Currently browsing children with special needs posts

How Special Needs Kids Can Avoid the Lunch Box Blues

School is back in session! After the clothes, the supplies and the backpack have been purchased there is one big item left…the lunch box! We want to help our children feel more independent, but sometimes kids with special needs need some special assistance with this portion of their school day. Also, many in this population have very specific dietary needs and wants. Here are some tips for finding containers that will work for your child.

Special note: If your child has a feeding tube, do a search for Facebook groups or ask your child’s team for resources. It’s easy to fall into a rut but there are new ideas and breakthroughs happening every day.

Open and Close

Can your child open AND close the containers you pack? Should the covers be twist tops or snap-ons? Can they open a zippered baggie? Sure, these tasks sound easy but they can be real challenges if you have fine motor issues.

Different brands and styles of containers have different benefits, so do a little spying and trial and error. There is no point in spending an hour prepping a picture perfect bento box if your child is unable to get to it. My child could open the Ziploc divided container but never get it closed again, leading to tragically messy and stained lunchboxes!! This must have been a common problem, since the company has discontinued the item.

This year we are using Snapware, which seems to be working out nicely and doesn’t leak. Victory! But those side latches could be tricky for some kids so do a trial run before sending anything new to school. Hopefully the school has grown ups on hand to assist with these things, but better safe and full than sorry and hungry.

Touch and Go

Some kids with special needs will have a meltdown if their foods touch each other. Others will only eat from their favorite bowl or with their own spoon. This is another reason to be sure to have some trial runs or introduce the containers before school begins or on weekends. A child may need some transition time or a chance to get used to a change in a calm environment rather than under stress in a cafeteria.

Ask and Learn

Ask your kids what kinds of cool containers their friends use. Ask other moms what works best for them. Do a web search. But remember, what works for one child may not work for yours. Borrow containers to try them out or bring your child to the store and have them experiment before investing a lot of money in something that might be useless.

Might Want to Checkout

  • Snapware:  I got a big boxed set at Costco – which as all sizes and one size even has dividers.  Here’s the link to the set at Amazon
  • Sistema (people seem to like it – don’t have the link)
  • Easy Lunchbox: seems like a sturdier version of Ziploc
  • Planet Lunchbox:  some people say the latches are easy, but I haven’t tried them

Happy packing!

Stephen King’s IT is Sensory Friendly, Tomorrow Night at AMC

AMC Entertainment (AMC) has expanded their Sensory Friendly Films program in partnership with the Autism Society. This Tuesday evening, families affected by autism or other special needs have the opportunity to view a sensory friendly screening off IT, a film that may appeal to older audiences on the autism spectrum.

As always, the movie auditoriums will have their lights turned up and the sound turned down. Families will be able to bring in snacks to match their child’s dietary needs (i.e. gluten-free, casein-free, etc.), there are no advertisements or previews before the movie and it’s totally acceptable to get up and dance, walk, shout, talk to each other…and even sing – in other words, AMC’s “Silence is Golden®” policy will not be enforced during movie screenings unless the safety of the audience is questioned.

Does it make a difference? Absolutely! Imagine …no need to shhhhh your child. No angry stares from other movie goers. Many parents think twice before bringing a child to a movie theater. Add to that your child’s special needs and it can easily become cause for parental panic. But on this one day a month, for this one screening, everyone is there to relax and have a good time, everyone expects to be surrounded by kids – with and without special needs – and the movie theater policy becomes “Tolerance is Golden“.

AMC and the Autism Society will be showing IT, sensory friendly tomorrow, Tuesday, September 12th at 7pm (local time). Tickets are $4 to $6 depending on the location. To find a theatre near you, here is a list of AMC theatres nationwide participating in this fabulous program (note: to access full list, please scroll to the bottom of the page).

