Supplements for Autism

We have rather a lot of autistic people in the hosue. At least five out of eleven, at last count. (So far the baby seems pretty neurotypical. -Ed) That means we try stuff out to see if it helps any of us feel better in our skin or communicate our thoughts easier, or sleep easier, and so on.

Right now we’re finding these two chemicals to be very helpful.

Melatonin – Bede takes 1 mg of melatonin nightly. Melatonin works the best for people who have trouble falling asleep, but not staying asleep. Before he started this, years ago, he would toss and turn until past 1AM. The melatonin lets his body slow down along with his mind. Clementine doesn’t take this nightly, but might need it about twice a month, and she takes 0.5 mg.

Sulforaphane – This is a new addition, since October 2017. Bede is taking 800 mcg of sulphoraphane, in two 400 mcg doses morning and night. He’s finding it easier to talk and to change gears, so to speak, especially if things are not going the way he expected. This chemical seems to have some of the same effects on the brain as a fever, which also helps Bede communicate and adjust to changes. This is the small study I read that showed the helpful effects. I have Bede on a pretty low dose, since there’s not much information yet.

None of the kids are on any prescribed medicines, so we don’t have to worry about interference. I am not a medical professional of any kind, and this does not constitute medical advice. Check with your own doctor or other medical professional for that!

Books for autistic little people

First and foremost, any autistic kid will love a book about their interests. If you know what that interest is, you can pop over to Amazon and browse away! If you don’t know, ask their parents. If they don’t know, or you don’t want to or can’t ask, the following books are generally well-received for the under 4-or-so set, especially nonverbal or minimally verbal kids. And, as always, these books are good for ANY kid, autistic or no.

Bright Baby First 100 Words, Large Format – I’ve bought this at least twice, because ours wore out. Clementine, age 3, (with severe autism) likes to put toys or objects on the pictures that match. Sometimes her idea of match is really unique – like a toy platypus on a goose! All the photos are the same size, which helps. We talk about these as we read.

Sandra Boynton board books – These are so fun. They tick many boxes for the little autist: they are a set, they are Different but the Same, they are clear, simple drawings, they have alphabets and numbers, they have daily activities, and they are so cute and funny. 10/10. Just love these.

My First Colors (Tabbed Board Books) – Another picture book, this one arranged by color instead of subject or topic. The tabs are interesting to talk about, and go to each color’s page from the front. This one is more visually complicated, with many photos on a white background.

Then we have books for older kids who won’t tear the pages out:

DK Eye Wonder and Eyewitness books – These are great subject-specific books that little kids can enjoy and older kids can really absorb. (The Eye Wonder series is for younger readers.)

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom – Autistic kids seem to love letters. At least, mine do. Hyperlexia runs in the family. This vibrantly colored silly story was re-enacted by Bede hundreds of times.

Nursery Rhyme Comics – Nursery rhymes in comic format, with fifty different artists! This one has been worn out at our house.

That’s all for now!

Toys for autistic little people

We have a long history of discovering ways to play together with autistic kids. Bede is 14 now, but was a toddler once, and Clementine is 3. These are toys they like. (These toys are great for any kids, of course.) None of them are electronic and all invite interaction.

Melissa and Doug magnetic letters – These don’t have separate magnets to choke on. They’re not waterproof, but that’s not a problem unless your kid chews on them. Bede and Clementine are both VERY INTO LETTERS.

Foam bath letters – Bede used these to spell for years before he talked. It was amazing to see. Little odd kid, frequently naked and feral, spelling “HI DADDY” is just the best.

Plan Toys Water Blocks – My autistic kids can be delighted by looking through things for a very long time. We therefore call toys like this “look-throughs.” These are really sturdy and go with other unit blocks, like…

Melissa and Doug unit blocks – I bought two sets ten years ago and they are still going strong.

Uncle Goose blocks – these are the BEST. Roman (English) alphabet, sure, but also Spanish! Hebrew! Persian! Constellations or nursery rhymes! Periodic table! I think we need another set because there are a few new ones we don’t have…

Safari, Ltd TOOB sets – These are little plastic animals/people/things that go together, like jungle animals, or dinosaurs. They also have fairies, dragons, architectural wonders, bugs… Clementine likes things that Are Different But The Same So They Go Together.

I’ll get a post up soon about books for autistic preschoolers and little kids too.

Card games

We play a lot of games here. The kids have computers, and some of them have phones, and we have a WiiU, but they play an awful lot of card games. These are some of their favorites.

Love Letter – Gilbert got this for his birthday. A huge hit, and so fun. 9yo Gloria has no trouble playing it.

Timeline – We have several variants of this one. The Music and Cinema is really fun. Everyone who can read plays this, though some of them do terribly. The nice thing about it is the more you play, the better you get.

Exploding Kittens – So silly, and not as dark as it sounds. If you are not into cartoony violence, fart jokes, or laughing, stay away. 7 and up?

Set – Pure logic, and reading isn’t needed. It might be tricky for a little kid though. 7 and up.

Munchkin – Another silly one. There are dozens of variants, though we just have the classic set. It has a few PG-13 cards, but the gamplay itself is about 10 and up.

Werewolf – Needs more people than we have here, but Faith and Abby played it with a mess of teens at camp last summer and had a blast! Great party game, 12 and up?

Secret Hitler – Another one that needs more than our gang that was played to great amusement at camp. I mean, if you want to play a Bad Guy, this is the ultimate Bad Guy. Or take down the Ultimate Bad Guy! Definitely 12 and up.


Everything You Need To Ace American History and Timeline

The Big Fat Notebook series is figuring into our homeschool life here this year. We’re using the American History book, Everything You Need To Ace American History In One Big Fat Notebook.Everything You Need To Ace American History In One Big Fat NotebookAbby is using this for high school level history, so it’s not just a middle school text. It’s thorough without being too in-depth, and works very well as a spine to jump off of. Our other trick this year is Timeline, a history card game. We’re putting the cards that correspond to our studies on an actual timeline on the wall. We’ve only got about four cards up so far but it’s looking cool.

Timeline games, all of them

Big Fat Notebook series

The Dark is Rising

The Dark is rising!The Dark Is RisingThis is my favorite middle-grade book ever. It takes place around Christmas, so I read it this time of year, but don’t let that stop you from reading it anytime. It’s urban fantasy, with an 11 year old protagonist. (I first read it at that age.) He’s the youngest of nine children, but I promise that’s not why I have so many kids. It was published in and takes place during the early Seventies, so it features delightfully independent children with no mobile phones or video games, tramping about the South of England. Anyway, he learns he’s magical on his eleventh birthday, and a wise old wizard teaches him how to fight a vast evil. All this about 25 years before our Mister Potter, ye ken.

It’s just The Best. And it’s the second book in the series, but reads just fine out of sequence. You won’t regret this one.

The Dark Is Rising sequence