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Feb 18, 2013

President's Day

As an autism mom, I am grateful that God gave me a mellow President's Day. I was expecting it to be torturous, hectic and crazy, and it just wasn't. All of my kids were super sweet and happy. I think maybe God blessed their mommy to be in a mood that would help, not hinder this outcome. P.S. I'm also super grateful to live in California, so we can all get our wiggles out and play outdoors in February. :)

Feb 5, 2013

Addressing Appropriate Touch

As an autism mom, I'm grateful for resources out there to address the serious subject of appropriate and inappropriate touch.  I'm not talking about the healthy exploration that every kid goes through, discovering different parts of their bodies, but I'm talking about explaining appropriate touch by others.  This is one of those things that so many parents of non-verbal children are afraid of.  What if someone does something inappropriate to my child, and they don't have the language to tell me.  What if they don't understand my wording, especially because social boundaries are so hard for children with autism.
So, I have put together some resources that I will be using to explain all of this to my kids in a way that they could better understand.
I think when I do this, I will start by explaining what private parts are:
To explain private parts very clearly, this social story can be helpful What are Private Parts.
I would then go on to explain who it is okay and not okay to be naked around.  A helpful social story for this  is Who Can See Me Naked.  I especially like this one because I have a child who loves to be naked, and I think this can help some.  I appreciate that it includes the doctor as someone that is okay to see them naked.
I would then read them the social story, What is Bad Touch or this social story Good touches and Bad Touches.  These stories explain the places that other people should not be touching with both words and drawings.
There are other helpful social stories about appropriate hugging and kissing on their part.  These are Who Can I Kiss and All About Hugs.

The websites that I used for these links are and

Lastly, I was reading an article about two preschoolers who were caught exploring each other's bodies with their mouths.  Very shocking and sad, but at the same time, they probably didn't realize their behavior was inappropriate.  One of the comments underneath that story suggested using this video with young children to prevent this behavior.

Feb 1, 2013

Chewy Toys for Oral Sensory Needs

As an autism mom, I'm grateful for chewy toys.  Jason is very orally driven.  He chews on anything and everything.  Coincidentally, when I was a baby, my parents nicknamed me Popeye because I always had something sticking out of my mouth like Popeye's pipe.  So, I guess the apple didn't fall far from the tree.
A lot of kids with autism seek out sensory feedback through their mouth.  This can be frustrating.  For example, every one of my kids has bitten my CDs and DVDs which is why we are an all-digital family.  We can't have the earphones with the fuzzy outsides because they take those off and chew on them.  Any time we get gum, they somehow obtain magical intuition to know where it is hiding and put the entire pack of gum in their mouths at once.
This is why, if oral sensory needs are an issue with your child, having a chewy toy (also known as a chewy tube) can be very soothing and actually help with their behavior.  When we first were introduced to this idea by our Occupational therapist, we were sort of offended.  After all, aren't chewy toys for puppies?  We have since gotten over this way of thinking. Jason has chewy toys at school.  When he is trying to mouth the other toys, pencils, etc., they hand him his "chewy" instead.  It also helps to have them at home.  That way,  the stuff that might feel nice inside someone's mouth is safer because there is a chewy that is actually meant for chewing on.
More mature kids, who don't spit out gum or swallow it, find a lot of relief by chewing gum all day.  I can't wait for the day when that will be our solution, but for now:
There are many choices for "chewies" online.  I get mine on The ones we have liked the best are the knobby texture chewy tube and the P and Q Chewy Tubes.  The hard thing with the P and Q tubes is that if you tell your child to "chew on your 'P'" that might sound a little inappropriate.   Yes, we have said that one in public without thinking.  ;)

One thing I hadn't thought of...until today... was using baby toys for chewies.  This morning we took Caiti to the dentist, and afterward, we took her to the gift shop (she sees a pediatric dentist at the hospital).  I let her choose a toy, and for some reason, she chose the baby elephant toy.   When Jason found it, I realized it was perfect for an oral sensory boy.  It has so many "teething" parts to it that are perfect for a chewy substitute, so don't rule those out as well.  ;)