Fabulous Find Friday: TFH Special Needs Toys

Today’s Fabulous Find Friday is TFH Special Needs Toys which is a great resource if you are looking for sensory toys for your children or patients. TFH Special Needs Toys has a wide variety of sensory toys that support children’s development through play. Some children struggle with sensory issues and other children need extra support when learning life skills, TFH Special Needs Toys provides the support that those children need. Their products range from sensory walls and bubble tubes to smaller items like fidget cubes and feelings cards.

Check out their full range of products at specialneedstoys.com.

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My Favorite Distraction….Theme Songs!

As some of you might have noticed, I always include a show’s theme song in my Crash Course posts. This is because one of my favorite distraction tools is the theme songs of children’s TV shows. There’s a couple reasons for this: 1) I always have my voice 2) All kids know their favorite show’s theme song and 3) Singing distracts and calms all ages.

1) They are always with me because I can sing whenever and wherever 

Sometimes I’m called into a room suddenly and I don’t have time to grab distraction toys. Other times we’re halfway through a procedure and the patient is distractible, but they have a short attention span so I need to keep switching up what I’m doing. And finally there are times when I’m using my distractions toys but they aren’t working. Although I’m not going to be joining any choirs or competing on American Idol, I can sing the Paw Patrol theme song well enough to keep a kid’s attention.

2) It’s something familiar for the kids because they all know the theme song of their favorite shows

The advantage to having a variety of distraction toys is that we often have something the patients haven’t seen before. Unique toys that the child isn’t familiar with or doesn’t have at home can be the best distraction because it keeps the child’s attention. But that doesn’t work for all patients and sometimes the new environment is stressful enough and the child wants things that they are familiar with, like a comfort person or favorite stuffed animal. The theme song of their favorite show can be a familiar thing that also engages them.

3) Singing distracts and calms all ages

The American Academy of Pediatrics encourages that media usage be minimal for young children. Because of this, I prefer to use toys to engage my toddlers in play during their procedures instead of playing a favorite show on the iPad. Because many young children do watch TV at home, singing the theme song can be a way to tie in their favorite show without using the iPad.

Check out all our Crash Courses to meet the characters of popular children’s shows and learn their theme songs! My personal favorite songs are Paw Patrol and Daniel Tiger’s theme songs! Comment below and let me know your favorite theme songs!

Crash Course: Masha and the Bear

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Today’s Crash Course is Masha and the Bear, a Russian children’s show that released a couple years ago in English on Netflix. Masha is a fun but mischievous girl who often gets into trouble. Lucky for her, she makes friends with a bear who works to help keep Masha out of trouble. While there are a variety of smaller supporting characters, the two main stars of the show are Masha and the Bear.

Related imageMasha is a 6 y.o playful and sometimes naughty child whose favorite pastime is playing with Bear. In her playtime, she often creates problems for Bear.

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Bear is a retired circus bear that lives in the forest. Due to his experience in the circus, Bear is very good at the performing arts like juggling and riding a unicycle. Bear is Masha’s best friend and also a kind of father figure for her.

Learn more on Masha and the Bear’s Wikipedia Page or check out Netflix to watch the show.

Fabulous Find Friday: Luke’s Fastbreaks

Today’s Fabulous Find is Luke’s FastBreaks, an organization that works to help pediatric oncology patients feel like children instead of patients when they are in the hospital. Luke’s FastBreaks does this by replacing boring hospital gowns with fun medical shirts. These shirts are designed to make it easy for children to wear while they also have their port accessed and other lines that they might have while hospitalized. The shirt has special snap tape on the sides that makes it easy to open and close as needed to take care of the patient’s lines while also helping the child feel as normal as possible during their hospitalization.

Luke fought cancer and won and now he’s giving back with the shirts that were created to help him cope with his hospitalization.  As Child Life Specialists, we know how hard it is for patients (especially teens) to wear the hospital gowns during their long stays. These patients want to be comfortable during their stay and Luke’s special medical shirts helps patients do just that.

Check out LukesFastBreaks.org  to learn more about what the organization does and how to help get shirts for your patients.

Crying to Cope

It’s okay to cry! We hear this discussed when talking about expressing feelings and coping and it applies to the hospital setting. There are many ways to cope with a stressful situation and sometimes crying is a child’s coping mechanism.

