Friday, December 21, 2012

Toy Review Busy Farm Lego Duplo Read & Build

This toy is great for that initial phase of play skills more help in how to teach this toys coming soon. Thanks Jana

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Toys on a Budget part 2

Continuing the post that we have started for toys under $20. Hope this will inspire you to have some very good toys without hurting your wallet.

One of my favorite places Music Together just have 2 singalong story books based on their music.I'm a believer in the power of music and my son did music together for more than 2 years we got started when he was 4months old and I believe this is why he loves music so much.

You can check them out HERE they are $8.95 with a music download included.

Bath time is a time you can use to teach language and pretend play because while in the tub they can't really run from you ;)

 So explore sets like this one that are affordable and they can have fun specially if bath time is something not enjoyable.
In my case I also have this one of course which my son really enjoys and makes bath time more fun for him

I say things like : let's give Thomas a bath, put Thomas in the track, oh no Thomas fell in the water.

This one is a lot of fun as well

Lucas Speech Therapist has this one and it's fun

I love this set because the tea pot makes real tea pouring sound it's really great 

Of course other cheap option are books, music cds, there's a variety of good ones on amazon I like Lauren Berkner, Baby genius the wiggles and they are all usually under $10.

Hope this inspired you to find good toys that can teach your child without having to worry about price.


Saturday, November 24, 2012

Toys on a Budget for Christmas Part 1

I thought it would be good to put a small list of toys that are really educational for children with special needs or not in a budget. In general toys have a tendency to be expensive but if we can find educational toys on a budget that means you can buy even more to help your children.

Blocks are great I'm finally getting started to buy some blocks but they can be kind of expensive, I think megabloks are great because they are not too smallgreat for motor skills and exercising imagination.

I think this 2 are great to get started and specially if the sets have cars and people or animals that get's the set a little more interesting. And I think they have great prices.

Magnetic sets and books are great to get the conversation and speech going plus working on learning some concepts of real life as farm animal in their environment.

These sets are great price also

These are great and both under $10 these so much speech you can try to work on these sets.

The next ones are great for match and fine motor skills plus to work on taking turns and play together with other people. I love these a more detail review soon both also under $10

This one is great for Fine Motor skills as kids have to use their pointers.

Music nothing is best to make children learn and specially if you pair music with books on tapes: books with holes. I've learned from my son's teacher, he is loving it and they make the reading so much more fun and for Autistic kids is the only thing that catches their attention.

And they are under $6.00 and you can buy even used cheaper on Amazon.

I'm a huge fan of sticker pads they can teach fine motor skills, speech taking turns so much ! And they are about $6.00 with endless activities and they are reusable.

Love the make a face ones they are great to teach parts of the face and talk about facial expressions.

I'll come back with some more in another post as well some things for parents.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Trying to set up routine at home

My constant struggle of balance at home is not making my son think that he is in school but at the same time not just letting him be with his favorites electronics  all the time, they are great and help but he get's too focused on his own world. Now that the storm has passed and we have power again I will start showing what I'm trying to do at home to create a balance so he keeps working and learning and we creating that independency that we want.

We are  going to start a Independent Activity Schedule, more pretend activities, direct lead activities with music and scarves or bean bags, music and imitation.

I believe our kids don't need a miracle pill but they do need a lot of work so they can learn to interact with us and the world around them. Ipad and Iphone are great but they don't interact with the world a whole lot while playing with those.

More to come.


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Take the Cake Review

I always saw this toy around and the price was so good that I finally decided to buy. I'm on the quest to bump it up the play toys we are starting the process of setting up a independent activity schedule for Lucas here at home with the help of his teacher. I will talk more about it but that is for him to learn to play independently but I want to see if I can make him to play more with me so we can improve his social and play skills. It's hard for him and with any Autistic child because they are so self centered and really like to be in their own world and have such low play skill levels.

Anyway, it's hard to find toys that will teach him and to have some fun, but this little toy is different because the little pieces are wood which makes them like 3D and the pieces comes in this little shaker which also makes fun to ask them to shake. It's great that we can make the boring matching game into a more active game.

We can work matching skills, fine motor skills and language skills.

Asking the shape colors, ask to find the shapes, asking to shake the cupcake, and taking turns.

