The “Theraplay” Easter basket

With Easter approaching I decided to come up with a list of basket ideas that do double duty! Not only are they fun, but they provide a purpose. I am always searching for toys that also help our son in his development. He is much harder to buy for since we cannot simply look through the toy section and pick age appropriate toys, or grab a box of Peeps (yum!) and a chocolate bunny. I always need to put so much more thought into what we purchase for him.

  1. Pop Toobs – These are great at getting two hands/arms to work together! They help work on arm strength, while making a fun sound too.
  2. Theraputty – This putty is similar to good ‘ol Silly Putty, but comes in different strengths to help strengthen grip and grasp. Our little guy is still playing with the lowest resistance, but I could play with this all day!
  3. Maraca Eggs – Because they’re eggs!
  4. Cheerios Play Book – Our son loves books but strongly dislikes food. He also needs quite a bit of help with his fine motor skills. This book has small indents where your child can place a cheerio. This one does two jobs for us! He has to touch food AND work on his pincer grasp.
  5. Color Sorting Toy – We aren’t sure if our son can differentiate between his colors, but we also have no reason to believe he can’t. Toys like this one can help with taking items out, putting them back in, and sorting them. Our little guy has a hard time with accuracy as well, so having a target area to put items back is something we continually work on.
  6. Bubble Machine – Bubbles are so fun to watch and even more fun to try and pop! Again, this helps our son reach out and find the bubble he wants to pop. It’s great for hand-eye coordination.
  7. Water Beads – These are a little wet and slimy; great item for kiddos with sensory processing disorder. We keep ours in a Rubbermaid bin to play with year round. Our son doesn’t like new textures or many things on his hands so these are great to play with along with other sensory items. *these are small, so be sure to watch your child if he/she puts things in her/his mouth.
  8. Suction Cup Balls – We love these! We suction these onto our mirror and he has to reach to grab and pull the suction ball off of the mirror. As you can see, we are working on strength and coordination. We are also working on standing, so when we suction the balls higher he needs to push to stand to get them!
  9. Flashcards – I punch a hole in the corner of flashcards and put them on a clasping ring. He loves books so this is almost like a mini book for him and also helps him associate a word with a picture.
  10. Poke-A-Dot Book – These tactile books have raised buttons that are so fun to “pop!” Our son usually uses 3 fingers when pushing a button so this book is extremely helpful in trying to teach him to use just his pointer finger.

I hope this list has been helpful for anyone struggling to find functional items to fill an Easter basket! I know that I am always searching for items that we will actually USE.

Comment below if you have any other “must haves” for a ‘Theraplay” Easter basket!

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The other end.

I vividly remember diagnosis day.

I recall scouring social media and connecting with families from across the globe.

I watched videos of other children affected by congenital disorder of glycosylation.

I soaked up words of advice and encouragement.

I thought I knew what our future would bring.

The one thing I wasn’t ready for was the spectrum of severity.

I wasn’t prepared to be severe.

I’m going to be honest and tell you that there are so many days I feel inadequate. I feel like I’m not doing enough for our son. I question that we should be doing more, I wonder what else there is out there. I search the internet for tools, toys, gadgets, and therapies.

The families that have children affected by CDG are the most wonderful, humble human beings. I am forever grateful for the connection I have with them. The beauty of a support network is support.

The downside is comparison.

Our children have the same genetic condition but yet the differences can be immense. Each child is incredibly different, and I’ve struggled with where we land on the spectrum of severity. I used to think that if we did a certain skill at a certain age things would be “ok”. Every dated goal that I’ve set for him has come and gone. Long ago I came to the realization that specific goals aren’t healthy for me to set, and the main goal of “progress” is all I need. It has taken me years to be honest with myself and say out loud that he’s severely affected. With CDG, and many other disorders, you can meet one child affected by CDG, and you’ve met HIM/HER. You may meet another child who is affected completely different. You simply can’t compare.

I love our support network with all my heart but there are days I can’t look.

Every time a parent posts a video or photo of their child with the same type of CDG doing something we aren’t even close to doing, I hurt. Every video of a child’s voice saying words, I hurt. I can honestly say I am incredibly thrilled for their accomplishment, but there is a part of me that aches. This may be one of the only times I have asked “why him?”

I didn’t want to be here. I hoped and prayed for the other end.

I knew the spectrum was wide. I held out hope that we would be crawling up the stairs at age 4 (like I saw another child do) or saying our ABC’s (just like the video I saw). But we aren’t. And, it is okay.

We’ll be okay.

I know comparison is the thief of joy. But it’s not just that. I want parents to know that no matter what you may or may not do, your child may just be at the other end. You may work as hard or even harder as another family and still may be farther behind. You can get as much advice as you want and do the EXACT same things and your child may not gain weight, increase muscle strength, or learn to say their ABC’s.

You aren’t inadequate. I know you are trying. I know you are researching and learning by trial and error. We all are. But what worked for one child, worked for ONE child. I am telling you that we have tried it all and it simply doesn’t change where he is on the spectrum of severity.

I am doing my best.

You are doing your best.

Sometimes you are just at the other end.

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