It's a well-known fact that kids love playing with toys. For some children who have special needs, however, even the seemingly simple act of playing with a toy can be quite difficult. For those who need help finding the perfect toy for a child with special needs, here are three questions you will want to ask yourself before making the purchase.
Will This Toy Work in Light of the Child's Physical Abilities?
Some children with severe mobility impairments have a lack of fine motor skills that make it difficult to hold onto toys or handle toys with small parts. If the child is wheelchair bound, this can make it difficult to play with certain toys as well. For these children, switch-activated toys might be appropriate. For children who can't push large buttons or switches, there are also toys that can be activated by puffing air into a switch.
Which of the Five Senses Does This Toy Appeal To?
You will need to make sure the toy appeals to the appropriate senses, which of course include touch, smell, sight, taste, and hearing. For children with vision impairments, instead of finding a toy that appeals to their sight, you may want to find one in which they can use their sense of hearing. A book with audio capability would be a good example. If the child is working on developing their touch, hearing, and sight, an interactive computer game would be ideal. If the child is easily overstimulated, you'll also want to ensure the toy does not provide too much stimulation. For example, if they are oversensitive to noise, you'll want to make sure to get a quieter toy.
Will the Child Even Want to Play With It?
Just because the toy might be appropriate for the child's physical capabilities and would be great for helping develop some of their senses does not necessarily mean the child will want to play with it. Just because a child has special needs doesn't mean that they aren't like any other child in having certain preferences when it comes to toys. Children with special needs, like all children, have their favorite colors, television characters, and animals. While they might not play with a switch-activated cat, they might love a switch-activated puppy or horse.
Buying a toy for a child with special needs can be challenging, but by asking yourself these three questions, you can make a better purchase. Many toys for children with special needs can be found online through companies such as Special Needs Toys Online.