Fine motor skills you can ask to pick up the shapes the right way and later cleaning on with the pincher grasp and so on.

A great toy to invest on...


Thursday, October 4, 2012

Learning to Grieve Pre made Definitions about our Children

Many people and even other mother's don't understand when I say to them  I had to grieve my child when I received the diagnose of Autism. I've been from a long period of pain and soul searching and with help I could understand more. Today I see that this process would have been easier if someone had told me that as a parent we have to try not to have pre conceived ideas of what our child will be or what we want them to be. My son didn't die but what need to be grieved was the child I created in my mind and things I imposed in my head about what he was going to be or do or believe.

I think that is what parents that have a constant struggle and suffering suffer with, they can't really obtain the happiness despite the condition of their child or they can't stop blaming someone, something or themselves.

I wanted someone to have told me that as parents we can have dreams about everything of course, we can dream for our child and build and work hard for it. But we can't impose our dream to reality or we can't be angry just because things didn't work the way we thought, I wanted someone have told me just to accept and live life and feel blessed with the life I was given to take care, enjoy the moment and whatever happens to him we will figure this out or we will work hard and accept and move forward with what makes our child happy but not about our self centered parenthood happy.

It's not about just when your child has a disability is not just about or preparing ourselves to the worse. Even in the course of our children's life we keep wanting to impose or make our children follow the path we think is correct, the person they should date, what university we dream them to attend, their religion, what sex they are going to be attracted to. It's about everything !

But when we see our children has some kind of mild disability,  can be just  a simple speech problem, then we deny, pretend and ignore, sometimes we don't act fast enough because we keep with the illusion that will get better because we want to hold on to the idea we made in our head of what our child should be.

That's  the lesson when Autism strikes  we have to remember: that is not ABOUT US, WHAT WE WANT WHAT WE WISH WHAT WE WANTED IT TO BE. It's about what it is and see from now on what attitude we are going to have it's about accepting and moving on.

Moving on..


Friday, September 7, 2012

Printable Activities at Home

 I'm back after vacation time and have some time to post again, now that the boy is at school I thought would be nice to talk about activities to do at home so they don't forget their skills or maybe get new ones. Printables are a cheap way and I think adds a lot of diversity.
On Etsy you can find a lot of printable activities  but of course you choose ones adequate to your child's level.
I found these ones at Abbiesolutely Preschool Printable.
Another advantage is because they are printable they are so affordable. Although to use them after printing it is better to laminate I have a laminator but if you don't just 2 or 3 pages don't add that much to pay at the office store.

The first one of fruits is not just good to work as puzzle and shape recognition but also you can work on speech asking them to grab the fruit.
Let's put the banana..where is banana ? can you say ba na na !

The other one works with matching letters which is fun, also if you print double the letters you can create  words (if your child is older). I think for little boys like mine that are obsessed with trains is a good choice.

I will probably do a podcast soon talking more about this topic.


Thursday, August 9, 2012

Loving Lampposts Movie Review

When I was on my Amazon prime instant video browsing movies this days I decided to search Autism, to see what kind of movies they had and I saw this movie and got me intrigued it had great reviews. And I'm glad I watched so glad that I thought why I didn't watch this movie 2 yrs ago.
I think this movie is essencial to every single family that received the news of Autism, specially the recent diagnoses. 
It talks about the perspective of a father, he talks with Autistic Adults, covers science and the exploitation of what Autism become a profitable business to a lot of people. But what I loved is he showing parents that regards what happened believed in their children and their children have a voice sometimes not verbal, or sometimes not so outspoken as people think but they know what's going on and to see that was fantastic, this movie let me know I'm not a lone there are a lot of parents that don't live their life telling lies to themselves about cures but rather love and accepting the child for them to be the best they can be.
I love a Autist man which is married and have kids saying what helped him was Early intervention, music and above all love and patience. 
I already email my former Early Intervention team, my son's hospital Autism director program  and as many people I can because I so believe this movie is essencial to parents to start their journey and to do they own decisions from there.
Totally recommend !

Monday, July 16, 2012

Ipad apps for Autism Part 1

Today I'm talking about apps for Autism the ones I have been using, there is a lot to talk about in this topic so this is the first part more to come and also I will talk about resources.

