The Fragile X Tool Box
What is The FX Tool Box? It’s a regular feature in our newsletter, filled with suggestions, helpful hints and coping strategies – tools to make living with Fragile X easier! We invite you to send in your favourite “Tools” to firstname.lastname@example.org for printing in future newsletters and be posted to this section of the website. If you have any neat tricks, big or small, we'd love to hear from you! We'll be updating the Tool Box on a regular basis so please keep checking back.
- Buy socks with coloured heels and toes to help your child know how to pull them on correctly.
- Hang outfits together in the closet so your child knows what clothes go together and can get dressed more independently (see below for when kids get even older!)
- Mom B.B. suggests: The store HomeSense sells canvas sectioned hangers that you would usually put shoes or hats in. We stuff a day’s worth of clothes in each cubby box - underwear, socks, jeans, t-shirt and hoodie - and there are 6 compartments so it covers every day of the school week. My son just takes out an outfit and gets dressed. He no longer spends hours getting dressed, has a sense of independence, and as a bonus - his dresser drawers don’t get messed up!
- Going to the dentist? Take some time to educate the people at the office about Fragile X syndrome. Book extra time and take along a Game Boy type of toy or earphones plugged into music or go to a dentist that has a tv/dvd player mounted up high on the wall to distract them.
- When trying to teach something new or difficult, take frequent breaks and use a very simple task they have success with (like a puzzle they have mastered) in between the difficult tasks. Your student will gain confidence and be ready to go back and tackle the tougher one.
- Fill a wheel barrel with water in the summer and let them carry it back and forth across the lawn - the lawn gets watered, the weight and pressure is calming and if they get wet, who cares - how refreshing! Our son carries his little sister around in ours and they both have a blast!
- Get a bean bag chair for them to relax in or simply watch TV.
- Small but silent vibrating toys are great help during school assemblies or whenever they are expected to sit quietly for a long period of time.
- Purchase an inexpensive tape player with music cassettes that they can play with/rewind to their hearts content.
- Freezies seem to help with the oral self-stim. Make your own out of watered down juice so they are healthier than store bought.
- Put a dot of the inside, insole of their boots or shoes with bright red nail polish (make sure you let it dry completely) and tell them that the red dots have to be together (side by side) before they put on their boots/shoes so that they go on the correct feet. This has been very helpful and gives a sense of independence!
- Use social stories with pictograms. Social Stories are personalizable children’s books that engage children in a fun and creative way while addressing social skills, safety skills, and communication skills.
- We created quite a few and they really helped. Some of the social stories we used: How do I ask someone to play with me? and What are the rules at Recess? What is great about social stories is that your child’s own name and names of others, like a teacher, helper or sibling, is printed right on the pages. You can personalize them to help in almost any situation. If you want to learn more about social stories, there are free ones available on the internet at: www.sandbox-learning.com
- Use praise for anything your child does well. As you move through your day, tell your child how happy you are that they listened, followed directions or were quiet while you were on the phone. We are quick to criticize when they don’t behave, so make it a habit to be equally quick to sing their praises. This shows your child they will get as much or even more attention for behaving than when they don’t.
- Frustrated with shoe laces? Tired of the time it takes to do them up? Try to purchase shoes that are velcro close only. If you can’t find them in larger sizes, since they can be difficult to find, use bungee shoe laces. They are available at Payless and other major shoe retailers, come in various colours and work very well!
- To reduce anxiety causing sounds such as noise generated while on the bus or in a crowd, let your child wear headphones and listen to music that they enjoy. They can focus on one sound source and they have control over the volume and the music selection. There are lots of different headphone styles available to suit your child.