Monday, June 28, 2010

Good stuff for kids with disabilities

Over the years, I've done a few posts on helpful stuff for kids with special needs, including this one and this one. Thought I'd share a few more goodies!

Jigglers (above): These vibrating toys encourage kids to hold things and also decrease oral sensitivity. They are also really cute.

TheraTogs: A body-suit like garment (above) kids wear that can help improve trunk control and alignment, among other things.

Benik Wrist Supports: They're helpful for isolating Max's thumb (he tends to hold them inward), enabling him to better grasp things. Your OT—through Early Intervention or at school—can help with sizing.

Dycem: A tacky material that prevents stuff from sliding around. We use some beneath Max's bowl, to enable him to feed himself, and for his iPad. Check and see if the therapist or school have any; I've asked his speech therapist to spare a square (in the immortal words of Elaine from Seinfeld).

Kid Companions: Cute little heart and circle pendants on strings that kids can chew on.

Last, I recently found out that Target and Search Institute (a nonprofit that provides resources to promote healthy kids) have partnered to give parents a series of tips and activities for keeping kids brains and bodies active all summer long. I loved the tips, which include ones like head outside for bedtime stories and read to kids under the stars with a blanket, a flashlight and a favorite book, and make nature-inspired bookmarks. You can read the tips on Target's Facebook page under the "Play & Learn" tab, they will be posting new ones each week through July.

Got any good stuff to add?


  1. My 4 year old loves his jigglers! He has the elephant and the alligator. We would turn them on and have them "kiss them"

  2. Everyone of these products can be put to good use! I have used all (well, except the chewy necklaces) - but have recommended each of them to parents for their children many, many times. Excellent set of products! Most parents need help with TheraTogs as well as Benik products - from their therapist(s). Thanks, Ellen!


  3. Great products! I don't know if this really counts, but the Therasuit has been a lifesaver for us. It is a specialized suit modeled after the Russian spacesuit to hold children with CP and other physical disabilities in the correct position. Combined with intensive therapy, children can make significant progress in a relatively short amount of time. Don't get me wrong - it's a big commitment for everyone involved, but in my humble opinion, it's amazing. Monkey has done four rounds so far, and we're most likely going to schedule him for a fifth after his surgery.

  4. Intensive therapy is an excellent means of making progress and the Therasuit makers have been smart to market through this format. The progress is not just from the suit, but from the intensive exercise the child does while wearing it. Similar in concept to TheraTogs but managed differently.

    Can a parent buy a Therasuit, Jo? And use it at home?


  5. The Bamboo Brace!! The best thing ever! My PT of joy and wonder makes and sells an arm brace to stop "unhelpful flexion" in the elbow. I am convinced it is why my hemiplegic daughter crawled which I am convinced is why her hand is now more open. He uses it for his hemi patients and and for others who need stability/support to get use of the arm, and then using the arm builds strength and so on. Using her arm means her trunk and shoulder are better developed than most hemi kids, according to all the other therapists we see. I think it is the most important thing we have done for Hannah. I think we really are breaking that pattern of the arm being bent up at the elbow all the time. It is amazing, really and truly. Check it out on his blog at and see the video on the home page of teaching Hannah to crawl.

    We also use the Benik to open up the hand and pull the thumb out of the fisted position.

  6. If you can't find any Dycem, you can get the "foamy" Rubbermaid shelf paper on a roll. It looks like loosely woven material coated in rubber. Works great - costs MUCH les (unless you can get the Dycem for free from your therapist).

    We have a really great chair too! You can use it as a high chair in the beginning, then it comes apart to make a chair and desk. The pommel in the middle is very high, so even if you can't get the harness around your child it should keep them from sliding out. The chair reclines to three positions. The desk is nice and large. All wash very well - holds up to 100 lbs! Here is the link (you can also come to our site & see pics of Christopher in it)


    Steph & Christopher

  7. Awesome! I'm going to be checking these all out over the next few days. :)

  8. Awesome suggestions!

    I wanted to add one more that we've found really helpful. It's called a McKie Splint and is similar to the Beniks, only it's not as thick. My daughter wears it almost every day and it helps isolate her thumb without preventing her from using it. Highly recommend!

  9. Ugh I wish the chewy necklaces were around when I was in 1st grade9the time when my tactileness was most evident)I wore a blue chew ring around my neck that attrached attention and the occiaonal mean commet(Baby Baby You have a chewie!) I did use jigglers though.


Thanks for sharing!

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