Saturday, July 11, 2015

Ben’s School Daze - A story of being overwhelmed in a sensory world

We, Mr L and I, were asked to review the new book called Ben’s School Daze.  The book is written by Magnetic Moves Co-Directors, Robyn Sims and Joanne Larcom. 

The children’s book is about Ben, a lively and active boy, who finds the sensory experiences within his day to be overwhelming.  From not wanting to brush his hair, putting shoes and socks on, the loud and noisy trip to school, the school playground, in the classroom and getting home from his school day.   ‘Loud noises vibrate through is body and “shoes and socks bother him… they never feel just right”. This can make it hard for Ben to be a good student.  But don’t worry, his teacher and mum know what to do to help him through his day.’

Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) can exist on its own or in conjunction with other childhood development and behavioural disorders, like Autism.  The book has pages on ideas for using the book as a teaching tool for children, parents and teachers, with discussions you can incorporate in a classroom group or one on one with the child.  It also has a section on what is SPD, what you can do to help, Classroom and School concepts and a short list of useful websites. 

After finishing reading the book, I asked Mr L what his thoughts were about Ben.   Mr L said “Ben sounds just like me when I was in early Primary School – wish I had this book back then to take to school for the teacher to read to the class”.  The wonderful book is written in a way that children with SPD feel like they are not alone.  From a parent’s perspective – I could totally understand what Ben was going through as Mr L had a lot of the same sensory experiences when he was younger.  Mr L has come a long way, through many hours of therapy, courses and great resources like this book.  Mr L still hates tags on his clothes, certain clothing materials, loud noises, horrid smells and will still only brush his hair with a soft baby hairbrush as normal hairbrushes hurt his head. 

We love this book as it is simply written in a way children will understand and the illustrations that go with the story as real life examples of what SPD feels/looks like.  This book is a valuable resource for both children (with or without sensory issues), parents and teachers to get an understanding of the daily challenges children with SPD go through  and simple strategies to help children like Ben get through the day and make things smoother for the child and their  family. 

The authors, Robyn Sims is a paediatric occupational therapist and Joanne Larcom is a mother of a child who has sensory processing challenges so the book has been written by two people who understand SPD and the daily challenges children and families face.  The book is beautifully illustrated by Helen Devenish who has been painting and creating beautiful art for over 30 years. 

Ben’s School Daze book will be launched on July 19th 2015, and for those readers who are in Brisbane or South East Queensland, Magnetic Moves, are having a free fun family afternoon with fun activities, book reading and signing, afternoon tea and sausage sizzle from 3pm to 5pm at Splitz Gym, 79 Jijaws St, Sumner Park.  You can purchase Ben’s School Daze on the day and 10% of books sold will be donated to Children’s Safety Australia.

For more information on Magnetic Moves and their sensory processing tools visit:

For more information on Sensory Processing Disorder visit:

The Toy Bug will be stocking Ben's School Daze soon!

Until next time - Keep Smiling!

Saturday, June 27, 2015

LAST DAYS! 40% off Storewide Sale


 The Toy Bug

Lots of Goodies have been flying out the door this past week with our never seen before Huge EOFY sale!  
A wonderful way to grab that Birthday gift for someone special, therapy items, items for school holidays fun or to start your Christmas shopping at bargain prices! 
Place the code EOFY40 in the coupon section at checkout!  Cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer and excludes postage and the purchase of Gift Vouchers.  
 But get in quick as the sale code expires at midnight on Tuesday 30th June 2015. 

Happy Shopping and below are some gorgeous items that are still waiting to be snapped up!

Cheers Jo :)

Learn to Dress Kitty - with 40% sale code comes down to $35.97 - ONLY 1 LEFT!

Kimochis Huggtopus - with 40% sale code comes down to $29.97 - ONLY 2 LEFT!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Hitting The Highlights – Our Top Posts

We have shared a lot of information with you here over the years, and we hope it has been helpful to you in some way.

Today I want to share with you some of our top posts, the ones we love and the ones you have loved.  It’s a trip down memory lane but it’s also the building of a set of great resource links all on one page.

Recently our article on Insensitive Questions hit a nerve.  We know that our child is different but we don’t need your sympathy, your questions or your well-meaning but ineffective advice. This post helps you learn how to cope with these situations without blowing your top.

5 Ways to Keep Your Kids Positive About Life really appealed to some of our readers.  In a world that can sometimes suck you down, staying positive will help you help your child to see the good things in life.

When a child enters puberty, life as you know it goes right out the door.  If your child is on the autism spectrum, the time of change may be even more difficult.  In this article we tackled the subject head on with some guidelines to help you and your child.

The View from a Wheelchair talks about the problems that children with mobility aids have to face in society, and discusses the etiquette of interacting with someone in a wheelchair. What should be common sense and courtesy seems to be blinded by the aid, but our post was designed to help people overcome their “I don’t know what to do” feelings.

We’ve shared ideas for sensory play and indoor and outdoor games.  We’ve shared our great finds and discoveries, and we’ve shared stories about our wonderful products.

We hope you have enjoyed reading the blog as much as we have enjoyed writing it. 

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Asperger's And The Sensory Funnel

This is a great clip.  A young man with Asperger’s explains why we are approaching Asperger Syndrome (AS) from the wrong end.

Danny, diagnosed with Asperger’s when he was just 12, explains the radically different approach to dealing with the daily issues that people with Asperger’s face.

If you take a "bottom up" approach to dealing with AS issues, starting with the sensory, then working up, the "top stuff" of emotions, social skills, and Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) tend to work themselves out.

His explanation of the way people with Asperger’s live in the world, and the way they experience, is very clear. Understanding that, his approach to managing it makes complete sense.  He starts by tackling the sensory issues, allowing the rest of the funnel to take care of itself.

