Wednesday, February 26, 2014

5 Ways To Keep Your Kids Positive About Life

Life can sometimes bring you down, and kids are not really different to adults. Their priorities are different, and they don’t have the big stressors that adults have; mortgages, job insecurity and being 110% responsible for children, for example, but the world around them can get to them, too.

Whilst children tend to live in the moment, each of those moments can forge the direction they’re headed in life and whether they’ll take a positive or a negative outlook on life in general, and themselves specifically.

All is not lost and you can help kids to keep positive about life, particularly when things are seeming to drag them down and sadness is settling in.

1. Stay Positive

Model the behaviour you want your children to inherit.

They will notice how you handle situations and this will be their education when faced with the same or similar scenarios.

The way you speak about others, or situations in general, the emotions you give off and your behaviour in general; whether this is sitting, hunched and sad, or being proactive and productive and taking control, for example, will be what they learn and how they approach life.

Use positive language; ‘do’, ‘can’ as often as possible, and speak positively about what’s going on.

2. Find the Positive

Regardless of the situation, there is always a silver lining, a rainbow or a bright side. Sometimes, that silver lining is hidden deep within the dark clouds surrounding the situation, or it is difficult to attribute to a situation.

Look for the a positive, however small, or find a different way of looking at the situation. What is another perspective, how may someone else view the scenario? Or what can be learnt from what’s happening in your, or their, life right now?

3. Encourage

Keeping with the positive language, encouragement rather than condemnation or finding fault will help them stay positive.

Know it is okay to fail, and that many successful people have failed multiple times, gives them a positive outlook in a sad moment. Point out the things they did right, and the opportunities for learning, rather than stating them as failures.

4. Quit the Comparisons

It’s very easy to compare children with their siblings and peers, or even what you were like at that age.

It’s important, however, that children are recognised as individuals, with their own likes, dislikes and, in this case, talents. Most kids will be ‘average’ at most things, but all children will have something they either enjoy doing or are good at doing.

Usually, if they excel in one area, they may be just average in another; if they’re great at maths, for example, they may not be so great at P.E., and that’s okay.

Let them know this, remind them of those things they’re good at and that no one person is great at everything. Encourage and be positive.

5. Laugh

Laughter is not only the best medicine, but it is also great for the mind, body and soul.

Although some moments may be hard to deal with, finding a way to laugh at them will help. We can also get a bit caught up in it being taboo to laugh in some situations; but laughter will help deal with the situation much more easily, break the ice and allow for more open discussion and connection between people.

If nothing else, find every opportunity to laugh throughout your day, for no other reason than because you can.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Salt In The Wound - Misconceptions About ASD

For those of us with children along the autism spectrum, it is often a difficult task to navigate our local educational system and other sectors of society just to ensure that our children receive the support that they need as well as to make the most of the unique gifts and talents that they also possess.

Sometimes, it seems that one of the biggest challenges that we face is that we spend so much time and energy educating everyone about what autism spectrum disorders are and are not.

Whether it's the teachers, caregivers, well-meaning family members and friends, or society as a whole, we each have our own private mission, our own private battle, to educate and to explain. We do this so that our children and their peers can live in a better, more informed, more understanding world that supports each member in a positive, nurturing manner.

Dealing with the misinformation and negative stereotypes surrounding ASD is very frustrating, time consuming and draining, but it is a battle that we each must fight so that our children can receive the support that they need.
As a result, many groups have sprung up to help parents and others who have children and loved ones with a diagnosis of ASD. As expected, most of these groups have been very helpful and supportive to those of us who have loved ones with ASD. Most ASD groups are usually founded and composed of people just like us. It's comforting to have someone to listen to our frustrations, hopes, fears and dreams when that person knows how we feel because they've "been there."
So, one would naturally expect and assume that having "been" there themselves, all of these ASD support groups would automatically portray and represent children and grown-ups with ASD in a fair, balanced and positive light. After all, while having ASD has its unique challenges, it's not like having a terminal illness or a contagious, deadly disease. Children and adults with ASD are like others in the fact that they each have individual talents, individual strengths, individual gifts - they just need some specialised attention and assistance to make full use of them.
So, when those who are ignorant go out of their way to portray those with ASD in a highly negative light, as though having ASD is some great curse akin to having the bubonic plague or leprosy in the Dark Ages, it is very hurtful. What's even worse is when these hurtful remarks come from individuals or groups that should know better. It's akin to rubbing salt in a wound when those words come from "one of our own."
Recently, in an open letter written by Susanne Wright of Autism Speaks, Wright referred to  the "grave illness" of autism, and blamed a host of ills on ASD, saying it causes families to "split up," "go broke," and that families with those "afflicted" aren't really "living." Since this group claims to support ASD individuals and families, wouldn't you expect that she should know?
Of course, other ASD groups have come forward to condemn Wright's words. Some, even go so far as to suggest that those of us who have a moral compass should call for a boycott of the supporters of Autism Speaks. I am not going to tell others how to spend their money, but at the very least, as someone who has "been there," I will add my voice to others who are speaking out for our children and other loved ones with ASD. I encourage you to do the same. Living with someone with ASD has its challenges, certainly, but it also has its blessings. Blessings that are so perfect and pure that I would not trade my children, or my journey.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Disappearing Disability

“Seven years ago we were disabled.  Now we’re not.”

It sounds impossible, doesn’t it?  Yet those words were spoken by a boy with what most people would call multiple disabilities including being born with no eyes and having Aspergers.
We’ve written about Rudely Interrupted before but this band is just so inspiring that they are worth following.  If you have a teenager with some form of disability just show them this clip and see how a perceived disability can disappear.
I’m not saying that life will be any easier, but with bands like Rudely Interrupted opening the possibilities for your children, life must be more fun.

This is only a short clip but it’s quite inspiring.  Please enjoy it and share it with your teenagers and anyone who needs to see it.  You might like to follow them on Facebook, too.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Learning Social Skills With Kimochis

Attending school can be difficult for children with ASD and they can struggle with social and emotional challenges as they try to connect with both their teachers and their peers. One brand in particular seemingly has their finger on the pulse when it comes to helping children identify, understand and manage their feelings, and that brand is Komichis. Kimochis, (pronounced key-mo-chee) meaning feeling in Japanese, create plush educational toys to allow learning in a fun and comfortable way.

The products encourage kids to express themselves as they learn about appropriate feelings-driven behaviour and also how to manage those feelings.

At The Toy Bug we have a range of Kimochis products available from the basic feelings packs which cover a wide array of emotions as well as a variety of soft adorable character toys.  

Huggtopus - Huggtopus is, needless to say, all smiles and hugs. She is very affectionate and strong and sometimes gets a little carried away by her big friendly personality. Huggtopus doesn't know her own strength and can sometimes be a little overbearing. She always means well but has to learn about boundaries!

Bella Rose - Bella Rose is very sweet and conscientious of others. She loves nature and is accepting of all the living wonders that the Kimochis World can bring. Bella Rose’s sensitive side and ability to empathise always has a way of bringing emotional balance to the group.
Kimochis Cat - Cat is full of surprises! She knows what she wants, when she wants it and why. Cat can be very persuasive and when she makes up her mind there is not stopping her. She loves to be in charge but can sometimes be a big bossy!

What is unique to this range of toys is that loved in each Kimochis character is a personality of strengths and challenges for children to relate to, recognise and celebrate.

Watch this video for more details on the delightful Kimochis range of products and if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us.

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