Product Reviews

‘I am feeling’ Emotions Display Board 

We purchased this pack as part of our efforts to develop our son’s understanding of, and ability to manage, emotions. The pack consists of plastic laminated cards with velcro on the back and a larger card to stick them to. Each card has a different emotion and an illustration on it. They’re good. My son found it interesting reading through the various cards and several less familiar emotions piqued his curiosity. He enjoys putting an emotion ‘on display’ but, as is often the case with our son, is less open to the negative emotions. We have begun to use them as a method of helping him understand and be able to articulate what he is feeling.

Arguably, anyone with a laminator could make these cards themselves. However, they are sold at a price that makes it easier and more worthwhile to just buy them. They are also produced by a company that has a family feel about it- you sense their products are the results of tried and tested real life experience. As such, I find them a worthwhile company to support.

My wife came back from a course with the idea to use the cards to show not just my son’s emotions, but the emotions of other family members. Like these cards, it’s a simple but effective idea.

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/120654379612?ssPageName=STRK:MEWNX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1439.l2649

Tag Interactive World Map

This is so perfect for my son. The moment this addition to his Tag reading system appeared, his eyes lit up. Without hesitation, he was seeking out and touching his two favourite locations- Nauru and Vatican City (don’t ask). To his delight, the pen said the names of the places and he honed his pronunciations in reply. Next up, a ‘find the country’ game, followed by an exploration of Australia. My son has excellent recall of countries, flags and cities, so this was like heaven for him.  I’d say it is the most successful of all the Tag range we’ve tried.

The board is two-sided and very robust. There are countless games and activities that can be explored and we’ve found that our son’s interest has not waned (as long as we put it away. When things are out all the time he becomes indifferent).

Relatives have almost bought my son this board before. It’s easy to pick it up not realising you need the pen system to use it. But now we have the pen and the board, I’d argue its worth both purchases just for the board alone.

http://leapfrogstore.co.uk/store/cart.php?m=product_detail&p=446

Smurfs’ Village

smurfs-village-ipad-game

In many ways my son’s Kindle Fire is a mixed blessing. Frequently it is the cause of meltdowns, usually when something will not work how he wants it to, or when we tell him it’s time to come off it. But there is no denying that it is a fantastic gadget for my son. He adores it, gets great pleasure from it and uses it in a number of ways. One such way is the use of apps. These are not autism apps; I am aware of the fantastic range of applications that are used in helping children on the spectrum. But at the high functioning end of the spectrum we have not found apps for communication or behavioural development that are suitable.

What we have found is Smurfs’ Village.

This little game is fantastic, and has had quite an effect on my son. I’m not sure of the correct term for games like this, but it resembles The Sims and Civilisation and other games where you build and develop communities, progress through stages of technological advancement and generally play god. In the case of Smurfs’ Village, you build houses, plant crops, explore parts of your map and populate your village with new smurfs (don’t worry, these appear magically- you won’t have to explain reproduction!). There are various mini-games to play along the way and the whole thing looks fantastic- particularly when you have a busy, bustling village.

What has impressed me most about the game is the way in which it has encouraged in my son patience, responsibility and awareness of consequences. That sounds like a grand claim for a free app, but it’s true. This is because many of the building activities in the game work in real time. If you plant crops, you have to wait from a few moments to several hours before you can harvest them. And if you leave them unattended, they will wilter. The same patience is required of buildings.

Amazingly, I have found that my son is willing to wait and return to the game to check his crops or monitor his building progress. For someone with such a short attention span, this is quite something. Smurfs’ Village requires patience and attention and my son has demonstrated these skills.

Even better, he has begun to show an interest in growing his own crops. As a result, we have some tomato plants and other veg on their way. He is patiently monitoring their progress and enjoys watering them.

smurfs

The only drawback of the game is the dreaded in-app purchase. If you’re unfamiliar with this, it’s when the (usually free) app gives players the opportunity to make progress by making purchases. In the case of this game, the purchase of Smurfberries speeds up the game and allows you to access new levels, if you can’t wait for standard progress. It’s an insidious way of getting money out of young people and is currently under review by the government following complaints (about all apps that do it, not just Smurfs’ Village!).

