by Nikki Schwartz
I discovered something super fun today! Turn yourself into a LEGO® Minifig!
bricks are certainly a favorite in my office with kids on the Autism Spectrum. How much fun would it be to let them create a Minifig of themselves?!Mini-Mizer
has got all kinds of options for skin color, clothing, capes, masks, etc. I uploaded a picture of my office as the background. The website is free, appears to be safe, and is definitely worth checking out.
Photos Courtesy of reasonablyclever.com
NOTE: I have no affliation with LEGO®, reasonablyclever.com, Mini-Mizer, or minimizer.me, nor have they approved this post. I have not been compensated in any way for this post, I just think turning myself into a LEGO® Minifig is about the coolest thing ever.
Accessories for Star Wars, Star Trek, Super Heros...
Nikki Schwartz as ... A Super Hero Without A Name
Mini-Mizer 3.0 has 6 different kinds of capes, 28 hand accessories, 2 different Star Trek uniforms, and even an Iron Man Arc Reactor!
It occurs to me now that the cape and the light saber might cause some issues... Edna from The Incredibles always said, "No capes!"
I might get sucked into a vortex, like Splashdown or caught in an express elevator like Metaman.
Apparently, you can also order a real custom minifig from this website or another I found, minimizer.me
Can you imagine the look on the face of a kid obsessed with LEGO®
Well, I'm off to moonlight as... hmm... I need a good super hero name, suggestions?
by Nikki Schwartz
| || |
Cinema Cafe in Virginia Beach let me know that they are doing another sensory friendly show this Saturday at 10:30 am at the Pembroke location.
Guess what? Tickets are only $1.50!! Guess what else? We have a pair to give away. I'll tell you how to win in a second. :)
The Crood's family's motto is "Never Not Be Afraid." When their cave is destroyed, they've got to set out for something new. I think this is a great lesson for kids and can provide some great teaching moments after the movie.
Cinema Cafe has decided to have a regular sensory friendly event every month on the 1st Saturday morning of the month at 10:30 am. For $1.50, I think there will be a lot of families who will be able to afford to take their kiddos to the movies. Now getting everyone out of bed and to Pembroke by 10:30 on a Saturday morning, that might be tricky. ;)
Sensory Friendly Shows at Cinema Cafe mean that the lights are up, the sound is down, to offer a judgment-free space to enjoy the movies.
How to Win Tickets
If you'd like to win the tickets, leave two comments
We'll send the winner an email on Thursday (June 7th) at 8pm.
- One on this giveaway post
- And one comment that contributes to the conversation of a past post. (Scroll down to find past posts or you can look through the blog categories).
The winner will need to respond by 10pm Thursday evening to claim the tickets. The tickets will be left in the winner's name at the box office.
by Nikki Schwartz, MA, NCC
|Anyone out there really, really like change?
What? No one.
Yeah me, neither.
Now just like most people with ADHD, I like novelty, creativity, and a change of pace, but I don't like change that makes me uncomfortable, change that is hard, change where I don't feel in control of the situation. Here's where the Unstuck iPad App
enters the picture. (Oh yeah, and it's free!)Disclaimer: I have no affiliation with this app, it's developers, or Apple.
All Images Courtesy of & Copyrighted by:
Unstuck.com (c) 2013 Unstuck, LLC
How's an app gonna help me?
I guess that depends on the app. I find a lot of times that I am avoiding a situation when I feel stuck, maybe I want to change a bad habit or I can't seem to figure out how to start a project. I can get stuck because I'm overwhelmed or because I'm frustrated. I've used the Unstuck app myself several times, and with clients as well, and it seems to take some of the anxiety out of sorting through an issue.
Here's an example of a "Stuck Moment" (fictitious, of course.)
After having you complete a few short exercises, the Unstuck app uses the information to create a snapshot of the situation.
Wafflers "bounce between decisions instead of making them -- and the longer we ricochet, the more nervous we get about making a choice"
And your fortune says...
While it might seem like fortune telling, Unstuck is pretty accurate at "diagnosing" the source of your "stuck". Based on the type of "stuck" you're having, Unstuck offers several in-app tools to help you gain perspective. As well as links to other videos, stories, and other media customized for your situation.
Unstuck helps with...
Unstuck is extremely helpful for those with ADHD, it helps focus your thoughts, ideas and feelings into a cohesive, visual summary. I also suggest using for:
- Deciding where to go to college
- Picking a major
- Making career changes and decisions
- Choosing a topic for a project or a paper
- Planning a large or an overwhelming project
- Sorting out marital or relationship issues
- Managing conflict with coworkers
- Trying to lose weight, quit smoking, etc.
- Seeking an answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything (oh wait, we already know the answer to that... it's 42.)
You'll love the price tag.
This is what blew me away as a therapist, this app is free . Yeah, I pay a lot for tools like this in kits or assessments. This could put me out of a job. Well, not really...
Is it as good as going to a therapist? Almost.
I think the reason that this app works so well is it gives you the feeling of finally being understood, even though the "other" understanding us is an iPad. Still, we feel better when someone can empathize and put into words how we are feeling.
