If you are interested in purchasing this product you can visit: www.gummee.life/21-happy-hands
We had been patiently waiting to find a solution for Silas’ hand biting. We tried the Munch Mitts that were made for infants to teeth on, but those were far too small for his 6 year old hands. We tried socks, but his spastic bite and super strength were able to break skin and bite through the thin layer of the socks. We were at a loss of what to do because whenever Silas was in pain (which is often with his spastic CP) he’d ferociously flail his arms and bite onto his hands. We’d have to watch him like a hawk to block himself from getting his hand into his mouth. He also uses his hands to teeth since he’s still cutting molars and cannot grasp a teething toy to bite onto to self soothe. So you can imagine how excited we were to find that Happy Hands had come out with a product for older children and adults to use. Specifically targeted for those who could not functionally hold onto a teething aid themselves.
The product is creatively designed with three different teething choices. Each teether on the glove has a different texture. All three of them are tough enough to allow even the most spastic mouth to chew on, but not break through the silicone. This is an important component for kiddos and adults like Silas who cannot control the force of their bite due to the spasticity in their jaws. The first teether is a smaller fun lime green with a linear texture. The second is a fairly larger bright orange teether with a bumpy texture. Both of these teethers are sewn securely into the glove and located on the sides. The third teether is a silicone purple heart that can snap into the top of the glove. I personally like that this one is optional and has the ability to be removed from the glove. Silas due to his limitations from muscle spasticity cannot get this one to his mouth so we will often keep it out. It is clipped into a small pocket on the top of the glove so the other neat feature is that you can clip different teethers into the glove. The glove itself is a fun bright blue and has a black and white print crinkle fabric sewn onto the front in a rectangle. I am not sure if the company meant for this component to be important on the glove, but for kids with CVI (cortical visual impairment) like Silas, they often see black and white more clearly than multicolored objects. Silas personally can distinguish fully colored objects now due to improvement with his CVI, but for a child that is more severely affected by CVI this is a really great feature because it will help them to see the product clearer to bring to their mouths. I think its great that the company put so much thought into the design on this product even down to the details of color, texture and fabric choice. The fabric of the glove is very sturdy and padded for the childs protection from their busy mouths. It’s also padded for the protection from excessive saliva production, so their hands stay dry. And trust me Silas soaks his gloves right up and his hands remain dry. I like the shape of the glove as well because for those with CP like Silas has, their hands are often stuck in a fisted position, so this design allows you to slip the glove over their fist with no trouble. If your child or adult keeps their fingers open, the teethers are strategically placed on the outside of the glove itself to protect them from clamping down onto their fingers.
The glove comes in three different sizes. Small, medium and large. I believe their site offers a sizing guide that shows more accurately how to choose the size your child or adult might need. I originally ordered a size medium for Silas due to their sizing guide. I did notice it was a little bit smaller than I imagined it would be. It fit perfect over his hand which was great, but didn’t allow for much room to spread his fingers if he needed. He tends to keep his right hand tightly fisted but his left he will often open more frequently. For this reason I also ordered a large after seeing how much he enjoyed the size medium. I think that if you had an adult, it would really depend on their hand and how it functions, I could not see an older adult fitting their hand into the size large if their hand wasn’t fisted. I do wish they offered larges sizes for this reason. Silas also tends to get extra sweaty because of how he overworks his body when he’s upset and biting, so the large is better for those times because he has more room in the glove to allow for air circulation inside of it. Silas is six years old, and on the skinnier side to give you a reference for how this fits his body type. His hands have gotten a little fuller since he’s gained some weight, so we often use the large over the medium for him. The large is roomy on him, but it stays securely on his wrist due to the adjustable velcro closure. The glove also comes with a handy bright blue bag to store the glove in and to launder it in. I place it in the bag to wash it, just for protection. I like that they provide this extra accessory. We will often store the purple silicone heart teether inside of the bag too when we don't have it clipped into the glove as well as extra teethers that we clip into the pocket here and there.
