Toys special needs children will love…. recommended by experts

Like normal kids, our children with special needs love to have fun.

Hearing their giggles and laughter uplifts us- parents, caregivers, and even their teachers.

Playing, aside from giving them fun, promotes the enhancement of social skills and development of their imagination and creativity, as well as improvement of their fine and gross motor skills.

More so, learning the basic concepts like colors, shapes and numbers would be benefits from the right toys.


Choosing the best toys special needs children will love and recommended by therapists, should be top in our minds-parents, caregivers, and teachers, when we plan to buy them for our kids.

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Toys that promote learning

I recently read a post from a behavior analyst who said that her daily life consists of treating children with autism spectrum disorders and when she gets home, she implements similar practices with her own children. She uses the same toys for the same reasons.

She believes that all kids want to have fun while they are learning.

Thus, parents need to find developmentally appropriate toys for their kids, whether special or not, to create opportunities for learning while playing.

For our special kids though, because they have delayed mental development, we have to choose toys which are recommended below their chronological age.

We have to consider their mental development. For example, a 10-year-old child with Down syndrome with a mental age of 4-5 years, would enjoy playing a toy for a 5-year old, because a toy for a 10-year-old might be too advanced for him. Toys about numbers for a 5-year old would be identification only of the numbers, or simple counting, but toys for a 10-year-old would be involved with addition, subtraction, or easy multiplication and division.

Here are some toys that experts suggest

1.Melissa & Doug K’s Kids Match and Build Soft BLOCKS SET ( click the image to see the price )

  • These blocks are washable, soft and lightweight, thus ideal for babies, toddlers and older kids with special needs, for easy manipulation and lifting.
  • Kids will learn to identify numbers, animals, and shapes.
  • Skills that they develop include sensory, fine motor, logical, creative, linguistic, communication, and self-esteem.

2. PUZZLES ( click the image to see the price )

  • Our special kids need big puzzles which are extra thick and with large knobs for easier grip.
  • These puzzles enhance their imagination and creativity.
  • Because of delayed mental development, our special kids need to play with simple puzzles so their minds can solve easy problems of identifying shapes and images.
  • Playing with puzzles also develop their fine motor skills, socialization and hand-eye coordination.

3. SPEAK TO ME ( click the image to see the price )

Magic laptop to improve verbal skills

  • For kids with autism, toys that promote interaction like this laptop, that encourages a verbal reply when they push a button, are suitable.
  • Various categories include letters, numbers, farm animals and musical instruments.
  • The games within also enhances imagination, creativity and develops intelligence.

Toys that calm anxiety and improve behavior

Children with emotional and behavioral disorders like ADHD, need to balance fun and calm their anxiety while playing or just sitting down, maybe in a doctor’s office waiting impatiently for his turn.

Usually, they thrive on holding on to something familiar to them like a favorite toy or a calming thing like a pillow.

 

1. SENSORY RING and FIDGET TOY ( Click the image to see the price )Sensory ring and fidget toy for sensory stimulation

  • These soft, flexible rings and rubber spikes reduce stress and anxiety by providing tactile stimulation to calm a racing mind and to bring restless hands busy with something, while doing writing in school or at home.
  • If your kids have short attention span, these bracelets sensory toys bring focus, attention and relaxation, so they are more attentive in school or even at home while doing homework.

 

2. STRETCHY DINO WRAP ( Click here to see the  price )

  • This wrap gets your special child to pretend to be little T-rex roaming around the house.
  • It is perfect for play, pretend, movement, compression and sensory integration.
  • Adults need to supervise the kid to dress up and tuck their hands into the sewn in pockets to wrap themselves snugly inside the stretchy cape.
  • It helps tactile defensive kids and sensory seekers.
  • Attention is sustained for a longer time because the kids enjoy pretend play a lot.

 

3. SENSATIONAL TEXTURED CIRCLE FIDGETS ( Click here to see the price )

  • They have tactile surfaces on each side for fidgeting and sensory exploration.
  • Kids can trace their fingers over the raised circles on one side and feel the fine bristles on the other side.
  • They could also be put on the floor where kids can tickle their feet with the bumps and the bristles.

Toys that Improve Kids’ Fine and Gross Motor Skills

1. GYMNIC HOP BALL ( click the image to see the price )

Gymnic hop ball to improve gross motor skills

  • These hop balls are made of heavy-duty yet soft vinyl latex-free material for long-lasting use.
  • Inflation by a hand or foot pump needs to be done by grown-ups.
  • They are great for exercise indoors and outdoors on smooth surfaces.
  • Our special kids will develop their body coordination, balance, and lymph circulation .
  • They come with a hand grip safety handle.