Somehow we managed to lay down, and enforce, the ground rule that my son(s) could not buy in-app purchase and, so far, they have accepted this rule.

A few nights ago, when the boys were tucked up in bed, I was surprised to hear the familiar theme tune of the game and looked up to see my wife with the Kindle. “What are you doing?” I asked her. “Just checking his crops, she replied. They’re about due to be harvested.” I felt it my duty to mock her for getting involved, but it shows how compelling the game is!

Leap Frog Tag Reading System

tag

From an early age, my son demonstrated reading skills beyond what might be expected for his age. My wife still tells tales of how shop keepers would marvel at his ability to read out signs and recognise complex words. It was one of the (many baffling) aspects of autism- how could a child who could barely communicate with his parents in a meaningful way apparently understand the complexities of written English?

But this apparent hyperlexia hid the truth at the heart of my son’s ability to read. Reading, as my son’s teachers have often reminded me, is not just about the technical ability to blend sounds and decode the combinations of letters, it’s also about understanding. And this is where my son falls short. My son can read, or have a good go at reading, virtually anything, but his understanding is often lacking. Asking him to discuss or summarise what he has read often reveals an absence of comprehension. This is particularly true of fiction.

Listen carefully, and you’ll also notice that his intonation and emphasis is sometimes out. Most of the time he gets it right, particularly with familiar stories, but I think this is because he has been read to lots and has soaked up the idea of putting expression into reading. He also seems to understand punctuation.

In order to move my son’s reading level and ability on, a lot of work has gone into developing his comprehension and understanding of the words he reads. By the age of five, my son should be able to grasp concepts such as implied meaning and character motivation. He should know cause and effect in a story and be able to say why something happened. Of course, all of these things are a real challenge to the rather literal autistic mind.

I’ve spent the last month trying out the Leapfrog Tag system with my son, as a means of developing his reading comprehension skills. The Tag system is billed as ‘a fun, unintimidating introduction to reading, from starting out to building confidence and increasing vocabulary’. Whilst this is certainly, true, I approached Tag from a different angle. How could it help my special needs son develop his reading comprehension skills and ability to decode the underlying meanings and messages in a text?

Before I get onto that, a word about the actual physical Tag system. Any ‘gadget’ based toy was always going to be a winner with my son (and I suspect this is true of the wider special needs community). As expected, he was instantly attracted to the intriguing looking pen device, with its buttons, lights, speaker and that very pleasing noise it makes when it boots up. He couldn’t wait to see what it did.

A word of warning for parents: don’t give the Tag system to your child before you have set it up. It doesn’t take long, but it does involve setting it up to your computer and downloading the files to the pen in advance. As parents, we have long since learnt the importance of pre-preparing  toys before handing them over (anyone ever tackled a boxed toy car while your child screams “Now!”). Tag needs a bit of adult input before it is ready to use, although I expect that my techno-savvy five-year-old son will soon be able to set it up himself.

Like all good ideas, combining books with this type of gadget is brilliantly simple and brilliantly effective. Some children may be reluctant readers but I have never met a child who was a reluctant user of gadgets. Especially gadgets that talk to you! With our Tag pen loaded and my son’s interest piqued, we were ready to try out our first title.

We have several of Tag Storybooks series, including ‘Madagascar Air Penguin’ and ‘Toy Story 3: Together Again’. The movie tie-in is a good idea in engaging readers using familiar characters and worlds from films they will have seen. There is also a range of ‘Kid Classics’ including the likes of Paddington and Dr Suess.

The first thing that struck me about the books was their quality. In an age of digital reading, there is something very satisfying about the tactile nature of a well bound hard cover book. Obviously this makes me a dinosaur, but it’s a pleasure I want to pass onto my children. In a world where everything is increasingly disposable, books are something to cherish and look after. The Tag books feel well made and worth looking after.

