There are many things that have come truly close to my heart as I’ve swum the waters of parenthood but few mean as much to me as the various organisations and people who help parents with children who have special needs. Today I’m writing all about organisations, people, magazines, blogs, and websites that have been created by incredible people to support parents with these little wonders.
The National Autistic Society is the UKs leading charity for autism and they offer parents an unbelievable range of resources that can make a huge difference to their lives. From helping you to understand what the various conditions are, and how they work, to sourcing jobs and providing support and community, it is all here.
They are currently doing FestiviTea Parties where friends, family and colleagues get together during the festive period and drink tea, eat cake and have fun while raising funds for the society. You get to enjoy free recipes from the likes of Jane Asher and Antony Worrall Thompson, spend time with friends in support of a good cause, and really make a difference.
Lime Magazine is the brainchild of one brave and sassy mumpreneur, Sally Huggett. She quit her job as a midwife and followed her passion to create the Lime Magazine, a resource for parents and carers of children with special needs. She started the magazine because she felt totally overwhelmed and that there wasn’t enough information and support for parents.
It costs £25.50 for a year’s subscription to the magazine, or £4.75 an issue including P&P. The magazine has features on things like how to cope with special needs on airlines, ICT developments, sensory disorders and noise, and coping with the festive season. This is a super resource that is well worth supporting.
The Mommy Bloggers
There are a ton of brave, amazing and incredible women (and men!) who blog about their daily lives with children who have special needs. These are a must-read for any parents who would like to find community, support and understanding, as well as some much-needed shared laughs about the day-to-day issues.
You can find groups dedicated to special needs bloggers on British Mummy Bloggers, here you can chat to other mommy bloggers, get advice and support others. Just go online and get to know the other parents and you’ll soon have more support and advice than you know what to do with! Best of all? It is free!
This is another fantastic resource for parents and carers of special children. Here you’ll uncover advice on holiday destinations for special needs and disabled children, events, current campaigns, articles and support links.
Just by browsing the site you’re bound to uncover some fantastic tips that will help you make decisions for Christmas and holidays, plus some ace advice on toys and games that are ideal for special children.
Toys and Games
There are quite a few different websites that offer toys and games for children with special needs, some of them are quite expensive but there are a few that offer you some really great discounts or cost-effective products.
One such site is Special Needs Toys, with a section dedicated to cost effective toys. You can also visit the site Toy Shop UK for a complete listing of shops that sell special needs toys. It will take a spot of research but you should be able to hunt down some great bargains and gifts.
Do It Yourself
I wrote an article a while ago on how to create a sensory room on a budget. It is amazing how much you can do for a fraction of the cost if you can find the time to create your own solutions. If you want some other fantastic ideas on how to create solutions for your child without spending a fortune, then here are some great resources.
This site has an article on how to make your own special needs toys and some of the ideas are quite brilliant. Not only will you make your own cool toys but you’ll be helping the environment too! Do2Learn offer free educational resources for special needs including printable black and white picture cards to help you make your own schedules, story strips and more.
Travelling with special needs
While many parents have told me of horror stories when it came to flying with their children who suffer from autism and similar conditions, there are some airlines and airports that try their best to help make the experience easier. Glasgow Prestwick Airport, BBC Health (great advice), Monarch Airlines, Virgin Atlantic and Thai Airways all have options for parents and carers.
Hopefully some of these resources and ideas have helped you and will make a difference. Please do let me know if there is anything I’ve missed that you think is just a brilliant resource or idea.