I’m fortunate enough to be at home with my littlest one at the moment. I spend a lot of my time with other parents discussing the various tools I have found for managing behaviour, from Sand Timers to PECs (Picture Exchange Cards). I’ve learnt about these partly from the numerous exhaustive course days I’ve been on now, but also from chatting to gifted and talented Speech Therapists, Occupational Therapists, ASD specialists, Consultant Paediatricians, SENCo’s etc!
I wanted to share some of my top tools with you, in case like me, you didn’t know these existed and have just stumbled across my site. As far as i’m concerned, the less late night stumbling required, the better!
I hope they will be of help to you. They may not, but if they are, then it might be worthwhile. Where I can I try to keep everything as low cost as possible, because it might only work for a season (or not at all, everyone is different, right?) and we are not loaded!
I hope to gradually add to these posts as and when I get a moment. Let me know if there is anything you think has helped you too, I’d love to discover more and hear from you friends.
- Sand Timers See my newest post about these; Sand Timers: Help with those difficult transitions. These are good practice with all young children; your child does not need a diagnosis to benefit from these, we use them with all ages in our home and particularly to manage sharing between siblings.
- Picture Exchange Cards (PEC’s) New post on these coming soon! For now I will say that you can buy these online (I have bought them from Ebay) or make your own (also done with a scrap of carpet and a laminator). I have made some boards for our son which work well for routines.
- Sensory Tents I hope to write a post soon about how I made ours from old bits and pieces we had hanging around. My post about Second Child shows a picture of it. I used an IKEA play tent we were no longer using, old curtains and some poppers. You can also see them on Amazon to buy. They can be very helpful, but equally building a ‘safe’, snug, hiding place under something may work just as well, so try this before you splurge! We have built ours on top of our sons bed, and he has a lot of control over who uses it, which really helps him to feel safe if he is upset or overloaded, but also teaches him through practice about personal space. He also makes a lot of dens under tables instinctively, everyone loves a den, right?
- Trampette We have a so called ‘collapsible’ indoor trampoline we bought from Amazon. It’s not really collapsible, more take-apart-able, and it takes up a bit of space, but is great for stemming. In the summer I use it outdoors a lot for the hyper bouncy overload we sometimes get. You can get grants for them. We applied for one but there wasn’t enough funding at the charity so we just had to buy it!
- Ear Defenders. We have a pair in the car (for when little sisters’ shout and scream on car journeys), a pair at the kitchen table (for fire alarms, loud noises etc) and he takes a pair out in his bag for use in busy places (train stations, Church services with loud worship music, supermarkets, public toilets).
- He also has big headphones which take a micro SD card with some music on. We have audio books on it, and it has been helpful for days out when he is overloaded and needs to retreat to be alone for sometime and for church services.
- Fiddle Toys Helpful if important conversations without your child sitting still are impossible in your home! And for homework time or dinner table time. Equally foot rockers for under the table help a lot with sitting.
- Vibrating or weighted toys We have found these expensive, and occasionally very helpful but sometimes limited in their use. For example the other night it was really helpful to use his vibrating snake when we found him rubbing his electric toothbrush all over his skin; he was searching for sensory feedback! You could also add some heavy things to a rucksack to help your child get the same feedback. Occupational Therapists have a vast wealth of free techniques they could teach you for the same results if your child is a real ‘sensory seeker’. If you can get your child involved in ‘sensory circuit’ at their school it may help, an OT can often recommend this to the school SENCo. I’d love to write more on this soon!
Our local NHS trust has a wonderful page with a ‘toolkit‘ which has heaps of information on and may be of help to you, but your trust may also have one too.
That’s all for now folks,
NB: I haven’t received anything from any of the companies mentioned in this post. There may be cheaper/better options elsewhere, I mention them in case like me you have limited time and want simple answers quickly!