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Ten Special-Needs School Tools

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Help your child sit stiller, write better, and read easier with these cool school tools for students with learning disabilities, fine motor delays, sensory integration challenges, or a bad case of the wiggles.

1. Pencil Grips

Boy Writing in Notebook
Jose Luis Pelaez Inc/Blend Images/Getty Images
How your child holds the pencil may make a big difference in the legibility of her writing, and the amount of fatigue he feels doing it. This sampler includes nine different shapes, sizes, colors and textures to help you find the right one for your uneasy writer.

2. Pencil Toppers

Having a little twiddly thing atop a pencil to play with can help wiggly kids burn off some fidgety energy. You may wish you had one to fiddle around with at your next IEP meeting.

3. AlphaSmart

Cheaper than a laptop and easier to carry, AlphaSmarts are compact word-processing machines that run on regular batteries, automatically save your work, open files with the touch of a button, and show only a few lines at a time to limit distractions.

4. Paper with Raised Lines

Writing between the lines can be a major challenge for kids with fine motor issues, but this paper makes things a little easier by providing little pencil speed bumps. Slightly raised lines help your child know when to stop, and gives some nice proprioceptive input.

5. Tilted Surface

If writing on a flat desk is hard for your child, see if a tilted surface makes things easier. A metal clip on top keeps the paper from slipping, and keeps kids from having to worry about holding the paper down.

6. EZC Reader

Bookmarks with a transparent colored strip across the top help kids with reading problems focus on the words in front of them. A free downloadable study guide offers information on why EZC Readers work and how to use them most effectively.

7. Weighted Lap Animal

A bear in the lap is worth two "Won't you PLEASE sit down"s. The heavy weight of this stuffed bear gives a lot of proprioceptive input to reduce hopping-out-of-chair, wrapping-feet-around-chair-legs, rocking-back-and-forth, and general parental nagging.

8. Fidget Toys

Little hand-size mini-toys are fun to squeeze and fiddle and feel, siphoning off some of your child's distractible energy to make it easier to concentrate on what matters. Cycle through these eight tiny playthings if your child needs a deep bag of tricks, or let your child find the one she likes most and keep that one close at hand.

9. Disc-o-Sit

Put a little thrill in sitting still. This nubby rubber cushion with a little bit of air inside lets your child get the wiggling and jiggling she needs without having to get up and move around.

10. Pencil Weight

Work out those fingers! If your child has a light touch with the pencil, a pencil weight may be just the trick to making writing more legible -- and more comfortable, too.
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