Skylanders Partners with Autism Speaks with Limited Edition Superchargers Toys

Skylanders Partners with Autism Speaks with Limited Edition Superchargers Toys

Autism touches our home in a very unique way, our middle son John-Benjamin was diagnosed with Non-Verbal Autism right after he turned three.  Since his diagnosis we’ve worked hard and doing what we thought was best for our son and learning as much as we can about Autism.  I always love learning about companies who support the Autism community as much as they can, and that’s why I am happy to learn about the partnership with Skylanders and Autism Speaks for Autism Awareness Month, with the production of limited edition ‘Light It Up Blue’ Superchargers Toys called the Power Blue Crew.skylanders superchargersThanks to Skylanders for sending us the four toys limited edition Power Blue Crew toys to feature on our site.  Our package included two character figures and two Superchargers vehicles.

Skylanders Light It Up Blue Superchargers (2)
-the Skylanders Power Blue crew- for Autism Awareness Month

Available now, the Power Blue crew features blue-and-white-colored Skylanders SuperChargers characters including Splatter Splasher, Trigger Happy, Splat and Gold Rusher – all of which appear in-game as their special colors! These characters will retail at the suggested price of $12.99 (SuperChargers) and $14.99  (vehicles).

Skylanders Light It Up Blue Superchargers (8)

Skylanders is supporting Autism in several ways beyond the creation of Power Blue toys:

  • Supporting an employee-match donation program for Autism Speaks
  • Encouraging participation in the Autism Speaks Walk on April 2 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Ca in support of World Autism Awareness Day
  • Activision is also making donations to non-profits that are making a difference in the autism community

Skylanders Light It Up Blue Superchargers (5)

Skylanders Light It Up Blue Superchargers (4)

“Autism affects one in every 42 boys and one in 68 children in the U.S. We’re proud to work with Skylanders, an iconic franchise that’s known for bringing joy and magic to kids and families,” said Peter Morton, Vice President of Corporate Development at Autism Speaks. “This year’s Light it up Blue campaign for World Autism Awareness Day marks our first alliance with a videogame and toy, and we couldn’t be more excited.”

Skylanders Light It Up Blue Superchargers (6)

Skylanders Light It Up Blue Superchargers (7)

“Since the debut of the franchise, we’ve heard from parents that Skylanders plays a special role in the lives of their kids on the autism spectrum,” says Josh Taub, Senior Vice President of Skylanders Product Management, Activision. “The entire Skylanders team was deeply committed and proud to bring these special toys to life. If they can put a smile on a child’s face, then we know we’ve done our job right.”

For more information please visit or connect on social media on Instagram @SkylanderstheGame, Twitter @SkylandersGame and 

giveaway feature

Thanks to the generosity of Skylanders one lucky reader will win their own Power Blue Crew Limited Edition Skylander.  The giveaway is open to US residents 18 and older.  Ends March 30th, 2016.  Enter via the tool below.  Good Luck.

Skylanders Blue Power Crew Giveaway

Games for Autistic Children

Games for Autistic Children

Autism is a developmental disorder which affects around 1-2 people per 1000 in the world. The disorder affects various behaviours including verbal and non-verbal communication skills and the inability to interact socially. There is no known cure for autism, since it is not so much a disease as simply a different way for the brain to be wired. However, learning strategies can be employed to help those with the disorder cope with the challenges of interacting in a world where most of the inhabitants have very different ways of interacting and functioning together. For young autistic children, a great way to help develop these skills is by playing games designed specifically for children with autism. Here are some ideas for interactive games which parents with autistic children should consider to help them play and develop – whilst also strengthening your bond with them.

Photo Credit: Defying the Spectrum

For a start, many autistic children respond well to games relating to logic and reason, and you can help their development by incorporating these factors into games which also help with learning to interact socially with other. A great example is Word Vine, which is geared towards improving a child’s vocabulary and reading skills, allowing them to relate together words and categories which allow for basic understanding of words, as well as encouraging them to learn basic problem solving and deductive reasoning skills to help them feel more at ease within public environments.

Another good type of game is attention and listening games. Autism can impair a child’s ability to concentrate and interact with external stimuli. However, one great method for tackling this is through music. Check out games such as Music – Mozart, which offers both visual and auditory stimulation in a relaxing atmosphere.

