Archives for category: Education

So a couple of weeks ago I wrote about this great learning tool called the Toobaloo. It’s an auditory feedback device that helps strengthen skills like fluency, comprehension and pronunciation.

Right away, I loved this educational tool. And as soon as I saw it, I knew how beneficial it would be for Elizabeth to use.

I shared in the blog how she was using it and the good things we saw.

So now, flash forward a few weeks, and we are still using it when she reads and sings.

I absolutely love how this device helps her self regulate the volume of her voice, which can be hard work for those with Dyspraxia ,as well as, for those with other special needs.

Now here comes the part we struggle with and that is having her hold the device correctly to her ear.  Usually, Elizabeth holds a phone, be it cellular or landline to her ear at the beginning of a conversation but then as the call progresses the phone sort of migrates up a bit until the part that should be near her mouth is now around her cheekbone.  So I usually motion to her to move the phone down, and she does but I am sure some of the conversation is not well heard or received when she does this.

You can probably guess that the Toobaloo migrates around as well, and it is not very easy to motion to her to move it because we are usually involved in reading or mouth work.

So I have to tell you about this  little guy called the “Hands Free Handset”  It is made to go hand in hand with the Toobaloo.   It is just like a headset that we have all seen people wear at fast food restaurants, where the mic is stable directly in front of the worker’s mouth.

The headset does the same thing except the Toobaloo is what is held in the correct position.  We tried it just the other day.

I must admit it was very easy to use and held the Toobaloo very nicely in place.

My only issue with the headset is that it says one size fits all, but I think it just fit Elizabeth’s head.  I will say that maybe this was the case because of all of her curls and people, there are a lot of them.  But whatever the reason, this is a slight consideration.

With that being said, I must say the Toobaloo Hand Free Headset made such a nice difference in the work we could do. For example, Elizabeth could work on her singing work, while using a drum to drum out syllables.  She was able to multi task with ease!

So I have to say this little guy can be really useful.  If you have a Toobaloo and love it, consider adding this Hands Free Headset.  It is really an easy thing to use and makes a big difference, so check out our site to read a bit more about it. And if you do not have the Toobaloo or the headset, check out the Toobaloo Kit that includes both tools.

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”



I can remember reading an article one time, when Elizabeth was little.

The article talked about the best way to teach your children to use utensils when learning to eat. I read the article and thought about how it could be adapted to take into account Elizabeth’s dyspraxia. As I was reading the end of the article, it mentioned that the best learning tool to start teaching independent feeding is to use the five fingered tool at the end of their wrist. In other words, their hands! Then build from there.

While this caveat sounded good and easy, for those who have children with special needs, this five fingered tool can be one hard habit to break.

I know for us, teaching the use of utensils was quite difficult. Possibly because we waited a bit too long to begin to offer these utensils to Elizabeth and possibly because that five fingered tool was just too convenient.

Quite honestly, at this time of her life, I did not understand her dyspraxia well enough to know how to teach the skills to her. I mean I knew that we needed repetition and to break down the skills into steps, but what I did not know was the importance of using utensils that would help her be successful. Not just typical silverware.

So when I think about it now, I can see the need for uniquely designed utensils that help build success for your special needs child. So let me introduce you to the Constructive Eating plate and utensils.

The adorable plate and utensils are designed in a construction theme. Meaning the plate is a bright wonderful orange (like a caution cone) and the utensils are in a bright yellow. So right away, the set has an exciting feel to it.

I absolutely love so many things about the Constructive Eating Set. First, I have to start with the utensils and their unique design. There is a fork, spoon and pusher. The part of a typical utensil between the fork/spoon and the handle is not like we usually see but is instead in the shape of a bulldozer.

So it kind of goes, spoon-bulldozer shape-handle of utensil.

This is the same way for the fork and pusher.

The handle itself is textured and thick. The thickness of the handle is helpful for those with grip issues, dyspraxia or just learning how to eat independently.

The pusher is the tool that would be used to get food onto the fork or spoon instead of using a finger. The construction utensil will help the child successfully eat independently, strengthen dexterity & hand-eye coordination, and also promote good table manners!

I think had I pit stopped at thicker utensils for Elizabeth, things would have gone much smoother for her to learn.

So now onto the construction plate! It is trimmed in raised black letters that feel neat to the touch and offers good grip so as not to lose control of the dish when working with it. It is partitioned into three sections. So for the child with sensory issues or the picky eater, one food does not come into contact with another.

The best thing ,by far, on the plate is that there is a spot for each utensil to “park” on the plate so the child can learn where to rest their spoon, fork and pusher. This would help give them more control as they eat and can pick which utensil that they want to use instead of someone handing them the utensil.

Please go to our site to look at the fun and functional construction set.

I can see it being such and easy and fun addition to anyone’s dinnerware.

After all, that five fingered tool will come in handy to eat popcorn or chicken fingers, but this construction plate will help you teach your child how to use that same “tool” to eat with utensils successfully.

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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