Halloween tips for special needs families
Halloween is quickly approaching. And for many children, it's a time of excitement and fun. But for some children with special needs, the holiday can pose special challenges.
Every child should have the opportunity to enjoy Halloween and all that it has to offer. Here are some simple tips to get you and your child with special needs through the holiday with as little stress as possible.
* Halloween costumes can present special challenges to children with sensory issues. Carefully choosing the right costume can prevent meltdowns. Look for costumes without tags and costumes that aren't scratchy. Some children with sensory issues won't want to wear a mask. Once a costume is purchased, let the child practicing wearing the costume in the days leading up to Halloween.
* Finding the right costume for a child in a wheelchair can be a challenge. Consider making the wheelchair a part of the costume.
* Let your child know what to expect. Consider making a picture schedule. A schedule of events and practicing trick-or-treating can help a child with special needs feel less anxiety.
* If your child has food allergens or sensitivities, have special treats on hand such as small prizes or candy that is allowed in their diet. You can also supply candy that's safe for your child to your friends and neighbors and ask that they use the supplied candy for your child.
* If your child is nonverbal or their speech is not easily understood, consider printing Halloween cards that do the talking for your child. Print and hand out cards that read: "TRICK OR TREAT! I don't talk, but I sure do love candy!" There are many examples online for you to print and cut and let your child hand out while trick-or-treating.
* And finally, if your child with special needs isn't ready for a night of trick-or-treating, remember that you and your child can try again next year.
Halloween doesn't need to be a stressful time for you and your child with special needs. With these tips, the holiday can be enjoyed by every member of your family.
The Shandy Clinic offers speech, occupational and physical therapy for children here in Colorado Springs. We understand the excitement as well as the
special challenges that holidays can bring. If you'd like to check us out, go to our website at shandyclinic.com, facebook.com/shandyclinic or visit us at
one of our three locations. We always strive to provide exceptional therapy for exceptional children.
Monica Jones, OTR The Shandy Clinic
About The Shandy Clinic
The Shandy Clinic is a private outpatient therapy clinic serving patients in Colorado Springs, CO with three locations. As a private therapy practice the Shandy Clinic prides itself in personalized, individual therapy in a friendly, family environment. In addition to traditional therapy approaches, the clinic also empowers our staff to think outside the box to find solutions to help our patients make progress.
Occupational Therapists work with your child to improve fine motor skills, sensory integration, and activities of daily living. Five main areas we work with include sensory processing, cognition and perception, self care, social skills, and motor skills.
Physical Therapists assist in early detection of health problems and use a wide variety of modalities to treat disorders in the pediatric population. These therapists are specialized in diagnosis, treatment and management of infants, children, and adolescents with a variety of congenital, developmental, neuromuscular, skeletal, or acquired disorders/diseases. Treatment focus on improving motor skills, balance and coordination, strength and endurance, and cognitive and sensory.
Children with developmental delays, cerebral palsy, spina bifida, and torticollis may also be treated by pediatric physical therapists.
Speech & Language Pathologists (SLPs) work with children and adults who have difficulty with communication. Speech refers to the way that a child verbally communicates and includes three areas which are articulation, voice, and fluency.
Children with language disorders can show a variety of symptoms from mild to severe that could include difficulty with: listening and following directions, using age appropriate vocabulary, communicating socially with peers and adults, eye contact and other nonverbal communication, and following the rules that tell how to put words together to make sentence grammar.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) is a medical treatment which enhances the body's natural healing process by inhalation of concentrated oxygen in a total body chamber, where atmospheric pressure is increased and controlled. It is used for a wide variety of treatments as a part of an overall medical care plan.
The Shandy Clinic uses a soft-side mild hyperbaric chamber with a maximum pressure of 1.3 ATA (see pictures below). The Shandy Clinic is utilizing the chamber in a revolutionary way. Therapy sessions (OT, PT, and/or speech therapy) are being completed with the therapist while in the chamber, thereby maximizing the benefits of the oxygenated brain.
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