Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Great Item for Special Needs Kids

Photo 1: American Sales Inflatable Pull Sled

I came across a sales flyer today that had a great item for special needs kids. This is a 33 Inch Inflatable Pull Sled. The reason that I think it would work well is because it has a tall back. If you look at the photo, the back comes to the top of the child's head. I checked the reviews and they said that it was perfect for an 18 month old child. You may need to review the dimensions to see if it would work for your child. This sled is offered by American Sales. The regular price is $29.99 and it's on sale for $19.99. You can see this sled and purchase it here. This sled comes in two styles-see the photo above and the photo below.

Photo 2: American Sales Inflatable Pull Sled

The reason this sled would work well, is that if you have a child that has poor trunk control or poor head control, the sled would support the child's head and body and it would be soft. A child with poor trunk control or poor head control needs more support not less. This sled allows for maximum support. You can see that a bit in the first photo, where it looks like the child is almost leaning back; that is how a special needs child would look in the sled whereas in the second photo, you can clearly see that this child can sit up on his own. I would imagine it would help if you had a strap of sorts to secure your child even more. If your child receives any kind of physical therapy, you probably already have something like that.

I went on the internet to see if I could find other sleds that had a tall back like this one, however I could not. Most of the sleds that have "any" back at all, only come to the middle of the child's back. You can see in this next photo how the back is not tall enough to support a special needs child's torso nor is it tall enough to provide support for a child's head. If you do choose a wooden sled like this for a child, you would need to make certain that the wood is strong enough to support a child. Many of these wooden sleds have sides that are flimsy and aren't designed to hold a child in place.

This is so aggravating to me because it wouldn't take a lot for manufacturer's to make sleds with taller backs to support the kids. What I have learned over the years, is that when you make items that work well for special needs kids, it's also preferable for all kids. I remember years ago taking Dear Son to the park to swing. He required one of the swings with the tall backs that would support his torso and head. While there were many regular swings available, most kids and parents preferred the swings with the taller backs. It would be wonderful if manufacturers started with a concept of universal design then designed toys for kids based on that.

As for the sled, this goes without saying however I imagine you will be pulling your child in this sled, not sending a special needs child down a hill in it. I doubt a special needs child would have any skills to be able to stop themselves if they tipped over in it. I would also recommend a helmet as well.

I remember taking Dear Son sledding around the house in one of the wooden sleds with a back on the sled, similar to the photo above where the back only went up half way. This was all they had some twenty years ago. It didn't provide enough support and when I pulled the sled, it stuck a bit and the first thing that happened was that he went face first in the snow and he hated sledding after that, lol. That's all part of experiencing new things. As parents of special needs kids, we have to walk a fine line between letting our kids experience things like snow and sledding and understanding that the sled might tip over and they might get snow on their faces. This is very different however than sending them down a hill on a sled. If you want them to experience that, then the mother or the father gets on a toboggan, holding the kid securely in front and you go down a small hill.

Here's hoping you get a chance to get outdoors a bit and enjoy the winter weather.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas!

I just want to wish all of you a Merry Christmas. Dear Son and I thank you for all of your support. I thought you might enjoy a few holiday photos of our studio apartment. Starting with the living area...

The view into my bedroom...

My cat kept running over to each section of the apartment as I took photos so he's in quite a few of them...

Although my place is small in size, I went for all out glamour. The gold bedding was perfect for Christmas.

Some pretty candle rings on the crystal and gold sconces.

I love the simplicity of the bedding...just one display pillow. Next year, I might try swapping out the display pillow for one with burgundy, cream and gold.

Since I only have room for a small table on the right side of the room, I kept the decor to scale.

Moving around the room...

I didn't do a lot in the bathroom. I did add a crystal Christmas tree dish edged in gold but didn't get a chance to get a photo of that.

Regardless, a little decor for the towel bar. The Noel ornament was a gift from Dear Son's babysitter. She was an older lady and was great with him. She worked for us for a few years.

