Category Archives: sensory processing

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).

naa15_bracelets_charms_2

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!

Helping SPD Children Stay Focused

SPD FocusImage courtesy of Clare Bloomfield at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

To a child with SPD (Sensory Processing Disorder), the world can seem bigger and louder than it already is.  Coping and maintaining focus is challenging for the child, as well as parents, educators and caregivers.  The following methods can be used to help a child process the world at his own speed and maintain focus for new and everyday tasks.

  1. Use a printed activity schedule (or picture schedule for younger kids) detailing each of the child’s daily tasks. Being able to anticipate the day’s events before they occur will help the child process each one easier.
  2. Warn or prepare the child before anything that may be upsetting or hard to process. (Ex. Before introducing new textures or turning on anything with a loud noise.)
  3. Reduce or eliminate background noise whenever possible. (Ex. Close doors or windows, turn off other media, keep voice volume low, etc.)
  4. Create a “safe place” where the child can escape to when over-stimulated. (A quiet corner of a classroom, a specific room of the house when at home, etc.)
  5. Choose appropriate clothing that the child tolerates. Many children get a feeling of security from wearing garments that offer gentle compression.  Remove scratchy tags.  Choose clothes without bothersome seams.  A Seamless Compresso-T from SmartKnitKIDS is a great choice for kids with SPD.  The T is made from super-soft material, contains no tags or seams and offers gentle and comforting compression.

*** Note: Every child is different and may react differently in each situation.  Check with a professional should questions arise regarding their behavior.

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!

10 Spring Sensory Ideas for KIDS!

Spring is finally here and it’s time to break out the themed sensory play! Here are our top 10 picks for best Spring Sensory Ideas for KIDS!

1) Sensory Boards for Babies and Toddlers  (from Fun at Home with the Kids)

2) Rice Sensory Bins (from Powerful Mothering)

3) Bubbling Concoctions (from Growing a Jeweled Rose)

4) Rainbow Art Shaving Cream (from Nurture Store)

5) Rainbow Crystals (from Two-Daloo)

6) Play Dough (from Tinkerlab)

7) Glitter Slime (from 36th Avenue)

8) Bug Sensory Bin (from Little Bins for Little Hands)

9) Ocean Sensory Tub (from No Time For Flash Cards)

10) Garden Sensory Bin (from Mess for Less)

Which activity are you excited to try with your little one(s) first? Leave a comment below!

5 Ways to Build Language & Vocabulary Skills for Children of the Autism Spectrum

How well a child communicates, listens and understands others is greatly affected by the level of encouragement he/she receives when it comes to language development, especially during the early years (1-5 years old.) One of the most difficult struggles during early development that children with Autism spectrum disorders deal with is the ability to communicate effectively.

That is why it is ever so important to always be looking for ways to encourage and promote language and vocabulary skills. Fortunately, the following list should help you get off to a great start!

1. Dress Up or Role Play
Children with Autism sensory disorders can range from only slight difficulty to severe difficulty with developing his/her imagination. Playing dress up not only encourages imagination but also promotes vocabulary development. Playing pretend is a wonderful way to foster creative thinking while you introduce new words. One idea is to take turns dressing up as people from different types of careers and letting your child be the “boss.” If he/she struggles with the concept at first, try being the guide first

Fireman Toddler

2. Sensory Activities
It can be difficult to know which senses your child struggles with the most when they are young (1 to 3 years old.) Every child benefits from engaging in sensory play, though you will want to take note of which ones to focus on primarily as your child grows older.

Check out our list of sensory activities that appeal to all senses to get you started!

3. Legos or Blocks

Regardless of which option your child prefers, both can help to develop cognitive and abstract skills like joint-attention and language skills respectively. As a guide, be sure to take your child’s lead and be mindful so as not to be overbearing on their creativity and concentration.

 4. Read Books Together

Reading plays an integral part in a child’s early development, let alone children who struggle with sensory difficulties. Fortunately there is a huge selection of books designed specifically for children along the Autistic spectrum. These books have a special focus on developing language skills, imagination and even emotion recognition. Consider scheduling a specific time during every day to read together, for example, right before bed.

(Some great books to consider include: My Friend Has Autism, When My Worries Get Too Big! A Relaxation Book for Children Who Live with Anxiety, and The Feelings Book)

5.      Be Mindful of Your Speech

All children learn language best by listening to their parents or guardians. Especially if your child has any speech learning difficulties, make sure to try your best to be mindful of your pronunciation. You will want to make sure you speak clearly and more slowly as this will help him/her have a better chance of developing a wider vocabulary.


What types of games or activities have you tried that have worked to promote better communication skills?

What words of advice or encouragement can you give to parents who might be at a roadblock as they seek ways to encourage language and vocabulary learning in their little ones?

*This is only general information and is not meant for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical conditions. Always consult your physician or other health care provider about all health concerns, conditions, and recommended treatments.


By Jenna Baker. Jenna on Google+

How Do They Make it Seamless?

Yes, our socks are 100% seamless.  How do we do it!  Magic!  No, not magjc…just kidding.  Our socks are knit the same way a caterpillar spins its cocoon.  We start at the toe and spin up towards the ankle.  It’s that simply.  Very cool, but simple.

AOTA

Since our blog is so new and I didn’t have a chance to share our experience at AOTA last April, I wanted to do so now. AOTA stands for American Occupational Therapy Association. They have a conference every year and we attended this year. It was very cool. I got to meet and mingle with all the wonderful OT’s. (I was the life of the party) Werecieved some great feedback too. They particularly liked the seamless toe and lack of a heel. The seamless toe doesn’t bother kids with sensory issues and a sock without a heel is easy for any child to slip on. I just love hearing about how SmartKnitKIDS help. It makes me proud to be their front bug.

Above is me in our AOTA booth. I was looking particularly handsome that day. It really was great having the chance to talk to everyone and be at AOTA.

If you’re an OT and would like information about SmartKnitKIDS for your patients, please contact me! I’ll be happy to send a professional resource kit out to you. Please visit us at http://www.smartknitkids.com/professional_resources.html to request a kit today!

Interest Article: Managing Sensory Sensitivities

For some children sensations such as touch, smell, and sound can be overwhelming and upsetting. A sock seam, which may seem small to some, can be a huge issue for a child with sensory issues. (I’m proud to work for a company that keeps such little things in mind) Hypersensitivity to stimuli may occur in children with Autism or children who have Sensory Processing Disorder. I recently read an interesting article about Autistic children and managing sensory sensitivities. Please give it a quick read!

http://autism.about.com/b/2008/02/15/how-do-you-manage-sensory-sensitivities-that-come-along-with-autism.htm

Bugsley