Unless you’ve been under a rock, you’ve probably heard about the latest craze hitting the schoolyard – fidget spinners. I’m going to take an unpopular stand here and say that they’re more toy than tool for most kids. There are definitely some kids that are helped by them but they can distract others and some brands of them are noisy enough to upset some kids on the spectrum. I’m not going to say never get your kid a fidget spinner, because if it works for your kid then it works for your kid, however I’ve seen more kids who are MORE distracted when using a spinner than if they had no fidget to use which is the opposite of the intended purpose. If you are getting one for your child with special needs, look for ones with the bearings enclosed, try it out first to see how the noise affects them (some are really quiet, others emit a low frequency hum that is quite annoying over time), and stay away from gimmicks such as LED lights and bluetooth speakers in the spinners. For the kids who spinners aren’t working for, there are other fidget toys that may be a better fit and aren’t banned in classrooms. Today I’m going to go through my fidget toy collection and post my top 5 recommended fidget toys for use in classrooms and at home.
I’ve been neglecting the blog a little recently, partly because I haven’t had a word that I wanted to write about and a couple of the other pieces percolating in my brain haven’t worked out and partly because I’ve been busy writing for other people and reading for myself. My little word book has been getting quite the work out as I work my way through the almost complete collection of Phryne Fisher Mysteries I managed to score at the thrift store I volunteer at. They were sitting on the shelf as a set and they were signing their siren song. In the face of that temptation, I was helpless to resist (especially with the deal we had going on paperback books that day) and they came home with me. I loved watching Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries on Netflix / PBS and was delighted to find that the books are just as amazing as the show.
It’s no secret that I love my BlackBerry devices. I have a BlackBerry in my hand for a good 60% of the day. One of the things I love most about BlackBerry is how easy it makes it to work on the go. I wrote about my Blackberry Classic and how much I loved it and the difficulties in choosing a case for it. I’ve found the same thing with my BlackBerry Passport. I love the Passport even more than the Classic. At first I thought it was going to be too big. I looked down at the device in the box and thought “I’ll probably be using the Classic again within a month”. Well, I was wrong. So very wrong. The Classic has found a new home in the hands of my dad, and the Passport is mine, all mine. I mentioned with regards to the Classic how much I had missed the physical keyboard even though I had loved my Z30 with all my heart. Well the Passport takes the keyboard experience to a whole new level. It just feels right. The screen width on the Passport makes reading text a breeze – the wider screen allows more characters which reduces scrolling (and makes me a happier reader). Contrary to what I thought before I had a Passport, the Passport does fit in my pants pocket, and in my purse, so it goes pretty much everywhere I go. I have a BlackBerry hard shell case on it 90% of the time and a Folio case with a credit card slot the rest of the time (It’s an aftermarket one, but needs improvements if it was going to be a daily driver).
“What’s in a name?” Juliet famously queried. “That which we call a rose, would smell as sweet” were it called something else, she noted as she contemplated the trouble that was caused by her true love having the last name of her family’s sworn rival. In his latest novel, Terry Fallis has taken that question to the next level and the result is the hilariously funny No Relation. No Relation is Fallis’ fourth book – and the third I’ve read (I have Up and Down on my nightstand – queued up for reading when I finish my current book). As a political junkie, I adored The Best Laid Plans and its sequel The High Road. They were laugh out loud funny, and I was a little concerned about whether the smart and poignant political satire would transfer into a book that wasn’t at all political.
Last week I blogged about how I use board games to help teach turn taking skills to kids with ASD. I’ve been asked what games I recommend and while I have some general guidelines and games that I always try out, not every game will be a hit with every kid. I mentioned last time that Chutes and Ladders can be tricky as there is an element of chance in it, but it doesn’t have any text to read (a great thing in a kid’s game) and some kids really love the game. Some games come in character variant like Dora the Explorer or Transformers so that they engage kids’ interest. If you can find a game the child is interested in, that’s half the battle right there – they’ve bought in. So, what games do I have in my stash for kids with ASD? It’s probably not what you’d expect.