Tuesday, December 5, 2017

5 Simple Things That Make Life Easier as a Special-Needs Parent

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Disclaimer: This post contains Amazon Affiliate image links, which means that if you click on certain images and then purchase the item shown, I will receive a small percentage of the sales.

It's no secret that life can be challenging at times when your child has special needs. There's a lot to juggle: medical appointments, concerns about health and developmental issues, time needed to research special-needs toys and equipment. To hopefully help make your life a tiny bit easier, I've composed a list of 5 simple things that have made my own life easier as a parent of a child with special needs:

1. Slip-on shoes

As parents of kids with special needs, we often have lots of therapy and doctor appointments to take our kids to. If you're anything like me, you're always rushing out the door for these appointments. Being able to quickly slip on a pair of shoes can save timeand sanity. Until recently, I had a pair of slip-on Sketchers similar to these ones.

I loved them. 

After 3+ years, they finally became so worn that I could no longer wear them. I replaced them with a pair of lace-up shoes, and I have to say, I'm really missing my slip-ons. Some days they made the difference between catching the train to take my son to school...or not.

2. Gemiini

screenshot of a Gemiini video clip
Many kids with special needs benefit from lots of repetition in order to receptively learn new words and learn how to say them. Gemiini is an online program that involves having your child repeatedly watch themed 2- to 5-minute videos.

A full video on shapes might contain clips on circles, stars, squares, rectangles, triangles, and hearts, with a few short humorous clips interspersed to help keep your child interested. Within the video, actors repeat the words "circle," "star," etc., over and over again, which gives your child the language repetition he needs while you get a break. 

To learn more about Gemiini and my family's early experiences with it, check out this post.

3. Recordable storybooks

These are similar to regular picture books except that you record yourself reading them. When you or your child opens the book or turns the page, the recording plays in sync with whatever page you're on.

My parents introduced me to recordable storybooks a year or two ago when they gifted two of them to my son. At first, it felt a bit weird to hear my parents' disembodied voices every time my son and I opened the books, but I've since grown to really love these books. 

For one, my son loves them. For two, they're great when I'm feeling particularly exhausted. I can snuggle up with my son on the couch with a recordable storybook, turn the pages, and take micro-naps while the recording is playing. My kid gets a story read to him, while I get a much-needed nap. Win, win.

4. A dedicated filing box for your kid's therapy and medical records

It's a good idea to keep all of your kid's therapy and medical records in one place. For example, when your child is seeing a new therapist or doctor and you have to fill out forms about his medical history, knowing exactly where you can find the necessary information will save you time. 

I've been using the Sterilite Portable File Box shown above for more than 2.5 years, and I've been quite happy with it. It's sturdy, having survived 2 moves, no problem.

5. Prescription medication delivery

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Not all pharmacies offer this service, but if your kid (or you) needs prescription medication, it can be worthwhile to look around for a local pharmacy that does.

When my son was a baby, he was taking 4 or 5 different medications at a time. They typically couldn't all be refilled at the same time, which could have easily meant multiple trips to the pharmacy per month. Thankfully, we had access to a prescription medication delivery service. It was a snowy winter, and I was grateful not to have to take my medically fragile son out for frequent pharmacy visits in addition to his doctor and therapy appointments.

What has made your life easier as a parent of a child with special needs? Please share in the comments below!