Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Christmas Tree is up!!

Last night we finally put up a small christmas tree on our windowsill and hopefully we have found a compromise for everyone.  Ludo, our puppy can't reach it, so is unable to pull it over or eat the decorations.  Our two older children are satisfied that a tree is in place for their presents to be put underneath and our youngest son has a smile on his face as 'a small tree makes me happy, but a big tree makes me angry'.

It was wonderful to see the three of them working together and putting the decorations on the tree.  This may be a huge step forward as it is the first year that there are just christmas decorations on it.  Previously we have had soft toys and boxer shorts!!  Who knows what will happen next year.

Merry Christmas to everyone and remember, it is important to do what makes you happy as a family, not what is expected by everyone.

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Tis the season to be tired, ill and stressed!!

Don’t get me wrong I love Christmas and have since I was a child, but unfortunately this time of year no longer seems to agree with our family.  For the past few years, I have crashed at this point due to a build up of viruses taking their toll on my body.  This year, it is the turn of our youngest son, who has been on a nebuliser twice since Thursday, is now starting his second lot of antibiotics and appears to be in a constant state of anxiety.

Things that he can normally cope with doing like going to have his hair cut are causing him a heightened level of stress.  He is digging his heels in far more often than normal about not wanting to do things.  In his words, ‘life is not normal’ and he wants things to resume a normal pattern as soon as possible. 

Fortunately, the stress of performing in his class Christmas play has been removed this year and instead of rehearsing he has been doing a project on pets, which he is enjoying due to the recent arrival of our puppy, Ludo. 

Putting up our Christmas tree has not been discussed yet – it doesn’t normally occur until the kids have begun the school holidays, but with Ludo chewing everything in sight, it is unlikely that a tree will go up this year.  I don’t think I can take the stress of removing an ornament/tree branch from Ludo’s mouth every few seconds of the day!  We may compromise and have a small tree on the large bay window sill we have in the living room, so that our other two children are happy that something is up.  They are concerned there will be nothing for their presents to be put under!!  Our daughter has had a Christmas tree in her bedroom since the end of November and is a good way to ensure her youngest brother does not enter her room.

Visually, our youngest son is getting a lot of pleasure from the Christmas lights that are being adorned on people’s homes and loves to take a drive in the dark to see the lights.  It would be a different story if they were in our home, as he would not like the change to the outside of our house, but he is happy to see other houses lit up, which is a step forward.

Each year we will make small steps like this and although we may not have a conventional family Christmas – we don’t have people visit over Christmas, our youngest son prefers not to have his presents wrapped up, presents are spread over a few days, rather than all being given on Christmas Day, Christmas dinner will consist of whatever everyone will eat, rather than conforming to turkey – we are happy and slowly building up our own family Christmas traditions.  As long as our three children have a smile on their faces and enjoy Christmas in their way, we can’t ask for more as parents.  

Do what works for you as a family, rather than doing what you think the world expects you to do.

Monday, 1 December 2014

The Lego Show

A birthday treat for our eldest son was a trip to the Lego Show on Saturday at the Excel Centre in London.  It is rare for me to spend a whole day with him, as like many families with special needs children, we have limited people we can call on to babysit.  Therefore, we have to juggle the activities of all three kids and find some time where either my husband or I can take one child out on their own for some quality time.  We feel it is important to have 1:1 time with each child, as well as spending time together as a family.

Saturday gave our eldest son the chance to relax without worrying about the demands of his ASD siblings.  It didn’t matter that the train and tubes were busy, as he could cope with standing up and being in close proximity to others.  Queuing for 45 minutes to get inside the Lego Show (and that’s with tickets that we had already bought!!) didn’t faze him, as he was happy to chat to pass the time.  When we had finished in the show, we decided to be spontaneous and go sightseeing.  These may all seem little things, but they are not easy to achieve when we all go out as a family as we need to prepare our ASD children for what we will do during the day.  From a sensory perspective, a day at the Lego show could cause them sensory overload with the volume of people, noise, people brushing past them in queues, visual distractions etc. 

After a day of looking at fantastic Lego constructions and seeing what was on offer at the various stands, our son came away very happy with his Ninjago Lego kits and Lego Xbox games.  I had hoped to buy some Harry Potter Lego, as it’s hard to come by these days.  I thought I had hit jackpot when I found a small box on a stand with Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy figures on their broomsticks.  I queried the price as the box had been opened and was shocked when I was told it was £45!! 

