Friday, October 26, 2012

The HowdaHUG Chair: Product Review

"Don't rock your chair!"

This was a constant chorus in our house.  The chair rocking had gotten extreme, especially while doing schoolwork.  My boy eventually managed to create a horizontal line of cracked plaster on the kitchen wall, right behind his chair, aligning perfectly with the top of his chair.  ARGHHHH!!!!!

When a child has a problematic behaviour that has a sensory-based cause, good old fashioned discipline isn't going to fix it.  We could come down hard on the chair rocking, but his body was still going to have to find a way to get that sensation. What to do???  Well, if you're lucky enough to have a fabulous occupational therapist, you ask her for advice.  Her advice to me was to try the HowdaHUG.

I, of course set  off to research it, and was instantly intrigued.  The chair is dubbed as "the listening chair" as it is known to help children settle and focus.  The simple little lightweight chair can be used on the floor, or placed on top of another chair.  It is small, portable, and user-friendly.  For children who need movement, and who crave deep pressure, this chair meets both needs.

When the chair arrived, I was ecstatic.  The kids were very interested in it. In fact, they were fighting over it!  But I have to admit, I was worried.  The thing they liked most about the chair was taking turns sitting in it, and then promptly flipping backwards.  This wasn't the calming tool I'd had in mind!  But, my fears were soon subsided.  As it turns out, the HowdaHUG has a slight learning curve.  The child needs to learn how to balance the chair, then they quickly master tipping back and forth to create a rocking sensation - without falling all the way back!  This process did not take long, but the fun of falling back certainly helped build some excitement over the chair.

We've had the HowdaHUG for about a month now.  And I can't say enough fabulous things about it.  Whenever my son grabs a book, he typically grabs his HowdaHUG too.  He loves to prop up in it to read.  He always played Lego at his Lego table, but lately he has been taking a bin onto his bed, along with his HowdaHUG.  The fact that he is using this independently, without prompting means that he legitimately enjoys it.  As for my kitchen wall?  It hasn't been chair-smashed in the last two weeks.  Success!

The HowdaHUG is a must for your sensory toolkit.  Versatile, portable, affordable, effective, and fun.  It can be used at school or at home, or anywhere. 

One day Aiden looked up from his book and said, "Mom, the HowdaHUG rocks."
I'd have to agree.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Notes on Accomodations

I think there may be misconceptions about accommodations for people with special needs.  We all know that some people really need them, but there are just so many people who want them, without necessarily having just cause.

Just think about those blue parking spots out there.  Of course everyone would love to have prime parking, but that does not mean that we need it! 

There is quite a difference between needs and wants.  This is something that tends to get lost in a world where it is every man for himself. 

Instead of recognizing, and appreciating that we need to level up the playing field for some people, we get resentment, and a feeling that some people get everything.

Perhaps you have come to believe that your child does not get the special treatment they deserve because they do not have a disability.

If you are in a position in your life where you cannot understand the need for allowances being made, I envy you.

Accommodations do not give one an advantage over another, they generally just give a person who is already disadvantaged an opportunity to participate, or engage.  Without accommodations being made, this might not be possible, or perhaps just an awful lot more difficult.

Do not begrudge people the assistance they need.  Do not take for yourself, a service that rightfully belongs to another.  Instead, remember to feel gratitude.  Be grateful that your body allows you the ability to park far from the door, and still get into a building.  Appreciate that you and yours are able to wait patiently in a line-up without dire consequences. 

When you are upset that there are services you do not feel that you can avail of, change those thoughts into thankfulness that there are services that you and your family do not need.