Finding the right shoes for children with special needs is so important. Uncomfortable shoes are a nightmare for anyone, but for children with special needs, other factors come into play that make finding the right pair of adaptive shoes that little bit trickier. Perhaps they are unable to communicate their discomfort to you. Maybe your autistic child hates shoes and needs to find the right sensory friendly shoes. It could be that you need to see an orthotic or orthopaedic specialist for advice and support aids.
In this blog, SpecialKids Company will provide you with some top tips for finding the right special needs shoes for your child.
If you child has any musculoskeletal issues, difficulties walking or problems with their feet, your GP or paediatrician may refer you to Orthotics or to see an Orthopaedic Surgeon.
Both can assess your child’s feet and gait and determine whether they require any support aids to help them to walk. It might be that your child requires prescription insoles, braces, splints, callipers or orthopaedic shoes for kids to help them walk or make their shoes more comfortable. An Orthopaedic Surgeon will also determine if your child needs any surgery.
If your child doesn’t get their feet measured by orthotics, you should make sure you that you get your child’s feet measured to ensure that they are wearing the correct size shoes. Sometimes shoe stores can help parents by offering a quiet time to measure feet if you contact them and ask. If this isn’t possible, or you know that you will struggle to get your child in a shoe shop, you can buy foot measuring devices online.
It’s important to figure out if your child’s shoes are too tight or too loose. Sensory difficulties might impact on their preference, therefore ensuring their shoes are sensory friendly is an important factor. Some children feel more secure in tighter shoes, whereas some might find these too restricting and uncomfortable. If your child is unable to talk to you, but does not like their footwear, this is something to explore.
If your child wears an AFO, you will know just how difficult it can be to find a shoe that fits over the top of them and is easy to do up.
We are a big fan of Billy Shoes, which are functional and fashionable adaptive footwear. Billy Shoes have a really clever feature called fliptop technology, which makes them quick and easy to take off and put on. This makes them ideal for children with special needs and mobility problems. There is a zipper that goes all the way around the front of the shoe, which allows the upper of each shoes to open and fold over completely, where the wearer can place their foot onto the shoe bed unobstructed. These shoes are particularly great if your child wears a splint.
Billy footwear specialist shoes are available in high-top, low-top and Ugg shoe styles, which make them ideal autism friendly shoes. They come in UK sizes 13 to 5.
For some children with sensory issues, socks can be a huge problem. It could be that they don’t like the material or that they find the seams distressing. Seamless socks could be the answer to make them feel more comfortable and secure. EZ Socks are a great option. They have seamless toes, non-skid bottoms and handy little pull up loops to help enable your child to pull their socks up.
We hope that these tips are helpful. Do you have any tips that you would like to share?
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Swimming is a fantastic inclusive activity to do with children with special needs. It’s a great sensory experience that is good fun and has positive benefits for both physical and mental health. It is also an activity that can be done all year round and doesn’t have to be weather dependent (depending on where you choose to swim!).