Holiday Shopping List 2016

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It can be really hard to know what to get someone.
Let alone a child/teen/adult on the Autism spectrum, Sensory Processing Disorder, ADHD or with Special Needs.

Use this list to find something perfect for your family member, friend or even yourself… and if you don’t find anything, maybe it’ll give you an idea.
Feel free to comment with your own awesome finds below, you might help someone else out! (Add links if you can! 😀 )

1: Weighted Blankets by Maddy’s Closet
She has more than just blankets… like vests, belts, stuffed animals and lap pads!
Her work is very neat and clean.
She’s an incredibly sweet woman with a very sweet little girl on the spectrum.
Check out her website:
http://www.memecloset.bigcartel.com/
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2: Therapy Swings by InYard.
They’ve got more than just Therapy Swings too now!
They have “snuggle huggles”, weighted blankets and chewie jewelry!
All three of my boys love our therapy swing. It helps with vestibular senses and helps calm their bodies providing a little hug around them.
Check out their website:
https://inyardproducts.com/
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3:  Personalized products Vinyl Expressions.
T-shirts, plates, ornaments, bows, wine glasses > for any holiday… and this is just the beginning!
Just ask and they’ll probably be able to customize.
Check out their website:
https://vinylexpressions.squarespace.com/
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4: Children’s Wallet Cards.
Educational, non-toxic and extremely durable plastic card sets for kids.
Numbers, letters, colors, facial expressions, transit and fake money.
I can attest to the fact that theses are very sturdy little cards.
Jaxson is a chewer and LOVES mouthing them.
They’ve held up much longer than any other product similar to them.
They’re bright and vibrant.
They’re cheap considering!
Great for therapists too.
Check out their website:
http://www.youguysaresoawesome.com/#home
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5: Autism awareness products by Journey to Jacob’s Ladder.
A Mom created a business for her son Jacob, who has autism, that will provide him with purposeful employment after he ages out of the school system.
He learns how to help make, prepare, ship and keep track of the products.
You should see his smile on payday!
Check out their Etsy store:
https://www.etsy.com/shop/Journey2JacobsLadder?ref=hdr_shop_menu
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6: Web ID for those who may wander from If I Need Help.
They’re a non-profit organization that provides Web ID and information for people who may be disoriented or lost when they’re alone or away from their care providers.
They come in patches, shoe tags, ID cards, dog tags, pins, clips and more.
When you buy any of those, you get a free member web ID so that if your child/teen/adult gets lost, the person who finds them will be able to contact you.
Check out their website:
https://ifineedhelp.org/
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7: Chewies and teethers from Chewigem USA.
Safe, non-toxic chewable jewelry that is designed to discreetly hide a need to chew. Great for oral/sensory seekers who need that input… much better than pens, straws or other things that weren’t designed to be chewed.
They’ve got pendants, tubes, rings, tags, bangles, cups, pillows, shoe laces and more.
Check out their website:
https://www.chewigemusa.com/
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8: Therapy tools from ARK Therapeutic.
Along with chewies, ARK also makes a lot of tools for speech, feeding, sensory, fine motor, and more. I’ve got a list of things I want to get from them to help Tyler. Specifically their Z-Vibe! But they have spoons, straws, chewie jewelry, cups and more.
Check out their website:
http://www.arktherapeutic.com/
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9: Soft headphones from Cozyphones
Super comfy headband headphones for sleep, sports and fun. It’s also washable!! These are the only headphones that Justin will leave on. They have a few different styles, and the speakers on the inside of the headband can be adjusted. Plus the cord, short of getting a pair of scissors out, are virtually indestructible.
Check out their website:
https://www.cozyphones.com/
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10: Fidget toy by FidgetWorks.
