Health and Wellbeing

Whether you are looking for ways to keep your child fit and well, or advice on making routine procedures simple, you may find that our selection of health and wellbeing posts that might just help you find the answer.

Finding the right support to keep you healthy

Special Needs Parenting
Here are my Top Tips for parents of a child with SEN as published by the Foundation for People with a Learning Disability, including ideas on acceptance and remaining positive. Rather than a trip to Holland, I like to think of special needs parents all being In The Same Boat

All in the same boat

Self-esteem and Confidence in SEN Children

Read my article published in medical journal Advances in Mental Health and Intellectual Disabilities here for ways to boost your child's self-esteem, so vital for self-worth and confidence.

Looking after yourself as a parent 
Read Nurture Yourself, Our Self-Care MOT Checklist here. 

Speech Therapy Tips for oral muscle strength
From straws to cups to chewy tubes and exercises, try these Top Tips for Terrific Talking to help promote the muscle development that can help your child's speech.

Tools to aid talking

Does your child have problems sleeping. Read our Sleep Solutions post, guest written by sleep practitioner Jane Armstrong.

Encouraging your child to drink more fluid can ease toiletting problems. A varied diet is also important. You can encourage your child to eat more veg and fruit in a variety of ways. 

Fruit and veg are fun!

Potty training/toiletting 
For any child this can be a stressful time. This can be increased and the process delayed when the child has a learning disability. Here is our story and what worked for us Ode to Potty Training and the follow up article Dry by Night

On a theme, Constipation and Soiling: A Pain in the Backside is a subject which is close to our hearts. Swollen tummies, painful poos, all the links to advice and help are here.

Toileting tips for children with SEN

Here are our top tips for hair washing, brushing and cutting without the tears and tantrums. Hairdressing without the Hurt.

Here's what happened when Natty lost (quite literally) one her first baby milk teeth. Read our story The Toothless Fairy

Read our Top Tips for Teeth and how to keep them clean here, with advice from special care dentistry expert Craig Bell.

Looking after your teeth is important

Vision advice from DSMIG, special glasses for kids with DS by Erin's World and a fly on the wall look at Natty's first trip to the opticians in Looking Natty in Specs

Respite for carers
You are just as important as your children. Without you, it all falls apart, so nurture yourselfThe Importance of Respite and True Friends will remind you how important this is. Read our Tips to Gently Nurture Yourself over on the Firefly Community page. 

I am honoured to have been asked to write a chapter for 
Supporting the physical Needs of People with Learning Disabilities about the importance of working together with families to ensure the best possible healthcare outcomes.

Here's how we prepared for the girls' routine tonsil and adenoid operations to ease their fears and role play through what was to happen as well as tempting them to eat with a basket of tasty morsels. 

A serious post on penicillin allergy and ways to help your child take the alternatives here. 

A yearly flu vaccination is a must for vulnerble children. This can be a nasal spray these days. Watch our video here. 

Boost your child's immunity and banish the snot with these natural 5 mucus-busting tips to keep the chest infections at bay.

The following is a piece about Natty's kehole heart surgery, Bless Her Heart (one of her favourite sayings).

If you have ever wondered what Learning Disability Nurses can do for you? Watch our short film explaining their role and perhaps ask to meet one next time you are in hospital with your loved one.

Working together with medical professionals to create improvements and lasting change in care is something I am passioante about. Here's what one student obstetrician learnt after working with our family. Identity Rather than a Diagnosis?

Ten years after Natty came home from the Neonatal Intensive Care unit in our local hospital, we returned with gifts, gratitude and memories

Grateful for the NHS support we received

Can be difficult and often seems impossible when your baby is seriously ill in hospital. You have other worries on your mind, your baby is tired and the task seems insurmountable. I found expressing gave me something to do in those early weeks when I felt so useless. Expressing Against the Odds.

Expressing breastmilk for a baby in hospital

Allowing your child to play, make choices and take risks can be difficult. But it is essential to their emotional wellbeing. Read Sharon Paley's article Why Take the Chance: Letting you child take risks here.

Natty has just learnt to swim unaided. Here are my Top 10 tips to encouraging your child in the water and you can watch Natty and her friend in action in a film made for the Down's Syndrome Association here. 

Sports Day can be a minefield for many schools and children, but when organised thoughtfully can be a super inclusive occasion.

Often reluctant to walk far, Natty can be encouraged with games and stories. These Boots Were Made for Walking and Activities for a Walk in the Woods might inspire you to get moving.

Walking Aids
Firefly by Leckey launch their revolutionary product the Upsee, enabling children to walk, supported by an adult. 


Thank you for joining in the conversation at Downs Side Up