Special needs children often have a variety of sensory issues that can complicate teaching them ordinary life skills. Children with autism are particularly sensitive to loud or high frequency sounds. My daughter, for example, would scream and run when the vacuum was turned on. She wouldn’t even allow me to use the vacuum let alone learn to use it herself. Other special children may have trouble with heavy weights or with managing long cords. Improved technology has come to our aid, however, in the form of the Electrolux Ultra Silencer series of canister vacuums. It can help you in teaching life skills for special needs children.
There are a number of important features that make this machine a good one for special needs children. The main one from my perspective is noise level. They are not kidding when they call it an ultra silencer. You can easily carry on a conversation when it is running. My super-sensitive autistic daughter will gladly work with it because it doesn’t hurt her ears. It is also very easy to give someone instructions while it is running without having to shout. That way, you can help them do a good job and give them helpful hints without having to turn the vacuum off all the time. In addition, the lower noise level means there is less distraction both for the child you are teaching and anyone else in the same room. Everybody wins.
A second important feature is its light weight. The canister itself doesn’t weigh very much nor does the handle that would be all the child really needs to lift. It rolls pretty easily across the floor without requiring a lot of strength to move it. Even small children should be able to handle it, but would certainly be able to move it around if you took the floor nozzle attachment off and just used the hose with them. Using the hose alone on the corners and edges might be a good first lesson for a young child.
A third important feature is the ease with which you can handle the cord and the attachments. The long metal telescopic tube that goes from the hose to the floor attachment adjusts very easily and can be shortened for young children. The telescopic tubes comes easily off of the handle with just a push on a button. The cord is retractable, at least on the model I have, which means that you just push a button and it winds itself back into the machine. Your only concern there is making sure it doesn’t whip the plug into someone. That just means not letting them do it too fast. The other attachments, that you may not even use with a beginner, are also easy to use.
The only thing I have found I don’t like about the machine is the way it exhausts up out of the back of the machine. It you are using the machine yourself, you would never even notice this. You do notice it when you are behind the machine instructing someone else. So, I get air blown in my face during the lesson. The good news is that the air that comes out of the exhaust seems to be very clean thanks to the HEPA filter. I am extremely allergic to dust and it never makes my eyes puffy. So, it’s a little annoying, but does no real harm. I’m not sure what the manufacturer could have done differently since who would expect someone to be standing behind the machine when it was being run. I consider this a very minor inconvenience.
I got my model from the E-Vacuum Store. Here is the link to their selection of Electrolux canister vacuums: http://evacuumstore.com/c-1488-electrolux-canister-vacuums.aspx. You can also go directly to the Electrolux website at http://www.electroluxappliances.com/Homecare/Vacuum-Cleaners/. There are many good places to buy these machines, so you can shop around for the best prices.
I think you will find this sort of vacuum cleaner to be very useful in teaching special needs children how to vacuum. It can be frustrating trying to teach them life skills when their sensory system or physical strength works against you. But you can’t give up and Electrolux has a product that will help. If you know of another similar product, please let us know in the comments and we’ll review it, too. Keep up the good work!
© 2013, Margaret. All rights reserved.