Watch the video and if it makes sense to you, take a look at Danny’s website, Asperger Experts and browse through the blog posts.  There is a wealth of alternative information there that may be useful to you.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Picky Eaters

Children on the autism spectrum are often picky eaters.

They can be very sensitive to the texture and feel of certain foods, which makes it hard to cook a regular family meal each evening.

Instead of driving yourself crazy trying to get your child to eat the food that everyone else in the family is eating, it’s easier to look for alternatives which are nutritious and won’t upset your child.
You may have to look at meals differently. Not everyone likes to eat a meal at dinner time. Some of us prefer to nibble or graze during the day. Your child may be one of them, and that gives you a great opportunity to experiment with finger foods and nibbles.

It’s also a handy way to introduce new flavours, foods and textures without having a full scale food assault happening.

Here are some clever ways to feed your fussy eater that we’ve spotted around the internet.

1. Chopped fresh fruit and vegies in assorted colours. Serve with a dip so your child can explore touch as well as taste.

2. Macaroni And Cheese Muffins taste great and because they are cooked into a cake shape, your child won’t have to experience the slipperiness of loose macaroni slithering out of his or her fingers.

3. Chicken fingers like this Honey-Mustard Chicken Breast are great because they can easily be picked up and dipped or nibbled on while your child is wandering around or doing something else.  It’s food on the go that won’t make a mess.

4. Get some greens into them even if they hate the colour. Hide them in this clever Cherry Strawberry Smoothie – a sneaky way to get your greens into the fussiest child.

Take the pressure off yourself by looking at meals in a different way. You can still give your child healthy, nutritious food even if it isn’t served off a dinner plate and eaten at the dinner table!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Insensitive Questions

We’ve all experienced them, the snide remark, the well meaning but inappropriate advice, or the blatant insult. 

How strong we feel today affects how well we respond when someone gets it wrong.  We are often chronically sleep deprived.  We live with uncertainty, fear and worry about the future, coupled with even more mother guilt than usual.  Catch us on the wrong day and you might get an earful far worse than you expected, possibly deserved, but perhaps not very effective in educating or stopping it from happening again.  Preventing another parent or family member from feeling the same pain, by making the other person consider their words next time, is the best we can take from a poor situation.
So what are our options?
Start by remembering we all have our own battles, especially if the insensitive person is related to you.  They may not be able to express it, or feel like they don’t have the right, but your child’s diagnosis doesn’t only affect you.  Assume that insensitive remarks come from lack of understanding or education, or even fear, or grief, before you jump to conclusions and down their neck.  By acknowledging that those close to you have legitimate and understandable worry and sadness related to your child can make a huge difference to your response and give them an opportunity to open up.  You have your own struggles and the last thing you may want to hear is how sad they are, but if they love you and your child they will be hurting too.
Take the opportunity to educate and inform if you can, if not at the time but at a later date, when you have both stepped back from the situation and most importantly never discuss the incident in front of your child.  If the comments are from a family member and not isolated, it’s important to try to address each incident individually if possible, instead of waiting until you reach boiling point.  If it was a throw away comment or a rude and probing question from someone you are unlikely to meet again, try not to respond at all.  Are they really worth it and do you think you are going to make a difference?  Choose your battles, in all likelihood you have enough already.  Education is a good goal but so is self preservation.
Perhaps the question itself was ok but the terminology or timing was poor.  Not everyone is as educated in the most appropriate words or descriptions as chances are they are not as immersed in the life of your child as you are.  Sadly, as much as we like to assume the best, sometimes the hurt was intended and once again this is just as likely to be someone you know well.  Try not to give them the satisfaction of upsetting you and draining your energy, because this is probably exactly their goal.
As much as taking out your frustration on some ignorant person is tempting, especially if today was harder than usual, it’s really not worth it; you may feel better momentarily but you don’t need the added stress on a tough day and your loved one doesn’t need to see you lose control either.
"Learn to respect all kind of people.  Because everyone is fighting a battle on their own.  We all have our problems, bad sides and bad days.  But there is so much more behind it.  Behind me, behind you, behind everyone."
- Unknown

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Wind Up Toys For Fun and Sensory Play

What child is not entertained by a wind-up toy?  They are fun to play with.  I remember the feeling of control which the wind-up toys gives you.  It only goes when you allow it to, by giving it a good wind up and setting it free.

These toys are not just for fun.  They are excellent for developing your child’s motor skills and for sensory play.

Learning to turn the little key the right way with the right amount of strength takes practice but the little toy rewards your child’s efforts by moving or shaking.  The motion is a direct consequence of your child’s action.
Most toys make a little whirring sound as they wind down and, if picked up, your child will still feel the motion of the toy.
We stock a range of wind-up toys and each is priced below $5 so you can afford to keep a variety of different toys in your toy kit.
My favourite are the Wind Up Racing Ducks.  Simply wind up the cute ducks and laugh as they race in your bath or pool.  Which duck will win the race this time?
Another clever toy is the Wind Up Non Fall UFO.  The UFOs with alien driver slide across the table or floor.  They are very clever and will not fall as the UFO changes route whenever it reaches the edge or encounters an obstacle.  You never know which way the toy will go so your child learns to track and follow the little toy as it moves.
You might also like to look at the Wind Up Dinosaurs. I  love the way these ones move!  They are available in 4 styles – Stegosaurus, Triceratops, Diplodocus and T-Rex.

Choose a variety of wind-up toys to keep your child's attention and interest.
Welcome to The Toy Bug Blog!

Here you will find all sorts of useful information about The Toy Bug including sneak peeks at new products coming into the store, profiles on toys and information and stories about our Autism Journey.

We hope you'll check back often to see whats new :-)
Cheers Jo xo