We couldn’t be happier with this product and really our only wish is that it would come in even larger sizes for when Silas gets older. Overall this product has saved Silas’ hands time and time again. It’s allowed him to safety self sooth, and to do so at his convenience. It allows him to teeth when he wants, and for us as his parents to have piece of mind from him self harming when his body is in pain and his reaction is to bite. I would highly recommend this item and I think it is affordable compared to other “special needs” labeled items.
If you are interested in purchasing this product you can visit: www.gummee.life/21-happy-hands
Product Review of Scallop by R82
Social Media & Community Outreach Coordinator, Sarah Best reached out to me during Silas' most recent hospital stay to see if Convaid/R82 could help us in any way. We have owned and borrowed many of their products in the past and we're very intrigued by their newest product that launched earlier this year called the Scallop. The Scallop seat is a portable lightweight seat that you can use just about anywhere. On the go, at home, in the park, at a restaurant. It is one of those really handy products that make a huge difference in the lives of children like Silas. Children who need a little extra help to sit in a seat, or swing at the park. At first I was a little hesitant to try this product because Silas does not have great trunk control or balance, and only okay head control. With the Scallop's design it has a higher back than most toddler or child booster seats, but still lacks head support, and lateral support which are very important when it comes to seating options for Silas and kiddos like him with similar presenting CP. Because I tend to have major hope for Silas and his abilities I thought maybe there was a chance he'd do well in the seat. I was so excited to see it when it arrived. It comes in a very slim box, unfolded and very colorful. I love when Special Needs products are bright and colorful because it allows for other kiddos to be drawn in, it's inviting and fun looking to others and not intimidating like some of the other special needs products on the market. It's a very simple but smart design. You simply fold up each edge and velcro it together depending on how wide or slim you want it to be for your child to sit in. For Silas we can't have it too wide due to his balance issues, but we also can't have it so slim that it causes his legs to scissor inwards. I like that it's adjustable based on the child's needs. The velcro and very strong and durable and I can see it withstanding everyday use and still holding together to support him. I've also found that once you've put it together with the velcro it's easily hung right on his wheelchair to take with us because they have sewn on two handles for carrying. It's slim when hanging and doesn't bother me at all to take along. I will often place items inside as well as it acts like a basket when hung on his chair, so I will place his hat or sunglasses in it for easy storage, which of course is just an added bonus! It has two sets of straps on it so you can secure the Scallop to chairs, grocery carts, swings and more. I do wish in some circumstances that those straps were a little bit longer or they offered extra extension straps so we could use it easier at the park on the swings there, or for situations where the width it needs to wrap around is too big for what they have provided to secure it with. I think having just a little more length would really help to be able to use it anywhere we would need. I do love seeing special needs swings provided in our community parks but often even those aren't enough support for Silas. So when we were able to secure the Scallop in the swing as best we could given the strap length, it provided just enough support for him to safely swing! Like I said I was a little hesitant if this product would work for him, but the way it hugs his body it gives him enough input to sit pretty well. Even when he hyper extends his body in it, the three point harness allows his bottom to stay secured in the seat and the back is just high enough so he doesn't tip backwards. With that said I really wish they would have given the option to have a three point harness with the bigger sizes. I am not sure why they didn't but when Silas outgrows this size (Size 2) he would need a three point harness verses the lap belt to keep him positioned safely in the seat. I think that companies are smart in developing products for younger and older audiences, like the Scallop, but the carry though of accessories and options is not quite there yet for a lot of products when it comes to sizing up. Just because they get older and taller doesn't mean their needs will be less. In some circumstances they might need more support with growth. I think if they choose to add a choice of a three point harness to the Scallop in all sizes, that their product sales would increase, because then it would target a larger audience and wider range of needs. We have trailed this product in a number of places and environments so far, and all have been very successful. I tried him in a regular kitchen chair to see if he might be able to sit in that. He was able to sit for very short periods (seconds) at a time without needing my help, but due to the severity of his CP and his low trunk tone he would need something more supportive in this scenario. As for floor sitting it was absolutely great! He sat alone without my help for very long periods and only needed small prompting here and there for balance so he wouldn't tip over onto his side. Silas doesn't have the ability to catch himself from tipping over, so having the product hug his body gives him some of that input he needs to stay upright without