This is a great tip for any child who has to take a strong medicine, like prednisone, in a pill form. I crush the tablet between two spoons, then mix chocolate sundae syrup with it, and draw it up in a syringe. The chocolate taste is so strong, it overpowers the horrible taste of the pill and kids usually like chocolate. With the syringe, you can squirt the medicine on the back side of the mouth between the gum and cheek to guarantee your child will swallow it (this is in case they see you "secretly" crushing the medicine and mixing it). - C.P., Mililani, HI
Our son is very skinny and has a hard time keeping his shirts tucked in. He only wears a size 2T. I had the idea to take an extra large onesie, cut the lower portion above the snaps off, and then sew those pieces on the bottom of his shirts (so that the snaps are on his regular shirt). This concept works like the infant shirts, but lets him look a little more grown up. - J.S., Findlay, OH
My daughter needs to take medication daily, but it does not come in a liquid, and she will not swallow a pill. I buy Fig Newton cookies and "push" the pill into the cookie. Then, she washes it down with a glass of milk. Now we have no problems. You can also use a marshmallow. - C.B., Aurora, CO
My son, who is 3 ½ years old, outgrew his crib. We did not feel that the bed rails sold at most places would be adequate for him, since he could roll up against them and get limbs caught. In addition, he is getting quite heavy. So, we bought him a captain's style twin bed and built a side rail out of wood that hinges to the bed side and latches in an upright position with gate latches. The extra height of the bed makes lifting to and from his wheelchair less back-breaking, and the railing makes him safe from rolling out of bed. Bolster pillows work great to keep him from banging on the wall or rail and he is happy and comfy in his big-boy bed. - K.W., Hurst, TX
My daughter was consistently holding her scissors upside down and would give up trying to cut things if I corrected her. I finally put red fingernail polish on the side of the thumbhole where she should insert her thumb. We still had to remind her to look for the red paint, but eventually she got the idea. Now, she is consistently holding them correctly (without the red paint). - K.S., city unknown, IL
I have a 4 year old with cerebral palsy and a 2 year old. After I go to the grocery store, I pack what I call "snack packs" right away, so the snacks don't get eaten up so quickly. I take small Ziploc bags and put a variety of snacks in each one (pretzels, Nutrabars, raisins, peanuts, Cherrios, etc.), and then I packed them into a gallon size bag. This way, when it is time to head out and I'm in a hurry (like always), I just grab the bag and some cups and away we go. - D.P., Goshen, Ohio
My daughter is microcephalic and moderately mentally retarded. She had a habit of getting into her dirty diaper during naps, and at nighttime. I found a way to completely keep her out: You know the one-piece winter sleepers; I would cut the feet off of them, and put them on her backwards, which would not allow her to get into trouble, and stopped the messy wake-ups. - D.W., Milwaukee, WI
My daughter, Megan, is 14 months old and has trisomy 21. Her low tone problem has kept her from being able to sit up in a chair well. She would be sitting there and then she would be sliding out and I was frustrated for her. So we found this stuff at a motorhome dealership that is a rubber material; its great! We use it in the bath tub and in her highchair and in her car seat. Its good for her tray to keep bowls from slipping. I have seen it at Walmart too, but this R.V. store has it on rolls for table clothes. - A.P., Shelley, ID
I have 3.5-year-old developmentally delayed son. He is basically a 1.5-year-old in an enormous body. He is 40 inches tall and about 45 lbs. He gets into everything and developmentally hasn't quite grasped the word "no." It is so hard. What I have done is to create an area in our house that is totally kid proof. It is an area that I know is secure for my son, so that when I need a break, I can contain him there and know that he is safe. I have used baby gates to block the doors so I can be on the other side of the gate for awhile and know that he is okay. He can see me and is usually quite content with the situation. He also has an area that he can explore freely without being constantly reprimanded. It has been a great thing for the whole family. - A.D. Phoenix, AZ
We had tried everything for nutrients for our son: we tried Flintstones and even the Shaklee powder. Then, by accident, I found a LIQUID! It is called "Liquid Pediatric" and is made by NF Formulas, Inc. It seems to work so much better than all the others; he used to throw up after most of all the others we have tried. This liquid has all the vitamins and minerals that my son's nutritionist says he needs (I think she was more excited than I was!). - M.D., Litchfield, NH
Johanna sleeps in a twin-size bed against a wall, with a flip-up gate on the outside to keep her from rolling out of bed. We've had a long-standing problem with her kicking the wall, involuntarily, in her sleep; we suspect this may be typical of children with marked cerebral palsy. For a long time, we put up with the additional night-time interruption of being woken-up by the thumping noises caused by her kicking. The solution to this problem turned out to be simple: One of the local building-supply superstores carries foam rubber in a 3" thick x 30" wide x 72" long size for about $17. Set this on its long edge against the wall, push the bed up against it, and there is about 8" of foam rubber on the wall above the surface of the bed. She still kicks, but we don't hear a thing. - E.A., Boulder, CO
