Special Needs Stroller: Choosing the Best for Need and Comfort

Traveling is part of everyday life, especially if you have a special child who needs to go to doctor’s appointments, physiotherapist visits, special school attendance, and even family gatherings or just to go to the park with cousins and friends or go with you to the mall. Of course a special needs stroller is so essential for these activities.

 

A lightweight stroller is a must for some short trips

I have even seen some parents jog with their kids in their stroller. What an awesome sight!

Your special child could even go with the whole family to any fun travel or visits to an amazing place during summer or any holiday for that matter. I’m sure he would love to bond with everybody on these trips.

Thus, a special needs stroller, or an adaptive stroller, is a most essential companion for parents and caregivers for easy mobility.

 

A special needs stroller needs to be durable for long term use.

 

When planning to buy, what do you have to keep in mind? Is it the price? Durability, comfort, beauty?

Lots of reasons perhaps. So, what is the best special needs stroller out there? How do you choose one for your child?

Reasons for buying a stroller

1. Need–          Do you have frequent visits to doctors and therapists, or does your child go to school at least 3 times a week?

2. Comfort-    Is it the right fit for your kid for him to be comfy for long hours of sitting or lying down?

3. Price –          Do you want something that is not so pricey, anyway your child will outgrow the stroller soon or is it okay with you to pay more now, anyway he can use it for years to come?

4. Durability – Is your child on the heavy side or is older that something which will not wear out soon needs to be bought for him? Or you really prefer a stroller that would serve your kid for long term and grow with him?

5. Disability–   Is your child unable to walk at all or have stiff joints that prevent him to be moved easily to fit in the stroller?

When to buy

Foremost, you have to consider the need to decide when to purchase your stroller. Definitely, you will need one when you go out every week or even just twice a month for those appointments for your child.

You also have to consider that your kid will have mobility issues for some years because he will have delayed developments of some motor capabilities, like in children with Down syndrome, so deciding when to buy is critical.

Plan on the long term use so you can decide well on what to buy. Be open to the idea that your child will walk later than normal kids and when he learns to walk, it will take a while for him to have full balance.

If your child has disabilities that need to be addressed, consult your physiotherapist or rehabilitation doctor for proper advice on what type of adaptive stroller to buy.

Depending on where you live, some government health insurance may pay for these devices for your special child. Your private health insurance might be able to help as well. You just have to inquire, who knows you don’t need your pocket at all or you might pay only partial of the whole amount.

This post contains affiliate links. Please read the full affiliate disclosure here.

Choose an of adaptive stroller to meet your special child's need

Click here to look at varieties of adaptive strollers

Related post: How to travel with a stroller: ten best lightweight strollers for children with special needs

I am introducing 3 adaptive strollers for you to choose from. Of course, there are lots of choices out there but these 3, based on my research, are very useful for the kids with special needs. This review will somehow give you ideas when you are ready to buy one for your child.

Reviews on 5 strollers

1. MacLaren Major Elite Transport Chair

Mac Laren elite transport chair
  • Its basic weight  is  7.7kg/16.9lb
  • It is ideal for children age 6 months and weighs up to 50kg/110lb.
  • When open, it measures:      L x W x H  92 x 53.5 x 108 cm; 36 x 21 x 42.5 in
  • If folded, it measures : L x W x H 115 x 27.5 x 22.5 cm ; 45 x 11 x 9 in
                                        • It has high-performance aluminum frame, ergonomically optimized
                                          handles, full swiveling front       wheel and brakes on each rear wheel
                                        • This is available in AMAZON

PROS:

  • This transport chair is ideal for both small and even big kids who are too heavy but unable to walk by themselves.
  • It is lightweight, sturdy, easy to open, and fits in the back of the car.
  • It runs smoothly on rough surfaces and is very easy to handle.
  • It is very comfortable and a kid will enjoy sitting in it.
  • The seat is wide and allows room to grow for a special needs child.
  • It is perfect for traveling, easy to fold and set, and super light to carry.
  • The swiveling front wheels make the stroller maneuverable in tight spaces.

CONS:

  • The foot rest has to be removed to close, thus, a hassle when traveling buy bus or train.
  • It has squeaky, loud wheels.
  • The front wheels don’t spin easily on very smooth surfaces, like tiles in a mall.
  • The seat depth is a little too shallow, so little kids have a tendency to slide down.
  • One buyer’s experience: The left steer wheel became very stiff and the stroller cannot be turned, and the wheel came off totally when he straightened it.
  • Amazon return policy is 4 months and MacLaren is 2 months, after which, they don’t accept returns if they get broken.
  • Hood and lateral supports have to be bought separately.

2. Trotter Lightweight Adaptable Stroller

Trotter lightweight adaptable stroller ,with transit tie-downs

  • The dimension in its smallest size : 53 x 12.8 x 17.8 inches
  • The smallest size has a basic weight of 19 lbs ( 24 lbs with front rigging )
  • It is ideal for simple transportation because it has a lightweight folding frame with closure straps
  • The range of weight capacity is  75 to 250 lbs ( available in 4 sizes )
  • It comes with optional transit or school bus tie-downs, which is really good for school transport
  • Click the image or here to see the price

PROS:

  • It has swing- away or removable foot rests for easy getting in and out.
  • It comes with 5-point harness to keep child safe and comfy.
  • Simple adjustments allow to grow with your child.
  • It has adjustable seat depth, depending on the size of your child.
  • It provides easy curbside navigation with tipping assist lever.
  • Free shipping if you buy here

CONS:

    • There is a wide wheel base so when turning to left or right, the front wheel seems to get caught.
    • The chair is on the tall side, thus, not ideal for short kids.
    • It is quite bulky and heavy.
    • It is difficult to fold and unfold at first- you need a certain time to get used to it.
    • It is not easy to control on an uneven surface.
    • It has limited two year warranty

3. Special Tomato Special Needs Jogging Stroller

  • This is ideal for children up to 110 lbs
  • The lightweight aluminum frame allows it to be folded easily
  • When open, it measures  :     L x W x H 42″ x 26″ x 43″
  • If folded, it measures : L x W x H 33″ x 21″ x 16″
  • It is durable, thus ideal for long use
  • It has a reclining seat ( recline range 100 to 140 degrees ).
  • The stroller weighs -27 lbs
  • Click the image or here to see the price

PROS

  • With 5-point harness to keep child safe and comfy
  • It is very comfortable for long trips.
  • The stroller for a jogging parent
  • It rolls really well ; the 12″ pneumatic tires works well both on smooth streets and rugged terrain
  • The front wheel can lock in place during jogging.
  • Free shipping if you buy here

CONS

          • Basket under the stroller has to be bought separately
          • Takes a bit of space when folded up

Related post: How to travel with a stroller: ten best lightweight strollers for children with special needs

4. Wenzelite Trotter Mobility Rehab Stroller

  • Wenzelite Trotter Mobility Rehab Stroller
    The product dimension varies with size, for size 12 ( smallest ) : 121.9 x 34.3 x 45.7 cm
  • The smallest ( size 12 ) weighs 3.06 kg while the biggest ( size 18 ) weighs 3.15 kg
  • It comes in 4 sizes from 12 to 18 inches
  • It is fitted with black removable and washable fabric
  • With lightweight folding frame and closure strap to hold the chair when it shuts down

Click the image or here to see the price

PROS

  • The seat depth can be adjusted to seat angle at 15 and 22 degrees and to back angle at 85,90, and 95 degrees.
  • With adjustable and removable independent swing-away footrests
  • Provides  more comfort with reversible padded strap covers in 5-point harness and positioning pelvic belt

CONS

  • Not very comfortable for a small parent-the handles are quite tall, stroller is huge and heavy 
  • Quite heavy for traveling
  • It is hard to navigate on an uneven surface such as in a park
  • It is wide for some doors to fit in

5. Baby Jogger Freedom Stroller with 16 in. Wheels

  •  The stroller weighs 30 pounds 
  • Product dimensions are 47 x 24.6 x 12.9 inches
  • Comes in navy color
  • It has a reclining seat and a padded seat back for comfort
  • With a 16 inch static wheel and swivel front wheels
  • It has a multi-position canopy with clear view window

Click the image or here to see the price

PROS

  • The handbrake comes with a parking button
  • The curved handle makes pushing comfortable
  • It comes with a quick folding design
  • The stroller is sturdy and suitable for big kids
  • With room to grow for your kids 
  • Can be also used for adults with special needs

CONS

  • When folded, the chair doesn’t lock in place.
  • It is not so easy to push and guide on trails
  • The stroller is tall and the handle is high, thus,  not very comfortable for small parents

Is it time to buy?

Special needs strollers or the adaptive strollers are definitely a necessity for our special kids with mobility issues.

Your kids are able to walk probably at this point, but then they get tired easily with long walks.

For those with wheelchairs, you might still consider buying an adaptive stroller for them because wheelchairs are usually bulky and heavy.

My final word

Remember to always  consult your child’s physiotherapist or rehabilitation doctor for advice as to what specific adaptive stroller will fit your child to address his mobility and disability needs.

After all, your child’s comfort is foremost in your mind, as well as your need to consider your budget because these strollers are not on the cheap side.

Lastly, put inquiry to your health insurance, private or government,  if they will pay your mobility device. 

I’m sure with proper referral from your child’s physiotherapist or doctor, his adaptive stroller will be reimbursed or paid directly by your insurance.

Choose an adaptive stroller or special needs stroller for comfort and durability

Click here to find more options for your adaptive strollers and devices

 

Have you used several adaptive strollers through the years? Did your child prefer one over the other? Please let us know your experiences in the comments below.

 

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Back to school checklist for moms ( and dads ) -what to buy and prepare for your child with special needs

It’s school time in a week!   I’m sure it has started in other parts of the world, as well.

I guess the kids have mixed feelings. 

Some maybe excited to see their teachers and classmates once again.

Others may feel a little bit sad that summer vacation will be done and they will be missing the late night sleep and sleeping-in the following morning, the camping, the out of towns, the never ending video games, etc. 

For your child with special needs, they may have the same mixed feelings.

I guess they are more excited than the regular kids. I know they show more enthusiasm and elation.

They are more open to express their joy and eagerness to be back on track.

How about the first timers? Is your child with special needs starting school just this year? How does he or she feel about it?

Maybe a little bit nervous to be out there on his own? Or also excited to be with other kids his age?

Of course I’m talking about those kids who are verbal and could express themselves already.

For the non-verbal ones, I guess the parents are the ones who are either nervous or excited.

So, my dear parents, have you started buying the things that your child needs come school opening or you already have bought some essentials way back in June or July and just about to complete the list?

This post maybe a little bit late but I’m sure it’s still very helpful for that final look for school must-haves.

I have prepared a back to school checklist for moms ( and dads, of course ) – what to buy and prepare for your child with special needs, so be ready to check out what you still need.

This post contains affiliate links. Read the full affiliate disclosure here.

1. Adaptive stroller

  • If your child is still non-ambulatory or is walking but gets tired easily, this is really essential.
Getting ready for school, in adaptive stroller
Ready for first day of school

 

The school bus is here!
Riding the school bus is a breeze with the adaptive stroller with a transit  tie-down.
  • These strollers are usually what they sit on in the classroom as well, so choose properly with the help of his therapist or rehabilitation doctor.

Click here for some choices of adaptive strollers

2. School bag

  • This is very important as well. 
  • You have to consider a few things though. If your child has attended school the previous year, you might not need to buy a new one if his bag is still useful.
  •  I know kids always want something new, but if you feel his old one still looks okay, a little talk with your kid might be all you need to let him know that he doesn’t need a new one.
  • Anyway, if you’re ready to purchase a new one, keep some things in mind before buying. How big does your child need for his bag? Big enough to put his sweater or jacket in winter?
  •  Will his lunch bag plus some school essentials like his planner and pencil case fit in comfortably?
  • How heavy will it be with all the essentials in there? Think of his back for all the time that he will be carrying his bag. Is it a long walk from his classroom to the parking lot or to the bus stop?
  • Does he need just a back pack or a school bag with wheels?

Please see some choices below. Click the image to see the price.

Unicorn backpackBatman backpack Cars backpack for boys

Click here for more choices of backpacks

 

 

3. Lunch bag / kit

  • The size will depend on how many hours is your special child staying in school or the time of his class. 
  • If he is in school for just 2 hours, more or less, then he needs to bring in snacks only but if his school time is done just about lunch time maybe you need to pack lunch for him.
  • Consider packing a crunchy snack because chewing is great for reducing stress and a good concentration tool.
  • Of course during recess, your special child needs to eat something to reward him for a good day or to sustain his interest to learn his lessons.

  Look at these awesome lunch bags that your kid might love.  Click the image to see the price.

  Frozen lunchbag Pink insulated lunchbag for girls  

4. Water bottle

  • A 2 glass water bottle is also an essential part of his bag. He needs to be hydrated at all times so he will not be sluggish and will continue to be receptive of the day’s lessons.
  •  After a hectic  or an active day, your special child needs to drink his juice or plain water ( the healthier option ), so be sure to fill his water bottle to the brim!
  • Make sure to buy a BPA and PVC free water bottle which has leak proof lid with cap.

