Raising a child with special needs, such as those required by kids coping with cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, or Down syndrome, for example, can be a daunting task. A new parent, who has grown up with the fortune of good health would not be aware of what their child needs to adapt to life with a disability.
There is good news.
Companies like Jenx, Tumble Forms 2, and Special Tomato, to name just a few, have each developed a broad product line of equipment and supplies for parents and caregivers (such as physical and occupational therapists) to aid children with special needs to adapt to daily living.
Spotlight on Special Tomato
Special Tomato is an American manufacturer of positioning, muscular therapy, and rehabilitation equipment. You can visit their website for detailed information and specifications on all of their products, including great photos, but their products must be purchased through one of their distributors. There is a link on their site to take you to a distributor of your choice.
A common problem for children with conditions like muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, and Down syndrome, is finding the neuromuscular strength to do things many of us take for granted like sitting upright, standing, raising and lowering our head and neck at will, and fully extending or stretching our arms and legs.
The Special Tomato EIO Push Chair
This push chair resembles a typical baby stroller, but when you look closely, you'll find added features that keep the child securely in a safe position. Whereas a healthy baby is able to grow the muscle strength to keep his or her head upright, a baby or toddler with special needs may need extra help. So the push chair comes with padded head and neck stabilizers, pelvic and hip area positioning pads, a 5-point safety harness to keep the child's torso in place, a legrest that is angle adjustable for the child's comfort, and a back that reclines or can be locked in an upright position.
A few other convenience features for the person who has the responsibility of pushing the chair include a shopping basket, a bottle holder, a one-touch brake, larger wheels to handle difficult terrain, and wheels that quickly release so that the chair can be folded compactly for travel.
Special Tomato Height Right Chair
The Height Right Chair resembles a highchair. It is an adaptive product that supports and grows with the child from 6 months old to up to 250 lbs. The seat is height and depth adjustable and is lined with Special Tomato's comfortable positioning cushions for the seat and back. There is also a footplate that allows the child to rest his or her feet in a supported position. The footplate adjusts to accommodate the child's growth too. Thanks to all of this adjustability, the chair is designed to stay with your child for years. No more yearly replacements. The chair also comes with a 5-year manufacturer's warranty, so it is built to last for a while.
If you visit Special Tomato's website to check out the Height Right Chair, you'll also note that the company suggests that this chair may not be the best choice if you have a child that self-stimulates by rocking back and forth. The chair is as stable as a regular chair or baby's highchair, but since some children with special needs rock themselves, using what are known as vestibular movements, a chair at this height could risk tipping.
Special Tomato Soft-Touch Liners
Sometimes children with special needs simply can't sit comfortably in a standard chair. Companies like Special Tomato have developed seat liners; cushions that have the proper contours in them to better fit the child. The liners are soft, easy to clean, impermeable to fluids, latex free, and resist tears, peeling, and cracking. Special Tomato's trademarked Soft-Touch material is also antimicrobial to inhibit germ growth.
The Soft-Touch Liners are safe as well. They come with straps that are used to fasten the liners securely to the chair so that it will not slide off the chair.