 

2. MAGNETIC NUMBER MAZE ( click the image to see the price )

Maze develops fine motor skills and number identification

  • Your special child will enjoy and develop fine motor skills as he guides little red balls with a magnetic pole.
  • It develops small muscles in the child’s hand to be able to hold the pencil properly for better writing skills.
  • This is also a learning tool for numbers  and counting.
  • Hand-eye coordination is also developed as the child guides the balls.

 

3. CRASH PAD ( click the image to see the price )

Crash pad lets kids enjoy jumping and develop gross motor skills

  • It is filled with a long lasting foam with heavy duty stitching, thus a  safe place for special kids to calm down and relax by sitting or lying down.
  • Children will enjoy crashing, jumping, exploring or cuddling, thus developing their gross motor skills and balance.
  • Suitable for kids up to 150 pounds

Parents and caregivers must play with their kids

Your presence in your special child’s activities will help him a lot to improve his social and cognitive skills.

Deep trust in you will be developed as well, as you regularly play with your special child.

Likewise, while playing with him, you are able to observe your child up close on how he interacts and how fast he is learning.

Remember, playing is the best form of bonding for you and your kid.

Playtime with a partner needs to be encouraged

There are various benefits if your special child is allowed to play with you and others.

As much as possible, expose your child to a playmate to promote engagement and interaction.

Various studies recently have shown that interactive experiences actually change the physical structure of the brain.

“We now have evidence from neuro-imaging studies (e.g., MRI, PET, and SPECT scans) that new neuro-pathways are created and connections among neurons are enhanced when the brain is stimulated,” explains Dr. Ron Savage, Executive Vice President of the North American Brain Injury Society and expert on neuro-developmental disabilities.

Based on these studies, special needs products and toys are made to improve motor skills, mobility, sensory processing and communication skills.

These specialized items can help children enhance their basic abilities while also soothing their anxiety and improving behavior.

Playtime provides both fun and opportunity for learning

Play therefore, is the best stimulation for children, especially when children are enjoying their toys and games, and parents and caregivers are devoted to helping them learn.

Studies have proven that loving relationships, meaningful toys, and time engaging in play together are the best ways to open avenues for our special kids to grow up and be the best that they can be.

So my dear parents and caregivers, please choose wisely what toys your child with special needs will enjoy and learn from.

It will be remarkable to witness the joy of your child while playing and in turn, his brain is stimulated to develop with added neurons for more wisdom.

 

How do you choose toys for your special child? Do you observe that your kid learns while having fun? What is his favorite toy?

 

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Parenting a Special Child ( Surviving the Challenges )

As a parent, you have most probably bonded with your child even before he was born.

You have started to talk to him while he was in your tummy.

You have planned the look of his nursery and you have marked  where to place his crib and his closet.

Maybe you have visualized his first birthday party, the theme and even the giveaways.

But then on his delivery, you learn that your child is special, then you will be in shock and devastated.

Especially if you were not ready emotionally of his arrival and you had no idea that he is  “special,” at all.

Or maybe, your baby is having awesome development on his first few months to his second year or 18 months and gradually declines or show signs of regression, it’s also very depressing.

Sometimes, new moms feel ” guilty ” delivering a special child.

It’s not your fault. Nobody wants her kid to have special needs.

Nevertheless, he is your child, you waited for him for nine months, and he needs you.

Always remember that he is an angel, a source of joy for your family.

There will be challenges in taking care of him, but with the support of your family and relatives, you will be okay.

Don’t feel guilty, don’t be embarrassed, accept your child ” as he is.”

We know that parenting a special child involves a lot of struggles, but just be open and offer him unconditional love and surviving the challenges will come naturally.

After all, a mother’s love is all it takes to nurture your special kid.

A gift from God

He was given to you because you have the capacity to take care of him, to love him, and to help him develop to his fullest potential.

Celebrate the birth of your son or daughter, including his or her inadequacies.

Don’t focus on his disability. Be happy with his milestones, even though they are slow.

Here are some tips on parenting a special child, your child, and in the end, surviving the challenges.

Remember you are an awesome mom or dad, and you are the primary caregiver of your baby. You owe him your care and concern and your whole self.

Love your child unconditionally

  • If you are the mom, be proud that you have carried this baby yourself. You have nurtured him even before he was born, so just continue to be there for him, no matter what.
  • If you are the dad, pour out your love to your kid and be hands on in taking care of him. Support your wife and take turns in taking care of your special child. He needs you more than ever.

