When you read our son’s list of grade school adaptive equipment, it’s like reading a rider list for a rock star. Well, he is a rock star in his own right, but this equipment helped him safely maneuver around campus. He has had some of this equipment since he was 2 years old in the Early Intervention program. Over 6 years later, I’d say that this equipment was worth all the struggle to get it. We had several physical therapists, occupational therapists, teachers, and adaptive equipment specialists help us start collecting these pieces. In the end, it was the special education department’s staff who worked with physical health and impairments that assessed his needs and got the equipment. They simply assessed his needs by watching him maneuver around campus and the classroom. From there, they made a list of equipment and measurements for any adaptations. He was assessed and monitored as he got older for adjustments. It was very cool to see some of the equipment leave. And once he got past kindergarten, it got better.
The most popular questions that we get by parents is about toileting. Preschool accomodations were much different than they are now at age 8. In preschool (age 2, not walking), he had an aide or teacher help him to the potty. And the potty was on the floor for him to feel stable and comfortable. As much as it looked awkward for a 2-3 year old use a potty meant for a 1 year old, we just wanted him to have the confidence. The worked for our son who is smaller than most achon kids his age. But many other LP kids used the Baby Bjorn one. We liked the Boon because it was low to the ground with a removable deflector (for boys) and it was a step stool. When he went potty, we just taught him to hold it down to prevent spraying pee everywhere. We thought that when he gets older, he would learn how to pee while standing and balance on the toilet for his BMs (bowel movements). Ok, a little TMI, but when you’re talking toileting, it’s just what it is. Some parents prefer to have their child use a bottom wiper like the Freedom Wand for the BMs, but we think that bottom wipers for kids will just get lost or forgotten. We encourage the achon twist (turning torso, bending a bit back with holding on to something like a wall and reaching over to wipe) when wiping bottoms. He had an aide assist him in the restroom until he was in the third quarter of kindergarten. After that, he was on his own for toileting. Not to say that he’s an expert or perfect at it, but at least he is getting it done as independently as he can. And what boy is neat in the bathroom anyway?!
Not every child will need all of this equipment, but at least this gives ideas on what your dwarf child could need. Don’t forget to plan and request for low-incidence funds early!
Grade School Adaptations and Accommodations
- Classroom not far from a restroom. Restroom located in an auditorium or other location, where a restroom stall will be set up with adaptive equipment and safe from vandalism.
- Custom wooden steps in front of sink or a lowered sink (though not necessary because of the cost and practicality).
- White Potty Stool steps to toilet or something similar like the depending on the child’s stature and stability. One also located in the nurses office.
- Smaller stepstool to step up to white “potty stool” steps, if needed
- Toilet seat with a built in seat reducer
- Lowered latch on bathroom stall door
- Lowered soap and towel dispenser
- Peer buddy
- Lowered backpack hook
- Supervision – aide or extra staff needed to assist with purchasing lunch and/or carrying tray
- Double food trays for support. Nowadays, school lunches are served on styrofoam trays that are very flimsy. Simply use an additional styrofoam tray underneath another for support.
- Brown Keekarooo chair to be moved to and from lunch table by lunch staff to the end of the lunch table. This provides better support for seating and inclusion with peers versus a separate table.
- Bento boxes (scroll down) with clasps on the side work well for bringing lunch. We like the line as a more practical solution. Often ziplock bags and other containers are difficult to open.
- Snack Table moved inside on Fridays and taken out on Mondays by school staff
- Teacher to move snack table as needed during snack time
- 1:1 adult supervision for safety during recess – per IEP – provided by school site or special ed department
- Basketball Hoop available if wanted for alternative recess play or other types of for inclusion
- from home available – need to designate area if he chooses to ride
- Adapted Tricycle for kindergarten
- Activity table with adjustable height legs] and chair
- Adjust height of desk and cubby as needed
- Booster seat as a floor chair (if needed for those kids who need more supported seating due to kyphosis. Remove seatbelts and other belts.)
- Smaller table and chair for rug
- Classroom materials accessible (paper, books, markers, etc.)
Back Room (behind classroom, also known as the quiet room)
- Custom wooden steps and/or white step stool for sink
- Sensor faucet
- Paper towels – stack near sink area if can’t reach dispenser
- Soap – liquid soap pump dispenser next to sink
- Peer buddy or adult – help with opening doors and safety in the case of a real emergency