We are a family owned and operated business and a proud 'special needs' family. We are also the proud parents of 2 sets of twins!
In 2012 one of our sons was diagnosed as non verbal autistic and then in 2015 another one of our children was also diagnosed as being on the spectrum. Our children have taught us more about life than any other person. We have embraced being a special needs family and work hard every day to ensure all of our children are equipt for the day ahead.
Early in 2017 our occupational therapist, along with our school suggested we buy some fidget toys for one of our children to assist with his growing frustrations at school. We use the zones of regulation and to assist our child they suggested he utilise a Fidget toy when he needed to go back to the green zone before reaching the red zone. She had some toys in the room & when we enquired where to buy them she said 'online.'
So we went searching online along with our child to see what he might like, but he wanted to be able to touch and see the toys. Unfortunately you can't do that online and so we went shopping in Bendigo to various shops that we thought 'might' have some suitable toys. This was even before the fidget Spinner craze, so we purchased some toys that he felt might help. I also purchased a variety of fidget toys online to see if any would help him and these are the items he uses still. He mainly uses a puzzle fidget Cube, a marble cloth Squeeze and slide and he loves the fidget Spinners that are different as well as a few Squeeze toys.
During 2017 our non verbal autistic son started to recognise and be able to verbalise his feelings which was an exciting step forward, this has allowed us to start the zones of regulation with him, just in a different way and we wanted more fidget toys to trial with him. But just as all children are different, so to are children on the spectrum & with special needs, so looking online once again, we found ourselves at a loss as to what we thought would work for him. We purchased a large variety for him to try and find the right fit. The frustration of having to purchase so many items is how the idea of Fidget Kids was born.
We decided we wanted to support the families of Bendigo to have a place they could come to and be able to see and touch the items, just as our son wanted to do. Somewhere that you can purchase the items that will work for you and your children then and there. And we wanted to do so in a place where you could feel comfortable and safe. We have also been on the receiving end of the judgemental part of society. In our shop we have a play room so your child can play while you shop or you can use the room if your child becomes overwhelmed, it is our safe space play room.
We have a fantastic range of fidget toys, sensory toys, chewy/oral toys and other toys some of which can just be a treat for your child and some that will support teaching your children to share and can assist with speech. We have a great range already and will be expanding the range as the store grows.
We are not experts in Autism, but we are experts in our children and we have experienced a range of issues and have tried many different things - some items purchased and some items we have made ourselves to assist our children. Whilst we are aware that you are the expert for your child, we are happy to share our knowledge of the various things we have tried over the years from the perspective of a parent. For example, when our older son was about 8 he inhaled a toy. He would still at 8 put things in his mouth without even realising he was doing it, he had a little plastic toy in his mouth when he got a shock, he inhaled sharply and so inhaled the toy. It didn't completely block his airway, he was still able to breathe but it was definitely a trip to the hospital! We ended up being taken by ambulance to the royal children's hospital in Melbourne, they needed to put him to sleep to retrieve the toy which was lodged in his right side lung. He became obsessed with making sure no one else would put things in their mouth but still couldn't control his own urge to do it as he truly had no control over it. He would be watching TV and his hands would wander, he would grab whatever was nearby and into his mouth it would go, if nothing was nearby he would chew on his clothes. A speech therapist suggested a chewy toy so we purchased him an oval shaped one and a dog tag one and he would alternate between them, he wore them around his neck as a necklace so that he could substitute that for things that shouldn't go in his mouth! Sometimes he forgot, but as soon as we saw his hands wandering we would say 'chewy toy' and he would use that.
Whilst we personally wanted to be able to go into a store such as our Fidget Kids we understand that not everyone is able to do that. If you are unable to visit us in store, please browse our range and purchase online.
My name is Leanne and we look forward to meeting as many families of special needs children in Bendigo as we can.