A couple of weeks ago I went to Naidex which is the yearly disability exhibition. There is always so much to see and do for anyone with any interest in the innovations for the future of independent living.
I go because I like to look at new wheelchairs and accessible cars, but there is also a lot of new technology and information on holidays and disability sports. It can really be an eye opener.
One of the stands we spent a lot of time on was Touchpoints. I’m not always looking for things for myself, I also have autistic children and Star has physical disabilities too. The Touchpoints attracted me because they claimed to be of benefit to those with Autism.
I held two of the little devices while the lady on the stand talked to me about them. I took some information to look up when I got home, along with a purchase code as I was already thinking about buying some. While there I also filled in a competition form.
I received an e-mail shortly after the exhibition to say that I’d won the competition for a box of Touchpoints basic. This was the day after we’d been to the school to talk about the Little Man. He is now on the school’s Special Educational Needs and Disabilities register, and we know he is autistic although we don’t have it in writing yet.
The Little Man was fascinated with the Touchpoints and was keen to give them a try at school. We talked to the teacher who allowed him to wear the Touchpoints on his wrists.
After just a few days of wearing them he is already much happier at school and getting on with his work. I’ll explain more later.
What Are Touchpoints and What Do They Do?
In the box you get 2 touch points, a duel charger wire(so you can charge them both at the same time) and carrying pouch, a set of wristbands and a sticker sheet. These are the Touchpoint Basics, there are other options to choose from.
To use the Touchpoints you press the button on one to turn it on and then choose between the three settings: blue for sleep, yellow for calm or purple for anger. Then if you turn on the other Touchpoint and face them together the second device should change to match the same colour as the first and begin vibrating in an alternating pattern. Then you keep the Touchpoints on either side of the body. You can use the straps, or put them in your pockets or socks. Anywhere you feel comfortable putting them.
Touchpoints work through Bi-Lateral Alternating Stimulation Tactile (BLAST) technology. This means, in simple terms, that alternating messages are sent to the brain to interrupt it’s current state and keep it more relaxed. I’m trying to keep it non science(y) here, but if you want to understand more it’s explained in detail on the website. Or you can see a scientific study here that shows that it really does have an effect on emotional and physical pain.
The noise made by the Touchpoints was one of the first things I noticed. It was noisy in the exhibition so this wasn’t something I’d noticed until I turned them on at home. However, when put in my pockets of my trousers the noise was considerably less noticeable. I guess if you put them in your socks, or down your bra, then you would notice it even less.
The Little Man wanted to wear them on the wristbands provided. I was worried that they would be too noisy for school, but he pulls down his sleeves over them and no-one notices.
The Little Man is the one who’s had the most use out of them but I did get to use them myself. I’d become upset over an incident which totally stressed me out almost to point of tears. I was in a right ‘flap’ not knowing what to do. The Touchpoints were nearby as they’d not long arrived and I’d been looking at them. So I tried them out. I put them on ‘angry’ as I really was that stressed out, then I popped them in my pockets. Within minutes I felt much calmer and I was able to make two phone calls which helped to sort out my problem. I can honestly say that the Touchpoints really helped to calm me down, and in just a few minutes. I’d have probably been stressing for a lot longer without them.
As I said before, the Little Man has been having problems at school. Nearly every day we were getting notes in his book about him not concentrating, disrupting the class and generally being silly. Then the teacher told us that he annoys the other kids so much that he had no friends and would often spend his break time alone, or annoying others. This really upset me as I know at home he is a sensitive well behaved little boy. He was like Jekyll and Hyde!
With the Autism diagnosis upon us I realised that maybe he was suffering from over stimulation at school which is why he was acting up. I hoped that the Touchpoints would help with that.
So now he wears the Touchpoints to school each day. He found out by reading the website how they work. He chooses what setting to have them on and uses them when he needs too. They have helped him a lot. We have had reports back that he is getting on with his work more and not annoying the other children as much. He has not disrupted the classroom and yesterday he came home from school and told me he had made some new friends!!
Touchpoints have not asked me to write this review although they did ask for some feedback on their Facebook page. I am honestly really thrilled with the Touchpoints. If I can get them off the Little Man for five minutes I might even have another try with them myself. Or, maybe I will buy myself a pair too.
Touchpoints have so many uses as well as stress and Autism. They can help you get to sleep, study, tourettes, negativity, Parkinsons, Social issues, fear of the dark, test anxiety, phobias, aggression and many more. You can find an encyclopedia of uses on Facebook.
When I gave Touchpoints my feedback they told me I could share a discount code with anyone who may be interested in trying Touchpoints for themselves. Here is a copy of the information they sent to me with relevant links and information.
There are two types of TouchPoints available:-
The Basics are manually controlled devices with 3 settings Sleep, Calm and Anger.
