Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Personal protective equipment for children and teens with disabilities

"Mask!" Max says whenever we go out. He totally knows he needs to wear them and he's gotten used to it,  even if at times he announces, "I hate masks!" I hear ya, buddy.

The masks are necessary, of course, to ensure that he isn't spreading germs. They also help with the fact that Max has excess saliva, and this is not a time when people are going to be comfortable around anyone with that particular issue. Max uses scopolamine patches to help control it and they help to some extent, but not completely.

A couple of neighbors have made fabric masks for us, with elastic at the ears. Sewers around our town are also making them—I've seen them being sold for children and adults on local Facebook swap groups. We're lucky that Max's sensory issues have dwindled, and that he tolerates masks. I know it's been a challenge for some children with sensory needs and autism. Writer Shannon Des Roches Rosa finally had to get a note from her son's doctor explaining that he could not wear a mask because of his autistic sensitivities.

Max isn't going out to stores or any enclosed public spaces anytime soon so cloth masks are fine; mostly, he rides his bike on our street and takes the occasional walk. We also have some surgical masks from before all this started, which I used when I cleaned the house, so they've come in handy. Dave and I are going to venture out one of these days (my baby step was a garden center last Friday), so we've picked up KN95 masks. These are similar to N95 masks and offer filtration, but you have to be careful about buying them from a good source. I've found ones at ACS Materials for a reasonable price (the website Duvely is a total scam, more on that another time).

We just got a batch of plastic face shields—$2 each at InstaShield,  and they slip right over any baseball cap, so they could be a great mask option for children with sensory issues. I like them because they cover your eyes, too. They're easy to clean with soap and water and reusable. (Here's a good piece in The New York Times on face shields.) For whatever reason, Max actually loves them and has taken to wearing them for walks around the block.

Weird. New. World.


  1. If they cover your eyes, how do you see???? :-)

  2. They're made out of clear plastic


Thanks for sharing!

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