Week 1 - Products for kids living with disabilities
Monday - The discussion:
Well, it's that time of year again. Time for Let Kids Play to start its annual 50 Toys in 50 Days series. For those of you who read the blogs last year, you know that you end up learning about way more than 50 toys. This year, I have divided each week into a different category, with Monday being an introduction and Sunday being a list of toys I wanted to included by didn't have room earlier in the week.
This week, I will be talking about clothes, gadgets, and toys that parents who are raising children with disabilities have told me they can't live without. All of the toys this week, have been recommend by a parent with a child with special needs--so you know that it works for at least one child. Please send in other items that you can't live without, and I'll share them as we go along.
- After a child opens the box, s/he plays with the toy for more than a day, preferably years and years.
- I don't love plastic. I prefer natural materials. However, some great toys are made of plastic.
- Toys should be open-ended; meaning the child decides how it should be played with. So I don't like block sets where there is only one thing to build or an arts project that results in the picture on the front of the box.
- I think toys should challenge a child, help grow their brain, develop their muscles, and help them learn to play together.
- For the most part, I don't think there is a need for a "special needs" toy. I think that every child regardless of their ability has things they like to do and play with and most likely there is a toy out there in the general public that will work for them. This is especially true if the toy is for play and not therapy (there is a difference, but that is a whole different discussion).
- I'm not big on batteries and plugs. Although rules can be broken.
- Finally, I should be able to buy it on-line, so I never have to go to a mall, and hopefully the shipping is free.
I have found tons of toys through the years that meet my criteria. I have looked through hundreds of catalogues. I went to Toy Fair once again to see literally thousands of toy manufacturers. Sometimes the toys I write about will cost a fortune, and other times the toy will be under $20. On Mondays, I will share research about the importance about a particular type of play thing.
decide to purchase any of the toys, I would love for you to purchase it through
a link in the posting or the link of one of the stores listed at http://letkidsplay.blogspot.com.
I make a whopping 4-10% for referring you to the toy. None of your
purchases are going to help me make my mortgage payment, but maybe I'll earn
enough to buy a great toy for my kids. : )
I hope that you will make comments and let me know if you have used the toy before and what you think about it. . I look forward to sharing with you. If you like my favorites, share them far and wide.
One of the ways to survive the ups and downs of raising a child with a disability is the ability to laugh at ourselves and at the world. Sometimes other people don't understand our brand of humor at all, but that's OK. We are still going to laugh and make black humor jokes.
Humor can also be a way of teaching others about our child in a safe, non-threatening way. Chrissy Lessey decided to raise autism awareness by putting together a line of clothing, bags, bumper stickers and more--many of them humorous. Chrissy has a son on the Autism Spectrum and started her website Spectrum Hope as a way to share her experiences with other parents. Continue reading...
When another mom recommended Automoblox cars, I was so excited. I love these cars. They are high quality, durable, and provide a lot of play value for your money.
Automoblox are cars that come apart so that you can redesign it. It is a combination of a car and blocks (now you know why it is called Automoblox). When children are pre-schoolers, they play with an automoblox just like any car, moving it around and using their imagination. But because of the quality of the car, it feels good in their hands and it is easy to maneuver. Continue reading...
When I asked parents who are raising children with
autism, what toy they cannot live without, the number on answer I got was a
This is because children with autism often have sensory issues with their vestibular and propioceptive systems. According to Jason Ladock, "The vestibular sense is very important for the preception of movement in the body, and is routed through the stimulation of the inner ear as the head's position is changed. the propioceptive sense is the perception of movement in the body as communicated through the ligaments, joints, and muscles." Continue reading...
One mother I talked to strongly
recommended a Time Timer. She said, "It is a lifesaver. Just put it in front
of him and tell him "you can play DS until the red is gone, but then we
need to leave" or, "you have to eat your beans before the red is
gone" - it's like magic. I couldn't live without it."
According to a Pocket Full of Therapy, "The concept of how much time is left, is difficult to grasp, especially for our special education students". These unique timers provide a clear visual display of the time remaining. Set to any time between 1-60 minutes, time is up when the red shield is no longer visible. Timers run silently but now have the option of a single auditory cue to indicate the end of that session. Continue reading...
Here is my story from when my son was little before we dealt with his GI issues...
We would feed him, carry him to the car seat, buckle him in and he would throw up. As all parents know, because all parents have been through this at least once in their life, there is nothing worse than having to clean vomit off a car seat.
Here is a recap of our first week in our 50 Toys in 50 Days
series. As you know this week, parents who are raising children with
disabilities talked about toys and gagdets they can't live without.
Here is what they recommended:
Nomie Baby--the removable, washable car seat
Trampoline (from Fat Brain Toys or from Pocket Full of Therapy)
Spectrum Hope T-shirts
Here are other suggestions that I didn't have space for this year:
Glitter Filled Crystal Ball Large Glitter or water filled balls for visual stimulation.
The Farmer Says See 'n Say
Pencil Grips--Pocket Full of Therapy sells 13 different types to find the one your child needs)
Gripables--easy to hold spoon, knife and fork
Of course, as with any child, what you can't live without depends on the child's ability, interest, age, and disability. But this list comes from people who know.
NEXT WEEK BLOCKS AND CONSTRUCTION TOYS!