Our Special Kids’ Indoor Play Area is now Painted!

I  went home recently to visit my dad who was ill. This was unplanned and an emergency visit. 

He stayed in the hospital for 5 days and when he was recovering, I got the chance to go take a look again at the special kids’ indoor play area ( mini-therapy area  ) that is being built for our special needs children at the Romblon East Central School, Romblon, Philippines.

If you have been following this project, we started to plan for this way back in 2017 when I started to set up a Go fund me page on my birthday in October.

In December 2017, two months after donors started coming in, we initiated the project. 

Special kids' Indoor play area

Special kids' indoor play area

Please read here how we started it!

It all began from this vacant lot at the back of the special kids’ resource room.

Mini-therapy area lot for our special kids

Related Post: Indoor Play Area-Where Kids Will Romp and Laugh

Local Fundraising Projects

Our main fundraising tool, the GO FUND ME page, has paved the way to start the project. It is still running if you want to help our endeavour. Click here to DONATE!

We did two local fundraisings, as well, for this project with the purpose of soliciting financial help and also to raise awareness in the community, including the school, the parents and teachers that our special needs kids need our love and support.

The first fundraising was a bingo social done on January 2018.  I personally witnessed how working together with the school and the Special Education teachers and special needs parents brought success to this worthwhile activity. 

Fundraising for Special needs kids' indoor play area

Fundraising for special kid's indoor play area

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We raised a substantial amount which helped continue our project to finish the flooring area and build some structures like the stairs and the sensory path.

Special kid's indoor play area

Special kids' indoor play area

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The second fundraising effort was done on December 2018, which we called ” The Christmas Story, ” a showcase of talents of the special kids. it was very heartwarming to see these kids perform their singing and dancing skills despite their developmental disabilities. 

Fundraising for special kids' indoor play area

Related post: The Christmas Show-our Special Kids in Action!

Progress of the Mini-Therapy Area

From the start of the project in December 2017 up to this month, a lot of exciting progress has happened. 

This was not a continuous progress though because it depended on a lot of things. 

Of course, finances was our main consideration because although we had set up a Go Fund Me page, it only raised good money initially, then trickled thereafter.

 We would like to THANK all donors, of course because YOU initiated and inspired us to go on until now!

There were months that the project got stalled, either because our finances were drained or the SPED teachers were so busy with other stuff in school from their daily tasks of teaching, to seminars, to school or division – wide activities.

Nevertheless, progress was so inspiring.

These pictures will tell the story of our accomplishments!

Special kids' indoor play area

Special kids' indoor play area
Special kids' indoor play area

Special kids' indoor play area

As of December 2018, the structures to hold the roof were in place. At this point, we were so happy that our project was really taking shape.

See our big smiles? We were beaming with pride and joy for this accomplishment. 

It’s been a year since we started and we were standing on the solid floor and soon- to-be finished  roof.

All because of the big support of our donors. 

Really thankful!

Roofing and finishing the walls were completed in February 2019.

Look at these photos. They will speak for themselves how working on the project slowly evolved.

All because of donors like YOU!

Special kids' indoor play area

Special kids' indoor play area

Our Indoor Play Area is now Painted! 

Here comes the latest progress. 

At my last visit on January 15, 2020, I came with my cousin who is also a big donor for this project. She noticed that it was so hot even though there was a roof already. Only then did I realize when she pointed to us that we needed a ceiling to dissipate the humidity inside the play area. 

Special kids'indoor play area

Special kids' indoor play area

 

 

 

 

 

 

Special kids' indoor play area

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thus, this is our next big goal- to put up the ceiling. Some carpenters have started this as I write this post.

Special kids' indoor play area

Special kids' indoor play area

Special kids' indoor play area

 

Special kids' indoor play area

Special kids' indoor play area

Thanks to two monthly donors who continuously give their support because when we need to restart the project we have the money.

God has been so instrumental in opening up the hearts of these two gracious persons.

Please consider on still continuing to donate through our GO FUND ME page here. We still need a considerable amount for this.

Meanwhile, see how our mini-therapy area now looks! Isn’t it so fresh and inviting?

The painted walls are so bright and colourful. It added warmth and lots of personality to our small space.

Special kids' indoor play area

The Special Kids Now Enjoy their Mini-Therapy Area!

On January 23, 2020, our  special needs kids used our mini-therapy area for the very first time!

The three SPED teachers- Bing, Law and Nots combined their first session students where they set up their projector and let the students watch a film. Afterwards, they did some ball games and zumba,  while others tried the monkey bars.

See the joy in the students and the teachers!

Special kids' Indoor Play area

Special kids' Indoor play area

Special kids' Indoor Play area

Incidentally, last Jan 23, 2020 Pangga my sister with Down Syndrome whom this website is dedicated should have celebrated her 52nd birthday.

I’m sure up there she is smiling with the special kids and maybe clapping in delight with them. 

Next Plans

The teachers are in the process of asking help from the municipal government to buy 2 play equipment. 

They also plan to put some minor educational and playful tools in the walls and on the floor, aside from the now coloured wheels.

In the next few months, hopefully we will finish the ceiling and put rubber mats on the floor to prevent accidents like falls and to make playtime more comfortable and safe.

The sensory path as well will be finished.

Your Help is More than Appreciated

Our vision of providing fun and helping our special kids maximize their social and motor skills with the indoor play area are now into fruition, all because you decided to give your financial support to make this happen.

To all our donors and benefactors, we honour you for your unwavering help.

We still have major things to accomplish, thus donations are still welcome.

God bless all of us.

As always I say when you give, it will come back to you a hundredfold or more.

Our special kids are so thankful to all of you!

The special kids’ indoor play area is definitely taking shape and will soon be in full use.

Indoor Play Area for Special Kids


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Nine Best Potty Training Toilet Seats….Choose What Your Special Child Will Love to Use

Do you feel your special child is ready to ditch his diapers? Does he feel uneasy or irritable on his diapers all day long?

Then maybe he is ready to do toilet training and you are likewise excited to buy and choose from the best potty training toilet seats in the market today.

This is really important because most special education programs require special kids to be toilet-trained partially or fully before they can be accepted to the school.

Aside from observing if your special child is ready for the training, like if he can follow simple instructions,  can sit comfortably in the toilet bowl, is dry the whole night or at least 2 hours at daytime, etc., choosing the best potty training toilet seat for your child could make a big difference.

If he likes what you buy for him, he will be interested at all times to sit on it and will be potty trained in no time.

I have looked at the nine best potty training toilet seats in the market today thinking of their usability, durability, comfort, pleasure and interest for your child when using it.