Another enjoyable activity for autistic children is games which involve lots of abstract fiction. A great example is animation games, which are a good opportunity to allow your child to develop their creative skills. This will enable them to express themselves within a safe environment in which they can feel in control.

Finally, try out some matching games which are simple, easy to play and fun. Matching games are a great way to teaching your child to use logic to navigate and explain their environment, as well as their memory skills and their ability to identify and recognise different objects. A really good one is Animal Bingo, which enables children not just to identify different kinds of animals, but also to match them with what sounds they make. This allows them to develop their reasoning and understanding skills.

Whilst your child is playing and learning, you might be looking for some fun bingo games for you to play yourself, on various online bingo sites. If you fancy a distraction and maybe even winning some cash, you can always play a bingo game on bingolucks, a fun bingo site which allows you to win real money.

Games which allow your child to develop these skills will be of great help to them later in later life. Through encouragement and enthusiasm, they can pick up skills which will enable them to relate to the world around them and to others in social interactions with much more ease. This, in turn, will help improve their confidence and their overall development.

Sensory Friendly Evening at The Hershey Story Museum

Sensory Friendly Evening at The Hershey Story Museum

During my visit to Hershey PA for Sweet Welcome I learned about The Hershey Story Museum offering a sensory friendly option for families like mines.  Our son has different challenges when we travel and finding options that help make it more enjoyable for our family is a huge plus.  So it’s only natural that I share with you that the museum offers these options for guests.


The next scheduled sensory friendly night is this week but be sure to follow The Hershey Story on Facebook to keep up to date with their events calendar.

Friday, June 5
5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Guests with Autism Spectrum Disorder or other special sensory needs have the opportunity to enjoy a relaxed evening at the museum.  They may enjoy interactive exhibits about Milton Hershey and the industry and town he created, and a hands-on exhibit that recreates jobs in the original chocolate factory. A walk-up activity in the Chocolate Lab that includes making your own chocolate bar is included.  A special price of $8.50 per person includes all activities; one adult is admitted free with each family or group. Prepayment is not required, but please register for the evening: 717.520.5587

Previsit stories are available at:

About the Hershey Story Museum

The Hershey Story invites visitors to experience the stories of Hershey in an educational, fun-filled, imaginative, and immersive environment focused on audience, active learning, and engagement with and between objects and ideas.


The Hershey Story guides visitors on an inspirational journey through Milton Hershey’s lifetime and beyond, a tale spanning more than 150 years of trials and triumphs, philanthropic endeavors and one man’s unwavering confidence. From Hershey’s earliest entrepreneurial ventures to his visions of a town built around the attributes of the humble cacao bean, The Hershey Story is an uplifting celebration of the great American dream.

Warm and welcoming, this immersive museum environment accommodates visitors of all ages. Attractions include the Museum Experience, a series of engaging exhibits; the Chocolate Lab, a place where learning comes alive through hands-on experiments; theMuseum Shop, stocked with unique Hershey merchandise and memorabilia; Café Zooka, the perfect place for light fare and chocolately desserts; the Countries of Origin Chocolate Tasting; and much more.

Ready to begin your sweet journey? Visit The Hershey Story and celebrate the life of Milton Hershey, the man whose passion continues to inspire generation after generation.

AMC Theaters Offers Sensory Friendly Films

AMC Theaters Offers Sensory Friendly Films

My son’s autism comes with some challenges and one of them includes a sensory issue with sounds.  He doesn’t like very loud sounds it bothers him a lot.  One of the things I assumed we would have to skip with him was going to the movies.  Imagine how ecstatic I was to learn that AMC Movie Theaters were offering sensory friendly showings for families of children with special needs.

About the program:

The program provides a special opportunity for families to enjoy their favorite films in a safe and accepting environment. The auditoriums dedicated to the program have their lights up, the sound turned down and audience members are invited to get up and dance, walk, shout or sing!

The idea for the program began with a request from a parent with an autistic child for a special screening at AMC Columbia Mall 14 in Columbia, MD. More than 300 children and parents attended the first screening.

We are thrilled to now offer the program at many locations nationwide — please see below for a complete list of participating theatres. As a leading theatrical exhibition company, we are so proud to be making a difference in the estimated 1.5 million Americans living with an autism spectrum disorder by offering families a chance to see a movie together — often for the very first time.