Fidgets to help cope with ADHD, ADD, Anxiety, Autism, Stress and more.
Check out their website at:
https://fidgetworks.com/
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11: Spinners by Fidget This.
Custom fidget spinners.
Check out their Etsy store here:
https://www.etsy.com/shop/FidgetThis#items
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12: Fidgieblocs.
Handmade fidget and focus toys for kids and adults.
Check out their Etsy shop at:
https://www.etsy.com/shop/Fidgieblocs
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13: Fidget Cube.
High-quality desk toy designed to help you focus. Fidget at work, in class, and at home in style. Fidget Cube has six sides. Each side features something to fidget with: Click. Glide. Flip. Breathe. Roll. Spin.
Buy one here:
Fidget Cube
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14: Fiddle links. 
Developed by hand therapists. Interlocking, rotating links that are excellent for building fine finger dexterity and exercising finger joints. Calming fidget stress toy is especially nice for teens-adults.
Get them here:
https://www.therapyshoppe.com/category/P1008-fiddlelinks-fidgeter
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15: NeoBalls.
>Not for children< If they mouth or chew, definitely not for them. I’d say these are more for adults and teens. But I want them, pretty badly! lol
Snap, pull, mold, squeeze, and construct an endless variety of shapes.
Buy them here:
NeoBalls – Incredibly Addicting Super Magnets
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16: Haircuts with Calming Clipper.
Sometimes practical gifts are the best gifts.
Haircuts can be challenging for someone with sensory sensitivities. Vibration and sound from an electric clipper can be too much to handle. These are a quiet alternative to the electric clipper!
Find them here:
http://calmingclipper.com/
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17: Calming Clothing Company.
Snug fitting cotton garment supplies the child with the much-needed sensory feedback.  That reassurance and body awareness, in turn, creates a calming effect.
Check them out here:
http://www.calmingclothingcompany.com/
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18: Weighted compression vests by Fun and Function.
Comfy, easy to use and helps kids quickly calm and focus.
Find them here:
https://funandfunction.com/weighted-compression-vest.html
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19: Autism Awareness by Ausome Artists
Handmade art keychains, bracelets, and magnets made by two Autistic little boys, with help from their Mom.
Check out our page here:
Facebook.com/AusomeArtists 
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20: Growing Up Aspie – A Comic By Nathan McConnell
A comic about the struggles/benefits of growing up with Aspergers in a neurotypical world.
Buy a copy here:
http://www.indyplanet.us/product/143702/
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21: Fidget Tangle toys.
Find them on amazon:
https://www.amazon.com/Set-Tangle-Jr-Original-Fidget/dp/B0034EKP8Q/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1481211529&sr=8-2&keywords=tangle+toy
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22: Yoga ball
Great for Physical and Occupational Therapy or just for fun.
Helps build muscle and strengthen for people who have low muscle tone or for those who have too much energy and need to bounce on something. 😉
Find it on amazon:
https://www.amazon.com/Anti-Burst-Slip-Resistant-Yoga/dp/B01GTB4MZ2/ref=sr_1_3?s=exercise-and-fitness&ie=UTF8&qid=1481211552&sr=1-3-spons&keywords=yoga+ball&psc=1
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23: Stability Wobble Cushion.
Great for core strengthening. Also great for people to sit on while doing work… it helps keep their bodies calm while their minds are active.
Find it on amazon:
https://www.amazon.com/Stability-Cushion-Diameter-Balance-Included/dp/B007LX6MPG/ref=sr_1_3?s=sporting-goods&ie=UTF8&qid=1481211593&sr=1-3&keywords=balance+disc
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24: EZ-PZ placemats.
Silicone placemat + plate/bowls that suction to the surface! Anyone with kids could use one of these.
http://ezpzfun.com/
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25: Uplifting Autism book from Autistic Not Weird.
Chris asked 150 autistic children and teenagers from all over the world one question: “what do you love most about life?”