Instead of buying the Lego, I’m going to use the money to go on another day out and enjoy some quality time.  After the success of Saturday, I’ve set myself the goal of once a month, I will find time to have some 1:1 time with each of our children, as well as a day out all together.  It will need some careful planning to suit everyone’s needs, but seeing the pleasure on their faces like I did with my son on Saturday will make the effort more than worth it.  I want our children to have fond memories of spending quality time as a family, like I have of my childhood.  It doesn't have to cost a fortune either, what is more important is the time and attention you give your children.

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Sharing our Experiences

The Early Years Support Team from our local area asked me a couple of months ago to do a talk to a group of newly diagnosed parents of children with ASD.  I attended a course like this 3 years ago and know how much I learnt from it, so was pleased to be able to have the chance to use our knowledge to help others. 

This morning I was apprehensive about doing my presentation but two hours later after giving my talk and being asked lots of questions, I came away beaming as felt I had given something back to a group of people who are just beginning their journey.

By no means do I have knowledge to be able to give the answers to all difficulties that families are facing, but I can share our experiences and point people in the right direction of where to seek further support. 

Most of the advice that we have been given of ideas of what may work for our Autistic children have come from other families who are in the same situation and we are still learning as a family.  As our children approach different milestones in their development, we come across new areas where we need support, so our journey with family life with ASD is a continual learning curve.  By sharing experiences we are helping others and in turn will learn new things from other families who are further ahead in their journey of living with ASD.

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Dressing up is not for everyone

Our local schools asked children to dress up as superheroes or people who are their heroes for the day to celebrate Children in Need.

Thursday evening our house was full of stress as our youngest son is not a fan of dressing up, however as he has a Superman onesie I thought he would be happy to wear that.  I was wrong and we went through a number of different outfits until he decided that he would wear a rugby top and tracksuit bottoms and go to school as his brother, who is his hero.  He went to bed in his clothes to make life easier in the morning and I thought everything was fine.

He woke up Friday morning struggling to breathe.  He has asthma and after giving him his inhaler I thought he would be ok.  Instead he kept saying that it hurt when he was breathing and he sounded very wheezy.  I took him to the doctors as a precaution as he has been on a nebuliser this year and had to have strong medicine to help with flare ups of his asthma.  

His chest sounded clear at the doctors, but as soon as school was mentioned and dressing up, it was clear to see the anxiety levels rising inside him, which were affecting his breathing pattern.  

Dressing up is a treat for some children and they enjoy the experience, others like our son are not comfortable with the whole situation.  Although we had told him he could wear his school clothes or anything else he wanted to, he kept focussing on the main point he had heard at school about being a superhero for the day.  ASD children tend to focus on one thing, rather than looking at the whole picture. Therefore, in his eyes if he wasn't a superhero, he would be in trouble when he got to school.  He is very literal in his interpretation and sees life in black and white. He didn't feel comfortable going to school as a superhero as that isn't what he would normally wear to school.  As he gets older, he will hopefully find days like this easier to manage.  

Our daughter who also has ASD was happy to go to school as Wonder Woman. However, this is probably the first year and she is now Y7, where it has not taken her hours to decide what costume to wear and for her to not be worried about what she is wearing.

Please have some understanding for children who find days that are different from the normal school routine hard to deal with.  What may seem as fun for some children, can be the end of the world for others who live by structure and routine and find change hard to embrace.

Power of Flippers

During the sensory processing course I attended this week, someone suggested our youngest son would benefit from wearing flippers when he is swimming.  He has a tendency to let his legs slump in the pool, so that he is at a 90 degree angle and although he tries hard to get his legs pumping hard and does get across the pool, he uses up a lot of strength to swim that way.  He has an underactive proprioceptive system, which means he struggles to know the position of his body, therefore when he is in a mass of water like a swimming pool, he cannot feel his legs.  By wearing flippers, he would regain some awareness in his feet. 

At his lesson on Friday, he wore flippers for the first time and his instructor was stunned by the transformation as he powered across the pool throughout the whole lesson.  The more he practises like this, the sensations will filter into his proprioceptive system and in time he will be able to use his legs on their own to swim as he will know what it is meant to feel like.

Sunday, 9 November 2014


I have loved fireworks since childhood and always went to the annual display at our local park. I have never been able to share this experience with our kids as they aren't keen on the noise or volume of people in the crowd. 

