Tuesday, August 25, 2009

tips for school shopping

Back to school shopping can be hectic, with so much on the list, including clothes, shoes, school supplies, and more. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when shopping for and/or with your child with special needs.

1. Shop with these two criteria in mind: COMFORT and INDEPENDENCE.

2. Clothes: Is the fabric soft, with some "give" to it? Would your child's mornings be made easier with seamless socks? If your child is sensitive to color, can you find clothing in softer or more muted colors - not too bright? If fine motor tasks are difficult for your child, what fasteners is he or she capable of handling him/herself? You might look for clothing with elastic or velcro instead of buttons, zippers, and snaps.

3. Shoes: Have your child practice putting the shoes on and taking them off while you're in the shoe store. If your child is easily frustrated by the task of tying and/or untying shoes, look for slip-ons or velcro. Also, put your hand inside each shoe to feel for seams or stray threads/bits of glue that may cause discomfort or irritation. Does your child wear an unusual size, or need shoes that can accomodate a brace or support? Be sure to allow plenty of lead time for special orders.

4. School supplies: Pencils, crayons, and markers come in an amazing variety of shapes and sizes. Be sure to choose the ones that your child can hold and use the most comfortably. Does your child need a calculator with big buttons and a large display? A 3-ring binder that's designed to be easier to open and close? Spending a few extra dollars now will save frustration throughout the school year.

5. Lunchbox and backpack: Be sure your child can easily open and close ALL zippers, velcro closures, pockets, etc. before buying! Also make sure that both lunchbox and backpack are large enough for your child to fit everything into it without a struggle.

6. Allow enough time! Back to school shopping's no fun when you're in a hurry. Plan ahead to take even more time than you think you'll need. If your child will be shopping with you, be sure to bring some things to do in case you have to wait in a long checkout line!

Happy shopping!


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