Thursday, October 28, 2010

Gifts for special needs kids

Some kids like to play with the box and let the toy sit there. Actually, I am all about packaging, too.

But now that we are broke (many of us), and the holidays are coming, what little sussies can we get for special needs kids? You don’t want to patronize or bore, but the age estimates on the package may not tell the whole story when it comes to some children.

Elisa Mintz Delia is a trained play therapist at the Kennedy Krieger Institute says there are toys especially FOR special needs kids, but that regular old toys might do as well. Or even better.

Krieger is all about kids with developmental disabilities. They teamed with the Parents Choice Foundation to test and recommend toys.

Anyhow, they recommend basing the toy on the child’s interest. If possible, talk to the kid, see what rings their chimes—dinosaurs, Barbies, video games, bubble wrap, tissue paper, etc.

Try to pick a toy that builds some skills—painting, hand-eye coordination, memory, or something like that. Finger paint, bikes, balls, Wii games, you can find something.

Try to balance the age in years with the developmental age. If the child is 13, but has the reasoning power of one-year-old, don’t give a rattle. That’s lame. Maybe a rain stick. Or a tape in a simple recorder.

Bs sure toys are safe and tested. An older stronger child could rip something off a toy designed for a younger child.

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Me, I think kids like the unexpected, to be challenged a little, but not frustrated. Or am I describing myself?

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