Last night our daughter asked to go to see fireworks. We took a friend from school with us, which was fine as we had planned this.  When she saw someone else from her class at the display, this completely threw her, as she hadn't been prepared for this to happen.  It stopped her going over to a stall to buy candy floss as they were standing close by and she didn't want to make eye contact with them or speak to them.  

Our daughter found the waiting around for the fireworks to start, difficult to do and she wasn't keen on how close people stand to get a good view. To overcome this she spent the whole time talking loudly during the display.  The noise of the fireworks didn't bother her and she wants to go back next year, as she enjoyed the visual attraction of the fireworks.  Maybe next year I'll be able to encourage one of our sons to go as well.

No TV Allowed

The kids were not happy with this decision but due to bad behaviour the day before, TV was not allowed on after school on Friday. This, initially, was met with a lot of protests but when the kids got home they did their homework straightaway then played a variety of board games. They devised an assault course in the living room and spent time chatting with one another, rather than arguing about what they wanted to watch on TV. You can guarantee that normally they want to watch 3 different programmes which causes a dispute in itself.

Instead calm reigned in our house and it was wonderful to see the 3 children working together as a team and finding something to do that they all enjoy and rediscovering toys they had forgotten about. 

I'm guilty of using the convenience of the TV or a DVD for the kids to watch so that I can get on with something else, but after our experience on Friday, I would be happy to go with a TV free zone after school every night.  I think this might be met with some resistance, however, I'm hoping that Friday has shown the kids that there is so much more to do with their time and they can have fun at the same time. 

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Ludo's First Week

3am wake up calls, worms and howling have not been the highlights of the past week, but definitely formed a big part of it!!  Fingers crossed we have made a breakthrough with Ludo’s sleeping pattern as he has slept the past two nights from 11pm until 6am and the howling when we put him in his crate at night has reduced from ten minutes to a couple of minutes.  We are making progress.

Worms are not a pleasant sight but something that all puppies have and if you happen to see long spaghetti strands in your puppy’s poo, you have had an unlucky but pretty normal experience.  Fortunately this only lasted a couple of days for Ludo and he is fighting fit again.  

Our daughter, who is a perfectionist is miffed that she has not accomplished her training programme of Ludo learning to sit, stay and roll over in week one, but he has learnt the sit command and went to his first puppy training session tonight. Ludo was the smallest dog there, as most were 6 months or older, but he held his own and even managed the agility course.  Now that he has done this, our daughter has planned a doggy dance routine for Ludo to learn.  She is reading a book about Pudsey the dog that won Britain’s Got Talent, so Ludo has a lot to live up to!!  

Our youngest son has found a fantastic use for clicking his tongue, which is a habit he does regularly when anxious.  Ludo is a reluctant walker at the moment, as he gets used to the big wide world, but if our youngest son clicks his tongue, Ludo comes trotting along, rather than sitting down and refusing to budge.  Ludo is becoming a fabulous tool to help our youngest son - he has read his school book to him this week, which is something he hates to do at home and he sat and stroked him tonight to calm himself down from the brink of a meltdown. It is early days but so far it is looking good.

Friday, 24 October 2014

Sensory Play Workshop

Last night I attended a sensory play workshop hosted by The Avenue (www.theavenuesupport.co.uk) with Wendy Usher from The Play Doctors (www.theplaydoctors.co.uk) running the training.  Wendy has a fabulous job creating sensory play ideas for children, parents, teaching staff etc to use at home and in school.  It is clear to see how much she loves what she does and her training session was motivating to listen to.  I have come away with an array of ideas to try and my mind is buzzing with projects I want to explore over the half term holiday.  Although this could prove to be difficult with our puppy Ludo, currently trying to chew everything within his reach!

Who would have thought that by putting chocolate cellophane wrappers inside a clear cellophane bag like you use to put handmade cards in, would offer different experiences for a child.  As well as being visually attractive and could be hung on a child’s window, so that the light reflecting through it can change the colours, it is very tactile and makes a lovely rustling sound.  I’m definitely going to make one and it’s a good excuse to buy and eat a tub of Christmas chocolates that are currently stocked in the supermarkets!

If you place different materials inside a balloon e.g. rice/waterbeads/small stretchy toy, you can have a game of catch and listen to the various noises that each object makes.  They can be used as musical instruments or a way to get your child’s attention, as they will respond to the sound they make.  We all did last night when Wendy used a variety of homemade noise makers to alert us, that it was time to move onto the next item.

