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Plenty of times he gets upset that the brothers can do things that he can’t...

Our middle boy was born slightly early and when he arrived it quickly became apparent that he lacked muscle/fascia tone. He was a floppy child unable to walk for 18 months. He couldn’t sit, hear, eat without chocking and speak until much later than peers. He had an operation at 2.5years to unblock his upper airway which massively helped him. We have worked hard to keep him developing in the right direction, although he is a few years behind the average child of his age. 

As parents to three boys aged 8, 7 and 5, choosing worthwhile 'toys' for them to enjoy, that will encourage creativity and get them working together can be a challenge. Our middle son was unwell in the early stages of his life, which meant that he missed out on some key learning milestones. Add to this hypermobile joints and difficulty with fine finger movements, and our list of criteria for a worthwhile 'toy' just got that little bit longer.
Seeing our boys play with the Flockemen has been great. It is such a simple design, and leaves the door open for so much creativity. There is no limits or rules as to how they can be arranged, and we are continually bowled over by the structures and models that are dreamt up and made a reality by each of our boys. Most satisfying has been seeing our middle son produce some incredible creations.

The Developmental Consultant and Ed Psych say that his hyper mobility is the cause of many of his struggles. When I saw Flockmen, I thought it would be something he could do at the same time as his brothers but be seemingly as successful. I had expected him to struggle balancing them and joining them (as he struggles with even simple puzzles). However, he instantly loved them and managed to achieve so much more than what I had expected. I think they don’t confuse him with colour and different shapes. I feel because they are all the same, his brain can process and link his co-ordination/balance to place each man. He even worked out that the sides needed to be symmetrical to balance. 

Just the other day we found 20 Flockemen-and-counting stacked vertically in a lovely symmetrical pattern, with only one in contact with the ground. Recognising symmetry has been challenging for our 7 year old, and so to seem him producing complex models such as this is fantastic.
Whilst creativity and dexterity are obvious benefits, there are the softer skills of resilience, focus and determination that are implicitly developed through playing with the Flockemen. We have so enjoyed sitting and watching our sometimes-fidgety 7 year old sit completely still, with his focus uninterrupted for long periods of time. The rewards are great for him too - the look of joy and satisfaction as a model is finished...
We wouldn't hesitate to recommend the Flockmen to anyone with children presenting any kind of learning difficulties. 

 

I am honestly blown away and it feels emotional to see him able to play ‘normally’ with this toy. They are great for muscle co-ordinating exercise too. For example, get the child to lay on his tummy and then build a simple shape (or just place the Flockmen). This builds up the tummy control muscles, back, neck and co-ordination while the muscles are focused on holding a position. These exercises and all the play that Flockmen offer all build on Vestibular and Propriception integration.  I am so impressed with them and so grateful to see our middle boy proud of his creations! 

 

Flockmen Team wants to say Thank You to Mary Lynne (Design Teacher/ having worked as a designer for 7 years before going into teaching) for sharing your story and your experience with Flockmen. Stay strong! 

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