The Gimpy Guide to Fidget Toys

N has had a lot of success with various fidget toys.  Since it can get expensive to buy a bunch of toys that your child might not even like, we decided to do a big round-up of the ones we have tried.   Please keep in mind that these are just the ones that N or one of his classmates have tried themselves.   I was provided samples from the companies so we could test them, but I was not compensated in any way or influenced to alter my reviews.   I am blunt to a fault so I am certainly not going to steer you wrong.

Spinners:

1.

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https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XHW95ZQ/_encoding=UTF8?coliid=I2WMTVUFW88BRX&colid=F4KUX7ZGPISW

 

This is a very nice spinner for an older kid because its simple design that looks more “grown up”.  The body of it is ceramic which makes it very smooth and cool to the touch.  This is a big plus for those who like tactile stimulation,  but it is also a rather heavy material.   It could be very dangerous if thrown and the ball bearings inside are a chocking hazard.   Please use caution with younger kids, but especially chewers.

2.  Jinwen Tri Spinner

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https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06X1J1D1H/_encoding=UTF8?coliid=I32SM1EJ3C51WM&colid=F4KUX7ZGPISW

This set is perfect for beginners.   It contains two spinners so you can have one for home and one for the go.  Any parent can tell their own horror story of a beloved toy that went missing.   However it is an even bigger deal for a special needs child who incorporates a toy into their daily routine.  By simply having a spare, you can avoid a complete shutdown.   These are such a good deal because it contains two spinners for around half the price of some brands.  I will be honest and say that I have seen better, but they are still loads of fun.  If your child loves them, you can get fancier ones later.  But if she doesn’t like them, then you aren’t out too much money.

3. Henata Metal Spinner

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https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0719BQ12R/_encoding=UTF8?coliid=I31ATZ6P1IQDY2&colid=F4KUX7ZGPISW

This one is my favorite.   It’s moderately priced,  spins for a long time and is smaller than most of the ones on this list which makes it more comfortable for smaller hands.  Plus the unique, holographic finish makes it almost hypnotic to watch it spin.   N is , shall we say, fabulous so he loves the rainbow colors, but some boys would think of it as too “girly”.   We don’t think that being a girl is bad so N can’t get enough of rainbows, unicorns, or pink princes.  This brings up an interesting point —- since the vast majority of ASD kids are male, it is hard to find fidget toys that are marketed towards girls.

4.  Focus spinner

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https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B06ZY5HJC1/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Of the many spinners that we tried, this one spun the longest.  It comes in a variety of colors so you can pick your favorite color.  You do need to exercise caution with chewers because sometimes the ball bearings inside can come out.

5. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B072QBG1SY#customerReviews

Here is another 2 pack set.  It is a very good deal for the both of them and they are better quality that the other set.  They respond well to the strength of the spinner.  N usually gets a 2 minute spin and Daddy is able to get a 3 and a half minute spin.

6. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06ZZ44Q9Z/ref=twister_B06ZZDJXRR?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1

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I was so excited about this one,  but it was awful.   The main selling point is that it has LED lights that light up when it spins.  It never worked properly.   It only spun for about 15 seconds and the lights never worked.   I was sent a replacement and it didn’t work either.  Sadly this is the most expensive one on this list and for $20 I expected it to be awesome.

 

 

Squeeze Toys or Stress Balls

1.  Gigli squishy cream scented  bread 2 piece set

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https://www.amazon.com/dp/B071YM9S5H/_encoding=UTF8?coliid=I3DDOUVSUOFBL5&colid=F4KUX7ZGPISW

I have to admit that this one is my favorite.   N has a Julia Child obsession so he was so excited to see these baguettes.   They look exactly like the real thing.   They are made out of a dense memory foam that slowly inflates back to its original form.   That means that you can squeeze it as hard as you can while frustrated and then watch it grow while you calm down.   It is also scented.   The package calls it cream scented and it comes with two in the set.

