Team Davy. Is. The. Best.
Holiday Eyes Glasses. We've actually had these around the house for years. A friend gave them to the Big Three when they were little and, man, did they love them. Thank goodness we hung on to them because Davy has just discovered them and... wow! All of a sudden, the chaos of a holiday gathering... well, these are giving him a connection point with people. Pretty, freakin' awesome.
Here's where you get 'em.
Yeah, at first glance, the price tag is a bit of a shocker. But these make great little gifts. It's a no brainer around here.
2. Kinetic Sand
This stuff. Amazing.
We pull it out when the boy just can't figure out what to do with himself. And I added an old set of cookie cutters to the mix... voila! Happy place. He loves to cut out letters and shapes. Occasionally, we'll get crazy and do some animals. Oh, and I just have him use it on an old cookie sheet. Cuz, really. Who needs a $20 sandbox?
We bought ours at Brookstone.
Recently, I've seen other brands at Target and Walmart. I'm sure they're all about the same, but we really like what we purchased from Brookstone.
3. Read and Build Duplo Blocks
So my boy doesn't really play with toys. A little bit here and there, but for the most part, the money we have spent on typical toys just hasn't paid off.
And he doesn't do Legos. They're just too darn small. He likes the IDEA of Legos, but when it comes down to the actual building of them... well, he pretty much shuts down.
Fine motor skills. Bleh.
But then we found these.
And they're awesome.
He can manipulate them. He can follow the (very simple) building instructions.
And... there's a story with each one!
A very simple story, but still!
These were the first stories he really followed. And they opened the door to his little imagination - which was tightly closed until just recently.
Huge win around here.
And yes. We bought all of them.
You can get them pretty much anywhere. Wal-Mart. Target. ToysRUs.
Or Amazon. Love me some Amazon.
4. Okay, really. In the end, none of this other stuff matters without this.
This. Is. Life.
This swing from Hearthsong has been our greatest find since we started this journey with Davy.
It hangs from the tree in our front yard. We are on it pretty much every day and usually several times a day.
Rain or shine.
It's fabulous. In fact, last week, the swivel carabiner that my step-dad bought to hang it (so it would spin, of course), snapped in two.
I mean, I literally freaked. I lost half the night's sleep over it.
The next morning, when I realized it was going to be a simple fix, it was as if I was born anew.
I kid you not.
Yeah, it's spendy, but it will last us for years. Seriously.
Here's a pic of my boy in his favorite spot on the planet (outside of Disney World, of course)...
How cute is he?
And here's where you can purchase the awesomeness.
Most of the time, when you encounter Davy-boy, you'll find a little red or blue circle dangling around his neck like a necklace (see pic above).
This, my friends, is a chewie.
And it has saved countless shirts from utter destruction.
When my boy is stressed, he chews (or licks).
And he's stressed a LOT.
So, the chewie has been a wonderful thing around here.
We never leave home without it.
We tried out a few different kinds (and spent quite a bit of money doing it) and decided these are our favorite. They may not be as "cool" or "trendy" as some of the others out there, but one thing that's great about Davy and his autism is that he DOES NOT CARE.
Works for us!
Here's where you can get them. Oh, and we like the ice cream or red dot styles for their exceptional chewiness.
6. LED Lights
Miss Kassie gets full credit for this one.
Wait a minute. Who am I kidding?
Miss Kassie gets credit for most of the items on this list.
Anyway, we strung up some inexpensive LED lights around the inside of the hidden-hole under Davy's bunk bed.
A totally cool and calm space.
And the best thing about these lights is that they're remote controlled. And can be light in over a dozen different colors... or even flashing different colors.
He loves these lights.
But not just any sucker.
Did you know that suckers are one of the four main food groups?
I'm not sure my child would be functional each day without them.
Now, I never used to be picky about suckers.
Not until my boy was going through 10-15 a day.
Again, no joke.
But then we came across these babies.
And the heavens rejoiced.
These babies are all-natural. No artificial colors or flavors, real fruit extracts.
Good stuff, people.
I keep a bag in the van and a bag in the house.
And Mark is sent to the store REGULARLY to buy more.
You better believe a bag (or two... or three) of these will be in Davy-boy's stocking.
And he'll be thrilled.
Once again, Amazon to the rescue! (Note: You can also get them at Sprouts and Whole Foods)
8. Two words.
Elephant & Piggie.
Again... Miss Kassie rocks.
So, David struggles to understand that my thoughts are different than his thoughts.
That your thoughts are different than his thoughts.
That there really IS a thought different than his thought.
Enter Miss Kassie and our introduction to the world of Elephant & Piggie by Mo Willems.
Thank you, Miss Kassie!
These books are wonderful. The characters are sweet and funny and lovable.
The scenarios are typical preschool/early elementary situations, but are presented in a way that my boy is able to understand.
And there are thought bubbles (will have to post about these later...)! These are helping Davy begin to grasp the idea that we don't all think and feel the way he does.
We're not there yet.
But we're making progress. And there's a lot to celebrate as a result!
So that about sums up our list.
There are many particulars that we could not do without that are probably specific to my boy (i.e. Coldplay LP's, map puzzles, map quiz cards, wall maps, map books, and a good, solid record player), but these are the essentials around here that I thought might be applicable to the life and ease of another kiddo or two on the spectrum (or not on the spectrum).
Oh, wait. I forgot one more thing...
Because if Momma ain't happy...
And because then you can make this.