This Christmas photo is one of my favorites. Dear Son was only six weeks old when this was taken. My sister made the Santa hat and bib.

This was one of his first Christmas type photos in the mall. He was actually really fussy but it looks like he's smiling. I don't think he cared for the sweater, lol. He couldn't sit up at this age but was propped. If you look closely, you can see his eyes were a bit crossed as well. He had surgery a few years later.

Moving along to Dear Son's side of the room. I could do much over here since I had to keep the floor space open in order to move around. He has a hoyer lift that I keep on this side and although I store his wheelchair in the hallway, I couldn't put a tree on this side since I need to be able to move him around. I did add lights in the window and some beautiful silver deer to the mirror.

Wiggles, the cat, refused to get out of the pictures so I told him if he wanted to be in the pictures, he had to wear a Santa hat. He didn't care for that very much.

You can see the lights in the mirror.

Here's the cat after I made him wear the hat; he doesn't like it as you can tell by his face.

This is my favorite photo. On Dear Son's dresser is his Mr. Christmas musical train that we got him last year. He loves listening to the Christmas music and watching the train going around. In this picture, the cat was just near the train and made him laugh but I couldn't get the photo in time.

And finally the outside view. You can see the stockings in the window and the wreath and lighting on the balcony next to it. That is right outside my window.

I hope you enjoyed our holiday tour. Have a wonderful holiday.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Merry Christmas to Dear Son from Blendtec!

As many of you know, I’ve been a huge advocate of Now Foods Organic Virgin Coconut Oil for Dear Son. Once I started using it for Dear Son, I was able to nip any colds, flu or pneumonias from the start and since using it daily, Dear Son has not been hospitalized for pneumonia in 15 months. Prior to that, he had two to three a year. As you know, Dear Son has had a pretty rough time these past few years due to numerous hospitalizations. In 2009, the day before his Make a Wish trip, he came down with the swine flu along with a viral pneumonia and nearly died. At that time, the doctors told me that they did not think they could save Dear Son any more and that he would most likely die of pneumonia. He had several more hospitalizations after that and in May of last year, he was finally well enough to take his Make a Wish trip.

All total, it took six months from his hospitalization in 2009 for him to be able to sit up for two hours, long enough to make the trip to Disney in Florida. He still wasn’t well and we had to limit our activities. We had a wonderful time though. While we were there, we went to Universal Studios. One of my favorite memories from the trip was when we walked through the entry gates. They were enormous and it was like walking through the gates of heaven. As we walked through, I began to cry. We had spent months waiting to go on Dear Son’s Make a Wish Trip and we talked about it forever and when the swine flu happened, I thought we’d never make it. I felt like a failure in that I thought I waited too long to take the trip and thought he was going to die, having never made it. I had planned his Make a Wish Trip to coincide with his 18th birthday and instead, he got the swine flu the day before we left and he had respiratory failure the following day and was on a ventilator fighting for his life on his 18th birthday.

The Make a Wish trip was powerful for all of us. One of the things that it did for me and for us was to give us something to look forward to. When you care for a special needs child, it’s hard to do normal tasks of daily living so you don’t do as much as able bodied people because, well, everything is sooooo hard. But it wasn’t just that we had something to look forward to, the powerful part was that we broke the cycle of going to the hospital. For many years, the only placed we ever packed for was the hospital. Dear Son has been hospitalized some 70 plus times in 20 years and while most people have a packing list for their vacation, I had a packing list for the hospital.

After our trip, I vowed that I never wanted to go back to the hospital. I began researching things for us and discovered green spinach smoothies and organic, virgin coconut oil. I began drinking smoothies and was amazed at how I was able to relieve the pain from my arthritis with these amazing drinks. I started in June of 2010 and never looked back. Late last year, I discovered Now Foods Organic, Virgin Coconut Oil and began giving it to Dear Son. I soon learned how it would prevent colds, flu and pneumonia in him. It tooks months to figure out the right dose for Dear Son but I did and I am proud to say that it has now been 15 months since he’s been hospitalized with pneumonia. Certainly he’s had a few hospitalizations since then, but NONE have been for pneumonia.