Interestingly, a child could quite happily enjoy these books without their Tag Reader. This is possibly off-message as far as Leap Frog is concerned, but then I expect they are aware of the books’ value as a simple text for those times when the pen has been put away. My boy has been enjoying the books at bedtime, even when the pen was not around. They are well illustrated with original art work (not just stills from the films) which adds to their appeal and makes them more than just a movie tie-in, in my opinion. The stories are simple and enjoyable, with activity pages towards the end (which again can be accessed without the pen). The narratives are simple but with a nice range of sentence constructions, direct speech and appealing use of onomatopoeic sounds and varied punctuation. I think kids soak up these aspects of the craft of writing through their own reading.

Knowing I would be writing this, I sat down with my son and a Tag book a and did a kind of walkthrough, jotting down his response as we worked our way through. The book we used was ‘Cars: Tractor Tipping’.

One of the first things my son responded to was the fact that, no matter where you touch on a page, something happens. My son found it very gratifying (and highly amusing) to play a groovy little theme tune on the title page of Tractor Tipping before he had even started. Throughout the book, he spent time exploring not only the story and the activities, but also the random noises he could find. If you are five, making a seemingly inconsequential detail respond and make a noise is great fun. Be warned though, it took us an age just to get past the cow-like snoring tractors on page three!

The quality of the recorded voices and narration is very good. The actual story was narrated in an American accent, which at first concerned me (autistic children have a tendency to adopt such accents as their main voice) but in fairness, the story is set in a fictionalised version of America, the characters are American and it is faithful to the film upon which it is based. To change this would strike an odd tone, I guess. Crucially, all the activities and voices outside the story are presented in an English accent. The male voice has an appealing, child friendly tone, without being annoying for the accompanying adult!

Throughout the book the story is bought to life with authentic voices and sound effects from the film, often as incidental features alongside the main narrative. The Tag Reader has a volume control and delivers crisp and clear sound. I think my son quickly forgot that the sound was coming from the actual pen, as it became part of the whole immersive experience.

On each page of the story there is an icon that you press with the tip of the pen that narrates the story. How this works, I do not know. I think it’s magic. My son was quite blase about the fact that suddenly the words were leaping off the page. I have never seen anything like it, but I guess if you’re five there are loads of things you’ve never seen before. For him, there was nothing unusual about the way the book worked and he was untroubled by its mechanics, allowing him to just enjoy the story!

A child can also read the story word for word by pressing on them individually. This was good for checking a particular word, but my son found it a little frustrating when trying to read whole sentences that way. Often his mind worked more quickly than the sounds were being read out, meaning he would skip to the next word before the previous word had been finished.

Several pages have an activity section, where readers can interact with the story and test their understanding. At the start of this particular title, the reader chooses a number to identify them (e.g. Lightning McQueen 95) which adds a personalised element to their progress. My son enjoyed answering the (mostly) simple questions that involved recalling or finding details from the story. I was surprised just how many questions were crammed in.

As the book progressed, the questions became more involved. My son was required to answer questions that were not simply about finding something on a page. For example, one question asked “Touch someone who had seen Frank before”. Nowhere on the page does it say that the words “Mater had seen Frank before”, meaning that my son had to deduce from the available information and work it out himself. Another question was, “Touch someone who looks angry”. Again, this involved the use of skills that my son is still developing, and whilst it might sound simple and even facile, tests an important area of development for my boy.

This is what I hoped the books would be able to provide. Their benefits to a child’s reading development are obvious, but less obvious I think are the advantages the stories offer for developing our understanding of the whys and the hows. We don’t just read stories as an academic exercise in our technical skill. We read stories so we can share experiences, emotions, aspects of the human condition (even when it’s via tractors) and develop our understanding of what it means to be human. These are areas that do not always come naturally to the autistic child, so I was pleased to find these features in the Tag system.

