The Trabasack team are proud to announce we’ve joined up with innovative gripping aids brand Active Hands to exhibit at Kidz in the Middle. Kidz in the Middle is the leading free exhibition dedicated to children young adults living with disabilities and their families and care teams.
The event is taking place on 27th March at the Jaguar Exhibition Hall at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry. You’ll find both the Trabasack and Active Hands teams at stand A12 and a map of the exhibition layout can be found in this free downloadable show guide.
Why are we at Kidz in the Middle?
Kidz in the Middle is an exhibition that the Trabasack team has visited and enjoyed regularly. Throughout our years as visitors we’ve seen many a Trabasack in use by young adults and children at the event that it made sense for us to show off our products to those who hadn’t realised how useful they can be.
The Trabasack product range is an ideal buggy and paediatric chair tray as well as providing a handy surface when eating out, travelling or as we’ve showcased on the blog many times for sensory play at home. Our products are fully adjustable to ensure they can fit around the waist of any child and as they are clipped around your child’s body and not the wheelchair they are completely universal and can be used with any wheelchair. The design also allows them to be worn as a standard messenger bag or in many different ways and the bag compartment can be fully stocked for all you’ll need for the day.
Active Hands on the other hand are a functional gripping aid which can be worn and help ensure those living with weakened grip or poor hand function can access activities that may have been difficult before. Active Hands grips can give your child the ability to ride their first tricycle and come in sizes suitable for under 5s and children up to 10.
What else can I see at Kidz in the Middle?
The whole event is packed out with fantastic exhibitors and an activity timetable you won’t want to miss. Free seminars for medical professionals and parents who have an interest in a particular area run all day and examples including Supporting access to learning through occupational therapy and sensory integration therapy or Safer Manual Handling Children.
There is also a super fun Activity Centre to keep the kids entertained all day. Go Kids Go are there running free wheelchair skills workshops and the WDSA are also present running wheelchair dance sports and dancing sessions. There is also a fully accessible playground to ensure children with all types of disabilities can have a great time.
This short video shows the highlights of Kidz in the Middle 2013 and we’re hoping 2014 is just as memorable and is visited by many people connected to children with disabilities across the UK:
We look forward to seeing you at Kidz in the Middle 2014 next week. Please leave a comment below if you hope to come!
Good Luck Blossom for Children – a Funky Online Sensory Toy Shop
The Trabasack team love supporting new ventures in the disability sector, especially when they’re beneficial for children living with disabilities. Blossom for Children is a fantastic new concept. It’s an online shop which offers a range of funky, fashionable and vibrant books, toys, aids and clothes. They were set up to generate income for the Tree of Hope charity but also to provide families and children living with special needs with the equipment and toys they deserve.
What’s in Stock?
Blossom for Children has a wide range of fantastic and carefully selected stock. Many of the products are universal and they include some of our favourites from EasyBelts to funky wheelchair gloves. Their range of books is brilliant, including titles from one of our favourite author and illustrators Hannah Ensor.
They also stock some really great colourful alternatives to the standard NHS equipment provided including bright crutches and tripods.
The shop is split into four distinct sections:
- Toys and Books
- At Home
Each of these section has a range of items which are designed to improve and aid independence. The toys section is packed with sensory play equipment and toys which can aid development as well as just being great fun. Some of the items do cross over so having a look at the whole range is recommended.
The At Home section also usefully contains a couple of books for parents and carers to help them too with the journey to diagnosis and supporting a child with special educational needs.
They also stock the Trabasack Curve Connect as a bundle offer and have put together this brilliant instructional video showing just how simple and easy to use the product really is:
Tree of Hope
The Tree of Hope Charity is dedicated to transforming the lives of sick children and providing the support needed to their families to do this. The charity works hard to raise funds so they can provide the support needed to families across the UK.
They work to provide grants to enable children to access the medical treatments, surgeries, therapies and equipment needed to help them flourish. Without the support of Tree of Hope the majority of these children wouldn’t have the support at all.
