News About Multi-Sensory World

Frustration about Speech Delays and How to make Therapy Fun

By Clare Meaney
on May 04, 2016

I hear from a lot of parents who have children with Sensory issues that their children have speech delays. Communication is such a big thing for anyone living an independent life and reduces frustration being able to express what we think, what we want and what we need.
I always find babies babbling a crazy thing as my son never really did this he was pretty quiet apart from when he was crying he didn’t make the baby noises. He was always behind with speech and we decided to learn Makaton to help with the process.
Makaton is a language programme using signs and symbols to help people to communicate. It is designed to support spoken language and the signs and symbols are used with speech, in spoken word order.
Its lovely hearing about  Makaton Groups now in our local area Wirral, Hands Up with the lovely Steph, we were so lucky when my son was small that a group called Sundowns let us join in even though it is for children with Down’s Syndrome and we will always be grateful for the help they gave us at that time.
We have had a few group sessions of speech therapy over our time but funding for speech therapy as most know is a postcode lottery. Over the years his speech has got better and better but he is still very conscious about it and has had bullying in the past because of it. Kids can be cruel.
Since Home Educating I asked what would he really like to learn his answer……. ‘Learn how to speak properly so I don’t sound stupid’……. Heartbroken hearing those words I went on a momma mission (like those who know me happens quite a bit) I began researching we did the sounds test and worked out the 2 sounds we wanted to work on over this year.
Since October wow have we come on! We do blow football, we make fires that need lots of blowing to ignite them more(and of course has little boys interested) we do tongue exercises in the mirror, we use bendy straws lots, we use chews(a lot for sensory issues also) Confidence is building and we can fit it in far more than schools ever could.
Straws are a big thing in our house and the silly straws makes it all a bit fun. I think the key is to have fun with it. If my son thought he was doing speech therapy each day he probably wouldn’t do it as really it sounds boring and has been for him in the past but being silly with momma around the house with musical instruments singing lalalalala, babababa, thththth, mmmmm. So I think what I want you to realise from this blog is there is so much you can do at home whilst waiting for appointments, whilst making memories and having fun as a family.

Homeschooling and everyone thinking I’ve gone crazy (crazier)

By Clare Meaney
on January 09, 2016


One of my favourite quotes- you can’t knock a square peg into a round hole even if you force it.


Well its official we are now a homeschooling family and pretty excited about our journey. So a bit about us life was hard work every Sunday afternoon the meltdowns would start by Monday we had my little guy throwing up and completely beside himself with anxiety, at times he was so violent driving along and I could tell he didn’t want to behave like that but he just really couldn’t calm himself down. Holidays were always far easier but took a lot of organising. So I sat in a meeting being told he shows no obvious signs of anxiety so obviously living in the toilets, toe walking out of shoes in 3 weeks and biting through chews at a crazy rate were all ok.


I decided in this completely stressful moment there has got to be more to life than this for my special little boy and for myself and my family as it has a knock on effect for everyone as I sat there crying which everybody who knows me, I don’t cry often I decided to have a think about my options I am so lucky having an amazingly supportive family who supported my idea to Homeschool.


Some people’s reactions to me homeschooling have been funny, you can’t run a business, homeschool a child and be a single mum it’s not possible. Believe me I’m not saying it’s easy by far but it is possible the majority of stress has been lifted from our home and instead of using all my energy fighting with an education system that doesn’t help my child out I decided to use that energy to get organised and start living, learning and having some fun together.


I’m not saying everything is plane sailing now we homeschool. Christmas day I thought would be this magical, amazing time as he was so much calmer, boy was I wrong haha but you live and learn and pick yourself up again. Some days I don’t sleep until really late trying to stay organised and keep everything ticking over whilst trying to still remember to do the washing and not be off in the land of Pinterest/google and finding what fun stuff we can do now :-) But like I said we are lucky having amazing family helping out with piano, computer programming, spelling, trips out and holidays and everything in between.