I think there is scope to go further with this, and I’d like to see how other titles than the ones I have read develop this.

At the end of the book were activities on such things as phonics sounds which are age appropriate and tie in well with my son’s national curriculum work. This is all sounding rather dry, so let me instead focus on the fun that my son experienced when using the Tag books. I always know something has been a hit with my child when he commits a page number to memory and heads straight for it when he gets the book.

Thus it was with a page in ‘Kung Fu Panda: Po’s Tasty Training’. A few nights ago he grabbed pen and book and headed straight for a page with a noise we had both laughed at the previous night. As he pressed on the noise, a huge smile on his face, he looked deeply into my eyes, waiting for my shared reaction.

Moments like that are very precious with my son.

It’s my intention to explore some of the non-fiction Tag titles in the near future. The World Map set looks particularly good, as do the science titles. I’ll keep you posted.

http://www.leapfrogstore.co.uk/

Pass the Word

pass-the-word_full

Each week my son is sent home with a spelling list to learn, ahead of a test the following Monday. What a drag it is getting him to learn them. Actually, it’s literally a drag, because the only way we can get him to sit and do them is by physically dragging him to the table. As a teacher myself, I’ve always questioned the effectiveness of learning spellings outside of the context of their use. Kids can learn their spellings and achieve 10 out of 10 in a test, but will frequently misspell them out of that context. It’s even more difficult for the autistic child who has great difficulty transferring one context to another.

As such, we are always on the lookout for ways to encourage his spelling in a variety of contexts. Also encouraged are activities that involve turn taking, listening and developing attention. Orchard Toys’ ‘Pass the Word’ is great for all these things. We’ve long been fans of the Orchard Toys series- ‘Greedy Gorilla’, for example, achieved the extraordinary feat of making my boys put down their video games controllers and engage in some face to face interaction! ‘Pass the Word’ has also achieved this.

The basic premise involves working against a timer to find the correct letters to spell out a word. The game comes with a timer, word cards (illustrated with pictures) and letter cards which fit together like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle.

It’s a really super little spelling game. Orchard have the knack of pitching their games at just the right level so that they engage children whilst helping them develop good skills. In this case, letter recognition, word building, observation and social skills are encouraged.

From a special needs point of view, the use of visuals and the tactile nature of fitting together the pieces is very appealing. As is the norm with Orchard, the pieces are robust and well made. We’ve had this game for ages and its proved really durable (and something the kids return to often). The timer also really appeals to our son.

Beyond the basic use of the game, we have made good use of the letter cards to encourage our son’s spelling.

What I most like about ‘Pass the Word’ and other Orchard games is the way in which they encourage us all to sit down as a family and communicate. In an age of constant screen based entertainment this is no mean feat!

http://www.orchardtoys.com/

Warwick Castle

View-thru-Barbican

“Dad! C’mon! Follow me! I’m a brave knight!”

I watch my son valiantly disappear into the tower ahead of him; he’s on a quest to explore the turrets and battlements of Warwick Castle and we, his parents, are his pages. That’s 530 steps ahead of us, but so lost is he in his epic adventure that he is undaunted by the prospect. The castle, its grounds and the whole experience has fired his imagination and it would take a small army to hold him back now.

I did wonder what appeal Warwick Castle would hold for my two boys, aged five and seven. Theirs is a world of gaming and time spent online. They’d rather be unlocking the Castle level as a small Italian plumber called Mario than actually, you know, visiting a real life one. Add to that the fact that my son has special needs and is not good in public places at the best of times, and you have a potential recipe for calamity. Nonetheless, donning our armour, we braved leaving our own fortress and marched off to Warwick.

I couldn’t help but think it would take more than a wave of Merlin’s magic wand to make this particular outing a success.

