Parenting a child with special needs has its own unique set of tribulations and triumphs. However, thanks to the fact that we now live in a tech-centric world, we have a variety of handy tech tools and gadgets that can make life a whole lot easier (and offer our kids a myriad of benefits).
From keeping your kids comfy to ensuring they stay safe and sound, these gadgets (listed in no particular order) are must-haves for parents of children with disabilities.
The BuddyTag is a Bluetooth tracking device that kids wear right on their wrists. You simply strap it on before you head out, and it will warn if they wander out of the area. It looks like a wristwatch, so it’s discreet, and features either a terry cloth or Velcro band to ensure that it fits your child comfortably. You can keep track of your child through a free BuddyTag app on your smartphone or tablet.
More info: http://www.mybuddytag.com/
Smartphones give us the opportunity to keep in touch and utilize a wide range of helpful apps, but they can also be difficult for children with special needs to use. The 1stFone, on the other hand, features large easy-to-read buttons, pre-programmed numbers, and a thin 7mm kid-friendly design.
You can even customize how many buttons you want the phone to have (ranging from 2 to 12), and add images to the buttons for children who are unable to read. There isn’t a screen or any apps, as there would be with a typical mobile phone, so you can have your child carry it around with them without having to worry about information being stolen if it ever gets lost.
More info: https://1stfone.myownfone.com/
This is a great tech gadget for parents of children with disabilities who need a bit of help in the organization and scheduling department. It looks just like a sports watch, but the WatchMinder3 helps to reinforce positive behaviors, manage tasks, and even keep track of medication schedules. Instead of sounding an alarm when it’s time to tackle a task, it simply vibrates to give them a helpful reminder. This device can also be easily programmed via the touch screen (so you will not have to worry if you do not have access to a smartphone or tablet), and it can be programmed to vibrate at different times of the day or at random time intervals. Not sure about you, but this one definitely made me think of potty training!
More info: http://watchminder.com/
The Junior Animal Earmuffs are just right for children with heightened auditory sensitivity, as they give them the chance to reduce noise while still being able to hear conversations. They feature an adjustable padded headband, cushions that snuggly cup their ears, and a 27 decibel noise-reduction rating. These noise reduction ear muffs even come in super cute animal designs, including a tiger, panda, and bear.
5. FatFrame for iPad
No list of must-have tech gadgets for parents of special needs children would be complete without the iPad. There are an abundance of apps available today that are designed specifically for children with special needs, as well as those that offer parents the tools and support they need, and an iPad gives you access to all of them (including Birdhouse for Autism!).
However, if you want to spare your iPad from drops and scrapes, you may want to consider a FatFrame, which is an iPad protection system designed for children with disabilities. The founder of FatFrame, Alison Nicholson, actually created this tech tool for her own two children, who both have additional support needs.
More info: http://www.fatframe.co.uk/
This locating device is small and compact, which means that you can simply put it in your child’s pocket or hook it onto their backpack to keep track of them via a website or mobile app. You can create a “Geo-Fence” zone to ensure that your child with special needs stays in a particular area. When they venture out of it, you’ll receive an email, SMS, or push notification alert. The PocketFinder Personal GPS Locator also lets you customize your battery settings, so that you will not have to worry about the battery life running out before you have a chance to recharge it.
Each of these tech gadgets can offer parents of children with special needs peace of mind and support. We all need a bit of help every now and then. Why not use technology to get through the tribulations so that you can skip right to the triumphs!
The world of Autism technology continues to develop and there are new products created all the time. Let us know if we left out a gadget that you use and love!