Wednesday, April 11, 2012

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Finding Balance With Asperger's: Make "Busy Hand Bags" with the Focusing Fidget Kit


Quinn, my 5 year old son, has Asperger’s and with that comes many sensory processing issues. When doing any activity that requires him to be still, such as school work, story time at the library, movies, waiting rooms, and much more, he needs something to keep his hands busy. This is especially true when trying to get him to pay attention because he simply concentrates better when his hands aren’t idle. Because of this, we’ve created several  “busy hands bags” so that no matter what situation we’re in, we have fidget toys on hand for him to use. We have one at home, one in a to-go bag that he carries with him to most places we visit, one in my purse (just in case he forgets his bag at home), and one in the car.


The Therapy Shoppe was kind enough to send me their 16-piece Focusing Fidget Kit, which has been an amazing addition to our busy hands bags and really helped me round out each bag with a few more engaging and unique items. This set includes 15 quiet fidgets and one noisy one, which, for us, is for at-home purposes only. The fidgets in this kit are an inside-out ball, Silly Putty, stretchy string (2 pack), fidget pencils (2), an Earth squeeze ballfidget finger springs (3), mini porcupine balls (3), Ultimate Wire FidgeterNoodle Doodle, and the noisy fidget, a Super Tooob.


Inside-Out Ball is a ball with rubber spikes hanging from it, but smooth on the inside and it is reversible for added fun and stimulation. Quinn loves this one because it’s like nothing he’s ever seen before. He loves flipping it inside and back over and trapping air inside it and squeezing it to make a bubble. Silly Putty is the exact same Silly Putty you know and love. Silly Putty is something we use frequently for Quinn because it builds hand strength with its thick consistency, but it still easy enough to use that he doesn’t get frustrated. The Stretchy String pack is another favorite of Quinn’s. The strings stretch out really, really far and then shrink back down to size. I will warn you though, if that thing hits you it HURTS!


The Fidget Pencils are one of my favorite things in the bunch. The pencils are just ordinary pencils but the end of it is a nut and bolt that he can turn and turn to keep his hands busy while his mind is occupied. I especially love this because, when he’s doing schoolwork, he already uses a pencil, so this isn’t an addition to things he uses, it’s useful all on its own! Also, the bolts slide off the ends of the pencils so he can use them on whatever pencil he is particularly fond of (which varies day-to-day). The Earth Squeeze Ball is an Earth-shaped stress ball that is easy to squeeze and really helps Quinn to release frustration sometimes. Fidgeting Finger Springs are tiny pieces of plastic springs that are made for pinching and watching it spring back. Simple concept, works like a charm.

Mini Porcupine Balls are like tiny Koosh balls that used to be a big fad when I was in school. These smaller ones are perfect for sensory input and Quinn loves rolling them around with his palms, up and down his arms and through his fingers. The Ultimate Wire Fidgeter is something I have never seen before and it is really neat. It’s hard to explain, so I included a video to show how it works instead of trying to type it out. A Noodle Doodle is a hollow piece of rubber that is super stretchy, much like the stretchy string but on a smaller scale (and less painful!). Finally, the Super Tooob is a hollow piece of plastic that accordions into it, making a very satisfying sound. Quinn loves stretching this one out, then collapsing it over and over, which is why this is really only for at home and not for doing anything that requires even partial silence.


The Ultimate Wire Fidgeter and the Super Tooob . . . 




The Focusing Fidget Kit can be purchased at www.therapyshoppe.com for $19.99. This kit is not recommended for children under 3 because of small pieces that present a choking hazard but is perfect for school-aged children.  Visit The Therapy Shoppe for more useful tools for teachers, therapists, and parents who have children in their lives with autism.


Thank you to The Therapy Shoppe for providing a complimentary product sample for us to base this review upon.