Still to come in September:  Lego Ninjago (Sat 9/23); Kingsman: The Golden Circle (Tues 9/26); 

****************************************************************************************************************************

Editor’s note: Although IT has been chosen by AMC and the Autism Society for a Tuesday Sensory Friendly screening, we do want parents to know that it is rated R by the Motion Picture Association of America for violence/horror, bloody images, and for language.  As always, please check the IMDB Parents Guide for a more detailed description of this film to determine if it is right for you and your family.

See a Sensory Friendly Screening of LEAP Tomorrow at AMC

New sensory friendly logoSince 2007, AMC Entertainment (AMC) and the Autism Society have teamed up to bring families affected by autism and other special needs “Sensory Friendly Films” every month – a wonderful opportunity to enjoy fun new films in a safe and accepting environment.

The movie auditoriums will have their lights turned up and the sound turned down. Families will be able to bring in snacks to match their child’s dietary needs (i.e. gluten-free, casein-free, etc.), there are no advertisements or previews before the movie and it’s totally acceptable to get up and dance, walk, shout, talk to each other…and even sing – in other words, AMC’s “Silence is Golden®” policy will not be enforced during movie screenings unless the safety of the audience is questioned.

Does it make a difference? Absolutely! Imagine …no need to shhhhh your child. No angry stares from other movie goers. Many parents think twice before bringing a child to a movie theater. Add to that your child’s special needs and it can easily become cause for parental panic. But on this one day a month, for this one screening, everyone is there to relax and have a good time, everyone expects to be surrounded by kids – with and without special needs – and the movie theater policy becomes “Tolerance is Golden“.

Families affected by autism or other special needs can view a sensory friendly screening of Leap on Saturday, September 9th at 10am (local time). Tickets are $4 to $6 depending on the location. To find a theatre near you, here is a list of AMC theatres nationwide participating in this fabulous program (note: to access full list, please scroll to the bottom of the page).

Coming in September:  It (Tues 9/12); Lego Ninjago (Sat 9/23); Kingsman: The Golden Circle (Tues 9/26); 

****************************************************************************************************************************

Editor’s note: Although Leap has been chosen by the AMC and the Autism Society as this month’s Sensory Friendly Film, we do want parents to know that it is rated PG by the Motion Picture Association of America for some impolite humor, and action.  As always, please check the IMDB Parents Guide for a more detailed description of this film to determine if it is right for you and your family.

Sat., The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature is Sensory Friendly at AMC

New sensory friendly logoSince 2007, AMC Entertainment (AMC) and the Autism Society have teamed up to bring families affected by autism and other special needs “Sensory Friendly Films” every month – a wonderful opportunity to enjoy fun new films in a safe and accepting environment.

The movie auditoriums will have their lights turned up and the sound turned down. Families will be able to bring in snacks to match their child’s dietary needs (i.e. gluten-free, casein-free, etc.), there are no advertisements or previews before the movie and it’s totally acceptable to get up and dance, walk, shout, talk to each other…and even sing – in other words, AMC’s “Silence is Golden®” policy will not be enforced during movie screenings unless the safety of the audience is questioned.

Does it make a difference? Absolutely! Imagine …no need to shhhhh your child. No angry stares from other movie goers. Many parents think twice before bringing a child to a movie theater. Add to that your child’s special needs and it can easily become cause for parental panic. But on this one day a month, for this one screening, everyone is there to relax and have a good time, everyone expects to be surrounded by kids – with and without special needs – and the movie theater policy becomes “Tolerance is Golden“.

Families affected by autism or other special needs can view a sensory friendly screening of The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature on Saturday, August 26th at 10am (local time). Tickets are $4 to $6 depending on the location. To find a theatre near you, here is a list of AMC theatres nationwide participating in this fabulous program (note: to access full list, please scroll to the bottom of the page).

Coming in September:  Leap (Sat 9/9); It (Tues 9/12); Lego Ninjago (Sat 9/23); Kingsman: The Golden Circle (Tues 9/26); 

****************************************************************************************************************************

Editor’s note: Although The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature has been chosen by the AMC and the Autism Society as this month’s Sensory Friendly Film, we do want parents to know that it is rated PG by the Motion Picture Association of America for action and some rude humor.  As always, please check the IMDB Parents Guide for a more detailed description of this film to determine if it is right for you and your family.

