Tuesday, July 29, 2014

A Few of Our Favorite Things...

Favorite items for day-to-day life

ADLs are "activities for daily living".  They are things the majority of us do in our everyday lives and don't think about.  For someone with a disability, the ability to perform ADLs can be difficult.  For some, the ability to perform or not perform the ADLs will determine their living arrangements - independent living, care provider, group home, care facility, etc.

Our goal for S is for him to live independently.  This is his desire also.  We have always had a great team working with him whose goals were the same as our goals - make S functional so he can live on his own.

Because of his CP, he needs to perform some ADLs differently than we do.  We try to keep things as "normal" as possible for him.  He doesn't want to stick out, and anything that is "therapeutic" costs more.  

Here are things that we have found to be very beneficial for S in the various aspects of his life:

1.  Clothing/Dressing:
Hickies:  J found these online, and they have been wonderful.  S has never learned to tie shoes due to the fine motor complexities and the gross motor issues of getting his body in the right position.  Hickies allow S to put on his own shoes, so we don't have to tie his shoes for him.  Trust me, it was a lifesaver for us.  We had to schedule our life activities around when he was getting his shoes on, so we could be available to tie his shoes.  Bigger factor is that S doesn't have to ask people to tie his shoes for him.
Buckle-down Seatbelt Belt:  Again, J to the rescue!  S has often had pants that have the adjustable tabs or elastic waist.  This style of clothing is more and more difficult to find as he has become an older teen, and we have tried to find clothing that looks age appropriate. When he had to get jeans that no longer had the tabs, my husband and I were racking our brains about what to do for a belt.  S would probably be able to use a typical belt, but it would take him a LONG time to work it.  J told us that he had seen kids at school with belts that had a seatbelt buckle.  He was under quick instructions to look them up to see where we could get them.  We were so excited when we found they had them at the mall.  We have never been so excited to get to the mall!  They work wonderfully.  Again, S doesn't have to ask for help with getting dressed.

2.  Personal Care:
This has been an area that S has not really had any issues with; however, we have found things that make his life a little easier.
Norwex face/body cloths:  S has had some struggles with acne and has used special soaps which were expensive and bleached my towels.  I read some reviews about the Norwex face cloths and people not needing to use their face soaps anymore.  I figured it was worth a try. Love them!  He uses the cloth with water and that's it.  He hasn't had any issues with acne. The cost of the cloth will more than pay for itself many times over.  It also becomes  a one step process for him instead of multiple steps and manipulating other items.
Sonicare toothbrush:  J's orthodontist recommended this when he had his braces put on.  It is a great toothbrush for S.  It cleans his teeth well.  
Reach Access Flosser:  Because of his fine motor issues, this has been a good flossing option for S.  

3.  Cooking:
Toaster oven: S wants the ability to cook for himself.  Using a traditional oven isn't practical for him.  This provides him with a great alternative to cook that is much safer.  He can cook a variety of things in his toaster oven.
Ove Gloves:  S loves these for his toaster oven!  Oven mitts are difficult for him to put on, and he feels unsure of himself when he is wearing these.  With the Ove Gloves, he is very comfortable working with the toaster oven and hot pans.  If he is comfortable, he is relaxed.  If he is relaxed, his tone doesn't kick in.  If his tone doesn't kick in, he can move much better.
Rubbermaid containers:  These are S's best tool in the kitchen.  It allows him to carry his food without spilling as he walks (remember he's walking with crutches).

4.  Cleaning:
Thirty-One Large Utility Tote-Camo pattern:  This is a great bag for S to carry his laundry to and from the laundry room.  It is very functional, and the amount of clothing it holds is a manageable amount for him to carry along with being a nice sized load of laundry.  (Yes, he has to do his own laundry.)
Laundry Pods:  Easier to handle than a bottle of detergent
Norwex:  S is responsible for cleaning one of the bathrooms in the house.  
He uses the Enviro cleaning cloth, toilet cleaner, and the mop.  He likes not having to touch the chemicals in other cleaners.  Just the ease of needing the cleaning tool and water makes the job much easier for him.

5.  Medical:
Daily pill cases:  S has 2 large pill cases.  We use the large cases because they are easier for him to manipulate, and some of his pills are large in size.  He has a morning case that stays in his bedroom so he can take his pills when he wakes up.  He has an afternoon case that sits next to the computer because that is typically where he is at when it is time to take his afternoon pills.
Stretching strap:  S needs to stretch daily (especially since he's no longer going to PT).  He's working on doing that.  His stretching strap helps him to be positioned better and get a good stretch.  Stretching is vital to his overall functioning ability.

6.  Technology Tools:
Google Calendar:  We realized the benefits of Google calendar this past school year for him. He loves being able to look at the calendar to see what is scheduled for the day and week. We also used the Task functions for his schoolwork, so he could check his work off as he finished it.  It definitely gave him a feeling of accomplishment, and he was in control of his work.  He also uses the calendar to remind him when he has to take his afternoon pill, eat lunch, contact the doctor for medication refills.
iphone:  S uses his iphone in a number of different ways.  He sets alarms to wake up or remind him when he needs to do something (helpful with his ADD).  He uses Siri for texting, and speech recognition software for taking notes.
iPad:  Useful for so many different things.   S can use it for school.  He can use it to organize his daily life.  He can use it for his online banking.  He uses the "Checkbook - Spending, Income, Cashflow, and Account Tracker" app to keep track of his checkbook (he needs to get better about keeping this current).  He uses the Kindle app.  He uses the Bible app and the Lutheran Hour app.  He has apps for Daily devotions.  

7.  His bag:
The one thing he uses every day from morning until bedtime is his personal bag.  He uses it to help carry things (wallet, gum, books, papers, etc).  His pediatrician and PT would often ask him how he was going to carry things.  He realizes the value and helpfulness of his bag.  We have tried different bags to see what would be best.  Some bags are too big.  Some get in the way of his crutches.  Cinch bags are too much of a hassle for him to take on and off.  He needs something that he can access from the front of his body without having to remove the bag and/or his crutches.  

Again, we had to use some out of the box thinking to find the right bag for him.  We needed something age appropriate that would stand up to a lot of use.  We found a bag at Barnes and Noble.  It is not as large as a messenger bag, so it doesn't bump his crutches.  It has multiple compartments, so he can organize himself which is not one of his strong suits.  It also holds his iPad which is nice.He has popped one of the zippers on it.  That's only because he likes to stick all of his really important things in the small pocket which is good for his phone and wallet - not his phone, wallet, Bible, book, etc.  We will get that fixed.  

Getting S to this point has been years in the making.  I think I will relax for a little bit on the couch with chocolate.

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