{Just For Parents of Special Need Children} Free iTunes Apps, Especially for Kids Network, & Financial Planning Tips

I know there are quite a few readers who are blessed parents of special need children so from time to time I like to share a few resources and tidbits I think are worth passing along.


{Source: {the gloaming}}
Post Topics:
Free iTunes Apps,
Especially for Kids Network, &
Financial Planning Tips


{Source: Apple}
My little guy is a huge fan of his iPad and we have seen tremendous strides in the areas of communication, organization, social skills, emotion recognition, and creativity – just to name a few – with the use of various applications. I’ll share a little more about my little guys iPad and the applications that we love a little later – but just wanted to share a couple apps I have come across that can be downloaded free of charge.

Here are a few iPhone, iPod touch, iPad and other smart device applications geared for special needs kids and their parents too! I have not personally tried, tested or endorse the applications listed below {unless otherwise noted} – I am simply providing them as a resource to check out for your kiddies.


AutismXpress by StudioEmotion Pty Ltd
Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad
AutismXpress is designed to encourage people with autism to recognizes and express their emotions through its fun and easy to use interface.


Chore Pad Lite by Nannek
Compatible with iPhone, and iPad
Chore Pad provides weekly chore charts which automatically show the current week, highlights the current day, and tracks star and check mark totals. The free Lite version offers all of the functionality of the full version, but with a maximum of one user and four chores in the user’s chore chart.


Doodle Kids by Virtual GS
Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad
Doodle Kids will draw random shapes in random colors and sizes to create a beautiful effect. Tap with two fingers to clear the screen in random color. Shake the device! You will see a menu to clear the screen, select a picture from the photo library or take a picture using the camera as the background!


Evernote by Evernote
Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, Android, BlackBerry
Evernote turns the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad into an extension of your brain, helping you remember anything and everything that happens in your life. From notes to ideas to snapshots to recordings, put it all into Evernote and watch as it instantly synchronizes from your iPhone to your Mac or Windows desktop.


iBeams Lite by gedalia.net
Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad
iBeams Lite is an interactive procedural special effects system. Watch hypnotic beams of plasma, lightning bolts, squiggles, lasers, flames of light, color spray, particle swarms, and other psychedelic shapes


iBiomed by MyRoster, LLC
Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad
iBioMed is an Organizer & Social Network for Health. Any person living with a complex Health condition will benefit from this software. It eases the burden on them and their caregivers by providing easy, efficient, portable and reliable record keeping.


iComm by Bappz
Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad
The iComm (short for I Communicate) is an app providing an affordable, custom built and easy to use communication system using pictures and words – both written and spoken. It is ideal for children under three until they are able to express their needs through well formed speech. The iComm is also very useful for children with a broad range of disabilities who have trouble communicating such as cerebral palsy or autism.


IEP Checklist by Nurvee, LLC
Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad
IEP Checklist is a tool for parents and teachers to consider as they develop the IEP. Not every item on the checklist is required by special education regulations.


LEGO Creationary by The LEGO® Group
Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad
“Roll” the LEGO Dice to find out which of the 4 randomly selected categories you’ll guessing: nature, vehicles, buildings or things. The game starts building an object from that category out of LEGO bricks, and you have to guess which of the four possible answers is correct by tapping the illustration that you think matches what is being built.


Model Me Going Places by Model Me Kids, LLC
Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, and Android
Model Me Going Places™ for the iPad is a great visual teaching tool for helping your child learn to navigate challenging locations in the community. Each location contains a photo slideshow of children modeling appropriate behavior.


NLConcepts Autism: Sort and Categorize by Natural Learning Concepts
This FREE app will help your child learn to sort and categorize.
There are 16 different categories. We know that many children with development delays have fine motor challenges and the app was developed with this in mind. It’s so easy to play! Wait for a card to appear and then touch the appropriate category. Example if a bear card appears, touch the animal box. If you get the answer correct, a motivating sound is played and a new card appears. If you get the answer incorrect, it will beep and you can try again.


Toy Story Read-Along by Disney Publishing Worldwide
Compatible with iPad
A fully interactive reading experience packed with Games, Movie Clips, Coloring Pages, Sing-along Tunes, and Surprises on every page. Hear the story read aloud, record your own narration, or explore at your own pace.


