Buying Toys for Children with Disabilities Often Leaves Shoppers Unsure

Dec 18, 2008

(PhysOrg.com) -- Children are awaiting the arrival of Santa with anticipation. However, last minute shoppers may find themselves running into hurdles when it comes to choosing toys for children with disabilities. Julie Brinkhoff, associate director of the Great Plains ADA Center at the University of Missouri, says it is easy for shoppers to feel unsure about what to buy for children with disabilities.

“The first consideration should be the child’s interest,” Brinkhoff said. “Children with disabilities have their own unique interests and preferences, just like all children.”

There can be a tendency for some adults to purchase items that are geared toward ‘overcoming’ or ‘rehabilitating’ a disability. Brinkhoff says these types of gifts send the message that a child should strive to be ‘better’ or ‘different’ and that is not a message a child should receive from a present.

The toy or game should be easy to use. That may mean that the toy has adaptable features designed specifically to meet the needs of children with certain disabilities.

“There are balls that beep so they can be chased and caught by children who are blind,” Brinkhoff said. “Also, one-handed video game controllers are available to be used by children or teens with the use of only one arm. Therefore, the focus is not on the disability, but the activity itself and the enjoyment it provides.”

Brinkhoff gives the following tips from the National Lekotek Center, a resource for information on toys and play for children with disabilities:

• Does the toy have multisensory appeal (lights, sounds, scent and movement)?
• Can the toy be activated easily without frustration?
• Does the toy give a child the opportunity for success with no definite right or wrong?
• Is the toy popular so that a child with a disability will feel like ‘any other kid’?
• Does the toy allow for creativity, uniqueness and choice-making?
• Is the toy safe and durable?
• Is the toy adjustable (height, sound volume, speed, level of difficulty)?
• Does the toy provide potential for interaction or encourage social engagement with others?
• Does the toy provide activities that reflect both the developmental and chronological age of the child?

The Great Plains ADA Center is part of the MU School of Health Professions.

Provided by University of Missouri

Explore further: New research demonstrates benefits of national and international device registries

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Mobile apps still collect information on kids (Update)

Dec 08, 2014

Worried that toy stores, fast food chains, and other retailers are tracking your kids online this holiday season? A landmark 2013 law aimed at protecting the privacy of America's youngest mobile consumers ...

More holiday wish lists go digital

Dec 04, 2014

Holly Riefke's two small children still write letters to Santa Claus. Or rather, they print their names on letters Riefke has written on their behalf, and together they drop them into a festive red Macy's mailbox designated ...

Engineers develop gift guide for parents

Nov 21, 2014

Faculty and staff in Purdue University's College of Engineering have come up with a holiday gift guide that can help engage children in engineering concepts.

Young children actively transmit culture

Nov 07, 2014

A hammer has many uses – breaking, prying, bending – but we all know that hammers are supposed to be for hammering nails into wood. It turns out we not only learn such cultural conventions when we're ...

Recommended for you

New approach to particle therapy dosimetry

Dec 19, 2014

Researchers at the National Physical Laboratory (NPL), in collaboration with EMRP partners, are working towards a universal approach to particle beam therapy dosimetry.

Supplement maker admits lying about ingredients

Dec 17, 2014

Federal prosecutors say the owner and president of a dietary supplement company has admitted his role in the sale of diluted and adulterated dietary ingredients and supplements sold by his company.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.