My new favourtie toy – The Tangle

This is my new fascination, The Tangle:

Tangle Toy

Tangle Toy (Photo credit: Trinity)

They come in a pleasing array of colours and textures, and according to their website, are designed for a variety of uses from desktop puzzle to stress tool.  I first came across one on a personal development training course where we discussed what type of learner we were.  I am a kinaesthetic learner, which means I learn better when I am doing something and moving, rather than sitting still.  I found the tangle to be a really good fidget device, much more satisfying than the pen which I normally use.

What I liked about it was its pre-defined yet unpredictable way of moving in my hands, that I could scrunch it, twirl it, stretch it out and wind it up, over and over again.  It is very calming and soothing, and I read somewhere that it was designed with Autism Spectrum kids in mind.

It is my desire to own one just like I discovered in the class.  However the one I got myself from Amazon is not the same and has not been the same good friend to me.  Its joints are squeaky, which means I am not able to use it in classes, because it will disturb the other students.  They are also loose and prone to dislocation, so that what should be a satisfying stretch turns into an anxiety-provoking pop, like a jack-in-the-box, and I lose the flow.  I’m am not using excessive force, probably no more than the force I would use to put on a sock.  So instead I have to use it very gingerly and push it rather than pull it, which does not give me the same effect.

I want to get a new one, but I feel bad for this one.  It’s not its fault that it struggles to function as it was expected to, and I know that feeling all too well.  I had a bit of luck using nail varnish to tighten up the joints, but this does not help the squeaking.  Still I would rather be able to use it with some noise, than have it jolt me out of my relaxation with such alarming regularity.  So it stays in my bag and comes with me wherever I go.

Update: Upon hearing that my new toy needs premature retirement, the kind people at Tangle Creations have offered to send me a replacement.  I am very happy.

© Catastraspie, 2012.

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4 Responses to My new favourtie toy – The Tangle

  1. Pingback: Two become one: The new Tangle arrives! | catastraspie

  2. Quarries and Corridors says:

    Ha, oh my, someone else in Club Tangle! I have seven of these things of different types and I’m trying to stop myself from buying any of the the different varieties. When I first got mine, I became a tad obsessed about them and started talking about nothing else for weeks 🙂

    …this of course led me to realise that all sorts of things that aren’t the stereotype of rocking and spinning count as ‘stimming’ and through researching that discovered that all sorts of odd eccentric behaviours of mine are actually common stims – mostly tactile and muscular stims but lots of others too, and that helped me to accept that I was likely on the spectrum. That’s the power of the Tangle! 😉

    • catastraspie says:

      That is pretty powerful stuff. Stims are the one area I am unsure of, and wouldn’t be able to talk about, probably because I don’t have the stereotypical ones. Is there a good website detailing the types of eccentric behaviours you mention, which I might peruse? 🙂

      • Quarries and Corridors says:

        I can’t find the good overview article I found that listed things by type of sense, but here are some similar articles listing common types of stimming (no endorsement of the quality/content of the articles, just look at the lists):

        http://life-with-aspergers.blogspot.co.uk/2007/10/what-is-stimming-and-what-does-it-feel.html
        http://www.myspecialsweetpea.com/stimming.html
        http://autism-nutrition.com/stimming-behavior-in-autism
        http://www.wrongplanet.net/posts46125-start75.html

        It’s pretty much anything that stimulates one or more particular senses (supposedly due to over- or under-sensitivity), and that includes the vestibular and muscular proprioception senses. Generally done absentmindedly and repetitively.

        My common stims inclide:
        Visual – pushing my eyes so I see lights and patterns, staring at things until they go grey, looking at distorted reflections, crossing my eyes slightly to make objects get a stereogram effect etc, staring at repeated patterns like railway tracks or fence posts out of a moving vehicle
        Tactile – rubbing textures and fabric, rubbing my legs, compulsively touching things, rubbing things on my face and top lip
        Taste and tactile – biting my lips, sucking my finger tips, licking the roof of my mouth
        Pressure – wrapping myself tightly in a duvet or putting a pile of pillows on my head, hugging myself, putting my hands behind my head and squeezing my head with my arms
        Temperature – Having baths and showers that are way too hot, sitting against the radiator, wrapping myself in the duvet fully clothed in the middle of summer, putting warm or cold things against my face or body
        Muscular – sitting in positions that look horrendously uncomfortable to everyone else, wriggling my fingers, spinning things between my fingers, stretching or trapping my fingers, sitting on my hands or legs or arms
        Muscular and vestibular – moving side to side from foot to foot, standing on one leg, sitting in foetal position and rocking slightly
        Tactile and vestibular – Rubbing my socked feet or clothed legs while rocking, often side to side or backwards and forwards (someone else pointed out to me that this included obvious rocking, I didn’t think I rocked this much)
        Sound – clicking my fingers, clacking things near my ears, whistling, humming, making animal noises, certain types of singing, listening to very repetitive music
        Sound and tactile – making sucking, kissy and clicking noises with my mouth, doing the mouth noises against an object or against my arm
        Ultimate combo stim – sitting in a weird position with my eyes unfocued and rubbing my clothed knee against the underside of my nose while making a bubbly squeaking noise against it with my lips, or squeezing my head with my arms while twisting side to side with my eyes tightly closed and humming.

        OK that turned out to be a long (but really very incomplete!) list of all the weird eccentric things I absentmindedly do that turned out to be common autistic spectrum stims! I hope you found this interesting and not an example of extreme over-sharing!

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