At Trabasack we’re really pleased to see more dedicated online retailers providing equipment and enjoyment for children with disabilities. Blossom for Children has a range of stock which will appeal to children with a range of different difficulties and makes accessing some products easier than ever before.
We want to wish Blossom for Children all the best and am sure we will see their business thrive and grow! Take a look at their shop now and please tell us what you think in the comments below!
Charity Events Calendar and Special Days in 2013
Netbuddy Launches 2013 Special Needs Awareness Calendar
Marking the events which matter to you or your child is important and many of the illnesses and disabilities out there are marked by an awareness week or day. These events are designed to make more people aware of a certain condition as well as drumming up much needed funding for research and supporting people with these conditions. Netbuddy has put together an exclusive charity events calendar for 2013 naming it the Special Needs Awareness Calendar Download it by clicking on the link at the bottom of the page. through which you can find out the dates relating to any condition which might be close to your heart or you’re interested in fundraising for.
In February we can look out for:
Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week (7th-14th February)
Autism Sunday (10th February)
National Eating Disorder Week (11th – 17th February)
International Asperger’s Day (18th February)
Rare Diseases Day (28th February)
This is just one month and many of these events may be relevant to you and you can see this and more via Netbuddy’s fantastic calendar.
Who is Netbuddy?
Netbuddy is a fantastic resource for parents, carers, educators and any other professionals involved with people living with learning disabilities and autism. It brings together hundreds of resources from like-minded individuals who have experiences of both. In their own words “Netbuddy is all about pooling the vast expertise of parents, carers and learning disability professionals. It’s a place for sharing advice and ideas. A place for overcoming problems and celebrating successes within a community that understands.”
With this brilliant sentiment it’s clear to see why they’ve put together this invaluable calendar and it’s a great place to start if you’re looking to organise a fundraising event or support a charity relating to a specific condition. Their website is here
A Closer Look at the Calendar
Every month of the year has been covered and there are single day events, weeks and event months dedicated to single conditions which may be of interest. For example, April has been dubbed Autism Awareness Month and there are many special events and days organised throughout the month to support and raise awareness about the developmental disability.
There are events focusing on single conditions such as Dyspraxia Awareness Week in September as well as those that are more general including Jeans for Genes day in October and National Allergy Week in April. There are many events throughout the year dedicated to Autism and learning disabilities in particular as these are two areas that Netbuddy focuses on.
This calendar is a fantastic resource for anybody involved with adults or children living with disabilities and can be used effectively as a learning tool or to start conversation.
Cerebra and Gordon Ellis Co create a Sledge for Disabled Children
It is that time of year and so we are all on the look-out for snow, and some of us have even had some!
Cerebra and their Innovation Centre
CIC undertake many design projects initiated the members of the charity and develop, design and produce products to help in the daily lives of children with neurological conditions.
Some of the products are ‘one-off’ bespoke designs, and others are made in small batches. The way we have to make things because of the small numbers, require ingenuity in design and manufacture. We constantly strive to make the best products to the highest standards. Click to read more about this scheme
The idea for the ‘Special Needs’ Sledge
The Cerebra Sledge was initially designed as a custom option for Sarah, from Scotland. The original idea for the sledge started in 2010 when Cerebra were approached by a mum, Lynne, who asked for help getting her daughter Sarah out into the snow. Sarah’s wheelchair and buggy could not be used in the snow, so she had to wait indoors while all the other youngsters in the town went off to school playing and sledging and enjoying the experiences of snow. Cerebra saw the sensory input Sarah was missing by being unable to get out. Lynne had difficulties pushing a buggy through the snow and they felt trapped inside. Cerebra got help and funds from a small charity ‘Claires Project’ who paid for the Cerebra Innovation Centre to get a CAD (Computer Aided Design) system to design a sledge for Sarah.
Improving on the design
Cerebra Sledge 2012
“It seems really well made and our son can’t wait to be able to use it. His little sister is also excited about her little seat at the back! Once again, thank you.”
You should allow time for delivery as these special sledges for disabled children are made to order. You will also need to provide VAT exemption form. They cost £250. Unfortunately much more than commercially made mass produced sledges but they are a specially made high quality item, that we are sure will bring children lots of joy.