Participating Locations in Baltimore:


For a full list of participating theaters visit the AMC website to see if there is one near you.  It’s already May so you missed some of the showings but you can see what’s up for the rest of the year below.  They have some great options.

Saturday, May 30, 2015 –TOMORROWLAND

Saturday, June 27, 2015 – INSIDE OUT

Saturday, July 18, 2015 – MINIONS

Saturday, Aug, 2015 – TBD

Saturday, Sep 26, 2015 – HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA

Saturday, Oct 17, 2015 – THE JUNGLE BOOK

Saturday, Nov 14, 2015 – THE PEANUTS MOVIE

Saturday, Dec 5, 2015 – THE GOOD DINOSAUR

All shows are at 10:00 am local time. Dates and films are subject to change.



AAPC Publishing Donating Books Supporting Autism

AAPC Publishing Donating Books Supporting Autism

Although I haven’t purchased books from AAPC publishing I wanted to share that for the month of April during Autism Awareness Month they are donating a book when you purchase a book.  With an estimated three million individuals in the United States living with autism today, AAPC Publishing is committed to offering practical resources to support families, individuals on the spectrum as well as educators and other professionals.  To help inform and spread awareness about ASD, during the month of April, for every book we sell, AAPC Publishing will be donating a book to autism lending libraries and national autism organizations.

book for book

“We are very excited to receive book donations from AAPC Publishing! Their books have always been at the forefront of autism resources. Because they have supported families on a local, national and international scale, I know their donations will be great supports for our organization” stated Jennifer Smith the Executive Director of Autism Society – The Heartland.

AAPC Publishing sincerely cares about offering affordable, easy-to-use resources for families and educators. The practical and research-based ideas and strategies found AAPC Publishing’s books help motivate students who exhibit challenging behavior, ultimately, aiding in their success.

In addition to donating books in celebration of Autism Awareness Month, AAPC Publishing will also offer free shipping on all orders placed on AAPC Publishing’s online bookstore ( throughout the month of April.

About AAPC:

Established in 1999, AAPC Publishing specializes in providing mainstream, hands-on knowledge to individuals, families, educators and other professionals regarding topics related to autism spectrum disorders. We are a proud provider of quality resources that offer evidence-based solutions at affordable prices.

Trident Case Launches Autism Awareness Initiative

Trident Case Launches Autism Awareness Initiative

It’s Autism Awareness Month and Trident Case just launched an initiative to help parents like me.  I’ve already lost one iPad due to my autistic son.  He’s not aware of his own strength or understands that iPads can’t take water.  I know some parents who’ve replaced at least two iPads.  Trident Case wants to help protect that all important investment.  We need to replace ours right now and if we had this case maybe ours would still be around.  Check out the Autism Speaks Edition of the Kraken A.M.S case.

autism speaks cover

April is Autism Awareness month and leading smartphone and tablet case manufacturer TRIDENT is marking the occasion by donating proceeds of sales to Autism Speaks, the world’s leading autism science and advocacy organization.

For the entire month of April, customers purchasing the Autism Speaks edition of the company’s popular Kraken A.M.S. iPad Case will receive 10% discount off the regular manufacturer’s suggested retail price and Trident will donate 20% of the case’s web sales to the organization. 
Trident Vice President of Marketing Vickie Achee says customers can promote autism awareness while knowing their purchase is contributing to autism-related research. Last year Trident donated 2,000  Kraken A.M.S. iPad cases to the recipients of the “Autism Speaks 2014 iPad Grant Program,” which awarded iPad 4s to 1,000 financially disadvantaged individuals with an autism-spectrum disorder.
To purchase your case visit the Trident website and enter promo code AUTISM10 the case is compatible with the iPad 2/3/4.
About Trident Case: 
Founded in 2010, Ontario, California-based 
Trident Case® ( designs, engineers and manufactures the world’s toughest, most heavy-duty cases for mobile devices of all makes, models, shapes and sizes. With seven series of protective cases that offer unparalleled protection from drops, scratches, water and dust in environments ranging from classrooms to construction sites, the company manufactures the ideal protection solution for every mobile device. The cases also offer bio-enhanced plastic which are degradable, compostable and recyclable. Trident Case has been committed to manufacturing in the USA since its inception, with plans to grow this program in the coming years.