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

Here goes:

1. Potty toilet trainer set with step stool ladder

Potty toilet trainer set with step stool ladder

Click the image or here to see the price.

  • Product dimension: 26 x 14.8 x 3.8 inches
  • It measures 6.5″ or 8.8″ from floor to step ladder.
  • It measures 16.1″ from floor to seat.
  • The package includes: 1 footrest, 1 pad, 2 handlebars, 6 plastic screws, 1 screwdriver
  • Comes in various colors: green, blue, red,pink
  • Suitable for boys and girls with pee catching design to sustain their interest in toilet training.
  • Pros:

  • It can be easily assembled ( even kids can help their parents ) to fit in a toilet ranging from 14″ to 16.1″ from floor to toilet bowl seat.
  • The sturdy design lets your child walk up and down and sit safely in the toilet.
  • Very easy to remove and fold so the adults can use the toilet after your child is done.
  • It comes with a padding on the toilet seat to make your child comfy when he seats.
  • Best for 1-7 year olds, with the footrest being adjustable as your special child grows up.
  • The very wide step and handles make it safe for the kids.
  • Can also be used as a stepladder when kids brush their teeth.
  • The stairs make it interesting for the kids.

Cons:

  • Does not fit high toilets over 61.1″ high.
  • The splash guard is not tall enough for little boys.
  • The seat is wide for small kids, so they have to sit closer to the front for them to feel safe, but makes their pee not fall properly to the toilet, rather ends up under the foam cushion or drip down his leg unto the floor.
  • It is not that stable when folded and propped against a wall-needs a clip to keep it closed.

2. EasyGoProducts Potty toddler toilet trainer

EasyGoProducts Potty toddler toilet trainer

Click the image or here to see the price.

  •  Product dimension: 14 x 13 x 6.8 inches
  • It fits most standard or elongated toilet seats
  • It can be adjusted to the size of your toilet seat.
  • Comes with anti-spash at the base which makes it hygienic

Pros:

  • It is easy to clean up with a removable backrest
  • it is easy to install and to remove when an adult needs the toilet.
  • Easy to bring to travels because it comes with a handle.
  • It comes with adjustable handles and 4 non-slip strips at the bottom to secure your child in place and prevent falling.
  • With a soft cushion seat to make your child enjoy sitting  comfortably.
  • The cushion is removable for easy cleaning.
  • There is a storage hangar that can be used on the side of the tank.
  • It is light and doesn’t wobble.

Cons:

  • It cannot fit in some toilet seats.`
  • It has a large gap on the sides of the front shield which allows urine to pass through to the seat and floor
  • The lock is only useful for oval toilet seats.
  • It is quite bulky to carry around.

3. Fisher-Price Ducky fun 3- in- 1 potty

Fisher price ducky fun 3-in-1 potty

Click the image or here to see the price
  • Product dimension: 45.7 x 34.3 x 33.5 cm
  • It could be used 3 ways: as a potty chair, a step stool or a trainer ring.
  • Can be fitted in most adult toilet seats. ( but cannot fit padded toilet seats )
  • Splashguard can be removed for the boys.
  • Can carry kids up to 100 lbs ( 45.4 kgs ) to be used as a sturdy stool.

Pros:

  • The friendly ducky character is inviting for small kids.
  • With 4 tunes and fun ducky sounds that encourages your child to sit down comfortably and enjoy the music.( thus requires 3 AA batteries ).
  • It is easy to bring for travel.
  • The feet of the potty can be removed by taking off the screws if space in the car is limited and they can be easily put back when needed for stability.
  • With handles that make the kids feel secure.
  • The removable bowl makes cleaning easy.
  • By removing the potty ring to fit in the adult toilet makes transition easy for bigger kids.

Cons:

  • The sound goes off randomly especially when it’s older.
  • The songs play at times even when not in use which can become annoying especially at night.

4. Summer infant my size potty

Click the image or here to see the price

  • Product dimension: 15 x 11 x 15 inches
  • Seating area: 9.5 x 11.25 inches; Interior seat opening: 4.5 x 6.25 inches
  • Requires 2 lithium metal batteries ( included ) with a battery life of 6 hours.
  • For kids 18 months up to 50 pounds.
  • Comes in white and pink colors.
  • With a removable clip on splash guard for boys.

Pros:

  • It helps the kids to transition easily because of the ” adult ” look.
  • With a flip up lid design, to let boys easily pee while standing up.
  • The removable bowl makes it easy to clean.
  • With a built in wipe dispenser that keeps flushable wipes easy to reach and promotes hygiene.
  • Makes your child feel rewarded with the flush handle with realistic sounds.

Cons:

  • It is not portable.
  • The removable splash guard can fall off easily which makes peeing of boys a challenge.
  • The seat cannot be detached from the potty if you plan to use it as toilet seat insert.
  • It slides easily across the floor.
  • Quite small for bigger kids
  • It takes a lot of space in a small bathroom.
  • Cannot be easily stored unless you disassemble it.
  • Too many cracks and crevasses to wipe down.
  • The back part does not stay on very well.

5. BabyBjorn Potty chair

BabyBjorn potty chairClick the image or here to see the price

  • Product dimension: 36 x 35 x 31.5 cm
  • Comes in various colors: gray, pink, blue, green, turquoise, white, purple
  • Simple, ergonomic design with high backrest and comfy armrest
  • BPA-free plastic

Pros:

  • With splash guard that prevents spills
  • Easy to lift out and clean inner potty.
  • With rubber strips on the bottom that make it stable.

Cons:

  • Difficult to store because of the big size and awkward shape.
  • Hard to bring to travels because of the big size.
  • The kids’ thighs and bum could get pinched by the plastic in between the potty and the chair
  • A little pricey.

6. Cute frog potty training urinal for boysCute Frog potty training urinal for boys

Click the image or here to see the price

  • Product dimension: 29.4 x 20.8 x 15 cm
  • For 8 months to 6 year old boys
  • With strong sucker that will allow adjustment of height according to size of your child
  • Interesting frog shape and rotating windmill will let your little boy enjoy doing his thing
  • Comes in different colors: blue, green ( also with stand up design), coffee

Pros:

  • Easy to clean design -with urine groove separation and smooth surface
  • Can be put up on the wall easily
  • Large capacity so urine will not overflow
  • Teaches boys to pee standing up- makes them feel like an adult male

Cons:

  • Sometimes the suckers don’t stay up- needs to be screwed on, thus not suitable for tiled walls
  • Not very big

7.Baby potty and chair by LuvdBaby

Potty chair, Baby Potty, Children's potty by LuvdBaby

Click the image or here to see the price
  • Product dimension: 32.6 x 32.2 x 25 cm
  • With bright fresh, funky design and in bright vibrant colours for another level of experience
  • Light weight, very durable and easy to assemble.

