7 Toy Ideas For The Special Needs Child

When purchasing or making a toy for your child, it’s important to remember that no two children are exactly alike.  They each grow and mature at their own pace. That’s pretty obvious to you if you are the parent of a child with Cerebral Palsy or Autism. So to simplify toy selection, let’s talk about why children need toys in the first place.

Healthy Development Requires Play

Healthy development requires growth in major life domain areas; mental, emotional, social, and physical. For parents, play is often a mini break, but for a child play is essential to how they learn. Certainly play helps to defuse excess energy, but play is so much more than that. Through play children learn about; how their body functions, about their world, the environment they live in, and the people around them.

Essentials in Toy Selection

An important part of toy selection is being aware of purpose, safety, and age-appropriateness. If you have ever purchased a toy for a child you didn’t know well, you may have depended on the manufacturers recommended age label. And for that distant cousin where you are making an educated guess on toy selection, that method works great. But as we mentioned earlier, all children are different. The manufacturers label on age appropriateness may help more in determining safety as it relates to age. Don’t worry if the toy is labeled for a younger child. Think instead “Is it a toy your child will enjoy?”  Sometimes you may purchase a toy that your child can use for specific learning activities. If your child is learning colors, the best selection of primary colors will probably be in the toddler section.

7 Toy Ideas Sorted by Function

Now to look at a more in depth discussion of the types of toys you might be interested in for your special needs child. First of all, you are their parent and therefore the most knowledgeable about your child’s physical and/or mental limitations. If you are unsure, consult with your child’s teacher or occupational therapist. The goal is to have a mixture of toys that are at functional level and some that are just slightly ahead. You don’t want your child frustrated by a space age erector set that you need a genius mentality to play with. Examples: pop-up toys, alphabet sound puzzle, building blocks, light up toys, squirting water toy Examples: There are multiple puzzle types on the market. Pay attention to the number of pieces, start small, work up. Start with non-connecting puzzles where the pieces don’t sit together. Many will be three dimensional providing opportunity for pinching, grasping, picking up. Work up to jig saw puzzles, or puzzles where the pieces interconnect. Again start with a small number of parts and work up. Examples: Alphabet sing-along, musical instruments, Simple Simon, Simon says Examples-Harmonica, kazoo, chew sticks, sing along microphone, toys that require blowing for the parts to move, blow bubbles Examples-squishy balls, swings, hammock, Play Doh, fidgets, headphones, aromatherapy, music makers of any kind, water and sand tables, stuffed animals Examples-coloring books, cut and paste, tearing paper, finger paints, basic weaving, beads, yarn, decorate the room, decorate the wheelchair Examples-Toy food, toy kitchens, shopping carts, help you cook lunch, menus, Our years of experience have left us with tons of ideas that we’d love to share.  RSVP Homecare provides respiratory therapy and durable medical equipment support in Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana.