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These tips have all been sent in by other parents, carers and professionals in the learning disability community. We hope they will give you plenty of ideas to try, but please remember Netbuddy is not responsible for the information provided or any of the activities suggested.
Back fastening coats
Specially made coats that fasten at the back are fantastic for people who struggle getting their arms in sleeves, but they can be expensive. My wonderful mum has bought us coats a size too big from the charity shop, and adapted them using velcro - total cost was less than £6 each!
Liam has some funky tops, but no-one can see them as they are covered by the butterfly-shaped brace on his wheelchair. We get round this by buying a size too big, and cutting small slots at the shoulders - so he can comfortably tuck the brace inside his top.
M&S popper vests
Marks & Spencers sell popper vests in age 2-3, which are massive. They fit small 7-year olds perfectly!
Get a cheap pair of oven gloves and sew a bag of rice or similar in the ends, it can then be worn over shoulders or lap. Also, put books in a rucksack and this can be carried around to provide extra sensory stimulation when walking
Fleece onesies are a good shout for people who are prone to kicking off their covers at night. Widely available in high st stores and big name supermarkets.
DIY weighted jacket
Jackets with lots of pockets are easy to weight with beanbags, water bottles or bags of marbles. Leather biker jackets are naturally heavy. Depending on the person's sensory preferences it might actually be tightness that works better than weight, so it's worth trying a size below.
If buttons are irritating or too difficult to do/undo, take them off and replace with popper tape (like you get on the bottom of duvet covers). Or sew on velcro. Works especially well on school polo shirts.
My 12 yr old son has ASD and is doubly incontinent. My tip is to purchase a wet/drysuit for swimming as the special trunks with the plastic liner do sadly leak and leave an embarassing trail.
Elasticated smart trousers
Doing up buttons is very difficult for my son who has arthritis and he doesn't want to lives in casual trousers. We found some black cotton chef's trousers from a catering supplies company which have an elasticated waist and look smart
Fledglings unitards are great for stopping my son, who is 12 & has autism, from getting to his pad at night. He wears them underneath traditional, button-up, cotton pyjamas. As he cannot undo buttons this ensures he has no access route to his pad. Fledglings brochure
When my daughter gets her cast on her calf it is really difficult to get wellies to fit. I adapted some by buying 2 pairs of cheap wellies then cutting and lacing them together. I used a hole punch to make lace holes. When using, she wears a bag over her foot to keep dry
SN Posh Frocks
I came across this great website of women's fashion for special occasions. Its specifically for women who have diffculty with the manipulation of clasps, buttons and zips. Also wheelchair friendly dresses: http://www.xenicollection.com/
Adult popper vests
You can get popper style vests in adult sizes. I use for my son to stop his hands wandering and smearing the contents of his nappy Buy adult popper vest
Buy plain tops and let the person you are caring for personalise them. Take a photo or use clipart and print the picture out on to iron-on transfer paper. Creates a sense of ownership and empowerment through choice and is great for self esteem and fussy dressers.
Bundlebean pushchair cover
A Bundlebean pushchair cover is an ingenious footmuff, which you can adjust to fit different pushchairs. I'm so impressed it even works on the Maclaren Major special needs buggy & is a fraction of the cost of the Maclaren original footcover. It has a small fleece-lined pocket which my son likes to pop his hands into to keep warm. Also good as a changing mat as it folds out as picnic blanket. http://bundlebean.com/
A really cheap way of keeping someone in a wheelchair warm is by adapting a child's sleeping bag into a cosy toes. You can pick up a small sleeping bag from somewhere like Argos for around £5. A few nips, tucks and holes for straps and you are there!
I've found legwarmers to be a really good extra layer of warmth for my daughter. They are really easy to slip over her clothing and then remove once indoors. I use adult ones that cover her entire leg. Actually, they don't even look as daft as they sound!
A useful company I have come across that supplies adapted clothing, disabled clothing, wheelchair clothing and accessories for adults and children is www.able2wear.co.uk
Coats & wheelchairs
Greg uses a wheelchair. I finally realized that if I make a large vertical slit up the back of his coat it makes it easier to take his coat on and off.
We buy popper vests for Shula from www.fledglings.org.uk which are great. It protects her skin when she’s wearing her spinal jacket and also helps protect her gastrostomy and jejunostomy. It also means her clothes don’t ride up her back when she’s being lifted or hoisted.
PHP (the baby catalogue) does vest extenders (a little strip of material about 2-3 inches long and 1-2 inches wide with three poppers on either end). These can be used to extend the length of standard baby vests if you have a child who still needs them to keep nappies on.
Special needs clothing
Try this list of outlets for clothes for children with special needs. www.special-needs-kids.co.uk
We use key rings as Zip pulls - just put a key ring on the end of a Zip tog and it makes zipping so much easier. I also give them as presents, there are so many great key rings around at the moment.
Rackety's have popper vests, adult bibs and some clothes for wheelchair users. You can order them online. www.disabled-clothing.co.uk
Adjusting shirt sleeves
Like most people with Down's syndrome, my son has fairly short arms. I adjust his shirt sleeves to fit, by cutting them neatly across halfway down and making a new seam. Tying to adjust them at the cuffs is far too fiddly.
Integrated swimming costume
Poppy wears a tankini when she is swimming, which I bought from www.fledglings.org.uk it has special knickers inside in case she messes in the pool. They do swimming trunks for boys too.
Wetsuit in the pool
Our son has poor body temperature control, swimming pools are far too cold, so we adapted a wetsuit to fit him that made ordinary swimming pool temperatures acceptable – they are affordable at Lidl. You can try talc to ease putting it on. Helps with floating too!
If you want to elasticate a waistband yourself (see video tip), you can buy button hole elastic used for maternity-wear clothes, so you can easily alter it as and when neccessary. Simply sew a button at each end of the waistband and fasten the elastic on the hole you need.
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