Dravet Conference 2012
In November 2012, The Dravet Syndrome UK charity will be hosting their second annual Family and Professional Dravet Conference and the Trabasack team are happy to be attending. Taking place on 17th November, at The Park Royal Hotel in Warrington the conference has attracted many leading speakers in the field and as the husband and wife team at the centre of the Trabasack Company are parents to a child with Dravet Syndrome, attending the conference is extremely important to them personally as well as professionally. After attending the first event two years ago, Trabasack is back for a second time, after being at the very successful Dravet Conference 2010.
The Trabasack story appeared in the Dravet Syndrome UK’s Spring Newsletter, highlighting how their son was the main inspiration behind the product and how it was developed with his and the needs of others living with Dravet and similar syndromes in mind. The product has since been developed further and has a multitude of users with many different needs.
What is Dravet Syndrome?
A life limiting, genetic condition that causes severe epilepsy, learning disability and global developmental delay in childhood. The seizures are usually hard to treat and do not respond well to epileptic drugs. A scientific paper describing the symptoms can be found here.
This Year’s Event: Dravet Conference 2012
Many fantastic speakers have been confirmed for this year’s event, including Dr Charlotte Dravet herself as the guest of honour. Other speakers include a range of specialist consultants from hospitals across the UK including Alderhey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool and Yorkhill Hospital in Glasgow. Professor Mark Reese and Doctors Chung and Thomas from Wales Epilepsy Research will also be joining the other speakers at the event.
A range of interesting and essential topics will be discussed in depth including advancements in research, the value of early intervention, alternative treatments including the Ketogenic Diet and much more. There will be also a chance to hear of updates on many of the research projects currently funded by Dravet Syndrome. Anyone with a personal or professional interest in the area can attend the event, with both professional and family tickets available.
Who are Dravet Syndrome UK?
Dravet Syndrome UK is the leading UK charity which works to improve the lives of both adults and children living the Dravet Syndrome and other related sodium channel epilepsies. They achieve this in a number of ways from special events like the conference, to fundraising, medical research and providing support to families and individuals who require it.
The charity has three main aims to advance education, to fund research and to promote health and the Trabasack team are keen to support these goals in any way possible.
Dravet Syndrome is described as a severe form of epilepsy and can cause further issues including difficulty in the development of language, motor skills and social skills.
The second annual conference is sponsored by Nutricia and the Dravet Syndrome Foundation and the Trabasack team will be amongst many attendees and exhibitors.
Trabasack at the Family and Professional Dravet Conference 2012
Trabasack will have and exhibition display stand where product information and the new Media Mount, switch and toy mount will be available to purchase. The full range of Trabasacks and accessories will be on the stand. The most popular one for Dravet children is the Curve Connect because of the option of mounting, toys, iPads, switches and other devices with velcro onto the tray surface. A bumper Trabasack pack including all of the accessories will also be a prize in the Dravet Charity Ball Raffle. The raffle organisers are still looking for donations to the raffle which will include a prize of a chocolate hamper and a gift voucher hamper.
The full ‘tweeted’ notes and information from the conference can be found at on this conference report written up using Storify here:
Kindle Fire for Special Education
The Kindle Fire Tablet comes to the UK
We have discussed the launch of the Kindle Fire in the past and how it can be used in a special educational environment. The newest incarnation of the top Amazon product has now been announced on the UK version of the site and is due to be released on October 25th 2012.
Amazon has brought their Kindle a long way from a simple eReading device. Now, it stands out amongst the competitors such as the Barnes and Noble Nook and the Kobo. Its product range is further advanced and their Kindle Fire HD Tablet is described as the most advanced tablet of its size. Kindles are for more than just readers now; they can help in many environments including the special educational needs classroom. What’s also encouraging is that they’re extremely affordable compared to other devices on the market such as the Apple iPad.
