Rainbow sensory gifts | My guest blog post

Our life has been filled with sensory exploration for around 7 years.

When I first expected that Harri had sensory processing disorder and autism, he was around 14 months old. He had no interest in baby toys unless they flashed, and hated anything that made noise, we found it increasingly difficult (and still do 8 years on) to find him anything that kept his interest longer than a few seconds, or that didn’t cause him sensory overload.

We started off with very basic light up toys, little flashing balls, changeable light bulbs, flashing bath toys etc.

Bath time used to be a really hard time for us, he absolutely hated water, hated having his hair washed or brushed, hated having his teeth brushed. And what many people don’t realise is that there are so many sensory toys and equipment that can help make these things easier.

Simple things like adding flashing lights to the bath or tap, toothbrushes and toothpaste that are made specifically for children with SPD and you can buy little sand timers which really helped as a visual aid, coral sponges are lovely and soft once wet and ideal for children that don’t like to be touched or get too wet. But not only that, one of the best ways to conquer a fear of water is to introduce it into play, same with sand, grass and dirt.

We had some amazing services involved when Harri was little, portage being the main one. Who taught us all the wonders of sensory play and the benefits for not only children with special needs but children in general of all ages, and when Harri was 3 we made him the most amazing sensory room complete with a bubble tube and fiberoptic lights, that were mainly supplied by a charity called Caudwell fund.

This was his own space, where if he was having a meltdown or a particularly bad day, he could go to relax amongst the lights and his little flashing toys and it would calm him.

During the time when he was a baby, there wasn’t much available like what Katie produces. No one did sensory packs, and the ones that were available from bigger sensory companies weren’t affordable, so we had to make do with things we could find or make ourselves, I would have been so grateful to have had a company like Rainbow Sensory Gifts, where I would know the things were safe and carefully thought out. I would have benefited from having Katie in general to bounce ideas back and forth and I’m so thankful that I have somewhere I can grab all these wonderful toys at such affordable prices to help Fraser learn and develop his skills.

Fine motor and hand eye coordination skills will always be big milestones for us because Harri didn’t learn to wave, point, clap until he was around 3, we’re still working on his pincer grasp and he’s now 8 years old.

Fraser with the help of Katie’s deluxe sensory bag, is already trying to do the open and closed wave at 6 months old, he can move objects between hands, pick some smaller objects up like her wooden rainbow blocks, spikey flashing balls and ribbon wands.

He’s been learning how to problem solve by hiding items underneath his scarfs and finding them, and pulling the scarfs through an Oball.

One of the big things for us is that Fraser has a flat head at the back, he had stiffness in one side of his neck and absolutely hated tummy time, this is why we originally bought the deluxe sensory bag, to encourage tummy time but also to use things like the flashing ball, mirror, visual cards and bells to get him to move his head from side to side.

This all helped immensely and whilst his head is still flat because he can’t sit unaided, he spends the majority of the day now on his tummy, rolling around the room trying to reach his sensory toys. And he can now move his head from side to side with no issue.

I also think when we have access to sensory toys like Katie produces, it encourages us to play more and educate ourselves more about learning through play and it’s benefits, which is so so important. You don’t have to spend an absolute fortune like I was led to believe, I spent hundreds of pounds all those years ago, and the equipment from caudwell, whilst absolutely amazing, was worth a lot of money and I could have never ever afforded to have bought it myself.

We’re lucky now that we have people like Katie, and resources more readily available. Instagram and Pinterest didn’t exist then. My ideas were my own and it was so stressful not really knowing what I was doing. Which is why Katie’s little information booklet which gives you ideas on how to use the items in the bags, is so amazing.

I’m not sure about anyone else but I find babies really hard work to entertain and not only that, it also meant that after we had played, he was quite happy to lie on the floor with a few bits from the sensory bag whilst I pottered on around the house or just had 5 minutes to myself and I never had to try and think of games to play or activities to do with the toys because I had them right in that booklet.

Fraser has been using Katie’s sensory toys since he was around 5 weeks old, and he will continue to use them into toddlerhood.

I really look forward to seeing what rainbow sensory gifts has in store for the future and will continue to support her every step of the way because without a company like hers I’d still be struggling to find what I need at amazing value, to help Fraser learn and

develop all these awesome skills.

Links for Katie’s Website and Instagram below

https://instagram.com/rainbowsensorygifts?igshid=61yt85lboaba

https://www.rainbowsensorygifts.co.uk

I cut my hair off for charity! 

