21andsensory Podcasts!

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So I went and bit the bullet as you can probably tell by the title…and my brand new podcast is live! My podcasts are on a site/app called Anchor – it’s a free podcast and audio platform. Feel free to sign up and create an account and you can download the mobile app and listen on the go (you can also listen without signing up!).

The Anchor app will allow me to record on the go (without a computer) so I can create podcasts anytime anywhere and add new content regularly! I’m hoping to use it as almost a form of an audio diary and share my sensory experiences as and when they happen! Tips and advice will definitely feature so watch this space…

You can search for my username on Anchor which is simply: 21andsensory.

Or listen here: Anchor FM: 21andsensory

A Sensory Book Review: ‘Baking for Dave’

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I have managed to finish the book ‘Baking for Dave’ (see my previous blog post – I’m known for my slow reading and slow processing speed so apologises for the wait!) so here is my book review…

Okay so firstly let me give you a little background in terms of the characters and storyline. The book is centred around a young girl called Iris Heller. Iris is 15 years old and has Sensory Processing Disorder. She finds it hard to cope with the outside world and becomes easily overwhelmed by lots of things such as loud noises, new places, meeting people, ordering at restaurants and changes in the weather.

Iris has coping mechanisms she uses in these situations such as humming, beatboxing, and making musical contraptions out of items around her. Iris lives with her mum Maisy but the book focuses on her quest to compete in a national bake-off contest. It’s the getting there that proves challenging though…

I don’t want to spoil the book incase you’d like to read it but below is a brief story description of the book taken from Amazon:

Iris Heller runs away to compete in a national bake-off contest. In order to get there, she “borrows” her mum’s car, travels through several states, and does the most terrifying thing of all — interacts with actual people! Iris has never been like other girls, but she’s not about to start letting that get in the way.

Iris has this profound fascination for the musician Dave Matthews, and she feels a compelling need to compete in the bake-off for Dave. It is this talent that gets noticed at several road stops along the way, which leads to her inevitable “gone viral” glory. At a donut shop, Iris sings like an angel. At a coffee shop, she plays a symphony using cups and the soda fountain. At a restaurant, she builds a glorious musical fountain out of dishes and pans. 

Iris’ mum (Maisy) and her best friend Eric set out to find Iris. All lives converge at Happy World, the Disney-esque paradise, where the bake-off takes place…

This book is absolutely ideal for anybody to read whether you have or know somebody with Sensory Processing Disorder or not! Also brilliant if you know someone who is a little bit sensory or autistic so I highly recommend to parents, carers, guardians, teachers, therapists and everyone in between.

I will be honest and say that I found it hard to read sometimes because of the sensory things mentioned so I stuck to reading it in small chunks and often. Iris tackles the most terrifying thing of all – interacting with new people along her journey. What I love about Iris is that although she is not like other girls, she doesn’t once let her sensory problems get in the way of her ambitions. Her family, friends and even new people she meets along her journey do their very best to try and accommodate her quirks and understand her more deeply which really was refreshing to read.

I was worried about how the book would end (what can I say, I hate a sad or happy ending I get emotional either way!) but this book surprised me by ending (no spoilers promise) in just the right way and it tied everything together nicely.

So what did I think overall? I saw so much of myself in Iris’s character. The way she struggles with new environments and forgets to breathe is a bit like me too! I learnt a lot from the main character actually, she comes across as the most genuine kind-hearted girl who brings the best out of the world and situations around her without knowing it. Despite the fact her life has been one of isolation and misunderstanding, she really does find out just how much she is loved in the end – definitely worth a read!

Buy a copy of the book in the UK here and in the US here

Note: I was given this review copy of the book free (which was super kind) but everything I have written really is my honest opinion ☺️

 

Sensory Book Review: Sneak Peek

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So the super lovely people at Sensory World (an American publisher who specialises in books on autism and sensory issues) have published a new title called Baking for Dave – a story of sensory processing, challenging yourself, and cupcakes!

In the UK, Eurospan is the distributor for Sensory World books, and they very kindly sent me a copy of the book to review! I am currently half way through the book (I’m a slow reader – sorry!) but I will be doing a review on my blog once I finish it – so keep your eyes peeled! 👀

Here’s a little bit about Melissa Palmer, the author of the book:

Melissa Palmer is a writer, nerd, baker, part-time kitchen dancer, and full-time mom. She pulls from her experiences with her own daughters — the two superheroes who shape and guide her life — to create the world and characters seen in Baking for Dave. 