My twins sons, Isaiah and Isaac, age 4 years old, with autism, love to play in their diapers. To prevent this from happening while in their beds at night, we put them in zip-up pajamas. Then we cover the zipper with duct-tape, as well as put a very loose piece of tape around their middles and one ankle so they can't get the tape off the zipper. We also use duct-tape on their diapers - all around the waist - if no pajamas are available. They seem to welcome this and thoroughly enjoy the routine of tape-on and tape-off! Their reward for cooperating during the whole routine is usually a piece of tape for them to play with. This keeps them less interested in the tape we've just put on. - K.A., Bella Vista, AR
For the past five years or so, we have tried every conceivable way to get antibiotics (or any medicine for that matter) into Evan. Evan is our seven year old son with autism. He recently came down with strep throat and of course was given an antibiotic. This time, we tried chewables. I knew it wouldn't work! I tried grinding it, whipping it, hiding it in all his favorite foods... of course with no success. Then, my husband (with much more patience than I) locked himself and our son in the bathroom. After spitting out and throwing up about four teaspoons worth, he managed to get one in. The next day was my turn. He kept back-washing the medicine into the cup of water. I wished I could just find a way to help him wash it down with a cup. Then I thought to use a juice box! It's next to impossible to hold onto a mouthful of medicine while sucking on a straw. It works!! Not only is he taking it, but he now swallows it before sipping on the juice box. Oh Happy Day!! - J.P., Milford, PA
We live in the country, 30 miles from a store that is open in the middle of the night. So, whenever I am out of ibuprofen or Tylenol in a liquid form, but my kids are running a fever, I crush the recommended dosage (in tablet form) between two spoons, and then add honey, jelly or pancake syrup to the spoon. - K.A., Bella Vista, AR
Don't let a childs size prevent them from getting to go places. If the child is young for their age and causes trouble at the store and gets away from you easily, get a wheelchair. The kind with baskets in the front are great because the child can bring their favorite buddy toy along with them. Most children like having something bought especially for them. The wheelchair is theirs. My daughter greatly enjoys hers. Having the wheelchair gives me more control of her and she still gets to enjoy herself. I don't have to worry about things getting knocked over on the aisles or an old lady or old man being knocked over. Also, it's not as easy for the child to grab items or run away and possibly get lost. Some stores like big Walmarts, Kmarts and Dillons supply these nice type wheelchairs to use while you are there. It's like a fun ride to the child!!
I'd also suggest getting a handicapped card so you can park in handicapped places. With a big or small child who has trouble understanding danger, there is need to park nearby a stores door so that the child doesn't get run over or excitedly push someone else in front of a car. Talk to your medical doctor if you want a handicapped card. The child does not have to have a problem that they cannot walk to get this service. The doctor just must okay it and then your life and the child's will be easier to some degree.
If your child can't speak or will not talk to strangers, getting lost may be a problem and a worry to the parents. ID tags on the childs wrist may be an option or on their tennis shoes (nothing binding or that could be a danger to them of strangling). - L.H., Wichita, KS
My daughter's wheelchair is black and so it can get very hot. We wanted some sort of shade for it, but did not want the price tag that would come with it. We found a simple solution. At Toys R Us, we found an umbrella shade for umbrella strollers for only $10.00. It clamps on and has a moveable arm. The other great thing is that it looks so cute, not like something from an institution. We have gotten so many comments on her beautiful "pink parasol." - L.F., Lakewood, CO
For parents of children with ambylopia (lazy eye): My daughter had this diagnosed around 8 months or so, and we have patched her ever since for varying amounts of time. When she was 5 years old, we had to suddenly increase the amount of time she wore it from 2 hours per day to full-time (all waking hours). My heart sank. I was having a hard time getting her to wear it for 2 hours let alone the whole day! Then a sudden inspiration: why not make the eye patches more attractive? Who wants to wear plain brown eye patches? My daughter and I began "decorating" the patches - drawing pictures with crayon, and putting stickers on them. She loved this activity (great practice for fine motor skills!) and was so proud of her "decorator" eye patches, that it was difficult to get her to take them off! - K.D., city and state unknown
Hard rubber used in making fishing rod handles make excellent extension handles for spoons and small knobs on toys. PVC tubes (usually T-shaped) also make good handles. - S.R., Massapequa, NY
My six-year-old child has a nonverbal learning disorder and is extremely uncomfortable with new activities or changes in routine. Recently, we joined an indoor swimming pool and he was terrified when I told him he would have to shower before getting into the pool (he takes baths only, no showers, at home). We practiced in the shower at home and when it came time to shower at the pool, he did great! I always knew he needed verbal previewing, but this was the first time I actually "rehearsed" a situation with him beforehand. I'm going to use this technique again, I'm sure. - L.T., Putney, VT