Here are some awesome water bottles, click the image to see the price

Tritan Spiderman water bottleHearts clear water bottle
Thermos Funtainer Paw patrol

5. Pencil case

  • Choose something that is spacious enough to fit in his pencils, markers, and sharpeners.
  • Your special child will love opening and using a pencil case with designs that he loves like animal prints or his favorite cartoon character.
  • Having a pencil case will teach your special child to organize his stuff and put them back properly to where they belong. This develops in him responsibility. 

  Here are some choices. Click the image to see the price.

DC Comics Superhero pencil caseDisney Minnie mouse pencil case

 

 

6. Pencils, markers, and crayons

  • Buy as many as you can.
  • Your special child may just be starting to scribble or just beginning  to learn how to hold a pencil, but the more choices he has, the more chances of getting him excited to do his part in learning how to write.
  • If possible, buy the big grip pencils and crayons or markers.

 Here are some choices. Click on the image to see the price.

        Emoji pencils     Crayola washable 16 markersCrayola Jumbo crayons 8

 

 

 

  • You can also buy some additives that will be useful for your special child such as these  pencil grips for perfect grip for him to be inspired to write or scribble as much as he can.
  • These are useful even if the pencil is small.

Click the image to see the price ( pencil grips and erasers )

Pencil grips, ergonomic gripEmoji erasers

 

 

 

  • Your child’s teacher or school might have these items provided, but it is still best to buy so your child will have something to use at home for his homework or just for practice.  

7. Notebooks

  • Buy those with beautiful covers that your child with special needs would love to open time and again. Designs that would let him smile and giggle and get him inspired to write down because his favorite animal or cartoon character is in the cover.
  • Those with lines are the most essential ones so your child will learn how to write with proper alignment. If possible choose notebooks with three lines, so he will be guided how to write big and small letters properly.
  • These colorful notebooks will delight your special kids.

  Click the image to see the price.

Cute Tiger notebook, notebook for kids              Unicorn notebook for girls

More choices here.

 

 

8. School shoes ( and socks )

  • Find shoes that are most comfortable on his feet. You would not want your kid to be coming home limping with sore ankles because his shoes is too tight that he develops a blister after a day’s wear.
  • They should  just be the right size so your child can run or walk without difficulty while playing in the playground or doing tag with his friends and classmates.
  • Socks that will allow his feet to breathe  properly even in winter are a must. Buy socks that he can wear depending  on  the weather outside.

   Click the image to see the price for some choices of  girls’ and boys’ sneakers/ shoes.

Dream pairs Boys girls sneakers, running shoes   Skechers boys ultrapulse sneakers    Reebook kids girl's smooth glide running shoesHawkwell Girls' black shoes

9. Sweaters/ Pull overs

  • Always let your child wear a sweater or a pull over on top of his shirt  because it will usually be cold outside once school starts or put it in his bag if it is warm, so he can wear it if the weather changes.
  • This is really important if your special one still cannot express his feelings.
  • Again, sweaters with awesome designs will become a favorite of your kid. Also match the color of his sneakers with his sweater. 

Click the image to see the price of the awesome sweater  your special one will love to wear on the first day of school.

Adidas boys crew sweatshirtFull blessing Floral button -up Cardigan

 

Click the image above to see more choices

10. Clothes and accessories

  • If there is no uniform in the school that your child goes to, you may need to buy a few set of clothes especially those that he can wear and show off on the first day or week of school. 
  • He will always be proud showing off to his teacher and classmates a blouse or shirt with his all-time favorite cartoon character  or a shirt which is his favorite color.

Click the image to see the price.

Just a girl who loves horses fitted shirt   French toast Long sleeve boy's shirt  French toast girls shirtHanes big boys White shirts

Click here for more choices of clothes for your child with special needs

  • Your little girl’s hair will be pretty either tied or with an awesome bow.

Click the image to see the price.

    Goody girls elastic hair tiesRibbon Hair bows, hair clips

 

 

 

  • A cute beannie hat ( and mitts ) for your little boy or  girl that can match his or her backpack and shirt will be useful to keep his or her  head safe from some cold or draft at the start of fall.

Click the image to see the price.

                  Starwars Chewbacca beannie and mittsDisney Frozen Anna and Elsa beannie and mitts

 

 

 

11. Calming toy or pillow

  • Let him bring to school his favorite toy or pillow for calming effect especially if it is his first time to attend school. This will really be helpful to allay his fears and anxiety. 
  • You can allow him to bring it to school on the first day or week or the whole school year whichever he prefers. 
  • Your special child will be more focused with his school work if he has these handy.

If you are planning to buy, read some suggestions here.

  Click the image to see the price of the calming pillows

Calming pillows

Are you ready for school?

There you go, my dear parents, have you looked into the list of school essentials that your little one needs for his first day of  school? Did I forget anything? Hope not.

Anyway, most of the time, kids want to show off to their classmates or teachers their new backpacks, new clothes, new pencil case, etc, so I suggest buy him something new , even though some are recycled from last year or the previous years or maybe hand me downs from older siblings or cousins.

 I remember when my son was in the elementary, even though we just buy his schoolbag from the thrift store, he was so excited to show off his “new” backpack to his friends and he was proud to show off how many pockets it contains, the awesome design, etc. 

I guess even our special kids would love to show off their stuff to his teachers and classmates, so as parents, let us try to be aware that this is something that our kids get excited about school.

We don’t want him to hate his school bag or lunch bag that would ruin his enthusiasm to go to school everyday.

There’s this excitement or some fears on the first day of school that ” something new, ”  especially if it’s his favorite toy, marker,  shoes,  top, or bag and if his classmate or friend also likes it, it will be a big factor for your special child to have a reason each day to get excited to come back to school everyday.

Let the start of school be something that your special one will look forward to with an AWESOME school essential.

Look at this back to school checklist again so you won’t forget anything.

Back to school checklist

Happy shopping!

 

What is your special child’s favorite cartoon character that he wants for his backpack?  Have you bought or prepared all the essentials for his school this year?

As parents, are you excited that your special one is up to another school year of learning and discovering new things?

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Learning the Symptoms of an Autistic Child ( Up Close and Personal with Nathan )

It’s different when you just read about something, specifically about the signs and symptoms of Down syndrome and autism.

Looking at pictures or images of people with Down syndrome, they are so typical.

Even observing them from a distance, you will know that they are kids with Down syndrome.

And of course, I have lived with some family members, like Pangga, my sister who sadly passed away a few years back, and whom this website is dedicated to, and my nephew Mark, whom I see every year when we go on vacation to my home place.

But with autism, I haven’t really been with them up close. I’ve just read about them or heard some friends describe their autistic kids.

I don’t really know how they behave in person, until I met Nathan again and stayed with his family for about a week this summer.

It was a really special encounter with Nathan, being with him up close and personal for a week was something. Seeing him, I missed Pangga so much more, but being with Nathan, it was always fun and it’s like being a kid again with freshness every day, no worries, just pure awesome joy.

We planned on our vacation to be with Nathan’s family ( his mom is my sister ) and to see their place and go to some exciting adventure places.

We went to Universal Studios in Florida!

I will not discuss about Down syndrome here because they don’t really have behavior issues and just looking at their physical appearance, as I have mentioned above, you will know who they are.

I’d like to share with you more about learning the symptoms of an autistic child that I have observed in Nathan for the one week that we were together.

I really do honor my sister and her husband and their older daughter for being so patient with Nathan and so accepting of his inadequacies.

Related posts:

Big sister, little brother…. he has Down Syndrome and Autism

Down Syndrome with Autism-my Son has both and He is a Gift from God

About Special Needs Fathers ( Meet three awesome dads! )

First impressions

On our arrival, we were treated to a sumptuous dinner and some entertainment and dancing at a local restaurant. We just enjoyed watching other people gyrate to music though, because we were tired from our trip.

Nathan sat at the other end of the table beside my son and his other cousins. We observed that he always sat so close with them, like he was so welcoming and happy to be with them. He even put his arms over my son’s shoulders, like they are good old friends. This is actually the first time that they have this chance to be close together. And mine, too.

Autistic boy welcomes his cousin

We first saw Nathan about two years ago at the wedding reception of my cousin. And we were just with him for maybe an hour or so only, not having a chance to really bond with him.

This time, we lived in their house and in a rented unit in a resort in another town.

I was able to observe him from the time he woke up until he fell asleep.

I know kids in the spectrum don’t really socialize well. They don’t have eye contact and I have proven this, never did I see Nate having eye contact with anybody.

When you call his name, he never looks directly at you; it seems like he is ignoring you all the time. But he follows simple instructions and I will talk about this later.

Nathan cannot sleep

In the morning after our first night in their house, my son complained that he was able to sleep at 5:00 AM already. He slept on the same room as Nate with another cousin.

When asked why, he said Nathan didn’t sleep and was having ” seizures,” in his bed.

Of course they were not real seizures lol! Apparently, Nathan couldn’t sleep, kept on rocking in his bed all night, and only able to sleep early in the morning already.

Nathan’s parents said if he sleeps during the day, it’s hard for him to sleep during the night and he is restless.

It is said that sleep disorders are common in autism and would occur in 40-80%of children with ASD. These children could have the following:

  • A hard time falling asleep
  • Disturbed and intermittent sleep
  • Poor sleep quality
  • Irregular sleep routines
  • Waking up too early or in the middle of the night

There are several theories as to the causes of sleep disorders in children with autism, among them are the following:

1. Social cues, like seeing other people getting ready to go to sleep. Autistic kids have struggles with communication, so they may misinterpret or misunderstand these cues.

2. The hormone, melatonin, which regulates the normal sleep–wake cycle, are found in some studies of kids with autism to be higher during daytime than nighttime, thus they sleep more during daytime. Maybe this is true for Nathan.

3. Increased sensitivity to outside stimuli, such as touch or sound, so they are easily awakened even by a parent opening their bedroom door to check on them.

4. Anxiety, which is found to be quite common for kids with autism, can also affect their sleep pattern.

Nate and his stims

Every day, during our stay with Nathan’s family, I have observed his stimming behaviors. He does rocking almost daily, with no specific time, anywhere. He would rock when he is sitting in their sofa or even inside the car while traveling.

One time when we were swimming, I also noticed that he kept on circling or going around a part of the pool which had water falling from above. He ignored my request to go up the slide, instead he just kept on circling around the little water falls. He never stopped until he came out of the pool.

What is stimming or stims? It is short for self-stimulatory behavior, and is the repetition of physical movements, like hand flapping, excessive or hard blinking, head banging, snapping fingers, spinning objects, or even repetitive noises or words, and for Nathan it was always body rocking with noises, which happened that first night at their house which annoyed his cousins. My son described it as “seizures.” lol!

Stimming could lead to self-injury such as in head banging or hand biting, so fidget toys, fidget spinners and puzzles are encouraged for safe stimming.

It is said that autistics stim to meet a need, thus encouraging them to continue with their stims and not discourage them will help them to become more confident and will help them to be more regulated to avoid autistic burn out and meltdowns.

Behavioral therapists however, say stimming should be stopped especially if they are hurting themselves or others, like head banging and biting.

Stimming may look or feel very annoying to other people, like to my son that night when Nathan couldn’t sleep and just kept on rocking in his bed, but to these autistic kids, they serve real purpose, so we have to be open -minded about them.

Nathan loves the water

Autistic boy loves swimming

His cousins went swimming with him in the resort pool twice. Nathan was with his dad for the first one and with his sister and I, the second time.

He was so happy and excited dipping into the pool and loved to walk in the water. He didn’t know how to swim, so we were always on the look out for him, in case he goes to the deep end.

One young boy came close to him and started talking to him. Nathan’s dad and I appreciated the efforts of this young boy to communicate with Nathan, but of course Nate didn’t reciprocate it because, like the typical autistic child, he cannot engage in conversations, plus he is still non-verbal.

Getting him out of the water was quite a struggle, he would never get out of the pool, if he had the choice, lol!

Nathan’s way of communication

Ever since he started to regress in his speech, Nathan has only around ten words at present, according to his mom. Personally, I heard him utter only two words, “outside,” and “mas,” the latter being the Spanish word for “more”. He learned this from his Spanish teacher assistant before and if he wants more food, this is his way of communicating.

Other than that, Nathan just makes sounds all the time, sounds like he is complaining.

As mentioned awhile ago, Nate has no eye contact at all. When you call him, he might turn his head towards you after several calls and I observed that he has nystagmus-this is a common sign of Down syndrome.

Love for the riding machines

Autistic boy loves the elevator Nathan runs when he sees an elevator or an escalator. He loves riding this so much so that he wants to go in and out of these riding machines.

This was quite challenging for his parents and us, while in the airport when we were going for our plane ride home as well as my sister and her son. His parents would try to pull him ( he is so strong, much stronger than anybody except his dad! ) out of these rides because he loves getting in and out of these.

I guess this is part of his repetitive behavior or circumscribed interests as one of the unique behaviors in autism.

