Life Hacks for Parents of Children with a Disability

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Life Hacks for Parents of Children with a Disability

December 19, 2016

          Parents today cope with a high degree of stress in the role of parent. Children are far more active than ever before, engaging in numerous and challenging activities, and they are also technologically savvy when it comes to all the new gadgets and gizmos available for them to purchase. For parents of a child with a disability, it is not different, and they too want all the support they can get to make their lives easier, but also more fulfilling for them and their children.

There are many new devices out there to make life easier and save time for parents. They fall into several categories: special services, household items, dressing and bathing, education-related, adaptive technology, and recreational. Here are some of the life hacks that parents of a child with a disability may find especially useful.

·         A speech and language therapist may be able to help with physical issues such as chewing and swallowing.

·         An occupational therapist can advise you about aids that might help your child, such as special plates, bowls, cups, adapted cutlery or non-slip mats. 

·         A physiotherapist or occupational therapist can advise you on getting your child into the right physical position to eat.

·         A dietitian can help you if you’re concerned that your child isn’t eating enough.

·         An occupational therapist can advise you about special potties or toilet seats if your child needs help with sitting, or about any bathroom adaptations that might be useful.

·         A physiotherapist can also advise about issues such as moving and handling your child, or finding the best position for your child to be able to use the toilet

·         Walking aids can be loaned from the local hospital or community health service.

·         Wheelchairs, buggies and adapted seating

·         Service dogs

·         Computers, iPads, iPods, Tablets

·         Adaptive clothing

·         Communication passport: this is a ragged folder of information and facts, that goes everywhere with the individual. It tells you what medication the child takes, what time they have specific needs, what they like or don’t like and if they’re in pain.

·        Water bottle with a sling style holder. I can hang it on the joystick mechanism of my power chair 

·        Battery operated letter opener

·       Juice cup holder on a wheelchair or scooter

·       Reachers and grabbers are great devices for kids who are small in stature or wheelchair users

·         Cool sneakers in multiple colours and designs

·         Use a long-handled grasping tool so a child with limited movement can help put their own socks on or pick up something from the floor.

·         Replace cabinet knobs with a parachute cord so that drawers and cabinets are easier to open.

·         Add color-coding to a wall calendar to help a child know their schedule and organize their day.

·         Use speech recognition software so that a child who has trouble writing or typing can capture their thoughts as text.

·         Use a tablet that reads aloud so that a child having trouble reading can listen to words as they look at them.

·         Using a special wrist mount for a fork or spoon so that a child who has trouble grasping them can more easily feed themselves

Here are a few apps parents like:

·         Dragon Dictation is a speech recognition program that turns an iPad or smartphone into a speech recording device.

·         Proloquo2go is a symbol-supported communication app that gives voice to a child who can’t speak.

·         SocialSkillBuilderLite offers videos of real-life scenarios and asks the user to answer questions and make judgments.

·         Cut the Rope is a game that helps children build learning skills and even control movements by tilting the iPad.

·         iTouchiLearnLifeSkills offers visual schedules, rewards charts, social skills games, and training to reduce anxiety and build confidence while learning.

The Child Disability Tax Credit is one of those programs that provides real financial support. It demonstrates that Canada cares about the needs of children with disabilities and their parents. Families can begin the process by filling out the Disability Tax Credit Form – T2201. Programs like these are crucial to families who are caring for a child with a disability. These additional funds can serve in a multitude of practical ways so the family can cope more easily, connect more fully and enjoy each other as a family.

 

 

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