A Closer Look at the Kindle Fire for Special Education
The Kindle Fire has been the most popular item on Amazon.com for a long time and it has been further developed and brought to the UK. A small, handheld tablet device available for less than £150, the Kindle Fire
can be packed full of tons of apps and run all manner of games, educational support apps and more. The Fire is also easy to handle for users with disabilities which affect their dexterity and grip.
It incorporates a touch screen and Android operating system. It has been equipped with a new 1.2GHz processor to improve performance and incorporates all the qualities of an Amazon reading device, so you can access many books and stories and also a high-spec tablet device. The Amazon Kindle Fire is ideal for the special learning environment because of its affordability and quality. The price is fantastic for what you get and all users can benefit from different features within the device.
There is also the HD Version which is even further enhanced with Dolby sound and a choice of both 16GB and 32GB versions.
Apps for the Kindle Fire
The full range of apps available for the Kindle Fire in the UK is only accessible via the UK Amazon Appstore. However, we’ve been able to take a look a few currently available in the US and are sure similar options will be available through the UK store. Popular apps for the Kindle Fire for Special Education include:
TapToTalk : an innovative AAC app which promotes communication and learning
iStoryBooks : interactive audio story books, ideal for the bookworm of the class
Calm Counter : a behavioural management app for children with challenging behaviours and difficulty expressing their needs verbally.
Autism iHelp Series: a range of specifically designed apps for those with an Autistic Spectrum Disorder. Encouraging speech and learning in several categories including: Home, Animals and Food.
Please note, many of these apps are available for other tablets and via Android and Apple so we’re sure they’ll come to the UK Amazon Appstore too.
Amazon Fire in the UK
We can’t wait to enjoy all the apps on offer from Amazon.com and are sure users looking for an affordable tablet option will be considering the Kindle Fire for Special Education as a great value version of more expensive, higher-spec competitors. There are so many tablets on the market, it is clear there is a lot of choice but the Amazon Fire has already taken the US by storm, so maybe the UK is next?
Here’s a look at an original review of the Fire, before it was launched in the UK:
New Amazon Kindle Fire Launched in the UK
A Closer Look at Amazon’s Exciting New Product Range
We’re excited to announce that the new Kindle Fire Tablet has finally reached the UK, with its release date scheduled for next month. As the biggest selling product on Amazon.com, we’re sure it will be a huge success in the UK too and we’ve been waiting for its launch for a long time now. We initially discussed the Amazon Kindle Fire back in June and are now excited to see it here in the UK. Let’s take a look at the full range of new products from Amazon.
The original, most desired product. The highest seller on Amazon.com and soon to be the same in the UK we don’t doubt. With a brand new processor promising 40% faster performance than the original design, if you’re looking for high spec without the high price, this is definitely an option to consider. Amazon highlight the simplicity of use and portability as the highlights of the their original Fire and we have to agree but also rate it’s super value when compared to other leading products from Apple and Blackberry for example. It features an intuitive 7″ Touchscreen and a 1.2GHz processor.
If high spec is really important to you, the HD model is another top consideration. Available in 16GB and 32GB models, both for under £200, the HD features Dolby sound and super-fast Wi-Fi. Ideal for use in a learning or entertainment environment, games and apps can be accessed easily and enjoyed in the highest quality. It’s hard to believe Amazon are able to offer such high quality products at such an affordable price.
Kindle eReaders have taken the world by storm. Most people don’t even use the word eReader anymore; simply Kindle which shows their domination of the market place. The original design featured just keypad buttons but it has been developed and now has an integrated, intuitive touchscreen. Ideal for users with motor skills disabilities, the Kindle Touch responds efficiently to light touches and is also equipped with text-to-speech capabilities so it can read aloud to you.
We’re looking forward to the arrival of the Kindle Fire and Kindle Fire HD in the UK on 25th October and are sure you are too. If you have any doubts about the product at all, check out this review video:
In our next post we will be looking at the Kindle Fire for use in Special Education whether it will be an alternative to the ipad.
Young Epilepsy Conference 2012
The Trabasack Team are delighted to announce their appearance at The Young Epilepsy National Conference. Young Epilepsy, in association and collaboration with Matthew’s Friends are holding a two day National Conference at St John’s Hotel, Solihull on 12th and 13th August.