A few months ago, I decided I wanted more for him. I thought that while the organic coconut oil was great once he had an illness, if I could build his immune system up, I could PREVENT sickness before it starts. I started reading about how I might use the nutrition in real foods and give that to him and take him off of formula feedings. (I had tried giving him real foods blended up but had failed since the food kept clogging the tube and I just gave up. )I made a list of all of my nutritional goals for him along with all of his conditions and began researching foods that would help each of his conditions. To give him real foods though would require a high powered commercial type blender, like a Blendtec or VitaMix. I researched the blenders and watched numerous videos and loved the Blendtec from the start. The Blendtec Total Blender would pulverize the food well, was easy to clean and fit under the cabinets and best of all, didn’t require a tamper. The only problem was that I couldn’t afford it. I mean these blenders sell for nearly $500 and I work part time so I can care for Dear Son who requires 24/7 care.

In early November, I sat Dear Son’s Dad down and told him I wanted a Blendtec for Christmas for Dear Son and I. I told him that I knew it was expensive, but that was the only thing I wanted for Dear Son. I normally never ask him for any Christmas gifts although he always gets Dear Son and I something nice. He hemmed and hawed a bit and I told him that I didn’t need an answer right away and that he should think about it. Then he said he didn’t think I’d make the food for him. But I persisted. He knew that I had been drinking green spinach smoothies for around 18 months and that I was into organic food and that it wasn’t a whim. He also knows I take really good care of Dear Son as does he. Then he asked what I’d do when Dear Son came to his house for the weekend. I said I would make all of Dear Son’s food and send it over. I sent him Blendtec videos and he still said no. Then I entered a Christmas Wish program on a local radio station asking for a Blendtec blender for Dear Son. It was the only thing I asked for.

Shortly before Thanksgiving, Dad asked for Christmas ideas for Dear Son. I told him that the only thing I wanted for Christmas was a Blendtec. I said I’d send him a list of some other options and sent him a list with the Blendtec at the top of the list. Here is what I wrote:

Blendtec Blender-"This is the only thing I want for Dear Son and I. I know
it’s expensive, but I can make his food and build his immunity to keep him well.
I’d rather have gift cards for the blender than anything else."

Right before Thanksgiving, I went to the Blendtec demo at our local Costco. They were offering the Blendtec and two blending jars for $474.99. I saw the demo and was excited. I called Dear Son’s Dad on the way home and told him about the demo. I tried the smoothies there and could taste the difference in the smoothness. I needed the blender to pulverize the food enough to get it through Dear Son’s feeding tube. The only thing I wasn’t clear on was whether or not there was BPA in the blender jars. So I sent Blendtec’s Customer Service an email regarding that issue.

Around this time, Dad called me and said he’d get the blender for us for Christmas. Blendtec responded to my email and clarified that the jars did not contain BPA and that they switched to BPA free jars in 2009. I thanked the customer service person and told her a little about Dear Son and how excited I was to get a Blendtec and start making his food to build up his immune system. And that was that.

Some two weeks later, I got an email from Blendtec. The person I wrote to had forwarded my email to their executives and they wanted to talk to me. They asked me for my phone number and the best time to call. A few hours later, I received a call from the customer service person. She said that she had forwarded my email to the executives at Blendtec and they wanted to send me a Blendtec blender! Can you believe that? I couldn’t! How cool is that? I mean, they had no idea how much I wanted a Blendtec and that it was the only thing I asked for at Christmas. They didn’t know how much I had been through with Dear Son or anything like that and yet, they offered to send me a reconditioned Blendtec blender. It was so exciting!

So let me show you my new baby….what do you think?

In this next photo, I am making tomato soup. It was delicious! Both Dear Son and I had some. I put his in through his gtube!