using his arms to balance. The Scallop will be great for story time at the library, circle time at school, sitting down at the park, and just sitting in our own living room on the ground playing with toys. I love that it can be used multiple ways, by itself not accessing the straps, or strapped into something like a chair or swing. One of the swings at the park it worked really well in was the platform swing. Typically these swings are used in a laying position, but Silas is far to long for that now and when sitting up the way a typical kid his size would use this he would not have the trunk control to sit solo or the grip to hold onto the swings chains. With the use of the Scallop on the platform swing Silas was able to swing fast side to side, upright, without me having to sit with him holding his weight. That was one of our most favorite spots we have used the Scallop so far! We also secured the Scallop into our neighbors tire swing! It was the first time he has ever been able to use a tire swing without sinking into the middle. It secured him in the swing and lulled him to sleep because he was so comfortable and relaxed! We have already been creative with where we have used our Scallop and cannot wait to see where else it takes us! Silas is one adventurous guy and i'm sure we will find many more uses for this awesome seat. We are very impressed by just how portable and easy this seat is to bring everywhere and we are so happy to have the opportunity to own this awesome product! The Scallop seat did not disappoint for us! Our only hope is that R82 add the three point harness option to all Scallop seat sizes and that they add extension strap accessories for families to purchase to expand the areas where the product can be used. Thank you so much to Sarah Best and Convaid/R82 for gifting this great seat to Silas. Please share with others who you know that might benefit from this product, I am happy to answer any questions you may have!
Firefly Product Review
Firefly never lacks attention to detail. Even their boxes which the products are packaged in are fun to look at! A big box of hope delivered right to my door step. A box that holds so much to offer for my son with significant special needs. Silas needs much more advanced adaptations than your typical five year old. That’s why we are so thankful for Firefly, creating affordable equipment for special needs children. We have had the opportunity to try and own all of their products and each and every one has given us the ability to give Silas opportunities he otherwise wouldn’t have had. The Playpak giving him a chance to play toys with his friends at their level, the Go-To Seat giving him the chance to ride in the little red wagon to go see the horses, the Upsee letting him take his first steps and run the bases at t-ball, and the Scooot giving him independence to roll around the house all by himself. What more could this company offer to our family! The Splashy! Now we have the opportunity to play in the sand at the beach, to splash in the pool, to actually play with toys in the bath and feel the warm water cover his body. No other bath seat has offered us all these amazing features. Until the Splashy came into our lives! Let me enlighten you, and show you just how amazing this new Firefly product is!
As I said before the Splashy comes very well packaged in a fun whimsical designed box. The first thing I noticed when opening our box were the bright neon colors of the seat. Firefly always chooses such fun vibrant colors for their products, which I feel makes the children more approachable to outsiders looking in. We choose the bright aqua blue and neon lime green for our Splashy. Thats one of the great pros to this product, you can choose the base color and the strap color and you could even purchase additional color pieces as well to make it even more fun! They have three color choices to mix and match! Lime Green, Aqua Blue, and Bright Pink! The seat comes in three pieces and the straps are packaged separately in a plastic bag including 4 bumper supports, 2 lateral straps, 2 shoulder straps, and the groin strap. Just by looking at the crisp sleek design to the seat you can see how easily it clips together. The user manual provides directions, but to be completely honest I wouldn’t have even had to look at the directions because the design is so well made and fits together perfectly. The design also offers variability on where you would like to put the straps and wedges based on your child’s needs. A child like Silas with high tone might need less support pieces or differently placed pieces than a child with low tone for instance. For example look at Silas vs. Mason in the seat. Silas only needs one piece right behind his head to pad the back of it when he pushes back into extension. Mason on the other hand has less head control and lower tone and needed his head to be supported on the sides to prevent his head from falling. Silas also having low tone in his trunk needed the side lateral straps on the five point harness to be positioned up higher on the seat to help support his upper body, where as a child with good trunk control might not need them quite as high or at all. Thats the great feature about Splashy is that you can really configure it to the specific child's needs. If a child didn’t need the five point harness system, but instead only needed the support of a three point, they could take those other two straps right off of the seat. The holes in the Splashy make the chair look so fun almost like bubbles, but they also serve multiple purposes. Configuring the straps and support wedges, creating a filtration system for the water to run through and for the seat to fully submerge into the water, and creating a fun bubbly look to the design!
