Archives for the month of: November, 2018

Let me set the scene for you:

Michael, my wonderful 12 year old son, is getting into the car after a day of school.  ( I usually pick him up because his bus route is so LONG!)

He gets into the car, starts talking to me, grabs the water bottle that is sitting in the console, opens it, takes one or two sips and proceeds to chew the lid until it is no long round in shape but almost like a small, white, plastic taco.

And by chew, I mean really chew.  This is not something new for him.

He is a “chewer.” He chews on the collar of his shirts, the lids of water bottles that squirt, the corner of blankets when he is watching TV and more.

I must say that our conversation each day in the car after school involves me saying “take the lid out of your mouth” at least twice.  It would probably be more but we live only a mile from the school.

He has a basket of alternative items to chew to give him the input he is craving.  I even put out gum but there isn’t really “one thing” he will grab to chew.  Usually we will pry an item out of his hands and insert one of the alternatives, until this wonderful item was introduced to Michael…..and its name if CHEWIGEM.

This chewy pendant is shaped like a rain drop, is on a string necklace and is simply wonderful.

Trust me, we have purchased other items like this but I think what makes this so great is the consistency of the pendant.  It is not rigid.   It allows for Michael to use it without feeling discomfort, which is what he said about the other ones.

It also bends.  Which means he can chew it flat or fold it and chew it for more input.

He woke up this morning, came into the kitchen for a hug, then went to the basket to get the CHEWIGEM and sat on the couch to watch some TV.  He really, really likes it.

Michael is a typically developing child, who has a need for this kind of input. So I am so happy there are things out there for him.  But I know that so many of our special needs children, especially those who have Sensory Processing Disorder(SPD),may  crave this kind of input.  I know these items would be a good fit for them.

Another nice thing is that the lanyard has a break away clasp on it so if your child chooses to use it as a necklace, to keep it with them, you can be sure that they will not be choked by the lanyard.  You will have to keep in mind the age and development of your child to fully gauge the choking hazard of the pendant itself.

It is also safe to chew as it is BPA free and I cannot say the lids I talked about before are.

It is also fun to play with because of its texture and that it is so bendable. It can be used as a fidget too!  With the holidays upon us and stress riding high, maybe not such a bad idea to get one to offer to your special needs child at this busy time.  Or if you are like me, to your child who is currently chewing on a bottle lid.

In any event, take a peek at our site to read more and see if it is a fit for your world.  I know ours is!!

I wish everyone a peaceful week.

Michele Gianetti author of “I Believe In You: A Mother and Daughter’s Special Journey” and “Emily’s Sister”

 

 

 

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So the conversation started out with a question:

” So what are we doing on Wednesday?”

The question came from Elizabeth and Wednesday would be her official first day off for Thanksgiving break.

So I answered it.

In detail.

Vivid detail.  And those details included getting the house ready for our holiday dinner, shopping a bit, cleaning the house…. and as I said it all, I watched how she started to look anxious.   My first thought at the anxiety look was: wow does the day look that bad to you too??

Then I asked her what she wanted to do Wednesday and I was told “relax”  Then she took a deep breath and asked if I would make sure to make her a schedule “for everyday I am off”  I said of course I would.

And this got me thinking…

The holidays to us can represent a go.  From the insane black Friday sale days through parties, new foods and events all the way through last minute shopping and the actual holiday itself.

That is what they represent to us but what I think needs mentioning is that the holidays represent so much more to our special needs children.  They can increase anxiety, overloads and  meltdowns.  They can result in a bad sleep pattern, withdrawal from things and a change in moods.

What I have learned on our journey with Elizabeth and her disorders of Sensory Processing Disorder ( SPD) and Dyspraxia, is that there are some core things that need to be done for her and her system to allow her to join in the wonderful, crazy, fun time that is December.  It is like keeping the core of her world calm and helping her stay organized allows her to look up at the world swirling around her and know she can join in as much as she can because those key, important things are taken care of and are in order for her.

So for us, the schedule is literally number one.  It is not set in stone by any means but it gives the day shape.  Because an open ended day for her can be as anxiety producing as a too busy day would be for me.  It gives her a plan.

Talking through what we are going to do is so helpful because it gives her an idea of what motor skills she will be needing to do, what sensory things she will encounter and it gives her time to talk about her feelings on this things.   It also allows her to mentally prepare.  Because transitions for all of us can be hard and they can be so much more so for our special needs children.

Encouraging her to speak up for herself is big too!!  It allows her to tell us when she needs a break, when she does not think she can do something or when her choice of an activity differs from ours.   It also begins the conversation I was just talking about.

Elizabeth is beyond thrilled to be off and is so looking  forward to our big dinner so we really want it to be fun for her.  We will do all the things we can to help her.

So my big old thought in all this is to remember to do those things, even if they are little ones, that help your child enjoy their holidays and make those memories.

So tomorrow morning, like yesterday you will find me helping her make the schedule for the day and who knows, depending on my stress, I may just make one for myself.

I wish everyone a peaceful week!

Michele Gianetti author of ” I Believe In You: A Mother and Daughter’ Special Journey” and “Emily’s Sister”

 

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