But within moments of catching sight of the breathtaking castle and the soaring Guy’s Tower both my boys were spellbound. There is something quite enchanting about experiencing 600 years of history first hand. The scale of the castle and its grounds make it a unique and magical visitor experience. If you’re five or seven, the passageways, battlements, interactive experiences, storytelling, demonstrations and shows make it a magical adventure. And if you’re somewhat older, it’s no less enchanting. I even managed to soak up some of the educational and informative aspects, in between racing round after Sir Bouncealot.

As a visitor with additional needs, my son was well catered for during his visit. Parking was accessible and there were good facilities across the site. One member of costumed staff responded brilliantly when my son became anxious about entering the Kingmaker experience. Queues were non-existent and there is plentiful space to run around and play, not least in the Pageant Playground.

Highlights for us included the aforementioned Guy’s Tower, Great Hall and State Rooms, The Mound (the number one spot for fantastic photos) and the Merlin and the Dragon Tower experience. Merlin has retained the integrity of the castle and its historical importance whilst offering dramatic shows, interactive experiences, storytelling, demonstrations, activities and more. The boys were particularly taken by the sight of a child’s suit of armour (not to mention a slightly over-zealous attraction to various guns and weapons!). This is not a theme park, but is just as much fun.

On this day, video games and television and were confined to the dungeon and an enthralling and magical day out was enjoyed by all. Warwick Castle is tucked to the turrets with adventure, education and fun. It offers a pageant of pleasure and my brave knights enjoyed it immensely.

http://www.warwick-castle.com/

Liquid Timer

Anyone got a child who won’t sit still? Whose sensory cravings keep him constantly on the move? Whose concentration span is constantly at odds with his need to bounce, spin and stim? My son is like this, and it can make mealtimes and the dreaded homework a real ordeal. Anything, in fact,  that involves sitting, waiting and concentrating is a challenge for him. He needs a helping hand to remain calm, settled and focussed at these times.

The Liquid Timer (available from www.thegiftoflearning.co.uk) has proven a useful tool in achieving this. It contains a reservoir at each end from which brightly coloured liquid globules drip and slide round and round until they reach the other end. The reservoir takes approximately 5 minutes to empty and reach the other end, then simply turn it over and start again.

From the first time my son saw the timer, he was mesmerised by it. Much as he does in a sensory room, he became calmer and more still as he watched the bubbles catch the light and slide gently down the helter skelter in the tube. It reminds me of a lava lamp and has the same satisfying, relaxing effect. It had a soothing effect on my son and as he concentrated on it, we all enjoyed a moment of calm.

If anything, it was a little too captivating. My son got very little else done whilst watching it, which sort of defeats the object! However, he has since gone on to use it whilst doing his spellings homework or sitting long enough to chew more than one mouthful. It really works! My son has responded really well to both the product and the concept of timed activities. In fact, it has acted as an incentive to sit or work or concentrate. He’s even started turning it over when it’s finished, and continued doing his homework. What a breakthrough.

The Gift of Learning website is well worth a look for similar insppiring items:

www.thegiftoflearning.co.uk

CHEWIGEM Dog Tags

We had to do something about my son’s chewing. After a period of not really bothering, my son had reverted back to constantly putting things in his mouth. Be it clothing, toys, soft furnishings, marbles, sand, wires or god knows what else, in it would go. The chewing of non-food items, or Pica, is not uncommon amongst sensory seeking autistic children. With my son, it comes and goes to varying degrees. Lately its been back with a vengance.

There are lots of chew sticks and tubes and shapes available for the child chewer. Mostly I’ve found that they are vastly overpriced (like many products in the special needs market). I’ve also felt reservations about the way in which they draw attention to a child’s special needs. This, I know,  is my problem and does not help my child much, but I don’t like things that might cause a person to pre-judge my child.

The CHEWIGEMS Dog Tag is, at £12, very reasonably priced. It’s also a very cool, realistic looking product that I imagine most boys would have no problem wearing. My son has really enjoyed wearing it and it has been in his mouth permanantly. This certainly beats chewing the dining chair. I’ve also noticed that he chews other things less when he’s not wearing it.  Chewing it seems to bring him lots of satisfaction, and in my house when my son is hapoy, we’re all happy!