We don’t have an issue with the education side of things at home as he is such a clever boy and being 1 to 1 he is flying though work at an amazing rate and wants to help now with cooking tea and is excited learning important life skills that schools aren’t teaching children in the current curriculum. We get to do his sensory diet integrated into lessons, spellings and reading with water beads, timetables whilst doing exercises and lots of work on motor skills and lots of speech and language exercises that I have researched for him. We can also use his Senseez cushion, calming music and fidget toys without a big deal being made about them.


Homeschooling really has been a blessing to us but it isn’t for everyone as it really does take a big commitment of time and it’s very full on but the reward for us is a boy who is starting to cope with life in a supportive environment. Our next challenge now we’ve taken time to get calmer is to join some homeschooling groups and evening activities as we have now got small meets with others going well and want to slowly expand his social interactions in a positive way and build on his growing confidence.


So as my favourite quote says it is so important to not knock off the corners of our lovely square pegs otherwise life would be so boring.

Month of events

By Clare Meaney
on December 02, 2015

Well it’s been a busy month how glad I am the big events are over. They are amazing but really hard work at the same time but we would like to thank The disabled Living team from Kidz to Adultz up North and The OT Show team and all at the NEC for all there help and guidance on these big events. We learn every time we do a big event like these what we are doing well and what we need to learn from (we’ve certainly learnt we need a proper trolley to carry all our items!)


The biggest thank you has to go to my parents my mum being teacher for my little man who is now homeschooled, and helping get me organised and my dad who did both the events with me on his days off from his other business (and lent us a member of staff), I really am so lucky to have this amazing support network around me a little brother who helps me set up and ropes in a friend to help us out too, It really is a family business.


It’s also great getting to meet other exhibitors we had a great guy Ben from Integrex next to us at the OT show who gave us some very valuable tips on where to park and even gave me sweets (much needed) and let me play on the amazing interactive games they sell.


So I think our most popular products have been the unusual magnatabs have been a sell-out everywhere for kids with confidence issues around writing for whatever reasons (motor skills, autism, dyspraxia or just bored of the usual hand writing sheets) these are perfect.


Our glitter lamps have also been a big success as they are the first type like that which don’t heat up at all so perfect for babies up to elderly and everyone in between.


We love meeting all the families and love finding out what kind of things they want us to look out for, if you have any suggestions we are more than happy to try and find them. We even have a few people interested in designing things we know people are looking for now so it’s a very exciting time.
Now to decide which shows to do next year……………..

Getting little fingers to move

By Clare Meaney
on September 16, 2015


So I hear lots of people asking me about fine motor skills, firstly what are fine motor skills?


Wikipedia definition- Fine motor skill (or dexterity) is the coordination of small muscle movements—usually involving the synchronization of hands and fingers—with the eyes. The complex levels of manual dexterity that humans exhibit can be attributed to and demonstrated in tasks controlled by the nervous system. Fine motor skills aid in the growth of intelligence and develop continuously throughout the stages of human development. In easy terms the muscles don’t quite do what you want them to and causes soooooo much frustration.


So they are pretty important the most obvious ways to notice fine motor skills in kids is writing, doing buttons/zips and using cutlery if they have trouble doing these things the likelihood is that there fine motor skills are under developed. If this is the case you may want to speak with school to see if they have noticed anything.


Sometimes they just need to do a few more activities like playing with putty or threading some beads to practise a bit more in other cases it can be an indicator of maybe having a condition like dyspraxia or hypermobility.


All the fidget toys help develop fine motor skills. We never go out without a rainbow orbit ball we like them for one they are very robust, squeezing them gives your hands a real work out and they are also easier to catch with small spaces in between the loops. This has really helped my son he has been a bit weak on fine motor skills and has hypermobility but is now doing great after we have worked a lot with him to develop them. #proudmommamoment


If your child has problems with fine motor skills it really can effect confidence so make practising fun we post so many ideas on our Facebook page for developing fine motor skills so that kids don’t get bored and we always love to hear about your ideas too.