Their answers are insightful, uplifting, and a beautiful window into the minds of young people who think differently (as well as helping to fight negative autism stereotypes!). This book could be the perfect gift for anyone pessimistic about autism or struggling with a diagnosis, or for anyone who’s interested in knowing how awesome the world is from an autistic perspective.”
Message their page for your copy!
https://www.facebook.com/autisticnotweird/

26: Autism Awareness by Autism Awareness Shop.
100% of profits are used to “Put Autism to Work”, their focus is vocational training and gainful employment for those with autism. Find things like car stickers, clothing, pens, jewelry, accessories and more.
Check out their website:
https://autismawarenessshop.org/
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27: Children’s book by Little Monkey, Be You.
A heartwarming story about being yourself
and knowing you are loved unconditionally.
Check out their website:
http://www.beyoukidsbooks.com/
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Or maybe you’re a group of adults who would rather give to a good cause instead of exchanging gifts.

1: The Kreed Foundation.
After their son passed away, Erin started the non-profit foundation to provide children, teens, and adults education and technology to those who don’t have a voice and need one. They’re raising money to help supply families with an AAC device AND help the family, therapists, teachers, etc learn and understand how to use it.
Because of them, my son Justin finally has a voice and is learning how to use it.
Check out their website:
http://www.thekreedfoundation.org/
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2: Special Books by Special Kids.
He travels the world creating videos with neurodiverse humans in hopes of promoting inclusion and acceptance.
His videos are absolutely amazing. He’s helping people and showing us all that no matter what we look like, what our “diagnosis” is or how we’re portrayed to the rest of the world, we’re really not all that different.
Check out his website:
http://www.specialbooksbyspecialkids.org/
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Thank you for checking out our #Holiday shopping list!
What did I miss?
What would you add?
What do your or your child/teen have on your wish/want list that you didn’t see here?
Do you have a friend who makes something you think would be a great addition?
Add it in the comments!

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Hypervigilance

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I’ve wanted to write about this for a while now… but every time I wrote something, I didn’t like it and deleted it.


Although it’s an important topic, I just couldn’t say what I really wanted to say. Words are often lost on me. Until I have a personal experience to help me find the right words, and even then, I’ll have a friend write about the same topic and think YES! Why couldn’t I say it like that!

We often hear those sayings “You can’t pour from an empty cup”, “You need to help yourself before you can help others”, etc… And generally, I agree with those. You don’t really get burned out when you’re taking care of yourself in addition to taking care of others. And working with kids… that would be a good thing!

There have been so many years where I’ve just not been able to take care of myself but still needing to take care of my kids. They come first… and it’s not like I have a choice. I don’t have help, so there is no other option.

But I started using these oils and my overall state of wellbeing has changed. I’m not as stressed out, I’m not as depressed/anxious… sure I still have my moments… but despite our situation not changing, my outlook on it has.

Which makes me WANT to take better care of myself… despite not having help or not being able to get out of the house and away from the kids.

One of those things is eating better. I prefer not to cook when the kids are awake… which means I tend to eat more junk or things I can put together quickly. Like cereal. Which sucks, but it is what it is.

So today, I decided I’d make spaghetti for lunch! It’s pretty quick and better than ANOTHER bowl of cereal.

All the kids were being relatively good.
They were being loud, but that’s nothing new.

So I started making food… Tyler kept coming over to me, asking me to take screen shots of his characters he paused his show on. Justin would be running in the house and then back outside. Jax was making his “I’m yelling because I’m happy” noises. It was a little chaotic, but nothing too bad.

I set up the kids and their lunch while I was finishing mine. We all more or less ate at the same time (which NEVER happens)… And then came the, let’s chill out time after lunch. Usually we turn off the lights and just hang out (usually because my migraines are worse around this time with the kids… they can be REALLY loud… weekends are hard for me and my head). So we were all just hanging out, I was sitting down to go through all of your replies on my posts when Justin started screaming and crying.

Ugh… now what?

“Justin. Come here.”

Crying and crying. Not crying because he’s hurt, but crying because he’s upset over something.

“Juuuuustiiiiin! Come here.”

Crying.

“JUSTIN!!!!”

I know it’s the iPad. It probably needs restarted and I’ll admit, I was being lazy. I was tired and just wanted to sit down for 10 minutes.

He comes out of his room. Rubbing his eyes. He hands me his iPad and it’s sticky!
What in the world???

The screen was sticky and he couldn’t slide his finger across the screen to turn the volume back up. I cleaned it off and handed it back to him. Which is when I realized he was kind of pink. I touched his hands and they were REALLY sticky… so were his legs, arms… what in the world?!?!