As a preschooler (and well on into elementary school), my ADHD/ODD son had a very difficult time "remembering" to get dressed. Repeated reminders merely broke his concentration on whatever he was pondering or doing instead of getting dressed. Because he was a competitive child, we decided to make a race, either against me or his father, to see who could dress fastest, or for a "personal best." From then on, getting him motivated to dress was as simple as getting out a stopwatch. This same child couldn't stand the tactile sensation of shirt labels against his neck, or seams in socks against his toes. Cutting labels out of shirts was easy, but I obviously couldn't cut his socks open at the toes or they would no longer be socks. A friend suggested turning the socks inside out... an incredibly simple solution to what had been a very big problem. - C.R., Wyndmoor, PA
I am a mother of a child with PDD, and my son was hitting his head for a while. What my husband and I did was place his bike helmet on when he had tantrums. It worked! After a few months, my son didn't hit his head and if he tried, we showed him the helmet and he immediately stopped. - C.M., Linden, NJ
My son, Nick, does not like liquid medicine because of the strong taste. I tried mixing them in juices but had no luck. He loves eating chewable candies so I decided to try chewable medicine. I give him the chewable medicine tablet and then while he is chewing, I give him a chewy candy like a Skittle or jelly bean. He chews them together and swallows. No muss, no fuss. - T.T., Carmichael, CA
Need something cold? Put some water, mixed with rubbing alcohol in a plastic Zip-Lock baggy and keep it in the freezer. You will have a flexible ice pack ready to use that isn't frozen solid. Got a cut or "fat" lip? Give your child an ice pop to eat. This will stop the bleeding and swelling while tasting good. - C.U., city and state unknown
My son is diagnosed with cerebral palsy, PDD, ADHD, and a learning disability. I have him enrolled in karate at our local YMCA. Karate has helped him to focus, balance, and it has helped him with his fragile self esteem. He is very proud of his accomplishments, and the other children have accepted him, which has made him very happy. He is not accepted by a number of children, and it hurts him because he doesnt understand why they dont want to play with him. The Karate Master is wonderful with him and he has worked with a number of handicapped children. My son loves going to this class because he is accepted, and the Karate Master has been very good (but strict) with him. - M.B., Staten Island, NY
Small children in a pool tend to hang on the side or jump around in the shallow end. This causes the skin on the bottom of their toes to rub off. Very painful. We put "jellies" (sandals) on Marleis feet while she's in the pool and this saves her toes. - L.P.M., Atlanta, GA
My daughter, who is 4 years old and has traumatic brain injury, wears a protective helmet. To make it seem fun or glamorous, we put stickers on her helmet to match the different seasons or holidays. Since we have been doing this, many children we meet, who are not special needs children, are begging their parents to get them a helmet too. - J.N., Rochester, NY
If you use special tape, Steri-Strips, Band-Aids, or anything else that has an adhesive effect on your child, try using Detachol. It's a liquid that removes these things with such ease, your child won't feel a thing! Simply pour some on a Q-tip and gently rub away the adhesive. It is an over-the-counter product, but has to be specially ordered at a pharmacy. The cost is only $8. Your kids will thank you for using it! - L.B., Santa Clarita, CA
My sister came up with this idea that turned out to be a lifesaver. My daughter has autism and cerebral palsy. When she was about 2 ½ years old, she loved jumping up and down on her crib mattress. My concern was for safety; I was afraid she would go flying one of those days. However, I also did not feel comfortable putting her in a regular bed, again for safety reasons. This will only work on cribs that have flat "feet." A curved crib will not be safe. Here's what we did:
Pull the crib rail up as far as it will go. Take the mattress out and turn the crib over, so it is now upside down on the floor. Remove the spring/bottom part that held the mattress. Now place the mattress on the floor and make sure that the mattress is thick enough so that there is less than ½ inch of space between the top of the mattress and the bottom of the crib rail. Now that she is on the floor, the crib rail once again comes up to her chest. She can jump and bounce to her heart's content and I am secure in the knowledge that not only will she stay in the bed, but she can't get hurt in the bed either.
This has worked tremendously well. I switched it over when she was 2 ½ years old and she is now 6 years old. This will work as long as she "fits" on the crib mattress! - L.W., Marietta, GA
We recently set up a croup tent for our son to use at home. We used some pretty creative ideas to keep it up, and then we discovered tension curtain rods. They fit tightly on the top of his crib and hold the bag well. This would NOT be a good option for a child who could pull on the tent. - T.R., Dickinson, ND
When the weather is warmer, my children, who both have special needs, tend to get into their diapers through their summer pajamas. This past summer, I took their pajamas from the previous winter and cut them down to shorts and short sleeves and hemmed it with the sewing machine. We didn't have a single diaper tearing episode the entire summer...much to our relief! - J.S., Brooklyn, NY
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