Google+ Authentic Parenting: Toys For Special Needs Children

Monday, March 18, 2013

Toys For Special Needs Children

written by Marcela De Vivo It’s important to find toys for your special needs child that will help them develop happily and healthily. The right toys will not only help your child’s development and communication skills, but also help them to have fun.

Take a minute to decide what specific need you are trying to fulfill for your child and choose a toy accordingly.

Social Engagement and Interaction

These toys and games will help your child to be more social with you and other children. Toys that incorporate interests that a child already has will motivate them to work more towards expressive and meaningful interactions.

The types of toys that you should look for should be simple to play with and should provide the right amount of sensory input in a relaxed setting to help reinforce successful play behaviors.
They can be played alone or with a partner.

For example, a musical instrument can be played alone or be used as an opportunity for imitation. Your child can copy you after you play, making the activity more social. This is a great time to incorporate taking turns with your child as you pass the instrument back and forth.

Emotional Development and Regulation

These games will help your child better convey and understand his or her emotions. Puppets are a great way to teach your child how to recognize different types of emotions. This activity can lead to conversations about why it is or isn’t appropriate to act a certain way in specific situations.

This also helps special needs children become more aware of social cues, therefore enabling them to better control their feelings in public and at home.

These toys will help them to connect better with the people around them.

Creative Thinking and Imaginary Play

These games aid in the development of logic, meaning your child will be able to better grasp what a friend or family member is feeling or needs at the moment.

Dolls and dollhouses with people and play food inspire creative thinking since your child will most likely build a scenario around what they are doing with the doll or in the dollhouse.

These kinds of toys and type of play greatly help children express themselves and become more confident people.

Sensory Motor Development

Image: JaneArt
Toys that aid in helping the development of motor skills that will be very important later when your child is older and possibly able to participate in more physical activities, and so will need to be aware of their bodies.

Special needs children should be given ample opportunities to enhance these skills. Toys that promote this include: bubbles, puzzles and building blocks. These toys support a haptic aspect in play in that they allow your child to touch and feel them.


Communication is key to knowing what your child needs and how they are feeling. These types of games will help get them talking to you and expressing those things in a non-frustrated way. Apps for the iPhone or tablet can be really helpful in helping a special needs child interact more with the people around them.

Proloquo2go is an app that children of varying literacy levels and speech capabilities can easily learn to use. By tapping a few simple keys on the keyboard, a child can express what he or she is trying to say. More simply, the Yes/No app provides the option to tap “yes” and “no” buttons for children with disabilities to answer basic questions quickly.

Cognition and Problem Solving

These games are a lot like the sensory motor games and will help promote a sharp memory. Mastering new skills is not only exciting, but a good confidence boost. Memory games, like Go Fish, and science kits provide a healthy, challenging learning experience.

No matter the game you choose, remember to make things fun for your child. This will ensure they continue to expand their knowledge and communication skills while playing games and having a great time.

About the author:
Marcela De Vivo is a freelance writer in the Los Angeles area. Her oldest son was diagnosed with cerebral palsy when he was an infant and since then she has worked on with several special needs advocacy groups to ensure he has the best care and education possible.



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