I took him outside, rinsed him off with the hose, got him dressed and sent him to the living room. Then headed for his bedroom…

That’s when I found the reason he was sticky.

My jaw dropped.  

It looked like a horror movie.

Only instead of fake blood… it was strawberry syrup.

I’m STILL trying to get it all cleaned up.

What does this have to do with hypervigilance?
If I hadn’t been cooking… I would have been watching the kids closer. I would have noticed one of them taking and carrying the syrup in the room and would have stopped them before they squirted it ALL OVER their bed.

I can never let my guard down.

Never.

Because someone is always getting into something. Someone is always climbing something, trying to open something, crying or screaming about something or wanting something. The second I let my guard down… something breaks, gets destroyed or someone gets hurt. And that’s in a house that I have specifically altered FOR my kids. There really aren’t TOO many things for my kids to get into that they really shouldn’t. As long as I’m staying focused.

We don’t have pictures hanging on the wall, we don’t have nicknacks. We don’t have anything glass in our house except lightbulbs and we can’t keep spares around the house. Tyler likes to drop them on the ground to hear them crash. We don’t even have cups any more. We drink out of soda/water bottles because our kids love water/liquid so much that they will take cups off the counter and pour them on the floor to play in them. I have to hide the knives because Tyler likes metal things and Justin likes to line them up. Chemicals and cleaners have to be up high and out of reach, because just out of sight out of mind doesn’t work here… and if it’s a liquid it’s meant to be played with. Which is why the bathrooms are locked. They’ll turn on and play in the sink, toilet and bathtub.

We used to have to have locks on the pantry doors, fridge, oven, microwave and some of the cabinets. Because no matter how on guard I am constantly… I couldn’t keep them out of everything. And you can only say “We don’t stand on the oven door, because it’ll break. Close the oven, and let’s play with Lego’s” so many times before you might snap.

Sure, eventually things got easier. They even know that they bathroom doors are supposed to be shut, so if someone forgets to close a door, they’ll go over and close it for us. We don’t have to worry about the kids playing in the fridge much anymore either. Because they know they’re not supposed to. Tyler will still occasionally get the eggs out and throw them on the floor… sliding around in the slime when I’m in the bathroom. Or lining up the sliced cheese. Justin will try to stack enough toys, boxes, shoes and trash cans high enough to climb on the counters and get into the gummy bears while I’m giving Jaxson a bath because he managed to get his diaper off… again… and is now covered in fecal matter.

And as insane as these days are… they are getting a little less frequent… or at least they’re smaller messes. Mostly because I’m constantly watching them, constantly on guard to make sure things like that don’t happen. My house is constantly trashed… and that’s with me being able to catch most of the messes in action or prevent them because I can see where they’re going with their ideas.

I’m always tired.
During the week when the older two have school it isn’t so bad.
But weekends, holidays and breaks definitely remind me why I’ve been in “survival mode” for SO long. And I don’t realize that I’m not really in survival mode any more, until I’m reminded what it really looks like… on weekends… holidays and breaks.

Because although things HAVE gotten a little better… I’m still a long way from being able to sit down and not have to worry about what my kids are getting into.

Hypervigilance. An Autism parents state of being. And it’s exhausting.

Young Living Essential Oil Review

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I “met” an amazing woman online through the nutritionist we’re seeing for Jaxson. She’s been talking to me about her journey with Autism and how much her son has benefited from using these oils. At first I’m thinking, well.. that’s awesome that they worked for you… but come on… really? They’re just smelly things. How much can they REALLY help you. I was a skeptic for sure!

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for trying new things to help with my kids! But these oils were just so foreign to me. I’ve heard of them before… I’ve thought about trying them… but I mean… how do you even use them?! Do you drink it? Is it like lotion you rub on your hands… I don’t know, it seemed a little weird to me.

So I was obviously happy for her and her family, and maybe someday I’ll have time to learn more about them.