Pros:

  • Suits well for tall kids
  • Has a high back for support making it comfortable for the baby to sit.
  • With 4 legs made stable with a non-slip rubber base.
  • A raised splash guard prevents accidental spills.
  • Provided with a lid and a removable potty to make cleaning easier.
  • 100% lifetime warranty

Cons

  • A little bit pricey compared to others
  • Cannot be used as a step-not so stable, can tip forward
  • Needs careful placement of the child in the seating position for safety and happy experience.
  • With a tendency to tip forward when child gets off which can cause spillage
  • Sometimes the legs come off

8.The First Years training wheels racer potty systemThe first years training wheels racer potty system

Click the image or here to see the price

  • Product dimension: 13 x 7 x 17 inches
  • With a fun race car theme, your special boy will be encouraged to sit in the potty
  • Kept in place by a non- skid bottom.
  • 2-in-1 potty system allowing the trainer seat to be removed to fit in most adult toilet seats

Pros:

  • Less mess with the high splash guard
  • Your child will feel more secure with the handles on the seat
  • The lift-out pot makes it easy to clean.
  • Because it has no lid, you are encouraged to clean it right away.
  • Just right for younger boys being low and small

Cons:

  • Some little boys would think it is a toy, so would push it around.
  • Pretty low and small for bigger boys
  • With the pot being black, it is hard to see the pee and the poop.
  • Not suitable for tall boys, too low that urine will splash everywhere.
  • The seat is not very comfortable and leaves marks on a kid’s buttocks.

9. Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn, Puppy Potty

Fisher Price Laugh & Learn with Puppy Potty

Click the image or here to see the price

  • Product dimension: 11.8 x 14.2 x 14 inches
  • Comes with Puppy’s potty time electronic storybook that child can read or hold while sitting in the potty- with 6 songs and 8 phrases and sounds
  • Light weight and easily movable.
  • Has integrated splash guard for boys
  • Babies feel secure with handles on the removable potty ring

Pros:

  • Sings instantly on using the potty, so it encourages a kid to stay put until done with business plus reading the book makes the kid
  • With 3 fun phrases, 3 short tunes and realistic flushing sound to reward successful attempts ( positive reinforcement )
  • With a concave splash guard with a little rim inside to contain his pee inside.
  • The book walks the kid through the potty process. Listening to the story distracts the kid as well and makes pooping relaxing and easier.
  • The book is plastic and can be soaped and washed.
  • The cute story in the book will make your child proud for getting potty trained like a big kid.
  • It is low and not scary for the little one to sit on
  • The seat can be moved to the regular toilet easily, thus can be used for traveling
  • Better choice for kids who are stubborn with potty training, with entertainment and rewards

Cons:

  • Not suitable for boys because when they pee they tend to spray over the edge
  • Small for a bigger kid
  • The sensor will stop working after a while and could also sound randomly.

Related post: How to potty train a child with special needs… when is the best time to start?

My top choices

There you go, I hope you have found something useful for your special kid, a potty toilet seat that will inspire him to go back again and again until he is fully trained.

Fisher Price Laugh & Learn with Puppy Potty
Fisher Price Laugh & Learn with Puppy Potty

 

If your child is still small, my personal choice would be the Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn, Puppy Potty because it is comfortable, easy to clean and with additional bonus, that includes the electronic book and the positive reinforcement that it brings through the fun phrases, songs and realistic flushing sound.

BabyBjorn potty chair for boys and girls
BabyBjorn potty chair for boys and girls

 

For bigger boys and girls, I choose the BabyBjorn potty chair because it is stable and comfortable. Also, it is easy to clean and comes in different colours. 

 

Depending on the capabilities and readiness of your special child, toilet training could be a struggle or a big challenge but with the help of the potty training toilet seat and your patience in training your kid, they will eventually hate their diapers and you will soon forget how hard training was.

Just try to be very patient and put some fun in letting your child be successful a lot of times.

Rewards definitely help!

Does your special child show readiness for potty training? Are you planning to buy a potty training toilet seat soon?

Click on any of the images above to pick your choice!

Or if you are now potty training, how are your experiences?

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

It’s school break and maybe some of you have travel plans in mind.

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 while they are young so they will have beautiful memories to remember.

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 nine best lightweight strollers out there for your children with special needs.

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

1. Bily BCS330HG Compact Easy-Fold 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

  • 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

  • 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. 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

7. GB Pockit Air 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

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

ZOE XL1 Lightweight everyday stroller-with umbrella

  • 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

9.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

Kolcraft Lightweight Travel stroller

and the Summer Infant 3D Flip Convenience Stroller.

Summer Infant 3D Flip ConvenienceStroller

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 anytime 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 holiday!

 

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?

Choose from any stroller above to suit your special child’s needs.

Where do you plan to visit on your holiday? Share your plans with us.

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Raising a Child with Down Syndrome ( Hailey is now Three! )

This is a first of a series of Mom/Dad stories on how special needs parents raise their special children.

Today I have asked Emerald to tell us how a typical day with Hailey goes, how she takes care of her as a working mom, with the challenges along the way and the joys of seeing her daughter develop in her own way.

Hailey, now three, has Down syndrome and her mom Emerald is a full time elementary school teacher.

Down syndrome girl turns three!

Please enjoy reading Emerald’s story- Raising a Child with Down Syndrome, her Hailey.

Related post: Raising a Child with Down Syndrome-our Baby is our Happy Pill

A Day with Hailey

by Emerald Mingoa

Raising a child with Down syndrome is a challenge and it even gets more difficult when you are a working mom.

Because I have to go to work every day, I am an early riser and the night before, I already plan on what food to prepare for my Hailey.

With her older siblings, it’s not much of a planning because they are easy to feed.

Though my Hailey has a big appetite, she’s quite choosy when it comes to food. She likes them savory. Something that would really tickle her taste buds.

Breakfast is a really important meal for her. After taking a bath, she expects to have a hearty meal.

We find it really amusing when her eyes turn big as she tastes her food and she likes it. She would do the thumbs up to her father’s delight as an approval that he did well in cooking.

Morning Routine

When Hailey wakes up in the morning, she can be very demanding for attention, she wants to be caressed, and of course, who are we not to give in?

I bathe her or sometimes her older sister would do that. For her, bath time is play time.

