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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.
Stickers for shoes
I cut a big "smiley face" sticker in half and stick it inside shoes/pumps/wellies so my son can match it up and get on the correct feet
My tip is Greeper Laces. They don't come undone and they're easy to use. www.greeper.com
Insert theseI find good quality inserts for shoes/boots from outdoor leisure shops are often as good as or more robust than those that physio are able to supply.
Putting on socksThis is my tip for helping someone learn how to put socks on for themselves. I started by getting my young friend to take paperbags with handles on and off his feet. These were quite rigid and it was easy to do. Then we practised with plastic bags which were floppier & a bit harder. Then we practised putting big socks on my feet. Eventually, he was able to put his own socks on!
I always buy shoes half size too big so there is not so much effort getting them on at first
Curly lacesCurly laces can give some independence and allow them to wear trendy lace up trainers. You can buy funky colours on eBay - my daughter loves that she doesn't have to have Velcro fasteners.
Pull your socks up!Put sweat bands on top of socks to help people who are constantly pulling their socks up.
Sock phobiaMy son has a sock phobia. It took years to come up with a compromise. He agrees to wear women's nylon socks as they are so lightweight he hardly feels them.
Seams in socks and labels on clothes can cause endless problems for sensory-sensitive people. I've found the following site but have no experience of it so I'm just putting the information out as a starter. If anyone knows of more places to shop to get similar products then please post up. sensorysmart.co.uk/
Clark's shoesClark's shoe shops have an appointment system. If the person you are supporting doesn't do queueing give them a ring to arrange.
Keeping shoes on
One of my clients is expert at kicking his shoes off. I suggested his parents buy him some boxing shoes which has solved the problem. Just google boxing shoes and you can buy them over the internet.
Easy lacesWith trainers, if laces are a problem, thread elastic through and tie in a double bow. Then people can just slip their feet in without having to untie or tie anything up.
Salomon trainersI have an 18 year-old son with autism, learning difficulties, epilepsy and size 12 feet! I buy Salomon trainers, expensive but incredibly long lasting with the Quicklace lacing system. No shoe-tying. Heaven! Also they replace the lacing system if they get broken.
If you are struggling finding trendy trainers for youngsters who wear splints try Etnies trainers.
Mobile shoe shop
Here is the perfect way to buy your children's footwear without having to take them out... let the shoe shop come to you! The Upper Foot – http://www.theupperfoot.co.uk/shoeshop – is a mobile children’s shoe shop that covers Herts, Beds and Bucks. Shoes are fitted by a properly trained shoe fitter. Stress free service!
Clarks make life easy
It can be overwhelming to come to a busy shop with lots of shoes to choose from and lots of people around. Some of the Clarks shops will open early for customer with special needs or stay open a bit later. Just call the local Clarks shop itself to find if they can help.
Babybotte shoes get thumbs up
When Zoe was learning to walk, we tried 'Babybotte' shoes. They have really sturdy ankle support and much better than Clarks IMO. We tried Kickers but the soles are too firm. Google them and you will find many online suppliers
Which shoe and which foot?
I wrote half of his first name on one shoe and surname on the other shoe to help Billy put his shoes on the correct feet
Don't worry about laces
For people who can't tie shoelaces try using Velcro, bungee or lock laces.
You can buy a pack of 2 sliding clips in sports shops which eliminates the need to tie laces and looks discrete. Ideal for teens and adults fed up with velcro.
Buying steel toe capped work safety shoes. These shoes last 10 times longer than the Clarks, Startrite best of range. I was having to replace shoes monthly now I'm only buying 2 pairs a year and the weight has strengthened my sons legs and slows his walking so he doesn't trip so much. Admittedly I have to jump quick if he lashes out!
Ankle boots stay on better
I use lace-up boots, e.g. Kickers, as John tends to sort of scrape off his shoes
Specialist shoes - small gifts go a long way
Hospital appliance departments tend to be very busy and have long waiting lists, which make it hard if your child needs specialist footwear and they're having a growing spurt ! Do your best to get on good terms with the staff there (the occasional packet of biscuits never hurts) and regularly check styles of 'ordinary' footwear with them and your physio.
Check with your physio or orthopaedic surgeon, specialist shoes can be free.
Shopping without feet
Kadeem can’t cope with shoe shopping so we draw around both feet on a piece of cardboard cut out each foot and take the templates of his feet to the shops. This way I can bring the shoes home having previously arranged with the shops that we can return them to exchange a size if I get it wrong.
Zoe can’t walk but we always make sure to buy her shoes which she looks good in. Shoes are an important accessory and we want her to feel good about herself.
Do think about what level of physical support is needed; for instance crocs will be no good for someone who needs supportive lace up boots.
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