Children with special needs often need sensory input objects to help calm them down or alleviate anxiety or even boredom. I’m quite familiar with this since Ryan is autistic: he began showing signs of autism in the fall of 2007, was evaluated and began receiving services in January of 2008, and got his “official” diagnosis in June of 2008 — and services have continued ever since, and of course have changed and evolved as he has grown. Anxiety and harmful and inappropriate self-stimulation (head banging, PICA, teeth clenching & grinding, arm flapping) go hand in hand with a lot of autistic children, and Ryan is no exception. Over the years, we’ve used a variety of sensory input items — special chewing toys, deep-pressure-providing-vests, and many handheld objects that he can easily focus on and manipulate — and thus keep both his hands and his brain focused and stimulated, without being overwhelmed.
Now that Ryan is school-aged, and dealing with the challenges that come along with a full-day, first grade curriculum, both Dan and myself have been on the lookout for sensory items that Ryan can take to school with him. Both his teacher and his previous TSS are completely on board, because an anxious/overwhelmed/bored Ryan is a Ryan that is prone to minor instances of acting out that could lead into meltdowns.
So when Crazy Aaron’s Putty World approached me and asked if I would be interested in reviewing Crazy Aaron’s Thinking Putty, I didn’t hesitate at saying yes! Check out some of the features of Crazy Aaron’s Crazy Putty:
- Exercising. Improve and maintain your hands’ fine motor and tactile abilities.
- Reduce arthritic pain. Stimulating the hands can improve blood circulation, which can alleviate pain.
- Stress relief. Instead of wringing your husband’s/sister’s/boss’s neck, squeeze the heck out of Thinking Putty instead.
- As a reward for children who demonstrate good behavior or other achievements.
- And my personal favorite: to replace a stimming (self-stimulation) behavior or assist with general anxiety in children with autism, ADHD, or other neurological or psychological disorders.
Crazy Aaron’s Thinking Putty is non-toxic, so if you have a PICA child like I do, or a child who is just occasionally curious about the taste of things, you don’t have to worry about them getting sick from ingestion. It’s also non-gooey, which as a parent (and as a slightly OCD cleanliness freak) is probably one of my favorite features about it. It’s not “dry”, exactly, but it’s definitely stiff, and, well, non-gooey, just as advertised! I can tell you from experience that it will not stick to carpet or upholstery – it peels right off.
We received a tin of Crazy Aaron’s Thinking Putty from the Hyper Colors line, which is a specialty line of Thinking Putty that is heat sensitive, and changes color upon touch. In our case, we received Mistletoe Madness, which is a nice, light, tranquil shade of red at first glance. But pick it up and handle it, and it lightens to a very pale greenish-gray.
As I thought, both Alyssa and Ryan liked Thinking Putty, but Ryan really liked it. He played with it at home for about two weeks before we sent it to school, and it wasn’t uncommon for me to find it in random places — next to Ryan on the sofa, at his computer desk, with some of his other toys, in bed with him, and one night, riding around on top of his pet tortoise.
Crazy Aaron’s Thinking Putty is definitely a fun and worthwhile product to have around, just for play, or for anxiety relief, or to replace a self-stimulation behavior, or for a combination of those. And with so many types of Thinking Putty available (everything from neons to metallics to glow-in-the-dark to magnetics to heat-sensitive to traditional solid colors), you’ll be able to find a color/feature for anyone on your list.
You can purchase Crazy Aaron’s Thinking Putty for $9.00-$14.95 at PuttyWorld.com.
Disclosure: Crazy Aaron provided me with free products in exchange for my honest opinion.