Virtuoso Piano Free 2 HD by Peterb
Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad
With its unprecedented sound quality, Virtuoso Piano Free is the perfect free piano to learn the basics of music or just having fun.


Vocal Zoo by Funny i Games
Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad
The ultimate zoo experience for your kids. Here they can experience and learn about the world’s most famous animals in the comfort of your home. A proven child-friendly and easy to use application, especially tuned for your little ones needs.



Especially for Kids is a new social network created for families raising children with disabilities. It is a place to share the joys and heartaches of raising a child with special needs. You can share photos, videos, join a group and start discussions of topics you are currently struggling with and know that this is a place where other parents are there to support you.

The Especially for Kids Network was created by Susan who also writes Entertain Exchange. Susan’s own personal experience has led her to see the need to reach out to other parents. Fifteen years ago her son was born with a rare genetic syndrome, leaving him with severe developmental delay and autistic tendencies. As with many of these kids, he has many complicated issues, which keeps life complicated. She finds that as much as family and friends try to support them, they lack a true understanding of their daily challenges and therefore has created a forum to share with those going through the same struggles.

Especially for kids network
They are just starting out – so please stop by and take a peek
http://especiallyforkidsnetwork.com/



Financial Planning for Special Needs Children
Contributed by Stella Workman
Everyone should take time to look at their finances and make plans for the future. Whether they are single, or married with children doesn’t matter. However, one group that should pay particularly close attention to financial planning is parents of special needs children. While these children are a gift and a joy, it is also a fact that they will have more long-term requirements for their care than typical children. It is important to know that their legal, financial and medical issues will be taken care of, even after you are gone.


Daily Care and Important Decisions
Right now, you are probably the person taking care of your child on a daily basis. But who will step in when you are no longer able to do this? Time slows down for no one, and you will age. There will come a point when you are no longer able to lift your growing child or help her get dressed.

Group homes are available to meet the daily care needs, as well as home care nurses and agencies that can provide the care in your own home. However, medical decisions regarding their clients still have to be approved by a guardian. When a special needs child has no guardian to make those decisions, they will be made a case worker assigned by the State. To prevent this from happening, set up a guardianship for your child. Assigning a person to be the guardian after you are gone ensures that someone who knows your child and cares about him will be the one making major decisions regarding his care. It is important to understand that the guardian is the one who will make life and death decisions regarding things like Do Not Resuscitate orders. Ask yourself who you trust to make those important and painful decisions, and then take the time to get the proper papers drawn up by an attorney.

It is important to note that your child will automatically become his or her own guardian at the age of 18. To maintain guardianship, the paperwork should be started at lest a year in advance. This will allow you to continue making the necessary medical and legal decisions for your child. Not all special needs children will require a guardian for their lifetimes. Some are able to largely care for themselves, with some assistance. If this is your situation a health-care proxy is recommended so you can still make medical decisions when your child can not.


Public Benefits Eligibility
Upon reaching adulthood, many special needs children will be eligible for government benefits. These benefits are vital for paying for the high cost of group homes or private care. While the parents can still have their assets, if the assets are left to a child upon the parent’s death, it can cause the government benefits to stop. When a disabled person on receiving public benefits has assets in excess of $2,000, problems with future benefits payments can quickly follow. Take care with the final distribution of your estate to prevent this from happening. If your special needs child inherits ten thousand dollars, his benefits would be halted, and that ten thousand would quickly be spent on daily care expenses. He would then have to reapply for benefits, a lengthy and tedious process.

The best option is to establish a trust. The trust would hold and manage the assets of your child, allowing her to keep the necessary public benefits. The trust money could then go towards other benefits for your child, including education, habilitation services, insurance, and transportation. This information should be shared with all family members so that a well-meaning grandparent doesn’t inadvertently cause this problem.

It is tempting to leave money to a sibling, with the understanding that the sibling will then pay for their brother’s needs. However, this can create a great deal of stress, and even resentment. More importantly, it also does not guarantee that your wishes will be honored. A trust is a safe, effective solution that will meet the needs of everyone involved. A co-trustee, typically a trusted friend or family member, can be named to help mange the trust and ensure that decisions made are always in your child’s best interests.