Screeching, Jumping and Anticipating Four

Screeching, Jumping and Anticipating Four

It started with climbing on the dining room table.  At the time I just thought JB was being and adventurous toddler.  I have to admit at first I would get all worked up about it but soon I realized he wasn’t afraid.  He loved climbing and it seemed like he would have so much fun that I just adjusted to him doing it.  I kept a keen eye on him to make sure he wasn’t in trouble and if he needed me I would be there to help but he never needed assistance from me.  Then he would slide down the stairs at my parents house.

There’s ten stairs from the top floor to the bottom floor and he would climb up to the top and slide down all ten on his stomach.  The first time I heard it I could have sworn he had hurt himself.  My husband almost broke his ankle trying to jump up and catch him.  He thought it was hilarious and we were all scared out of our minds.  Over time I just got use to his adventures.  At two he wasn’t afraid of anything and as he was heading into three things slowly started to change.  JB got more and more adventurous, he would climb on the table and jump off, he always climbed up the slide, he would try to jump off monkey bars and he was terrified of the buzzer on Family Feud.

Flapping his arms in excitement and silence is what lead us to getting him tested right before his third birthday.  He always seemed to march to the beat of his own drum and that process taught us so much about him.  Within a few weeks our lives was forever changed when he was diagnosed as someone on the Autism Spectrum.  Suddenly his lack of words became an issue, I had hoped one day he would just up and start talking in complete sentences but as time progress I know that this may or may not be the case.

As a family we started to learn different ways to help JB learn in a way that he understood.  The first step is learning some sign language for us to communicate with him.  School is also helping but he’s only there for two and a half hours each day and with all the snow recently he’s been missing a lot of that as well.  However according to his second quarter progress he is making progress in some of his goals and others he’s completed them already.  All but one SPEECH.  He’s still non-verbal and as we approach four years of age panic and wonder is setting in.

Jumping in excitement seems to be his norm these days.  While it doesn’t bother me most days, sometimes it’s nerve wrecking.  More and more I wish and hope for use to get more space to allow him room to be free.  His energy levels has increased and of course naps are off schedule because of school.  He’s also starting to have some unusual fears as well.  He doesn’t like dogs at all, but he isn’t afraid of other animals or insects.  He doesn’t like the State Farm Buffalo commercial, he screams when it comes on.

It’s odd really that a commercial and a buzzer on a game show terrifies him.  For me his inability to speak gives me nightmares.  I’m scared for so many different reasons and some days it’s just overwhelming.  There are days I just can’t breathe when I start to think about what I want for his life.  Like when he started school last fall.  There was a point where he had four different bus drivers and four different bus aides.  All strangers I suddenly had to trust with my son’s life five days a week.  I had anxiety for weeks putting him on the bus.

Even to this day I get a bit nervous when I walk away so he could start his day.  He seems to have different reactions to school each day.  Sometimes he’s great the entire time and other times he’s cranky and fussy in school.  It’s a balancing act that I am learning how to skirt.  Some mornings I can tell how the day will go and others he throws me for a loop.  A few weeks ago screeching started.  The first time it happened JB was sitting on pillows behind my back.  It came out of no where and it was loud.  My heart stopped because I didn’t know if he was hurt or anything but shortly after the screech was a laugh.  He was happy, excited, and full of joy so he screech.  It’s so loud that at times I feel like my ear drums are going to burst.

JB eating
JB eating at Miller’s Smorgasbord.

How does a three almost four year old hit notes that high is beyond me.  It’s so scary at times because I never know if he’s hurt or if it’s just excitement until I hear the laugh afterwards.  There are days that he’s screeching constantly.  Those days are hard sometimes because I try to keep him mellow.  Living in an apartment has so many challenges already and adding Autism to the mix brings another set of problem.  We’re on the top floor so the jumping disrupts neighbors.  The screeching is loud so I know the whole build hears him.  Sometimes it happens when we are out shopping or dining which draws in all kinds of funny looks and whispering.

With four right around the corner, I have no idea what’s going to happen.  I don’t know how JB is going to progress and if the screeching will end soon.  I don’t know if he’ll develop more fears or drop the current ones.  WE didn’t get a guide with JB’s diagnosis and we’re just learning as we go.  Some days it’s stressful and others it’s just our life.  So here’s to conquering screeching, jumping and his fourth year.