I cannot recall since the day she was born that she cried over bath time, which I sometimes see with typical kids.

After bathing and dressing up will be her feeding time. Now that she’s 3, she would drag her high chair and climb over it which makes us laugh and beam with pride.

Hailey is truly becoming independent!

Though you cannot leave her on her own feeding (you have to be at a distance because she would end up playing with the food, adding up to your unending task), she tries to feed herself.

She has a big appetite for food and her favorites include pasta and roast chicken.

Hailey would point to the fridge and make a licking sound referring to the popsicle which Jozsa, her older sister, makes for her. She would dutifully comply finishing her food because she knows her popsicle treat is waiting.

Playtime is fun time

Playtime would be her next thing to do. She learned to say ” clay, ” referring to the play dough she likes to play a lot.

We are all her playmates at home.

Hailey rekindles the ” small child, ” in all of us.

A few more hours and it would be feeding time again.

She has also learned to say “dede,” a local baby term for milk bottle, which she could finish in one sitting.

Nap time and socializing

Hailey loves to sleep in the afternoon. She would even sleep longer when there’s calming music playing.

Her nanny would bring her to school ( it’s a few minutes walking from our home ) later, after her nap time. There, she is able to mingle with kids which develops her social skills.

She used to be scared and aloof with them, but mingling with them in school, teaches her to be friendly and sociable.

She has now lots of friends.

Hailey’s development

She loves watching the television. Her favorite shows are ” Upin and Ipen, “ a Malaysian cartoon series, featuring twins and their learning adventures, and “Miraculous Ladybug,” also a cartoon series.

She has learned how to hum the tune of their theme songs.

For sure, Hailey loves to watch cartoons with kids as characters.

She would clap her hands in admiration and would sometimes imitate the words that she constantly hears.

Hailey can now say words such as Mommy, Daddy, the name of our dog Myka though not so clear, dede, referring to her feeding time, and words referring to her toys such as doll, clay and car, which she likes to ride a lot.

She may not be so good in uttering words, but definitely, she can also communicate through sounds and actions.

Hailey still cannot talk in sentences but truly she can send her messages across and we can understand.

During eating time when she’s full, she would get your attention motioning to return the small bowl that she uses, to the sink.

At three and 5 months, toilet training is still a challenge for Hailey at this time.

Slowly, I introduce her to her potty trainer, but she doesn’t like the idea of sitting on it at the moment and hopefully she will soon get used to it.

She still wears her nappy all day. Good thing is, she can say the word ” poo poo, ” so we are positive that it will be soon that she will be out of her diapers.

Down syndrome book about being uniqueThe parent's guide to Down SyndromeDown on the farm-book about Down syndrome
Hannah's Down Syndrome superpowers

Click on the images to grab these amazing books about Down syndrome

Home schooling

As a teacher, I am starting to teach her to learn the alphabet and the words that go with them.

We would start with A as apple, B ball and commonly C would be cat but instead of saying the word she would make a meowing sound, to our delight.

The same also applies with other letters like E as in egg, she makes a gesture like putting food on her mouth.

Hailey really gives joy to our family, with all her developments.

On Being a Working Special Needs Mom

It is definitely a challenging day juggling with work and taking care of Hailey, but the support of people around me lightens the burden of it all.

My co-teachers always understand my situation and are always there to lend a helping hand.

I know that God never gives us anything that we cannot do.

 No matter how difficult it can be, there are ways where you can get through.

A few more years and I know it will become easier to take care of Hailey.

We are all excited when she eventually goes to school, which would mean that she has become more  independent.

My support group

Social media is a big factor in making me informed of Hailey’s condition.

I have joined the Facebook group, ” Down Syndrome Association of the Philippines, ” ( DSAPI ) , which is a non-profit organization exclusively for Down Syndrome families.

I am grateful that I found this platform where we share the same interests and varied stories in caring for our Down Syndrome kids.

I know that we are one and we learn from each other.

But of course my family is my greatest support. My husband and my other kids are always there for Hailey and me.

Down syndrome family support

And her nanny/ babysitter definitely, who takes care of her when I’m at work, makes my day easier.

Hailey loves her “Yaya Melody” because she is so caring and patient-never screams, always soft-spoken and readily gives in to her demands ( not always good, but Hailey is such a brat sometimes, thus so happy when she gets what she wants! ).

” Yaya Melody ” brings Hailey to school late in the afternoon where she joins my pupils in their activities, like this practice for their Christmas party the next day.

 

Isn’t Hailey a graceful dancer?

To show her love for Yaya Melody, Hailey says “bye” and gives her a hug and a kiss before she goes home to her family.

After school, when the babysitter is gone, I have to attend to household chores by myself, which is usually preparing food for my family, especially Hailey who is inspired to play good when she’s full.

Me time

Having a special child to care for, not having your husband around because he works overseas, and still working full time, can be such a tough job.

Thus, I see to it that I take care of myself as well so I can always be there for Hailey and her sisters.

It’s like pouring a cup into another cup.

I have to be healthy for my loved ones so they stay healthy as well.

When Hailey dozes to sleep on weekends, I run to the saloon for my nails and my hair coloring.

I have to look presentable not only for my work but I have to pamper myself once in a while to feel good about myself and feel confident that I am still the dazzling mom even if I have three kids, including a Down syndrome daughter.

My dreams for Hailey

The days are fast and Hailey is now three years and 5 months. She is much more active and wanting for challenging activities.

Hailey is a girl with many talents. In the future, she could be a singer or maybe a band member. Learning from her older sister Amber, she likes to play the guitar and sing. We are so delighted of her when she does this!

Down syndrome child plays the guitar

Hailey also loves to dance, even without music, as you can see in the video above. She is just a happy kid, so innocent and loving!

I believe she is ready for school next year, though I was told she can be admitted to formal schooling at the Special Education program ( SPED ) only when she turns five.

In the meantime, I plan to enroll her in a local preschool class who handles typical children her age.

I never stop dreaming big for my beloved Hailey.

I have read some articles about adults with Down Syndrome who excel in their chosen careers.

I believe that Hailey is capable of becoming successful and will find happiness ( though being happy is inherent to them ) in everything that she does.

My Hailey is becoming mature each day, but she will always be my baby.

Raising a child with Down Syndrome

I feel so lucky having my daughter Hailey, who was found to have Down Syndrome at birth. Though I was not ready of her arrival, we have wholeheartedly welcomed her to our family.

Growing up, Hailey has shown lots of developments and caring for her is a constant struggle because I am working full time and my husband is not always around to help, but of course other support comes from her sisters, babysitter, my extended family, my co-teachers and other special needs parents that I communicate with online.

