4 Essential Water Safety Tips for Parents of Kids with Disabilities – a guest post from Patricia Sarmiento

Every child should get to experience the joy of swimming. It’s an excellent

4 Essential Water Safety Tips for Parents of Kids with Disabilities
4 Essential Water Safety Tips for Parents of Kids with Disabilities

physical activity with proven mental health benefits as well. While every parent should educate their child on water safety, parents of children with disabilities must take extra precautions.

I recently read a statistic from the National Autism Association that drowning is a leading cause of death for autistic children. That was startling, and it got me thinking about what precautions my neighbors and I should be taking to help protect the children with special needs in our neighborhood this summer.

So, where to start? First, I wanted to educate myself about general water safety. I recommend this overview resource on swimming safety for all parents. It touches on a wide variety of topics related to water safety. Then, I did some research to try and figure out the biggest areas of concern for children with disabilities. Here are a few essential tips:

Look for an adaptive life jacket. This great video from Safe Kids Worldwide is full of tips and addresses the needs of children with different types of disabilities. Its information on the importance of finding the right adaptive life jacket for your child is especially helpful.

Always be within arm’s reach. Danger in the water can pop up for any child in a heartbeat. Because some children’s disabilities may prevent them from protecting themselves, as May Institute notes, a parent or caregiver should always be close by when they’re in or around the water, even when the child is wearing a life vest.

Know what to look for in a swim program. As BrightHubEducation.com points out, swimming has many physical and cognitive benefits for children with disabilities. The article also explains how to take advantage of those benefits by finding a swim class that works for your child. It recommends looking for small classes with an experienced, trained leader.

Double check barriers. Pool fences are an important way to protect all children. Neapolitan Family Magazine suggests taking it a step further and using an alarm system that will alert you when someone has breached the area.

Time in the water can be extremely beneficial and enjoyable for children with disabilities. By following these tips, parents can feel confident in taking their child for a swim and everyone can truly enjoy the summer.

# # #

Patricia Sarmiento is a health and fitness buff. She loves blogging about health, wellness, fitness, and other health-related topics. A former high school and college athlete, she makes living an active lifestyle a goal for her and her family. She lives with her husband, two children, and their shih tzu in Maryland.





Rett Syndrome – Signs, Symptoms and Treatments. Find out more and share your story in our discussion blog.

Rett Syndrome Awareness
Rett Syndrome Awareness
I first encountered Rett Syndrome a few months back when I was told it was “like” autism. As mu son is autistic I take something of an interest in the subject. (In fact Rett Syndrome is not really like autism but they do share some signs and symptoms in common).

That being said I thought it might be useful to share some of my finding with my readers. Both of course to create awareness of Rett Syndrome but also to spark a discussion among parents of children with Rett Syndrome about the condition and how they deal with it.

Okay so what is Rett Syndrome? Well it is described as a neurodevelopmental disorder. Which means that it only starts showing symptoms after a few months rather than at birth. In fact almost all people with Rett Syndrome are almost always likely to be female. Around 1 in 12,000 people are diagnosed with Rett Syndrome which means that it is described as a rare condition. It is caused by a genetic mutation.

Typically Rett Syndrome develops in 4 stages.

a) The first is slow development and late making of developmental milestones. As well it can include:-

general floppiness
some difficulty feeding
abnormal hand movements (for example flapping)
little of interest in toys
poor co-ordination

This occurs between 6-18 months.

b) The next stage is referred to as regression (which can be seen as similar to some forms of autism). At this stage the child will lose many quite a few of their abilities. This can include:-

social withdrawal as sometimes found in autism
difficulty in walking
meltdowns and significant distress
hard to use hand as with a typically developing
breathing problems
sleeping problems
slow head growth/small head

This seems to occur between 1 and 4 years of age.

c) The third stage is referred to as the plateau.

problems with weight gain
teeth grinding (or bruxism)
difficulty holding things and using the hands generally
difficulty with moving generally

Girls can also develop epilepsy at this stage and/or have heart problems. That being said some of the earlier symptoms can improve. While this stage starts between 2 and 10 many girls will remain here rather than develop into stage four.

d) The fourth stage is is general issues with movement. Often this involves:-

spasticity such as stiffness of the limbs
scoliosis or bending/twisting of the spine
losing the ability to walk

This stage may last many years.

Though there is no cure for Rett Syndrome there are many ways of managing the condition. Occupational therapy and physiotherapy works well. A diet promotes growth and the typical therapies for scoliosis and epilepsy.

I’d now like to turn to people who have girls ( or in a few cases boys) with Rett Syndrome and ask them for their input into the discussion. Our aim to to create a resource for people in the Rett community but especially those who have just had a child diagnosed. So we are very interested in any part of your journey with Rett Syndrome that you would like to share. That being said you might want to consider the following questions when framing your comments:-

1) What were the first sign and symptoms of Rett Syndrome you noticed in your child?
2) What tests were used to diagnose her?
3) What stage is she now at in terms of symptoms?
4) What treatments have you used and how successful have they been?
5) What advice would you give for somebody whose child has just been diagnosed with Rett syndrome?

Even so, as I say, anything you wish to share would be of enormous interest to our readers.

For more information and an excellent overview of Rett Syndrome can I suggest you have a look at Rett UK’s web site here.

Thanks very much for your help in advance.

Doctor Ranj Childhood Constipation and Continence Clinic – Watch our live Web TV Show

Join our live show where we’ll be busting myths about poo and other children’s continence problems

Dr Ranj with an xray
Dr Ranj with an xray

Show date: Thursday 16th April
Show time: 13.00 BST

Is poo taboo? Poo problems are common in many children and are most prevalent in pre-school children. In most cases a child suffering with a poo problem is actually suffering from constipation, which is when they poo less than 4 times a week. As parents, tackling the subject and identifying whether there is a problem with your child’s pooing habits can be difficult. And it’s not just pooing that can be problematic, other continence issues such as daytime and night time wetting are also a problem for many children and can be related to a child’s pooing issues.

Dr Ranj  from Cbeebies
Dr Ranj from Cbeebies
Joining us in this special live and interactive show about childhood constipation and other bladder and bowel problems is Doctor Ranj – who not only is the co-creator and presenter of the CBeebies’ show ‘Get Well Soon’, and presenter of the kids’ health segment on ITV’s This Morning, he’s also the only TV doctor who specialises in children, young people and families and is the face of the ‘Let’s Talk About Poo’ campaign led by the children’s continence charity, ERIC (Education and Resources for Improving Childhood Continence).

We’ll be dispelling the myths about poo and other continence problems, everything from warning signs to look out for, how to deal with re-occurring problems, what treatments are available, and where to go for specialist help.

Whatever the reason for your child’s poo problem, whether it’s because they are finding it difficult to adapt to challenging situations such as starting school or they are nervous to ask to go to the loo at a friend’s house, Doctor Ranj will arm you with all the help and encouragement you need to handle your child’s pooing and wetting problems.


Website: www.eric.org.uk/letstalkaboutpoo