A great product.  I highly recommend it. There are lots more products on the website too:

www.chewigem.co.uk

‘Kiddimoto Middi Kurve’ – Balance Bike

My seven-year old son subscribes to the Homer Simpson school of thought that says, “If something’s hard to do, then it’s not worth doing.”I hate to admit it, but he’s a quitter. We’ve done a lot of work with him on improving his patience, controlling his temper, and developing his resilience. In fact, I’m fed up of trying (the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree). His brother is just the same, with the added bonus of the autistic child’s complete inability to focus on anything for more than a few moments.

Nowhere is their lack of patience more obvious than in (both) their efforts to learn to ride a bike. To a certain extent, this is my fault. Days spent out on their bikes have been intermittent and infrequent. Partly this is due to the difficulty of managing an autistic child and his brother. I wrote about this very thing in my post ‘The Silent Casualty’ a few weeks ago, and the post was read by the press officer at Kiddimoto, manufacturer of the Kiddimoto balance bike. Before we knew it, we were the recipients of their latest Middi bike, aimed at the 6 to 12-year-old rider.

The bike is the latest addition to the Kiddimoto Kurve range, and has the same birch plywood frame and pneumatic tyres. The difference with the Middi is that it is aimed at an older rider who has is yet able to handle a pedal bike or perhaps has balance or coordination difficulties.

It’s certainly an impressive looking beast. I was busy admiring the quality of the wood materials, the build and the finish of the bike. It’s well built, looks durable and solid, but is appropriately light enough for the age group. Of course, my boys saw past all this. For them, the moment it emerged from the box, they focussed on one thing only. “A Union Jack bike!” they exclaimed. If you knew my son’s obsession with flags, you would know why this was such an important, impressive detail.

It took about ten minutes to build the bike. That’s not ten minutes in real time, that’s ten minutes with a very excited 5 year old autistic child climbing on me and the unbuilt bike, running off with parts, and screaming, “Make it ready!” In real time, it would have taken five minutes.

One concern I had was how other people might react to the sight of a five year old and a seven year old on a push along, peddle-less bike. Would it draw attention to itself as a ‘special’ bike (with all the implications that  brings) and would my children feel self-conscious riding it? Actually, I knew in advance my autistic son would have no such reservations, but I did wonder how his brother might feel if anyone asked about it.

These concerns were forgotten within moments of getting to the park for the first test ride. A group of passing children saw it and said, “Sick! A Union Jack bike!” Apparently ‘sick’ is high praise. Other people had the same reaction. We drew admiring (I like to think jealous) stares from the people in the park, and my son’s clearly enjoyed showing off their new bike.

A lot of the press surrounding these bikes mentions how quickly children develop their balance when riding them. I was a little dubious about this when looking at it, and particularly in relation to my sons. The seven year old’s lack of patience, and the five year old’s tendency to trip over his own feet, would really test the bike’s suitability for the rider who has difficulties. To be honest, I couldn’t see how this bike would succeed where others had failed.

I was proven wrong within about ten minutes. After a short spell getting used to it my eldest was bombing along, feet off the floor and eyes fixed on the path ahead. Usually he is more concerned with what his feet are doing than looking ahead, which is of course why he is so off balance. With no pedals to worry about, he was able to think more carefully about his body balance and where he was going. For the first time, he was riding a bike without stabilisers! I never thought I would see the day. Sick!

But that was the easy part. My youngest (autistic) son was yet to take to the saddle. This is the boy who trips over his own feet on a daily basis, who constantly walks into doors and whose proprioceptive senses are seriously out of sync. The result is one clumsy boy. Oddly, it seems that the faster he is moving, the better his balance. When running, he rarely falls over. It’s when he stops that he could trip over a grain of sand. But my son did not fall off his balance bike. Although he was on tiptoes (give it a few weeks and he’ll be just the right size), he was able to propel himself along with little difficulty, and with some speed. The ability to move quite quickly on the Middi meant that he was also able to balance remarkably well. What a result. My boy, riding a bike without support. I don’t know whose smile was bigger- his, or mine.

