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8 Ways to Prep for Fall for Kids With Special Needs

Now that autumn draws near, the fall bucket lists on every Pinterest page are starting to fill up. School is back in session. Pumpkin spice everything is everywhere. Scarves and boots are on the racks. Football drafts are in the works. Crockpots are creeping out of the pantry.

There’s another layer fall brings for a parent of a child with special needs. There are considerations to be made that don’t fit with the standard protocol. If, like me, you are one of these parents, then here are eight easy ways to prep for fall:

1 | Heat check

Test your thermostats now before the temperatures drop too far to make sure the heat is working properly. Having to run the emergency heat when your system shuts down in November is expensive and stressful. Having no heat at all disrupts an already hectic schedule when you’re trying to fit and pay for a repair.

2 | Car check

Make sure your car is up to date on all its maintenance. Check the tires for good tread. Buy snow tires, chains, and rock salt for the driveway if you live in a heavy snow area. Stash an emergency kit in the car with flashlights, water, blankets, and anything your child might require such as medical supplies or personal ones to help keep him calm if you were to get stuck somewhere.

3 | Coat check

If you have a child with physical disabilities or sensitivities to certain textures, it’s important to find a coat and other layers that makes her comfortable. Anything too heavy might restrict movement, something you really don’t want to do for a child who might already have trouble moving independently. Anything with too many toggles or snaps or zips can send a child into a panic if it feels too restrictive. Make sure you find whatever works best for her.

4 | Indoor play area check

Make a list right now of all the places in your area that have indoor handicap access and/or special needs days. It’s going to be getting darker and colder and you’re still going to want a handy list of places to go to keep busy. Here are 10 to get you started:

5 | Flu shot check

Yes, the flu shot might not be as effective as we’d like, but it’s better than nothing. For the most up-to-date information on the 2017/2018 flu shot, look here.

Most insurance still covers the flu shot and most pediatricians run weekend drop-in clinics throughout October and November.

6 | Insurance deductible check

This is the end, my friends, of the deductible you’ve been paying off since the beginning of the year. This is the sweet spot when the specialists and the physical, occupational, speech, and feeding therapists might be paid off. Squeeze in all you can before January hits. Pile them on. Order any prescriptions you can in three-month supplies. Work to get that new piece of medical equipment before 2018. Enjoy the fruits of your labor for the small amount of time that it pays.

7 | Holiday plans check

Football games and tailgating, fall break from school, Thanksgiving break, Christmas break, work parties, out-of-town trips, relatives to visit, airplanes, and hotel rooms. All these things mean an interruption to your child’s regularly-scheduled life, but change can be good. It can offer a chance for your child to try new things that you might not otherwise push him towards and it can show you how far he’s come since last year. Just talk it over with him and let him know what’s coming before it hits so he has a chance to prepare himself, just like the parents do: the big deep breath before the “holiday season” commences.

8 | End of summer bucket list check

It’s still a little bit warm. It’s still a little bit lighter out. It’s still layers but not quite coats. Enjoy the last bits of summer while you can. Eat the fresh fruit. Stay outside until dark. Go for long walks. Do whatever it is you can to say goodbye to this season before rolling in to the next.

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