In this next photo, is Dear Son's first entire blended meal. I gave it to him today. This is a full day's meal although I am only giving him one blended meal a day for the first month as I need to transition him from formula feeds to blended foods gradually. More about that later. I created this entire day's meal. It includes: organic banana, organic strawberries, orange, organic spinach, organic broccoli, organic carrots, home made bread, organic chicken breasts, organic onion, walnuts (for omega 3's) and organic milk. It felt so good to give him this rather than formula. There was so much joy in making this for him! I got to be a real Mom again and make my son a "real" meal. Let me tell you, there was a lot of love in my kitchen today as I made up his food!

In this next photo, is the first smoothie I made in my new Blendtec!

So, all in all, a very exciting gift. It was so unexpected! Sometimes, Christmas wishes do come true!

Since I received the blender, I've been using it every day. I'll write more posts later on how to make a blended diet. In the meantime, Dad returned the Blendtec he purchased for me and instead, he'll give us the money to purchase some other items we need. And of course, I wrote Blendtec a lovely thank you note regarding our new blender.

What a wonderful way to end 2011. I just love this blender and it's amazing all of the things you can make. Everything I have made is just delicious. Thank you Blendtec for a wonderful gift and amazing product!

Note: If you'd like more information or to read more reviews on the Blendtec Four Side Blender, you can check it out here at my Amazon Store.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Best Toys and Gifts for Special Needs Children

Back in 2006, I wrote a blog post titled, "Best Toys and Gifts for Special Needs Children". Since that time, it's been one of my most popular posts. Last year, I updated it and I thought I might reprint it again. I poured over the toy catalogs and websites looking for those toys that I thought were really good. I was amazed to find that there still wasn't a lot to pick from so I decided to do a few things to make it easier. First, I created a link at the top of my blog for "best toys and gifts" and I've added all of the toys I'll talk about today. I have included pictures and links for each toy along with a description of why I like the toy and how I think the child would use the toy or an explanation of how Dear Son used the toy. Disabled children enjoy many of the same toys that normal kids do however when they play with the toy, they play with it whatever way is easiest for them. In Dear Son's case, he had poor trunk control, couldn't sit up, no use of his arms or hands but liked to play with things with his legs, feet and/or mouth. I have also included a link for all of the toys today to the Amazon website. If you can use this link, I'd appreciate it-it doesn't cost you any more for the toy than going to Amazon directly, but Amazon pays a small referral fee and I use this to help with Dear Son.

Some of the best toys can be found in a few places:

1) The 0-24 month aisle typically has the best selection of toys that severely disabled children can actually do. Most of the toys in this aisle require gross hand or foot movements to activate.
The down side of this aisle is that often disabled children's chronological age exceeds their developmental age so sometimes these items might work for the child however the child is too large or tall for the item.

2) Many stores such as Target or Walmart have these cheap toy aisles where you can get toys for $20 and under. In these aisles, you'll find things like musical keyboards, etc. What is great about these aisles is that these toys are kept "simple" which means they are easier to operate for disabled kids. Often times, toys can be too complex for our kids. In this aisle, you'll find a simple keyboard that plays entire songs when you press one key. In the more expensive aisles, you'll find keyboards where the keys light up to show a child where to press, in hopes of helping them learn to play. Or the keyboard will come with a microphone for the kid to hold and sing. Often times, you don't need any of those things. Simple is best.

3) Be sure to check out Walgreens and drugstores for toys. One of the best toys Dear Son ever owned was this train that I got at Walgreens. It went around a 36 inch round track. I set the train and tracks on the family room coffee table and he would lean on the table and use his arm to knock the train off it's track. Then he would laugh. He loved working hard to get his arm over enough to knock the train off. I wished I could have had a tunnel for the train too; he would have enjoyed that. I tried to purchased nicer trains after that but the Lionel ones didn't work as well for Dear Son-the track was too sensitive and the train kept coming off. With the Walgreen's train, Dear Son could be a little rougher and knock into the table and the train would keep moving.

4) Amazon-It's often hard to get out and shop with a disabled child so it's easier just to shop online with Amazon and have it delivered to your door.

Without further delay, here are toys that I recommend. For your convenience, I attached a link to Amazon and have also listed the current price of the toy as of today.

