Autism Christmas Shopping Guide

Christmas is coming up (eeeek!), and you will most likely be starting to think about what sort of gifts to buy the little one in your life.

Gifts for kids on the spectrum can be such a joy when you find that gift that also serves some functionality for a child with autism. So we here we have your Christmas Shopping Guide for spectrum kids!

1. Mini Trampoline – jumping on a trampoline provides feedback to the body and pressure which helps to calm and regulate the body.

Pressure has an influence on the amygdala and has a regulatory effect on sensory processing. It reduces the overwhelming impact of stimuli received. Pressure helps calm and soothe an over-stimulated or ‘anxious’ nervous system and provides a safe and protected feeling.

For all things sport related, we enjoy the quality and service at Rebel Sport. Check this trampoline out HERE. 

Rebel Sport Trampoline Shopping Guide for Christmas for Autism Planet Spectrum

2. The IKEA PS SWIVEL CHAIR

This one has been incredibly popular in our house, you can pull down the front cover to create a little nook and egg- a safe pod blocking all outside stimuli. You can also spin the chair which my children love. Sometimes with spectrum children the spinning movements can assist. How?
Spinning is a human movement that helps to activate the vestibular system, many children on the spectrum will engage in spinning as a natural response to seeking sensory information.

Check them out here: IKEA

Swivel Chair Shopping Guide for Christmas for Autism Planet Spectrum

3. Tubaloo.

This fabulous quirky gadget is quite popular with speechies and in the classroom. My kids love this, and our social media followers tell us their kids do too. So what on earth is a Toobaloo?

You speak into a Toobaloo with the other end connected to the ear, so all you can hear is your own voice to help block out other noises. Auditory feedback is a tool that is effective in assisting children to listen to themselves to correct pronunciation, tone, and rate of speech but also more importantly children can block out distressing sounds. The Toobaloo provides crystal clear auditory feedback.

Check out the Toobaloo here. 

Tubaloo Christmas Shopping Guide for Autism Planet Spectrum
4. The good old snow globe.

Glittery, shaky and calming. Cmon, what isn’t to like about a snow globe?
Watching and focussing on gently falling snow helps a child regulate. It can have an incredibly calming effect on a child with autism.

Check out the selection on Etsy. Click here for the snow globes we found. 
We love Etsy, it is an excellent website for homemade, makers and startups and we love supporting small business too! Warning: you can find yourself browsing forever.

5. Calling all creatives- this one is the gift of all gifts for Christmas.

Red Bubble is a fantastic website where you can take any photo you love and put it on everything from clothing, t-shirts to iPhone covers. Does your child love washing machines? Yes, you guessed it, you can put a picture of one on a t-shirt from Red Bubble. You design it, they print it. The quality is, and they have an excellent delivery system in Australia. You can find art, canvasses, and designers from all around the world as well. So a t-shirt for the poppet, a new art piece for mum. Win-win right?

Click here for RedBubble 

Red Bubble Planet Spectrum recommends

So, you have a start! We would love your suggestions too, what have you come across that your children love? Share it in the comments below!

Would you like your family to get some understanding of what it is like to be on the Spectrum and how they can help? Welcome to Planet Spectrum has sold out, again and again, it is written simply for easy understanding, and we have filled workshops with Grandparents and relatives keen to know how to support their kids and grandkids. This tells us something- they need some knowledge too. A nice little addition for under the Christmas tree.

To get your hardcover copy click here: PLANET SPECTRUM BOOKSTORE

Autism in the Classroom Help!

You walk in on Monday morning,

25 little faces are jumping about waiting for the cue to get ready for the day. If you are like many classrooms around Australia, you may have a few  little people who may be standing out from the rest, why? They have autism.

In 2015, an estimated 164,000 people had autism, representing about 1 in 150 Australians.

Autism was most prevalent among children aged 5 to 14 in 2015. School Age. Some will be your students in your teaching career.