The Hitman’s Bodyguard is Sensory Friendly, Tomorrow at AMC

AMC Entertainment (AMC) has expanded their Sensory Friendly Films program in partnership with the Autism Society. This Tuesday evening, families affected by autism or other special needs have the opportunity to view a sensory friendly screening off The Hitman’s Bodyguard, a film that may appeal to older audiences on the autism spectrum.

As always, the movie auditoriums will have their lights turned up and the sound turned down. Families will be able to bring in snacks to match their child’s dietary needs (i.e. gluten-free, casein-free, etc.), there are no advertisements or previews before the movie and it’s totally acceptable to get up and dance, walk, shout, talk to each other…and even sing – in other words, AMC’s “Silence is Golden®” policy will not be enforced during movie screenings unless the safety of the audience is questioned.

Does it make a difference? Absolutely! Imagine …no need to shhhhh your child. No angry stares from other movie goers. Many parents think twice before bringing a child to a movie theater. Add to that your child’s special needs and it can easily become cause for parental panic. But on this one day a month, for this one screening, everyone is there to relax and have a good time, everyone expects to be surrounded by kids – with and without special needs – and the movie theater policy becomes “Tolerance is Golden“.

AMC and the Autism Society will be showing The Hitman’s Bodyguard, sensory friendly tomorrow, Tuesday, August 22nd at 7pm (local time). Tickets are $4 to $6 depending on the location. To find a theatre near you, here is a list of AMC theatres nationwide participating in this fabulous program (note: to access full list, please scroll to the bottom of the page).

Later In Aug:  The Nut Job 2: Nutty By Nature (Tues, 8/26);

****************************************************************************************************************************

Editor’s note: Although The Hitman’s Bodyguard has been chosen by AMC and the Autism Society for a Tuesday Sensory Friendly screening, we do want parents to know that it is rated PG by the Motion Picture Association of America for strong violence and language throughout.  As always, please check the IMDB Parents Guide for a more detailed description of this film to determine if it is right for you and your family.

For a Great School Year, Bullyproof Your Special Needs Child

Bullying has always been an issue at school and in society, and now with social media the problem has taken on new dimensions. Bullying is repeated unwanted aggressive behavior and isn’t only physical – it includes spreading rumors, exclusion and embarrassment.

Kids with special needs, disabilities or medical conditions are even more likely to get bullied. Sometimes these kids don’t even understand what is happening and may even consider the bully to be a friend. Sometimes bullies can even be adults. So how can you protect your child?

LISTEN
As you chat with your child about their day, make sure you pay attention to little details. Ask questions to get more information. If your child is nonverbal, see how they react when you mention a specific class or student and take note of patterns.

WATCH
On the playground, at drop-off and pickup, observe carefully. Is there someone your child avoids? Are the kids congregating around someone or something? Are there cameras in the classroom or on the bus? Will the school or facility allow you to put a recording device on your child? If your child is on social media, check the accounts regularly.

INTERACT
Get the input of teachers, coaches and caregivers. If your child misbehaves whenever they are seated near a certain student, this may be an indication that your child is under stress. It could also be an indication that they are best buds.

Very young children are naturally curious and may stare or ask about any differences, but that is not bullying. As an overprotective parent it is easy to overreact, but use these moments to educate the child about differences and similarities – like how both kids love Minecraft or My Little Pony.

Bullying and harassment are never okay, and the law has specific requirements for handling it in a school setting. Every child deserves to feel safe. For more tips on keeping your child with special needs safe from bullying, check out this tip sheet from stopbullying.gov.

******************************************************************************************************************

Getting Additional Support – If a school district does not take reasonable, appropriate steps to end the bullying or harassment of a child with special needs, the district may be breaking the law.  Here are some contacts for you to reach out to, from stopbullying.gov

Next Page »