If you have a child that’s on the Autism Spectrum what are some of the things you experience with your child?


J.B’s Child Find Screening Results

J.B’s Child Find Screening Results

The letter came almost seven weeks ago.  It was about mid July and I can and will always remember opening that letter.  I knew it would change our lives but nothing prepares you to start that process and be ready for that change.  You know when you apply for college and the myth was if you got a thick envelope that was a good sign.  A thin envelope meant you didn’t get in.  At least that how it was when I was applying for college, now you get the information via emails if you choose.  Any way the envelope came in the mail about two weeks before our late July appointment at Child Find.  We were supposed to go over the results of the screening and then they would determine what services they could offer J.B.  This was a very thick envelope, I figured it was just a lot of the same stuff and repeats of what we talked about when we were at the first two sessions.  It wasn’t, it was the findings of the Child Find Team.  They wanted to give me the opportunity to have the results before our appointment, so I could formulate all my questions ahead of time.

I thumbed through page after page of information not understanding most of the results, there wasn’t any definitive scores and mostly it seemed like notes of what we discussed with the team on our visits.  J.B. still had no words, no signs of him recovering the ones he used to have and it seemed like my answer wasn’t in these reports either.  Anxiety washed over me so fast, I could barely breathe, the report of the was based on the Autism Spectrum Rating Scale, Social Responsiveness Scale and her observations when we were at the Child Find center.  I kept reading the scores trying to figure out if a high number meant he was fine or was it a low number.  I went over them several times before finally turning the page.  I could have save myself thee hassle of trying to guess what any of it meant because it was all right there in black and white.

According to the parent ratings, we can see that JB is demonstrating significant deficits in his ability to interpret social cues and engage in reciprocal social communication with others.  He is not motivated to engage in social interactions and presents with significant levels of  stereotyped behaviors and restricted areas of interest at this time.  Moderate delays are noted in social awareness and the ability to pick up on social cues as well.  Overall, ratings yield a Total T-Score of 86 which falls in the severe range and is strongly associate with a diagnosis of an Autism Spectrum Disorder

J.B. A Self Portrait.
J.B. A Self Portrait.

I wasn’t sure what to think or what to do.  I felt guilt was over me like I had done something horribly wrong.  I didn’t get on bed rest while I was pregnant with him.  His birth story ran through my mind.  He was born blue as a blue berry and not breathing.  He’s been though so much and he’s fighting and growing and defying odds and now his life book includes Autism.  There’ll be endless chapters and stories of his ups and downs and all he does and it dawns on me that this is about John-Benjamin.  Nothing I feel is going to change his diagnosis and harping on what I did or didn’t do isn’t helping him either.  I don’t know if I did anything wrong but I do know I plan to fight for him as long as I live.  I owe it to him to learn all that I can to help him achieve all his goals.  All I can do is love him, praise him and encourage him.  I am his advocate.

Our letter also included sites and books to read on Autism and the psychologist also recommended we get added to the Autism Registry (I’ll be writing a brief post about that next). Our next meeting with the Child Find team resulted in J.B. being offered speech therapy services and he just started Pre-School.  That’s a whole process that I’ll be sharing about often.  I hope you follow along with us and if you know someone, or someone you love has Autism, leave me a comment, letting me know some of the things you may have encountered.

Tears, J.B and Child Find Screening

Tears, J.B and Child Find Screening

I’ve been working on the words in my head for weeks. I have it so right in there but when it comes to getting it out in words it just doesn’t seem to come out right. Although I write about my family often, through reviews and photos I sometimes get very personal, like when I shared my post – Yes Mammy I Am Your Daughter. That’s when I shared about my mother’s stroke. Also Yes Mammy You Are Mrs. Charles was about how we were dealing with her side effects from the stroke. I’ve shared J.B’s birth story, and part one of Mase’s birth story. I even shared about being controlled by medication when I was trying to control my High Blood Pressure after giving birth. One of the hardest post for me was – Waiting and Hoping for Words. At the time J.B. was about two and a half. He has lost the words he had at eighteen months and at a check up at twenty-two months, the pediatrician said he was slightly delayed in speech and that I should contact Child Find.