As parents of a child with Dravet Syndrome, the husband and wife team behind Trabasack are passionate about attending events that raise Epilepsy Awareness and their universally designed product range is ideal for use by children and adults with epilepsy and related conditions. Raising awareness of Dravet Syndrome and the often devastating effects of epilepsy on young people, this important event will help bring together professionals, parents and new developments in the treament and management of the disease.
Son of Trabasack Creator and the Ketogenic Diet
The co-hosting charity Mathews Friends provides information about a dietary treatment for epilepsy called the ketogenic diet. A high fat, low carbohydrate diet that the Trabasack director’s son followed for 5 years, with tremendous success. In the early days of the treatment they obtained essential advice and support from the charity.
The Young Epilepsy Conference Schedule
The event itself is split into two separate days aimed at different audiences and Trabasack will be present at both with their full product range on display for sale and to answer any questions potential customers may have.
Friday 12th October is a dedicated conference day at the event for professionals working directly with families of children and young people with complex epilepsy in a community environment. The day will be made up of several sessions :
• Diagnosis and Misdiagnosis
• Advances in treatment
• Impact on the wider family
• Case Studies
• Supporting the Family
• Changing Society’s Perception
Talks will be given by UKs foremost experts in the study of epilepsy including:
- Prof Helen Cross, The Prince of Wales’s Chair of Childhood Epilepsy
- Dr Sunny Philip, Birmingham Children’s Hospital
- Dr Archana Desurkar and Dr Krishna Das, Young Epilepsy
- Epilepsy specialist n
urses and parents who have experience of living with complex epilepsy.
The Trabasack team will be present all day with their dedicated stand and products on display. Tickets for this event are bookable via the Young Epilepsy website and there are early bird discounts available.
Saturday 13th October is a little bit different to the previous day as it focuses on the expectations and needs of the parents and carers of children and young people with complex epilepsy. It also gives them the chance to meet other families in the same situation and form some valuable support networks and relationships. Topics and sessions throughout the day will include:
• Complex Epilepsy Syndromes and Treatments
• Support through education
• Syndrome-specific group discussions
• Behaviour and impact on the wider family.
Tickets for the second day of the event are bookable now via the Young Epilepsy website or on 01342 832243 the booking line, or click the images to download a conference booking form.
The Trabasack team will have their whole product range on display, with representatives present to explain exactly how their innovative products can be of beneficial use to those living with epilepsy and related syndromes.
The Trabasack lap tray and bag is an innovative and universally designed product that combines a lightweight tray surface, great for holding media devices, switches, communication aids, food and drink and much more, with a spacious bag compartment for storage of said items. It also includes a soft bean bag tray and is extremely lightweight so can be rested upon any lap without causing any discomfort. The current range includes the Trabasack Curve, designed ergonomically to hug the curves of the body and the smaller Trabasack Mini, designed for smaller devices such as netbooks and iPads. Both these products will be on display at the event.
Trabasack has also recently launched its Media Mount multipurpose mounting device which serves to provide extra support and add extra functionality to their lapdesk products. The Media Mount can support the use of communication aids, tablet devices and even hold simple things such as a bottle of drink in place.
Further demonstration of the product in action will be seen at the Young Epilepsy National Conference.
The video below shows Joanna Lumley at a previous Young Epilepsy event at Glyndebourne.
The Trabasack team are extremely pleased and excited to announced the launch of their product, the Media Mount
The Media Mount is an extremely versatile and multifunctional mounting device that makes using your Trabasack play tray with your children even easier and it can even make your Trabasack an even better play tray than it was before. Despite being completely brand new, it’s already drawing in interest from Trabasaxons who have only positive things to say and it is an accessory for your Trabasack that one fan describes as ‘an excellent product, multi-functional & well thought out. It adds further functionality to the original Trabasack Connect without adding extra weight to it.’ With comments like this it’s clear to see the team can be proud of their new product and its place in the product range.