Podcast Powered By Podbean

Apps that I talked about in this podcast :

Injini on their website you can take a look at the app and they even have some printables.

Monkey Pre School Lunchbox

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Book Review - Step Ahead of Autism

After a long break without buying any new books after reading a lot and being frustrated sometimes with some books we find out there, I was at Barnes & Nobles and pick up this book after seeing the table of contents. I just wish I read this book a long long time ago and I highly recommend if you are new or old in this journey. This book definitely tell you things straight forward very fast reading (just over 100 pages) and it's divided by the steps we need to take in our journey. I totally agree and now like her will be putting these over my house so I won't forget, maybe some we already been dealt with others maybe we will. She has a very positive encounter and tell some stories but outline things in detail for you.
Here are the steps detailed in this book:

Assess your Attitute
Assert your Authority

Also a nice chapter putting steps in practice . The Author is the fouder of Alleviate Autism.
in my opinion a must read.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Good Books part 1

I will do a tab later for all the books in this reviews so everyone can find all the books in one place.

Constantly I go to bookstores to see what's new or search on Amazon, one thing is for sure now the Autism community has many books to choose from but also there is a lot of bad stuff emerging, people writing stuff without no research or  any thing to back up what they are saying.
As I read more I will always do more reviews but so far these are the ones I like the best so far.

The Out-of-sync child is one of the best, it was recommended by me when we have our diagnoses. And as I started to read I started all the time yes he does that and that. Very good information and great tips.

Most of kids with Autism has Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD)  and this book is the best so far out there, a lot of good information and you started to understand why your child does the things that he/she does. A amazing book.

After you understand what SPD  is , it's great to know how you can play with your child but at the same address the problems they are having and help them.

These kind of books have so many good ideas when you start to read books like this, you start to learn what activities help and create your own and know also what activities aren't good.

And this one is huge and you will learn a lot I still browse here and there to refresh my mind.
If you are new to Autism I think if you want to buy books I would suggest more reference books that explain the disorders and not give their opinions ..

I'll be back with more ..

Sunday, June 10, 2012

The Blog on Kindle Store

Now if you have a Kindle you can subscribe to the blogs feed !
Search on your kindle going to the store and blogs or just searching Helping my Boy or subscribing here on Amazon .

Thursday, May 31, 2012

New great iPad apps

I have found some great new apps for the iPad great educational apps for kids with Autism or not.

ABC house

What is nice about this app is that is not the regular boring pictures for ABC it opens a full board with the alphabet and each letter has many videos  that letter or sometimes some kind of interaction life F has Fireplace and you have to light up the fireplace. Sometimes it has video like the refrigerator has pictures and   has a video showing a refrigerator. So it makes really a surprise to each letter and the child doesn't know what to expect and makes it fun. For S has a video with a song for washing our hands with soap and also the kid can swipe the sofa to show a dog on the sofa. Really fun.

Another great and Free one is

It has the Mickey Mouse clubshouse song and Mickey interact with the user you have to answer it has a mic that waits for your answer than after the songs and after the intro many activities and each activity starts with nice songs or interactions for the inpatients  like my son the introductions can be long but  for free just the fact that he gets so happy with the songs is enough but again it's free and it's worth the try.

And for the Thomas lovers Thomas activities is a favorite so far here, specially because my son loves puzzles, the app is free and comes with a free package of activities but than if you want more you have to buy other packages.
Every package comes with puzzles each have 2 levels and coloring sheets and matching games.
The puzzles have 2 levels easy and hard. And they show a video after completion which my son enjoys a lot. I just wish we could print the coloring sheets as well. But it's a great one for Thomas' lovers.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Podcast 2 Catalogs

Podcast Powered By Podbean

Today I'm talking about how we can help our kids and learn more about what toy is educational and good for our kids with Catalogs as a research tool.


Beyond Play

Pocket Full Of Therapy


Learning Resources

Guide Craft

Beckers School Supplies

Abilitations & Integrations


Friday, May 11, 2012

Trying to Find Exciting Toys Post EI era

Recently I'm changing all my son's toys and re thinking and re planning what will work for us in the post Early Intervention phase. I' ve been noticing that many toys we used are just not tolerable for him. At least to work with me he has been showing some resistance which I think it's normal, some things just reminds him of the "work" we used to do.

