EXTRA NEEDS ON FAMILY OUTINGS
How Can You Remember Everything?
Julie Meekins

If you are a parent or have ever worked with children, you know that all of them have different needs. Some kids have the ability to go with the flow and their needs are pretty simple. Other children have greater needs and there are more things to consider whenever you leave the house with them.

This very concept struck me as I helped Amy and Tom prepare for an outing to a local historical site. As many of you know, we have recently moved to Lynchburg, Virginia and being the history buff that she is, Amy is eager to visit historical landmarks in the South. Today they are off to the Appomattox Court House.

When our first three children were little, there were special dolls and toys and blankies that we never left the house without. When Amy came along it was a little more complicated. Along with the older kids' special comforts, we had to make a checklist of feeding supplies, liquid foods, hearing aid supplies, g-tube button supplies, and more.

Now, at the age of 19, when Amy leaves the house there are several things she has to remember to pack up and take with her. She always makes sure she has extra hearing aid batteries. She needs to consider how long she will be gone and what feeding supplies may be necessary for tube feeding. How many jars of the blenderized real food does she need to take with her. What cooler will she need? Does she have enough food cooked and then blenderized for the amount of time she will be away? She is now transitioning to more and more smooth foods by mouth. As she makes this transition, we are realizing that her meal needs are growing. She needs more food. So, we are helping her to change up the things she needs to consider to add in those foods she can use as "hold overs" until she can reasonably get somewhere to easily do a tube-feeding.

What kinds of things do you need to consider when your child leaves the house?

*Is your child tube-fed like Amy and you have to bring the feedings supplies and appropriate liquid food to cover the meals for which he or she will be away?

*Does your child have sensory issues and you need to bring calming things such as noise reduction headphones, weighted vest or blanket, sunglasses, etc.?

*Does your child have seizures and you need to make sure all the safety features are readily available as well as meds?

*Maybe your child is hypoglycemic and you need to make sure good food is readily available at all times.

*Is your child gluten, casein, or dairy free and you always have to cart food items that he or she can eat?

It was always helpful to us to make a checklist and then tweak it as needed through the years of raising our children.

You may want to consider charts and checklists for the children to interact with to help them gather the things they need. Making charts and checklists for the children with this information in a format they understand helps them to take ownership of their needs and prepares them for their futures.

It became difficult as each child came along to think about what each of them needed as we headed out the door.

If you need support in your parenting, whether your child is developing normally, you wonder if there are some quirks to check out, or you have special needs, email us today and set up a Get Acquainted Call. We would LOVE to journey with you.

Julie Meekins

www.MarchForthFamily.com

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