A few weeks ago, I wrote a post BC Summer Camps for Children with Disabilities.  There are some great options for children in British Columbia, but what if they simply don’t meet your child’s needs, or your needs for your child? How far are you willing to go to send your child to a suitable camp? Well, it appears I’m willing to go a long way.

 

I chose a camp that should be both fun and therapeutic for my child. I’m a strong believer in the benefits of regular therapy. I also believe it is sadly becoming a rare event in the current system. Schools try to incorporate therapy into the child’s daily schedule, but have little time. They are also structured for consult only therapy support. Then there’s the problem of the therapist’s caseloads being too big or ill managed. The end result is the parent has to work that much harder to support their child. The support they did have during the school year is often gone during the summer months. Read the rest of this entry »

Something was bugging me today. I received an email from someone whose specializes in software, hardware, and more for people with disabilities. Normally, I value what this person has to say, but today, I had to stop and re-evaluate whether I’ve been putting too much faith in them, or whether I’ve been a victim of great marketing.

 

So here’s the skinny. The email was about what makes a good IPad app for people with special needs. Of course, the email was also promoting the apps this individual makes. Now here’s my problem. It suggested that parent bloggers, who have children with special needs and had success using different apps, don’t have enough expertise in special needs to be writing about it.  Read the rest of this entry »

A few years ago, I went through the process of choosing a vehicle to be converted for accessibility. It was not an easy process and there were many decisions to be made that aren’t normally thought about. Though I did almost everything right, I still ended up with a lemon and learned a few important lessons. I thought I would share some tips to have the best success in purchasing a vehicle for an accessibility conversion and choosing a company to do the conversion.  Read the rest of this entry »

Summer is quickly approaching, for some not fast enough. It would be great to go on that all- inclusive get away but with today’s economy, perhaps purse strings are tighter than usual. Finding accessible vacation spots or manageable trips when you have a child with special needs is a whole other can of worms. There are lots of summer activities for children with disabilities that are fun, rewarding and budget friendly. Here are some ideas…. Read the rest of this entry »

For several years, I’ve been trying to get an accessible school bus for my child to attend school. It’s been a struggle and a headache that I couldn’t seem to get rid of. I’m proud to say, my headache is just about gone. Finally the school district has agreed to provide my child with an accessible school bus starting next September. As I write this, I picture my readers sending me that high five through the screen of my laptop. Yeh! A battle won!

 

 When it comes to getting services for a child with disabilities, it’s no easy task. We constantly hear about hands being tied, case loads being too high and funds not being there. I’m not a mother that can view those responses as acceptable. Giving up is not an option when my child still needs the support. So, if you are struggling with an issue involving school or similar services for your child, I’ve decided to share some tips on how to get the right people to listen. Read the rest of this entry »

Are you thinking about your child’s options for summer? Maybe you’re considering camp this year. Summer camps for children with disabilities can vary a great deal. Depending on the child’s needs and level of care required, a parent may have many or few options. Like anything special needs related, it often has to be planned out early and sometimes families have to seek out funding for these programs. Parents might be looking for a camp that focuses mainly on inclusive play with peers, while others look for fun, social and therapy combined. 

 

Researching summer camps can be aggravating for parents. There are lists all over the Internet for summer camps but many don’t offer programs for children with disabilities or special needs. Some camps have to be booked much earlier and you may already be too late. Below are a few BC summer camp options to help in your search. While I cannot recommend any specifically, I hope you will find this list helpful. Low vision users, please click on the camp name to link to their site. Read the rest of this entry »

IPads/IPhones/IPods can still have challenges for toddlers and children, youth or adults with or without disabilities. Here are some possible solutions to common problems:   (Low vision readers, please click on the product name for links.)

 

The Home Button:

 

Having a challenge keeping your child focused on one App? Do they constantly hit the home button only to need your assistance after? Do they use the IPad for communication but keep exiting the program in search of something more interesting? I have recently heard of some options that might help. Check out Paper Clip Robots – BubCap Pro. The thin self-adhering aluminum tabs can be used on IPads/IPhones/IPods. It covers over the home button making it difficult for young children to constantly exit apps. The home button can still be used with a much firmer press. Of all the types of BubCaps on this site, the aluminum “Pro” works the best. Read the rest of this entry »

I had one of those moments recently. You know, the ones that make you think you are in the right place at the right time. I was having my post operation appointment. Since my surgery could not be done locally, my follow up with the surgeon was far from home – about 150 kms or more. I felt somewhat burnt out when I arrived. For a moment, I wondered if anyone would notice if I snuck into a treatment room and took a nap. I decided that probably wasn’t the best option. So I tried to act as normal as possible. The waiting room was full with the usual suspects, those wanting to hear results, those terrified of potential surgery, and those unsure what’s actually wrong with them. There were the supporting spouses, the solo troopers, the repeat patients and the odd child in tow.

