ever get to experience with him.

Something he has started to really enjoy also is playing mario, he is learning how to control him and enjoys walking him around the map. Before he just used to hold the button and laugh as he fell off the edge, which is funny.. but finding something he really enjoys doing and playing is great!

Obviously he still has his hard times, but I totally adore him and he is simply wonderful. I will continue to encourage his growth and I truly believe give a child the tools and encouragement they need and they will progress in there own time!

40

Zimpli Kids product review & giveaway!

My kids love some sensory play, so when Zimpli Kids got in touch with me asking if my kids would like to try out a few of their products and do a giveaway I jumped at the chance.
When Amellia got home from school I told her that she had some items she had to do a review of for my blog and she couldn’t wait to see what we had been sent.

IMG_3123As soon as she saw the Gelli Baff she was busting to try it out, apparently all the ‘cool’ people she watches on YouTube have been doing it and they all love it so she already had high expectations for it! I had my fingers crossed it would live up to these expectations so that she wouldn’t be disappointed.

IMG_3137Does this look like a face that was disappointed?
She had an absolute blast, and really enjoyed herself. She thought it was absolutely incredible, I on the other hand was worried it would be very messy and a nightmare to clean. By some miracle though she kept it all in the tub and it came with a little packet of powder you poured into it to turn it back in to water which happened almost instantly when you put it in and a huge plus is that it is 100% biodegradable. It also smelt amazing and is even ok to use for kids with sensitive skin!
The downfalls of this product is that you cannot put your head into it.. and that she now wants every bath to be just like this one!

The next day we also used the Crackle Baff which Amellia & Dylan could both enjoy. They smelled really great and cracked & popped for a lot longer than I expected. Both kids really loved these too.

On Saint Patrick’s day we decided to go with the green theme and try out the slime that we had been sent seeing as it was green.
IMG_3888I wasn’t quite as impressed with this. Amellia had a blast, but to start with I used half the amount of water that they suggested.. mainly because I wasn’t sure where I would get a container big enough for what they suggested so I thought we would try it and just have really thick slime. It took it a very long time to get to a slime like thickness & was still rather runny, but Amellia really loved it.
Dylan refused to touch it.. he’s not that into messy play.

She played with it for a long time, and as the day was reaching an end.. it ended up all over the kitchen floor. Fortunately we have tiles.. it’s not something I would want to tidy off carpet. It wasn’t too bad to tidy thankfully! I threw a few towels over it and then stuck them in the wash after making sure it was all soaked up as it did make the floor very slippy.

All in all we really enjoyed the products and if your kids are into messy play I would really recommended trying some of their products out.
If you fancy winning some enter my give away that is running until the 4th April 2018.
This giveaway is only open to people in the UK & Ireland. Good luck!

 Click Here To Enter

-WeeOhana

 

*_* These products were sent to me free of charge to do a review & Giveaway. All opinions are my own honest ones.*_*

21

I wish this would never happen again, but it will.

Something happened yesterday with Dylan that hasn’t ever happened before.

We are used to his meltdowns. During a meltdown he screams, hits himself, throws himself at the floor, bangs his head off the wall, lashes out at us or anyone around him along with many other things he does during a meltdown.
Generally I can tell when a meltdown is coming on and will try to get him to relax with some deep pressure massage, distraction with colouring, his iPad or turning the lights off and using his star light that he has that projects stars onto the roof.
Yes they are very tough to deal with, but I suppose in a way I have grown a thicker skin to these.
They are not fun to deal with, and when he is in bed or once he has settled and is fine I will have a cry. They are emotionally and mentally exhausting, sometimes physically too when you have to restrain him from hurting himself or others around him.
IMG_0995.JPGYesterday though Dylan had a shutdown. This is something that I have never been aware of, or heard of until it happened.
Dylan & myself were happily playing, I stood up to get a drink and he happily carried on playing then about 1 minute later he burst into tears.. he was crying like he had really hurt himself.
I quickly went back to him and picked him up and checked him over to see if he was hurt anywhere (a really tough thing about him having no communication skills or verbalization is that if he is hurt etc he can’t tell or show you) He buried his head into my chest and was clinging to me, I sat down on the sofa to which he normally rejects and makes you stand up to sooth him, but he just buried his head in harder. I talked calmly to him and tried to lift him away from me too look at him and distract him. This was not going to happen. He is pretty strong when he wants to be!
I took his clothes off incase he was too warm, or a label had been annoying him all day, but still he refused to look at me, or to be moved away from my chest.
I went and got a blanket and put over him to ensure he didn’t get cold and he pulled it over his face and then grabbed my arms into it and pulled them around him to hold him close. This is something he hasn’t ever done before.
I tried a few times at the start to sit him up and interact with him, but he got very distraught by these attempts so I stopped.
I held him close, while he snuggled in with his eyes tightly shut from the world, and I cried.
I felt so helpless, so useless, like I had failed him, how had I not spotted that things had got so tough that he had to shut down, hide away from it all.
I hated this cruel world, autism, my ability to not read his mind, not knowing how to help my son, it’s an awful gut wrenching feeling. A feeling I wouldn’t wish on anyone.
Thinking about how useless I felt and was then is putting tears in my eyes again now.
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He sat with his head buried into me with no response, no babbling or anything at all for an hour and a half. He then responded a little and would get up and go for a short walk but then would be straight back to me, with his head hidden from the world.
It then took about another 30-45 mins till he was back to his usual self.