As Child Life Specialists, our role is to support a patient’s coping. Through play and relaxation techniques, we attempt to engage the patient and distract them during a stressful situation. But sometimes the patient isn’t distractible. Sometimes no amount of education will calm the patient or help them take their mind off what’s happening. When the patient reaches this point, we can still support them.

One of the most powerful things we as Child Life Specialists can do is hold a patient’s hand and let them know that it’s okay to cry. It’s okay to be scared. When a child is feeling overwhelmed, crying can be their form of communication. It can be their way to telling others that they’re scared, stressed and feeling overwhelmed. I was helping a preschooler with an x-ray the other day who chose screaming to cope. She allowed staff to position her for the chest x-ray and held still, but chose to let off short piercing screams to communicate with staff. Yes her screams hurt my ears, but she held still and got through her x-ray.

While crying is okay, what’s not okay is for patients to pull away or fight the medical staff who are trying to help them. When my patients are tearful before procedures, I like to remind them that it’s okay to cry if they want to. But if they pull their arm away during the IV or they fight the positioning for their x-ray, it will take longer and be more painful. It’s important with children to set clear rules and expectations. Crying is okay, fighting with the staff is not okay.

 

Crash Course: Super Why!

Today’s Crash Course is Super Why! I love this PBS show because of it’s focus on reading and books. Set in Storybrook Village, the characters find the answers to their problems in books and through stories and invite watchers to learn to read along with them.

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Whyatt Beanstalk, or Super Why, has the power to read. As the leader of the group, he focuses on vocabulary and carries a Why Writer. Related imagePig’s super reader form is Alpha Pig and uses his Alphabet Toolbox to help the group learn the alphabet. Related imageLittle Red Riding Hood uses her Wonder Words Basket to help readers and the group learn using her word power. Red’s word power focuses on word families and rhyming.Related imagePrincess Pea brings the power of spelling to the team. Using her Magic Spelling Wand, Princess Pea has spelling power.

woofster.jpgWoofster is a Golden Retriever puppy that has the power of the dictionary when he turns into his super reader form. Using the power of speech, Woofster helps the team find the meaning to any word.

Visit the Super Why! Wikipedia Page to learn more about the reading superheros. And check out full length episodes on PBS Kids Super Why page

Fabulous Find Friday: Little Wishes

There are a variety of wish programs for chronic or terminal pediatric patients, including Make-A-Wish and Children’s Wish Foundation, that offer large wishes to patients. But there are other organizations, like today’s Fabulous Find Friday, that focus on smaller wishes that make a difference for patients. Little Wishes makes smaller wishes come true, like a princess dress or a musical instrument. The benefit of smaller wishes is that Little Wishes can fulfill patient’s wishes more often. Every 14 days, a child can make another small wish to make their hospitalization a little more bearable.

Check out littlewishes.org/about to learn more.

Fabulous Find Friday: Child’s Play

We all know how popular video games are and many of us have probably also read the research that too much video games can have negative affects on a child’s development. But for hospitalized children, video games can also provide many benefits. Besides the entertainment aspect for those children who can’t leave the hospital, these interactive games can also help patients cope with stressful situations and invasive procedures.

Child’s Play is an organization that provides video games and toys for hospitalized children and also domestic violence shelters. Through working with the hospital to create Amazon wishlists and also utilizing cash donations, Child’s Play creates play opportunities for hospitalized children throughout the world.

Visit http://childsplaycharity.org/ to learn more about this wonderful organization.

Also check out Child’s Play Therapeutic Video Game guide which offers video games suggestions based on related therapeutic goals.

 

 

Fabulous Find Friday: Magic Aid

Abracadabra…our Fabulous Find Friday today is Magic Aid! Magic Aid is an organization that provides one-on-one magic therapy sessions for patients in the hospital setting. The trained magic therapists work with patients to perform magic tricks that support the patient’s cognitive, socioemotional and motor skills. Laughter is a powerful medicine and Magic Aid is actively working to support hospitalized children’s coping and healing.

Visit https://www.magic-aid.org/ to learn more.

Fabulous Find Friday: Dec My Room

Today’s Fabulous Find Friday is Dec My Room. Dec My Room is an organization that changes hospital rooms from dull to personalized and comfortable. When a patient is going to be admitted for a while, Dec My Room volunteers will find out the patient’s interests and go out and shop so that they can decorate the room to feel more cozy for the patient. No hospital stay is easy, but having a room that feels like home can often help the patient cope better with their hospitalization.

To learn more, check out their website; http://www.decmyroom.org/