Big challenges in raising Hailey cannot compare to the joy and pride that we have of her achievements at 3 years and 5 months.

Did I say that Hailey loves to mimic me when I do my make up before work? With her toy make-up set, she would put on her “lipstick,” which she has learned to say, and would pretend that she is also going to work. 

Such a darling!

I will be here forever for my beloved Hailey.

To all other working moms out there of Down syndrome kids, I am with you on this journey and we will always survive each day that God gives us to handle.

Our kids’ smiles and hugs and showcase of talents truly erase all our weariness at the end of the day. 

Are you a special needs mom or dad of a Down syndrome child?

How are you facing the challenges of raising him or her? 

Click the images below to grab some materials to help your special child learn more at home.
Picture Books and Chapter Books for all ages

ABC Crafts for Uppercase LettersAll About Reading Pre-reading

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Special Needs Homeschool….Can My Child Learn?

I have always wanted for my son to do good in school.

When he was younger, I always see to it that he finishes his homework and sometimes, I even help him accomplish his school projects.

One time in grade five, his simple science project was chosen as one of the few that were represented in the division level. I was so excited for him and his best friend-classmate, who was his partner in the project.

I was one proud Mama.

Of course as parents, we want our kids to learn the best that they can. 

When they do good in school, we are the proudest of their achievements.

The same goes for our children with special needs. It doesn’t matter if our special child is not able to talk at the age appropriate for him, as long as gradually he is able to communicate, that’s all that matters.

We may have fears of our special child being bullied in school, or questions whether he will be able to adapt easily to his new teacher and new classmates plus the new surroundings.

So, at the back of our minds, we have this question:

A special needs home school…. can my child learn from me?

Is homeschooling the better option?

This is the question that most parents with special needs child will have to address.

Let us look at the pros and cons of homeschooling.

This post contains affiliate links. Please read the full Affiliate Disclosure here.

Benefits of a special needs home school

As parents, we always hope for the best outcome or learning potential for our special kid.

If you have the time and the resources to home school your child, it could be your best option for him.

These are some positive aspects for letting your child attend home school.

  • Specific needs will be addressed. You as the parent who is there for your child 24/7 truly understands what your special child needs, for example you will know what your child is struggling, maybe reading or verbalizing his needs.
  • One-on-one attention will boost your child’s confidence more than ever and he will learn faster.
  • Avoiding many obstacles in a traditional classroom. Communication will be the biggest struggle in school, but with you around in the home school, he can always be open to verbalize his needs or put forward his concerns non- verbally if need be. Bullying would be an issue that can be avoided there as well.

The Brave Learner




Click the images to buy these helpful books and planner to make homeschooling easier.

  • Flexible time and schedule. A structured time and schedule is good, but there will be times that your child would need to move his schedule or you may need to do it yourself for whatever reason.
  • Observing up close your child’s progress and struggles. As the parent-teacher, you will see first-hand your child’s development or what area he needs to focus on.
  • Understanding your child’s inadequacies and coping mechanisms. Only a parent can accept unconditionally his child’s shortcomings.
  • Pacing of teaching can be adjusted depending on your child’s improvement. You don’t have to report to a principal or superior about why your child is still unable to read or identify colors at a certain time and explain why.
  • Comfortable surroundings for your child will let him learn more effectively. You can both be in your jammies and sitting in your bed reading together. He doesn’t need to go out in extreme cold if the weather is not so good.

Drawbacks of homeschooling

Of course attending a traditional school for your child would be the best option if need be, but it is not always possible, or you think making him attend home school is the best because you believe you can offer him the best education there is.

There are negative feedback of course, and would include the following:

  • Social skills will not be optimized. Since he is alone at home with you, he will not develop the best friendships and good communication skills.
  • Your child will test the limits of your patience. There might be a time that you might feel so frustrated if he learns so slow or forgets what he has learned and you feel that homeschooling in not fit for your special child.
  • You might feel inadequate for your child as a mentor having no teaching experiences in school, more so with a special kid.
  • Tantrums or meltdowns might happen many times that are hard to control and as a parent, may discourage you to stop the lessons for the day.
  • In the early stages or even before starting homeschooling especially if a special child has been previously enrolled in a public school, some school officials harass the parents and don’t allow the special child to dis-enroll because of fear of losing funding.
  • Special needs children may lose government-funded special child services such as speech therapy when home schooled.

How to improve your child’s skills as a home schooler

Great Books for Kids of All Ages
Click the image to grab your list of books

As the teacher for your special child, you can always plan on improving how you handle him. You don’t need to suggest to his teacher in the regular school what you think is the best way to offer him lessons.

      • Let your special child attend group activities like your church’s Sunday school or your neighbourhood’s annual picnic to broaden his horizon and meet other kids.
      • Enrol him in extracurricular activities like piano lessons where he can interact with another teacher or other students if they will have recitals or concerts.
      • Let him stick to a routine as much as possible, like the same schedule each day for school, play, and homework. This will develop in him discipline and good study habits.
      • Daily habit of reading if he can, or reading to him if still not able on his own.
      • Encourage him to ask questions, thus enabling him to learn through exploration and discovery.
    • Give rewards for his achievements. There is no better way to encourage him to achieve more if he sees that you appreciate his efforts.



Click the images to buy these flash cards and book to make homeschooling easier.

  • Encourage him to repeat works or projects that are not acceptable at first or second try. Let him feel that mistakes are okey as long as he tries again to correct them.
  • Discuss with him why he did not get good results or scores with certain exams or projects and encourage him to give suggestions on how he can overcome these.
  • Balance learning with fun. Introduce play as much as possible or activities that your child enjoys in your daily lessons.
  • Connect with other parent-teachers ( join home school groups ) so you could compare ways on how to optimize teaching to your child and he can meet new friends as well.
  • Be patient with your child’s progress and just be content of what he can achieve daily. Don’t expect too much.
  • Display his works at home such as in the fridge or a dedicated corner or show to family so he knows that you are proud of his achievements.

Legalities and requirements of homeschooling

While homeschooling is legal in all 50 states in the US and all provinces in Canada, there are different requirements of each state or province where you live.

Call the authorities or agencies in your place just to be sure that they will not go after you and you will be out of trouble.

Some places require home school parents to meet basic educational qualifications, like a high school diploma or GED or a teaching certificate, but most states in the US do not have this requirement.

For Canadian homeschooling, please visit your province’s Department of Education websites for specific requirements. Some provinces may require you to report to them periodically for your child’s achievements. Or you need to tell them before you start home schooling.