I can't say enough good things about this product. This is a great product for special needs children who have poor arm/hand control or poor trunk control. They can knock the pins over several ways-with their hands, their head, their arms or by bumping the table. My son couldn't roll the ball but loved knocking them down by the ways I described. He loved the music it played and got such a kick out of things crashing. In addition, it was a great way to help him learn to use his hands/arms in occupational therapy by knocking the pins down.

Musical Hands Mat $39.95
My son used a musical mat similar to this when he was a baby and learning to roll over. The physical therapist would lie my son on the mat and then help him roll over. As the child rolls over, the music is their reward thus helping them work on rolling over. This mat allows you to set it up to hear each note or to hear complete songs. When babies can't move at all, you want a maximum reward for a small movement, meaning you want to activate the music with the slightest movement. I don't think they'll use it like the child shows in the photo, meaning placing their hand on it but rather as a tool to help them learn to roll over.

Fisher-Price Precious Planet Kick and Play PianoFrom Fisher-Price $29.99

This toy would be great for a child who had good foot/leg control but limited hand control. It would encourage them to move their feet. Also, if placed in their crib, or even on the floor, it would be easy to activate with the slightest movement.

Vtech Little Smart First Words Plus Toy From vtech

Five stars for this toy! I used this toy when my son was very small and I wasn't sure if he even knew what was going on. I would hit the Mama button and after a while, he was able to find that button and hit it. He was able to learn where the Mama button was and also some of the other buttons. This was great because he couldn't speak. I did work with him on this toy every day so it wasn't like he learned it by himself. When he pushed on the buttons, he did it with his mouth/chin, not his hands (Dear Son didn't have any use of his hands/fingers.)

Here are two examples of these bounce back dolls. The base is filled with sand and the toy is made of vinyl.

Rocket USA Bozo Bop Bag $16.99From Rocket USA

This product is great for a child who can't sit up but can use his legs. They can lay on the floor and use their legs to kick the Bozo down and it bounces back up. It's important to remember that special needs kids need ways to release energy just like regular kids do. My Dear Son didn't have use of his hands or arms but his legs and feet worked well. He loved this. The other reason this is good is because as they are kicking and moving their legs, they are strengthening their core which is great for kids with low trunk control or for kids who can't walk. Any time you can help them increase their core muscles, it will help them for walking.

Rocket USA 46 Inch Bam Bam Bop Bag Obama $34.98From Rocket USA

See Bozo review for comments.

Easy-Twist Play Tent House: Premium JUMBO Size Six Sided Hexagon $38.60From eWonderWorld

This toy is great if your child can't sit up. My son had no trunk control but good use of his legs. He loved to lie down in the ball pit and take his legs and press down on the sides of the tent to try to knock it over. Often times, he'd play and then get tired and liked to fall asleep in there with balls on him of course! This ball pit is similar to the one he had and he was able to lie on his back in there and not choke on anything. I would not recommend lying a child who can't roll over face down in there. I never did! That being said, I believe it to be safe or I wouldn't recommend it. This was one of my son's favorite toys. **You need to order balls to go in here! 200 Plastic Pit Balls for Play Tents: 4 Colors - Red, Yellow, Green, Blue $42.60From eWonderWorld

These are the balls to go in the ball pit.

Alex Ready, Set, Go! Red Trike $49.99 on sale (Regular Price $199.99) From Alex Toys

Love this trike! Oh, how I wish they had something like this when Dear Son was young! I like the fact that it has a tall back, has seatbelts and straps, has a umbrella to protect against the sun and has a handle to push them. I think this would be a five star toy! Great for a child with poor trunk control but legs/feet that move.

Playskool Chuck My Talking Truck $31.58 From Playskool

Dear Son loved Chuck the Talking Truck, especially when he crashed into the wall or something. It's been upgraded since then and Chuck "comes" when you call him, meaning it's voice activated. Regardless, I think this would encourage vocalizations of some kind with the kids. Even if your child couldn't vocalize, you could call the truck.