A new thing we have just got to help kids with handwriting is something called a Magnatab we had so much fun trying them out recently writing with magnets and they are really sturdy we hope they will be really popular with you all. If you ever have any questions as always we are really happy to help :-)

World’s apart but getting closer each day

By Clare Meaney
on August 30, 2015

Ever thought why so many people say ‘there never used to be so many people with sensory issues, maybe they are just making it up and dramatic now’ it really annoys me.


We always used to wonder why my little man is easier whilst away on our family holidays in Romania. Reduced meltdowns, slightly more sociable and just a happier little boy running around free and then it clicked Romanian villages are similar to how England used to be lots of years ago when nobody had bad sensory issues so people say I think personally they were just managed better without people realising it.

 


We’ve been doing so well with the sensory diet that our lovely OT’s have helped us with, exercises 3-4 times a day for 20-30minutes. Exercises like sit ups, press ups, crab walking, exercises with the gym ball, and pull ups on the chin up bar and many more all heavy work. Running around never calms the little man down but these things do.
So children in Romania in the villages do chores helping out there families, filling up water buckets, feeding animals, picking fruit off trees, stacking up logs etc. all heavy work. In their free time they are riding bikes, climbing trees, playing in the river again all heavy work.


All these things are sensory diet exercises which could be the answer to why so many children struggle so much more with sensory issues in western countries and compared to years ago that life is busier, Xboxes, ipads and phone are very important to us all now. I’m not saying all issues go with doing the sensory diet but for us it’s been such a positive experience and has calmed down and given us a few strategies to cope better.


Going for runs is not going to calm down your sensory children and neither is doing the exercises once per day, it really is a big commitment but one we feel is benefiting our family greatly.


Life in Romania is quieter less cars, less stimulation, less additives in food, and more exercise and an all round healthier lifestyle I really love it over there unfortunately western life is creeping in more and more each time I go. These are all just my opinions but we are using the best of both worlds for us, trying to eat better and be more active, whilst using the best of the sensory toys/products available here too massagers, water beads, swings, rainbow lights, and Senseez cushions to name just a few. To try our very best that sensory issues aren’t ruling our life like they have done in the past.

The Manchester Autism Show 2015 - Laughter and Surprise

By Clare Meaney
on June 30, 2015

So it’s been a very busy few weeks for us here at Multi-sensory World getting ready to exhibit at The Manchester Autism show it’s the first time we have done this exhibition so it was a bit nerve wracking trying to work out the amount of stock needed etc. it’s clear to say we completely underestimated how popular we would be and sold out of so many things and had to keep re-stocking with other items. Our chew Jewellery section was very thin after the first day and was empty by the end of the 2 days thankfully our supplier is fantastic and we are all stocked up again now as I know a lot of you were disappointed we had already sold so many.

The amount of times we had people coming back to the stall saying ‘I didn’t see this before’ it was a bit of a rugby scrum at times and our stall however big we have them always seems to be over flowing and a few people were pleading with us to get certain items out of the van which we did :-) Couldn’t say no.

The exhibition was brilliant unfortunately I didn’t manage to listen to even 1 talk as we were just too busy it’s great to give so many children, families and professionals the opportunity to try our products out, our stand was full of laughter and surprise. Laughter of happy children (and adults) trying out the water beads and kaleidoscope lamps surprise from parents watching their children who NEVER sit down sat on our Senseez cushions or with weighted lap pads and not moving off the seat at all. It really is lovely to see a bit of relief on parents faces as they realise that the sensory seeking can be calmed down with these simple tools.

    


A highlight for me was meeting the lovely people at the play doctors there products really are fantastic and it’s great to meet people with far more experience at exhibitions than ourselves to give us some insight.Also explaining to some families about Sensory diets as this has been so successful for us as a family with my little man (we will be following up in another blog on our progress soon) but so many have still never heard about it but we will keep trying to promote awareness.

We couldn’t thank the organisers enough they looked after us so much and the event city staff were also so helpful (even helped us with boxes on set up day) and we were so grateful for all the really positive feedback and compliments we received from the show about our Company, Facebook page and products and its great seeing some familiar faces popping up on our Facebook page.