2.  Squishy cake

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https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B071D9DGPV/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1

This one was given to one of N’s favorite classmates for his birthday.  He played with the bread a few times so I knew he would love it.  It is super cute,  but less realistic than the baguettes.   It is more like an adorable cartoon prop.  This one is also scented,  but in my opinion it smells better.

I hope this has been helpful and that you are able to find something that works for you.

 

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Gimpy Summer Fun

Summer can be a great time to have fun in the sun and spend time with friends and family.  That can be difficult for someone who has special needs,  but with the right accommodations anyone join in on the fun.

1.  Consider renting medical equipment

Personally,  I have had problems with gimpy air travel.  If you have ever been appauld to see some of the videos of how terrible they treat disabled passengers,  then you won’t be surprised by how they bang up baggage,  even if it is medical.   I love my wheelchair almost as much as my husband, but I usually rent a different  one when I travel.  Not only does it protect my gimp-mobile, it also gives me the opportunity to try out the latest technology and I usually get a power chair to conserve energy.   This also goes for beds, bathroom stuff, patient lifts, etc.

2. Don’t be a Gremlin

Thanks to medicine or certain conditions,  many of us are sensitive to the sun.  Using sunscreen is a great idea, but there are so many other options to choose from too.  Wearing extra dark sunglasses protect your eyes from those harmful rays, but it is essential for those of us with light triggered migraines.   Amazon sells clothing with extra SPF, but just a t shirt offers a little extra protection while swimming.   You can also attach a canopy to your wheelchair or go full on Scarlett Ohara and use a parasol.

3. Always ask about accessibility before you make reservations

I know that every public place is supposed to be accessible to everyone,  but it just isn’t so.  ADA laws have only been in place for a quarter century.   Maybe after a few more decades, we can expect them to finally be followed everywhere.   Until then,  you need to call ahead to make certain that your needs will be met.  Sometimes places believe they are compliant,  but they don’t really understand what that means so be specific.   Also, many special events like concerts and theaters have limited seating for wheelchair users and some historical sites are exempt from ADA.  Nothing is sadder than getting left in the gift shop because you have nowhere to sit at the stadium.

4.  Comfortable camping

I must admit that I squealed like a little girl when I got the chance to try this one.  While everyone is trying to climb over rocks or jump off waterfalls or whatever able bodied people do when they camp, I will be obeying TLC. (Don’t go chasing waterfall, please stick to the rivers and the lakes that you’re used to) and lounging around in this baby.  It can be adjusted in many ways and thanks to the new design you won’t have to worry about blowing it up or lugging around an air compressor.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B072F3HW9W/ref=yo_ii_img?ie=UTF8&psc=1

 

5. Fire up the grill

Many of us have restricted diets due to allergic reactions, weight maintenance or even just a desire to have the most nutritious food.   Grills are not just for burgers and hotdogs anymore.   Even a novice griller will have no problem cooking veggies, fish and fruit with grill mats.  They provide a non stick surface that also keeps the food from falling off the tines.  They can be used over and over again plus they are super simple to clean.  Now go have a grilled peach for me.

https://www.amazon.com/Grill-Mat-Silicone-Reusable-Dishwasher/dp/B0728GL65P/ref=cm_cr_srp_d_product_top?ie=UTF8

 

As always if you have anything to add,  please share your ideas with the group.  You can find these and all of my other favorite products on my summertime shopping list on my Amazon profile.

https://www.amazon.com/hz/wishlist/ls/VP2EAPWY7F0D?type=wishlist&filter=all&sort=default

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Watch “Luminosum LED ceiling light” on YouTube

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Watch “Bestek aroma therapy diffuser review” on YouTube

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Drug Free Ways to Conquer Pain

Almost everyone has to deal with pain sometimes,  but for some it can be constant.  Medicine certainly has its place, but for those times when it isn’t convenient here are a few tips.

1. Ice and heat

Ice not only numbs the skin, it also fights inflammation.  However,  it can aggravate certain types of arthritis or other conditions.  Heat can be very soothing and helps to relax tense muscles.  But use caution with edema,  swelling or nerve damage.   I have always been told to use both.  My Dr explained that alternating heat and ice gives you the benefits of both.