Unstuck gives you a feeling of finally being understood.
I think Unstuck is a great option to use in between sessions with a good counselor, but I don't think it will replace a good relationship with someone who can understand you here-and-now, walking with you through the tough things.
Let me know if you try it out.
Or if you know of any other great apps like it. I love to check out useful apps for clients with ADHD, Anxiety, Autism, and Asperger's. (I only work with diagnoses that start with "A"... Just kidding, I'll take letters A through D, as well. ;) Leave me a comment and let me know what you think of Unstuck.
I get a lot of questions on how to keep kids from closing apps on an iPad or iPhone. I made a photo tutorial last year for the iphone
and decided to try my hand at a video tutorial. You can change settings on your iPad to use a feature called Guided Access, which allows you to shut off certain areas of the screen, lock the volume and home buttons, etc. Super useful. So, after several hours this afternoon, TA DA! My first video tutorial...
So, what'd you think? Let me know in the comments if you have any questions. Do you already use Guided Access? There will be more videos to come soon, I think, reviewing my favorite apps.
I'm always looking for realistic parenting tips for families who have children with Autism, Asperger's, and ADHD. I recently discovered a great series of short parenting videos from @AskDocG
, Dr. Deborah Gilboa regularly posts tips on parenting.
I've already used this suggestion several times to teach children on the spectrum how to interrupt their parents politely. I couldn't believe I had never thought of something this simple before, definitely worth watching. Dr. G posts weekly with great tips for parents, you can find those on her YouTube Channel
Now, that you've watched it... I recently tried this with a child that I know outside of the office, who is rather impatient. I couldn't believe how quickly she picked it up and didn't interrupt once the rest of the afternoon. I was shocked. Try it out, I would love to hear how it works out for your kiddo.
Guest Post by R. Andrew Bindewald III
This post on ADHD subtypes and Winnie-The-Pooh comes from Andrew Bindewald, a Master's student from Regent University. He found the idea intriguing that different characters from The Hundred Acre Woods offered great metaphors for different aspects of ADHD.
So, without further delay... The wonderful thing about Tiggers... is hyperactivity. Which is sometimes... not so wonderful... :-/
Photo Credit: All Photos by JD Hancock via Flickr
| |Do you have a bouncy, trouncy, flouncy, pouncy miniature Tigger living with you? Don't worry, you are not the only one! Tigger is a favorite of many children and adults because of his energetic and bubbly personality. He is also an example of classic ADHD because he is hyperactive, impulsive, easily distracted and disorganized.Tiggers need lots of exercise, social interaction, praise, and will benefit from fidget strategies to help them focus when they are bored. | |
Photo Credit: JD Hancock via Flickr
Over-Focused and Anxious
Photo Credit: JD Hancock via Flickr
ADHD and Anxiety are often found together. Rabbit is a vivid example of someone with ADHD who is over-focused and anxious. He has difficulty shifting attention, inflexibility, anxiety, and he is frequently caught in cycles of negative thoughts. Know anyone like Rabbit?
Rabbits' attention problems are fueled by his anxiety. So, Rabbits will benefit from a yoga, meditation, journaling, and addressing negative thinking.
Overly Anxious and Shy Photo Credit: JD Hancock via Flickr
A child like Piglet may or may not have ADHD. Piglet does has trouble shifting attention, but also has excessive worry, is hypervigilant, and easily startled. These are signs of Social Phobia or Social Anxiety Disorder, which can co-occur with ADHD.
Help Piglets by following their lead and letting them set the pace. Encourage new opportunities for social interaction and praise small successes.
Photo Credit: JD Hancock
Winnie-The-Pooh is a good example of ADHD without the H. Pooh often has trouble focusing, paying attention and he is often found to be "off in a cloud," not paying attention what is going on around him.
Most Poohs are probably trying harder than we realize and the harder they try, the more difficult it is to think clearly. Be careful not to accuse Poohs of "not trying hard enough". Encourage them to take a step back when they are having trouble. Make chores, homework, and other tasks as interesting as possible.
Or Does Your Child Look More like Eeyore? Photo Credit: JD Hancock via Flickr
Eeyore is a sad fellow who has little energy, chronic low-grade depression, and feelings of hopelessness. These can be signs of childhood depression, difficulties at school or trouble adjusting to changes in family life, such as moving, divorce, etc.
Help Eeyores by asking them to talk about problems in bite-sized chunks. Let them act out the struggles in play, be involved in what is going on at school and with their friends.
The Most Wonderful Thing About ADHD...
There is strength in knowledge and awareness. By realizing there are many different kinds of ADHD
, and by identifying and understanding different symptoms, you can help your child live a fuller, happier life!
Check out other posts for more tips for hyperactive children with ADHD
. As a parent of a child who has been diagnosed with ADHD and exhibits anxiety, hyperactivity or inattention, you are not alone!
Reach out to other parents who know what you're going through. Seek the help of a supportive and understanding counselor
who can help you and your child develop practical strategies that build on his strengths
, instead of focusing on his deficits.