  


Thought I would give you all a quick update on my hair! 

Basically if you have been following me for a while you will know that I dyed my hair black to blonde. Then purple and eventually grey. 

I tried everything to keep my hair grey but even the hairdressers couldn’t get it to last longer than a week. 

My hair was left in really bad condition, and along with my hair falling out due to stress my dermatitis on my scalp was pretty bad. 

So I decided to dye it back to black. Although this slightly helped with the condition. I felt my hair still looked and felt dreadful. 

As most of you know my little boy is autistic. So I decided to cut my hair off and raise money for the National Autistic Society. They have been such a great source of information since the diagnoses process started and I wanted to be able to give something back. 

So I went from this :  


 


To this :  


 


The hairdresser did get a bit scissor happy. And it was slightly shorter than I wanted which makes it difficult to style the original way I wanted too. However I really love it, I actually prefer wearing it in the pixie style. 

Now when my hair grows back eventually it will be in great condition! 

I managed to raise over £450 thanks to my very generous and wonderful friends. 

So just another shoutout to those of you who did donate. Thankyou so much for making this transition so much easier by donating what you could. It is massively appreciated and I love you all. 

Thanks for reading! 

Xoxo 

Sensory Sunday!

  

So this week instead of reviewing a sensory toy/product. I decided to share with you the wonderful and cheap world of DIY Sensory bottles! 

We’ve been collecting the cheap miniature pop bottles from the Asda own kids range. Which are a perfect size for this! 

You can fill them with absolutely anything. The water ones are great as they make the objects float. 

You can also make noise ones without water! This is one of the water ones I made for Penelope. Its just water filled to the top and then we put some of the craft Pom Poms in. She played with it for ages! 


 
I can’t take credit for this idea, it came from the fantastic world of Pinterest. Here’s a few we are going to make over the coming months.  
 
  
If you wanted some better bottles/containers I’m sure anything will do that is light and has a screw cap. I seen these ones on Pinterest and think they are fab but have yet to find containers like these.  
 
Here’s a quick list of things we have used, feel free to pop your own ideas in the comments! You can pretty much use anything. 

  • Beads
  • Ribbons 
  • Sand 
  • Water 
  • Glitter 
  • Pipe cleaners 
  • Pom Poms 
  • Googly eyes 
  • Food colouring 
  • Foam shapes 
  • Foam letters 
  • Foam numbers 
  • Rice 
  • Pasta 
  • Glitter glue 
  • Glow in the dark paint/glitter/shapes 
  • Buttons 
  • Dice
  • Water beads 
  • Fake flowers 

Hope you have enjoyed this blog. These are so easy and cheap to make. My kids both love them (Aged 4 and 2). Harri has sensory processing disorder alongside His diagnoses of Autism. So he absolutely loves anything like this. 

They are also great for baby sensory play! 

Thanks for reading! 

XXXX 

Sensory Sunday! 

Wooden Sensory Blocks 

I’m a little bit obsessed with looking for really funky sensory toys for the kids. Amongst making some of our own and buying things other people have recommended, I search the net trying to find the next best thing. 
What is slightly irritating is the price ranges. Sensory toys are most certainly not cheap, but sometimes you can find some really great things that are totally worth the money.  

Harri attends a nursery specifically for children with Autism. So as you can imagine they have some of the most amazing sensory toys/areas and so we often find ourselves purchasing bits and bobs we have seen him interested in within school. He’s not into toys really so when we don’t find something he seems to enjoy we generally buy them. 

On a parents morning we noticed these on one of the tables and I thought they looked great. Not just for Harri but Penelope too. 

They were £40.80 inclusive of VAT, plus postage. And I know that might seem a tad expensive but the kids really do love them. 

You get 16 natural hardwood blocks with liquid, beads, glitter and sand centres all with different colours. They are great for sensory stimulus. You can shake, stack, build and hold them up to the light. And are ideal for shape recognition and simple block building tasks. 

Harri does play with them when he’s not fixated on his cars/books etc. But Penelope absolutely loves them and can play with them for a good hour before moving onto something else. 

They are available from the following website 

http://www.sensoryplus.co.uk/products/wooden-toys/sensory-blocks-set-of-16/SE826

Thanks so much for reading, I will be trying to make Sensory Sunday blogs every week, hopefully adding some DIY bits along the way. 

Xxx