Wendy has thousands of ideas that are easy to replicate at home and can be used with objects you generally already have or they are not expensive to buy.  The message that we took away from last night's workshop was that the most important aspect of sensory play is that you are having fun with your child and they are leading the play.  If the end result is not what you had planned it doesn’t matter, as the experience you have shared together is what counts.  

Go and have some sensory fun during the half term break.

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Puppy Love

Yesterday a 9 week old Irish Terrier became part of our family unit and life may never be the same again!!

Our children have named him Ludo – it is the one board game that they all play together and so has a special association to them.  We wanted a name that meant something to all three children and it has taken a lot of suggestions from Ruckley (our eldest son plays rugby and is learning to ruck at the moment) to Scrabble (our daughter loves this game) before we settled on Ludo.

The first 24 hours of Ludo’s life with us has been a whirlwind.  He arrived at 6.30pm last night after my husband had driven a 5 hour round trip to collect him.  It was not ideal timing as our youngest son has his swimming lesson at 7pm on a Friday, so I went out with all 3 kids before 6.30pm to ensure they all met Ludo at home at the same time, rather than our two eldest children getting to spend some time with him before our youngest son came home from swimming.  I’ve never seen such a determined face on our youngest son during his swimming lesson as I did last night, he did everything he was told to so that the lesson could finish on time and we could drive home. 

Ludo was quiet and nervous when we walked in the door.  I had told the kids to be quiet so they didn’t scare Ludo – not an easy task for 3 excited children.  All they wanted to do was scream and shout as they finally had Ludo at home with them.  Our youngest son has been marking off his countdown chart each day for the past two weeks, since we chose Ludo and had a huge smile on his face when he walked in the door.

The children went out in the garden to play with Ludo.  He was more interested in exploring the flower beds and trying to jump up on the trampoline.  He seems to have a fetish for feet and wanted to nibble our daughter’s shoes.  She screamed and started to run around the trampoline which Ludo thought was an exciting game and so he ran faster to catch up with her!

When we decided to put Ludo to bed in his crate, so that he could go to sleep after his stressful day, the children went up to their beds without any fuss.  Something that can be unheard of in our house – they must have listened to my social story of telling them that they need to be upstairs before Ludo is put to bed.  Although we had prepared them that Ludo would cry, as he would be missing his mum and siblings, we hadn’t mentioned he might howl.  They were all distressed at the noise Ludo made when he was put in his crate and wanted to rush downstairs to see what was wrong and thought I was being very harsh when I said we must leave him on his own.  They paced up and down the landing for 10 minutes until quietness fell and Ludo had gone to sleep.  When he started howling again at 4am to say he had been to the toilet, no one heard him but me!!

Today our eldest son decided a trip to Pets at Home was in order, as Ludo did not have enough toys.  He’s going to need his own toy box at this rate!!  The rest of the day has been spent playing with Ludo in the garden, telling him to go to the toilet to avoid too many accidents happening indoors and this afternoon the children built an assault course in the garden comprising of a skateboard ramp for Ludo to launch himself into a paddling pool and posts to weave in and out of on the grass.  They have decided amongst themselves that today has been day one of Ludo’s training to be the next winner of Britain’s Got Talent, just like Pudsey the dog did a couple of years ago.  The fact that Ludo is still learning his name, has no idea what the commands ‘sit’ or ‘stay’ mean does not matter.  In their eyes, he is going to be a national treasure next year and they will get the chance to appear on tv.   Although our youngest son has made it clear that he will be standing in the wings, as he does not like any attention on him. 

Tonight they have sat down and written a training programme, as well as a set of ‘Ludo Rules’ just like we have ‘Family Rules’.

Dogs are said to be calming for children with Autism and maybe Ludo will prove to have this effect.  He should give us the chance to go out and do things as a family as we can all take Ludo for a walk.  We will take each day as it comes but so far it is a positive start.  Our three children are working as a team, which is not a mean feat in our house with two ASD children, who generally want things on their terms. 

Monday, 6 October 2014

I presented a Sensory Talk!!

Anyone who knows me well, will realise that I'm not someone to sing my praises, but tonight I am proud of what I have achieved.  I have given a talk to a group of parents about our experiences as a family of Sensory Processing Disorder and the ways that we have worked to overcome the challenges that this presents to family life.

