Today I encourage you to think about tic tac candies. Yes, I mean the teensy little mints that come in the clear plastic dispenser. As a parent of a child on the Autism spectrum, I must admit that the tiny tic tac has proven to be a powerful ally. This understated little candy has been a lifesaver (pardon the confusing pun) on countless occasions in my world. Passing H the entire wee package has been a strategy and an accessible resource too amazing for me to keep to myself. Let me wax poetic and extol the virtues of the humble, understated, but not to underestimated, tic tac.
1) tic tacs are light, and inexpensive to carry around in a backpack or purse
2) I believe they are actually too small to be a choking hazard for a child (although I am certainly not qualified to say this as a certainly)
3) tic tacs are musical and can be shaken in rhythm to accompany a song
4) tic tacs are a sensory item and can be wiggled or shaken in a pocket or a hand and provide a lovely calming activity
5) tic tacs provide a fine motor activity – in the opening and closing of the tiny flip top lid
6) You can give your child a whole package of tic tacs – it wont cost you a fortune and even if they eat the whole bunch- they probably contain fewer calories than a single hard candy
7) tic tacs never go stale
8 ) The left over containers can be used to store beads, bb pellets, Lego accessories, or other tiny treasures
10) You can bite them or eat them slowly
11) One package of tic tacs can last all day
12) One tic tac can be given to a child before they enter the barber shop or healthfood store (or another place with an overwhelming smell) and they are less impacted by sensory overload
13) Face it!! Sometimes bribery works!! (But we usually like to call it positive reinforcement or a token economy)
14) It is impossible for tic tacs to spoil your dinner
15) And most importantly… tic tacs are SOCIAL and meant to be shared and this encourages a short patterned dialogue and the opportunity to practice thinking of others!!!
30 Days of Autism is a project designed to fight stigma, promote civil rights, and increase understanding and acceptance for those who process and experience the world differently.
© Leah Kelley, Thirty Days of Autism, (2011)