Category Archives: autism

Guest Blog: Top Five Distractions for Children in the Classroom

From Buzzies.

Parents and teachers know that it can be challenging to keep children focused and on task. Classrooms are full of distractions, especially for children with attention deficit disorders or autism spectrum disorders. It is important to understand why children are distracted so that we can create calm and focused learning spaces.

Here are the top five distractions for children in the classroom, according to Neuropsychologist Dr. Amy Serin:

1) internal distractions, internal thoughts, anxiety, etc.
2) sensory sensitivities, too much noise, light, temperature sensitivities, etc.
3) too much sitting still- kids need to move in order to stay focused. Sitting still for too long makes it hard
4) Sudden distractions- loud noises, other kids chatting, etc and
5) Teacher talking too long…kids attention spans are short and teaching in a way that exceeds these spans will mean distractibility because the methods aren’t developmentally appropriate.

Buzzies can help some children to focus by lessening reactivity to sensory distractions and by lowering stress associated with internal thoughts or distractions. Buzzies basic is a version of Buzzies that children can take anywhere and use in the classroom. Buzzies original and Buzzies basic act passively and in real time, they don’ t just buzz to remind a kid to pay attention. There is nothing like Buzzies! Fidget toys, reminders, teacher prompts, etc. all can be helpful but Buzzies work continuously and in real time to help reduce the stress response, which can lead to better focus in some children.

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5 Tips for Helping Teens and Adults with Autism Manage Stress

In Bugsley’s Blog, we talk a lot about issues faced by autistic children, aspergers and sensory processing disorder.  In regards to these conditions, there are a lot of things that we, as a community, have learned over the years, and there are a lot of things that we still don’t know.  But, one thing we know for sure is that children living with autism, aspergers and sensory processing disorder grow up to be adults with the same conditions.

Many of the issues that these children live with, they will continue to live with as they become adults and this can lead to added stress.  And just like anyone else, autistic people can have stress from many areas of everyday life.  An autistic person that is not handling stress well may have any of these key signs: anxiety, crying spells, depression, desperation, difficulty concentrating, feeling overwhelmed, hopelessness, lack of enjoyment, nervousness, sadness, thoughts of suicide, trouble sleeping or worry.  But, there are lots of ways to help people living with autism to cope and manage stress.  Here are several.

kid-and-stress

from raisesmartkid.com

Help Them Engage in a Hobby – Hobbies help people to relax, recharge and are a good release of stress.  The possibilities for a rewarding hobby are as numerous as the stars.  Perhaps one may be interested in a creative hobby like music, painting, knitting or woodwork.  Reading is a good hobby.  Some like mysteries or poetry.  Maybe writing poetry, as well as reading.  Maybe a sport like soccer or running.  Do a little exploring to find out what you enjoy.

Let Them Make Home Decisions – Sometimes loss of control is a trigger of stress.  Returning some control, even small things, can help alleviate some stress.  Choosing what to eat for dinner, what to watch on TV, when to complete household chores and what to do on a Saturday afternoon may be things that will help give back some lost control.

Encourage Them to Be Open About Emotions – Holding back on one’s emotions may greatly contribute to stress.  Helping and encouraging talk about them can help manage some stress.

Stay Involved – Some autistic people are high functioning, while some are not.  As high-functioning autistics become teens and then adults, there is a tendency to step back and let them take the reins.  And this is okay, but stay involved in their lives.  Keep abreast of their progress in high school and college.  Engage in conversation about their interests and other aspects of their lives.  The interest and encouragement can help lower stress.

Offer Support – Finally, offer plenty of understanding, support and reassurance to help them work through their stresses.

Bugsley Bucks for Autism Awareness Month

Nearly 25 years ago, the Autism Society designated the month of April as Autism Awareness Month.  What they began was a nationwide effort to promote autism awareness, inclusion and self-determination for all.  Today, the prevalence of autism is 1 in every 88 American children.

SmartKnitKIDS works every day in manufacturing products that help children with sensory differences. Many children with autism also have these sensory issues and therefore, irritations like clothing seams can feel like big irritations to these kids.  SmartKnitKIDS socks are seamless, leaving nothing to irritate sensitive feet and toes.  The form-fitting design gives children’s feet a gentle “hug”, which provides closeness and gentle pressure that are soothing to children.  SmartKnitKIDS uses this same technology and design in a host of other products for kids with sensory issues, including Big Kids SocksKids UndiesCompresso T, and Bralette.

SmartKnitKIDS believes in spreading awareness of the condition, as well as celebrating the amazing individuals that live with autism daily. To celebrate these great kiddos, we are offering one amazing deal on SmartKnitKIDS and Big Kids products.  For any purchases made in the month of April that are at least $25*, SmartKnit will send you a Bugsley Bucks card in your order.  The Bugsley Bucks cards will then work like cash on a single purchase made between May 1 and June 15.

$25 – $49.99 Spent = $5 in Bugsley Bucks
$50 – $74.99 Spent = $10 in Bugsley Bucks
$75 – $99.99 Spent = $15 in Bugsley Bucks
$100 – $124.99 Spent = $20 in Bugsley Bucks
$125+ Spent = $25 in Bugsley Bucks

And we haven’t forgotten about those ordering small amounts either.  Any order under $25 will receive 10% off at checkout!