Autistic boy loves the escalator

Eating habits

Nathan loves to eat. He sits on the table and feeds himself from a plate of food prepared by his parents. But he cannot sit still. He would feed 3-4 tablespoons one after the other, then go to the sofa and play until somebody calls him to go to the table again.

He has a big appetite and makes noises if he is in the table and there is still no food. Like in a restaurant, his parents bring cookies for him to munch on while they wait for the food to be served.

Autistic kids could have various eating habits such as:

  • Fussy eating habits – they eat only a limited kind of food and these could be because of sensory sensitivities ( they choose only a specific texture of food ). With Nathan, he prefers smoothies than real fruit. This could also be because they like routines- same food every time, they may find it hard to try new food or are preoccupied with certain food.
  • Over eating habits – less common than fussy eating but should be watched out to avoid health problems
  • Non-food eating habits, called pica, where they would eat hair, coins, dirt or fabric. This could lead to malnutrition, infection, increased levels of toxin, etc. This needs to be addressed ASAP and try to replace non-food items with snacks and praise the child when they choose to eat the snacks.

Nathan’s pet snake- his sensory toy

Pet snake as Sensory toy

He has a toy snake, his favorite toy for the longest time. He loves to put it in his neck or toss it in the air. He would bite at it sometimes so much so that the tail end is messed up already. Maybe part of his non-food eating habit?

His aunt, my other sister who gave him the green old snake bought a new violet snake supposedly to replace the green worn one. At first, he didn’t like it, he held it for a few seconds then threw it away. After a few hours, he tried to compare the two and soon learned to like both of them.

Sensory toys are said to benefit autistic kids because they serve their sensory needs, like being focused on their sensory toy could drown out being overstimulated with outside noise, so they don’t have a meltdown.

Incidentally, I never saw Nathan having a meltdown in our one week stay with him and this maybe because he learned how to drown out noises or distractions around him with his snake.

He loves to be tickled

Nate has autism

While in the car or at home, I had numerous chances of playing with Nathan. Not that we played with toys, but just sitting close to him and singing with him or just holding his hands or tickling him.

While traveling by car, he loves to watch his favorite movie so he doesn’t get bored. Beside him, I always tried to hold his hand and I know that he loved it because aside from non-stop rocking, he smiled from time to time.

I remember, the second time that he swam with his cousins, sister and I at the resort pool, his dad tried to pull him out of the pool earlier than the rest. I tried to help his dad because he did not want to get out of the pool, and his dad said, “Tickle him, ” which I did, and true enough he did not fight with us and got out of the pool easily.

Every day is a reason to be happy

That one week with Nathan and his family have made me realize how important family is.

Especially family support for a child with special needs.

Nathan has both Down syndrome and autism and although he is still basically non-verbal and thus, non-communicative, he is loved and taken cared of wholeheartedly by his parents and sister and his extended family.

He might feel left out in a bunch of kids his age, but he has his own world and he is thriving well with his stims and his pet snake.

He has a good appetite and although he might not be able to sleep well sometimes at night, he sleeps during the day if need be.

Autistic kid having fun with cousins and sister in the resort

 

With Nathan, we all realized that life can really be lived simply with minimal worries for tomorrow.

What is important is the here and now.

See you again sometime, Nathan! Thanks for that week of pure joy and bliss.

And of course, thank you for teaching me about you, thus, learning about the symptoms of an autistic child firsthand.

 

Have you had a close encounter with an autistic child? How was your experience? We would love to hear from you.

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The Benefits of Reading Everyday ( Make Learning a Fun Experience for your Special Child )

You and l know that love for reading starts early during childhood. We, parents are the ones who need to inculcate in our children the beautiful habit of reading.

Even for our special kids, this habit of daily reading could be cultivated early on.

Of course, kids will always be kids. They enjoy time with their parents and caregivers. They will always feel safe when they are around with their beloved mom and dad, grandparent, aunt or uncle, or their nanny.

What a better way to spend time together with your special child than reading to them.

Make it a daily habit. Your child will always look forward reading with you.

I assure you there are tons of benefits of reading everyday to your special child.

Exploring books together with  your special kid is one of the best forms of parental-child bonding, maybe second to playing with them.

What are the benefits of reading to your special child?

Even if your special child has  delayed mental development, he will still enjoy sitting down with you or lying down in the bed with you.

He will always tend to snuggle or hug you while listening to your story-telling.

So aside from just being happy together, there are lots of positive output that reading to your child will bring:

  • A strong bond is developed between you and your special child.
  • Your child will have  a sense of security when he is  there in the bed or chair  with you.
  • You are both able to explore the world, your town, province or country.
  • He gradually forms a deep trust in you.
  • He learns to appreciate that you are trying to help him improve or overcome his incapacities.
  • Your special child will slowly increase his vocabulary.
  • He gradually improves his language skills.
  • His mental capability will be boosted.
  • You are opening your child’s awareness to his surroundings, thus he learns coping skills.
  • You are helping your child’s teacher in a way because  your kid will be more receptive with lessons in school.
  • Reading will develop your child’s imagination and creativity.
  • He will learn to relax and quiet his mind during reading sessions with you.

Make reading together a habit

We learn easily when we do things again and again.

Your child with special needs will truly benefit from you when you make reading to him a habit and reading with him daily is the best thing!

Rather than make your child watch nursery rhymes on television or you tube  day after day, develop the habit of reading to him instead at bedtime or just anytime that you feel he is receptive to listen to your story telling.

Making reading to him a daily thing will surely increase his trust in you and he will always look forward to that special time together.

Gradually, you are increasing his vocabulary and his understanding of his environment.

This special time will also make you feel that you are giving him a special part of you.

Enjoy reading with your child

Read aloud to your child.

Act out and speak out like the characters in the book that you are reading.

If you are reading a dialogue for an old lady, let your voice be slow and quivering. If you are reading a man’s dialogue, speak in a deep tone.

You can even mimic some animals’ sounds. Surely your child will giggle and enjoy hearing your story.

He will always look forward to reading with you everyday.

You yourself will feel very happy and at peace after these sessions.  Your child’s laughter will wash away all the worries or stresses that you maybe experiencing at that moment.

squeezy canoe for sensory needs
Read to your child in this squeezy canoe

Incorporate the assignments from school in your reading sessions

During homework time, start by reading to your child a good story book. This will develop his enthusiasm in doing his assignment.

Answering questions or completing his tasks that his teacher sent home will be a breeze if his brain is programmed to respond positively.

Encourage him to answer his homework by himself.  Let him ask you questions as well or let him know that you can help him if he cannot answer the questions.

Guide him if you can, instead of giving him all the answers. This way, you are encouraging him to think and decide for himself what is the best answer.

His teacher will be very appreciative learning that you are there to help her encourage your child to learn each day.

Related post: Special Education Teaching-Facing Challenges and Feeling Fulfilled 

Read various topics

To increase your special child’s vocabulary and develop his language skills, try to read a variety of topics from animals, cartoon characters, plants, school, home, family, food, etc.

After reading, talk about the story that you just read.

Ask him questions like, ” What part of the story did you like most? “, “Who is your favorite character? “, or ” What did you learn from the story?”

Encourage him to ask questions to you as well. This will also gauge if he understood the topic or not.

An inquisitive mind is open to more learning.

This post contains affiliate links. Please read the full affiliate disclosure here.

Here are some awesome books for your special one.

Click the picture to buy!

Love You Forever

I would like to mention especially this book, Love You Forever, by Robert Munsch.  This has been  my favorite book ever since I read it to my son back when he was younger.

I have given away most of my son’s children’s books, but not this.

I’ve kept it and I read it again and again, even just by myself. It’s so beautiful and inspiring.

It tells about a mother’s love, which is unconditional and infinite, from birth up until the son grew old.

Love you Forever is so rich with moral lessons, especially about a mother’s love which was later on reciprocated by her son. 

The story is so touching, you could’t help but cry after reading it because it’s so full of love and gratefulness. 

Go grab this book, the very young and the old alike will truly appreciate it and be touched by this book. 

Keep reading time short and sweet

A special child will have limited attention span, so plan to read short stories. Their intellectual capacities are also restricted, so they lose interest easily.

You might need to speak very slowly too, so he can understand every word and appreciate the story.

Don’t be upset when your child doesn’t decipher everything that you read to him. Keep in mind that he has delayed mental capabilities, so his brain is slow to digest.

Instead, always appreciate that he enjoys time with you even though he is learning slowly. 

Plan on going to the library regularly

A trip to the library on a weekend or right after school on a certain day is something that you can develop with your special child.

This will teach him the value of reading regularly. Likewise, he will be exposed to different books and topics.

Let him choose what he wants you to read to him. This way, you will encourage him to explore.

Start with small books or short stories.

Picture books are awesome for small kids to begin with.

You yourself can also borrow your own books while visiting the library. Always find time to read, this is a very relaxing ” me ” time for you, my dear parents.

Introduce reading to your special child from birth

Reading to your newborn or a few months old special baby can certainly give benefits both to you and him.

You will develop a special bond right away aside from his feeding schedules.

His brain will be exposed very early to this stimulating activity and as he grows and develops, reading will aid  in forming his language skills early on.

Your voice will soothe him to let him sleep good at night.

Developing that good habit of reading everyday will surely help him overcome his mental delay sooner because his brain will be rewired early.

As your child grows older, he would be learning to choose his favorite topic, author, or book.

All these because you have started to expose him early on and he has developed that habit of reading ( or listening to you while you read, if he has not learned reading by himself ).

Reap the benefits of reading everyday to your special child by starting early on!

I hope I have inspired you, dear mom and dad to start reading to your special child now and continue this awesome bonding activity daily!

Wishing you and your child happy reading!

Check out my favourite AMAZON picks  for babies here. 

The Benefits of Reading Everyday

When did you start reading to your special child?  Are you reading to him everyday?

What is his favorite book about? Please share your story with us.

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How to Prepare for Camping with a Special Child ( Summer Escapade Galore!! )

Now that school is done in two weeks and summer is almost here, what better way to relax but to go camping!

Plan and prepare what to bring so nothing is missed and everybody can enjoy and have fun.

But wait, can you bring your special child with the whole family?

Of course, he may have special needs but he has the right to enjoy and spend time with everybody.

This will be a special bonding time for everyone – to relax, unwind, breathe some fresh air and enjoy nature.

Let’s go and delve on how to prepare for camping with a special child in tow.

I promise you, it will be a summer escapade galore!

Camping with a special needs child is fun!

Where to go

Months or weeks in advance, you need to plan where the family wants to go and reserve or book the place.

I assume you did this already. Did you book a cabin or a tent area? Or are you bringing your camper? Either way, all three are fun places to stay.

Is your site somewhere close, like half an hour ride or maybe up to 2 hours is good. But some families love to go long driving, like a 3-4 hour or more travel, which might be uncomfortable though for the kids, especially your special one.

You can actually make a long trip comfy by breaking it into shorter trips. How do you do that?

Rest in between, like after an hour or two, look for a park with a picnic table or a grocery store with some benches outside where you can rest or maybe eat your snacks or lunch.

Even a 30-45 minute rest would give everyone a space to relax and a time to stretch and fill the hungry tummy.

Then, off you go again for another ride. Make sure that you let Dad or whoever is driving know that you need to stop every after 1-2 hours of driving to recharge.

Plan your activities and meal preparation

Planning is key to success, comfort, and fun in camping.

If you are camping with your extended family or friends, like what we do all the time, for sure there maybe a minimum of 4-5 families or around 16-25 people.

For a big group like this, it will be surely fun and the most important thing is to decide how you will prepare your meals.

For our group, we usually assign which family prepares this or that meal, so we prepare and cook only once or twice for that weekend get away.

On the first day though, that is on check in day, each family brings packed lunch or dinner, so we don’t worry what to eat when we get to the site and we can focus on pitching our tents or preparing for the first night.

That said, you know what food and cooking utensils to bring when you have planned your menu for your assigned day and specific meal. For example, you don’t need to bring eggs when you are assigned to prepare dinner on a Saturday.

Swimming is an all-time favorite activity for kids including your special one.

When booking for a camp, always look if the site has a swimming pool or a suitable lake. Be sure to be with your kids at all times during these activities for safety reasons.

Outdoor games like badminton, frisbee or parlor games would be fun as well for the whole family.

Be sure to bring those rackets and shuttlecocks, frisbee flying disks and materials for parlor games like sacks, big hankies, empty bottles, etc.

What to bring

It is best to make a list of what to bring so you will not forget anything or at least you will be able to bring the most essential things that you need.

I remember in one of our tent campings, my husband forgot to bring our sleeping bags, it’s good that my brother’s family were in their camper with heating, so they let us use their sleeping bags.

Here is a list of what you will need:

1. Shelter and sleeping needs

  • Tent- make sure that what you have from years before is still usable and clean, otherwise, you have to buy again. Does it fit everybody or do you need an additional tent if everybody will not be accommodated? If you want to purchase a new one, you can buy at AMAZON by clicking here.
  • Sleeping mattress or airbed- don’t forget to bring the pump to put some air
  • Sleeping bag – it is usually cold late at night and early morning, so this is really important; suitable for one to 3 -persons depending on the number of family members; lots of choices at AMAZON.
  • Pillows
  • Extra blankets- the regular ones that you can use at daytime when you want to have a nap or just want to lie down
  • Weighted blanket- if you have one, bring it!