Once you have the Splashy set to your child’s needs the suggest you try your child in it first out of the water. When we first put Silas in the Splashy we realized just how crucial this piece was going to be for our family. You can use it out of the bath, at the beach, in the pool or just inside the home as a floor sitter. It reminds me a lot of the Go-To seat in design, with the similar five point harness system, similar size and shape of the seat itself. Here is a comparison of the two side by side so you can see the size of the Splashy. It is very similar in size but overall larger than our size 2 Go-To seat because it has a more molded wide shape to it and a deeper larger spot for their bottom to rest in. The splashy is made to fit age 1 to age 8 and up to 66lbs (30 kg). Silas is 5 years old, 36lbs. and 42inches. And you can see he has room to grow! I am guessing based on his growth pattern and how he currently looks in it that he will probably be able to use this product at age 8 still! After fitting your child in the seat you are ready to use it in the tub! When you go to move the seat you will feel that it is extremely lightweight! You do not find that often with special needs products! This is something that Firefly keeps in mind when creating their products. We already have to carry our children if they are not mobile, so it makes life that much easier to have a lightweight piece of equipment.
When placing the Splashy into the tub make sure to suction it well to the bottom. My first time using the product I didn’t find that the suction cups worked particularly well in my bathtub and because my son has such high tone he was able to move it once submerged in water. I think this would be one of my only “cons” of product is the suction mechanism. However it does not effect the use of the product for us. The way it is designed the product is stable and well balanced enough that the suction meant to be used to keep the chair in place isn’t crucial to keeping the chair itself safe to use. The base of the splashy is able to sit at a 90 degree angle and completely reclined without being suctioned, and Silas stayed completely safe and supported! We also took the Splashy to the pool where the bottom wasn’t a surface that it could suction to and it also worked great in there with the weight of his body weighing the chair down the stay secure. As you could imagine as well, when taking the Splashy to the garden, park, or beach, the suction won’t be used, but because the design of the chair is so well made, the child will be completely safe and able to play! The Splashy has 26 recline settings to meet the need of every child and to allow the user to adjust the angle as needed depending on where and what they are using it for. For instance I let Silas play in the bath with the chair sitting straight up, and then reclined him to bathe his body. I also chose to use the five point harness when sitting up due to the low tone in his trunk, but when reclining him back to bathe I chose to use only the three point harness to easier wash his body. The great feature about the splashy is how low it sits to the bottom of the tub. This is the first fully supported bath chair that allows the child to be fully submerged into the water. His other bath chairs only allow him to bathe in about an inch of water because they can’t sit low into the bath. This is so important for kids like Silas. For their muscles to soak in the warmth of the bath water to help relax their spasticity. We have been waiting for a product like this to safely submerge him so he would relax his muscles. The foam that the seat is made with is so comfy and is a warm touch foam which helps to comfort their bodies in the water. It is thick and very smooth and nice to the touch! It is also easily removable for washing! One of the other amazing features about the Splashy is how it stores and how it breaks down! It is small enough to hang up on the door and as you can see in my pictures the size difference between the splashy and his current bath chair is huge. I would never choose to take his other bath chair to the beach or the pool, not to mention is does not have any of the supports my son would need anyhow. Thats why the Splashy is so life changing for us!
Overall, this product receives five stars from us! We absolutely love it and cannot wait to start making memories!! Follow along as we head to the beach, the park, the splash pad, and in our very own bath! We are even flying with it to Florida since it fits right in our luggage! Here’s to some Splashy fun!
Get yours today at www.fireflyfriends.com/us/splashy
My name is Melly Brown. I am the mother to Silas, who has profound special needs due to a brain injury at birth. I'm here to blog about the nitty gritty, raw truth about raising a child with special needs. The highs, the lows, the ups, the downs. I will review some of our favorite products, share the secrets of how to navigate this special needs life, and vent about some of our toughest days, and most rewarding as well. Join me in my journey, I do not walk this life alone, and would like to spread awareness for all those out there who live this crazy tough special life!