So, this April, we encourage you to do something to raise awareness for autism.  Wear blue. Put a blue light on your front porch. Participate in a local autism event. And don’t forget to order your SmartKnitKIDS products for extra Bugsley Bucks!!

* Subtotal must reach $25.  Tax and shipping are not included.  See www.smartknit.com/rewards for more details.

 

 

 

 

Visiting Santa with an Autistic or Sensory Sensitive Child

Santa's Hands

Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The annual visit to Santa is one of the hallmarks of the holiday season.  But, this fun and happy tradition can be a scary and stressful activity for a child with autism or sensory disorder.

There’s a growing trend across the country to offer stress free time with Santa for special needs children.  Many of them, Like Caring Santa, are sponsored by autism awareness groups like Autism Speaks.  Perhaps you saw the story done last week and published in USA today about a young autistic child that had a very unique and memorable visit with Santa.  Pictures were posted all around social media sites of young Brayden Deely, along with Santa, sprawled out on the floor enjoying a few stress free moments together.  It was a memorable picture and one many parents hope for.

santa

For more information about Caring Santa, please visit the link at Autism Speaks.

Events like Caring Santa are truly making strides in helping children with autism or other special needs to enjoy some of the traditional activities associated with the holiday season.  But, the locations where it is offered are still fairly sparse.  Some parents don’t have the option of a Caring Santa event close at hand, but would still like to give their children the opportunity to visit with Santa.  Follow these tips to have a more successful trip with your child:

  1. Prepare your child with a mental picture – You may have to do some advance work to observe how the Santa in your area operates. Where does the line form?  What are the options that your child has when talking to Santa (sit on his lap, sit beside him, or stand beside him)? What does the area look like?  Will there be photos?  Will Santa have helpers there, such as elves?  The more details you can tell your child about, the more likely they are to feel comfortable.
  2. Plan ahead – During your visit, or a call afterwards, ask if it is possible for Santa and his staff to offer special accommodations for special needs children. Find out if there are any special details that you should be aware of.
  3. Go during a week day – Week days are generally less busy than evenings or weekends. You might be able to avoid long lines, as well as over-stimulating crowds.
  4. Make a schedule for the day – Some children like to know exactly what events will transpire in a given day. You can print off a schedule and point out where the Santa visit is.  Let your child hold it and follow along.
  5. Dress your child comfortably – Resist the temptation to dress your child in the adorable, but uncomfortable, Christmas outfit. Visiting Santa may be a little overwhelming, and an uncomfortable outfit might just be too much.  Save the Christmas outfit for some cute photos another day.
  6. Give your child an incentive for being good – No matter how well you’ve planned, you may still have to wait. Plan ahead of time to have an incentive for being good, such as new toy or a special privilege.
  7. Be open to other options – Despite all your best plans, your child just may not be able to tolerate visiting a mall Santa. Look into schools or churches that offer time with Santa.  Or, even have a family member rent a Santa suit and visit the child at home.  This might turn into an even better tradition for your family.
  8. Read a story or watch a video about visiting Santa – This is another way to help your child to be prepared for his or her Santa visit. We found the video below, which very calmly describes what your child will experience during a Santa visit.

Most importantly, make the visit fun for your child.  If it is too stressful or frustrating than it won’t be enjoyable for anyone.  You’ll want to create fun and lasting memories that your child will remember each year.

Guess and Win!

What’s blue and sweet and reminds you to donate to SmartKnitKIDS’ Autism Awareness Campaign fundraiser?

A jar full of blue fruity candies!!

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We want YOU to guess how many pieces of yummy fruit-flavored candies are in this jar. The first person to guess the closest without going over will receive an egiftcard to SmartKnit.com!*

ENTER YOUR GUESS

Next go to our campaign fundraiser page and DONATE! Your money will go to fund Autism Research. When you donate, you’ll receive a coupon code to use at SmartKnit.com – our gift to you for helping us reach our goal! It’s a win-win – super comfy seamless socks for you and an awesome donation to autism research for all of us!

DONATE HERE

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April – Autism Awareness Month – is almost over, but with your help, we can spread awareness all year long. Remember, wear blue, share with your friends and family and donate to Bugsley’s Autism Research Campaign.
Autism

* eGiftcard is redeemable at SmartKnit.com. US/CA

April is Autism Awareness Month

AutismHi Kids (& Parents)!  Your friend Bugsley needs your support.  In honor of Autism Awareness Month, Bugsley and SmartKnitKIDS are sponsoring a fundraising campaign with the Autism Society and 1Power4Autism.  Our goal is to raise $1,000, which will go towards autism research.

Donate Now

Click on the link to donate to the Autism Society.  To show our appreciation, SmartKnitKIDS will send you a coupon code to use on your next order at SmartKnit.com.  Coupon codes will be emailed to donors within 48 hours of donation.

