My desire to help my child be successful in school led to a new product designed for children/adults with autism, ADHD, and other learning disabilities. From the time my daughter Kinslee was around two years old we knew she wasn’t like other kids. She had horrible breakdowns when her hair was washed, when water would touch her face, or her hair was brushed. She would soothe herself with oral stimuli whether it was her shirt sleeve, a toy, or her fingers, and when she would get into trouble, she would often shove her fingers in her mouth to the point of gagging herself. She even was so addicted to her cup that there were times she would start shaking as she would watch you walk up with it.
Finally, at the age of five, we convinced her doctor to allow us to go get a full psychological evaluation. When all of the testing was complete, the psychologist stated that she was ADHD and had multiple characteristics of autism. When I asked him about what to do he said to find her something to fidget with because she moved constantly. After researching several fidgets online there really wasn’t anything that I felt would give her the necessary stimuli that she needed. Since she wanted to touch everything and everyone around her, I designed the Little Red’s Fidget Pillow.
This is a weighted fidget that sits in the lap. Once in the lap you place your hands on the inside of the center section. There you will find a variety of textures to explore including two patches of textured fabric. This allows the kids to keep their hands in their lap and fidget. On the top of the fidget pillow there is a marble maze. They can choose from nine different designs and four weight groups so that your child can receive the best fit for them. They also may include a lap belt for people that have poor motor control and a chewy tube for people with oral sensory needs. I made it in available in a variety of colors so that every child/adult can design it to fit their personality. You can definitely tell when Kinslee is using her pillow in class and when she hasn’t. Without it she is unfocused and tends to get into trouble a lot. It has made a huge difference with her brother as well. I currently have them in six therapy offices including a MHMR counseling center and the kids and adults both love them. The adults say it has a calming effect and allows them to open up. I have had huge success with this product in both therapy and school settings. They are currently in nine schools, a teacher store in San Angelo, and multiple individuals have been able to experience the benefits of this product.
Robin Tenboer grew up in Hamilton, TX and was the next to youngest out of 13 children. She married her high school sweetheart and they have been married 13 years. They have three children: Marshall 7, Kinslee 6, and Caleb 3. They live in San Angelo TX where she has opened a home business called Little Red’s Learning Tools that makes fidgets for children and adults with learning disabilities.
This article was featured in Issue 44 – Strategies for Daily Life with Autism