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.