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.

7.  https://www.amazon.com/review/R5DEFQX55HMWW/ref=cm_cr_rdp_perm?ie=UTF8&ASIN=B071NQVWCG

Here’s another one that is rather inexpensive so it would be a great option for a beginner.   N really likes the unique design and they have a few options available.

 

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

JESUS GOD, LEAH!

ali-simms

Teen Mom 2

I have been avoiding this one partly because it involves real people instead of actors and partly because it is infuriating.   In case you have been living under a rock and have no idea what Teen Mom is I will give you a brief overview.   It all began with 16 And Pregnant,  a reality show on MTV that focuses on pregnant teens and tries to promote safe sex.  Each girl is only in one episode and makes a small amount of money so the overwhelming cost of parenting is a huge deal for their entire family.  This concept goes out the window with Teen Mom and Teen Mom 2 because everyone who is on film on a regular basis makes an insane amount of money.   Money certainly helps, but it doesn’t fix everything.

One of the girls, Leah, had twins and one of them has a rare form of muscular dystrophy.   From the beginning,  the parents were told that Ali may never walk and will not lead a “normal” life.  Thankfully they have a lot of family support,  but they add to the ableism.   Ali has a Dr who is at the top of his field and has said multiple times that she must use a power wheelchair and a helmet when she is out of the chair.   He has warned them that she needs to conserve her energy for breathing because eventually her heart and lungs are going to fail.  Hearing all of this is enough to break anyone’s heart.  As a mom , my worst fear is losing a child.

This is devastating to any mom, but to a very young mother it is understandable that Leah has a hard time coping.  The father and extended family are deeply in denial.   In fact when the Dr said she would have to use a wheelchair and would most likely die before reaching adulthood,  they only focused on the chair.  They constantly sat that they don’t want her to be lazy and be dependent on the wheelchair.   They say that she is a miracle because she can walk some, but admit that she falls 20 times a day.

I am not trying to knock religion because I find comfort in prayer as a way to release negative feelings and for comfort.  However,  these people really do believe that she is going to be healed because of it.   If I am to believe in a just God then I also have to believe that either He wants me to be disabled because it is part of His grand design or that it is all random and He has nothing to do with my health.  I just can’t believe that He punishes people with illness and heals people that He likes.  This line of thinking has led them to basically ignore everything her Dr says.

Let’s not forget that she has access to the best Drs and assistive technology.   Sadly, her parents are so in denial about the reality of her situation to actually give her what she needs.  She was so excited about her pink wheelchair and the independence it gave her.   It was amazing to see her racing with her sisters.  This was short lived. Most of the time she doesn’t even have access to it because they have broken it over and over again.   Let that sink in for a second — they destroyed 3 power chairs worth over 20 grand.  I have a huge list of amazing things that would make me nearly able bodied if I had enough money.

I understand why it is hard to face the truth with Ali because her prognosis seems so bleek but it doesn’t have to be that way. Instead of trying to force her to be just like her sister, they could embrace her as she is. Instead of saying that they don’t want her to be lazy like a lot of wheelchair users, they could try to give her all of the assistive technology available to make her as productive as possible. Instead of saying that helmets are embarrassing, they could bedazzle the crap out of it until it was the coolest thing ever. Instead of saying that they don’t want her to be dependent on the wheelchair, they could do some research and learn that it will actually improve her mobility and overall health. They act as if she is going to become an addict and start snort wheelchairs.

Part of the reason that they see her problems as failures and her medical equipment as embarrassing is society’s view of disability. We are constantly bombarded with inspiration porn that shows sad cripples that find their inner strength and overcome their illness. Maybe that does happen, but it certainly not the norm. I still hear on a regular basis “I would rather die than be crippled ” and “I would never be able to keep a kid with so many problems”. But the joke’s on them because I love my life. I have an amazing husband and a wonderfully weird, creative child. I didn’t deserve the hard parts of my life, but I didn’t deserve the good parts either. Leah and company have the ability to not only change how their family sees her disability, but also to put forth a better story on tv. My wheelchair has glow in the dark wheels, light up fairy wings and a sidecar on occasion. My son’s classroom thinks wheelchairs are awesome now because we changed their minds. This was long winded, but I believe that if more people spoke up about how much damage , both physically and emotionally, is being done to Ali then maybe someone will intervene.