Archives for posts with tag: Non-verbal

Toys aren’t merely devices made to keep your busy little bee while you finish folding laundry. True, some do just that, but many toys are created as educational tools to teach your children and help them develop better physical, organizational, emotional and social skills. For example, introducing your child to puzzles early on is not only a great, essential way to ensure he or she get the hang of figuring out fun stuff now, but that they also succeed in the great puzzle that is life.

More benefits of playing with puzzles include the development of great hand-eye coordination, fine and gross motor skills, plus shape recognition and problem solving. Puzzles also help children learn about their place in this world and their surroundings while they also become socially confident creatures.

Puzzles also encourage little ones to set goals and achieve them, which then promotes the emergence of self esteem —and lot of it. And maybe, one day, they’ll also do their own laundry! Til then, let’s do some puzzles.

1. First Puzzle – Treehouse


Great for building self-esteem, this puzzle is large, which is great for sweet little hands, and it’s foam, which makes it easy for wee fingers to grip. Encouraging hand-eye coordination and visual sensory development, it’s designed to really get into the brain and improve cognition, logic, and reasoning.

2. Sensory Puzzle Blocks


Nice and vibrantly colored, these puzzle blocks help develop fine and gross motor skills while improving hand-eye coordination. They’re textured, too, so as to provide tactile and visual sensory input. Stack, build, and assemble the foam pieces with friends and family to improve social skills.

3. Tot’s First Chunky Pegs


Again, here’s a puzzle that’s made to help your child develop motor skills and hand-eye coordination. This 20-piece set is designed for tots 12-months old and up to stack, sort, match, and build away with the chunky pegs and pegboard.

4. Edushape Play Mat


Now here’s a cool concept: use six-by-six foam alpha-numerical puzzle pieces to get your little darling’s logic, reasoning, and motor skills running AND build a fort! With 36 pieces to play with in total, it’ll be easy for your sweetie to get lost in a little world of numbers, letters, and learning. Creating a whimsical box full of fun, this colorful, soft, easy-to-clean floor mat has endless learning possibilities, not to mention it’s also a great insulator for cold floors. Once assembled, the mat is 72”x72” big and is perfect for designating a specific play area in the home.

5. First Puzzle – Fun Forrest


This large foam puzzle has 10 pieces that are easy to grip so they work wonderfully with little fingers. While building self-esteem, this puzzle also encourages hand-eye coordination and visual sensory development and improves motor skills, cognition, logic and reasoning. And when joined by friends and family, it can also do wonders for your child’s social skills. Did we mention it features all of your favorite forest creatures?



What will be your kid’s first or next adventure in the wonderful world of puzzles? Leave us a comment or drop by our Facebook page to tell us all about it!


Alison is a mid-thirties mum to two children, Little Man and Wee Girl. Wee Girl is pre-verbal and has autism, while Little Man is the sort of happy chatty little guy who gets into everything and sings at the top of his lungs — until the moment he makes eye contact with a stranger and he goes silent. Alison is cynical, sweary, and a bit disorganised, and she blogs about parenting, ASD, food and just about anything else she can think of. Read the original post here.

Baking Tips - Special Needs Essentials

“We’re making lemon and lime muffins in this post, the recipe for which can be found here.

Wee Girl is fascinated by cooking. When I make scrambled eggs for lunch she insists on pushing the stool up to the side so that she can help stir. Same thing with making coffee, wiping down tables — all these things that she sees us doing every day and wants to be able to do herself.

This independence is fantastic and something which we want to encourage. One thing I try to do is bake with her. I don’t do it as often as I should, but we’re starting to get back into it now, and soon I’m going to be trying to cook more savoury recipes with her helping, such as pizza.

Because believe it or not there’s only so much cake a person can eat.

Cooking with your child can be brilliant for building speech and language because not only is it teaching them vital life skills (everyone needs to be able to bake, right?), it also involves following simple instructions. (“Can you tip this bowl of flour in there, please? Thank you!”) Cake can be an astonishingly effective motivator.

Part of what stops me from baking with Wee Girl is how complicated a lot of recipes are. Particularly cupcakes. Having to cream butter and sugar or beat the mixture isn’t doable because she doesn’t like the noise the mixer makes, and there’s no way I’m going to beat the mixture by hand.

Here are a some tips based on my experiences and what has so far worked for us.

Baking tips - Special Needs Essentials1.) Make muffins, not cupcakes. Muffins are perfect for cooking with kids. No beating needed; all you do is dump the wet ingredients into the dry, give them a cursory mix and start spooning them into the cases. There’s also no need to worry about the additional step of icing; when they’re done, they’re done.

2.) Don’t cook in the kitchen. Use a low table which helps your child to engage. I usually do this in the living room, which means carting all the ingredients and equipment from room to room. Yes, this is a pain in the backside, but a low table means that you can sit opposite your child, making it easier to communicate than it would be if you were both standing at a kitchen counter.

Baking tips - Special Needs Essentials3. ) Pick a recipe that’s easy, without too many ingredients, but not too simplistic. This means thinking about your child’s attention span and how long they will engage for before they lose interest. Bear in mind that the fewer ingredients you use, the less you will have to cart from the kitchen to the living room. Having to nip back to get a few things means more likelihood of your child tipping half the bag of flour into the bowl while you’re away. Or smashing all the eggs on the floor.

4.) Read the recipe through and do any necessary prep. Try and do as much as you can at the table, bearing in mind your child’s attention span. Weighing and measuring, etc, is a fairly vital part of the recipe, so it would be a shame to do this hidden away in the kitchen.

Baking tips - Special Needs Essentials5.) Be prepared for your culinary creations to be… well, not necessarily something you’d like to eat. Think of it as a sensory activity for your child, rather than  a culinary one. There will be double-dipping (which I couldn’t give a monkeys about, but I know not everyone feels the same way). There will he hands stuck into flour. There is a high likelihood of snot. Yes, in theory you’ve both washed your hands beforehand. But that doesn’t account for nosepicking afterwards, does it? So it’s fine if the thought of actually biting into those lovingly made muffins turns your stomach. They are for the kids, after all. And they make a wonderful treat for unwitting husbands: just don’t tell them about the snot.

6.) Make cleaning up part of the activity. Yes, there will be mess. Yes, it’s a pain in the backside. If you’re lucky you might get away with handing your child a cloth and leaving them to wipe the table, but we all know the soul-sapping bit is putting the ingredients away.

Baking tips - Special Needs Essentials7.) Be patient. Try again. Your child might not be all that interested at first. Maybe they’ll lose interest half way through or refuse to do anything to help. That’s okay. Try again. Try a few times. One thing I have learned with my own daughter is that just because she doesn’t look like she’s paying attention, it doesn’t mean that she’s not paying attention. And hey, even if it doesn’t work, who cares?

You have cake!


Special Needs Essentials extra tip: if you child has trouble grasping utensils, try this weighted soup spoon.

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