My nerves kicked in whilst I was talking, but it didn't stop me from carrying on.  It became quite an interactive session with people asking questions and I actually enjoyed that part of the talk.  I like being able to share my knowledge and hope that some of our experiences will help others.  

The fact that I got through the whole talk and people wanted to talk to me afterwards to share experiences has left me buzzing with excitement.  After not being able to sleep for the past few days due to worry about getting through the talk, I think I will have another sleepless night, but this time it will be for a good reason!

Tomorrow I will be working at my volunteer role.  I'm helping at a Sensory Exhibition for The Avenue and there will be a wealth of information, toys and equipment on display for the public and professionals to see.  If you are local to Central Bedfordshire, come down and explore the exhibition.  It is running from 10.30am - 5pm at the Pentecostal Church, Crab Lane, Biggleswade, SG18 0LN.

If someone catches me on a good day, who knows, maybe I will agree to do the talk again!  It can only get better each time I do it.

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Sensory Awareness Month

October is Sensory Awareness Month and this is something that I feel strongly about promoting as I had little awareness of what this meant until our two ASD children were diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder in 2012.  

The way that your body responds to the different senses has a huge impact on how you cope with life and can interfere with how a child learns at school, how they communicate, eating and sleep habits to name but a few things. 

When you see a child having a tantrum, it may not be because they are being naughty.  Instead they could be reacting to the crowds of people and the noise they are making, they may not like the bright lights or visually distracting displays or people could be too close to their personal space and it is causing them discomfort.  
I was stopped on a daily basis by complete strangers when our youngest son was a toddler and asked why he was screaming the place down.  At the time I didn't know he had Autism and had never heard of Sensory Processing Disorder.  All these people did was make me think I had a child who was prone to temper tantrums and I was doing something wrong as I could not stop him from screaming.  Instead he was suffering with internal turmoil, as he couldn't communicate his needs to me and he was either having a hyper or hypo sensitive reaction to his senses and needed help so that he could cope with the situation.

I never assume now when a child is in the midst of a temper tantrum that it is due to bad behaviour.  They could also be trying to express the pain they are feeling like our two ASD children.  Fortunately through an Occupational Therapy assessment and lots of personal research, I have found ways to help our children.  It has been a long journey and sometimes they still go into sensory overload, but we have come such a long way from when I was stopped everyday about my son's behaviour.

Thursday, 18 September 2014

97 Sleeps to Christmas!!

I had really hoped I would avoid knowing how many sleeps there are before Christmas until we were much closer to December. Unfortunately, I have not been so lucky and our youngest son is already asking for a countdown chart, which I have refused to do until our other son celebrates his birthday in November.  I also don't want to add to the anxiety of our youngest son who is not a big fan of Christmas and the more he thinks about it, the worse he anxiety develops.  

He is already asking if he has to take part in the Christmas Play at school, as he does not like being the centre of attention and standing up in front of people.  Even going into the shops will start to prove a problem, as there are Christmas items creeping into the aisles.  

This week's question has been why does Father Christmas have presents in his sleigh as he should have money instead, as you don't need to wrap it up.  This is due to our youngest son not liking his presents wrapped up.  I can see the logic in his thinking, as it suits the way he feels about Christmas, but our other children are not so happy as they want presents!!  

It could be a rocky few weeks getting to Christmas with lots of tantrums, meltdowns and sensory overload, but fingers crossed the subject will not arise again until we get to at least 50 sleeps.  I can live in hope anyway!!

Disappearing Cellotape!!

We can always tell that our youngest son is stressed when our cellotape disappears. He spent last night wrapping a whole roll of cellotape around a scrunched up piece of paper. He finds it to be a great way to calm down and it is good that at the age of six he is developing strategies to alleviate his anxieties. It also means I need to make a trip to Poundland and stock up on cellotape as I guarantee that when I need it there will be none in sight!!

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Homework Stresses

It's week two of returning to school after the summer holidays and the stress is starting to show. Last week I was surprised as to how calm our daughter was about entering Year 7. It seemed too good to be true and now the bubble seems to have burst with huge meltdowns occurring each night and refusal to go to bed until late. Homework is the root of the problem as our daughter is now getting two pieces every night. The work is well within her capability but she struggles with prioritising which one should be done first and then tries to do them all at the same time, which results in nothing getting done.