The Originals are app controlled devices which come with the 3 settings mentioned for the Basics but additionally with Focus, Performance and Craving. So you should consider what you need the devices for and whether you want to use your phone to control them.
Find out more on the link below:
Once you have decided which version is for you please visit https://www.touchpointeurope.com/pages/shop-touchpoints and use code AUTISM15 at the checkout.
This should give you 15% off.
Any other queries drop us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 01531 820511, this line is manned between 9am and 3pm on weekdays.
The code Autism15 should be good for the whole of April, which is Autism Awareness Month. You can always call or e-mail for more details.
If you do try them I’d love to know how you get on.
The Birthday Party Meal
I’m a bit late sharing these photos, they are from my Sister-in-Laws birthday party meal a couple of weeks ago.
I love this selfie Graham did of us with the family having their party meal in the background. I’ve blurred the edges a bit because we managed to catch some strangers on the next table too. Graham always looks so serious in his selfie photos though.
At the other end of the table were the kids, this is only half of them and the middle one is not mine, that’s ‘Squidge,’ my Nephew’s youngest daughter. The lady turned away is my nephew’s older daughter…I really think huge age gaps are thing in our family (My Mum, my Brother, Me and My Nephew!) My Nephew’s older daughter is having a baby in June, so my nephew is going to be a grand dad!
Back to the photo, I was a little too far away to see what the kids were up to
(I didn’t take this photo.) It was nice to see them enjoying their food. However, when I viewed it I was very annoyed with Boo! Just look at her with her mobile phone on while she’s having a meal. That’s a big No No at home, and the same goes for when we are out for a party meal. I can’t really blame her though, she was only copying what most of the adults were doing.
Each month Cheryl from A Chronic Voice sets out a list of writing prompts for those that suffer with a chronic illness. The prompts this month are;
I made a vow that I needed to get out of the house more, at least once a week. I made this vow after spending 14 days without leaving the house at all. However, I think I may have overdone things by going out several times a week and tiring myself out.
When you live with a chronic illness it’s hard to strike a balance. If I stay home all the time then I just feel tired constantly. If I go out I feel tired, but in a different way. I do get so sick and tired of looking at these four walls though. Maybe I can get a balance when it’s warm enough to sit in the garden, that’s going out without going out!
This is quite a relevant prompt for me this week, there has been a lot of educating going on.
I did a course in poetry, it’s something I’ve always loved writing but I’ve never really spent time learning the basics. I enjoyed the course, which was online, but in a group of people so it was good to get and give feedback.
I’ve also been educating myself about the drug Rituximab. I’m going to see my consultant next week and I’ve wondering whether to ask about it. So I did some research first. I’m still not sure it would help but a few others with my condition have had good results so I’ll see what my consultant says.
Another thing I’ve been learning about is Bi-lateral Alternating Stimulation Tactile (BLAST.) I won a pair of Touchpoints from a competition I entered at Naidex and was keen to find out how they work. I’ll definitely be writing more about them as they do have an affect on calming stress amongst other things.
There has been much receiving going on too. As I’ve already said, I won some Touchpoints from Naidex. It’s the first time I’ve won a competition from an exhibition, despite entering them all the time.
I’ve also received a new cooker as my old one kept cutting out. My eldest son paid for it but I’ll be giving him some money back towards the cost. I haven’t really felt inspired to cook more though.
I also received some news this week. My youngest son is believed to be on the Autistic Spectrum. It wasn’t really a surprise, but it’s always like taking a huge leap from thinking it to knowing it. He’s still my gorgeous Little Man though.
I’ve been busy with my crochet and I gifted my Nephew’s daughter a baby blanket for her new baby due in a few weeks. I also sent along a rabbit that I’d made for her other daughter.
I’m also in the process of making a baby blanket for my other Nephew’s daughter, she is due in June and is having a little boy.
I can’t believe that both my brother’s are great grandparents already. I know they are older than me, but I’m not even a grandparent yet, never mind a great grandparent!
I’ve been so busy it’s taking it’s toll as even though I’m just a week after my IVIG treatment, I’m feeling totally worn out. I need to take some time out and rest.
My favourite ways of spending quiet time is by crocheting and listening to an audio book. I also like to get engrossed in a good tv program.
I love it when I’m left alone in peace and quiet, I’m quite happy with my own company. It doesn’t happen too often though. I need to fit in all the peace and quiet I can in the next week as it will soon be time for the kids to break up from school.
Linking up with the lovely Cheryl from A Chronic Voice for this months writing prompts
Hello and welcome to the home of Word of the Week, a nice and simple weekly linky, with everyone welcome to pop by and share. You reflect back on the past week and sum it up in one word. Then share your word with us in a blog post, with as little or as much explanation as you like.