So, any drawbacks? Well, after a while my oldest was complaining of a sore bum. The seat is padded but not excessively so. On the other hand, my son had just spent longer in the saddle than he usually does, and I know how sore I feel when I ride my bike after a long period away from it. Perhaps he will get used to this. I also had some initial reservations about the cost of the Kiddimoto Kurve Middi. It sells for £139.99. This makes it more expensive than a standard bike but when I looked into it, I realised it is way less expensive than some other ‘special needs’ products on the market. And there’s not much point in buying a standard bike that your child cannot ride.

The boys have pestered me to take them out on the bike relentlessly since their first trial run. Something tells me we’ll be spending quite a lot of time using it. As their confidence on it grows, so will their ability to ride a more conventional bike. Having said that, I think the Middi has a pretty long life expectancy, whether they can ride or not. It will be particularly interesting to see how my autistic son gets on with the bike, following such a promising start. Look out for updates!

www.kiddimoto.co.uk/content/introducingthekiddimotomiddi

Update: despite the weather’s best efforts to keep us indoors, the bike continued to be a big hit throughout Autumn and into Winter. B is quite the expert at riding it and his balance has really developed. His brother favours his own bike now, which is just as well ‘cos they were fighting over it! I think if the weather had held he would be off stabilisers by now. I’m looking forward to lighter nights and drier days ahead; our living room is not the ideal place to be tearing up and down on a balance bike!

‘Dry Like Me’ – Toilet Training Pads

I can think of few things more difficult in our lives over the past year than our struggle to toilet train our boy. When it finally happened, my wife and I almost couldn’t bring ourselves to admit we’d cracked it, for fear that there might be some sort of relapse. We’d achieved what had seemed impossible, though not without a great deal of painstaking effort (see Toilet Training).

A number of factors had worked against us in getting our autistic son to reliably use the toilet. One of them was the fact that, in nappies, he saw no reason to go to the toilet. Why bother, when the nappy could comfortably take care of business? It was only when he was in pants that he would dislike the sensation of being wet or dirty, but it was usually too late by the time he realised this.

‘Dry Like Me’ toilet training pads played a significant role in helping us get our son out of nappies. These pads are designed to comfortably sit in a child’s pants, held in place by their adhesive backing. They can be worn at the front or back, or even doubled up. They allow children to progress through toilet training using their own pants. They were certainly the key that unlocked the possibility of pants for our son.

The first time I used one, my wife had told me they were “just like using a sanitary pad”, which of course was of no help whatsoever to me. In fact, they are remarkably easy and straightforward to apply, remove and dispose of (though not down the toilet).

Surprisingly, ‘Dry Like Me’ are the only product of their kind on the market. This seems remarkable for such a simple, brilliant idea. The company’s website advertises the fact that they were ‘created by mums’. This dad approves.

One drawback we’ve found is that they are relatively difficult to get hold of. They can be ordered via Amazon, and I know Wilkinsons stock them, but we’ve yet to find them in the major supermarkets in our area.

I can’t stress enough the difference toilet training our five-year old autistic son has made to our lives. No-one asked me to review this product, I simply want people to know about them. The next step for us is to use them at night. B still wears nappies, but is essentially dry, so we are making the transition to night-time pants starting this week. I’ll let you know how we get on!

http://www.drylikeme.com/

3 Responses to Product Reviews

  1. Pingback: Sensory Toys - Mesmerising Liquid Timer - The Gift of LearningThe Gift of Learning

  2. Pingback: Product Reviews | Life with an Autistic Son

  3. Pingback: Product Reviews Round-up | Life with an Autistic Son

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