Are you finding it hard to come up with Christmas gift ideas for a special needs family member or friend? As a special needs mom, I understand. Finding things to make life easy can be a challenge. This holiday season, I offer you a roundup of the top 9 items which help to make things a little easier in our family.
Check out the list below for inspiration. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Signs of Samuel’s teething started with chewing everything in sight, from the plastic straw in his juice box to his board books. His occupational therapist came up with a great solution. Give him something we want him to chew. She recommended a chewy tube which Samuel took to right away. Thankfully, we ordered the 4 pack, so if we couldn’t find one, we’d use the backup tubes from the pack.
Each tube comes in different sizes and colors. They help Samuel practice biting and chewing skills. (No problem there. : )) Recommended for ages 3 years old and up.
Chewy Tube Combo 4 Pack
Help With Diaper Rash
If you have ever had to deal with your child’s diaper rash, you know the struggle is real. I try to be holistic as much as possible, so I looked for something natural. Putting harmful chemicals on my son’s bottom is something I wanted to avoid. So the hunt began. After much deliberation, I crossed my fingers and selected, BUY NOW. And, I am glad I did.
Motherlove Diaper Balm, 1 oz Jar
At first, I was skeptical such a small jar could work or that I would run out quickly. But, after spreading a thin layer of the balm, I noticed a difference. And, by the second diaper change, I was wowed. I found it works best to use the balm at the first sign of redness. Do you use Motherlove? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.
Reading Is A Pleasure
One of Samuel’s favorite songs is the Happy Birthday song. I video every birthday celebration for my son to enjoy later. Thankfully, we sing the song at church every month. It would be safe to say Samuel watches a Happy Birthday video every day.
When I heard my good friend, Michelle Metlock Adams wrote a children’s board book called Happy Birthday To You!, I was thrilled. And, then she surprised me by sending Samuel his own autographed book.
The book has thick pages making it easy for Samuel to turn each page with his cute little hands. And the electronic happy birthday song is absolutely adorable. Samuel also likes to hold the book by the corner hole. It’s easy for him to grasp. And easy is a win in our home.
Happy Birthday To You! Board Book
When Samuel enjoys floor time, he still loves to watch his iPad. He’s either enjoying home videos or watching Elmo. But, I always had a problem with the iPad laying flat on the floor or on his bench. Samuel couldn’t see the screen well, and he wasn’t able to reach the top of the screen with his short little arms. I tried to find a toy to prop the iPad up, but nothing worked well.
Then last month, I bought an iPhone stand for my training classes. This helped me to make sharing my iPhone screen with my students easy. I was amazed a little gadget made such a big difference. Could there be a similar gadget for Samuel’s iPad?
I found the perfect solution, an adjustable tablet stand. I place the stand on Samuel’s blue bench, and he can easily reach the top of the screen. And, he can better view his favorite videos. Sometimes it’s the little things in life that can make a big improvement.
Adjustable Tablet Stand, OMOTON
Samuel is a rambunctious, active, little boy. He loves to roll, kick, and fall from sitting position. It’s enough to make my momma heart pitter patter. Without strapping pillows to him, I had to find a way to protect him from the hardness of the floor.
In 2011, we bought a gymnastics tumbling mat from Z-Athletic. The blue mat was rather large for his little body, but it turned out to be a blessing. He could wiggle this way and that and still not be off the mat. We surround him with toys and books, and he can safely play without getting hurt.
We put his bench on the mat with his iPad making for a fully contained play area. In all these years, the mat has not faded. And we have had many spills which easily wipe off because the mat is waterproof. So glad we bought such a quality product for Samuel’s safety.
4’x6’x2” Gymnastics Tumbling Martial Arts V4 Folding Mat Z-Athletic
Drinking From A Straw
The day Samuel first used a straw was a turning point. We could give him a juice box with a straw, and he’d be done in no time asking for more. Since Samuel has dwarfism, we needed to regulate his calorie intake. Each juice box contained 70 calories. Too many calories means weight gain, and for someone with dwarfism, weight gain can be detrimental causing respiratory issues.
The solution: Mix ¼ part apple juice with ¾ parts water and add this mix to a sippy bottle with a flex straw. It took some time for Samuel to learn how to get the liquid out from the straw, but once he got it, he loved it. Sometimes I think he just holds the bottle for comfort after he’s done.
One neat feature of the bottle is that it fits in his stroller’s cup holder. Nuby came out with a bigger size that doesn’t fit, and Samuel ends up dropping it on the floor. This usually happens when we are at a big box store. Then I have to watch it at home.
Though a sippy bottle may not be considered a find, for us it’s the perfect solution to managing Samuel’s intake and allowing him to independently enjoy his juice.
(Note: Fits in the Graco Modes Travel System, Davis Stroller cup holder.)
Nuby 3 Piece Girl No-Spill Cup with Flex Straw, 10 Ounce
Help With Itching
Since Samuel doesn’t use words to communicate, we watch his body language for clues to meet his needs. When he scratches his skin, I reach for the jar of Skin Relief. And though, he can’t say, “Thank you, Mommy. I feel better”, the improvement is immediate because he stops itching. This thick cream made with shea butter, aloe, green tea, seaweed, chamomile, vitamin E and jojoba oils is a “go to” in our home.
Samuel has a skin condition called acanthosis nigricans for which there is no curative treatment. So, to find something that works to help with the itching is a godsend. I also use the Skin Relief when I see any redness in the folds of his skin. Children with Thanatophoric Dysplasia have many skin folds.
Jordan Essentials Skin Relief Shea Butter Cream
Skin Relief is a family favorite too. I had a burn from a hot pot, and it worked better than aloe leaving me without a scar. Check out my Jordan Essential Facebook page for more details on Skin Relief: www.facebook.com/herbalsupport
Quick Access To Essentials
When we leave the house, we need certain essentials to be ready for every emergency. Suction equipment, nebulizer, oxygen tank, to name a few. Having these items available at our fingertips is vital should Samuel need medical intervention when we are away from home.
Solution: Cargo Clip on Thermal from Thirty-One Gifts
Designed to be a baby bottle thermal tote, I attach it to my stroller for easy access to my son’s back up trach, albuterol and saline bullets, trach ties, g-tube extension, diapers & wipes, and thermometer. Should I need to change Samuel’s trach when we are away, I can easily pull the backup trach out of the tote. In a case where seconds can matter, easy access is vital.
I also love how much I can store in the tote. Check out my video here: https://www.facebook.com/amiracleinmylivingroom/
To find out more contact: www.DreamBigWithKim.com
Help With Dental Hygiene
Going to the dentist is a regular occasion for Samuel. Not because he has cavities, but as a preventative measure. You see, if Samuel gets a cavity, he would need to be placed under deep sedation to address the issue. In order to avoid this, we see the dentist four times a year. It’s a wonderful plan that works great.
In addition, I brush Samuel’s teeth with a toothbrush the dentist recommended. I’d never heard of a tooth hugging toothbrush before, but that’s what this toothbrush does. Since it’s 3-sided, Samuel’s whole tooth is reached. I love hearing the swoosh of the brush as it goes over his teeth. I know I am getting them clean. And for us, that keeps the cavities away.
The 3-Sided Toddler Tooth Hugging Toothbrush Designed To Clean All Sides of The Teeth
Do you have a perfect gift for a special needs family? Comment below. You never know who you will help by sharing your great gift ideas.