We appear to have reached a compromise and I have got her to write each subject on the blackboard in her room with the date the homework is due next to it. I'm hoping that now she can see it visually in one place she can work out which subject needs to be handed in first and can concentrate on that.  We will see how this plan goes over the next week or so.  If it doesn't work, I'll have to think of another strategy.  We will get there in the end though!

Monday, 1 September 2014

End of the Holidays

The summer holidays seem to have whizzed by far too quickly again and tomorrow the new school year begins.  It’s going to be a tough week in our household with changes for all three kids.

Our daughter begins Year 7 and their daily structure has changed with five one hour long lessons, rather than six 50 minute ones and break and lunch time are now later.  She also has to get used to the fact that one of her brothers is joining her at school.  Their paths shouldn’t cross too much apart from when I drop them off and pick them up each day, but it is an added stress for her to deal with.  She likes to keep home and school life very separate and when they were both at lower school, teachers remarked that you wouldn’t have known they were siblings, as our daughter avoided her brother with the widest berth possible!!

Our eldest son begins his journey in Middle School and although he comes across as the most confident of the three children, he is nervous about starting somewhere new.  He will soon find his feet though and he’s lucky to have two close friends with him in his new class that he has known since nursery school.

Our youngest son starts Year 2 tomorrow and has the hardest task as he has a new teacher, new 1:1, two new TAS who work in the classroom and a new dinner lady to get used to.  Plus he is upset that his brother will no longer be around at school – they used to play at lunch time and break and were often seen to give each other a hug or a beaming smile to one another.  It is such a contrast to the relationship our daughter has with our eldest son at school.

Hopefully, all three children will soon settle into their new routines.  If I expect the worst this week, it can only get better!!  Good luck to all of you out there who will go through similar experiences this week.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Simple Childhood Pleasures

I read an article today about how the most memorable childhood experiences are often the simple pleasures in life, like eating fish and chips at the seaside, fossil hunting, watching the stars at night etc.

We experienced this last week whilst camping for 5 days. We were only 10 miles from home but it felt as if we were in the depths of the countryside. The campsite was a huge field with a play area, a shop and showers. I won't go camping unless I can have a shower each day!! Our children were happy to fly a kite, kick a football, go on the playground, run up and down the skateboard ramp, toast marshmallows over the bbq each night, as well as a daily visit to the shop for some penny sweets. Our youngest son made a request one day to be wrapped up as a 'Mummy' in toilet roll.  He said it was something he had always wanted to do and I think he enjoyed being tightly wrapped up as it helped with his sensory processing as he likes to be hugged tightly.

Sometimes we all think our children need lots of toys and electrical devices like iPads, DS, computer games etc to be happy, but then a trip away like we had last week reminds us that it is just as important for children to have free play to enjoy the environment around them and they will find ways to have fun without having a whole toy cupboard to choose from.

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Helping to control a child's anger

When children have ASD, you may notice that they fly into a rage more often than your ‘neurotypical’ child and it can take longer to calm them down.  Over the past few years, our children have learnt different ways to deal with their anger – they don’t always work and some take longer than others to take effect.  I’m always reading articles or tips from other parents to see if I can find other ways to help them.  I came across the following article on the internet:

I found it to be an interesting read and my youngest son has now made his own angry basket, which has various tools inside it to help him keep calm.  These include bubble wrap for him to either jump up and down on or to squeeze, cloud dough (the squeezing motion helps to release his anger), loom bands (he finds these relaxing to do), a sensory waterbead bottle I’ve made at home, which he likes to shake and watch and a paper boat.  You may ask what is a paper boat for?  When I read the article, one suggestion to help your child to regulate their breathing pattern when they become angry is for them to lie down and place a paper boat on their stomach.  They are asked to imagine that their stomach is the ocean and as they breathe deeply, they make the boat bob up and down on the water.  Our son has adapted this story and likes to watch the boat rising up and down on him and concentrate so that the boat doesn’t capsize and fall off of him.  It’s amazing how something so simple can calm him down. 

The angry basket is close at hand in our living room and our son knows he needs to take it to a beanbag that he has designated as his quiet area and use the tools inside to make him feel calm again.  So far it is having a positive impact on him.  It won’t work for everyone, but it’s worth a go if your child struggles with controlling their anger and by involving them in what goes inside the basket, you are letting them take charge of how to help themselves.