Monday, June 04, 2007

10 things to consider when buying toys for children with special needs

I came across this list somewhere and thought it was pretty helful so I wanted to share it.

  1. Multi-sensory appeal - Does the toy respond with lights, sounds or movement to engage the child? Are there contrasting colors? Does it have a scent? Is there texture?
  2. Method of activation - Will the toy provide a challenge without frustration? What is the force required to activate? What are the number and complexity of steps required to activate?
  3. Places the toy will be used - Will the toy be easy to store? Is there space in the home? Can the toy be used in a variety of positions such as side-lying or on a wheelchair tray?
  4. Opportunities for success - Can play be open ended with no definite right or wrong way? Is it adaptable to the child's individual style, ability and pace?
  5. Current popularity - Is it a toy that will help the child with disabilities feel like "any other kid"? Does it tie in with other activities like books and art sets that promote other forms of play?
  6. Self-expression - Does the toy allow for creativity, uniqueness and making choices? Will it give the child experience with a variety of media?
  7. Adjustability - Does it have adjustable height, sound volume, speed and level of difficulty?
  8. Child's individual abilities - Does the toy provide activities that reflect both developmental and chronological ages? Does it refect the child's interest and age.
  9. Safety and durability - Does the toy fit with the child's size and strength? Does it have moisture resistance? Are the toy and it's parts sized appropriatly? Can it be washed and cleaned?
  10. Potential for interaction - Will the child be an active participant during use? Will the toy encourage social engagment with others?

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