Autism is Here

Autism is here, and it isn’t going anywhere. Even though the term Autism is relatively fresh, coined in the last century it is has been around for what historians believe to be hundreds of years, if not always, it is just that we are now more aware. Just like now we know about Quantum physics and that the earth is actually round.

So if Autism is a part of our world and these little people are in the school system, where does that leave you as a teacher? For many educators, it can be very difficult to customize your teaching. Time restraints on teachers to fully educate the entire classroom, student by student in what can sometimes feel like a one size fits all curriculum, can draw a big deep breath. We get it.

So why are children with Autism in mainstream classrooms?

To begin with, every child has a right to an education and to be included. Segregation isn’t the answer for everyone. A community needs to be inclusive. All abilities inclusion stimulates acceptance which is essential. According to the University of Birmingham  studies show that when our community is fully represented in the classroom and on the playground, that society excels all round.

Interesting right?  Children that don’t meet the criteria for special needs education, what happens to them? If their needs are not being met in the mainstream system and they don’t qualify for special needs, a gap now exists. As we know as teachers and educators, gaps are dangerous

So here you are about to start, what do you need the most? You need to be able to identify what is going on with this little human and what their cues are. At Planet Spectrum, we believe that small steps make up a big journey. So let’s start here with some tools to help you identify some cues.

To begin with, find out if the child’s parent has a Flight Manual.

A flight manual is a list of tips, triggers and behavioral characteristics of the child. This helps you to identify possible triggers and calming and motivators. If they don’t have one, ask them to consider putting one together. You can find the link here for our complimentary one for Planet Spectrum HERE

Each child, actually all humans, if you want to get technical, have sets of stress signals. Our output as a response to the input. For kids with Autism, these are important, because it helps us to identify when they may not be coping. If we can do this we can help avoid certain outcomes, make them feel comfortable which ultimately has a positive impact on your classroom and YOU!

Some of these stress signals will be really obvious, but some may be incredibly subtle.

One is the Shut Down.

You may notice the child’s head may be down, his or her eyes are downcast, they might be on the floor. They have the look of shutting down. What they are doing is shutting down the outside input coming in, or they may be completely stuck with no idea of where to go behaviorally now. Computer says no, so the shutdown happens.

Another is Seeking Behaviour.

Seeking Behaviour is sensory seeking behavior. What can appear to be an outburst, or an out of control child. Just an example you might see him or her- tipping pencils on the floor, kicking or hitting students or other objects in the room. It is an outburst of outward physical high energy action. What is it? It is all that fear and anxiety building up like a thunderstorm. There is activity happening under that behavior. They are not trying to be naughty. The reason is that their body is seeking input to calm their nervous system down.

Avoidance Behaviour-

Absconding – which put simply leaving, running away, running off. Why? The body’s fight or flight mechanism has set off. This can be dangerous and even deadly for a child that wanders away. According to Rehare Care’s wandering and elopement survey found that approximately half of the parents of children with autism report that their child elopes, with the behavior peaking at age four. Among these families, nearly 50% say that their child went missing long enough to cause significant concern about safety. You can understand why parents get anxious right?

Flitting-

This is when you see the child behaving like a little ping pong ball, jumping from activity to activity. For one little one close to my heart, she runs in circles or repetitively hits her shoe against something. The child is winding up feeling anxious.

A meltdown-

What is this? Sometimes unavoidable and sometimes unexpected, the meltdown is a result of sensory overload. We are in nontechnical terms, have absolutely no way of stopping that behavior until it has subsided and been fully released from the body. To some, it can look like a tantrum. It is not. It just looks that way.

So this is a good start. You have identified some pre-cursor behavior from your student, now what? Next week’s blog will be on tools to make your classroom calm and Autism friendly.

To find out how you can become an Autism Spectrum friendly school you can Purchase a Copy of Planet Spectrum Here, or you can find out more about our Professional Development Workshops HERE.