This post contains affiliate links. Read here the full affiliate disclosure.

2. Cooking materials

  • Stove
  • Match or a lighter
  • Propane
  • Kettle, frying pan, rice cooker – you have to know what food are you cooking so you know what to bring
  • Laddle
  • Chopping board

3. Eating utensils

  • Disposable plates, spoons and forks, glasses
  • Serving spoons
  • Napkins

4. Clean up materials including stuff for bathing and swimming

  • Towels
  • Tissue paper
  • Boxed tissue
  • Toiletries-including soap, body wash, body scrub or sponge, shampoo, toothbrush and toothpaste, dental floss
  • Bathing suit
  • Sunblock
  • Make-up, lipstick, deodorants
  • Diapers ( click to buy ) for small kids or even for your non-toilet trained special one

5. Food and Water ( think of your assigned meal plan so you don’t miss anything )

  • Bottled water
  • Water for cooking in a large container
  • Rice
  • Cooler with ice and hot dogs, pre-cooked food
  • Fruits
  • Snacks-cookies, chips, nuts
  • Drinks, including milk for young kids and your special one
  • Coffee or chocolate for grown-ups
  • Bread
  • Travel food in a separate bag for long trips- usually cookies, nuts, including water
  • Pre-packed lunch or dinner depending on your check-in time so you can concentrate on putting up your tent upon arrival
  • Other food- meat, fish, dried food such as beans, eggs, vegetables, spices, salt, marshmallow, etc

6. Clothes

  • Sweaters, jackets, toque, scarves, mitts- Be prepared for cold nights and on early mornings
  • Jogging pants- especially because there could be mosquitoes or ticks
  • Jammies, preferably long-sleeve tops
  • Socks
  • Shorts and light-colored or white shirts for daytime use when it’s usually hot
  • Underwears
  • Caps or hats

7. Other Essentials

  • Flashlight
  • Light for the tent and for your dining table
  • Camp chairs
  • Alcohol or disinfectant
  • Sunblock
  • Insect repellant
  • Coins- some showers need coins to function
  • Hanging ropes for wet towels and clothes
  • Books and board games – reading to your special one can still continue outside or inside your
  • Camera or phone
  • House keys
  • Travel diary if you are fond of recording your experiences
  • CD’s to entertain you while traveling for long trips
  • Slippers
  • Balls, Badminton sets, freebies
  • Small toys for your special child
  • Lightweight stroller for your special kid- very important!

Related post: How to Travel with a Stroller: Ten Best Lightweight Strollers ( for Children with Special Needs ) 

What do you do during camping?

 

When you have small kids and a special child with you, fun activities need to be planned so they don’t get bored.

Activities that kids enjoy are swimming, outdoor sports like biking, ball games, badminton, etc.

Hiking could also be fun if your special child can walk by himself.

Let him stroll at the start then maybe carry him later in your back if he gets tired. Then plan to go back to your tent at this point, otherwise your back will get sore carrying him for a very long walk.

As you progress with your hike, show your special child the plants, flowers, trees, or animals around you and this could be an educational experience for him as well.

Campfire and barbecuing or grilling hot dogs and marshmallows are things that they also love.

This is a special time for families and friends to bond by sharing experiences or jokes around a campfire, or sharing music by singing in a guitar accompaniment, if your family is musically-inclined.

If possible, tell your kids to limit the use of social media ( phones, laptops, DVDs, etc ) and instead encourage them to play active games and interact with family especially siblings and cousins their age.

After the camping, what?

Be sure to ask your older kids to help you out with folding the tent and keeping all the things that you need to bring home.

Make your trip back home fun by playing music and singing while traveling. If you think your special child cannot handle the noise, put on him an earphone.

You can also play games in your car, like the ” I spy ” game where you take turns in saying something that you see around, for example, a red flower, and let the other family members guess where it is.

When you are already close to where you live, you can eat out in a restaurant so you don’t have to prepare another meal at home because by then you will be very tired.

Then, putting away stuff is another hurdle to do. Try to keep all things in their proper places so when you need them again in your next camping trip, you know where to look for them.

Inspect all your stuff and clothing to make sure that you don’t have ticks with you.

Remember, that weekend with your family including your special one is a precious event.

He will always cherish those times with you. Keep memories alive through pictures and videos.

Lastly, if possible, allot a day for rest and to put all stuff in proper places before you go back to work , so productivity in your workplace is not affected.

Till next camping!

Prepare for camping with a special child

Do you and your family love camping? Do you always bring your child with special needs? Not that hard, right? Please share your experiences with us.

Summer Photobook
Collect memories in a photobook. Click the image to start.

 

 

 

Mixbook photobook

 

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About Special Needs Fathers ( Meet three awesome dads! )

Let’s talk about special needs fathers this time. 

It’s almost Father’s day and what better way to honor them than to put out this post on how they are as partners of their wives in taking care of their special kids.

We all know that there are lots of struggles in raising up kids, more so if they have special needs and these become challenges that are easier to hurdle if both parents are present for their kids.

Thus, we cannot underestimate the help that our special needs fathers do.

I don’t know if you agree that dads give more tough love than moms, and I don’t know if they are really tough even with their special kids.

Let’s all find out, shall we?

This post may contain affiliate links. Read about our full affiliate disclosure here.

Jojo and Nathan

 

A very responsible family man, Jojo is a full time nurse who likes to go fishing and do some basic carpentry in his free time.

Married also to a nurse, they have 2 kids, their eldest daughter is in  medical school and the youngest is Nathan, “the most special in the family, ” according to him.

Tell us about Nathan

Nathan is now 12, he was born with Down syndrome and diagnosed with autism later between 8-9 years old but started to show signs at 4 years old .

At present, he’s still having a hard time expressing his needs.”

 When did you know that Nathan was special and how did you react?

” Actually, I was in the Philippines attending to my sister’s funeral when I learned that my son had questionable genes and that they would have to do some studies later to confirm his diagnosis, since he had the features of Down syndrome.

 It was like a double blow on my part, attending to my sister’s funeral and my son having Down syndrome, at that time in my life.

 And I was helpless because I was in the Philippines and my wife was still in the hospital since she delivered earlier than expected. I couldn’t get to the US in time for the birth of my son and I couldn’t miss my sister’s funeral. “

According to his wife, Diane, it was really difficult for him to accept at first. ” Jojo was given a parental leave for a few weeks, he just can’t function and think straight. I had to encourage and push him to get up and move on.

It took him probably 2 months to accept everything that happened to us.”

Related post: Down Syndrome with Autism-my son has both and he is a Gift from God!

Is there a special activity that you bond together as dad and son? 

” We like to watch TV and listen to music together. We also love visiting my sister and her husband who lives in the same city as us. “

How do you share with your wife in taking care of Nathan?

Down syndrome boy with dad

 

” We take turns, since we’re both working 12 hours, on our days off (we alternate our work schedules, too so that there is always someone present for Nathan) and I bring Nathan to  let him attend to some activities, like soccer and basketball with the other special needs kids via special olympics.

I also like to cook and Nathan loves to eat ( and me ) so, this is one thing that my wife loves me doing for Nathan and our family.

When Nathan was younger and starting to be potty trained, I really tried hard to let him go to the bathroom on specific times of the day and before I went to work and it all paid off.

He has been fully toilet-trained since he was around seven.”

Related post: How to Potty Train a Child with Special Needs…When is the Best Time to Start?

Do you have any fears or concerns about his future?

” Yeah, since we’re getting old and we don’t know what will happen to his future.

Luckily he has a sister who loves him very much and willing to take care of him. 

Hopefully by that time he can express what he wants and his needs and will be able to do some daily basic living activities. “

Related post: Big sister, Little brother…he has Down syndrome and Autism!

Does he have any big challenges at the present and how do you handle them?


” Nathan doesn’t talk and when he doesn’t get his way he stomps upstairs and won’t come downstairs for awhile or unless someone goes to get him.

 We put a certain time limit and if he doesn’t come down, we check on him or we turn on one of his favorite shows so he will hear it and come downstairs. 

He also hurts people, especially if he’s in an unfamiliar environment and can’t communicate what he wants.

To amend that, we just talk to him in a nice way and explain that hurting people isn’t what you’re supposed to do.”

 Is there an activity that he excels?


“He doesn’t have any noticeable talent yet. He just enjoys watching TV, looking through his books, playing with his favorite stuffed toy snake, or listening to music.”

How does Nathan make you and your family happy?

Down syndrome boy with family

” We are glad when he is enjoying his shows and is dancing with the music that also occurs in the program. 

Sometimes whenever he listens to simple things that we say like,” Help us prepare the table,” and then does what we say, we are happy.

 We also enjoy when he shows that he is responsible, like he brings the laundry basket back to its proper place and when returning home from school he will take off his shoes and socks and place them by the door where they belong without any prompting from us.”

 How do you celebrate Father’s day?

” Simply, we just have a family dinner together at a restaurant. Or enjoy food with extended family. “

Down syndrome boy with DadHow did Nathan affect your views on life? 

” Sometimes, we  still question why there is such a  thing as a special kid.

 We wonder if everybody should be the same with their knowledge and growth.

 Many times we ask why do we have to take care of Nathan with things, when other kids can do them by themselves. “

Any advice to other special needs dads on how to take care of their special child?

” Just be patient with everything that they do.

Sometimes they get frustrated when they can’t do it the first time or within a certain amount of time, so just explain how to do it with simple words, try to make eye contact, and get down to their level. 

This shows that you see them as an equal and are not looking down on them (as opposed to standing) giving off a commanding vibe. 

Also when interacting with them or if you’re trying to get their attention, do it in a playful manner.

Lastly, spend as much time with them as possible. “

 Any other experiences with Nathan that you want to share?

“He loves to stay with us when it’s bedtime and is reluctant to leave our room to go to his own bed, but because of his bad habits when sleeping (wanting to occupy the whole space) we have to make him go to his room.

 Lastly, he loves the water but sometimes when we go to the beach, it’s a struggle since he doesn’t want to go home.”

Click here to get ten inspirational quotes about kids and parenting.

Arnold and Alyanna

A hardworking dad juggling two jobs, Arnold is a caring father to three kids with Alyanna as the youngest.

As busy as he is with his jobs, he still finds time to fix their house,  ( his hobby ) and when he starts a project, he doesn’t stop until it’s done.

His latest project was making a washroom in their basement from scratch.

A self-made handy man indeed!

And a man of few words.

Tell us about Alyanna

Girl with Cornelia de Lange syndrome

 

” My daughter Alyanna is a sweet little 6 year old child,  with Cornelia de Lange Syndrome

She just learned how to walk confidently on her own and she has been roaming around our house lately.

As long as her tummy is full and she has enough sleep, she is just full of energy and smiles. “

When did you know that Alyanna was special and how did you react?

” At birth, we were told that Alyanna might have Down syndrome, so work up was done right away, but eventually, she was diagnosed with Cornelia de Lange syndrome.

It was easy for me to accept her condition, after all, she is still our sweet little girl. “

Is there a special activity that you bond together as dad and daughter?

Girl with Cornelia de Lange syndrome and dad

” Singing and playing the guitar is our favorite bonding activity.

Alyanna really listens to me intently when I do this.

When I feed her, I also let her watch Nursery rhymes in my cellphone and she loves it.

She smiles and laughs a lot!”

How do you share with your wife in taking care of Alyanna?

” We work alternate shifts, but my mother who is visiting,  is having the bigger  part of taking care of Alyanna these days.

I’m a hands-on dad, so I have learned how to change her diapers and give her food to eat. “

Do you have any fears or concerns about her future?

” Yes, I just hope that when she is older and we are not around anymore, her siblings could help her in whatever way. 

We have been saving some money too, for her future care. “

Does Alyanna have any big challenges at the present and how do you handle them?

She is non-verbal, so communication is a big challenge, and she is still very dependent  on us for everything, so our love for her and lots of patience do the trick.

Is there an activity that Alyanna enjoys doing?

” As of now, she likes to walk around the house and listen to me while I  play the guitar.

She also loves watching Nursery rhymes in the cellphone or the television.”

How does Alyanna make you and your family happy?

Girl with Cornelia de Lange syndrome with family

 

” She is so amiable that her smile and laugh is contagious. ” 

How do you celebrate Father’s day?

” Usually I’m working on Father’s day, but my family finds time to celebrate with me, like we eat out in a restaurant. “

Was there an impact to you when Alyanna came into your life? 

” Yes, indeed I became more resilient to the challenges of life.”

Papa Erning and Pangga

My dad is caring in his unique way, which I call tough love. He is a disciplinarian, especially for my brothers, who when they were younger, would challenge him in some ways.

Dad of a Down syndrome girl

Even Pangga then had challenging times when Papa would reprimand her for taking too long in the shower and wasted lots of water.

Papa has mellowed over the years, but his grandchildren would still get his “tough discipline,” from time to time when they would sneak those ice candies from the fridge that were for sale.

Oh well, I guess Papa’s tough love has made us learn how to discipline our very own kids.

