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A Pediatric Perspective

Tuesday Tidbit – Special Toys for Special Kids

Published December 7, 2010 11:23 PM by Wendy Hof


"Whoever said money can't buy happiness simply didn't know where to go shopping."
                                                                                                                 ~Bo Derek

It's that time of year again.  Time to find that "perfect" gift for the ones we love.  When it comes to the children we love who have special needs this can be a difficult under taking.  Today's tidbit will hopefully help with this.  I've compiled a list of web sites that offer suggestions on toys that will help in the various areas of development (auditory, cognitive, fine motor, gross motor, sensory, speech/language, and visual). 

It might help to start with a list.  What is it you want the toy to do? Is there a particular skill that the toy could enhance?  It is important to keep in mind what the child is capable of being able to do.   If they have restrictions or challenges, will this toy frustrate them or will it be something they can play with and have fun with while increasing their skills? 

  • ToysRus comes out with their "Toys for differently-abled kids" each year. You can search this list by skills, by age group, and by gender.

  • Fat Brain Toys has an extensive list of toys for a large variety of special needs & challenges ranging from Autism to socialization challenges. When you click on the special need/challenge it will take you to a specific list of toys that can even be broken down further by age and/or by interest.
  • Fisher-Price®, along with Let's Play! Projects, has a list of toys and play stages for children with special needs/challenges. Their list is also broken down by the skill level and then by if they need some assistance or a lot of assistance. Once you choose an option you will be taken to a page that offers suggestions on how to get ready for play and then the toys that will help in the chosen area.
  • Fun and Function is a site that offers a variety of toys and therapy equipment, some of which is actually quite affordable. Even if you don't purchase from this site it is a good place to look for ideas. They have an extensive list of toys grouped in a number of areas ranging from Sensory Integration to sleep help to weighted clothing options and toys and therapy suggestions to help during traveling.

These sites are offered as an option for finding the "perfect" gift that will help the child(ren) in your life to work on skills they are having challenges with, to learn new skills, and/or to just have fun with toys that they can use and that will not leave them frustrated because they are not the right "fit" due to their special needs.

If anyone has any other suggestions please feel free to comment or email me.  Your thoughts are always welcome! 

Have fun shopping! 




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