Posts Tagged ‘toddler’

Toys glorious toys!

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014

playing with toysAt one time, parents did not have many options to find appropriate toys for a child with a disability or developmental challenge. Nowadays, it is possible to find just the right kind of toy for your child’s individual needs. She can play at her own level and be a very happy camper.

What child does not love toys? It seems to me that the word “toy” is synonymous with “child.” It is hard to separate the two. At this time of year, there is a seemingly endless variety of toys available. Yet, for parents of a child with special needs, it can seem hard to find toys that are appropriate for your child’s condition.

Fortunately, a simple internet search for “toys for kids with special needs” will yield multiple sites that feature toys for children with physical or cognitive challenges, speech and developmental delays, hearing or vision impairments, sensory disorders, issues related to autism and learning disabilities. You can find everything from sensory swings to board games with larger print. You will not be at a loss to find the right toy for your little one.

When searching for toys by age group, remember to keep your child’s adjusted age in mind if he was born prematurely. And, see this post for other tips on shopping for toys kids with special needs.

This year, let your fingers do the searching and find the perfect gift for your child with special needs. The hours of fun your child gets from a toy that is right for him will give you hours of joy!


Note: This post is part of the weekly series Delays and disabilities – How to get help for your child. It was started in January 2013 and appears every Wednesday. While on News Moms Need, select “Help for your child” on the menu on the right side to view all of the blog posts to date. You can also view a Table of Contents of prior posts.

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Distraction action

Friday, October 4th, 2013

cell phone thiefDoes your little one squirm when you try to wash her face? Does she refuse to give you back your recently robbed cell phone or car keys when you need them (usually when you’re running late for an appointment)? Don’t go ballistic, distract her with something else.

Fortunately, babies are easily distracted by just about anything you offer them. Place a few pieces of dry cereal on the high chair while you take a swipe at those messy cheeks. Or put a small dish of water in front of Jr. and tell him to wash his fingers (what fun!) while you attack his face.

Try swapping out those keys for something else in your purse: a hair clip, hair brush, tube of hand cream (tighten the cap!), or empty glasses case. Sometimes a picture book or magazine will do the trick.

Distraction is an excellent tool for redirecting curious, hands-on tots. What distraction actions have worked for you?

Climbing hazards

Monday, April 8th, 2013

climbingWhen my son was two, he suddenly had the urge to grasp everything outside of his reach. Curiosity ruled the day – fear was nowhere in the picture. Every direction was up.

He climbed on chairs, bookcases, the dog, the stairs… He climbed into boxes, cabinets, the bathroom vanity… He was not one to sit idly by – ever.

I discovered that for safety’s sake, it would be a good idea to get down on my knees and see the world from his eyes. I learned a lot! Here are a few tips for first timers:

• Folding chairs are flimsy and can gobble up a toddler. Put them away.
• Dining room chairs lead to the dining room table! Keep the chairs back against the wall.
• Bookcases may appear sturdy, but they can come crashing down on top of a mountain-climbing tot. Anchor them to the wall near their top.
• Know your dog. Will he snap when Junior is pestering him too much, or will he just get up and move?
• Stairs are irresistible. Pressure gates are a real blessing until you can teach your mountaineer the safe way to go up and down. “Practice makes perfect,” so have fun with him while he learns the right way!
• Didn’t you know that boxes can be more fun than the expensive toys that come in them? Make sure they are sturdy if they’re going to be climbed on or in.
• It’s fun to climb into a kitchen cabinet and pull out all the pots and pans. Make sure whatever is in reach is not breakable and that the dishwasher soap and other cleaning supplies are up on a high shelf. (Some kiddies are very good at opening “childproof” locks!)
• Bathroom cabinets are fun for your kids to get into as you’re taking your shower. Again, keep all cleaning products out of reach. That goes for nail polish and makeup, too.

Do any of you seasoned parents have other suggests to add?

Baby’s first steps

Friday, March 29th, 2013

Who doesn’t love to watch a baby take his first steps? It will put a smile on anyone’s face! Look at these adorable tots and consider walking with us for stronger, healthier babies.

Croup, the barking cough

Thursday, October 25th, 2012

croup1A common childhood illness, croup often starts with mild cold-like symptoms. As the airway swells, the child develops noisy breathing and a cough that sounds like the barking of a seal. Often a child’s symptoms get worse or come on suddenly at night and they can be scary. The symptoms tend to repeat over the next two to three nights, which can be exhausting for everyone.

Croup is an illness that affects the voice box (larynx) and windpipe (trachea). Children between 3 months and 3 years of age are most likely to get croup. Their airways are small, and any swelling can make it difficult to breathe. The good news is that most cases of croup, though they need to be monitored closely, are mild and last less than a week.

Croup is caused by viruses that are contagious. The viruses can spread through the air or by touching a contaminated surface, something toddlers do all day long. Less frequently, allergies may cause croup. Your baby can get croup at any time of year, but it is most common between October and March, so it’s time to keep your eyes and ears open for it.

If your little one gets sick, do not give over-the-counter cough and cold products to her if she is younger than 2 years of age. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, these medications can have serious and even life-threating side effects.

Steam often helps children with mild cases of croup to breathe easier. I remember those nights when I steamed up the bathroom with hot shower water and sat there with my son or daughter for 15 to 20 minutes. It did seem to help, but if this doesn’t help you, try taking your child outside to breathe cool night air. The cool air helps reduce airway swelling. A cool-water humidifier (vaporizer) in your baby’s room also may help. While your baby has the croup, check on her frequently during the night to make sure the symptoms don’t get worse.

Antibiotics won’t help croup, but call your baby’s health care provider right away if your child develops a barking cough or noisy breathing. Providers sometimes prescribe medications called corticosteroids that reduce swelling in the airways and make breathing easier. Rarely, a child with serious breathing problems may need to be treated with oxygen and medications in the hospital.

Call for emergency medical assistance if your baby:
• Appears to be struggling to get a breath
• Looks blue around the mouth
• Drools and has a lot of trouble swallowing
• Makes louder and louder noises as she inhales (called stridor), especially when resting.