Helping my son with autism get organised with Chalkwild

21 February 2018

Dear Friend,

School mornings as a busy mum can be fraught. I have to plan my mornings in military style and attempt to set everything out the night before so we are ready to roll. This is especially true when I have to work. I like to think I am well organised but sometimes I get caught out!

Like the morning when my son announced, Oh yes I have a Sports Day today and need a packed lunch and the time it was dress up day at school and I knew nothing about it. Just last week I missed helping out on a school trip. Why did I miss these events? He had forgotten to give me the letters. I found the trip letter lying in a crumpled mess in the bottom of his bag!

My son has ASD and has problems with executive functioning, he has difficulties organising, planning and remembering the steps to complete a task. He also tends to compartmentalise his day so when he gets home he doesn't want to talk or think about school, that is over now. We are always keen to find ways to help him organise himself so when Charlie at Chalkwild got in touch and asked if we would like to take a look at the back pack he created with his son I jumped at the chance.

ChalkWild erasable backpack aims to give kids, especially kids on the Autism Spectrum Disorder, ADHD, & Sensory Processing Disorder the freedom to create art on the go for therapy, for customizing it into a one-of-a-kind backpack, & for thinking & communicating visually; to donate a portion of proceed to charity.

What a great idea! A backpack and a portable art gallery rolled into one. Children can customize & personalize the back back in any way they want using their own art. It can also serve as calming tool for when stress or anxiety makes children feel overwhelmed when they are out and about.

Here is the Chalkwild story...

My favourite feature is that the bag can be used to write notes. I will definitely be writing reminders on this so my son doesn't forget what he needs. But you could also use it as a method of communication between home and school for nonsensitive information e.g. slept badly last night or going to be picked up by dad today. 

The bag we received was a large doodle laptop backpack. The size is great (45 x 33 x 20cm) it easily fits in all the things my son needs for school; Homework folder, gym bag and lunch box. The material is tough and good quality, essential for my active boys. I like the bottle holders on the side too. Maybe they will help him to remember to bring his water bottle home?

Another great feature is the plastic cover on the front, which has a zip pocket. This is the perfect place to keep any school notes. The answer to my problems is here! Now there will be no more crumpled notes in the bottom of his bag because I will see them.

My Big Lad is saving the Chalkwild backpack for when he starts high school in September. I am sure it will be a great tool for helping him to learn to plan and organise more things for himself and become more independent. 

But for now little man has appropriated the bag. It appealed to his creativity and he couldn't wait to get drawing! 

He had a great evening filling his bag full of Pokemon. The pens were easy to use and worked really well. He was very happy with the effect they made. The chalk paint dries quickly so you can layer colours. Little man did miss a black and brown but you can easily buy more chalk pens. He couldn't wait to head out to school the next day and show his friends. 

Little man's masterpiece has been on the bag a week and is standing up well to the wear. I imagine it won't be a match for the Dutch rain but then he can have more fun creating a new design. He loves the bag, I think big lad may have a problem getting it back! 

This Chalkwild bag is not only practical but creative and unique. I love it too! But most of all I love the idea that it was thought of by Hein, a young inventor and that he is using some of the proceeds of sales to go on and help others. What an inspiring story and a brilliant young man!

The bag was gifted to us for the purpose of this review but all thoughts are our own. 

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Photography @My_Dutch_Angle

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