I wanted to share products and toys that I have found to be really useful. I have spent and wasted a lot of money on things that either my son didn’t like or things that I used for such a short period of time that they really weren’t worth the money. I will also include things that my daughter really likes as well.
The Mozart Effect For Babies
I have no idea if this helps or not, but I was and still am willing to do anything if it will help Oscar maintain seizure control. When Oscar was first diagnosed, the neurologist had mentioned that the hospital was performing a study in the NICU to see if by playing Mozart it helped reduce seizures in babies. There was no assurance that it would help, but I thought that it wouldn’t hurt to try. So for the last 2 1/2 years, every time Oscar sleeps (nap and at night) he listens to a series of music called “The Mozart Effect”. He has been roughly that length of time without a seizure, so who knows? I don’t think that this is a miracle cure as he is still on medication, but perhaps it has helped him a little bit, especially during vulnerable times (like when he has had a fever).
ezpz Happy Mat
ezpz Happy Mat $29.99 on http://www.amazon.ca. This mat does not move during mealtime which really makes self-feeding easier. I have also been loving the ezpz Happy Bowl $28.99 on http://www.amazon.ca.
Kidsme Toddler Fork and Spoon ($7.99)
This is a really great spoon and fork set. They are short, easy to grab and they allow my son to “play” with his utensils while sitting in his highchair without me worrying that he could hurt himself. Hopefully he will use them appropriately soon!
Honey Bear Straw Cup
Honey Bear Straw Cup $43.00 (for 2)
The truth is you could probably make this yourself. But at the time in my life when I needed this, I just didn’t have the time, or didn’t want to make the time to meticulously clean a bottle and figure out a straw that would fit. Anyways, this is a way that the parent/caregiver can help teach straw drinking to a child who is struggling with that skill. You gently squeeze the bottle so that the child doesn’t have to work as hard to suck on their own. For us this was a crucial transitional item.
Dr. Brown’s Bottles and Straw Cup
Dr. Brown’s Bottles $34.99
Dr. Brown’s Straw Cup $9.99
We have had such success using the Dr. Brown’s products. Our occupational therapist was who recommended the bottles. Apparently with these bottles you don’t have to burp the baby in the middle of the feed (we never burped Oscar). This was helpful because it removed the need for him to re-position himself after a burp in order to resume feeding. This may not seem like a big deal to some people, but when your child has low muscle tone and has difficulty creating a motor plan, any change in position can really complicate things. We needed feeding to be as easy as possible for him. Because of the success we had with the bottle we stuck with their whole product line including the straw cups. They also worked really well for Oscar.
BOB Revolution Pro Single Stroller
Accessories that I purchased:
Yes, I know that this is a big expense, but all strollers are. This stroller gives me the freedom of running/walking whenever I want. It features a very large sun canopy, a “peek-a-boo” window (which I LOVE to be able to keep a better eye on Oscar). The stroller reclines to an almost flat position so it is really comfortable if your child wants to nap (don’t run like this). I should also mention that the stroller does REALLY well in the snow! Some negatives are that it is bulky (both open and folded), I don’t really have anything to compare it to but I imagine that it is a bit heavy compared to other strollers and I am not sure how well the stroller would work in urban areas where you are constantly taking it in/out of your car or public transportation. The Bob revolution stroller is amazing for my lifestyle and for where we live. I highly recommend it and think that it is worth the money!
Backpack Child Carrier
Prior to purchasing this carrier we were using a Kelty carrier that had been purchased second hand when our daughter was young. Oscar just didn’t seem comfortable in it. Actually I know he wasn’t comfortable. This Deuter carrier is AWESOME! It has a small front pocket that is accessible to whomever is carrying the backpack. This pocket is large enough to carry my phone, car keys and Oscar’s meds. The adjustable foot straps seem to be a game changer as far as Oscar’s comfortable goes. Oscar currently weighs 28lbs and there seems to be lots of room so hopefully we can use it for another couple of years. Highly recommend this carrier.
Pravette USB Stroller Fan $19.54
This fan has come in handy! It charges using a USB cable so if you are on the go you can easily recharge this fan using a portable charger. I have used this fan on our stroller, but it also easily attaches onto the Deuter carrier as well as on our pack and play which came in handy while we were camping. If you have a child with epilepsy you know how sensitive they are to heat and how important it is to make sure they are cool enough particularly during the summer months. We have gotten so much use out of his fan, definitely worth purchasing!
Hearing Aid Cap
Foam Exercise/Balance Pad
- Standing Balance
- Sitting Balance
- Step Ups and Step Downs
- An Obstacle during gait training (could also use as an obstacle for crawling)
- I also put it under his left foot to force increased weight bearing and therefore strengthening of his right leg and hip (his right side is his weaker side)
Scooter Board $24.30
This scooter board was really worth the relatively small investment. This allows me to get down to Oscar’s eye level (saving my back) while singing songs (for his motivation) or we can work on our speech goals while he walks.
Spin & Sing Alphabet Zoo by Leap Frog
Spin & Sing Alphabet Zoo by Leap Frog $24.99 on toysrus.ca. My son loves anything that spins, so right away this was a motivating toy for him. What I really like about this toy is that it is excuse for us to practice speech sounds. If you select the “animal” button, when the arrows land on an animal, the toy will say the corresponding animal noise. If you select the “ABC” button, when the arrows land on a letter, the toy will say the corresponding letter sound.
Boon Cogs Water Gears
Bogs Cog Water Gears $9.87 on amazon.ca. Oscar loves anything that spins and these have turned out to be a great motivational toy for him. They are marketed as a tub toy, but I have some stuck onto our glass sliding door and Oscar will play with them in standing as well. You could put them lower on the door for a child who isn’t ready for standing and they could practice weight shifting through their arms to reach the toy.
VTech Activity Cube
Oscar is obsessed with this VTech Activity Cube ($55.97 on amazon) right now! Currently it is his primary motivational toy for physiotherapy. It is a great toy for children to play in while sitting or kneeling. We also use it as a motivator for walking. I have placed it on this step stool so that it is at eye level for him and he will walk to it (with help). His reward for walking is that he gets to play with it for a few minutes before we walk again.
Oscar loves his water table. I am thinking of bringing it inside during the colder months to use as a standing play station by filling the pools with other items like raw pasta or cotton balls for a different sensory experience. We did buy ours used, but the brand is “Step 2” (I don’t think that the brand matters). One feature that I really like and I would recommend for anyone interested in buying a water table is to purchase one that has an umbrella. I will link a couple of options below.
Step 2 with umbrella $108
Paint by Sticker
Paint by Sticker Kids: Zoo Animals $13.81 on amazon.ca. My sister bought this for my daughter and I thought that it was such a great idea. Inside the book there are stickers that correspond to an outlined drawing and you essentially color the picture using the stickers. Mess free and great fine motor practice!