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In the lap of the gods

Six-year-old Odin has a name straight from Norse mythology. It’s appropriate then, that his new sensory swing calms his ADHD and autistic traits so well that he could be sitting in the lap of the gods.

Odin was given a swing by Satan's Little Helper

Odin’s story is sadly all too common in New Zealand. His mum Shahmea was driven to despair by the inability to access funding, care and support for her eldest son.

“I remember I was particularly desperate for assistance, as I was feeling like a bit of a failure knowing that my son needed something that we couldn’t provide,” she says. “I stumbled across Satan’s Little Helper on Facebook – normally I wouldn’t have applied, since we don’t have much luck with things like that, but I just had to try.”

Odin is formally diagnosed as combined type ADHD with autistic characteristics – but it wasn’t easy for Shahmea to get a diagnosis in the first place.

Hard to get a diagnosis

“It was a big effort to get someone to take me seriously about his ADHD. We went through three different paediatricians before someone listened to us and had him tested. The process hurt a lot, as we were often dismissed as overly anxious parents.”

At home, Odin is a “typical six-year-old boy” – who needs to be constantly on the move, otherwise he could become underwhelmed.

When that happens, Shahmea says he’ll end up ”jumping around furniture and throwing things.”

Shahmea says that sounds explosive, but when she catches and tickles him, things quickly calm down. A bigger problem is his anxiety, she explains.

“We tried to go to the park the other day, but we had to leave practically straightaway because there were just too many people. I feel sad for him when this happens, because I know how excited he is and how much he wants to play! We hate him missing out, so we’ll normally try to come back at a later time.

Daily struggles

Odin also struggles to self-regulate, which means that he finds it hard to control his emotions and physical actions. In turn, Odin can feel embarrassed or shame at his action, and that effects his confidence and sense of self, which contributes to high levels of anxiety or depression.

“We don’t believe Odin has anything to feel embarrassed about! He’s trying his best, and it’s hard as a child when you have these difficulties and those around you think they’re just being lazy, rude, or naughty. It’s not that simple.”

To give Odin a place he can feel at ease, self-regulate and play, Satan’s Little Helper sent him a sensory swing. Shahmea says it’s had a remarkable impact.

Makes a difference

“It’s very important that Odin has a safe space. Our house is open plan, so he doesn’t have a lot of places he can withdraw to. With this sensory swing, Odin just can’t seem to get enough. He especially loves to use it when we have visitors, to play in, but also to bounce and swing in to help regulate his excitement. He can also hide if he’s feeling anxious or shy.

“He took to it instantly, uses it multiple times a day (sometimes for hours) and goes to it without direction. He absolutely loves it. He also loves to show and share with his younger cousins when they visit, so it has contributed positively to his social interactions too.”

His brother Freyr has also been able to find comfort in the swing – although he’ll only use it with Odin’s permission.

“It is Odin’s special safe space and we want to keep it that way.”


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