Thursday, September 21, 2017

Review: Sensacalm Weighted Blanket

“This blanket wants me to nap.”—Big Bro

We recently received a gift I need to tell you about.  A wonderful company called Sensacalm offered to give us a weighted blanket for the Boy in exchange for an honest review.  Donna and Sarah, who run the company, are the grandmother and mom of children with specials needs.  So, yes, they are on our team.

Donna walked me through the whole process of designing a blanket that my son would like and would fit his sensory needs.  Their website has a number of great designs and patterns to choose from.  Now, if you follow my page you might know that my boy is obsessed with Phineas and Ferb.  Stores don’t carry Phineas and Ferb anything anymore, but Donna managed to find Phineas and Ferb fabric!  (As someone who has to shop for her kid on eBay, I was impressed.)

When the blanket arrived, Big Bro and I oohed and aahed over it for a while.  So sturdy!  So soft!  Oh, it’s hugging me!  Meanwhile, the Boy was standing there like, Um, that’s mine?  So we reluctantly handed it over…

(Let me pause in the narrative to explain what Boy on the Couch is usually like.  He is a blanket kid for real.  When he comes home from school, he drags the comforter off his bed, drapes it on the couch, and then climbs underneath like it’s a tent.  It’s how he decompresses.  He stims and bounces and yells…all from under the comforter.  Eventually, when he’s jumped around enough to dislodge the couch cushions, he throws the blanket off, stomps into the kitchen, and demands a snack.  That’s how it generally goes.)

So…first trial with the weighted blanket.  He stretched out on the couch, I draped the blanket on him, and…he sighed.  It was so cute.  He sighed this, “Ah, yes” kind of sigh, and ran his fingers over the Phineas and Ferb pattern.  He sat quietly for a few minutes, pointed to and named the characters, and rubbed his hands on the soft, minky fabric on the other side.  After a few minutes, he set the blanket aside, walked into the kitchen, and asked for a snack.  It was nice.

The blankets are available in different sizes and are weighted according to the weight of your child.  As you can see from the picture, the blanket doesn’t cover the whole bed.  This is because it’s meant to fit the body; otherwise, it would slip off the bed.  We are very happy with how it looks, and even happier with how it feels.

So yes, the blanket is a hit.  He’s almost 10 and we still struggle to get him to go to sleep in his own bed.  We find that when we manage to get him in his own bed, he’s more likely to stay there when he has the weighted blanket.  As the weather gets cooler, I think we’ll be using this more and more.  (We don’t have AC.  I know, right?)

I like it, too.  Something about the deep pressure is really comforting.  I occasionally deal with restless legs, and the weight of the blanket helps.  And when Big Bro was overtired and stressed about schoolwork, he borrowed the blanket, and loved the pressure, too.  “This blanket wants me to nap,” he said. 

I know as autism parents, we have a lot of products pushed on us.  As a blogger, I get messages asking me to push all sorts of vitamins and oils and crap on you, and I ignore them.  This is different.  These blankets are not cheap, but they are well-made and sturdy and comfy.  I’d say the Sensacalm blanket is definitely something to keep in mind, especially as the holiday season is approaching.  Maybe instead of buying toys they won’t play with, you can get the aunts and uncles to go in on a weighted blanket.  (And if it helps your kid sleep, it’s a gift for the whole family!)

If you're interested, you can click on this link to learn more!

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Can we change the subject?

This weekend kicks off barbecue season.  It's another summer of hot dogs, potato salad, and chasing my kid around someone else's yard.  It's another summer of being the Autism Ambassador.

I'm going to sound like a jerk when I say this, but I don't always feel like talking about autism.  When I meet people that are friends of friends, they want to tell me all about their sister's niece or their neighbor's grandson on the spectrum. I know they are trying to make a connection and I think it's really nice of them to show an interest. I do.  I did it, too, before I became a parent. But it's so exhausting sometimes!  

Have you seen that video of the autistic boy playing basketball?  Did you see the girl who wore orange to her prom because her date is autistic and that's his favorite color?  How about the autistic boy who loves to watch the garbage truck?
Have you tried giving him weed?

I know they mean well, but I want to talk about something else.  Changing the subject can be tricky.  Any reference to current events could turn the conversation to politics, which, in my neck of the woods, will invariably lead to me hating people.  So I've decided to have some new topics at the ready.  Feel free to use them when a friend of a friend asks you awkward questions.

Friend of friend:  Did you see the report linking maternal obesity to autism?
Me:  No, I didn't.  But isn't it nice that they finally gave King Richard III a proper burial?  It's so strange how they keep finding dead kings under parking lots in England. 
(Note:  This is true.)

Friend of friend:  Does your child have any special talents?  Like Rainman?
Me:  No, but speaking of Rainman, did you know Dustin Hoffman accidentally cut off the tip of his finger during Finding Neverland and had to film while hopped up on morphine?
(Note:  Maybe true.)

Friend of friend:  My sister's neighbor is on the spectrum.
Me:  Really?  My sister's neighbor fell out of an airplane and LIVED!
(Note:  OK, so this did happen, but not to my sister's neighbor.  I don't have a sister.)

If all else fails, we can talk about the food.  And Julia.  I will always make an exception for Julia!