Photo of Dear Son listening to, "Twas the Night Before Christmas Story" by Mr. Christmas.

Mr. Christmas Winter Wonderland Village Christmas $55.60

This is the item that I ordered for Dear Son this Christmas. It's a train that goes around the village which is comprised of a church, townhouse and Christmas tree. It plays 15 Christmas carols and 15 year round classics. This also comes with an A/C adapter. This items typically retails for $80 or more however I found the best price at Amazon. The A/C adapter can drive up the price a bit on these products however it's really great. Dear Son listens to these so much that I'd have to replace the batteries constantly so the A/C adapter is appreciated. This item is fairly small, only 10.75 inches wide which will be perfect for his nightstand since he has to lie down a lot since he can't sit very long. Also, he loves trains so this product will be perfect for him. He'll love to watch that train go round and round and the music will be very soothing. One thing I personally like about Mr. Christmas products is that the music is really nice and doesn't get on your nerves after hours of non-stop use. As with all Mr. Christmas products, they come with a volume control.

Mr. Christmas Symphony Surprise
My son loved this item. Mr. Christmas makes high quality musical items that my son would watch for hours. What's great about Mr. Christmas musical items, versus other musical products, is that they have a volume control and the sound quality of the music is good. Cheaper musical items have poor sound quality or the volume control is really loud and scares the kids or is annoying. Mr. Christmas items have been a favorite of my son's for years. While this one is currently unavailable on Amazon, I have purchased Mr. Christmas musical toys at Target, American Sales or home improvement stores. Each year, Mr. Christmas develops new musical items. You can check the Mr. Christmas website and then locate a retailer from there. If I recall, that’s how I located the Mr. Christmas Symphony Surprise; we got it at Menards for $79.99.

Child's Rocking Chair - Espresso Brown Finish $55.99From Table & Chairs

Child's 2-Slat Rocking Chair – Red $47.78 From Kid Kraft

Angel Line Country Adult Rocker $137.49From Angel Line

My son had poor trunk control and no use of his arms and hands, was wheelchair bound but had good use of his legs and feet. He loved using a rocking chair. The rocking chair gave him the freedom to move around the room and offered support. He would sit in the chair and scoot the chair by moving his feet. The rocking chair helped him practice his balance by constantly working his torso. What is important is that you need the back of the chair to be tall enough to support their back and their head. The top of the child's head should be even with the top piece on the back of the chair since they need head support. You can not leave a child unattended in this chair nor use it near stairs obviously. My son loved to sit in it and scoot over to the window, lean his head on the window and look out. There are many wooden rocking chairs to pick from on Amazon so be sure to check them out and get the right height.

Radio Flyer Pathfinder Wagon Red From Radio Flyer $59.54

My son had poor trunk control and was wheelchair bound. He loved the red flyer wagon and this one is great because it has a taller back which would provide support for kids with poor trunk control. It also comes with a seatbelt. I walked my son every night in his wagon and he enjoyed it more than walks in his wheelchair. You want to make sure that their head is supported by the backrest. I've read some comments on turning and I don't know about that. When my son was small we had the Red Flyer with the wooden sides. I would think you should be o.k. I would recommend the umbrella for days when you want to take a special needs child outside. Often times, they can't wear sunglasses or they fall off so an umbrella would make it easier on them especially if they can't move their head to keep their eyes out of the sun.

Radio Flyer Umbrella Accessory $17.82 From Radio Flyer

You may want to consider this accessory to add on to the wagon. If your child is special needs, they may not want to wear sunglasses or may not have enough head control to keep their eyes out of the sun. Also, on really hot days, you want to keep them from getting sunburned so this is a great idea. I have to wonder if you might also be able to clip this umbrella to their wheelchair.