 When did you learn that Pangga was special and how did you react? 


” When we learned later that Pangga was special, we took extra care of her, especially giving her breastmilk from her mom and some milk supplement, too.

It was easy to accept that she is a gift from God and a lucky charm for our family.”

 Share with us Pangga’s  growth and development.

I don’t exactly remember at what age Pangga learned how to walk and talk, but I’m sure it was later than her other siblings. 

When she was big enough, my wife’s aunt took care of Pangga because there were 4 other younger siblings  after her. 

Every afternoon, they would go to church, so Pangga learned how to sing the prayer ” Our Father,” in the Filipino version.

 Eventually, she learned how to talk and would answer simple questions. 

She loved to sing, she had a good voice, thus singing became constant for her. “

How did you share with your wife in taking care of Pangga?

 I would help the best that I could, like prepare her bed, food, and give her medicine when she was sick.

 We are a big family, and although there were nannies to help, I was always there to support my wife in whatever way I can. “

Do you remember any struggles or big challenges as she was growing up?

” Nothing serious when Pangga was growing up, but just before her demise, she got sick with slight fever and wouldn’t eat for about a week until the local doctor treated her for a urinary tract infection.

 Later she was brought to hospital because she stopped peeing. Her tummy was observed to be swollen after a day and was advised to be brought  to a tertiary hospital in the city where the doctors found a serious abdominal infection due to ruptured appendicitis and pneumonia.

Her sisters brought her to the city, and we stayed behind in the province because my wife and I are already quite frail for our age to travel.”

Did you hope that Pangga would grow old?

Girl with Down syndrome

” From early on, we knew that people like Pangga don’t really grow old, more like they pass away in their 20’s, so we feel that we were  lucky to be with her until she was  46 years old.

Though we were unprepared of her death, somehow, we were comforted that she is now in heaven without those pains and suffering, and looks upon us from up there.

We know that she is now an angel looking after us.”

How did Pangga make you and your family happy?

” Being special, we always believed that she was the lucky charm in our family. 

Her innocence and her no nonsense humor made us happy. 

Just listening to her songs with some funny lyrics made our day. “

Related post: Luxury on Mother’s day…our Special needs moms deserve it

What do you miss most about Pangga?

” Pangga’s presence in our family is missed so much since she was considered the lucky gem and our home felt so empty without her, especially for the first few months after she passed away.

 It has been almost five years that she’s gone and we have accepted it and used to not seeing her around anymore, although her memories will always stay with us.

Of course, when we see people like her, we do really miss her!

She was the first ever member who has gone ahead,  in our family of twelve.

 Our home used to be somewhat busy with her presence because she was considered the youngest, and mentally she was like 5-6 years old only, thus we have to remind her always about lots of stuff like, to wash her hands before and after eating, after using the toilet and to take a bath and limit her time in the bathroom.

You know if you have kids around the house, it always feels busy and chaotic.

We also miss her singing that even in the middle of the night, she would sing when she couldn’t sleep.”


Down syndrome girl is considered the youngest in the family

How do you celebrate Father’s day?

” If we have enough budget, we prepare food for family and extended family.

Usually our kids from abroad call us on this special day and sometimes they give me money to spend for some celebration.

Just knowing that my children are all successful in their careers and married life, with the exception of my other special child ( he is now 56 but mentally, like 7-8 only ), my wife and I are happy that we have raised responsible kids who always see to it that our medical needs are met and are always willing to help us out in whatever way.

For me, I don’t need big celebrations for Father’s day, my children’s greetings and well wishes are all that matters.”

 

There you go, three special needs fathers and their experiences in raising their special kids.

Their support and help to their wives cannot be ignored, always appreciated.

To my brothers-in-law, Jojo and Arnold, and my dad, Papa Erning, thank you for all that you did and are still doing for Nathan, Alyanna, Pangga and Batch.

To my other brother-in-law, Aries, whom I failed to interview, your care and love for Mark is much appreciated, as well.

Related post: A Mother’s Unconditional Love.. It is for Real

It’s really challenging raising our kids, more so if they have special needs,  but of course they  give our families pure joy and bliss with their innocence.

Happy Father’s day to all our special needs dads out there!

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Hey, special needs dads, what is your best bonding activity with your special kid? Please share with us.

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Down Syndrome with Autism-My Son has both and he is a Gift from God!

I have written a post on Mother’s day about five awesome special needs moms and Diane was one of them.

She described her life with Nathan a little bit in that article and today, you will learn more about their story. Their extraordinary life of Down syndrome with Autism.

Related post : Luxury on Mother’s day…our special needs moms deserve it 

Me and Diane

Let me bring you first to the time when we were younger. Diane is my sister and we have 4 years in between us, so basically we have plenty of times growing up together.

We went to the same schools from elementary, to high school, until university. As little girls, our mom would sew us the same clothes, like we were twins. I think she would wear hand-me-downs from me as well.

When she graduated from the elementary, I graduated from high school.

Because I did another four years in medical school, we shared the same dormitory when she enrolled in Nursing. Would you believe, she was more determined in reviewing her lessons than me, she would stay up later at night than me.

But of course, even if I slept early, I would wake up in the middle of the night or early the next morning to catch up on my review. I guess we just have different ways of studying.

She got married earlier than me and went abroad earlier as well, so later on, we just saw each other a few times every few years but of course, the bond will be always there as sisters.

Okay, off to their story, the real story of this blog.

I’ll be repeating some questions from the previous post but this is just so you will understand more if you were not able to read the other post.

Tell us about yourself and your family.

Down syndrome child with family

” My name is Diane, a post-op surgical nurse, married to an OR nurse, with two kids.

I was 42 when I had Nathan, who was diagnosed with Down syndrome at birth and autism at around 8-9 years old, although he already showed early signs like losing his words at around 4. 

Joanne, my eldest is now 24 and Nathan is almost 13. “

Related post: Big sister, little brother- he has Down syndrome and autism

Did you know that Nathan had Down syndrome when you were pregnant?

” I didn’t believe right away even though it was 25 % + in my blood work because two of my friends were 25% + and gave birth to healthy babies .

Also, series of ultrasound didn’t show any sign of Down syndrome .

My specialist wanted to do amniocentesis, but I declined.

Of course, he was not happy of my decision, but he can’t do anything if it’ll show that my baby has Down syndrome.

I’ll just be in pain and there’s a possibility of losing the baby. He was slightly annoyed because he can’t convince me.

I told the doctor that whether my baby comes out with congenital defects or Down syndrome, we would still accept and love him.

And that’s why I chose his name to be Nathaniel because it means gift from God, according to the book of baby names.”

How did you react when you learned that he had Down syndrome at birth?

” When Nathan was born, they told me right away in the delivery table that they will test him for trisomy 21 because of the typical upward slant of his eyes and the straight line on his left hand.

I gave my permission, but I was in denial because even though I have a sister with Down syndrome, I heard from old folks that the possibility of having another Down syndrome in the family will come in the next generation.

I was told that day that the result was positive!

My pleasant day turned into silence of worries.

I was alone in my room.

The parent's guide to Down Syndrome
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Babies with Down Syndrome ( A new parent's guide )
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Our eleven year old daughter was in school.

My husband was not yet back from the Philippines. Two weeks prior to my expected delivery, his sister died suddenly and I let him go to pay his last respect.

And we moved temporarily to my sister- in-law while he was away just in case I needed help anytime.

I made an overseas call the next morning to let my husband know that I gave birth already. I also told him that our son was diagnosed with Down syndrome.

Another moment of silence on the other end and he flew back right away after his sister was laid to rest. “

Was your pregnancy with Nathan the same as your first?

My pregnancy was wonderful. I felt so good and energized after 11 years of trying. Was it because he was a boy?

On my girl who was my first one, I had these horrible feelings all day long for 7 months. I just couldn’t understand what’s going on with my body!

That’s why it took me 5 years to forget my first pregnancy.

I even had postpartum blues – I would suddenly burst out crying loud without any reason when it was only me and my baby at home.”

After diagnosis at birth what happened next?

” There were a lot of struggles from the beginning of Nathan’s life in the outside world.

My mind started to get pre-occupied with things that needed to be attended to everyday.

For a few days, we had to go back to the hospital for more tests that I don’t remember exactly now.

I knew we made appointments to his new pediatrician, cardiologist, urologist, endocrinologist, and geneticist.

Those were quite overwhelming!

There were back and forth appointments almost every week to see his different specialists.

Then we were referred to government agencies who evaluated him in their offices and we were also interviewed at home by their own coordinators.

Physical therapy started when he was 3 months old followed by Occupational therapy, then Speech therapy when he was a little bit older.

They would come to our house 1-2 x per week and that would depend on their evaluation and assessment.

We were just so thankful that we all have those supports. “

How was Nathan’s early development?

Down syndrome child starts school

” At three years old, Nate was placed in the school system so he can socialize.

But before that, I was advised to put him on a daycare.

I found a nearby daycare that I like, but one day during pick up time he was eating his chicken nuggets and he got choked.

We had to do Heimlich maneuver till it got dislodged.

His first 2 yrs in prekindergarten was very exciting. Nathan enjoyed his class.

He knew about more or less 100 words at this time.

He liked to say “hi” to everyone, he was the greeter of the class. “

You said Nathan was diagnosed with autism at 8-9 years old. Can you elaborate on this?

” When he was four,  he had flu shot for the first time per his doctor’s advice and encouragement because I was very hesitant for him to have it.

He got sick for about a week with slight fever after the needle.

And we noticed that he stopped talking.

He couldn’t even identify the pictures in the flash cards.

I was so angry with the doctor !

I called the clinic to inform them about the reactions that I noticed in him.

It took about a year before Nathan got 25 words back from the flash cards, even if he was on speech therapy in school.

Since then until now, Nathan doesn’t get flu shots anymore.

( As a Pediatrician, I always convince my sister that this is not due to the vaccine, but only coincidence that Nathan started showing signs of autism during the time of the vaccines. )

At his annual checkup when he was 6 years old, we were told that he’s due again for booster vaccinations.

Again, I was worried that Nathan will react to these 4 vaccines that they will give him. The doctor gave me assurance that they are different vaccines this time and there’s no evidence that these vaccines can cause autism.

Nathan had overt signs of autism at this time- he liked to isolate himself, loved to wiggle his socks on the air after he removed them, circled our living room, and enjoyed rocking for hours in our recliner/ rocking chair.

We moved the chair to our garage & he would still visit and rock himself there even without light.

Rocks back and forth as sign of autism

The doctor further said that the person who made the article about autism as caused by vaccination was already in prison for giving a false statement to the public.

I was convinced of course, knowing it’ll protect my son for any future ailments.

And once again, he got sick for about a week and the more that he didn’t talk .

His behavior got worse as well.

He would always pull our hair, couldn’t follow simple instructions, pinched us all the time, including his teachers and other kids in school.

Uniquely wired-A story about autism and its gifts
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Uniquely human - a different way of seeing autism
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Another therapy was added, it’s behavior therapy this time and he was about 7 years old then, and done with physical therapy at 6 years old.

Thank God, Nathan got better gradually and he also got bladder trained around 7 years old.

It took awhile for him to be officially diagnosed with autism because our insurance stopped paying fully when he was more than three and it was so expensive to see a developmental pediatrician and other therapists.

So I have to look for a doctor who did not charge very much because we were spending from our own pockets. “

What are your fears for his future and how are you preparing for this?

” That’s always in my mind because he’s my son . Sometimes I worry because he’s not that independent and he has only one sister who could help him in the future.

So, we already signed some papers in the government agency that Nathan can live outside his family if he chooses to be independent someday.

This is part of government benefit here in our place and we are thankful that they will help in taking care of him.”

How is Nathan at present?

” He has only around ten words that he says constantly and he’s basically non-verbal but he can express himself in his own way.

He goes to a Special Education program everyday for 6 hours and he loves it!
Nathan loves going to school

He wakes up in the morning without struggle, eats his breakfast, brushes his teeth and off he goes.

He usually takes a bath before bedtime.

Nathan loves to eat anything especially chicken or any meat for that matter.

He scoops the meat first on the table and eats the veggies later. If he is alone in the table, he will grab all the meat!

He doesn’t like whole fruits though, so I blenderize them, 3-4 kinds at a time, all fruits, no sugar or milk, so I always put in banana to sweeten the taste.

Nathan still does behavior therapy at school for 15 hours per week.

And he has improved a lot!

He does not isolate himself anymore in the corner, no more shaking of his socks in the air, no more biting, pulls our hair less frequently, and less circling and rocking.

Nate does seasonal sports in school like basketball, as well as weekly music and dance therapy.

Outside of school, he loves to swing at the park and swim. “

Do you have some advises to moms out there on how to take care of their special child?

” Be a friend to your special child, explain everything that you do so they can follow whatever you are teaching them, they will learn eventually though slow, of course.

By repeating things, they will be able to recall in due time.

Praise all the time, they usually like the positive and happy approach.

I tickle Nathan when he does not follow quickly whatever I tell him.

Don’t hurt them, just be patient and calm, with a happy tone plus explanation then they will eventually follow.

