Some links to equipment support
We can’t offer a comprehensive directory for equipment, but here are a few pointers to companies who can help with common issues that families ask about.
Please note that these suggestions do NOT constitute advice or recommendations, and we cannot be held responsible for your decision to purchase any equipment shown.
A good place to start is Fledglings fledglings.org.uk which has a range of equipment and toys for different needs.
Sensory Smart Store sensorysmart.co.uk has clothing for children with sensory issues.
Run by a neuro-divergent West Lothian teenager, the Diversified website sells a good range of affordable sensory toys.
For larger toys and outdoor play equipment, Sensory Education has a good range, including bikes and trikes, play tables and more.
BIKES AND TRIKES
For bespoke bikes, trikes and hand-bikes that can be tailored to your child’s exact needs, contact Theraplay Ltd.
If your child has a physiotherapist or occupational therapist, it is always worth asking for their advice on what would work best for your child.
Car Harnesses and Seats
If your child undoes their seat belt, or needs a harness for postural support, a good place to start is Crelling Harnesses. They can advise you, or even send out a harness on a 14 day trial (there is a charge to return unsuitable ones – see website FAQs for details.
If your child destroys normal furniture, or needs a ‘safe space’, you may consider getting a specialised bed such as the range supplied by the Reinforced Bed Company or the Safety Sleeper (warning, expensive!)
You may also be able to claim a reduction in Council Tax, if your child’s needs mean that a room has to be specially adapted for their sole use e.g. a bedroom with very little furniture and window locks, to stop them hurting themselves or damaging furniture
If your child just needs somewhere to retreat to if the world is too much, you could use your imagination to convert the space under a cabin bed into a ‘safe space’, perhaps by stringing blackout curtains around the space, buying a few handheld sensory toy lights or similar, and laying a soft rug/snuggly cushions on the floor (ask relatives to help out with costs for a special birthday present).
Funding for Equipment
It may be possible to get some help with costs for special toys or equipment, which tend to be very expensive. A few funders and sites which can help you find funding are listed below.
What you’ll need
Each funder has their own rules (read carefully and make sure you do what is asked), but most will need similar information which you can get ready before you apply:
- a letter from a professional who can tell them about how your child’s disability affects them and how they would benefit from having the equipment
- some information about your income
- one or two price quotes (can be website pages) showing the cost of the equipment you are asking them to help with.
- Challenger Children’s Fund physically disabled children under 18, max £500
- Family Fund – children with high support needs under 18, from low income families
- Cash for Kids – Forth Radio grants, under 18s, sometimes flexible about unusual requests
- Newlife – equipment loans or grants, and free 12 -week loans of specialist toys
- Independent Living Fund (ILF) has a technology grant for 16-25 year olds, or a transition grant which can be used to fund other types of equipment, subject to certain conditions
VAT and disability
When you buy equipment specifically designed or adapted for a disability, many suppliers will exclude VAT from the price, saving you 20%, if you can give written confirmation of your child’s condition (this may be as simple as ticking a box confirming this on an order form).
See this gov.uk page for more detailed information.