  Read the rest of this entry »

I should probably spare you this story, but nahhh. It’s kind of comical and somewhat a success. If you read my posts you already know that I recently had surgery on my ankle. You also know that my daughter is a wheelchair user. This has made for some challenges for us in the last month since my surgery. I decided to test the boundaries and take her to a movie on Easter Sunday. So here’s the rundown of our movie mission to see “Dr. Suess’ The Lorax.” 

 

Now on one crutch, I rushed about the house to get equipment, lunches and extra everything in case of accidents or emergencies in order. Many times I showed Callie my Easter bunny hop when my wrist got sore and I chose to abandon the use of my crutch. Of course this provided her with great entertainment. Mommy looked funny jumping up and down on one leg. I thought this movie idea would be a nice thing for her Dad to experience with her. I also had a hidden agenda that he could help take her in and out of the vehicle so the plan was in motion. Read the rest of this entry »

Children with disabilities often have difficulty keeping up with the school ciriculum. Health, motor skills, cognitive abilities, support, equipment, etc., influence how well a child can learn. The equipment required to make that happen can be quite extensive.  A child with low vision for example may require their school work to be magnified with equipment such as a Flipper, low vision keyboard, zoom-text, specialized software, etc. A child with motor difficulties may require a touch monitor, specialized pointers, pen grips and more. Parents can find it challenging to support their childs learning at home because they don’t have all of this specialized equipment. Thankfully, technological innovations have helped to bridge that gap and make learning easier and engaging for children with disabilities.

The IPad serves as a great educational tool for children with or without disabilities. Though the IPad is not in everyone’s budget, it is much cheaper than the alternatives and provides a lot of bang for the buck. Some children with special needs may still require assistance with the IPad’s swipe or touch and drag functions. I will be doing several posts on IPad pros and cons for children with disabilities and my App reviews. Here are a few educational and entertaining Apps I think are worth checking out.

AutismXpress     Autism Express teaches emotions to children through funny faces and sounds. This app is also free.

Monkey Math School Sunshine     Monkey Math School Sunshine is fun and educational for young children to learn basic math, addition, subtraction, numerical order, etc. It provides the child feedback and has a reward system. Good contrasts in colours for children with vision impairment. This App has touch or touch and drag  functions. Support may be required for a child with motor difficulties however, it is easy to navigate.

TeachMe: 1st Grade     Teach Me offers a variety of Apps for different ages. This is the app is for the first grade. It’s pages offer fairly good contrast for the visually impaired. The text is large but in some areas should be darker. The exercises are great using touch. There are number and spelling exercises that require the child to use their finger or stylus as a pencil for writing numbers or letters. It has a reward and tracking system.

Kids Magic Draw - Animals ,...     Kids Magic Draw has several options for children to colour pictures and it’s free. It’s helpful in teaching a child fine motor skills such as using their pointer finger, grasping a stylus pen, touch and drag, etc.

SentenceBuilder™ for iPad     Sentence Builder is designed to help children learn to form sentences. This is a good app for children without disabilities however, in my opinion this may not be the best educational app for children with special needs. I did not find it to be very user friendly to a child with motor impairments and it can be visually limiting.

PrepositionBuilder™     Preposition Builder teaches children to understand prepositions and their placement in sentences. This App is easy to use however, more expensive. The pictures are fairly good for low vision users. The text is clear and it’s a touch and drag function.

Talking Tom Cat 2 for iPad     Talking Tom Cat 2 a free entertaining app. It definitely inspires some giggles and serves a different purpose also. Talking Tom mimics what you say. This could be a good teaching tool encouraging non-verbal children to make sounds or children with limited communication to say words.

(Wheel-ist-ic) Adj: awareness or acceptance of actual fact, real existence, or truth with relation to inclusion, accessibility and/or persons with disabilities.

Let’s Be Wheelisitic is a blog designed to open communication, share and create change through parenting, awareness, inclusion and advocacy. Over the years people have encouraged me to use my voice and experiences with my daughter to help others with or without disabilities, or parents of children with disabilities. This blog is my way of doing just that. I hope you will find this site enjoyable, educational, helpful, and rewarding.
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Some people are always grumbling because roses have thorns. I am thankful that thorns have roses. — Alphonse Karr

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