I have mentioned only US and Canada here as examples, but if you live somewhere else, this could also apply to you.

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Parents excel in giving education to their special needs children

A year-long research was conducted by Dr Steven Duvall in eight elementary and two junior high students with learning disabilities, where five students were home schooled and five attended public schools.

He did this by seating-in on teaching sessions and observed every twenty seconds how the students used academically engaged time during instructional periods. He then encoded data in his laptop which were double-checked by a second observer.

Likewise, Dr Duvall measured the students’ scores in standardized achievement tests in reading, math and written language.

Look at the amazing results!

  • The home schooled special kids showed academic engagement two and a half times more than those enrolled in public schools.
  • The home schooled kids spent only 40.7 % of their time with no academic responses against 74.9 % for the kids in public schools.
  • The teachers and kids in home schools were sitting side -by-side or face-to-face 43% of the time compared to only 6% of the time for public schools. This gave more advantage for the home schooled kids.
  • The home schooled kids showed an average of six months improvement in reading compared to only half a month gain for special kids enrolled in public schools.
  • The home schooled kids showed an average of eight months improvement in written language skills compared to only 2.5 months in kids enrolled in public schools.

Dr. Duvall summarized, These results clearly indicate that parents, even though they are not certified teachers, can create instructional environments at home that assist students with learning disabilities to improve their academic skills. This study clearly shows that homeschooling is beneficial for special-needs students.”

It is  a very positive and encouraging study, so my dear parents, take the opportunity to home school your kids if you can!

What parents say about homeschooling or home education:

Here are three parents who found homeschooling effective for their children with special needs.

JOYCE has this to say – from HE Special-Home Education in the UK-Special Educational Needs 

” My son was thrown out of a private mainstream nursery at the age of 4. What followed was his diagnosis of autism and my decision to home educate. I am lazy and chicken, decided I would rather provide him what he needs socially and educationally myself than spend my days beating my head against the doors of authorities to convince them to provide it. And all that otherwise frustrated time is instead spent enjoying my happy, unique son.The result so far –

My husband and my family are now convinced that we made the right choice. My son is happy and excited about learning. It’s not all roses, he does balk at writing but he excels at chemistry (sorry for the brag).

They have come to see that it works. He can race ahead at what he loves and get extra time for things he struggles with, all in a nonjudgmental environment.

It is so far beyond what I could hope to find for him in a school. His joy in learning is worth all the effort.”

MARSHA IDDINGS shares her feelings about homeschooling her son Matthew:

“The most important fact that I discovered while developing Matt’s home school program is this: You, the parent, will always be your child’s greatest advocate. No other professional knows, cares, or loves your child with the depth that you do. This, more than any other factor, is important in creating a successful learning environment for the challenged child.”

LIANNA  KOERNER, whose 13 year old son Gabriel, has Down syndrome, homeschooled him after four unsuccessful years in the elementary school.

Lianna  says , ” The luxury of Gabe’s learning ability is a gift. We can master a skill before moving onto another. There are no “precedents or antecedents of behaviour” to be discussed. He has been growing into a responsible person who is assured that it is okay to be right where he needs to be educationally. He is happy now and it shows.

Gabriel is living a life of inclusion, where he can safely learn what he needs to learn without adults pushing their own perceptions about Down syndrome into his education. “

Home schooling could be the best option for your child with special needs

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There you go, considering the many benefits of homeschooling plus the positive results of the study done by Dr. Duvall and the awesome and positive experiences of some parents, let you be inspired to start to home school your special kid and erase your worries that you cannot  be the best teacher for your special child, but of course, he can definitely learn from you.

REMEMBER:

You as the parent who is there for your child 24/7 is the only one who knows your special child’s strengths and weaknesses to the core.

You are the only one who can offer him unconditional love and full support.

Your child feels secure with you at home, where it is the safest environment for him.

So, my dear parents, if you have the time and resources, go and home-school your special child!

You can be the best teacher for him. Ever.

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

 

Do you have plans of homeschooling your special child?

Or are you already homeschooling your child with special needs?

We would love to hear from you.

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How to Tell if your Child has Autism( Look for the Common Signs )

Parents are so excited of their kid’s milestones. Especially if he is the first child or the first ever grandchild.

The family would even  excitedly record the first steps, the first words and even the first time that he goes to school.

At certain times however, parents notice something different or something not going the way it should be or not coming if it’s expected.

At the back of your mind, you maybe asking this question, ” Is my child autistic? “

You as a parent, being with your kid most of the time, is the best person to notice the earliest warning signs of autism. You see your child on a daily basis and you know your child better than anyone else and observe behaviors and peculiarities that a Pediatrician, in a short visit, might not observe at all.

So, the question “how to tell if your child has autism, ” which maybe ringing in your ears on a daily basis needs to be answered fast!

What are the earliest signs of autism? 

What are the earliest signs of autism?
Parents usually notice early signs and should seek consultation right away.

 

As early as 6 to 12 months, studies demonstrate that behavioral signs are starting to be noticed for autistic kids.

 

If your baby doesn’t do these tasks, don’t hesitate to ask his Pediatrician if something is wrong or better still see a Developmental Pediatrician for evaluation.

  • Make eye contact or look at you when you carry him or smile back at you when you smile at him
  • Reacts to his name, or to the cooing of somebody familiar
  • Follow objects with his eyes or seem interested with things around him
  • Wave goodbye, or use other gestures to communicate.
  • Make noises to get your attention
  • Initiate or respond to cuddling or reach out to be picked up
  • Follow your gestures and facial expressions
  • Play with other people or show interest and enjoyment
  • Show concern if you hurt yourself or experience discomfort

When is the best time to see a doctor to confirm your doubts?

If you spot these developmental red flags in your baby, go see your child’s Pediatrician for evaluation as soon as possible.

At 6 months: No big smiles or expression of being happy

At 9 months: No imitating of sounds, smiles, or other facial expressions

At 12 months: No response to name and no babbling or “baby talk”; no imitating of gestures, such as pointing or waving bye-bye

At 16 months: No spoken words

At  24 months: No meaningful two-word phrases that are spoken on his own

Watch out for Early Warning Signs of Autism

The importance of early intervention

Your baby may not be diagnosed that early but at least his doctor can follow up his progress on a regular basis.

Usually, a definitive diagnosis is made only sometime on the 18th to the 24th month. This is because some kids may catch up on the 24th month with their delays.

Also, a small number of children appear to develop normally in the first 12 months, and then start to show autism symptoms between 18 and 24 months of age by going through a period of regression.