$5-9 donations – coupon code for $5 off a $25 order
$10-24 donations – coupon code for $10 off a $40 order
$25+ donations – coupon code for $25 off a $75 order

For other ways to raise awareness, you can wear your Autism Awareness charm and silicone bracelet, which come free in every order of SmartKnitKIDS products in the month of April (while supplies last).

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The SmartKnitKIDS team also put together this video to help raise awareness.  Please share!

The Autism Society recognizes the power that 1 person, 1 organization, 1 idea or 1 event can have on autism.  Today, with the prevalence of autism rising to 1 in every 88 American children, everyone can make a difference and support the 1 mission of the Autism Society.

SmartKnitKIDS believes in Autism research.  We know that good research is needed in making strides toward understanding autism and improving lives of those with autism.  SmartKnitKIDS works every day in manufacturing products that help children with autism cope.

Many children with autism also have sensory issues.  Little irritations like clothing seams can feel like big irritations to these kids.  SmartKnitKIDS socks are seamless, leaving nothing to irritate sensitive feet and toes.  The form-fitting design gives children’s feet a gentle “hug”, which provides closeness and gentle pressure that are soothing to children.  SmartKnitKIDS uses this same technology and design in a host of other products for kids with sensory issues, including Big Kids Socks, Kids Undies, Compresso T, and Bralette.

Make a donation to the Autism Society today and help Bugsley and SmartKnitKIDS reach our goal!  Together, we can improve the lives of all affected by autism.

Donate Now

What events and activities are you doing in your communities to raise awareness?  Share with us!

Debunking the Myths of Asperger’s and Autism

February 18 is Asperger’s Day and to observe this, we’ve decided to explore some of the common myths about Asperger’s Syndrome and autism.  Because Asperger’s, as well as all the spectrum disorders, are not easily understood, many people prescribe to several myths common to people with Asperger’s.

Autism Myths

Here are several that we found in no particular order:

Myth 1: Children with Asperger’s Syndrome will eventually grow out of it. – Asperger’s is a condition that can improve with treatment, but is something that does not go away.  It is a lifelong condition.

Myth 2: Asperger’s is a just a condition made up by parents to excuse bad behavior. – Wow!  I wonder about the people that truly believe this.  But, no.  Asperger’s syndrome is not made up, but a real, diagnosed condition.

Myth 3: ADHD and autism are the same thing. – Are color blindness and actual blindness the same thing?  Certainly not!  This may be a bad comparison, but it’s good enough to point out that these disorders are two very separate conditions.  Although, it is possible to have been diagnosed with both conditions, they are not dependent on one another.

Myth 4: People with Asperger’s just need to be taught social skills in order to be “normal”. – Normal – that’s a funny term.  Who among us is truly “normal” anyway?!  That aside, there is a whole lot more going on than just social skills.  For one, many people with Asperger’s experience a form of Sensory Processing Disorder – a neurological disorder in which individuals have a difficult time processing the senses.  When individuals with this disorder sense certain things, the brain has a difficult time analyzing them, which can cause confusion or distress.  Find out more about SmartKnitKid’s seamless sensitivity socks and underwear which help kids with SPD.

Myth 5: Autism is a mental health disorder. – Actually, autism and Asperger’s are neuro-developmental conditions.

Myth 6: People with Asperger’s are sociopaths, psychopaths and are prone to violence.  – This is a tough one that invokes a lot of emotion and debate, mainly because it has been heavily reported in the news of late.  In the last few years, we’ve had to come to grips with mass shootings perpetrated by people who are suspected to have Asperger’s – the Newtown, Connecticut elementary school, the Aurora, Colorado movie theater, Tucson, Arizona shooting, etc.  But, to say all people with Asperger’s are sociopaths, etc., is unfair.  Because our attention has been focused on these news-worthy events, many have erroneously drawn this conclusion.  The Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee of the US Department of Health and Human Services released this statement after the Newtown shooting to say that those with Asperger’s are no more likely to perpetrate crimes like these than the general public.

Myth 7: Autism is caused by vaccines. – The debates in the news about Asperger’s and sociopaths can only be rivaled by the debates about vaccines.  Although this one has been thoroughly debunked, the debate still rages on.  According to the reputable organization Autism Speaks, two decades of research have revealed that there is no link between vaccines and autism.

Myth 8: Autism is a new condition. – Although, autism was not actually diagnosed in the modern sense until 1943, there have been several detailed historical documentations of children whose symptoms resemble autism and Asperger’s.  The earliest probable cases appeared in the 1700s, but some writings as early as the 1500s may have been describing what we now know is autism spectrum disorder.

Myth 9: People on the spectrum are incapable of working. – Many people on the spectrum are able to obtain and keep jobs.  Also, there are organizations that help to train them and help them to find jobs.

Myth 10: People with autism will never achieve anything. – This is most certainly untrue.  Autistic people can achieve a multitude of things – just like the rest of us.  The website Autism Mythbusters has developed a list of amazing people that may have been on the spectrum.  These include: Albert Einstein, Amadeus Mozart, Sir Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, Thomas Jefferson, Michelangelo, Hans Christian Andersen, Andy Warholl and Emily Dickinson.  Of course, this is speculative, but that is some amazing company!