Multi-sensory World Sensory Diet

By Clare Meaney
on April 30, 2015

Sensory Diet


Well we have started a Sensory diet I have heard a lot about them and did a few exercises with Harvey before but for it be effective for sensory kiddos/adults it needs to be done every 3-4 hours so about 4 times a day but depends on the person my little man is very hyperactive so we need to do it 4 times.


So a Sensory diet is a programme which provides the brain with the correct amount of sensory information through the day. Used for people who struggle to modulate their system to either alert or calm the system. Basically if you have sensory issues you are already on quite a high alert if something you see as really bad happens e.g. The toothpaste is awful or your hair hurts being brushed then you get higher and higher and then into meltdown, the sensory diet if done correctly keeps bringing you down a bit so you don’t get to that meltdown point.


A lot of the exercises you need 2 for so I agreed with Harvey I would do it too, wow my body hurts and I’m only doing half what he is.


My little guy has an amazing amount of stamina he’s like the Duracell bunny. So the systems we are focusing on are Proprioceptive and Vestibular.


So some types of activities we are doing are press ups, sit ups, palm pushing (against each other), hopscotch, using a chin up bar lots of activities with the gym ball, headstands (not one I’m doing), tug of war, trampolining, Senseez cushion, Weighted blankets, Storm ball passing and lots of crunchy food to try and calm the chewing down a bit too.


It really has been hard work fitting one in before school 6.00am jumping around isn’t fun but the difference is completely worth it lots calmer, meltdowns are far shorter and what we call jitteriness has calmed a lot and we are doing it as a family its Gaga and Gee’s turn next over the weekend to have a go as momma’s muscles need to calm 

All About Us at Multi-Sensory World

By Clare Meaney
on April 28, 2015

WELCOME to our new website - www.multi-sensoryworld.co.uk -  we are all very excited about this launch and how much more we can now do with it to make your sensory shopping experience more enjoyable.

So this first blog is all about Multi-Sensory World, a family run business.

Clare

I am Clare I do the day to day running of Multi-Sensory World - I have a real passion for helping families with children with special needs, especially as I know how little there is out there for families like my own. I am a single momma to a gorgeous 9 year old boy who has given us the inspiration to start Multi-Sensory World.

 Chris

Our accountant, my business partner, also my Dad and amazing Grandad to my little man is called Chris. He is our money man - keeping a check on our spending and making sure we are providing you sensory products in the most efficient way.

 Amy

Amy is our amazing lady who makes our bespoke items and has helped us out so much whilst starting Multi-Sensory World and also has a child with special needs herself. Amy is now taking on extra roles and is my saviour when it comes to technology especially computers as I may have great ideas in my head but getting them on a computer is another thing completely!

We also have the lovely Gilly who makes some of our other bespoke items she is Amy’s mum and has a grandson who is autistic and also works in a school - so has a brilliant understanding of special needs.

Harvey

And then there is the BOSS. Harvey my little man, he is epileptic and currently being assessed for other things he has a lot of sensory issues, including toe-walking, chewing continuously all day, has a lot of seeker behaviour and has a very crazily high pain threshold. He has an amazing memory for the things he likes eg. Pokemon, minecraft, Utube and birds which is a new one we are trying to embrace to get us out in the fresh air a bit more.

Harvey is the reason we started Multi-Sensory World, with the aim to help him out, whilst also helping others too. It’s been a long journey but with his inspiration, we have a great line-up of sensory products of which he has tested them all. My absolutely amazing super star :-)

We have a few extra helpers that are amazing between babysitting for us, helping with stock takes, going the post office when we have appointments and when we need extra help at events we have my mum Anne, my little brother Tom, his lovely fiancée Sarah, Amy’s husband Barry and my big brother - without all these people Multi-Sensory World would not be the success it is today.

We hope you enjoy the website and looking at all the sensory toys and products we have to offer. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have a question. Bye for now :-)

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