Monday, 30 November 2015

Another special one year old

Little Russell is nearly one! This is a huge milestone for all babies, but especially for Russell as there were more than a few moments in his first year when no one was sure whether he would make it through. He's stable and doing well now. The doctors would like him to put more weight on but he's not underweight for his corrected age and he's stopped frightening everyone when he gets a cold! He's still in hospital, but we hope to have him home in the New Year and then his life can really begin!

We have presents, bunting, banners, helium and normal balloons, a wooden cake if he's not in the mood to play, a chocolate cake if he is, a big foster brother keen to "help" with the cake, a birthday vest for him wear and a builders tray to contain the mess. All the ingredients for a memorable 1st birthday party! A good friend of ours with awesome camera skills is coming to the hospital to take photos. Russell won't remember any of this of course but he will be able to look at the photos in years to come and know that we celebrated his special day in the best way we could!

Monday, 9 November 2015

Buying for a disabled or developmentally delayed child

With Christmas approaching I thought I would do a post to help friends and family of children who are not developing typically choose a Christmas present. So here's how we like to choose gifts for our special little ones.

1) Forget about the age it says on the box!

This can be hard as it's so ingrained in us that baby toys are for babies, but at six years old Peter loves many toys and books aimed at babies or toddlers. They are designed to stimulate senses and use simple language which is exactly what he needs.

Russell will be one year old by Christmas but isn't rolling yet and doesn't have any sitting balance, so many of the toys aimed at the 12-18 month age group will not be appropriate for him. He also has a visual impairment so we are looking for toys to stimulate his vision and encourage him to start moving.

2) Don't automatically ignore items aimed at older children or adults.

If an item relates to Peter's current interests (space, cars, maps, trains and butterflies), it's a big hit - especially coffee table or encyclopaedia type books.

As Russell hasn't left hospital yet, and in fact has only been outside three times, we're looking for gifts with mirrors or real-world imagery rather than lots of bright colours and cartoon characters.

3) Remember that many children have a "spiky profile" where their skills may be age appropriate in one area but delayed in another, so for example Peter can easily complete a 100 piece puzzle but wouldn't understand the simplest board game aimed at pre-schoolers.

4) Don't worry if you're asked to do something out of your comfort zone or that seems unusual!

Peter doesn't like wrapping paper as it makes him anxious, so we ask for unwrapped gifts for him (or unwrap them ourselves before he sees them). We've also heard of families wrapping gifts in transparent cellophane or sticking a photo of the gift on the outside so there are no surprises.

As Russell has a tracheostomy we need to insist on no glitter, sand, or soft toys with fine fibres that may go into his lungs.

5) Have fun choosing! These are all gifts that Peter and Russell would love to receive this Christmas:

Ravensburger 100 piece Snowman puzzleDiscovery 50mm astronomical telescopeB SymphonyPintoy Tower SlopeTidlo Double Sided Easel with PaperDebenhams Space RailFuntime Newton's Cradle Executive Desktop ToyPaladone Scrabble LightScience Museum Magnetic Sand TimerDisney Cars Book

Baby Einstein Playtime Explorer Gift SetBright Starts Roll and Glow MonkeyTomy choo choo loopBright Starts Light and Giggle DrumBaby Einstein Neptune Magical Lights MirrorDebenhams Party Bulb

This post was written as an entry to the Debenhams "Dear Santa..." competition. Five lucky bloggers will each win £100 vouchers to spend on toys from their range.