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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.
Early bird shopping
If shopping for clothes/shoes is a nightmare, try asking the manager if they'll open the store 15 minutes earlier to allow you to try things on without an audience. Our local Clarks suggested it when our son was freaking out due to the noise of all the people in the shop. It made it stress free for all of us.
Breville make a cordless blender, ideal for charging at home and then using while out and about. It comes with a lid to keep blades and your bag clean.
If we are going to be out of the house when my son's evening meds are due, instead of taking the bottles with us, we measure the meds out in a syringe and pop them in one of his old glasses cases to transport them (it holds 2 syringes perfectly!)
Large changing mats
These can be very expensive to buy. Try a water proof picnic blanket instead, much cheaper and easy to keep clean.
Straw caseMy son can only drink from a straw. Out and about I use a toothbrush case to keep them clean and uncrushed
My son can't cope with standing in line in queues. I always go to the front of the queue and asked nicely if we could come to the front. Nobody ever minds when I do and it isn't fair to him to make him queue.
Healthy snacks for out & aboutWhen we are out and about (at the hairdressers or shopping) a good way to keep Amy occupied is to keep a supply of shreddies (or similar) breakfast cereal (diet permitting of course) and hand them out one by one. Not quite as bad as sweets or crisps.
Powder carriersJoanna needs a powder diet supplement added to her bottles, which I put in a baby formula container with separate compartments, so if we are out for the day I don’t have to take the whole drum with me.
Changing pads on older kids can be challenging. They are too big for change units & the floors are too dirty to lay them on. I take a plastic tablecloth out to lay on a dirty floor & just wipe clean afterwards - its small & portable.
Radar keyGet a radar key. These cost just a few pounds and are usually available from town halls and tourist information centres. They save us from queuing at public toilets, and are often cleaner and of course more spacious.
If you use visual cues to communicate - have small versions of the pictures laminated and attached to a belt ring so that "toilet" "stop" " drink " signs or whatever is most important to the child is readily and quickly available. You can then take them out when shopping etc.
Snap it!I always find it really helpful when I am going to a place for the first time with Jason to take a photo first so he knows where he is going. You can use the camera in your mobile phone!
Keep a handbag full of fidget toys for those times when you’re going somewhere new or waiting in a queue. www.sensorytoywarehouse.com is a good source for this.
Bendy straws are handySue finds it comforting to twirl objects in a new situation, so I keep some bendy drinking straws in her handbag for trips.
Mobile distractionMy son has lots of behavioural issues, especially waiting, getting back into the car when a favouite activity has ended, hospital appointments etc. I have recorded myself on my mobile reading his favourite stories. I have also put some nursery rhymes and theme tunes on there. I always have my mobile with me (remembering the earphones of course), and it's got us through some very sticky situations. It's a great distraction, and allows me to get where I need to go.
Portable DVD playerEating out is really difficult for my son, who is sound sensitive and has food issues. We take a portable dvd player. Thought other people would think us terrible parents, but pleasantly suprised people complimented us on our boys' behaviour and remarked what a great idea a portable dvd player was. Would highly recommend. Quite cheap from Argos!
Handy blue tackCarry a small piece of Blue tack or similar for some one who is fidgety and needs to touch and play with something. They can make little men and characters or just roll it in their fingers.
Changing places rooms
Changing Places rooms are fantastic when you're out and about. They include Closomat Toilets, full hoist, electronic beds, moveable sink etc. We have managed to get three here in Southampton. See their map for Changing Places rooms. www.changing-places.org
Keep warmIf you are caring for someone in a wheel chair or push chair who won't keep a blanket on in the cold weather, put long johns or even girls tights on under their trousers.
Call aheadWhen you are going to places like the hairdressers, dentists, doctors, theatres, restaurants etc, let them know ahead of any issues and work together. Be prepared & let them be prepared too. Makes a more enjoyable time for everyone involved.
Photo your visual timetableIf you use a visual timetable but can't take it out with you. Use your phone and take a photo of it.
Visual shopping list
If you use a visual timetable and want to make one for when you go shopping, go to the Tesco on-line site (probably works for other supermarkets too) and right-click, then save image. It gives a small easy to use image that is exactly what you will be shopping for.
Pre-paid cash cards do not require you to have a bank account or a credit check, as you pre-load them with money. They are a great way for people with learning disabilities to manage their own money. Here's a comparison of some of the prepaid cards available: Comparison site
Give me a role too
We try and give Laurie a focus when we go out - shopping is better when we give her a task - i.e. she has her own shopping list or we make a game of it and get her to find certain items.
Keep to a timetable
When shopping, we explain to Zeb in advance exactly what the itinerary is and when the visit to the particular shop he wants will occur. Be firm and stick to this and the constant nagging should stop. As long as they they know when it is happening an aspergic child can relax.
Cue cards for shopping/travel
If you use visual cues to communicate - have small versions of the pictures laminated and attached to a belt ring so that "toilet" "stop" " drink " signs or whatever is most important to the child is readily and quickly available. These could then be taken out when shopping etc.
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