What Can a Service Dog Do?

What Can a Service Dog Do?

I’ll tell you right up front; the answer is almost anything. It’s important, however, to go through exactly what situations a service dog might be useful. After all, “everything” doesn’t tell you how a service dog could help you, it just says it can. I’m going to list out a few different situations and how service dogs can make a significant difference in overall quality of life. You don’t need to be deaf or blind to benefit from having one.

  1. Oxygen – Those tanks are heavy. Even with a cart, someone on oxygen can’t easily go outside and just walk across the grass. It’s even worse for children or the elderly because they’re not capable of carrying the tank even if they wanted to move it. A trained service dog can and will bring an oxygen tank, freeing you up to go almost anywhere.
  2. Panic attacks / Meltdowns – Sometimes things get a little scary for those with certain psychological ailments such as autism or phobias. Fear of running into something unexpected can keep a person housebound. A service dog provides a trusted companion that can both comfort the person and help them get to a safe place. In this case, a service dog is also a clear indication — if something does happen in public — that it’s a medical problem and not a reason to be terrified of the person experiencing the panic attack.
  3. Depression / Anxiety – Dogs are naturally inclined toward helping someone with depression or anxiety and may not need to be trained specifically to do so. However, if you need a particular kind of support, it might be good to consider putting the dog through service training. Simply having a companion is great for depression and benefits anxiety suffers as well.
  4. Seizures – A service dog is trainable to both assist and alert during a seizure, whichever is most appropriate. This service can provide significantly more independence to someone prone to unexpected seizures.
  5. Medical Procedures – Service dogs can be trained to provide support and to capture the person’s attention during medical procedures like a blood draw, shots, IVs, or surgery preparation. Many individuals who have chronic conditions suffer from a debilitating fear of doctors, nurses, and hospitals. A service dog can provide the support needed to make the situation bearable.

There are other things a service dog can also do. For example, most people already know a service dog can help the deaf and blind by alerting them to important sounds or sights through tactile methods. I chose specifically to list the above functions because they’re not commonly known and knowing about a medical intervention — like a service dog — can sometimes make a significant positive difference in a patient’s life.

ALMOST Time to Get Your Flu Shot – but Not Yet!

ALMOST Time to Get Your Flu Shot – but Not Yet!

It’s flu shot time again. The CDC has key facts on their website about the shot if you have any health-related questions. There are a few places you and your family can get their flu shots.

  1. Most pharmacies are offering them on site.
  2. Your child’s pediatrician may provide the shot through a nurse visit which I’ve found to be both faster and less traumatic for my son.
  3. The Dr.’s office is also an excellent way to get it if you’re already going in for something. They can just give you a dose while you’re there and have it over.

It does take a little while to provide protection so you’ll want to get your flu shot sooner rather than later. However, you may want to wait until at least October before getting the shot. It’s especially important to hang on a little longer if you’re over 65. See the NPR article for additional details.

Yes, it is Possible to Get Your Flu Shot Too Soon – NPR

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Feeding Problems and Speech Delay

Feeding Problems and Speech Delay

Our son has been trying to talk for a while now, and he tends to be reasonably understandable when he wants something. Every once in a while, he’ll even surprise you with a full comprehensible sentence — maybe once a month. It’s clear he understands complex thoughts and long sentences based on his response to instructions. So, what gives? Why is he not speaking clearly on a consistent basis?

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Why Every Circle of Friends Needs a Medical Mom

Why Every Circle of Friends Needs a Medical Mom

Medical Moms are awesome! Every circle of friends needs one. They’re reliable when it matters most and the time they spend with their friends means the entire world to them. Here are even more reasons why EVERY circle of friends needs a Medical Mom!

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Emergency Preparedness – Hurricanes

Emergency Preparedness – Hurricanes

Hurricane season is officially here with the arrival of Hurricane Hermine last night in Florida. I realized as I lay in bed trying to go to sleep that I had yet to do a post about the challenges unique to Hurricanes. I published a similar post about snow last winter if you’d like to check it out. Hurricanes, however, are a different beast. The challenges commonly presented include:

  1. Power outages
  2. High winds and structural damage
  3. Flooding

The number one thing to remember with a medically complex child or even an adult that needs assistance is to evacuate the moment you’re asked to do so. If you’re new to living in an area visited by Hurricanes, these are not just rough storms. They destroy large swaths of property. There will not be power, and you’re unlikely to have fresh water. If you insist on staying after the evacuation order you are taking your life and the life of your charge into your own hands.

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What Does Self-Care Mean to You?

What Does Self-Care Mean to You?

This is a sponsored post for the Self-Care Movement. I have been compensated through the Chronic Illness Bloggers network. All opinions remain my own and I was in no way influenced by the company.

Above all, as caregivers, we need to take care of our needs. To me, self-care means doing the things I need to do for myself that enable me to continue to perform well as a caregiver. Self-care includes things like showering, eating at least two to three meals per day, exercising daily, and getting enough sleep. It also means treating myself to coffee when I have a spare few minutes, having my hair cut, and taking care of my nails. Doing everything that gives me the energy required to recharge my batteries and make it through those long days.

When we first started struggling with our son’s medical difficulties, I thought it would be best to sacrifice my needs for his. Day after day I continued to do less for myself than I needed. Eventually, I was so tired I couldn’t even do basic math calculations in my head. Finally, my husband realized the desperate nature of the situation. He stepped in to make sure I got enough sleep and had time to eat at least once a day.

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Coping Without Addiction

Coping Without Addiction

We all have our struggles. Parents of special needs children and caregivers have more than most. Looking for a crutch is tempting. A little something to lean on sounds like such a relief. There is no easy fix to your problems and leaning on addictive substances like painkillers, alcohol, or other drugs has consequences. These things may make you feel better in the short term, but long term it’ll sink you.

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Unexpected New Roommate

Unexpected New Roommate

My Mother moved in with us last week. There was an open invitation, but it had been open for a while. She’s been invited down for at least a year and had been putting off moving in. She was hoping the problems that forced her hand would resolve themselves. They didn’t, and as they grew worse the push to make the transition finally overcame the effort required.

The first week was a little rough. Our son likes having my full undivided attention, and the cat wants the rest. Both of them were a clingy mess over the past week as they jostled for who would get me next. I’m so relieved the competition is coming to an end. I’m pretty certain no one is getting any less love or affection than they got before. I can only assume the anxiety of the moment drove the whole mess, and everyone is now content to be back where they were before. I guess I do have to admit, it was a lot of work to get my Mom settled. They might’ve had to sacrifice a little of my attention for me to help her get comfortable.

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Routines

Routines

Routine is the foundation upon which you can direct your family’s chaotic energy into a safe direction. Having an established routine allows your children to go through the necessary motions of their day without worrying about what’s next. Some of the common hurdles are inconsistent nap times and unexpected activities. Of course, these are all more pronounced when you have more than one child. Fortunately, there are tricks to handle even the most frustrating situations.

Quiet time is a great way to handle nap time, especially for your children who no longer take naps. Set aside a two-hour window and enforce quiet activities for all of your children. You get less noise, your napping child gets to rest, and your remaining children get time to do quiet activities like coloring or homework. All of your children may not agree, but everyone wins.

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Special Needs Link Party – Aug 4 ’16

Special Needs Link Party – Aug 4 ’16

Welcome to the Special Needs Link Party!  I’m so glad you could join us!

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