Tagged With autism

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Tech entrepreneur Mike Tozer is a man on a mission, quite literally.

The 38-year-old just ran 45km around Sydney – in a full suit, no less – to help secure $1 million in funding for his anxiety-reducing app, which helps people with autism find employment.

His company, Xceptional, is a finalist in the Google Impact Challenge, the culmination of a global journey that’s taken him from the UK, to Hong Kong, to studying at Harvard and, finally, founding his tech services firm in Australia.

With those international moves came inspiration to create a business very close to Mike’s heart.

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Once a week from 10:30 to 11:30am, the harsh fluorescent lights in 173 Coles stores across the country will dim, the blaring cheeriness of Coles Radio will be switched off, and more staff will be on hand to help at registers. This is Quiet Hour, a concept developed in conjunction with Autism Spectrum Australia to better accommodate customers with sensory issues, and it's now being expanded to more than twice as many stores as were initially included.

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Little kids are notoriously difficult to dress. Any parent who’s experienced a closet standoff with a naked child six minutes before they’re supposed to be at the bus stop can confirm. It could be that the kid is extremely picky or acting out of defiance, but what if it’s more than that? What if the issue is seriously impacting your family?

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While not everyone was thrilled about the fidget spinner explosion of 2017, one thing it did bring is more awareness about tactile aides for kids with ADHD, autism and other disorders, or those who may simply be feeling overstimulated and anxious. There are all kinds of items that occupational therapists keep in their tool bags to help children calm down and stay focused.

Here are five products that parents say have made a big difference in their kids' lives.

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It's hard to say exactly why children with autism are some of the greatest devotees of Minecraft, the computer game in which you build endless worlds out of LEGO-like blocks. Stuart Duncan, a father of two, believes it's because it's a perfect union of two opposites. On one hand, Minecraft offers structure - everything from the water to the doors to the falling lava behaves with a certain predictability that they need. On the other hand, it gives the player infinite freedom. There's no story, no levels, no bosses presenting participants with quests to complete. Behind the shield of their computer screen, players can do whatever they want to do in a sensory-friendly space - recreate the Taj Mahal, light up a house with torches, or hide in a cave.