Games, Toys, and Hobbies
Adaptive Toys for Special Needs Children
Updated on June 23, 2012 Cari Jean moreCari Jean is a freelance writer and author. Her inspiring memoir, “Having Faith” is on the market on Amazon. She resides in North Dakota.
Contact Author It’s no secret that kids love toys.” If kids had their way, they’d have every toy imaginable. Toys will be an effective way for teenagers to make use of motor skills, to learn to play by themselves and to learn to share with others. But what happens when children do not have the required skills to play with their toys? Kids with special needs may not be capable to play with many of the mainstream toys available. That is why there’s a marketplace for adaptive toys for special needs children.
adaptable playstation controller
AblePlay – Play products for Children with Disabilities and Special Needs
This helpful website rates toys that can be found for special needs children and divides the toys into categories in response to physical, sensory, communicative and cognitive needs.
Finding the correct Toy
There are different adaptive toys available for different special needs. For instance, a baby with cerebral palsy who has poor motor skills might find switch-activated toys more helpful while a toddler with autism would do better with toys that promote sensory. Adaptive toys are usually made so that a special needs child can improve the skill that they’re lacking.
When looking for adaptive toys to fit your child’s needs, it is usually important to remember age appropriateness and the ability for your child to achieve developmental goals. It’s important to talk to those who regularly work together with your child, equivalent to an occupational therapist, early interventionist, pediatrician or special education teacher. You don’t need to get your child a toy that only causes frustration.
which of the five senses does it appeal to?
where will the toy be used and will the child be able to make use of it in various positions? For instance, in a wheelchair, stander or lying on the floor?
will the toy allow the child to interact with others or allow the child to play on his/her own?
is it suited to the kid’s mental and social development?
red button switch abby cadabby – connect a switch to the toy and push the button to activate her talking and singing Switch-Activated Toys
Many special needs toys are switch-activated, meaning that a child simply presses a button to activate the toy. Some toys include the special button installed but others it’s a must to connect to a special switch. The button switches are available in quite a lot of sizes, shapes, colors and textures. Besides switches that must be pressed, they may come as puff switches where the child puffs into a device to activate the toy. The puff switches are for those who’re severely disabled and have very limited motor skills.
Companies Who Sell Adaptive Toys
There are various companies who make and sell adaptive toys. This website provides a comprehensive list for many alternative special needs.
Kore Patented WOBBLE Chair, Made within the USA, Active Sitting for Toddler, Pre-School, Kids, and Teens; Kids haven’t got to sit down still anymore – “The very best seat in any Classroom”! – Preschool – Red (12in) Buy Now Adaptive Toys are Expensive
While parents of special needs children appreciate the availability of adaptive toys, they often share the complaint that they are too expensive. For example, an adaptive Tickle Me Elmo costs around $150, while the unadapted version costs $25. There are obvious reasons for the difference in price. Adaptive toys are not mass-produced and there is much more work that goes into making them.
Make your personal adaptive toys. Usually, any toy that runs on batteries could be adapted. There are various websites that contain instructions on tips on how to adapt your individual toys. The link below is one in all many that can take you through the steps to create your personal adaptive toys.
Sometimes there are state agencies through which the toys can be funded. It’s a good suggestion to talk to your Disability Case Manager about such funding before going ahead and spending some huge cash. Also, some programs have toys that you would be able to test to make sure it is a good fit for your child before you purchase it.
Even though adaptive toys are great, they aren’t a necessity. Its okay to purchase ‘regular’ toys to your special needs child but you will have to be sure it is going to be a fun experience, not frustrating. There are plenty of educational toys comparable to those made by VTech or LeapFrog that may still be utilized by your child, though you might have to help them in playing with it. Other toys which might be great for special needs children include puzzles, building blocks, books and balls (again, you’ll probably have to help your child in playing with these toys.)
Adaptive Toys for Handicapped Special Needs Disabled Children
Toys are for All Children
As you possibly can see, there is rather a lot to contemplate when finding the perfect adaptive toy for your special needs child. Adaptive toys might be very fun and rewarding but at the identical time, so can toys that do not should be adapted. As long as the child is thinking about and engages with their toy, they’re learning and improving some skills they may lack. Toys are for all children, but you do have to be more selective when it comes to purchasing toys in your special needs child. When you do find that perfect toy to your special needs child, it can be an especially enjoyable experience.
Faith’s Mom’s Blog
A mother’s journey along with her special needs daughter…I invite you to come back along and share in my journey of religion and faith.
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Adaptive Equipment for Children with Cerebral Palsy
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How Assistive Technology Helps Students with Disabilities
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Sebastian – thanks a lot to your comment. A toy can become a very frustrating thing for a toddler instead of something fun – depending on the abilities a baby has or lacks. Thanks again for stopping by!