They may have started to learn a few words then stop talking suddenly.

Some parents even blame the vaccines given to their kids.

Studies have shown that early intensive treatment started at 18 months, if they are diagnosed at that age, may help to rewire the brain and reverse the symptoms.

There are variations though, like high-functioning children with autism aren’t diagnosed until they start school and noted not to interact well with classmates and teachers, thus are struggling socially.

The Special Education ( SPED ) program as an early intervention

Let me share with you some kids who attended the Special education program at the Romblon East Central School where Pangga ta Ikaw is presently building a mini-therapy area.

The SPED as an early interventions for kids with autism.
Interventions such as zipping and unzipping are done to develop fine motor skills and to teach how to focus on tasks.

FM was enrolled at SPED when he was six, and initially had poor language skills with words that were hard to understand, was hyperactive, with very short attention span and no eye contact. Social skills were also very poor, he seemed to be afraid of other kids, did not want to mingle with them and would not enter the classroom unless the teacher was there.

Teacher Bing, his very dedicated mentor, started to develop his speech, so he gradually learned how to speak clearly. Behaviour modification was done as well so he slowly learned how to socialize with other kids.

At 8, FM is now mainstreamed in Kindergarten after 2 years in SPED and now able to read and add in the kinder level.

JR had meningitis when he was younger and then developed autism signs and intellectual disability. He was initially enrolled to Kindergarten for one year but eventually moved to SPED and stayed there for 3 years. Now at 10, he was finally mainstreamed to Kindergarten.

JV, now 7, was initially enrolled to regular Kindergarten for only 2 weeks but pulled out because he was non-verbal and they thought he was deaf. He was brought for assessment and was diagnosed with autism. After a year in SPED, he was mainstreamed to Kindergarten, and now able to read, write simple sentences and add in the Kinder level.  His social skills are now much improved, as well.

These 3 kids above are still monitored and taught by teacher Bing for an hour everyday after their regular Kindergarten class.

On the other hand, Heleina is a 15 year old girl with severe autism who has been in the SPED program for 6 years, so started only at 9 years old,  but could not be mainstreamed to regular school and at present just in the  grade one curriculum. She still has very poor social skills.

This only shows that  early intervention is really important  for our autistic kids to develop well.

As a parent with an autistic child, what can you do to help your special kid?

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Educate yourself

               
   A Parent's Guide to High Functioning Autism Spectrum DisorderNathan's Autism Spectrum Superpowers

 

 

 

 

Click the images of the books to see the price.

Read a lot  and learn about autism for you to make informed decisions with regards to treatment options for your child. Always ask questions and participate in all treatment decisions.

Know your child well.

Learn what triggers your kid’s challenging or disruptive behaviors and what makes him calm and settled. What makes him stressed out or frightened? If you discover what upsets your child, you’ll be good at solving conflicts , thus preventing struggles and difficulties for him.

Love your child unconditionally and accept him no matter what.

Never compare your autistic child with a normal kid, accept him for what he is, otherwise you will always be frustrated with his development. Be happy with his accomplishments, celebrate small successes, and stop worrying about his delays.

Be positive.

Know that the future of your autistic child depends a lot on your support with his therapy. There is always help out there for him to grow and develop his abilities.

Remember your autistic child is not a burden even though taking care of him might be a big challenge with lots of struggles.

He will always give joy to your family especially watching him grow and develop himself.

His innocence is a gift, his dependence on you will always give you a feeling of being his protector.

Celebrate his developments,  don’t focus on his delays.

Join the World Autism Awareness Day

Celebrated every April 2nd , this is a special day declared by The United Nations General Assembly  that acknowledges the need to focus on the enhancement on the quality of life of those with autism so they can become productive members of society and lead full lives.

Related post: How to Spread the Word of Love.. Ten Songs to Celebrate World Autism Awareness Day

Your child and your family is one with the other families and the whole world in rejoicing during this special day.  Encourage your whole family to join and have fun!

World Autism Awareness
Every 2nd of April, the world celebrates all children with autism.

 

Do you have a child with autism or know somebody with autism spectrum disorder?
Please share your story with us. We would like to hear from you.
Post your comments below.

 

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Best Christmas Gifts for Kids with Special Needs- What to Give and Get the Biggest Hug!

In barely two months, we will be celebrating Christmas.

Of course, aside from all the parties and trimmings, let us not forget that we celebrate this season because it’s Jesus’ birthday.

And what better way to celebrate His birthday but to share our blessings to our loved ones and the less fortunate?

Do you have plans already for your Christmas parties with family and friends? We sure have. As early as December 1st, we will be having our party with some friends and our families, from our home province.

Of course, with parties we have to bring gifts especially for the kids who are so excited because they have wishes from Santa.

How about our special kids? Do you think they are excited of their gifts?

I’m sure we have been thinking, ” What would be the best Christmas gifts for kids with special needs? “

I remember when I was a kid, I would always wait expectantly for Christmas day because this was the time when  I would go to my godparents’ house, hug them  and ask their blessing, then  I would get a full plastic bag of goodies in return.

Life was simpler then and we lived in a very small town where neighbours chat with each other outside their homes and practically we knew everyone in the neighbourhood or maybe even the whole town.

My mom knew how to sew, so my sister and I would happily wear our Christmas dresses which looked alike. We proudly beamed like we were twin dolls, lol!

When I was in university, I would start buying simple gifts for my younger siblings as early as October.

We would open our gifts on Christmas day after lunch before heading to my aunt’s place for the party, where the kids got more gifts. Chocolates or other treats and toys were favourites, more than clothes or money.

How about you? Have you started your Christmas shopping this year?

I have some collections already.

I did some research and compiled this list for the best Christmas gifts for kids with special needs and for sure when they get these, they will jump with joy and you will get the biggest hug ever.

Don’t forget to click the images to see the price of the toys that you want to buy.

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

Here we go!

Educational toys

More than enjoying playing with toys, our kids with special needs, especially if they are non-verbal, would squeak with delight the first time that they open a toy and find it talking or emitting sounds or giving out beautiful lights.

Like this baby hammer toy that triggers light and sound when pounded.
Or this interactive toy school bus with flashing lights and sounds.

Be sure to buy also toys that are educational, so their creative minds will be enhanced, as well, communication skills will be developed.

This farm wooden puzzle will teach your child some farm animals, as well develop his fine motor skills and imagination.



The theraputty will enhance your special kids’ fine motor skills and creativity.

Theraputty to enhance fine motor skills and creativity

Best Christmas Gifts for Kids with Special Needs

Books

I love giving books as gifts to my nephews and nieces. I believe that books are the best gifts if you want the kids to enjoy reading as they grow up.