A Quick Look at the Media Mount
When reading the name, you might wonder how the Media Mount can be of use to you and your child for your Trabasack Sensory Play Tray. However, as mentioned, this product is extremely versatile and flexible and can be used in a number of ways. Designed to mount any device from an iPad to a musical Skoog (both pictured) you can see how the Media Mount holds these items perfectly in place for use by your child, with or without support. The Media Mount is made of hook and loop receptive material and is equipped with a velcro strip alongside so it fits closely to your Trabasack’s Connect Surface. What’s more the grab handles are large and make manoeuvring and positioning the new accessory even more straight forward.
The Media Mount and your Sensory Play Tray
Incorporating the Media Mount into your sensory play time is very easy and it can be a great of ensuring more enjoyment and development can be had whilst enjoying the session. For example, the Media Mount can act as a barrier at the edge of your Trabasack ensuring the hand positioning and movement is kept to the specific tray area or it can be used to held a particular object in place so it can be used more easily.
If you’re using bottles as music makers for example, you could position them securely with the Media Mount and then enjoy the play time without worrying about them going missing or being knocked over. Every day our customers are coming up with new uses for the Media Mount and as its been produced under the Design for All concept, we are sure that it can be manipulated for whatever particular needs you have in mind.
We’ve received positive feedback from Technical Specialist for SpecialEffect Charity and founder of OneSwitch.co.uk, Barrie Ellis who described it as a ‘brilliant implementation, I really love it’ and we agree completely with his comments and believe you could use your Media Mount in any number of ways to enhance and enjoy sensory play time.
At £19.95 it is a low cost way of mounting switches and special education toys, please send us your pics for a free gift!
sen/ict – an innovative new directory for special needs education and technology.
The sen / ict directory is a fantastic new online resource which aims to collate and organise all the information relating to special needs and special education across the web, as well as offline sources. A really useful idea, the directory aims to provide an online resource for teachers, parents and professionals from which they can find out about new inventions, products, schemes and other valuable information.
The brainchild of entrepreneur Chris Thornton, a graduate in Graphic Design, who has worked in the assistive technology sector since graduating and is very well qualified person to lead the project. The new senict directory is set to become a vital resource for many and certainly something that we at Trabasack are supporting. Chris has valuable experience from his previous experience at Inclusive Technology Ltd and where he was Project Manager for the excellent HelpKidzLearn and News-2-You
he also had leading software design roles on Matrix Maker and Myzone .
Our friends at Skoog are already listed as the first product in the directory. As well as Skoog you can find many other fantastic resources on the site including links to useful events such as Kidz up North. There are also many charities already listed from Contact a Family to Whizz Kids who are provide useful services to parents of children with special needs as well as their teachers and carers. Despite only being launched this year it shows the extent to which the directory is becoming a well known resource base.
Perhaps most importantly for parents, teachers and carers there is already a large database of downloadable and accessible resources building up on the site. From CBBC Switch Games to Camera Mouse, this is a good starting place for anybody looking for tools to improve or support a person with special educational needs.
You can access the directory via their website but they also have profiles on Twitter, Linkedin, Facebook and their own blog. We believe this is a resource base that provides a service currently unavailable online. Filling this demand will ensure that it will soon become invaluable to anybody working with or caring for those with additional needs.
So do have a look and tell friends and companies about it, they will find it useful to list events, jobs and charities. Check out the SEN/ICT (senict.com) directory at Special Needs & ICT Resources website including SEN Software, Hardware, Equipment, Services, Jobs, Events, Charities and Company Listings.
Click to view Trabasack (listed under products) on the sen/ict site.
- International Dravet Syndrome Awareness Day 2015
- Six Neck and Head Support Options for your Child
- Gripping Aids for Children
- Sensory Stories for Children and Teens – The Book!
- What to Pack for your Child’s Hospital Stay
- How to make your own Sensory Wall
- Homemade Mirror Cube Sensory Toy
- Join Trabasack and Active Hands at Kidz in the Middle
- Sensory Play at Naidex National 2014
- Festive Christmas Apps for Kids