Kids with special needs have a different way of learning things. They have their own style of learning how to talk, how to feel things physically and emotionally, eye coordination, and how to use their other senses. There are special toys designed to whet their little mind’s curiosity, all with the goal of helping them cross major milestones of childhood.
Wondering what toys these are? Here are the different types of toys your special needs child would love.
Sensory Play Toys
Most special needs kids are either under-responsive to sensation or have sensory processing disorder. In this case, they are unable to feel the difference in texture, and they don’t normally respond to pressure, speed or touch.
Sensory play toys help these kids slowly develop their sensory response systems. In turn, they can maintain focus for longer and stay calm. Examples of sensory toys include,
- Sand tables
- Small trampolines
- Finger paint
- Toys that light up
- Squeezable stress balls or koosh balls
Have a look at sensory toys for children with autism by Safe Sleep Systems.
Toys for Cause and Effect
Such toys are excellent for promoting coordination between their eyes and their hands. The sole purpose of cause and effect toys is to enhance motor, visual, and grasping skills. Quite ideal for kids born with autism. Through repetition of sequences, and exploration, special needs kids use cause and effect toys to realize that their actions lead to specific results. For example, tipping a water bucket causes the water to spill, pushing a button turns on a light. Examples of intriguing toys here include;
- Water squirters
- Sing-a-ma-jigs toys which make different sounds with each squeeze
- Shape sorters
- Light up/ flashing toys
- Pop-up toys
- Clackers or Clappers
- Inflatable Wiggle cushions for better focus and balance
Toys for Oral Stimulation
Oral stimulation is essential at helping engage various aspects of a special kid’s mouth to get them to talk properly. If your kid has a hard time developing oral motor skills, find toys that can help stimulate his or her mouth. In this case, look for;
- Chewable toys like colorful jewelry to teach them how to chew
- Biting tubes for stronger oral muscles and jaw development
- Bubble blowing toys and warbling bird whistles for breath control
Does your child exhibit signs of fine motor delay? Are they lagging in cognitive development? Puzzles are a useful trick to help kids with these issues learn and develop new skills. Their efforts to try and solve a puzzle enables a special needs child to realize that their effort leads to a successful goal. Through pinching, picking up and grasping puzzle pieces in efforts to try and put it together, the child slowly learns how different pieces work together to make a larger picture. Examples of puzzles here include;
- Puzzles with knobs or pegs that don’t necessarily connect. These help the child build fine motor skills. The focus here isn’t so much to solve the puzzle; it is more to help the child grasp, pick and pinch
- Jigsaw puzzles where every piece connects to another piece. This is a step up for a child who has learned the necessary fine motor skills needed to complete a normal puzzle
- Sliding puzzles. Here the child has to slide different squares of a puzzle on a frame to try and put them in the right order. Owing to how challenging this type of puzzle is, it is ideal for older kids
Toys have the potential to increase a special kid’s level of awareness, build focus and concentration, self-regulate/manage, reduce stress, and generally learn new skills. For a child diagnosed with ADHD ADD or any other disability issues, the types of toys featured above are perfect for helping them get there.