Teach them how to be responsible, like let them bring their own clothes or socks from the closet when they need to change.

Or let them bring light grocery items from the car to the house and their backpack to the car when going to school and when getting inside your home from school.

Most of all, give them lots of hugs and kisses, that way they will feel your love and care. “

Down syndrome and autism- my son has both and he is a gift from God

 

What has been your biggest challenge in raising your special child? Please share your story with us.

 

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How to Travel with Family including your Special Child ( with Less Stress )

Have you tried going somewhere with your whole family including your special child?

I sure did, with my son who was only three years old then. He is not special but being very young of course has its own challenges and it was our first international travel as a family.

Later in 2016, we traveled again across the globe, this time with my sister who had 3 young kids and one of them is special plus my son who was already eleven that time, but still a kid especially if he is with his young cousins.

During that trip, we had a problem with our checked-in luggage at the lay over airport where we stayed for about 8 hours overnight. Our spouses were not with us and we had to check out our big boxes and travel bags and check in them again early the next morning for our next flight.

We had to contact a friend from that place which took awhile because they were out to someplace, but of course, they helped us and took our luggage to their place and brought them to the airport again the following morning.

Because we knew that we were staying overnight at that place and because we had kids along, I booked for a hotel close to the airport so we could comfortably sleep and maybe let the kids go for a swim at their pool before bedtime.

Lo and behold because of that problem with our luggage, we were able to stay in our hotel for only about 3 hours and it was already midnight when we checked in. Of course, the kids were so disappointed and my sister and I and were so tired already that we just hit the bed and slept for the remaining 3 hours.

From that experience, we learned valuable lessons, therefore I have some suggestions on how to travel with  family including your special child with less stress.

This post may contain affiliate links. Click here to read the full affiliate disclosure. 

1. Plan ahead of time

Plan ahead of time to make travel less stressful

  • One year to six months before travel, look for the place where you want to go. Research where you can stay and find out what amenities they have so you can plan on the activities that you can do to enjoy. Remember you are traveling to have fun or to visit family and friends.
  • Ask time off from work before buying tickets. Be sure that your supervisor allows you to have this vacation or if you are self-employed, plan so your work is free during that time or you have accomplished what needs to be done so you don’t have to think of work when you are on vacay.
  • Ask permission from the school and teachers of your child if your vacay falls on schooldays; tell them the date, how long is the absence from class and if they have exams to give before the trip or homework that they can let your child bring so he will not miss a lot.
  • Buy your two-way plane tickets 4-6 months in advance so they are paid off when it’s time for you to leave. You can also buy tickets that are lower in price when you book in advance. Again be sure that when you buy, you are sure of the date because re-booking will cause you to lose more money.
  • If you have 1 or more layovers, be sure to look into connecting flights with less than 4 hours layover, otherwise, you will have to check out your luggage and check in again at the next flight. That’s what happened to us. A hard lesson learned! To be sure, when you check in at your local airport, ask if your checked in luggage are to be picked up in your final destination.

2. Make a checklist

Checklist on how to travel with less stress

  • What to do before the trip– check if the passports are updated or if about to expire, apply for a renewal if needed, ask permission from work and school, buy plane or train tickets in advance and book accommodations.
  • What to prepare– your luggage need to be ready at least a month to two weeks before the trip to minimize forgetting things. Do you need to buy new luggage in case the ones that you have are old and outdated?
  • What to buy for the trip- Do you need to buy gifts for families or friends that you will visit in this trip? Make a checklist of the people or the families that you need to give to. Or do you need to buy new clothes, swimwear, toiletries, etc?
  • What to bring for the trip- clothes, toiletries, gifts for friends and families if meeting them, swimming attire, lightweight stroller for young or special kids. This is very important, so everything that you need will be in your luggage.
  • Where to go – visit museums, go to theme parks, like Disney parks, go to resorts. Encourage the older kids to research where they want to go including the addresses, trip plans, tickets, etc. If you can book in advance those tickets, it’s really encouraged so you won’t miss those shows that you want to watch.
  • Final checklist a few days before the trip-things or essentials that need to be put to your luggage or personal bag at the last minute, so you won’t forget, like passports, tickets, toiletries, cellphones, etc.

3. Bring stuff to make the plane ride fun and easy

Favorite toy on a plane ride

  • Head pillows are really helpful so you can sleep well during travel especially if you are having a long trip.
  • Snacks- Kids get hungry easily so bring food so they won’t get so fuzzy. Grab easy to swallow food such as yogurt or bananas for those who have chewing or swallowing issues.
  • Milk for the younger kids, especially if they are still bottle feeding or even in sippy cups and still dependent on milk for their daily sustenance.
  • Books and art materials like coloring books- to keep your kids busy so they won’t get bored.
  • Sweater and socks– needed if the temperature might become too cold
  • Favorite toy– a sensory toy would help your special child feel relaxed throughout the trip
  • Weighted blanket, if your special child has one, or plan to buy to help your child’s meltdowns or to just make him relax most of the time.

4. Don’t forget the lightweight stroller

The lightweight stroller

  • If you have young kids or your special kid is younger and gets easily tired with long walks or is still unable to walk, a lightweight stroller is a must for those long walks in the airport and in the parks or shopping malls.
  • Some strollers even have pockets or trays where you can put your stuff  and the baby’s bag so it’s really a must!

5. Expect some tantrums or meltdowns and be ready

  • Bring your patience and lots of love during this trip.
  • Kids are kids and especially if they have special needs, tantrums and meltdowns are  part of the package. Make them as comfortable as possible and watch out for signs so you can be ready and support your child the best that you can.
  • Avoid crowds and too much noise because these can trigger attacks. Ear plugs could be of help for big noises and eye patch for bright lights. Find some place with open space, even in parks, so your child will not be overwhelmed.
  • Include rest in your activities. Do not rush to accomplish a lot in a day. This way, your special child and the whole family will enjoy more if you feel rested and with enough enthusiasm for the next adventure!

6. Pack light and early

  • It’s so hard to lift up a heavy load or bag.
  • I remember during that incident in the airport, we had lots of boxes of 50 pounds more or less and because we had no adult males in the group, my sister and I had to lift those boxes and travel bags by ourselves.
  • Just bring the essentials and if you can buy the other stuff, like toiletries or gifts in the place where you’re going, do it so your baggage are not as heavy.
  • Your back, arms and shoulders will thank you for those light load.
  • Start packing two weeks before the trip. That way, you will not forget the things that you need to bring. Even a month if you have lots to pack, like including gifts for family.
  • Make use of your checklist and cross out the things that are already in the suitcases. I usually have color coding where I place which stuff so I can always find where I put everything.
  • Early packing  is really important because if you need to buy some more necessities for the trip, there is ample time to complete them.

7. Put important stuff in the carry on or in your personal bag

How to travel in a family-important stuff in carry on

  • Keep one set of clothes for every family member including underwear and a towel in the carry on, so if there’s delay in the plane’s schedule, you are ready if you need to change in the airport or wherever you will get stucked.
  • Also, keep your jewelries and important papers or documents, cameras, cellphones, laptops, in your carry on or personal bag so they won’t get lost or stolen in the check in bags.
  • If you have a baby or your special child with a certain food or is still drinking milk, be sure to keep their milk or specific food in a personal bag. Or their favorite snacks.
  • Don’t forget your printed itinerary and plane or train or boat tickets plus your passports in your purse so they are easy to grab when checking in.
  • Your credit cards, ATM cards or cash should be safely tucked in your purse as well.

8. Instruct the older kids to be responsible

How to travel in a family-older kid to take care of younger sibling

  • If you have 2-3 kids in your group, let the older kids be responsible with the younger ones.
  • Of course, when you are walking in the airport or in a large park for example, it is easy to loose some of your kids if they wander around or you walk faster than them.
  • So, tell the older sibling or cousin to watch out for the younger kin and they need to be together at all times and follow the lead of the parent wherever they are going.

9. Backpacks for every kid

  • Keep their favorite toys and books or art materials in their backpacks so it is easy to grab them when they need them. Make it personal for them and include their phones or iPad if they have.
  • You can also put here a shirt and underwear and toiletries.
  • There will be less stress if they are responsible for their stuff. 

10. Buddy system

Buddy system while travelling for less stress

  • This is really helpful if you are a family of 4 or more, especially if there is extended family in the group.
  • Assign every young member to an older one and tell them to be together at all times and be responsible with one another.
  • Everybody is accountable with somebody so nobody will be left behind.

11. GPS tracking unit

GPS tracking system for travel

  • If traveling by land around the place, like if you have a hired car, a GPS tracking unit is really essential.
  • This way, you know where you will be going instead of worry if you will get lost or not.
  • This will also save time so you can arrive at your destination faster and not miss any schedule of events.

12. Make a picture or mental plan of what is going to happen in this trip

How to travel with a family-mental planning for less stress

  • Imagine yourselves leaving the house and think of the time that you’re supposed to arrive at the airport or train station to avoid delays or missing your schedules. Allot 2 hours allowance to be in the airport or the train station to allow enough time to check in.
  • At the airport or train station- what you will need to check in ( passports, tickets or itineraries- are they in your purse? )
  • Arriving at the airport destination or your destination place. Have you booked your transportation to your hotel or resort or are there families or friends who are picking you up? If so, do you have their phone numbers with you in case you need to call them from the airport?
  • Daily activities-list of places to visit and timetable of these activities
  • Rest days or hours should be part of your trip so your bodies have time to recover from fatigue.
  • Regular ( or almost ) sleeping hours so immunity is not compromised. You will enjoy more if you will not get sick.
  • Visit to families or friends if this is part of your trip and what to give them. Spending time with loved ones during a trip is healthy and fun.
  • Returning home– again the itinerary, plane tickets and the passports, before leaving the hotel or where you stayed, double check if you have them in your purse.

Enjoy and have fun!

Vacations are always fun and exciting but oftentimes, coupled with stress, especially if no proper planning is in place. Therefore, plan in advance so your trip will be smooth with fewer kinks.

Include your older kids when organizing the trip, so they know where to go, what to expect, how to be responsible for their younger siblings and how to behave properly.

Sometimes, they also want to decide where to go and what activities they want to do.

Make your trip fun and educational. If it’s a new place that you’re visiting, go to their museums, libraries, or tourist information areas.

If you can meet local people and learn from them about their culture, food, and lifestyle, that’s a very good way to learn new things about them.

Travel with a family-fun with less stress

Remember, you can go on vacations once or twice a year only, unless you have lots of money, so make it really worth remembering, with less stress but with more fun.

Collect memories with your families including your special child and when you look back later through your pictures or videos, your children will appreciate all the beautiful memories that you have shared.

Have a fun holiday!

How to travel with family including your special child

Have you booked for your family vacation this summer? Where do you plan to go? Share your destination with us plus the activities that you plan to do.

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Luxury on Mother’s day….our Special Needs Moms deserve it

Mother’s day is almost here.

How do you, dear moms celebrate this special day? Maybe eat out with the whole family? Or a movie date with your spouse or even with the kids as well?

The kids or the spouses usually bring flowers home, right, and of course this is a very nice gesture from your loved ones.

I remember when my son was younger, and still in elementary, he would bring something that they made at school, like a special art or a poem, and of course it would always give me a wide smile and I can’t help but give him a big hug.

Plus beautiful flowers from my spouse and daughter, that would make my day!

Here at Pangga ta Ikaw, we would like to honor five special needs moms on their big day, Mother’s day.

We know that they have done a lot and is still doing great things for their families and of course for their special child.

They are very patient and very loving and ” giving unconditional love, ” is their mantra.

Luxury on Mother’s day, our special needs moms definitely deserve this!

Read on their stories on how their special kids make their families extra joyful and blessed.

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Emerald with Hailey

Down syndrome baby and mom

Our first mom, Emerald was 36 when she had Hailey, her daughter with Down syndrome, who is now 2 years and ten months.

She has 2 other daughters who are older than Hailey.

As an elementary school teacher, her days are always full and busy. But her family is her priority.

Related post:

Raising a child with Down syndrome-our baby is our happy pill

What is your biggest challenge in raising Hailey?

” It is how to keep her healthy because simple colds can lead to something serious.”

How do you cope with Hailey’s inadequacies or incapacities?

” I always try to be very patient and understanding of her and asks help from her older sisters, so I don’t get overwhelmed.

I appreciate all the little developments that she shows everyday. Like at her age now, she is able to express herself with simple words. “

How does Hailey make you and your family happy?

Luxury on mother's day
Hailey’s family ( Dad not in picture )

” Hailey is a very happy child; she learned the word “love” and with that she extends her hand to hug and kiss.

It makes my day and gives me comfort even on a very tiring day.”

What do you do to celebrate Mother’s day?

”  Since my husband is away, I celebrate this day with my daughters.

We eat out in one of the simple restaurants in our town, or if it’s a weekend, we go to the beach, which Hailey might be anxious to experience at first but eventually, she enjoys it. “

How does Hailey affect your life as a mom?

” Having Hailey is one of the greatest things that happened to me and my family.

She makes our life more special with her unending expression of love..it’s like everyday is Mother’s Day.

