Providing your disabled child with opportunities to gain independence is an important part of their growth. In some cases, in order to give your child independence, they may need specialist equipment and aids to support them.
Amrick, who is part of the Disability Horizons team, has highlighted the top disability tools and aids that can really support your child and help them to thrive. These products are also available on the Disability Horizons Shop, so check them out!
As the parent of a disabled child, I am always on the look-out for innovative and useful products that can help make each day a little easier for our family.
On the Disability Horizons shop, there is a vast collection of daily living aids and unique disability products for both adults and children. However, today I will take a look at some items that are especially useful for children.
From fun to functional – Disability Horizons shop’s range of children’s disability aids are designed to help with fine motor skills, toileting, self-care and include many tools ideal for children with learning difficulties.
I hope you find this list helpful, and if you have any suggestions for your favourite disability aid or special educational needs product, please leave a comment below!
Disability gripping aids for limited motor skills
The FunctionalHand is a brilliant little tool that provides an alternative “grip” for children with poor hand function.
Designed by an occupational therapist and a physical therapist, the FunctionalHand securely holds a huge range of objects in place so that they can be manoeuvred easily by children and adults, too.
This simple but massively useful product is great for children with grasping difficulties, due to weakness in the hand caused by conditions such as cerebral palsy.
The FunctionalHand assistive cuff can hold pens, pencils, cutlery and so much more – meaning little ones can easily access school activities and daily self-care tasks with a greater sense of confidence and independence.
Providing a reassuring grip for all sorts of activities, such as painting or playing on iPads and touchscreens – I think there is a lot of fun to be had with the FunctionalHand!
Support your independence with a wheelchair lap tray
The Trabasack Curve Connect is an ideal companion for children who use wheelchairs and children who use buggies on a regular basis.
A fantastic alternative to traditional wheelchair trays – the Trabasack Curve Connect offers a tray with a safe, ergonomic design, and an internal zip pocket for storing items.
The tray is firm enough for educational tasks and eating meals, but the soft, velcro-receptive fabric means you can attach so many different items to the top safely and securely, without fear of them falling off, getting lost or knocked-over.
Brilliant for meal times – cups and plates can be secured quickly and easily with self-adhesive velcro strips.
Also, it is an excellent companion for educational purposes or home-schooling. With the Curve Connect providing a tray for work or play, and the internal zip pocket, paper, pens, iPads and more can be carried around with ease.
Also available is the Trabasack Media Mount – a durable, flexible mount with a velcro strip down one side. Simply twist around any object, and secure it in place at any angle to the Curve Connect tray surface.
Brilliant for keeping iPads upright, securing switches in place, or ensuring reading books stay upright and in place.
Weighted blanket alternatives for children with sensory impairments
Many children with SEND (special educational needs) have sensory processing disorder and understanding your child’s personal sensory preferences can be so difficult, especially if they struggle with speech and communication.
Proprioceptive and vestibular senses are less known-of in the wider world, but when you have a child with autism, it is imperative that these two sensory needs are investigated and managed in the same way we would with the better known “5 senses” (touch, taste, smell, sight and sound).
Children who are under-sensitive to proprioceptive feedback often seek-out more – by requesting extra-tight hugs, squeezing between the wall and heavy furniture, or running into large objects.
The Fidget Bum weighted blanket is designed to give all the proprioceptive sensory feedback children need that a traditional weighted blanket would ordinarily offer.
Although weighted blankets can offer some children their much-needed sensory feedback, many parents will know that once your child is finally asleep at night, it can not be guaranteed that those flailing legs will keep the covers on the bed throughout the night.
Once the weighted blanket falls off, then the comfort and sensory feedback diminish, which can lead to your child waking in the night, and even less sleep than usual!
The Fidget Bum works much like a giant elastic, fabric tube – enveloping your child from shoulders down to their legs – all the time applying a gentle but reassuring amount of pressure to the torso, and providing that much needed proprioceptive feedback.
The Fidget Bum is fitted under your child’s mattress, then zips-up-the-front, over your child, and their duvet once they’re settled in bed.
The Fidget Bum is a must-have for children with autism who have sleep issues, especially when part of your nightly concern is whether your child will keep warm/keep their weighted blanket on, due to tossing and turning in their sleep.
Secure sleepsuits for children with disabilities
Seenin have a fantastic range of clothing/protective products for children, but one of their most ingenious ideas is the back-opening sleepsuit.
These sleepsuit pyjamas can only be opened around the back of the garment – meaning that an adult must assist the child when it’s time for dressing and undressing.
If you have a child with SEND you may encounter times when it is not appropriate for your child to remove their clothing, or that if pads are being used, that it is important that your child can not access their pants because of smearing.
The Seenin back-opening sleepsuit is ideal for children with autism and learning difficulties. The cosy, cute design means that children will be warm and comfortable throughout the night, and the secure back-fastening provides you with peace of mind – knowing that your child will not be able to undress without your assistance.
The sleepsuit is available in three colour options, navy/red, peach/plum, navy/turquoise, ideal for both boys and girls. All sizes up to age 15-16 have an option for built-in feet, so no more worries about cold little toes at night, either!
Portable urinals for children with disabilities
Nobody likes to be “caught short” and if you have a child with disabilities, you might find it more difficult than most to find an accessible toilet quickly and easily.
The Uriwell Happy Pee is the perfect pocket-sized companion that solves this issue – a compact urinal with a concertina design, which can be stretched out to provide a large container for urinating in whilst out-and-about.The ergonomic design means it can be used comfortably by both boys and girls, and each Happy Pee features a fun animal on the lid – hopefully encouraging your little one to wee without anxiety.
Once the Happy Pee has been used, the lid fits tight and secure – meaning there’s no fear of spills or leaks, and can be stored in your bag or in the car glove box, even on its side, without worries of spillage.
The Happy Pee portable kids urinal is especially useful for older children with learning difficulties or neurological disabilities such as autism, who may toilet train at an older age than their peers.
Having a toilet to hand no matter the location is a boon and if your child has sensory processing issues, such as my daughter, you will find it difficult to use ordinary toilets due to echos and those blasted hand dryers.
With Happy Pee, you can find a quiet place in an emergency, without worrying that the noises and smells of a shared public toilet will cause distress for your child.
Visual writing guides for children with disabilities
The Legi Liner is a simple yet essential tool for working with children learning to write and mark-make.
It can convert any workbook area into a practice writing space in seconds and means that there’s always the opportunity to adapt a written task or workbook lesson to make it clearer for children to know where to write.
As basic as this concept may seem, these line visuals are vital for children learning how to control their pen and hone fine motor skills.
Having visual guides helps with visual perception skills, character alignment and spacing. By providing this easy-to-understand universal guide on any activity, it gives children confidence and control to master many educational tasks!
By Amrick Ainley
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