The relationship now has to change between me and him and toys and he and his father. We have to try to be more sneaky still teaching him but trying to find now things that goes with the flow and things
we can play together and we can teach him that it's fun to play but not forcing him to say words or that kind of pressure.

Autistic kids have a hard time enjoying toys, that's a fact. I've heard parents that said well my kid never liked toys so he had a computer since young and things like that. Well yes these gadgets are more interesting for them but will I give up on him learning how to play with toys: NO.
I think this is some us as parents of Autistic children have to continue to try, even though the hunt is so hard, money spent many times in things we think they will enjoy and they don't like it at all, but it's part of the process.

But why we should keep trying?!

  • Because is a form of engagement and socialization with them. 
  • It teaches them to socialize and rules of social interactions.
  • It teaches taking turns
  • It teaches  Speech
  • Overall shows them to have fun !! Toys are fun!!
Anyway, then it came the Hex bugs I came across them searching on Amazon. And got this:

This is the travel set which is supper convenient because it folds and I have even taken this to friends house. But it just comes with 1 bug and I got some more they are so inexpensive I buy on Amazon because Targets always  they are sold out.

The nice thing also you can attach other hex bugs hives in this one. Like this is on my wish list:

He loves spirals and to see this bugs go around will be very fun .
At first I thought he was going to be scared but now he actually likes to grab and put them in certain places and going down the little slide. What are things they can help?

  • Eye coordination
  • Sensory issues because the bugs vibrate
  • Speech: bugs, go, your turn, my turn, say the colors of the bugs  yellow bug, black bug, go down, turning, go fast, go up and so on.
  • Fine motor skills
Another one that seems fun is this one:

Does he play for a long time? Of course not but the point is no matter how long he plays he is engaged.


Friday, April 27, 2012

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Sorting Toys

I love sorting, I think it teaches so much for the kids, and there is great options out there. But you have really to take advantage so the toy can last and teach many kinds of sorting. Because many times the toys pretty much just sort colors, but we want much more than that. Also sorting board games can be great activities for speech, because as you sort by repeating the words we make children learn the words and try to speak them.
This particular one in the picture I love it because right now we use for basic things, but later with the boards that comes with we can do more advanced sorting and that's help how even a toy maybe you can think your kid is too old  for it can really work in your advantage.
This one is the Farm sorting center. And is just cure to have this animals, they also come in different sizes so we wil work later on big and small.
They also have the Vehicle sorting center which seems to be fun for later on.

Also I found some good alternatives

The super sorting pie we have as well, and it' s so good at first we started with colors, but now we are going to shares and also starting to practice fine motor skills asking him to pick up the fruits with the holders. It's a excellent toy that will last a lot. Also you can use sorting toys to work with math.

Here is a article on benefits of sorting.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

The Challenge Floor Puzzles

Floor puzzles was introduced to me by one of our formers EI therapist.  At first I thought that would be too challenging for him and that he would not be able to do. But again is all about seen the toy with other eyes. He doesn't do what we suppose to do right now but he will but while this we work with collaboration, waiting, sharing, turn taking. All this you can accomplish with floor puzzles.
With him is all about patience and collaboration we don't want them to do the puzzle by themselves because of course they can't but it's about asking for help, waiting ..
So at first he cried a lot I think was frustrating for him, he knows is something harder than what he is used to. But we encourage him to help us, basically we doing the puzzle and he just kind of helping pressing down the pieces. 
For Speech we can say things like my turn, help me, we are almost done, your turn.

Of course here you can see we used Thomas because always is a extra encouragement. With time using the puzzle again we notice a decrease in the complaining and the crying. But you have to keep it up so they don't loose that skill. And it's great to improve memorization.

Here are some ideas:

This one is great quality and so many opportunities I actually bought to give his Speech Therapist so she could use not just with him there but with other kids, she loved it !

This is the one we have from Thomas

This is another great one for the alphabets with Thomas

And here some other ones that are on my wish list:


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Handmade Fine Motor and Attention toy

Here is a simple way to exercise fine motor skills with things that you have at home, I got great tips on Laura's tip of the week. I washed a cashew bucket from target and got some straws there on the craft section .
This activity gave Lucas also a opportunity to practice concentration I never thought he would enjoy so much and stay for such a long time, he loves so much he wants to grab all the sticks out for a second and third time.

