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Special Needs Tips
In Association with Our-Kids Logo. Click here to go back to Our-Kids. Our-Kids

The tips on the following pages have been compiled because of a demand by parents and caregivers of children with special needs for inexpensive alternatives to daily living aids and ideas. Click on the category of your choice or just browse through all the suggestions. And feel free to email me your ideas, no matter how small! They are greatly appreciated!

Please view my disclaimer concerning these tips!

Please Email if you have any tips to add!!

Pantry Remedies & Substitutions

Insect Bites: Make a paste of meat tenderizer, apply to bite or sting, and let dry. This will draw out the venom. ~ Kate

DEET-Free Mosquito Repellent: Rub vanilla extract on skin before going outside ~ Annie Adamson

Homemade Pedialyte: A less expensive alternative to buying liter bottles of Pedialyte by Abbott. Good for traveling. Click to view the recipe!

Homemade Disposable Wipes: Go to it!

Poop Goop: This remedy for constipation, which has a long history, is often posted on the Our-Kids listserv! Click here to see the recipe!

Urine (and other) stains and odors: Nature's Miracle, found in any pet store, is a liquid enzyme that breaks up the stain. ~ Julie Honeyman


Taping meetings: You are allowed to tape record an IEP meeting. It keeps all the others on their toes. You might, however, need to give a 24 hr notice ~ Suzin

IEP/ARD Meetings: For an edge, wear a business suit and carry a briefcase filled with SpecEd laws and your child's records.

Note Holder for School: I use a plastic sheet protector (3 hole punch) tied to the handle of my daughter's wheelchair for urgent notes or for days when I know there won't be time for the teacher or therapists to read the notebook ~ Naz

Sensory Issues

Loud Telephone Ringer: If your child is afraid of the telephone because of its loud ring, try setting the ringer on low or muffle the bell. If that doesn't help, try out different ringing sounds until one does the trick.

Cutting Hair: Many children with sensory integration problems intensely dislike having their hair cut. Some parents have had success snipping a little at a time or cutting as their children sleep. Try "bribing" them with a treat or distracting with their favorite video tape. Remember to let them know what you're doing ahead of time and why, and give lots of praise for sitting still.

Calming Device: Find an old sleeping bag for your child to climb into at bedtime or when he's upset (even at school). It provides calming pressure for kids who find it difficult to relax or wind down. ~ Anne MacLellan

Tactile boxes: For a child who is sensory defensive and needs tactile stimulation: obtain three small plastic boxes with lids and fill them with corn meal, rice and beans. The child can play in these with fill and pour objects, etc. MUST BE SUPERVISED CONSTANTLY, AS THESE ITEMS COULD CAUSE CHOKING. Also can purchase a 5 gallon tub with a lid and pour Styrofoam popcorn packaging in it that the child can sit in. This can also be done with the plastic balls that you can find at Chuckie Cheese, etc. Toys R Us now sells refills of these balls for their ball tubs.

Sensory Integration (proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation): Seat your child in a chair that can spin, like an office chair. Walk behind it, quickly, three times, then rest for thirty seconds and go the other way three times, altogether 6 times. Do this three times every second day for six weeks and they say it will clearly improve alertness, head control and balance. ~ Hege Stensrud (Webmistress' note: This activity can trigger seizure activity in persons with a seizure disorder.)

Water Toys: Please see Fun and Games

Tube Feeding

Where do I put this dripping end of the feeding bag tubing? Tape the plastic cover of the adapter to the IV pole and set the adapter inside when you aren't using the feeding bag.

Prevent Kinks in Tubing: Run tubing through stiff, large diameter fish tank tubing. OR wrap a small piece of self-adhesive bandage around the button plug and the extension tubing to keep it from unlocking. This is especially helpful for children who are fed continuously through the night.

Priming the Tubing: Pour formula into feeding bag (set) and close lid. Turn bag upside down, holding the clamp open until all air is out. This is a good method to use with continuous feeding.

Using Tape:

  • To remove adhesive residue from skin or tubing, use a bit of mineral or baby oil, then wash with soap and water.
  • If tape irritates skin, dab a little Milk of Magnesia on the site and let dry before applying.
  • Try Johnson & Johnson's waterproof tape. It leaves no residue on tubing.

Keep hands away from tubes: Tube tops work well for kids with g-tubes. They keep little hands away from the button, but they're hard to find. We use burn netting---cut it about 12 inches long (enough to fit over his chest and down to above his diaper). Then I put 3-4 gauze pads over the button. This also helps keep the button from opening if the reflux-valve has failed. ~ Lynette

Feeding tube Build-up: If you notice buildup in any part of the tubing, first run hot water through it (not the gastrostomy tube or button itself) and try one or a combination of these suggestions courtesy of the G-Tube Listserv members:

  • Cut about a 30" length of "weed-eater" cord (bought from hardware store) and snake it through the tubing. ~ Terry
  • Use pipe cleaners.
  • Run a denture cleaner mixture through the tubing and rinse well.
  • Make a solution of meat tenderizer (Adolph's is best) and water, suck it up into the tubing with a syringe, and let it sit for a while. Rinse well. The papaya enzyme in the meat tenderizer eats away at the protein in the tubing, which is why it tenderizes steak. ~ Kate
  • Pour white vinegar through the tubing, clamp it off and soak. Rinse well or the next feeding may curdle.
  • A little dishwashing detergent and hot water can help, but rinse very well.
  • To sanitize, use a weak bleach solution (one part bleach to ten parts water) and rinse well.
  • With warm soapy water in the tubing, use a small roller up and down the length of the tube.

Venting (Decompression):

Attach an extension tube to a feeding bag, but leave it empty. Connect to the g-tube or button and place the bag lower than the stomach (make sure to close the cap on the bag). Open all valves. After venting takes place, re-prime the tubing and replace stomach contents. This is great for avoiding messes! ~ Carol
If bubbles won't come out easily, put a small amount of water into the stomach using the bolus method and try again.

Dribbling button: If the button leaks just a little bit after disconnecting the tubing, next time use just a tiny bit of air after the water flush. This creates an air pocket which prevents formula from leaking out.

Clogged tube: Let a small amount of Coca-Cola (or any carbonated soda) work at the clog for 10 to 15 minutes, then gently flush with warm water. ~ G-tube Listserv Members

Rinsing & Draining Bags: Buy inexpensive adhesive-backed plastic hooks to put near the sink to hang tubing or bags. ~ Naz

G-Tube Site Protection: Mix crushed antacids (Tums, Rolaids) with zinc oxide (Desitin works well) and apply to stoma. This mixture will help protect the skin from any stomach acid leaking.

Retching: To stop a child from retching or gagging, manipulate the ear. It is supposedly based on an accupressure point. I've tried it, it works!!

Granuloma: Use Kenalog Cream (prescription only; may cause yeast infection and/or thinning of the skin if used in excess) to help shrink granulation tissue around a g-tube site. If that doesn't work, silver nitrate sticks or liquid can be prescribed and used at home. Before applying, be sure to put a barrier cream (like zinc oxide or petroleum jelly) on the skin around the granulation tissue to avoid burning and discoloration. Dab granuloma with a tissue after applying silver nitrate.

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