Toys for Disabled Children
Because there are now many toys available for disabled children, all available in high street shops and specialist catalogues, parents of disabled children need to be careful when they are choosing a toy for their child that they pick something that focuses on fun, not just therapeutic or educational toys.
You don’t have to buy your toys for disabled children toys from a specialist supplier - with a little creativity most toys from high street shops, and general toy retailers can be just as good as the very expensive toys available from specialist catalogues. Disabled children are just the same as able bodied in that a toy is a toy, and they won’t really mind if it’s been customised to suit them!
Having said that, you still need to be careful, as with any child, that any toy is safe for your disabled children to use. Follow the guidelines for age suitability and take into account the warnings about under threes and toys with small parts. If your child has a tendency to put things in their mouth, even though they are older than the 36 month guidance point, exercise caution when buying toys with small parts. A little common sense – and knowing your own child – goes a long way.
Toys For Children with Learning Disabilities
Children with severe learning disabilities and/or autistic features can sometimes carry out different repetitive self stimulating movements such as repetitive rocking, jumping up and down repeatedly, hopping, hitting themselves or other people, spinning etc.
When a child with an autistic spectrum condition is involved in one of these repetitive actions, they will be totally self absorbed and won’t be able to participate in games, play with toys or take part in any activities. It’s best to leave them to do whatever they are doing, but if you feel the need to distract your child with a toy or another activity, some toys are more suitable for children with learning disabilities than others.
If you can’t get your child’s attention with a completely new activity, you might still be able to get them to stop their repetitive actions by offering them a more acceptable alternative activity which gives the same sensory input they are trying to get from jumping or rocking – for example a trampoline, rocking chair, or a garden swing.
Where Can I Get Specialist Toys For Disabled Children?
Toys for the development and play of disabled children are easy to get hold of these days, but it’s unlikely that you’ll get much help from the health service or social services in funding them. Sometimes paediatric occupational therapists can give parents more detailed advice about suitable toys and activities for developing a disabled children’s cognitive, fine and gross motor skills.
There are often specialist toy libraries and support groups for parents of disabled children, places that will loan out toys before you buy them. They also give parents and children the opportunity to play with toys for disabled children, sometimes toys which aren’t widely available and/or expensive to buy.
These centres give you and your child a chance to try out specialist equipment, toys and activities and will be able to give you advice on what may be most suitable for your child.