I would love to hear your thoughts and comments. Please tell us about your experiences with ADHD, and do not hesitate to share a story of your own! (P.S. We showed you a picture of Roo and Kanga in the picture collage at the top... Roo doesn't have ADHD, :) he's just a fun kiddo.)
Andrew Bindewald is a Masters in Community Counseling, Clinical Mental Health major, at Regent University. His interests range from, in no particular order, basketball, comical YouTube videos and neurofeedback.
You Might Also Like:
Should Kids with ADHD Sit Still to Learn?
ADHD Tip for Parents Infographic
This morning I am on my way to DC for this weekend's Accessibilty Conference (about a 3 hour drive). Here's a little gem I found in my perusal... smartappsforkids.com does a post every Friday with a list if free apps! Always a great thing to have. I'll let you know if I find anything good!
Here's a link:
by Nikki Schwartz
Tidewater ASA (Autism Society of America) updated their Resource Directory
last month in January. This is an invaluable resource for anyone new to Autism, Asperger's, or Sensory Processing Disorders, as well as anyone who's just moved to Virginia Beach with a child on the Spectrum.
Providers typically request to be part of the directory, so they are indicating that they specifically work with people with ASD. This is great for you, since it can be hard to find Autism-friendly businesses sometimes.
We've added their Autism Resource Directory
as a download on our site as well. We've also added a calendar of many of the Autism-friendly events
, meetups, fundraisers, and respites in the area.
Click Image to Download the Resource Directory
NOTE: Neither Nikki Schwartz, Spectrum Psychological Services, nor Tidewater Autism Society of America, endorses providers listed. All information is for informational purposes only. Please make sure to do your own research regarding providers, techniques and therapies.
by Nikki Schwartz
| | Yes, kids with ADHD should sit still
. All the time. Preferably, they can sit still with an elephant sitting on top of them.
;) Because for some kiddos with ADHD and Autism Spectrum Disorders this is about the only way to make it happen. Great idea, huh? Check out more of my creative ADHD Tips for Parents
. (By the way, how fun is the photo of the cutie pie under the elephant statue?)
So, barring squishing your kids with very large animals, what then? Well, this might be the wrong question to start with
. So, what is/are the right question(s)?
Why do they fidget?
Kids with ADHD typically have lower than normal activity in one or both of their frontal lobes (behind their foreheads), this is where planning, goal directed behavior, decision making, and focusing all take place.
This is one reason why people with ADHD often complain about having trouble waking up in the morning. That frontal lobe needs a kick start to wake up in the morning or to stay active during boring tasks. So, they fidget. Fidgeting activates the frontal lobes.
Sitting still during a boring task can be literally painful for a person with ADHD.
Watch a person with ADHD doing something they find fascinating and interesting. You know what you won't see? Fidgeting. Their is no need to stimulate the frontal lobes, those lobes are already engaged.
But, their fidgeting drives me crazy!
Parents and teachers have two common complaints about fidgeting:
- Fidgeting is annoying for parents, teachers, classmates, and siblings.
- They can't stay on task, because they are fidgeting.
In the book, Fidget to Focus
, the authors suggesting asking these questions instead:
- What methods of fidgeting/movement are NOT annoying to others?
- Which ones don't take away from staying productive and on task?
In another post in our series, I discussed in depth a variety of different types of "fidget strategies" for ADHD and Autism
, along these lines.
So, should ADHD kids be made to sit still?
I would say probably not; however, that doesn't mean just letting them bounce off the walls. I encourage parents to find strategies that fit these two categories. It definitely requires more creativity, but there are so many ways available now to help kids learn and focus better, without requiring them to sit still during boring tasks. Here are three of my favorite products. (Note: I am not affiliated with any of these companies, nor have I received any sort of compensation whatsoever for mentioning these products. I just think they are really cool!)
The Safco AlphaBetter® Desk
is standing desk with a swinging foot bar. This combines several great ideas. First, standing helps many people focus better
on their work. The foot bar incorporates a movement strategy, that is much less annoying that foot tapping.
Third, there is a chair as well so kids can sit and stand alternatively. It's not cheap ($300-450), compared to regular school desks ($100-150), but I think many parents and teachers can see the advantages of a standing desk like this one.
The Sunrise System Alarm Clock
is probably one of the best things I've ever bought myself. This clock hooks up to a bedside lamp and mimics the sunrise in the morning over 45 minutes or so, and comes with a back up buzzer alarm as well. Adding more light in the morning, gradually, will help the ADHDer who struggles to wake up in the morning.
It's a little pricey ($99), but provides much more light via a lamp than other sunrise clocks that have a built in light.
So, will it be the elephant or a fidget strategy?
I'll be honest... I don't highly recommend the elephant. Seems expensive and time consuming ;) I'm hoping more of you will look at fidget strategies and other ideas that complement ADHD. What has worked well for your kids or for yourself? Your comments make my day! I always welcome and respond to your thoughts and comments.
If you have an autistic child or know someone with Asperger's or another Autism Spectrum Disorder, this is a great place to find out what is going on. If you'd like to add an event to the calendar, send Suzi an email
and let her know. We'll be hosting this Autism Events Calendar
permanently on our site. You can also check out our resources page for a local providers directory