Then one night, Jax and I had one of the worst nights we’ve had in a long while, when she sent me a message. NO strings attached, she just wanted to help a Mom in need and asked if she could send me something to help with sleep and something to help with my anxiety. I agreed and she sent me a “bedtime” mixture and one called Valor.

The Bedtime mixture didn’t really seem to help with Jaxson, but I… no joke… have been able to decrease the amount of melatonin I give Tyler and most nights don’t even give any to Justin. I just put this oil on the bottom of his feet and rub it in when I lay the boys down in their beds with their tablets. About half an hour before I want them to actually go to sleep. Both of the kids who HATE (with a PASSION) me cutting their toe nails giggle while I rub it into the bottom of their feet. 🙂 They’ll see me walk in their room with the little bottle and start grinning because they know what’s coming.

The first night that they did well with it, I’m like… no way. This is sooo not happening. lol Really? This stuff is actually working? But it did, and it still continues to work. My friend thinks Jax would probably benefit from just Lavander (rather than the mixture), so we’ll probably try that eventually. 🙂

I’ve been using the Valor.
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To help with anxiety and stress… and later found out it also helps with my migraines, TMJ and will also help calm the boys. I use it when I’m overwhelmed, it’s like I can finally take a deep breath and the tension I had in my shoulders melt a bit. It’s crazy. I was in SERIOUS pain because of my jaw, I rubbed a drop behind my jaw/ears area and a few minutes later, I’m not in pain any more. Where I would have to wait for 30-45 minutes for the Tylenol and Naproxen to kick in! Again, I’m just like…. how did that even work?! lol I don’t get this stuff at all. It just makes no sense. It’s oils from plants/flowers/herbs, etc… and it’s fixing things. Totally mind blowing.


And I have SEVERE issues with oily or lotion-y things. I cannot stand it. But these “oils” absorb into your skin pretty quickly and then your skin is just soft. It doesn’t feel like there’s oil or lotion on your hands. (Thankfully… I might have gone crazy trying to use these things! lol)

I used Valor on Jaxson, my little busy body… (A little back story) As soon as he could roll over (about 3-4 months) he’s never wanted to sit with me any more. Not more than a minute or two… Unless I was feeding him a bottle, then when he could hold it himself, he REALLY wanted his own space.

So for at least the last year, Jax has only sat or laid with me (without interruption) for a few minutes max. And usually that was for however long I could get him to sit and play Patty Cakes with me.

I put the oil Valor on him… And about 5-10 minutes later he came over, crawled up on me and laid on me for a little over 15 minutes. I have not held Jax for that long, at one time, in over a year.

That alone has made me thankful for this product.


Then she asks me about some of my other issues. Like my thyroid issues, brain fog… and since Valor alone didn’t seem to help Tyler as well in school as we hoped, she said there was something she could send to help. I’m not great at letting people help me. Honestly, I prefer to be the one helping others. But I justificated that at least it’ll be a learning experience I’ll be able to share with you so you’ll know if these will help you or your family.

Again, just sending them because she’s a Special Needs Mom who gets it and wants to pay it forward. And man… am I thankful she did.

She sent me Clarity (for brain fog), Endo-Flex to help with my Hypothyroidism and Vetiver to help with Tyler. Again… totally skeptical. lol I’m like… yea… okay, the others worked, but they can’t ALL work.

I used the Clarity, Endo-Flex and Valor first thing in the morning  around my face/neck areas. And WHOAH! lol That was way too much… totally overwhelming. lol But after I started putting them in different spots on my body (that work just as well), it doesn’t bother me to use all three at the same time.

Clarity.
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It kind of wakes me up. It’s not AS effective as caffeine (maybe because I need to take so much), but the fact that it doesn’t have any and it helps wake me up, says a lot! Plus, I don’t get jittery if I end up taking too much. lol I was really surprised how awake and clear headed I feel when I use it.


Endo-Flex.
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I’ve been using every morning for a few days now… and I can TELL it’s working. When I’m on my thyroid meds, I get hungry. Because my metabolism is working. Being off my meds for over a year now, I completely forgot how that hungry feeling when my thyroid and metabolism is working… and after two days, I started having that hungry feeling again. It’s insane!!