This article was very helpful. I work with infants, where they’re just learning how to use their fine motor skills. It’s so true, not all toys are great for all children. With my class I observe them daily to see what skills I must work on with them and never every toy works with all of them at this point. They do get frustrated with certain toys, because they do not yet understand how to make use of it.
Levertis – Your brother seems like an incredible person – thanks so much for sharing about him. I am unable to imagine what it was like years ago trying to find resources and support for those with a disability. Nowadays that information and support is just a click away w/ the Internet. I’m thankful for those who’ve fought for the rights for those w/ special needs as my family and many others are reaping those benefits.
When my brother became blind a few years ago when my siblings and i were young childrem, the realization of it was so devastating to my whole family. We did not understand so many things about this difficult tramsition that he, as well as his family, needed to endure. He was lost in a world of stress and blindness, and those who loved him were groping around to find him. Many years, many frustrating moments, some outside intervention, although minimal, and many mistakes and learning opportunities finally led us to the light that we wanted to see our brother as a young man who soon realized that a disability didn’t have to be a handicap. Today, he is an older man, but has enjoyed a full, challenging life as an independent and productive citizen, advocate for community and people with disabilities, and a family man.
Caroline Desmond-O’Brien 5 years ago
AuthorCari Jean 5 years ago from Bismarck, ND
HomerMCho – thanks a lot in your comment. I do hope it is useful for children with special needs.
Another useful hub for children with special needs. Interesting topic. Parents with this types of children must read this hub.
ktrapp – thanks to your comment – actually the hub of the day article was on assistive technology for students with disabilities – but that’s ok. What an incredible website – thanks so much for sharing.
Cari, I noticed this text within the “hub of the day” section and just wanted to share some information with you and a few of your readers. I used to do work for a company called the National Lekotek Center and so they do various work for children with disabilities. They have a website, http://ableplay.org/ , where they rate non-adapted toys for how well the toys could be for children with physical, cognitive, sensory, or communicative disabilities. Each toy also has a review that includes ways to adapt it to satisfy specific needs.
Rose Clearfield 6 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin
celeBritys4africA – thanks so much for your kind comment.
God bless you on your wonderful work.
AskAshlie3433 6 years ago from WEST VIRGINIA
I just thought this was an awesome hub for you to do. Very cool. You have got a way with words Cari. Best wishes. Expect and except!
Shane – thanks a lot in your heartfelt comment and yes, I do expect miracles!
Thoughtful and helpful HUB .. thanks for its creation.
I feel main thing to rmember is they’re kids it doesn’t matter what direction or toys you decide to go with.
I understand on the high price thing too for the special toys always bugged me too .. similar with adatptive technology the cost is outragiouse for most items … it cost me more for the softwear to make use of my PC then the PC itself does practically .. but yes such as you said not widely made so price they feel needs to be high .. I don’t fully agree but is the best way it’s for now.
AuthorCari Jean 6 years ago from Bismarck, ND
okmom – thanks for that information. We actually go through Easter Seals for our respite care so we should ask them about that program. Thanks on your comment.
Interesting hub. Easter Seals offers a program which lends appropriate toys to children with challenges for one month. All it takes is a phone call to your closest Easer Seals.
toneyahuja – thanks so much in your comment. You are right, toys can do many things for children. Thanks for stopping by.
good information on adaptive toys for children.Ah awesome information on toys. Actually toys are the robust mean to sooth and entertain the kids, whether these are electronics, animal stuffed toys. Easy to choose and buy the toys online http://instantoys.com
RoseGardenAdvice – thanks so much to your comment. Very interesting about your friend working with special needs children in the Middle East – I am wondering if they’ve just as many or less resources for special needs children as we do here in the U.S.
I’ve a friend who works with special children in the Middle East and am sure she would find your hub very useful in her work. The checklist for understanding the kind of toy a baby needs is well thought out. Special kids needing special toys is something I hadn’t considered until I read yr hub. Thanks.
PMHD 7 years ago from USA
I think so.
macie – thanks for reading. Take a look at the next link it may help with what you’re in search of.
macie 7 years ago
Looking for info on big mac switches or other adaptive switches that enable user to turn on and off appliances? Unsure if adapter is needed?
dansmith86 7 years ago
TurnOnYourSenses – thank you so much to your comment and as a pediatric physical therapist I totally commend you for all you do to assist children. I don’t know where we can be without our daughter’s PT – she is amazing! She has helped immensely in teaching our daughter methods to “drive” her powerchair. These kids really do have amazing spirits.
