From the October 2018 issue

Effective Hacks to Help Kids With Special Needs Thrive

If you have a kid with special needs, try out these tried-and-true hacks and products to help make your child's home or school life a little bit easier.

hacks to help kids with special needs

Parents of kids with special needs know there are certain things that just make life at home or school a little bit easier. It could be the latest fidget toy  or a cool app – and, fortunately, parents and educators are always coming up with new ways to help kids thrive. Consider these four trending tricks and hacks to help kids with special needs that parents are raving about.

Hook-and-loop hack

Hook-and-loop hack

If your child needs some sensory stimulation in the classroom – but doesn’t love the idea of using a fidget device and potentially standing out because of it – try this hidden Velcro hack. Ask your child’s IEP team or teacher to place a sticky Velcro strip under your child’s desk. Kids usually love the hook-and-loop texture – and it’s inexpensive, out of sight and easy to access. Get one for less than $3 on Amazon.

Weighted blankets

Weighted blankets

It turns out a little extra weight on our shoulders can be a great thing – especially for kids with autism and other special needs. Try a weighted blanket, which is filled with beads (various weights available) to provide a deep pressure sensation. Parents say the blankets help calm kids during moments of stress and can even help them sleep. Weighted vests are also available. $60-plus by Clinton Township-based Mrs. Sanders Crafts.

Visual timers

Visual timers

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Many kids have difficulty transitioning from one activity to the next – in fact, the unexpected shift can be a common source of meltdowns. To help, try a visual timer. They’re usually silent and offer a large display that makes it easy for your child to see how much time has passed and how much is left before the next transition. Plus, visual timers are usually battery-operated and portable – so they’re great for home, school or out and about. $20-plus on Amazon.

Bouncy bands

Bouncy BandsKid can’t sit still at the dinner table or classroom desk? These elastic bands can be easily attached to a desk or seat to let children bounce with their feet while staying on task. A school counselor invented Bouncy Bands to give his students a way to release their extra energy, anxiety and stress. One study even found kids focused about 10 percent more of the time while using the bands. Get one online for $13.95.

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