Toys & Gifts For Autistic Children

April 24, 2017 — by Paul Turner Skelmersdale


Autism is a mental condition characterized by an impaired social and communicative skill. Autistic children experience mild to major sensory issues. As a result, the toys which fascinate a normal child might bring in distress for an autistic child. The caregivers often find it difficult to keep a child engaged in a positive way where most of them indulge in odd play. However, there are some toys which are specially meant for autistic children. Depending on the sensory needs, some of the following may aid to improve their behavioral traits.

Beads & Thread: This is a toy where plastic beads are tucked inside a thread one after another. This one helps to build the sitting tolerance as well as motor skills.

Button Pizzazz: This toy helps them learn the technique of buttoning and unbuttoning, a task which these kinds of children find really hard to perform.

Mosaic Fun: In this toy, there will be a grid and colorful plastic pegs. Children can make anything of their choice by pressing the pegs inside the grid. This is again a great patience builder.

Wiggle Cushion: A multi-functional cushion which most of the autistic children like as it simulates their tactile needs.

Rocking Toys: Many of these children like to rock to feign their sensory needs. So, rocking chairs, cradle or the toys which have swinging motions make a good list of choice.

Trampoline: The bouncy surface of trampoline captivates these children along with helping them to provide the much needed physical exercise.

Puzzles: Puzzles of any kind make quite an engaging toy for the autistic children. Board puzzles help to build up patience, and at times, address the tactile issues as well.

Musical Instruments: A major percentage of autistic children direly need auditory simulation, and thus musical toys are liked by most of them. A drum set, keyboard, sing and strum guitars, music box record player etc. are some of the musical toys which could be beneficial.

Bangle Chewy Bracelet: In the autism spectrum, there are children who indulge in self-harming behavior like hand-biting. These bangles are specially meant to help stop this behavior.

Textured Foam Roller: The surface consistency of this toy nicely simulates the tactile needs of autistic children.

Pocket Gel Fidget: This is a toy which has a squishy gel to keep the fidgety fingers of such children occupied.

Therapy Putty: Children can mash and make certain objects with putty which not only could help to tune fine motor skill but also help keep them sit in a place for a while.

Abacus: Some of the autistic children are good in mathematics, especially those who’re having Asperger’s Syndrome. Abacus is a typical toy for them to explore and flourish.

Chair Ball: A bouncy kind of ball that helps the children to rock without rolling out. This activity satisfies their sensory needs.

All the above-mentioned toys could help keep the autistic children engrossed for some time. However, the sensory challenges are too many to address. What works for one, might cause distress to other. After all, it’s a rainbow disorder where every child is unique.


Disclaimer: I have a nephew who has recently been diagnosed with Autism and thought this post would be helpful. This article is a guest post and was not written by myself.


Trusting the News – Is it Fake News or Not?

April 12, 2017 — by Paul Turner Skelmersdale


Today the phrase “fake news” has become very common in everyday language – yet, fake news is not a new phenomenon. Before 2016 and early 2017, fake news would have been called misinformation, disinformation, or just lies – still is to a degree.

While much focus has been on news disseminators being held responsible for spreading fake news, as a consumer, you may be more concerned with whether any news can be trusted at all. You may also be wondering what you can do to reduce exposure to fake news and false information in general, or how legitimate news can be distinguished from fake news. Although you can never be 100% sure that the information you are exposed to is false or true, there are ways you can improve the odds that what you read is more truthful than not.

Understanding what fake news is.

Of course, fake news is news that is considered completely false. What fake news is not, and should not be, is news that one disagrees with. In other words, not agreeing with what is being reported does not make it fake news. Only information that is verifiably false should be labeled as fake news, misinformation, or disinformation, so be aware of why information is being called fake news.

Yes! You CAN trust the news.

For the most part, big news organizations are held to a standard, and while it is true that this standard is not always upheld, or that the standard prevents news from being reported in a one-sided fashion, journalists and reporters are more likely to be held responsible for violations. Having a standard does not mean, however, that false information is not reported occasionally, or that smaller news organization and bloggers do not have standards. Simply put, being a blogger, or a big or small news organization does not automatically makes one more trustworthy than the other, and generally speaking, most news is true but heavily biased.

Checking your news source does not have to be complicated.

In fact, checking your news source is the easiest action to take and the most important in making sure you are not reading fake news. Checking the source of the information is especially important on news disseminating websites like Facebook and Twitter because they are not the creators of the content. Therefore, anyone with a small amount of skill can create an official looking story that is shared very quickly.

One way to quickly check a news source is to Google the author’s name, organization name, and/or the headline. Although not full proof, it can be a way to determine if the information is possibly fake. Using Google can help you find out who the author or organization is (read the about page), how many places the article has shown up, and the types of websites the story can be found on. For example, if the organization that created the content is not familiar, or the article can only be found on limited, suspicious looking websites, and none of the major news outlets are reporting anything similar, the news is most likely fake.

Unfortunately, the list above is not exhaustive on what you can do to ensure that you minimize exposure to fake news; however, this list can be a starting place to understanding what fake news is, and whether it has to affect your trust in the news. Given the importance of the news, it is important to recognize when information may be false, and one way you can reduce the odds of believing false information is doing your homework on the creators of the content.