It's that time of year when life gets back to normal, Christmas is done and dusted, the New Year has rolled around again and most importantly, Kids are back at school. With going back to school comes an almost never ending stream of notes. One of those notes is usually a list of items your child will need for the year ahead.
It's not as easy as handing over the list to a local stationery shop, and returning at a later time to find all the items on your list have magically appeared in a bag ready for you to take home when you have a special needs child.
Unfortunately many children need to use equipment that has been modified to suit their needs, and sometimes these items are very hard to find. I have found that it is very rare to go to one shop and be able to fill your child's equipment list with the tools that will allow them to achieve their tasks with the least amount of discomfort.
Over time I have put together a list of the places I know stock the necessary stationery we need for the school year.
The biggest issue for my Autistic daughter is fine motor skills. I need to get items such as pencils, scissors, etc that have been adapted so she is able to use them with hands that don't always want to work the same way as her peers.
My first stop is Officeworks. They are the only people I have found who stock a certain mechanical pencil and refills that we need. It is also a great place to get all your coloured pencils and crayons, we need the twist up pencils because pencils that need to be sharpened tend to only last as long as it takes to sharpen them into a stub. Not only are our pencils in danger, anyone within reach who has pencils that require sharpening are also in the firing line. It was suggested to me early in my child's education that we should stick to the wind up pencils because it was going to get expensive replacing a whole class worth of pencils. I also had a request for an electronic pencil sharpener, needless to say, that didn't happen.
Officeworks also has triangular shaped glue sticks which are easier to hold than the typical round ones.
As my child gets older, I have found that the need for school items that are "cool" are being called for. Smiggle is a great place for erasers (both normal and electric and come in many sizes and shapes, perfect for slow hands), Pencil sharpeners (normal and electric), large pencil case,and also they now have the twist up crayons which are great for younger students.
When it came to rulers, I had to look online. We need a ruler with a grip, or a raised centre handle to make it easier to hold on the page. I found an Australian website SpecialNeedsforSpecialNeeds.com.au who have a great range of stationery for special needs kids. I was able to get my ruler as well as a pack of finger grips for pencils, and some scissors that would suit a left handed special needs child.This site also has a lot of resources for parents and carers, so it is well worth a look.
Catering for a special needs child can be a challenge, especially when it comes to school supplies, and the appropriate tools are out there, they just need to be found.
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