A activity that I use as well for speech is asking him to clean up and teaching him to open the jar. Sometimes counting as we clean and teaching turn.
I say : my turn to clean - I put in
I say your turn or Lucas' turn

So cheap and help the kids so much.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

The Importance of Fine Motor Skills

Well there is many articles out there to talk about the importance of fine motor skills, what is Fine Motor Skills, why is so important. I think myself as  a parent is very tricky thing to catch because we don't really think about that when we don't have that problem. We kind of take for granted. So we have to pay attention how our kids grab things or how they do small tasks so we can prevent. Most kids with Autism have some weakness with fine motor development, usually Occupational therapy helps with that and there is a lof things out there that we can do at home to help.
We want to prevent this to happen.

As you can see here my son is grabbing the fish with the wrong finger which he should use the pointer the difficult he has with that reacts in many other things like his inability to point. But it's a constant work and training the brain. We've noticed that one hand is better than other so correction helps and hand over hand and soon he was doing the correct way which made grabbing the fishes easier for him.

here is the correct way

We have to see toys sometimes with other eyes, my husband at first thought this toy is for older kids. But when I see a toy I don't always look for the age level because many times I won't use the toys as it's  suppose to be, which makes the toy have a longer use because right now he does't get the concept of this game in a group but later we can play together, for now this toys I use for color matching, and fine motor skills and visual skills (when turning on the table it goes in a circle motion). Later we can even use for math skills. So this is what I'm learning is to see the potential and if the toy can help him with something because there is many toys out there that really doesn't teach anything and are just noisy.

Other toys that are great for fine motor.


Thursday, February 9, 2012

The fear of hair cut

Well some kids but specially  kids with sensory issues have a hard time cutting the hair.
I can just speak for my son, I think when we try to use the machine (which we stopped) literary freaks him out. Then what happens is his hair cut gets even worse because he moves and fights and scream so much.
It  would be a dream to take him to a salon and have someone do the job: yes but this is not our reality so
the way I do now is what is giving me the most success.

First I went and got things that would really distract him in the bath tub, things that he is really into right now in his case Thomas of course and abcs and pots to transfer water and bubble bath and thicker soaps.(the ones like shaving cream)

This Thomas boat is really cute and really got him distracted

What I do than is get my scissors and cut little by little each day some days he lets me cut more some days less i do it real fast and he gets annoyed I play more and cut more, I get the chunks on my hand and put in the trash so not all goes to the bath tube.
So far has been working and the important thing here is the association with cutting with good things, the problem I think in insisting on cutting when the child is screaming is that he or she associates with something bad. And we don't want that.
Another ideas of things that helps and which also you can work with speech while giving a bath.

Hope that helps

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Learning with Cupcake trays

Here is another simple idea that should not cost you a lot of money, it was brought my Lucas' DI I thought was a good one and at the end if they eat it they have rewards, you can use the colored cheerios like fruit da loops and make color sorting, cut labels for the end of the pin. And do sorting.

How could we step it up if you child already know colors sorting:

- Use this same thing to learn numbers instead of colored backgrounds make it numbers or just ask the child to put one, two and so on.

- Use if for patterning, create a sequence of 3  in the top and ask them to repeat in the bottom.

- Buy other small objects like small tiny cars, animals and so sorting by shapes.

- Work the sensory use dry pasta, beans any that your child has a sensory issue.

Possibilities are endless !

Have fun !

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Internet helping with ideas to teach

It's no news today that the internet is a great resources for us parents to help our kids, recently one that has been the best kept resources of links and visual ideas for me in Pinterest.
Think as the source of visual pins and bookmarks but the great thing about Pinterest is that we can categorize and also follow boards from other people that have been pining things that we like.
In my never ending to acquire ideas for Lucas and Autism therapy I made a board Autism Therapy, which you can follow as well. HERE, of course you can follow all my other boards but this is to give a example of the power of the internet nowadays for parents in participating more actively of their children treatments. Ideas are never enough many time I know something that I see is not right for Lucas right now because of his age but I know as he grow older he will need different things.
So browse Pinterest and have fun !