Hailey makes me realize that though some people maybe lacking in terms of mental capacity or even physical skills but the ability to show affection can be expressed in so many ways.

Lastly, she makes me realize that we can be very happy even in small things and that’s what actually really matters. “

Here’s an awesome gift for our special needs moms. Click on the image to see the price.Mixbook for Mother's day

Diane with Nathan

Nate has Down syndrome and AutismAt 42 and after 11 years from having her first born daughter, Diane gave birth to Nathan, who was diagnosed with Down syndrome right after delivery.

It was not easy for her to accept the diagnosis but nevertheless, named his son Nathaniel, which means ” gift from  God.”

At around 2 years old, Nathan showed signs of autism and was diagnosed when he was three.

Nathan is now going 13 and although can say some very few words, basically he is non-verbal.

Diane works part time as a bedside Nurse and with her husband, takes turns in taking care of Nathan.

What is your biggest challenge in raising Nathan?

”  At around 2-3 years old, after Nathan got the very first and last flu shot, he got sick for about a week with slight fever. Then we noticed that he stopped talking.

I was really hesitant for him to get this shot but his doctor encouraged us, so I firmly believe until now that this caused him to lose all his words.

I got so upset and angry with the doctor and called the clinic right away to inform them.

Eventually he showed signs of autism, until at 6 years old, he was given another booster of vaccines, that I believed made his autism worse.

Nowadays, our greatest struggles with him is cutting his nails every week and his hair every few months. No hair dresser would like to trim his hair because he flails his arms around and kicks a lot.

He is getting stronger each day and his dad needs to hold him tight because he fights with all his might. “

How do you cope with Nathan’s inadequacies or incapacities?

” Together with my husband, who is also a Nurse, and my daughter, who loves his brother a lot, we take turns in caring for Nathan.

Related post: Big sister, little brother… he has Down syndrome and autism !

Until now, it’s still hard for me to see him not able to associate properly with kids his age.

We just take each day’s struggles as challenges that eventually and hopefully will make Nathan better especially in his speech and self-care later in his life.”

How does Nate make you and your family happy?

Nathan has Down syndrome and autism

” Although Nate is basically non-verbal, he can say a few words like stop, done, outside, go away, bye, and please. This makes us happy that at least he can express himself in his own simple way.

Nate is also a very neat and organized kid. He loves to shower every night, loves to brush his teeth morning and night time , all with assistance and no tantrums.

 He’s a little bit responsible of his personal belongings like every time he comes home from school or outside, he puts away his shoes by himself. When he takes off his clothes, he puts them in the hamper. When he is done with his snacks and drinks, he puts the dishes in the counter.

Nathan makes us smile too when he goes to the mirror and tries to act out anything, He is amused himself doing this, as well. Maybe he is an actor in the making, who knows? “

What do you do to celebrate Mother’s day?

” I’m working on Mother’s Day, so no celebration this year, but usually, if I’m free, we eat out in a restaurant after attending mass. We’ll do that when I’m off work next week.

Ever since Nathan attended school, he brings home a Mother’s day card or a small pot of plant from school. This makes my day! “

How does Nate affect your life as a mom?

” I may have accepted my son as special, but there are lots of times that I feel sorry for him especially if I see our family friends’ kids of his age and they can already do things and here is Nathan, still unable to read and write.

There’s 5 boys of them that’s almost Nathan’s age and he can’t just socialize with them . Nathan would just sit in the sofa watching them or watching television, but he’s happy though to see them running around the house playing. “

Watch out for more insights about Diane and Nathan in another blog sometime soon. 

Gift for Mother's day
Give our special needs moms an awesome gift to store memories of a lifetime

Lee with MarkLuxury on Mother's day

At 42, Lee gave birth to her youngest and only boy, Mark, also a Down syndrome kid.

He is now 10, but is still non-verbal. Mark has 3 older sisters.

Lee is a full time government employee and juggles her time with family and work, which sometimes call her on weekends.

Related post: A mother’s unconditional love… it is for real

What is your biggest challenge in raising Mark?

” Starting Mark on solid food is really a struggle. He cannot properly swallow solid food, so we have to prepare them always in a blender.

Growing up, Mark relied mostly on milk and he had frequent diarrhea, thus he would be confined to the hospital a lot of times.

Until now, his food is still processed in a blender and being given to him by me or his dad or nanny. He still cannot feed himself.

Mark is only partially toilet-trained as well, so still needs lots of assistance. “

How do you cope with Mark’s inadequacies or incapacities?

” I  have ever since accepted Mark for what he is and although taking care of him is challenging, I have lots of support in my husband, my daughters and his nanny.

Patience, understanding, and acceptance of what he can do everyday keeps me grounded. I don’t expect anything but just appreciate what he is and what he can do.

I still believe that eventually he will be able to talk and will be able to be toilet-trained.

When? In due time. “

How does Mark make you and your family happy?

Lee and Mark with family

” Mark is easy to take care of, he is able to follow simple instructions, like taking the hand of his grandparents or us his parents or other elders to his forehead as a sign that he is asking for God’s blessings.

He has no tantrums and just loves watching TV at home.

Although he cannot express himself, his mere presence in our lives with his innocence make us realize that life can be as simple with just the basic needs and still be happy.”

What do you do to celebrate Mother’s day?

” Usually, we prepare some food and celebrate with my family and my parents. Nothing extravagant, but just getting together as a family.

This day makes me realize how challenging it is being a mom especially since I have a special child. “

How does Mark affect your life as a mom?

” Mark is a blessing to our family. He may have made my life busier and more challenging, but at the end of the day, taking care of him is a joy and source of satisfaction.

He may be delayed in his development but because of that, I always feel that having a ” baby” ( Mark ) in our midst keep us grounded and full of simple joy. “

Mylene with Alyanna

Alyanna and mom

After 2 kids , Mylene at 38 had Alyanna, who was diagnosed later to have Cornelia de Lange syndrome.

Now 6 years old, Alyanna is still non-verbal and has just started to walk on her own.

Mylene , who is working part-time at a senior’s home, is always full with three young kids, including a special one.

What is your biggest challenge in raising Alyanna?

” Starting from Alyanna’s diagnosis, I have accepted that she has delayed physical and mental development. Having studied Nursing, it was not so hard for me to take care of her.

Until at almost 3 years old, we were advised to submit Alyanna to have open heart surgery for a hole in her heart which was noted when she was more than a year old. The doctor had to observe for a few months to see if it would close spontaneously.

We had to fly all the way to another city where the heart surgeon was. We stayed in the hospital for 5 days after surgery ( including 2 days in intensive care unit ).

My husband and I were quite stressed during that time because we did not know the outcome and thinking that she is so young , so small and so frail, we were not sure if Alyanna would recover fully and come out safe after the surgery.

Thank God we were able to get out of hospital with Alyanna  then already smiling, eating apple sauce and yoghurt, and on the road to recovery.”

How do you cope with Alyanna’s inadequacies or incapacities?

” I’m so thankful for the support of my family-my husband is hands on giving food to Alyanna and taking care of her during his off days from work. Even my daughter who is almost 10 can take care of her, as well.

Nowadays, my mother-in-law who is on vacation with us has been a big help for taking care of Alyanna, to doing household chores.

I can also count for help with my two other sisters.

So, family support does the trick for me.”

How does Alyanna make you and your family happy?

Luxury on mother's day

” Alyanna smiles a lot, she giggles, too especially when her sister tickles her.

When I arrive home from work, she lets me feel that she misses me by hugging and kissing me when I get to hold her.

Her mere presence in our lives is a blessing and we appreciate every little thing that she can do.

Lately, she enjoys walking back and forth from the sofa to the love seat. She’s like telling us, ” See I can walk now, you don’t have to hold me anymore.”

What do you do to celebrate Mother’s day?

” It’s usually an extended family celebration, either at home or someone else’s home or at the park. It’s always a potluck thing where every family brings their specialty.

It’s all about food, stories, games, singing, and laughter.

My 2 older kids who are in the elementary and even Alyanna who is in SPED, gives me special crafts on this day and they validate my job as their special mom. “

How does Alyanna affect your life as a mom?

” With Alyanna around, life is always happy. Whose heart would not leap as she giggles and laughs when tickled or even for no reason at all?

I know she is God’s gift to us, who will always keep us grounded and humble.

Alyanna is our reality check.”

Berling with Pangga

My mom Berling, who had a small retail business, has 10 kids. Pangga, my sister with Down syndrome, is the sixth child and she had her when she was 29 years old.

Pangga had Down syndrome

Related post:

Down syndrome-signs and life expectancy

My mom married at a very young age, did you figure that out?

Having 10 kids is also something. I only have one and he is a handful.

I really appreciated my mom when I got married and had my own child.

Mama is now 80 years old, somewhat frail with health concerns and some memory problems.

Even if I wanted to interview her, she wouldn’t be able to remember details, so I’ll just relate to you some observations on how she raised Pangga with all her big family plus being a full time self-employed retailer. I also learned some facts based on her stories when she was younger.

My mom breastfed all of us and had every baby home-delivered by a traditional midwife. She would also need the assistance of that traditional midwife to take care of her babies like bathing them, until maybe two months old.

She was a really hardworking and responsible parent. She did not go to any business school, but because of determination and hard work, she was able to contribute enough for the family’s finances. My dad worked full time as a government employee with just the basic salary.

Jill of all trades

Luxury on Mother's day

In one of our family reunions, we gave her the award, ” Jill of all trades ,” ( from Jack and Jill ) because she was into several pursuits when she was raising her family.

When we were younger, she learned how to sew anything from ladies’ brassieres to girls’ dresses and hair accessories and she would sell these items in a makeshift store in local communities during special occasions in any town in the province where we lived.

She would also accept dressmaking orders from clients. Aside from having a retail store at home, I remember at one time she had two stores in different locations. She repacked household food items like sugar and spices that she sold on her store.

Growing up, we kids would reluctantly help her with these. I guess kids are always like this, lol!

My mom always had paid help in her businesses and around our home. In fact, we grew up with different nannies every few months or years, except for one who really stayed with us for a long time until she got married and even came back when her kids were grown up.

Aside from the retail stores, my mom was good at cooking any food that she sells , like snack items or dessert which were made from scratch.

She was the most persistent businesswoman I know.

We kids definitely learned how to be responsible from her because we would always be asked to assist her in all these endeavors.

So, with all her busy business life, you may ask:

How did she raise us, ten kids with 2 special ones?

Mother's day honors the light in the family-our moms!
All ten kids joyfully celebrated our parents’ Golden wedding anniversary.

Of course, as I mentioned awhile back, we always had nannies to help. My younger brother who has mental retardation stayed at home and was trained to take care of himself and to help around the house.

Pangga, on the other hand, who really developed late, physically and mentally, stayed with my mom’s aunt in another town and would come to visit us every few months, until she stayed with us in her later years leading to her death.

All of us siblings were also trained to pitch in with the household chores and in her stores, so everybody helps.

The older siblings would be baby sitters with the younger ones, as we were growing up. Since I am the oldest daughter, I was usually tasked to be like the mom when Mama was away or busy in her stores.

Generosity as a family trait

Aside from being a very responsible mom, she was also very generous with her siblings and other people around her. She and my dad , when we were still young, provided for the school expenses of one of her sisters, a trait which we copied with our own siblings down the line.

Being a big family, whose parents are medium income earners, who would have imagined that we all could successfully finish university, except for the 2 special ones?

It all started with an all out financial help for our studies, for me and my older brother, from one of my mom’s sisters who worked as a nurse abroad. I believe she got this benevolent trait from my mom, as well.

This then started the tradition in our family of sending to school our younger siblings and the next in line, until everybody graduated.

My mom was and still is a strong cohesive force in our family.

Luxury on Mother's day

Celebrating Mother’s day

We may not have celebrated Mother’s day big time when we were younger, but now that we have our own families, we realize that our ” Mama Berling,” has been a source of inspiration for all of us for being so resourceful, responsible and caring.

Since most of us now live abroad, we try our best to call her on this special day and hand out some cash gifts to make her smile.

In one of our visits about 3 years ago, I bought a personalized cake and prepared some food to celebrate with family.

A big hole in her heart

Pangga had Down syndrome

When Pangga passed away, being the first in our family to leave us, my mom got so depressed for a few months. She couldn’t sleep and eat and felt so useless.

We, the kids have come to the rescue to fill the void in her heart!

We made a schedule so that almost daily, she received a call ( most of us are based abroad ) from us kids and her grandchildren, to cheer her up and to make her feel that we are here for her and we still need her.

Of course we prayed a lot, as well.

Thank GOD she eventually recovered and now, even if she is getting frail and not as active and productive at home, she and my dad and my special brother enjoys tending a vegetable garden at a place where she feels she is useful and happy.

This is quite an expensive hobby; selling the produce from the garden is way less than the amount that they spend on fares to go back and forth and the salary that she gives to the workers, but who cares?

Mama’s garden

This is her happy place and this is what makes her wake up early in the morning, rather than sleep in and wake up at noontime to go back to sleep again after a few hours.

Keeping her busy in the garden, even just overseeing her workers, make her days feel full and productive.

