Welcome to Illinois

Finding the right toy for a disabled child

Posted in Toys by Matt at WelcometoIllinois on December 11, 2008

I was previously critical of Toys-R-Us’s “Toy Guide for Differently-abled Kids”, arguing that it was simply a list of toys with no real guidance on matching the abilities or disabilities of the child.

This list of tips to consider when choosing a toy for a child with special needs from the Kennedy Krieger Institute is much more useful.

It doesn’t really apply to us yet but someone out there may find it useful right now and I thought I’d post it here for future reference as well.

1) Buy toys that are developmentally appropriate, or match the child’s motor and cognitive skill level. If you don’t know where the child is developmentally, don’t be afraid to ask their parent.

2) Balance the child’s developmental age with their calendar age. Avoid hurt feelings and embarrassment by finding toys that are developmentally appropriate but not age-specific.

3) Choose toys that are engaging and help build skills. Simple, inexpensive toys such as balls, finger paints, blocks and play dough can build motor skills and coordination. Board games or toys that involve the whole family help build social skills.

4) Make sure the toy is durable and doesn’t have a lot of small pieces. Small pieces or easily broken toys can be a safety hazard, and some disabilities can make working with small pieces difficult.

5) Avoid toys that put kids in a “win or lose” situation. Pick toys and games that can build the child’s self-esteem, and that you know they can succeed in.


2 Responses

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  1. rickismom said, on December 11, 2008 at 5:32 pm

    Woodbine’s book on fine-motor skills
    (and maybe the gross-motor skills as well, I’ve not read it…)
    has a wealth of information of what toys are usefull for what….

  2. Illinois Mom said, on December 13, 2008 at 5:41 am

    rickismom is right about Woodbine’s book–it was a big help.

    When you do get to that purchase point, we ordered a lot of very helpful toys/products from a company called Beyond Play

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