Reading to your special child is a very good bonding time as well, next to playing with them.

Before going to sleep, when you lie side by side in bed, reading to them their favourite book will enhance their imagination, as well.

Even if they are non-verbal, I’m sure they are able to understand in their own little way what you are reading to them, especially if you make your reading more enjoyable by acting out the story, like voicing out animals’ sounds for example.

First word books or alphabet books like these are very educational and be sure to buy books showing beautiful pictures, as well to catch the interest of your kid.


 
Story books, likewise would be one of the best gifts. Choose books that impart moral values about love of God and family. Likewise the values of respect, sharing , and empathy.

These story books will surely give delight to your little ones.

For older kids, these story books would be a hit.

Love You Forever is my most favourite kids’ book. It tells  a story of a mother’s love from birth to forever. It really touches a mom’s heart. It’s so beautiful! I will keep this book forever. I don’t mind reading it again and again.

 

Photobooks

Collect their most beautiful photos from a recent holiday or his most memorable birthday and present to your special child in a beautiful photobook.

Even looking at photos from since they were a baby until now will make them have a wide smile and they will enjoy turning the pages as they recognize themselves in the photobook.

It is also a special album for the whole family to store your memories. Click the image below to see the price.

Photobooks to file your special kids memorable events

Musical instruments

It is proven that music therapy has lots of benefits for our children with special needs.

Let your special kid be jolly everyday by giving him something that he can play not only to let him enjoy but to improve his focus and communication skills.

Let music flow in your homes everyday. Even just one musical instrument that he loves and plays a lot will improve everyone’s mood around the house.

If your special girl loves to sing, this karaoke set is the best gift. You will enjoy hearing the angelic voice of your daughter even though her lyrics have some funny twists.

This drum set for small kids ( 15 months up )  will enhance their motor skills and help them focus and engage.

These harmonica are so easy to play, your special child just needs to blow through it and voila, there will be beautiful music that he can create. And he will enjoy doing it again and again.

This xylophone comes with two sheets of music ( Twinkle, twinkle little star and Mary had a little lamb ) which an older kid can easily follow.


Writing and Colouring Materials

Discover the creative imagination of your special kid by giving him materials that  he can use to draw, doodle, and create something that he can be proud of.

Give him lots of crayons and coloured pencils with paper and just let your special child practice to grip the writing materials and encourage him to just draw those lines and circles and let him use all the colours for him to enjoy and develop his writing skills and creativity.

Show his works of art and put them in your fridge or the wall in his room.

Appreciate his works at all times!

For older kids who know how to properly grip crayons or coloured pencils, this colouring book is a nice gift.


These doodle pads are the right sizes for those small hands. They are also easy to bring during travel.

These large crayons with 16 colors to choose from will delight your special child and inspire him to doodle or  draw all the time.
Mommies, you will love these washable crayons because they’re easy to clean up even if your kids draw on your walls. How’s that?


Shoes and Clothes

What is Christmas for kids without new shoes and clothes?

They usually want to show off their beautiful outfits when they go to church or go to their godparents and grandparents asking for their presents.

Shop here for new dresses and clothes.

Awesome clothes for Christmas!

These girls’ sandals will fit nicely on their feet and will hold on even though they have mobility issues. I bet they can’t  wait for summer to use them. Might use them at home, lol!

This flashing sneaker will be a hit with your special child paired with an awesome

shirt.

These squeaky shoes for your little girl will amuse her as she walks.


Awesome shirts will make your kids’ Christmas more enjoyable! Check them out. The boys’ shirts  come in three colors- red, blue, and black.

Harry potter’s girl’s shirt in burgundy.

 Bags and backpacks

Some beautiful bags or backpacks to bring around at doctor or therapist visits to put your special kids’ toys and other essentials would be a nice gift idea as well.

Think of how the designs will give them joy.

 Your little girl will love carrying this unicorn kids’ backpack anywhere she goes. It comes with a lunch bag as well, which is very useful when going out to doctor’s visits or to school.

This weighted huggy bear back pack will surely give comfort to your special one, being so huggable and soft. Click the image to see the price.

Huggy bear weighted backpack

Huggable toys

Toys that will calm their anxieties are those that they can hug, like this weighted teddy bear and the Plush Pickle. They will enjoy carrying them and showing to their playmates, as well.

 

 

When we think of gifts for Christmas, the kids are always the most excited.

They would even trade chocolates or toys with money. They usually love getting presents that give them enjoyment. Opening those boxes or bags give them lots of perk!

They even wake up really early on Christmas day to start opening their presents once their parents allow them.

Christmas gifts come in different sizes

As parents, we are also excited shopping for them, even small items for their Christmas stockings.

Their belief that Santa Claus is there to give them presents as long as they’re nice gives them more enthusiasm during the holidays.

Even our children with special needs feel the excitement, so start buying those memorable gifts for them.

Happy shopping!

Let the Christmas countdown begin !

 

Do you recall the time when your special kid jumped with joy when he opened a Christmas present from you?

When is your most memorable Christmas with your little one? Did you have a gift that until now is still precious to him?

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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.

 

Special needs stroller

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.
A special needs stroller should be durable for long term use and meet the needs of your special child.

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.

Special needs stroller for your special child's need

Click here to look at varieties of adaptive strollers

Related post: How to travel with a stroller: nine 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 3 strollers

1. 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: nine best lightweight strollers for children with special needs

2.Adaptive Star Axiom Lassen 2 Push Chair

                                   

Axiom Lassen 2 Push chair

  • Product dimensions are 61″ x 24″ x 43″ inches
  • With traditional large rear wheels and 2 pneumatic front swivel wheels
  • Comes in 3 sizes and 2 colors ( navy and red )
  • With weight capacity up to 250 pounds
  • Comes with storage pocket behind the seat and  2  water bottle holders
  • The removable seat and under the seat basket are machine washable

Click the image or here to see the price

PROS

  • The handle can be adjusted depending on the height of the parent
  • With safety wrist strap
  • It has fixed footrest with individual feet straps
  • Comfortable seating area lined with breathable wicking fabric 
  • Adjustable 5- point harness for safety
  • The seat can be reclined up to 30 degrees
  • The sun canopy has view port window
  • Free shipping

CONS

  • The basket is made of thin synthetic material and not secure so when you put items  they tend to fall over
  • The padded insert for the seat is bought separately

3. Freedom Adaptive Stroller by Baby Jogger

Freedom Adaptive stroller by Baby Jogger

  •  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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