Great Hub. I, too am captivated with toys. How do you do the hub mob feed? I assumed that was great! I am also a pediatric physical therapist and I love when children with special needs interact with a toy and their eyes light up. I miss working with children who were more physically involved because they taught me to appreciate the little things in life. I taught just a little boy how to make use of an electric wheelchair and as he was speeding down the hallway he said, “Look, I’m running!” What a lovely little spirit! So energetic!
clare 7 years ago
ateenyi – thank you a lot on your comment, for following and for therefore many exclamation points!
quildon – thank you for your comment. I really admire the knowledge and patience of therapists who work with kids. Thanks for all your hard work!
screation – thanks for adding to the list of finding the correct toy. I’ll add them into my hub. Thanks again.
Bearfoot – thanks so much for stopping in and thanks for your comment.
Great Hub Cari!!!!!!
The clarity and balance shine from this hub. The toys fascinate every one, and kids are just attracted towards it instantly. The type of visual delight these colorful toys provide in unsurpassed. I’ve added my list to follow. Thanks a lot for providing so fruitful information.
Great hub. As an occupational therapist who has worked with special needs kids in the school system, I can relate to what you’re saying. The suitable toy can do so much for a child’s – not just a special needs child – physical in addition to intellectual development. Now when i buy toys for my grandkids I think about how the toy benefits the child.
thanks Cari Jean for this useful hub.
When choosing a toy for a baby with special needs the next factors should be carefully considered:
Is it appealing and interesting to the child
Is it suited to the child’s mental and social development? The toy shouldn’t
amulets 7 years ago from Singapore
Nice hub. I remembered when I was young, my parents simply buy things that I wanted. But I will have them for not less than a number of years until it is un-usable before discarding. I have friends that having toys that piles up your complete room.
I’m lucky that I don’t should do the work of caring for any child, much less a special needs one. But this does give me the “Warm fuzzies’ Knowing that these childern are lucky enough to have people who love them.
That is something that each kid needs. Parents who love their kids are, as we say on the web “Manufactured from win.”
JenDobson27 – thanks for stopping in, I like getting comments from new hubbers. It is true that folks just get so busy they forget to have fun! Thanks also for becoming a follower.
HealthyHanna – welcome to HubPages – it is a great online community. I appreciate your comment and agree there is numerous learning and healing in play.
JenDobson27 7 years ago
Absolutely, play is extremely important at young ages especially, and I think it’s also important that we still have ‘play time’ and free time as we get older too. So may time people just get busy and forget the way to have some fun. Great Hub Cari! I actually enjoyed reading it and have added you to my followers list.
Play is so important for all of us–disabled or not. There’s a number of healing and learning in play. I have been working with a play therapist, and it’s amazing what we can learn from play. So if you’re one who has a tough time putting things out of your mind, it gives relaxing and playing a brand new meaning and way of ‘working’.
stars439 – thank you a lot to your comment. Is Becky your only daughter? Our daughter has CP and she is our only child, she too is very beautiful. It is vitally wonderful that there are people who purposely find ways to assist those with special needs.
That is and extremely important hub Cari Jean. Our daughter Becky was born with a neurological disability that crippled her.She has never walked, and only uses one hand and might see from just one eye. Fortunately Becky is very beautiful. Today she is our adult daughter that we take care of.
You’ve gotten touched on to an important need for the disabled, the necessity for creative minds to take a little bit time in inventing things that disabled citizens can use to improve the standard of their lives. God Bless you dear heart.
rmcrayne – thank you so much in your comment. I’d like to see some “companion pieces” on this topic! I shall be looking forward to them.
Cari Jean you probably did an amazing job on this hub. I saw my notification in my daily HP email when it was published a couple of days ago. I didn’t get to read it immediately, but it surely has been on my mind! You have got me fascinated by companion pieces. It’s been some time since I wrote a clinically oriented hub, so I assume I’m overdue. For those who don’t see something in the following few days, be at liberty to shoot me a friendly reminder! Hope you and your loved ones are off to a cheerful New Year.
Pamela99 – I do know the parents benefit from the toys just as much as the children do! It is also great to have the ability to see your special needs child play independently which is something even special needs children need.
janiek13 – thanks so much to your comment. Yes, it is true, parents get so caught up with the special needs they sometimes forget the importance of just letting their child be a baby. Playtime might be just as important as physical therapy.
What an exquisite hub. Special children require more care and attention and I’d imagine these toys are good for the parent as they are for the child. We all love our children and want them to have any advantage possible.
Excellent choice of subject matter. Sometimes you might be so busy taking good care of the special needs, the playing part that is important for a child could be overlooked.