There are not too many rules with this linky, just remember to read at least another couple of posts in the link up after adding your link. Do try to stick to the theme of summing your week up. I will read and comment on all posts and tweet them out for you. I also have a Pinterest board devoted to Word of the Week and I will add posts to Mix (formerly Stumble.) Please add the badge below to your post so that others may find us and join in. If you comment or tweet then please use the hashtag #WotW
If you are unfamiliar with the Word of the Week linky then please feel free to ask any questions. New linkers are always welcome, we love to hear what you have been up to in the past week.
My Word of the Week
I’ve kept to my promise that I made to myself about getting out of the house more. I’ve been out three times again this week.
Monday, I was in hospital having my IVIG treatment. I’m there for about three and a half hours, sometimes it goes quickly, sometimes not so. This week I was without an audio book so it went a little slower.
Tuesday, we had to go to the Little Man’s school to speak with the Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) teacher. It is believed that the Little Man does have some kind of autism and is now on the SEND register and we are waiting for his final diagnosis. It wasn’t really a surprise, but it still brings up all sorts of feelings that are difficult to deal with. (I didn’t sleep very well on Tuesday night.) The Little Man, however, is quite happy.
Wednesday, I went out shopping. It was kind of a spur of the minute thing but I had promised to fetch a game for my eldest son and because my daughter ordered it they had refused to give it to Graham. I went along pretending to be my daughter. We also popped into Iceland for a bit of food shopping.
The rest of the week I’ve spent trying to sort out my blog. I’ve still a way to go to get it how I want but this theme allows for a lot of editing so I should be able to tweak it lots.
So, although there has been a lot of things going on this week, I am choosing the word Autism as my Word of the Week. It seems kind of strange that we found out for sure about the Little Man’s Autism on World Autism Day. It is also Autism Awareness Week (or month) and yesterday I published a post about what Autism means for our family.
So Now it’s over to you, what word or phrase sums up your week?
Instructions: Select all code above, copy it and paste it inside your blog post as HTML
When you’ve met one person with Autism, you’ve met one person with Autism
I can vouch for this, I have three autistic children and they are all very different. As it’s Autism Awareness week I would like to share my stories.
Number One Son
Many years ago I was told that my son was autistic. I had seen the film Rain Man, and that was about as far as my knowledge of autism went.
I went to the library and armed myself with reading material. I researched remedies and hoped there was some cure. Yes, I went down that path! I didn’t want a son with autism, I just wanted my son back.
Then I realised, he was still my son. He hadn’t changed just because he’d been given a diagnosis. Yes, our lives changed, especially where school was concerned, but we carried on and suddenly it didn’t seem so bad. We could do this!
It may or may not come as a surprise but Star’s real name isn’t actually Star. When I started writing this blog she was five years old. I asked what I should call her on my blog and she said Star. So I did, and she has proved to me time and time again what a little star she is.
Star’s autism was picked up much earlier than my eldest son. She was first assessed at the age of three, but not given her diagnosis until she was six. Some girls are able to mask their differences, but Star has always embraced hers and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Apart from her autism she has had other physical difficulties that we are still trying to get to the bottom of. She has been in for surgery five times, and had to wear a halo vest twice for a total of seven months.
But, although she lost an entire year of school, she is still on par with her peers and attends a mainstream school. She’s about to start choosing her options for her GCSEs and is not fazed at all.
The Little Man
We’ve known for a while that The Little Man has had problems. (Just to clarify, his name is not actually Little Man either.) Right from when he was very small he was different. He didn’t walk or talk until he was nearly two years old. As a baby he liked to lie flat all the time, he hated being sat up. There wasn’t anything wrong with him though, he was just doing it all his way.
He has always had difficulties at school, he gets into trouble for not listening, not concentrating or doing his work.
He has been bullied a lot because he doesn’t know how to interact properly with other children. I’m not saying it was his fault that he was bullied, but young children do tend to pick on kids that do things differently.
This week we have been working with his school on getting him assessed for Autism. He’s already on the school’s Special Education Needs and Disabilities (SEND) register.
The Truth About Autism
Quite simply, autism is different for everyone. My three children are different with similarities. My experiences with all three of them have been different. Other parents of autistic children will have very different experiences too.
Autism Awareness is necessary for people to understand these differences. But most of all, we should understand acceptance. Autistic children and adults just want to live their lives in this world like everyone else, but they may perceive the world differently. A little more understanding and acceptance is all they can ask.
Star is in a very accepting school. The teacher’s understand her needs and although some students might tease her, she has support in place so she doesn’t get upset or overwhelmed by school life. Because she is accepted she is doing really well, she knows what she wants to do after school and I can see she will have a future. It’s not like that for all autistic children, but it should be.