Higher functioning special needs children who are able to get jobs should also watch the income closely. An extra five hundred dollars in income could mean the end of thousands of dollars in assistance. Be aware of the limits for your child so that you can be supportive of them working while also making sure that it doesn’t endanger their benefits.


Financial Issues
Most typical families have college funds, life insurance, and retirement accounts. Parents of special needs children also have to worry about the cost of care for their child. One of the best ways to ensure that your child will continue to receive the high level of care you desire for them is to invest in life insurance.

Special needs children have higher medical expenses than typical children. There are specialists, physical therapists, and a host of doctors working to help your child reach his or her full potential. These specialists can be expensive, and insurance won’t typically cover all of the costs. Keep track of all the receipts and be sure to look into deducting those expenses on your taxes. Co-payments and the out-of-pocket expenses for testing and traveling to all those appointments can be written off. .

Special needs children are no less of a blessing and a joy than other children are. However, they do have very different needs when it comes to their care. As they grow, they will have different goals and challenges. Financial planning for your special needs child is vital to ensuring that they will always be cared for.

Stella Workman is a freelance writer who normally provides savings accounts reviews over at SavingsAccount.Org. Her most recent article details the best CD Rates available right now.

                  

Comments

  1. This list is wonderful! I have a child with slight delays, and through our early intervention program I have become familiar with the resources available in the community. It never crossed my mind there would be “an app for that!”

    I also appreciate the developmental tools for all of my children to use. Now that we know about ADA playgrounds, we seek them out wherever we go. I will be looking into these apps today. Thank you.

  2. Brilliant! My older sister is a special needs adult and my younger sister and I are the beneficiaries to my grandparents and parents estates with the thought that we will take care of my sister when the time comes. I like how you addressed that this can be a stressful task and you recommend a trustee. I love my sister and will take care of her but with kids and a family of my own I fear I will not make the best decisions or know the rights and wrongs when the time comes. Not to mention I live in a different town and me and my younger sister do not always see eye to eye. I am going to talk to my family about a trustee ASAP. One day a group home will be inevitable for my sister but right now she is adamant that she wants to live with me when my parents pass. For thousands of reasons I do not think this would work. Got any suggestions on how to choose a group home. Especially info on how to begin the search.

    I follow you everyday over coffee. Love you!

    Amy

    [email protected]

  3. Rather overwhelming at times, isn’t it? I have a son with autism and he’s on the lower end of the spectrum. Every time I think of all the things I SHOULD be doing it makes me freak out… just a little :)
    Thanks for the list though! There are a couple of things on here that I hadn’t thought of doing and the apps look fantastic!

  4. Thanks for this! As a mom of a kid with ASD I really appreciate it! :o) I’ll be checking these out for sure.
    ~Terry
    http://www.mossandclover.blogspot.com

  5. THis is such a wonderful post. The most valuable information that I took from this has to be the information on Trust Accounts. Obviously I know about the $2,000 assest rule, but inheritance never even crossed my mind. Thank you so much for a well written post, if for nothing else, it reminds us mothers of those special children that we are not alone.

  6. This is great! I am a speech-language pathologist and ABA therapist and I just bought an iPad this week to have for my kiddos! I’ve been trying to find some great apps and this is an awesome list.

    Thanks!

  7. Thank you for this list. I have a son who is now a special needs patient due to a craniopharyngioma brain tumor. I have shared your post on my FB page. I think I need to start documenting/blogging the things that i have learned over the past 5 years. it is amazing the things you have to take care of that never entered your realm of thinking. Again thanks.

  8. Thanks for sharing the list.

    I look forward to learning which applications you and your little man personally use on your iPad. I’d also be interested to know which size iPad you have – do you use the 16Gb? and is it big enough?

    I don’t have a child with Autism, but my best friend does. And I work for some wonderful Occupational Therapists who work with children with Autism and Sensory processing issues. We are just starting to explore iPads, and the way that they can help our clients.

    Thanks
    Vivienne.

  9. Thank you Stephanie for including Chore Pad to your list! We have linked your article to our facebook page:
    http://www.facebook.com/ChorePad

    ~Tharesa

        

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