10 Considerations When Buying Toys for Children With Disabilities

Content provided by: National Lekotek Center

Holiday time is exciting for all children, and children with disabilities are no different. There are nearly 6 million children with disabilities (including 12.7% of school children) who will receive holiday gifts this season. Yet because gift givers are afraid of selecting the “wrong” toy, many children with disabilities find pajamas and socks wrapped up in those brightly-colored boxes. Not the toy of their dreams.

The National Lekotek Center, a non-profit organization dedicated to making play and learning accessible for children with disabilities, has recently debuted the AblePlayTM toy rating system and website that provides comprehensive information on toys for children with special needs so parents, special educators, therapist and others can make the best choices for the children in their lives with disabilities.

Choosing toys for children with disabilities can be difficult. AblePlay’s independent toy reviews and detailed information help you get “beyond the box” to understand each toy’s unique features, creative ways each toy can be used with children with special needs and skills that will be enhanced as a result. Search for an AblePlay-Rated Toy today and unlock the magic of play for your children with special needs. http://www.ableplay.org/

The National Lekotek Center recommends the following Top Ten Things to Consider When Buying Toys for Children with Disabilities:

  1. Multisensory appeal: Does the toy respond with lights, sounds, or movement? 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. Where toy will be used: Can the toy be used in a variety of positions such as side-lying or on wheelchair tray? Will the toy be easy to store? Is there space in the home?
  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 most any child would like? Does it tie-in with other activities like T.V., movies, books, clothing, etc.?
  6. Self-expression: Does the toy allow for creativity, uniqueness, and choice-making? Will it give the child experience with a variety of media?
  7. Adjustability: Does it have adjustable height, sound volume, speed, level of difficulty?
  8. Child’s individual characteristics: Does the toy provide activities that reflect both developmental and chronological ages? Does it reflect the child’s interests and age?
  9. Safety and durability: Consider the child’s size and strength in relation to the toy’s durability. Is the toy and its parts sized appropriately? Does the toy have moisture resistance? Can it be washed and cleaned?
  10. Potential for interaction: Will the child be an active participant during use? Will the toy encourage social engagement with others?

Find Support

Looking for more tips on buying toys for children with disabilities?

Visit the My Child Without Limits support community and talk to fellow parents, caregivers, and experts about great gifts that they’ve bought.

Resources

Are you looking for resources to help your child?

Check out our Resource Locator to find the government and non-government agencies that can provide the services that your child needs.