And even after all those times that those oils have helped… I was still surprised when I used the Valor and Vetiver on Tyler.
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He was BOUNCING off the walls because he was bored. Singing the songs on his VERY loud tablet. Finally I gave him his head phones to help my migraine from getting worse… but HE was still loud. As a ditch effort I used the two oils together and about 5-10 minutes later… he just kind of sat down on the couch and was QUIET for 30-45 minutes… then he came out, asked for a drink, and went back in and hung out in his swing. :O WHAT?! I’m looking at him like… what just happened?!?! lol No freaking WAY did those just help him calm down. I didn’t get a chance to see how they work with him going to school, which is why we are -primarily- using them with Ty. To help with his meltdowns at school… to help keep him calm and focused throughout the day. But he’s been sick this week and hasn’t gone to school. So, I’m excited to see how well it helps with him there when he needs it most.


I get how this stuff works, but I really don’t. I just cannot grasp the concept of how these oils work, but I don’t need to REALLY understand something in order to know how much they’re helping out family. (I KIND OF know how a car works, what the parts do… but I don’t REALLY know… but that doesn’t mean I’m not thankful for having one that works lol)

I’m REALLY looking forward to buying some from her and finding new great ways to use them with my family and around the house. Justin has Type 1 Diabetes and theres an oil to help with that!! Or for the boys Dad. He was in a VERY bad car accident almost two years ago (he broke almost everything on his right side) and there are oils that will help him with his pain! 😀

I’m really super sensitive to smells… I don’t use candles and I don’t wear perfume, and I’m surprised how much these don’t bother me. If one does seem to bother me, I just make sure to use it in an area farther away from my face and wash my hands afterwards.

Justin, Tyler and Jax all have sensory issues and none of them seem bothered by the smells either. 🙂

If you’ve made it this far lol I’ve found some pictures online of some of the oils Young Living offers and what they help with to see if there might be an oil that could help you or your family. And hey… don’t knock it until you try it. 😉 (I know there are a lot of pictures, but I’m a more visual person, and I know I’m not the only one! lol) 😀

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GripCase Review

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Gripcase USA sent us an iPad mini case to review! 😀

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They’re actually really cool cases.
They’re made of a foam type material, it’s extremely light weight and easy to hold onto.

The design and material make it REALLY shock absorbent. It’s even slightly concave so if it gets dropped with the screen face down it doesn’t actually touch the ground.

I had Ty take it to school- he looked at it like “Uhhhh what did you do to my tablet”?? Lol since we’ve been using the same type case for 3 years now.

And actually the second day he took it out of the case, handed it to me and then handed me his old case. Lol !!!

That’s actually the only “bad” thing I can say about this case, is that although it IS easy to get the tablet in the case, it’s actually pretty easy to get back out.

So if your kid is determined enough, they’ll get it out (so I wouldn’t let them see you put it in or take it out of the case). I think the company should make the sides that keep the iPad in the case a little wider to make it harder to get out. But I get it, you don’t want to make it so hard you damage the iPad getting it back out! Lol

I threw it on the bed a few times, dropped it on the floor and even threw it at the couch pretty hard and it never popped out of the case, so it’s not going to just fall out. Lol

Considering, it’s a pretty cool case!!! 😀
If you’d like to check out their page, click here.  😀

#Autism #iPad #GripCase
#TabletCase

GizmoPal Update

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It’s been about a month since we started using the #GizmoPal #GPS #KidsWatch and I thought I’d do an update! 🙂

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When we first tried them with the boys, Justin loved his! but Tyler couldn’t stand wearing it. He wouldn’t allow it to be on for more than a minute or two and that was with massive redirection.

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I finally realized how to fix the problem and help him keep the watch on! You can read that here.

But the short version is: I stopped trying to make him wear it inside and made it a routine that when we leave the house, it goes on (since that’s when he’ll be wearing it anyway).

After that light bulb moment, it’s been all down hill since.

He progressively got better and better about keeping it on longer and longer without wanting it off.