There was no warning signs, nothing out of the ordinary happened, he seemed very content before hand, no triggers that I can think of, nothing I am aware of that upset him.
I’m stuck wondering what made it happen, desperately wanting to prevent it from happening again, but with no clue how.

 

4

Simple Sensory Fun!

I knew that the wonderful weather was sure to come to an end at some stage, so when it took a turn for the worst we decided to have some simple sensory fun!
I hunted through the house for things so that we could all enjoy, I came across some shaving foam and decided that now would be a good time to try it again with Dylan as it was about a year ago that we tried it before and he really hated it!
I wanted to try to add something to the shaving foam so that it would make it a little different, though we didn’t really have much!
I thought sand would be a great idea so headed out to the shed thinking that we had some left for going in the sandbox.. but we didn’t! Though we did have some very fine gravel left over from when we set up Pudges new tank! Perfect!

So; what you need to have this simple sensory fun in your house is;

  • Shaving Foam
  • Sand/fine grit
  • bowl to mix it in
  • animals etc to put in it if wanted
  1. Add the shaving foam into a bowl – As much as you want to use to play with!IMG_8567
  2. Then add in the sand/fine grit and mix up. – Again just as much as you want for how gritty to make it IMG_8572
  3. Finally I put it into a container that we for our sensory fun and added some animals to try to encourage Dylan to play with it and get his hands dirty!
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What I learnt from this simple sensory fun was that Dylan is still nowhere near ready for play with shaving foam, as soon as he touched it and it wouldn’t come of his hands instantly he was trying desperately to get it off!  I quickly wiped them clean and he shot off to the living room and into his tent for safety.
Amellia really enjoyed playing with it though and burying and finding the animals!

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This is real simple sensory fun, hopefully your little ones like it as much as Amellia did and don’t react with disgust like Dylan!

-WeeOhana

13

Sensory Play with Orbeez!

Recently I purchased some Orbeez to do some sensory play with Dylan and for Amellia to enjoy too!
If you haven’t heard of them before they are teeny tiny little balls when they arrive and then you soak them in water for a few hours and they expand up to 200x there original size! They are really impressive things and are really relaxing to play with if I do say so myself!

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I put his favorite toys in to encourage him to play with them. I thought that he wouldn’t be keen at the start but he loved them and dove straight into burying his Twirlywoos in them and uncovering them, then getting me to bury them again so he could get them out. We did this for quite some time and then he started to lift them out and look at them very closely!
IMG_7103I took this as an opportunity to go over his colours again and he had lots of fun shouting out which ones he knew and trying to pick them up as they are pretty slimy! We then also counted them when he was lifting them out!

IMG_7122He then was enjoying it so much he decided to dip his toes in and then stand in them! He really enjoyed it and had lots of fun!

When Amellia got home from school she also had loads of fun playing with them, she enjoyed putting her feet in them too and feeling them on her hands!

I would really recommended trying these out with your children for some sensory fun!

These are the ones that I ordered, but there are lots of different options to choose from! I think I am going to order him some of the extra large ones they do to see what he makes of them too!

-WeeOhana