Elmo Farm Fun Video Play-A-Sound $17.95From PIL

I like this book for several reasons. First, Dear Son loved it when I read books that had some sound for the different animals or characters. From a developmental standpoint, I liked it because he soon learned to "anticipate" when the sound was coming in the story, especially for sounds he liked. That helped me understand what information he was processing in his head. This book goes a step beyond that and not only gives the sound of a horse galloping but shows the horse galloping on the LCD screen. Often times it's helpful for children with disabilities to learn new information when they get information from different senses; in this case, they can "hear" the horse and "see" the horse. I'd recommend this book or other books that are "press and play" so to speak, even if they don't have the LCD screen.

Baby Einstein Press and Play Pal Toy, Panda $34.98 From Baby Einstein

This toy is similar to a toy my son loved. By pressing the hands or feet of the toy, different instruments are activated. My son had no use of his hands but I imagine he would press on the toy with his feet or bite on it with his mouth. You would soon learn which sounds are pleasing or interesting to your child. Also, the music calms them. My son had a similar toy that he used at bedtime and he pressed it often as a way to soothe himself to sleep or when he had seizures.

Cat-One of the best things Dear Son really enjoys is our cat. A cat makes a great pet for a severely disabled child who can’t walk or move much because the cat is active and can do things that will make the kids laugh. The reason I would choose a cat over a dog is simple. With a child in a wheelchair, it’s often too hard to walk a dog with the child or there are many times when you can’t leave the child in the house to go out and walk the dog.

When choosing a cat, I referred to the book ASPCA-The American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals to help me find a cat that met our needs. I looked for a cat that was: 1) good with kids 2) lap cat 3) liked to play.

To this day, Dear Son loves our cat. The cat meows when he wants Dear Son to pet him. I lift the cat up to Dear Son’s bed and then take Dear Son’s hand to pet the cat. The cat kisses (sniffs) Dear Son. The cat also loves to sit on the armrest of Dear Son’s wheelchair before and after school. The cat also loves Dear Son’s art projects from school. He likes art projects with pipe cleaners (now called “fuzzy sticks”, lol). Dear Son gets a kick out of the cat playing with his projects.
Original Slinky $6.87
by Poof Slinky

Plastic Slinky (Colors May Vary) $6.82
by Slinky

Dear Son's occupational therapist recommended a slinky and he loved it. What's great about a slinky for disabled kids is that it doesn't require much movement from the child to get the slinky moving. If a child has difficulty moving or controlling their arm, this is perfect for them.

Stocking Stuffers

Veggie Tales Silly Songs Brush-a-long Musical Toothbrush $3.99 From Veggie Tales

This musical toothbrush runs for 2 minutes-the recommended brushing time. What is great about these toothbrushes is that the handle is wider which would make it easier for a child with special needs who has poor hand control to grip. While you may still need to add padding to make it easier, it's a great start. I used these for lab blood draws to, to distract my son while the tech was drawing blood. I liked musical toothbrushes versus other toys because they were slim and easily portable versus larger toys that were musical.

Spider Man Musical Toothbrush $6.95

Great for a stocking stuffer. Music plays for two minutes. Comes in red or blue. Not only is 2 minutes the recommended amount of time to brush your teeth but I took a musical toothbrush along to a blood draw. I held the toothbrush in front of my child and pushed the button; he was distracted by the music and the lab tech was able to draw his blood without any crying!

Sesame Street Finger Paint Bubble Bath $6.95From Sesame Street

Nice stocking stuffer. This is something to make bathtime fun. The way I would use it for my disabled son was to use the paints to write "I Love You" or something on him at bathtime. It's hard when your child can't play with something but you still can do things to make bathtime fun for them.

Hohner Kids Single 5" High Cage Bell, Assorted Colors $4.80From Hohner Kids

Nice stocking stuffer. This price is for one bell. Dear Son liked this type of bell-he would pick it up between his toes and shake it.

These are my absolute best toy/gift ideas for special needs children. I hope this list will help you find some gifts or give you some ideas for your special needs child. In the future, you can click on the store link at the top of my blog and it will link you to any and all gift ideas.

Note: Dear Son is twenty two years old and suffers from seizures, dystonia and is severely delayed as a result of a random mutation of the ARX gene. He also has a progressive neurological disease.

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