We are in the second week of school and both of the boys teachers tell me that they both keep their watches on the whole time they’re at school, with a few exceptions. If they get sweaty from running around outside, they’ll take them off for a little bit but then put it back on once they’re not sweaty any more. 🙂   (I’m the same way)

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And I have tried out the GPS before, but I actually really got to use it yesterday. The bus was later than I was expecting… I needed to get Jaxson up from his nap, but I didn’t want to take a chance that I’d be in the middle of a diaper change as the bus pulled up (it’s happened).

After about 10 minutes standing at the window, getting frustrated… I realized he was wearing his watch! Duh!

Checked with my phone app where he was and saw he was only a minute or two from home. So I waited outside and sure enough a minute or two later and the bus pulls up! 😀

So considering we were able to put the watches on our phone account (we didn’t have to pay all of it up front), and the kids have adjusted well, I give it a 8/10.

With a few things like making the band bigger (not sure it’ll fit Justin next year), and making it also harder to get off could make up for points lost. 😉

If you want to check out the watch online, here’s the link.

Toys and appropriate play

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“When I try to play with my daughter or help her understand what toys are she squeals and starts biting my hands. I just want to help her play like other kids, but she just doesn’t know what to do and won’t let me help her.”

Justin and Tyler are still like that at almost 6 and 7 (and now even Jax at 13 months is like that)… but once I stopped… I realized they are perfectly happy playing completely different than the way other kids play.

It still breaks my heart when they either way to play with other kids or kids want to play with them and there’s just this … barrier…

But generally… they’re happy. I’m less stressed out and sad… and so are they. I’m not saying stop trying… because who knows- someday something might click. But don’t let it eat at you. Our kids are different… so their play is different. And it doesn’t make it wrong. Just… different. 🙂 And that’s okay. ❤ ❤

InYard Jumbo Swing Review

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InYard Swing Review
(To read JUST the review and not the story of how we set it up and the kids reactions… skip to the bottom).
Also, the owner of the company just told me that the promo code for an additional 15% off is still able to be used! Promo Code: mycrazypeople

This swing setup has been an adventure to say the least!! lol

We’ve never installed anything like this before, nor have the kids ever had anything like this before. The closest thing we came to, was a swing in the boys classroom a few years ago, but it was a board bottom, not a cocoon/hammock kind.

The point is! We were out of our depth!

As of right now, the instructions that come with the swing are for people in concrete ceilings, or if you want to use it over a tree limb. The owner of the company IS going to add instructions for ceilings that are… drywall? With wooden beams above them? Sorry… again – out of my depth. Not sure exactly what it’s called.

So, when I looked at it, I’m like, pffft I got this! I can even do it on my own! I don’t need the boy’s Dad to help. But the more I looked into it and the more I read and the more I talked to people… I realized, with the ceiling I have, that was NOT an option. the kids would pull the whole ceiling down with them.

I talked to their Dad and he agreed. We have to install the swing into a beam in the ceiling. So now we needed a drill, drill bits that drill holes, and a stud finder. Which, we didn’t have. We never REALLY needed them, and if it’s not a necessity… we didn’t really buy it, because the boys needed so much. Thankfully we’re a little better off financially now. So, we got everything we needed. We even found a great video on youtube to explain exactly what you need to do. (You can check it out here if you’re interested.)

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Excitedly we start looking for a beam. Mark it off where it says it’s at… and drill. Right. Through. The Ceiling… and hit… nothing. What?! It says it’s right there! So we try it again a little further over…. mark it off… dril. Nothing. This is not good. We were hesitant to even drill ONE hole, and at this point we’re now going to have to make at least three (the two we made and the one we need). So we stop and decide we’re going to have to get a better stud finder. Guess we shouldn’t have gotten the cheap $6 one! :/

I wasn’t excited about that, so I tried two more times by myself (because I’m stubborn lol) and made two more lovely little holes and got nothing in return but ceiling bits in my eye.