Buy a copy of the book in the UK here and in the US here

Distractions & Fidget Toys

For Christmas I was given an Amazon voucher as a present. I then totally forgot about this and then remembered in mid January I had this voucher and thought about some different ways I could spend it…

I find it hard to not fidget or get distracted by things. I find it hard not to get distracted from even the most simplest things like other people’s conversations, loud noises or music.

On top of these I find different environments and new places can send me into overdrive – so something as simple as a toy to fidget with in my pocket can be super helpful.

I remembered once having an awesome toy called a Tangle. Essentially it’s a plastic loop which can be fiddled with and worked in different ways to make different shapes. I like to wrap and unwrap mine around my fingers in my pocket. They can be used by one or both hands easily so ideal for using discreetly in a pocket or under a table.

The Tangle comes in pretty much every colour imaginable and are just brilliant to fidget with! I bought mine from Amazon (UK) for £ 5.95 and they come in different sizes too.

So that was some of my voucher spent! I then had another think about something else I could use to distract myself or just use in a creative way to relax. Recently on social media I had seen lots of videos going round featuring amazing creations made from little magnetic balls. See this video below if you aren’t sure what I am talking about:

https://www.youtube.com/a shared?ci=MQ-4CbEgyNU

The idea is that these magnetic balls provide a creative outlet which is stress relieving and actually quite relaxing! You can be super creative with them or just create patterns and shapes with them – ideal for using on a tabletop or at the end of the day to calm down a busy brain.

Let me know of any other fidget toys you know of or that have helped you!

200 Blog Posts!

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My last post discussing being sensational was my 200th post on my blog! I also now have over 260 subscribed followers of my blog so I thought I would take the opportunity to thank everyone for following – it means a lot that people actually read what I say and I absolutely love reading the emails and comments I get.

Don’t forget to check me out on Twitter and Instagram: @21andsensory

New Year, Same Me.

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Happy New Year! Hope everyone had a relatively calm and enjoyable time off. Also hope you all received nice presents (Anyone get any good sensory / therapy toys?)

So I noticed last week that there’s been a lot of New Year resolution’s and ‘fresh beginning’ stuff on the internet. People have been reflecting on 2016 and there’s lots of talk about ‘making everyday count’. That’s all fine and well but all this talk of change has got me thinking:

It’s 2017. But I’m still the same old me.

A new year won’t change who I am or magically improve my sensory problems. I don’t mean for this to sound negative and actually, in fact, I think it’s a positive. I remember always joking with my mum about how many doctors and therapists would ask me ‘If you could wave a magic wand at your problems…’ I won’t bother even finishing that sentence because the reality is that’s never going to happen and would only frustrate me further.

So I decided putting all these thoughts together that my own little unique New Year’s resolution is to challenge myself to embrace who I am more. I shouldn’t have to worry about being judged when I need to explain to people who just don’t understand the way I am and don’t ‘get’ me, and neither should you! So why not challenge yourself? It’s only day 9 of January and it’s not too late to have a go 🙂

To round this New Year’s post off I felt like writing a little insight (which happens to just link nicely with the main image above!):

I am always forgetting and then realising again that I will always be a little bit ‘sensational’.

And do you know what?

It’s more than okay to be sensational. 

(Drawing by  check out her work if you haven't heard of her!)

 

The Electric Toothbrush 🏁

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I bought an electric toothbrush (*shock horror*) and I am slowly getting used to using it. I have always found brushing my teeth particularly hard because it always seems to be overwhelming sensory-wise. I have to brush quickly and I apply a lot of pressure as I can’t stand light touch. My teeth definitely look better as a result of having an electric toothbrush as it really can brush places that I can’t reach so well (just wish it wasn’t so loud!)

If I really think about it I have always been rubbish when it comes to brushing of any sort. Brushing my hair, brushing my body with my sensory brush, I’ve always found it difficult to manage and deal with the odd sensation of brushing. However I have tried lots of different brushes, which others might find helpful in order to help desensitise your body (try googling the list below!):

  • Baby Gum Brushes (these pop over your finger)
  • Baby teething toys (ones filled with liquid)
  • Tangle Teaser Hair Brush (much easier to manage)
  • Wilbarger Body Brush (therapy brush)

Have you found any good brushing coping mechanisms or tools that work for desensitising yourself? Let me know in the comments below!