Lilo and Stitch Will Teach You Everything You Need to Know About Special Needs Family Participation


Because this film will teach you things. It knows stuff. Big shiny universal-truth type stuff.

It has two quotes in particular that will teach you everything you need to know about Special Needs Family Participation.

“Ohana means family. Family means no one gets left behind.”

​and this…

“This is my family. I found it all on my own. It’s little and broken but still good, yeah, still good.”

Thanks to our Firefly friend, Stacy, for making recommending this movie.

Now excuse me, I seem to have something in my eye…

Animal Therapy for Children With Special Needs

Many are now also aware of animal assisted therapy, where animals (usually cats, dogs, rabbits and whatnot) provide comfort and stimulation for people in hospital or a care setting.

The positive effects on patients’ blood pressure and mood are well documented.

However, did you know that animal assisted therapy can be used to improve the lives of children with special needs and disabilities?

Here’s a brief summary of the most common therapies and how they are applied.

Equine therapy

Horse riding can be hugely beneficial for all children, both emotionally and socially, as they bond with the animal and gain a sense of achievement from controlling its movements.

However, the activity can also be used as a form of therapy for those with physical impairments.

It has been reported that experiencing the three-dimensional movements of the animal while on its back have helped children with a range of special needs to develop their motor skills, strengthen core stability and it can even reduce spasms and improve posture and coordination.

Find out more:

Riding for the Disabled UK

Path International (USA/International)

Canine therapy

Dogs are well-known as being sociable and affectionate animals, which makes interacting with them an enjoyable and therapeutic activity.

But dogs are also being included in some occupational therapy activities.

For example, children with neurological conditions such as cerebral palsy can be asked to pet or groom a dog in order to build up strength and dexterity in limbs and hands.

Research shows that children with autism can benefit from time with a therapy dog.

Its calm presence, simple methods of communication, fondness for routine and rules have produced positive results in helping children on the autistic spectrum to relax and communicate.

Find out more:

Dogs for the Disabled (UK)

Therapy Dogs International

Dolphin therapy

Swimming with dolphins is a joyous experience, but there are many centres offering this activity as a form of physical and developmental therapy for children (and adults) with disabilities and impairments.

Water-based activities are popular for children with physical disabilities as the water can be weight-bearing and soothing.

Therapist-led interaction with these friendly swimming mammals is known to be stimulating, non-threatening, and can aid development of communication skills.

Find out more:

The Henry Spink Foundation

Island Dolphin Care

Farm-animal therapy

This is another type of therapy that is thought to be particularly effective for children with autistic spectrum disorders.

Learning about and tending to animals in a structured, safe environment proves beneficial for social skills, communication and understanding of boundaries.

Find out more:

Green Chimneys Farm and Wildlife Centre

Creative Therapy Care (these guys even have a llama on their farm!)

15 Amazing Things To Do in Your GoTo Seat

There are so many things children with special needs can see and do when using the GoTo Seat.

It’s sometimes hard to know where to start, but, perhaps our handy hints might help you decide – brought to you by our amazing Firefly Friends:

1. Supermarket Shopping….

The GoTo Seat was designed by Firefly and UK charity, Cerebra, to help mums and dads take their little boys and girls to the supermarket.

No need for a separate wheelchair and running the gauntlet at the supermarket.

2. Flirting with Supermarket Attendants…

Check out this photo (above) of Austin on his first GoTo Seat shopping adventure.

We do believe Austin is super cute and deserved a kiss from the supermarket till attendant…

but we would like to think the GoTo Seat had a part to play in this!

3. Dining…

The GoTo Seat gives children a sense of normality sitting in a ‘big boy/girl chair’ and participating with the rest of the family at meal times.

It’s really discreet and does not, ‘scream’, disability in a public dining area like other adapted chairs on the market.

Parents also take it to restaurants as it gives that extra trunk support required to keep your little one up right and eating happily.

4. Chilling out…

The GoTo Seat is ideal for kids just chilling out at home or at a friend’s house.

It is really portable and a really good short term substitute for a special adapted chair if only for 15 – 30 minutes.

5. Playing…

The GoTo Seat is a great way for kids to sit and play with a parent or a sibling at a kitchen table or play bench.

It opens up a whole new world for special needs children.

6. In a Swing at the Park…

The GoTo Seat can be used in different types of swings but mainly a bucket swing.

For many children it allows them to enjoy playing on the swings and playing at the park for the very first time.

7. Rocking Chair…

The sense of security and extra long straps on the GoTo Seat allows it to fit into most chairs.

You can easily put the GoTo Seat in a rocking chair and let your little one enjoy themselves in front of the TV or just relaxing rocking back and forward.

8. On an Airplane…

Although the GoTo Seat has not been approved by all airlines, some parents have used it on flights and have loved it.

Contact your airline before take-off to get approval.

9. In a Motorised Vehicle…

This looks like so much fun we wanted to try it ourselves.

The GoTo Seat does give special needs kids a sense of independence and allows them to do things they typically would not be able to do.

10. In the Shopping Mall Play Carts…

We love this so much as it truly allows for so much independence and normality.

11. On a Beach, Summer Seat or Deck Chair…

Coming into the summer months the GoTo Seat can be used on beach chairs and deck chairs due to the length of the straps.

It means mum and dad can allow children to relax and enjoy their holiday knowing that trunk control and head support is available.

12. Participating at Birthday Parties…

For some parents birthdays are a dreaded time as they feel their child is going to stick out in his or her wheelchair.

The GoTo Seat was a revelation for one of our Firefly friends, Gabriel, as it allowed him to sit and participate like everyone else at a birthday party.

13. In a Retro Wagon…

The GoTo Seat fits neatly in this retro wagon and parents have used it out on family walks and on day trips.

Again, with the GoTo Seat being lightweight and multi functional it can be used almost anywhere.

14. In a Bicycle Cart…

We love the sense of freedom the GoTo Seat allows parents and special needs children to experience, we were amazed to see this as some parents have to exclude their children from participating in bicycle rides, this is amazing!

15. On Holidays…

With summer time coming the possibilities are endless with the Firefly GoTo Seat, it can be used at the beach, in restaurants, in the hotel room, in the caravan or motor home, in bicycle trailors or on go karts.

The Cameron family used their GoTo Seat with Seth on their tour of South East Asia, Australia and New Zealand…

16. Amusement and Arcade Rides…

One of the most fun things for any kid to do is enjoy themselves at the fun fair trying out arcade and amusement rides.

But just don’t take our word for it on how the GoTo Seat is making a massive difference to special needs family participation.

Here are some Independent Reviews of the GoTo Seat – Enjoy!

You can buy the GoTo Seat here.

KaraMelissa // Noah’s Miracle // SarahHalstead // Premmeditations // Adapted World // Tough Little Cookies // Was this in the Plan? // Nurturing Noah’s Noggin