I talked to my husband and family and they all said to just wait. He was still young, and that words would come. When I shared the post I read comment after comment of kids who didn’t talk till there were four and now they were grown and perfectly fine. Part of me felt some kind of relief in hoping that my son would be like those people. I imagined that one day he would just open his mouth and the words would just pour out. I repeated the phrase “When he’s ready, he’ll talk” constantly, as if to convince my own self that it would in deed happen that way. His second year went by and with each passing month of silence and no return of his old words I grew less hopefully that one day it would just happen.


When I got pregnant with out fourth child, I noticed that J.B got very attached to me. He was usually very independent and he would play alone a lot but now he was under me all the time. He didn’t want to leave my side. Then I started to notice little things that made me think more and more that it was time to call Child Find. It all started with another visit to a new pediatrician. He was behind on his annual check up and shots. I discussed it with the doctor then and they recommended that we start with a hearing test, followed with a call to Child Find and she also gave us two other organizations to contact for evaluation. Now the journey was beginning. In the end we hoped to find out something that would shed some insight into the missing words and more.

Getting an almost three-year old to do a hearing test is very difficult. Especially one that’s as adventurous as ours. J.B hates going to the doctor’s office. He sees that white coat and immediately think he’s getting shots. It takes forever to calm him down enough to get him to realize that no shots are coming. Then once he’s comfortable it’s another battle getting him to sit still. He touches everything and he likes to climb on everything. The hearing test started off horribly. He wouldn’t sit still, he wouldn’t let the woman touch him at all. He couldn’t get him to use the earphones. Finally we got my husband to sit with him during the test and she used speakers in the room. That worked for part of the session but once he noticed an elephant with cymbals it was pretty much a done deal. I tried next but nothing seemed to work. Finally the lady gave up, she said that he had enough to at least give an opinion. Three days later the letter came stating that while he didn’t pick up some higher pitch sounds she felt he could hear well and that he could develop speech and language. So now that we know that his hearing is probably not the problem it was time to visit Child Find.

This process had three phases. The first was the initial visit and collection of information, next was evaluation and then diagnosis and if needed approval of services. The first visit was about an hour-long. We sat with an Educational Counselor, Behavioral and Speech Specialist and a Physiologist. At Child Find they wanted to conduct another hearing test and a vision test. We couldn’t get J.B to cooperate for the hearing or vision test so we ended up skipping them both. The evaluation started and it was slow going, J.B wouldn’t focus, or he would get hung up on one thing, he got frustrated, he wouldn’t sit still, he was mad, he swelled, he laughed, he wouldn’t follow directions. I felt so helpless. Slowly it was starting to become clear that our issue wasn’t just about speech. Something bigger was at play and then out of no where his genius kicked in.

The first couple of puzzles was a bit difficult for him then the Education Evaluator started working on a test with colors. The puzzle was all circles, J.B had to match the correct colors. After seeing his struggle with the other puzzles I just knew he wouldn’t get it. Then he got the first one right, then the second, the third, fourth, fifth and then my eyes swelled with tears. I kept blinking to keep them from falling. I prevented myself from making eye contact with anyone even my husband because I didn’t want them to see the tears in my eyes. My heart filled with joy as I watched him complete the entire puzzle on the first try with no prompting. I didn’t even realize he recognized any of his colors but he knew them. He matched them all and that’s when I realized that even though I’ve said that he was a smart child, part of me didn’t even believe it because he couldn’t talk, but I underestimate him, I put him in a bubble and I was part of his problem, in that I didn’t believe in his ability to do what seemed impossible for him. The rest of the evaluation was the same, he would stumble on some stuff and breeze through others. He used non-verbal cues and found ways to entertain himself.

While finishing up the testing I noticed when we were talking to the evaluators he was solving the first puzzles he had struggled on. Tickled by a barking dog sound he sat and played for about five minutes but when the novelty wore off he was ready to go and after that it was difficult to get anything done. We left with a good sense of how the last session would go, I’ll be sharing about the results next. Be sure to stop by again to read about it. Now my question, have you even had to have one of your children evaluated?

If you’re a parent in Maryland and you notice your child has any of the signs that I mentioned and you want to reach out to Child Find you can visit or call them at 1-800-535-0182