It can sometimes be difficult to find an appropriate gift for a child who has special needs. The recommended age that is listed on the box the toy comes in may, or may not, be useful information. Parents can consult toy companies that are special needs friendly, or catalogs of toys for the “differently abled.”
Most parents have a pretty good idea of what kinds of toys their child would like to receive as a gift this year. Often, it is the other members of a child’s extended family that are unsure about what types of toys would be a good choice for your child. There will always be some relatives who find it difficult to shop for children. If your child has special needs, this could make things more complex when it comes to choosing a gift.
Parents may want to direct their relatives to consult a toy catalog that includes toys that are appropriate, and interesting, for kids who have certain types of special needs. Or, they could check out the websites of companies that specialize in toys that are designed for kids who have a special need.
The Toys R Us “Differently-Abled” Guide is a great place to start. It is an easy to use resource that features toys that have been selected because they encourage play for kids that have physical, cognitive, or developmental disabilities. You can look at this guide on the Toys R Us website.
AutismSpeaks has a wonderful list of resources that parents can use to find toys and games that are designed to be used by kids who have an ASD. AutismSpeaks is an advocacy group dedicated to funding biomedical research into the causes, prevention, treatments, and cure for autism. They also raise awareness of autism.
Playworks is a company that provides toys that are designed “to encourage children to play, to learn what happens as a result of their actions, and to build skills”. There are seven sub-categories that you browse in your search for an awesome toy. Those categories are: Distraction, Light Up, Sound, Sound and Light, Texture, Communications, and Multi-Purpose.
Fisher-Price has some excellent advice that can help parents, (or relatives), find a great toy for a child who has a special need. There is an interactive section of the website that allows you to indicate the areas where your child needs assistance. Those categories are: Seeing, Hearing, Manipulating Toys, Thinking & Learning, Moving, and Talking. Use this guide to get suggestions about appropriate toys.
Image by Paul Roth on Flickr