Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The iPad and Special Needs

I was excited when my son got home from school and in his backpack there was a letter indicating that the school will be starting the use of iPads.

My son has significant fine motor delays, he doesn't have alot of motor control and forming letters and holding a pencil to write difficult for him (painful as a mom to watch).

I thank god for this time and age when things are so much easier for a special needs child than it was may have been say 10-20 years ago.

He does have access to augmentative communication devices at school. He uses a type to learn program in and a device alpha smart to type his spelling words and sentences. He types all his answers verses having to write it.

His neuropsychologist told us he will always have difficulty with writing and as the moves up and grade levels and more writing is involved he may need to use a dragon speaks program.

But the iPad? Well that just opens up so many possibilities for him.

For just a few applications out there for special needs children. Check out momswithapps. You can find anything from communication applications to behavior applications.

Two of my very favorite applications are I write words and learn to write with these programs my son can trace how to make a letter with his finger verses having to hold a pencil and get frustrated.

For a fun time check out sparklefish!

Now as I write this post, I now can't help but wonder if Steve Jobs realized how much he would help the special needs world with the creation of the iPad.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Many Sleepless Nights...

My son has never been the best sleeper and lately he seems to be having more difficulty falling and staying asleep.

Bed time has always a challenge for us but it seems to be getting worse! (or I'm just sleep deprived). My son's sleeplessness seems to stem from mostly from anxiety. He just doesn't want to stay in his room alone. I suppose the dogs sleep in the same room, mommy and daddy are in the same room so why can't he have someone in his room?

This anxiety could also stem traumatic infancy and the fact that he had someone in his bedroom (nursing) until the age of 4.

It could his ADHD? Although, many of the ADHD medications suppress the appetite and since my son had a g-tube for 9 years and the fact that he still has feeding issues.  This medication isn't an option for him at the moment. I can treat the anxiety part of this, but without prescription medication. The ideal would be to treat organically.
While doing poking around on the internet I found a few items are all natural that I am willing to try. I was actually overwhelmed with my choices and not only did I find items that would treat his anxiety but his ADHD as well.

Here are my findings that may help:
  • Chamomile Tea - Can be purchased here or at any grocery or drug store. This is one of my favorite teas and it certainly calms me.  According to Web MD; studies have found that chamomile is a mild sedative that seems to be safe for children of all ages. Although, use caution if  your child allergic to rag weed. If not allergic to ragweed or other similar plants, then I say enjoy it iced and with honey!
  • Calms Forte 4 Kids -formulated for kids 2+  homeopathic, I'm pretty sure I saw this at wholefoods and at Target. Hylands has great information on their site about this product and it has gotten raving reviews.
  • K-OK Kiddie Calmer /> relieves nervousness, worry, shyness and separation anxiety in children.
  • FOCUS FORMULA-This is product that has gotten some great reviews when used for ADHD. It supports concentration and attention while promoting normal energy levels in children (and adults). Would a calmer more focused child help with sleep? Makes sense to me!
  • Melatonin (comes in tablets or liquid)- Can be found in most drug stores or vitamin shoppes. Research has shown it helps children with autism, psychiatric and neurological problems (such as seizures). To read more about melatonin click here.
So, now that I found these products and did some reading about it. Tonight my plan is to see if he will drink iced camomile tea with honey.  Tomorrow I will contact our pediatrician and see if any of the other products might be an option for my son.

Sweet dreams.

5/12/12 Update:  Melatonin was a life saver for us.  It didn't keep him asleep but it got him to sleep which was his battle.  Once he got into a routine of going down, he now has no issues and we no longer need to use the Melatonin unless his anxiety if heightened and he can't get to sleep.

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