2.  Yoga or light stretching

Yoga improves flexibility,  posture, and balance.   All of these can have a big impact on anyone’s health but especially those with chronic pain.   If you aren’t able to do yoga, even just light stretching can help relax tense muscles.

3.  Meditation or prayer

Sometimes blocking out the world and freeing your mind can significantly reduce your pain response as well as your stress level.

4. Distraction

Do anything you can think of to keep your mind off of how you feel.  Watch a tv show that you really need to concentrate on to keep up with, like Westworld.  Immerse yourself in an exciting book or graphic novel.   Pick up a hobby (you will never see me without my yarn).

5.  Consider using medical creams or lotions

You could try some of the more well known ones like Icy/hot or Biofreeze.  My favorite is reliefx.   It doesn’t have a crazy smell or leave your skin sticky.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B00XIMOTRW/ref=yo_ii_img?ie=UTF8&psc=1

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Autism spectrum disorder products

Spriak Party Lights

http://www.amazon.com/Spriak-Supplies-Actived-Birthday-Celebration/dp/B019I4YP0E/ref=cm_cr_srp_d_product_top?ie=UTF8

 

I got this for my son who happens to be on the autism spectrum. Like many kids with autism, he has some very intense phobias. He is so afraid of the dark that either all of the lights have to stay on or he cries to sleep with us. He is a big boy now so it is past time for him to be in his own bed. I thought this would be the perfect way to convince him to turn off the overhead light. He simply too excited about his “rainbow awesome light” to be afraid of the dark. It is so simple to change settings and color combinations with the remote that he is able to do it completely on his own. He is so happy with it that I plan to buy another one for his class at school to use during quiet time

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Frugal Gimpiness: Medical Equipment

 

Being gimpy is rather expensive.   Even if you are lucky enough to have insurance coverage,  many people who need durable medical equipment or supplies are not able to afford the copay or deductible.   Some people desperately need items that are not covered at all for various reasons.   Progress is being made in healthcare reform, but until then here are a few tips on saving money.

1. Ask your friends:

I am not a big fan of begging people for money, but that’s not what I am suggesting.  Many people have leftover equipment from family members who have passed away.   You could offer them yard sale prices, but they will probably be glad to be rid of it.

2.  Call thrift stores:

Some choose to donate old equipment to their local thrift stores.  Again,  you could find what you need for a very small price and some places will give medical equipment to those in need for free.  In fact, buy anything you can there because you can save tons of money on clothes,  toys, books, household goods,  etc.

3. Be honest with people who offer to help:

When someone says “let me know if I can help you in any way”, let them.  Instead of sending flowers, most people would love to spend that money on something that can really help.

4. Reach out to charities:

There are lots of organizations that try to meet the needs of people like us.  A quick Google search could turn up dozens of charities that serve a specific area or people who have a certain illness.   For example,  ramps.org helps wheelchair users get ramps for their homes.

http://www.ramps.org/free-ramps.htm

5.  Try Amazon:

You can price check different retailers online, but I have had a lot of luck with Amazon.   In fact, I was able to buy my latest wheelchair,  which was a serious upgrade,  for less than I would have paid with my insurance for a crappy dinosaur of a wheelchair at a medical supply chain.   They also offer different options for financing such as the Amazon credit card.  (And no, I was not paid to say this.  I feel like it would be a conflict of interest if I was paid to promote products as an affiliate. )

https://smile.amazon.com/gp/profile/amzn1.account.AHJYOD56GVUHGUW6NV4US7JR6NDA?ie=UTF8&ref_=ya_d_l_profile

6. Consider getting a supplement policy

This isn’t the best option,  but it is worth checking into.  Some supplement policies are very cheap,  but you have to see their Drs and go to their hospitals  (HMO).  Some are expensive,  but if you are spending a lot on things that aren’t covered by your existing insurance,  then you could save a bundle.

7.  Save money wherever you can:

This is more complicated,  but I will share some of my frugal living habits in the weeks to come.  As always,  if I have missed something,  please feel free to contact me.

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