The next day we tried the new stud finder. More expensive, tells you exactly where to drill AND if there’s electrical stuff that you’ll drill into (which obviously would be BAD lol …hadn’t thought of that). Find one, mark it, DRILL. Nothing. What is happening?!?! How are there no beams in our ceiling?! lol Who keep moving them?! So that’s hole #5! Move farther over… find it. Mark it. Drill. NOTHING! #6 He gives up, I’m stubborn, drill THREE more holes… nothing. Nine holes with nothing to show for it. (Should be fun trying to find them all again later when we fill them in with plaster)

We’re contemplating giving up and buying a stand of some sort when we make one last ditch effort, because I’m in tears. lol (Easily upset – yes, I know…) Their Dad takes a hammer, taps around and in 3 seconds find a beam. lol YEP! The hammer we ALREADY had took 3 seconds to find what we were looking for. Drill. And we hit the beam! FINALLY! Put in the eye bolt, and we’re done!

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So, I get the swing, we figure out how far down it needs to be in order for the kids to be able to get in it by themselves, tie it off, grab Justin, put him in it and his butt hits the floor! We didn’t realize just HOW MUCH this swing stretches! lol So we grab Ty (who is lighter) and his butt hits the floor too!

11713504_473763952789815_1472646832_nYes… my living room is TRASHED. lol It’s the end of the day… give me a break. 😉

After adjusting we realized that the swing has to be REALLY high up off the floor to counter how much the swing stretches. But if you double it over, they’re higher off the ground (since it doesn’t stretch as much). I got the kids in bed, and decided we’d try and figure everything out the next morning.

We adjusted and finally got it to the right height for the kids. Justin prefers the more swing like “setting”…
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and Tyler prefers the more cocoon like “setting”.
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lol But MAN do they both absolutely love it. All day one of them was in it. I even got most of the house cleaned because they were happy and entertained. The only downfall is that they can’t get into by themselves. I have to help them every time because they don’t reach or understand the concept of having to pull it down in order to get into it. That and I’m not entirely sure they’d be strong enough to do it. But, as they get older and their understanding is more developed, they won’t need my help.

As much of an inconvenience it is to me, because I have to stop what I’m doing to help them… it is an absolute life saver. In just the couple days we’ve had it up, the house has been SO much calmer. Not completely void of chaos… lol but SO much calmer. If someone is upset, bouncing off the walls, bored, tired…. they go in the swing and makes everything better. The cocoon like way to be in it blocks out a LOT of light… the sitting position allows them to rock themselves or push off to swing. 🙂 They love it!

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I even doubled the fabric, put a pillow in it, and laid Jax in the swing. 🙂 Obviously I could NEVER leave him unattended, and no where does the company suggest that it’s an option, because it COULD be very dangerous if you’re not paying 100% attention (since he’s much higher off the ground because he doesn’t weigh as much). He started wiggling, so I got him out, put him down and he started screaming his head off! I picked Jax back up, put him in the swing and he was happy as a clam!

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lol So all three of the boys rate it 5 stars! 😉

The only REAL downside is… that I only have one! lol Justin and Tyler aren’t GREAT at sharing, but they’re getting better at it. 😉

… that and in the middle of the night, out of the corner of your eye… it looks like someone is standing in your living room!!! lol

To see videos of us using the swing, click here.
(Sorry in advance for the classical music instead of the giggles. I’m still figuring out how to edit and merge videos, and the app that I used made the background noise this horrible static/clicking noise and I needed to put something over it…)

My overall review:
As a fun swing for kids to play in conveniently and easy for them to use completely on their own… I’d say a 1-5 out of 10 depending on their age and understanding (also take into account this is probably for much taller kids, but mine are big for their age so we had to get the jumbo one. The regular sized one probably wouldn’t stretch as much and could be much lower to the ground).

As a therapy swing to help kids in general… I’d say at least an 8-10 our of 10!

And overall reaction from the KIDS… definitely a 10 out of 10. 🙂

As a therapy swing, I HIGHLY recommend the InYard swings.
You can check out their website here, and their facebook page here.

Don’t forget to use the Promo Code: mycrazypeople !! 😀