Happy Mother’s day,Ma! We love you!

Mama's garden

Extraordinary supermoms

I’m sure you would all agree that as moms of special kids, they are also “special,” in their own right.

Special and extraordinary.

Taking care of normal kids is itself challenging, how much more with special kids?

Not only double or triple hard and more challenging, and if the kid has some health problems as well, it adds to the burden.

But mind you, these moms, have all what it takes to be super moms and they all deserve luxury on Mother’s day, right?

From Pangga ta Ikaw, we wish Emerald, Diane, Lee, Mylene, and Mama Berling and all the special needs moms out there a joyful, blessed ” Happy Mother’s day! “

We  truly appreciate what you do for your special kids and your whole family.

May your tribe increase!

Special needs moms

Mixbook to store memories for Mother's day gift
Make memories with a photobook. Click the image to see the price.

How do you celebrate mother’s day? As a special needs mom, do you feel extra special on this day? Share your story with us.

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How to Travel with a Stroller : Ten Best Lightweight Strollers (for Children with Special Needs)

It’s almost summer and maybe some of you have travel plans in mind already.

Our kids are growing fast and before they go on their own or have friends of their own, we as parents would like to travel with them to places that they will remember in the future.

Which kid would not like to see Mickey Mouse in Disney World? Or the Legoland? Or enjoy those fantastic roller coaster rides or those awesome animal shows in some famous theme parks ? Or the merry-go-round for the younger ones or your special kid?

For sure your child with special needs would be delighted to see awesome places and cartoon characters with their siblings and cousins.

Of course, we all know that some children with special needs have mobility issues because they develop late.

Related post: Special needs stroller: choosing the best for need and comfort

They learn how to walk and to run much later than kids their age.

But these should not stop you from letting them explore their environment, much more traveling even to places far from home, like where you ride an airplane.

So have you thought on how to travel with a stroller? 

Of course you want to go places with your special kid’s comfort in mind as much as possible.

Because he or she cannot walk long distances and gets tired easily or maybe still non-ambulatory, thus a stroller will be your best friend during your escapade.

I have looked at the ten best lightweight strollers out there for your children with special needs.

This post contains affiliate links. Please read the full affiliate disclosure here.

Here goes:

1. Bily BCS330HG Compact Easy-Fold Stroller

Billy lightweight travel stroller
  • Product Dimension: 80 x 47 x 104.1 cm
  • Item weight: 14.3 lbs
  • Maximum weight to carry: 40 kg
  • Good for newborns up to 36 months old
  • With 5 point harnesses, adjustable foot rest
  • Available in sophisticated heathered gray or funky graffiti pattern
  • Click the image or here to see the price

Pros:

  • Multiple position seat recline and pivoting arm bar for safety and comfort
  • Ultra light-weight
  • Quick and easy one hand fold
  • More leg room for taller babies

Cons:

  • The brake pad which is in the middle of the bar gets kicked randomly and makes the stroller stop all of a sudden making the baby uncomfortable and might fall
  • It is not good for windy days
  • The wheels are small, thus, not very good for grassy areas and bumpy sidewalks
  • Cannot is small and cannot shield baby much from rain or sun
  • Toddler can topple back when lying flat because the back of the seat reaches only the baby’s shoulders, with no head support
  • No shoulder strap or luggage handle
  • No cup holder or tray

2. Kolcraft Cloud Plus Lightweight Stroller

  • Product dimension: 31.2 x 18 x 39 inches
  • Item weight: 11.8 lbs
  • Maximum weight to carry: 50 lbs
  • Comes with a three-tier, extended canopy to protect your baby from UV rays
  • 2 colors: fire red and slate
  • The seat reclines and offers 5-point safety restraint system
  • With a large storage basket for baby’s necessities
  • Comes with removable child tray to hold a cup and a juice and a parent tray with 2 drink holders
  • With one -year manufacturer warranty
  • Click the image or here to see the price

Pros:

  • With a peek-a-boo window to keep a watchful eye on your kid every time
  • Very lightweight, thus perfect for traveling and day trips
  • All- terrain wheels and front suspension offers a smooth ride
  • One-hand and self-standing fold which makes it convenient for travel

Cons:

  • Cannot recline completely flat.
  • Folding is not one-handed and a little tricky

3. Summer Infant 3D Lite Convenience Stroller

Summer Infant 3D Lite Travel stroller
  • Product dimension: 41 x 8.75 x 10 in
  • Item weight: 15.87 lbs
  • Maximum weight to carry: 50 lbs
  • With stylish aluminum frame and large seating area
  • Comes with easy to fold frame and carry strap
  • 4 position recline with 5 point safety harness
  • Anti-shock front wheels and lockable rear wheels
  • Available in 9 colors
  • Comes with extra large storage basket, rear storage pocket and parent cup holder
  • Adjustable and removable canopy with flip-out sun visor
  • Click the image or here to see the price 

Pros:

  • Easy compact fold with carry strap
  • Can recline all the way back
  • Tall enough that a 6’3 person can push it without hunching over
  • Made of lead-free aluminum material which makes it very lightweight and durable
  • With additional padding for more comfort

Cons:

  • Cannot be cleaned with abrasive cleaners, solvents and bleach
  • The canopy sun visor is too high and cannot cover the kids’ eyes
  • The handle bars are quite tall for a short parent, thus uncomfortable for long walks

4. MacLaren Mark II Stroller

MacLaren Mark II travel stroller
  • Product dimension: 78.3 x 48.3 x 105.5 cm
  • Item weight: 4.43 kgMaximum weight to carry: 24.9 kg
  • Comes in 2 colors: black and marina
  • ” The lightest full – size reclining buggy in the world “
  • With 2-position recline seat
  • Fits children from 6 months until 25 kg ( 55 lbs )
  • Four wheel suspension with replaceable wheels
  • Made of strong ultralight fabrics
  • With a removable, washable coordinating seat liner
  • Click the image or here to see the price

Pros:

  • Features state of the art designed chassis, air craft grade aluminum hexagonal tubing for greater strength and durability
  • With lifetime warranty- must register stroller with MacLaren within 60 days of purchase
  • Comes with extendable waterproof/UPF 50+ sun canopy and built-in sun visor
  • The breathable mesh center and panel inserts protect the baby
  • The handles are anti-microbial
  • With buggy ID tag and wind resistant rain cover that comes in handy when needed
  • Easy to fold

Cons:

  • On the pricey side
  • Cannot stand on its own when folded
  • Difficult to maneuver on bumpy streets or terrains

5. Summer Infant 3D Flip Convenience Stroller

  • Product dimension: 78.7 x 64.8 x 100.3 cm
  • Item weight: 8 kg
  • Maximum weight to carry: 22.7 kgWith 2 seat options of rear-facing ( up to 30 lbs ) or forward-facing ( up to 50 lbs )
  • Anti-shock front wheels
  • UV rays can be blocked with the large canopy peek-a-boo window
  • Easy to fold lightweight aluminum frame, with auto lock and strap
  • With easily accessible basket for baby’s needs and parents’ storage pocket and cup holder
  • Click the image or here to see the price

Pros:

  • The reversible design allows use for younger babies ( rear-facing ) to when they grow up and become more curious ( forward-facing )
  • With infant head support for the rear-facing option and 5-point safety harness
  • Comes with 6-position recline ( 3 in rear-facing and 3 in forward-facing ) that can be one-hand operated
  • The height of the canopy can be adjusted to suit taller or shorter babies
  • The canopy is long and can be extended to fully cover the baby against the sun
  • Easy to maneuver because the wheels glide smoothly
  • Perfect for any terrain with easy to lock rear wheels and front swivel wheels
  • The handles are comfortable for taller parents

Cons:

  • The cup holder is flimsy
  • With very small storage compartment which is hard to access when baby is sitting in the stroller
  • Strap is a bit awkward to carry stroller
  • Opening and closing is a bit tricky
  • The seats are very low to the ground, so parents have to bend way down to help the baby when needed

6. Besrey Lightweight Stroller

Besrey Lightweight stroller

  • Product dimension: 60 x 48 x 100 cm
  • Item weight: 4.9 kg
  • Maximum weight to carry: 33 lbs
  • With 5-point harness and protective comfort pads
  • Made from high quality anti-rust aluminum alloy
  • Fits easily bins in an airplane and very light, can be a carry on
  • Click the image or here to see the price

Pros:

  • Can be easily folded with one hand
  • Adjustable canopy for full sun cover
  • With removable handrail for easy putting on baby and out
  • Convenient easy to access large bassinet
  • With fully reclining leg rest

Cons:

  • Sometimes, doesn’t open properly and sags when baby is sitting on it
  • Does not recline
  • The brake is an issue when taking a flight of stairs or off the train
  • No shoulder strap or bag, thus not very convenient to carry

7. Cosatto Woosh Stroller

Cosatto Woosh stroller

  • Product dimension: 74 x 48 x 104 cm
  • Item weight: 6.0 kg
  • Maximum weight to carry: 25 kg
  • With 5-point harness
  • Lockable front swivel wheels and all-round suspension
  • Click the image or here to see the price

Pros:

  • Comes in lovely colors and design
  • Very easy to assemble
  • With study chassis for longer use
  • One-hand folding
  • Roomy seat, decent-sized basket and adjustable calf support for baby’s legs
  • Comes with a rain cover
  • With double length hood and visor for full sun cover
  • With cushioned chest pads
  • 4-year warranty

Cons:

  • Some say the wheels break after a few months
  • Tricky folding and unfolding mechanism for some customers
  • The rain hood can be easily kicked by the baby
  • The wheels get stuck on uneven surfaces
  • The handle doesn’t move up and down to suit a taller parent
  • Comes with a bell that could be annoying to some

8. Pockit Lightweight Stroller

Pockit lightweight stroller

Pros:

  • Wheels rotate 360 degrees, thus easily maneuvered when unlocked and locks for stability on uneven surfaces
  • Very tiny when folded so fits in an airplane bin very well, or can also fit in a carry on bag

Cons:

  • Very wobbly on uneven pavement- careful your kid might topple off
  • Handles cannot be extended, thus not comfortable for a tall parent
  • Very challenging to fold
  • Strap not included
  • Overhead canopy is not very useful
  • Small storage below, cannot fit lots of stuff

9. ZOE XL1 BEST v2 Lightweight Travel & Everyday Umbrella Stroller System

ZOE XL1 travel umbrella lightweight stroller
  • Product dimension: 10 x 10 x 10 inches
  • Item weight: 11 pounds
  • Maximum weight to carry: 50 lbs
  • With a large basket underneath and a cup holder
  • Comes in 7 colors: Aqua, black, eloise plum, london navy, noah grey, red, lime greenWith a twin model ( for 2 babies )
  • Click the image or here to see the price

Pros:

  • With a little window on top of the canopy to peek at your baby
  • The handle is good for tall parents

Cons:

  • No shoulder strap
  • Does not recline as much
  • Doesn’t stand upright when closed
  • Difficult to maneuver for some

10.Evenflo Aero Ultra-Lightweight Stroller

  • Product dimension: 29 x 22.25 x 40 in
  • Item weight: 15.4 pounds
  • Maximum weight to carry: 50 pounds
  • With easily accessible extra seat back storage pocket
  • Comes with a spacious storage basket, 2-mesh in seat pocket, and a parent cup holder
  • Comes in 2 colors: lark and dove
  • Click the image or here to see the price

Pros:

  • The easily one-hand folded stroller can stand on its own
  • Made of functional and long-lasting, high quality materials-imported polyester, metal and durable plastic
  • With large canopy and a flip-out visor
  • Allows easy and safe putting and removal of your child because of the rounded foam handlebar and rear wheels that lock
  • Includes ParentLink customer service perks like real-time chat and free live video installation support

Cons:

  • No rain cover or weather shield
  • The front wheels are single wheels ( not double ) and goes in opposite directions, that you have to manually straighten them
  • Sometimes tricky to navigate polished floors and pavements because of the plastic wheels
  • Flimsy cup holder
  • The storage basket has no front mesh and stuff inside can fall out, especially when folded
  • Reclines up to 120 degrees only, thus uncomfortable for some kids to sleep on
  • No strap to carry

My top two choices:

For me, considering the type of stroller, how small and light it is but durable and useful but not so pricey, I recommend these two strollers:

The Kolcraft Cloud Plus Lightweight Stroller

and the Summer Infant 3D Flip Convenience Stroller.

Enjoy your holiday!

I hope I have given you ideas on what’s out there on the market if you are planning to buy a lightweight travel stroller for your child with special needs that you can use this summer when you plan to travel anywhere local or abroad.

After all, the comfort of your special child is your best interest as well as the light load that you have to carry and keep either in your car or the airplane bin.

Happy shopping!

Don’t forget to bring your camera or phone ( with camera ) and capture those precious moments, the laughter and wide smiles of your kids.

Their happiness is very contagious and will rub off on you as, well.

Enjoy your summer holiday!

How to travel with a lightweight stroller

Are you ready to buy the lightest and most comfortable travel stroller for your special child? Or your old one is already worn out and you need a new one?

Where do you plan to visit come summer? Share your plans with us.

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