Thursday, January 22, 2009

Really helpful stuff for kids with special needs (or any kids)

Today, I'm listing some things that have made life easier for Max and our family (but mostly for Max). Please add your own discoveries!

1. A great highchair

A year or so ago, at the recommendation of an OT, we bought a Keekaro. It's a good feeding chair for any kid, but it's especially wonderful for ones who need extra support. We got ours with a cushion that's easy to wipe down. It's for tots ages six months up, and can be adjusted to fit someone up until (so says the site) he is 250 pounds. I'd say that if your child hits 250 pounds, you've been using the feeding chair entirely too much and need to go find a hobby.

2. A great spoon

The Boon Bender came recommended by another OT. The plastic is malleable and can be angled, so it's handy for kids who aren't that coordinated about getting food into their mouths. Works for Max!

3. Great nutrients for nurturing kids' brains

When Max was in the NICU after he was born, a world-renowned pediatric neurologist came to examine him and mentioned Coromega Omega-3 Dietary Supplement. It's this orange-mousse concoction packed with Omega-3s, which are said to boost brain development. We slipped a half-packet into Max's food once a day when he was young, and now we go through one a day. We also use Nordic Naturals Omega 3•6•9 Junior (and the adult version for us).

4. Great toys for kids development
A couple of months ago, I blogged about smart toys for kids. One more I've since discovered:

Cranium Balloon Lagoon (geared toward five-year-olds and up but fine for a four-year-old) gets kids to use their hands in all sorts of ways and think creatively and logically. Max tried it at our friends' house this weekend and did an impressive job of fishing magnetic alphabet letters out of a "lagoon." It's in high demand, so see if you can find a used one on eBay. UPDATE: Mommie Mayhem is right, they're on sale for $10 at Toys R Us! Go get 'em!

5. Great (and free!) online educational games
These sites get two thumbs up from Max (OK, two hands up, he's not very adept about extending those thumbs—why his computer touch-screen comes in handy): Kinderweb and Kaboose Funschool.


  1. I found that game at my local Toys r Us for $10. Thanks for the info !! Great post !

  2. Ooh, the bendy utensils! I'd really like to get a set of those for Piper, especially before we cast her again.
    I'd have to say two toys we really use are Ganz's plush finger puppets and Hungry Hungry Hippos. Both are great for encouraging open hands and finger extension.

  3. Yaaaay for more free advice!!!

    Made my day.

  4. Great ideas! Some things that have really helped us out...

    The Nosey Cup:

    These things are great-- they come in all sizes, including those for little hands, our son, who has trouble swallowing, is able to use one because he doesn't have to tilt his head back to drink.

    Leapfrog's Fridge Phonics Magnets:

    These are great for deaf children because they are pretty loud and teach phonics as well as letter names. They're also pretty chunky and easy to pick up. They make a set for simple words, too.

    And, last but not least, the humble popsicle stick. We tape these to the pages of Connor's favorite books so he can turn them himself. Super easy and cheap!

    We enjoy your blog. Keep up the good work!


  5. That popsicle stick idea is genius! We have used the Leapfrog magnets as well as the nosey cup, it's a good thing (but for some reason, Max is over it). And Mel, I forgot all about Hungry Hippos! Loved that game myself as a kid. I have to get Max some finger puppets. Mel, any link for that?

  6. I SO wanted to do a post like this! Anyway, if I could name one, must-have item it would be the feeder seat from First Years. We use it for feeding--even when Charlie was super-weak we could recline it. We use it for play-time, and we drag it with us whenever we go to a restaurant. Kid to floppy for those nasty restaurant high chairs? This baby is perfect and goes on any restaurant chair. You can even skip the tray and stick it in a booth. Supposedly it's good up to four years, but I can say with experience that at nineteen months it's still going strong. Your high chair is definitely prettier, but without this chair I would have had to give up dining out and as a native New Orleanian that against my code of ethics.

    Here's the link:|The_First_Years_NewborntoToddler_Reclining_Feeding_Seat&ci_src=14110944&ci_sku=B0012VY11A&ref=tgt_adv_XSG10001

  7. Great post idea! I've been wanting to do an equipment post for a long time but just haven't found the time. But I will do it this week. Nathan's much weaker so his equipment is much different, but thanks for sharing these great tips - maybe as Nathan gets stronger we will need them!

  8. Hey there I really liked this blog so thank you for posting it. How early did your start the omega booster?? Did you happen to put it into formula?

  9. Hi! We waited till Max was on solids to do the Coromega. Consult your pediatrician before using it, definitely.

  10. I must preface this by saying I don't weigh 250 pounds, but I'm 27 and still use the chair! Not as a high chair, but as an office chair - I love it! You can move the seat and the footrest to adjust to whatever feels comfortable that day (which is great for someone as fickle as I).

    ( parents bought this as a high chair for my youngest brother who is now 19 --- I didn't realize this until...oh last year!)

  11. Wow, lots of great advice. I love the Lagoon game. Looks like fun - I will see if it's available in Oz. I also really like the idea of the 'Hungry Hungry Hippos' game. I used to love that one and can see how good it would be.

    I love the Manoy bowl - perfect for a child who can use a spoon but who finds it hard to scoop. It's the ONLY bowl that my son can use and these days, he uses it pretty well.

  12. You are an amazing MOM and that Max is too.
    I love how you share and have such great tips.

  13. I have 3 of those chairs - but here in Ireland they are made by Trip Trap (who do the very sexy cots and cribs) They are great for kids with autism/low body tone as they support at a right angle (if you adjust the foot plate) then they can hold a pencil properly. Changed my son's handwriting overnight.
    And now they are just chairs!


Thanks for sharing!

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