Educate yourself

  • Ask your doctor and therapists if you have questions or doubts.
  • Read books or journals about your child. The more you know about his condition, the more you will understand how he behaves.
  • Connect with other parents who have the same child as yours. Share information with one another. Join social media groups if you can.

This post contains affiliate links. Please read fully the Affiliate disclosure for more information.

Here are some books that you can check out at Amazon ( click on the image to see the price)

My child has autism
What is autism?
Down Syndrome- parent's guide
Learn about Down Syndrome
The lucky few
A family’s experience with special kids
Kids in the syndrome mix
Kids in the syndrome mix

Bond with your child

  • Involve yourself as much as possible in his activities especially in his playtime.
  • Find time to include playing and reading with your child as part of  your daily schedule, even for just half an hour. The longer, the better.
  • Daily time with him is really important for your child to develop deep trust in you.
  • He will feel that he is important and that you really care for him.
  • You will have firsthand observation on his progress.
  • Playtime and reading are some of the greatest bonding activities that you will have with him. You will share with his fun and joy as he learns to explore things.

Connect with your family and friends

Parenting a special child

  • Don’t isolate yourself.
  • Make regular dates with your partner.
  • Continue to attend family gatherings.
  • Share with your family the progress and milestones of your child.
  • Communicate regularly with your family, especially with your spouse, parents and siblings. They could always support you emotionally as well as help you with baby-sitting from time to time.
  • Schedule playtime for your child with his cousins, to develop rapport and acceptance.

Take care of yourself

  • Have lots of sleep and rest. Eat nutritious food. You need to be healthy and not get sick.
  • Exercise regularly. Daily walks will enable you to have time to think and recharge.
  • Go out and find time to relax with your friends and other adult members of your family.
  • Be proud that you are able to take care of your special child. Don’t dwell on self-pity.

Find and join support groups

  • Know that there are lots of parents and families out there who are in the same boat as you are.
  • Learning from other parents will help you how to be always ready for your kid if problems arise.
  • Knowing that you’re not the only one having struggles will make your load light.
  • Schedule playtime with other kids with the same special needs as your child.
  • Celebrate milestones of your kids with other parents.

Collaborate with his teachers, caregivers and health advocates

  • Attend meetings and consultations when the teacher and therapist schedule them. Be open to their suggestions.
  • Ask questions and follow up the progress of your child.
  • Suggest to his teacher and therapist if you think something needs to be done or addressed with about your kid’s behavior. After all, you are always with him and you are able to observe him close enough and somehow, you know how he copes up with challenges.
  • When your child arrives from school, look at his backpack for homework and help him do it.
  • Acknowledge the support that his teacher and therapist gives him.

Celebrate your child’s progress and milestones

  • Keep a record of his milestones and progress in his baby book.
  • Capture his first walk, first word, etc in pictures or videos.
  • Share his progress with your friends and family.
  • Reward him with a toy or food for something that he has accomplished, like toilet training or being able to write the alphabet or his name.
  • Let him join the class concert or program and be there for him.

Ask for help

  • Inquire from your child’s doctor and therapist about any problem or struggle that arises and seek advise on how to deal with it.
  • Support from family, even from grandparents are really important. Babysitting , turns in caring if child is sick or in the hospital, or company for you to the doctor or therapist visits are all important.
  • There is always help and support if you feel overwhelmed. I’m sure even neighbors and friends can pitch in help if you ask them.

You and your child are partners

Parenting a child with special needs maybe overwhelming and tiring, but seeking the help of others, accepting your child as he is, focusing on his strengths, milestones and progress and taking care of yourself are all very important so you can thrive and your child likewise will develop to his fullest potential.

Being a parent of a child with special needs is indeed very challenging but your rewards will come from your kid himself when he shows you his progress, even though they are slow.

When  he calls you ” Mom,” or ” Dad, ” for the first time at 3-5 years old or even if he’s older, then you will jump with joy. You know that from there, everything will just fall into place.

You are capable of becoming the best mom or the best dad to your child with special needs and be proud of that.

After all, caring for your child, loving him for what he is and celebrating his milestones will always bring immense joy in you and your whole family.

Parenting a Special Child

As a parent, how do you take care of your special child? How do you bond with him or her? Do you find time for yourself and ask help from other family members as well? Please share your experiences with us.

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Help for Children with Learning Disabilities…The Role of Parents and Teachers

Every parent wants the best for their kids. Thus, we usually start teaching our kids at home.

Do you agree when they say ” Parents are the best teachers of their kids?”

I do! Our kids learn almost everything from us the first time around. But of course, we cannot underestimate the help that teachers do in regular school and the Special Education setting.

It is really vital that even if our kids are already in school, we parents need to follow up with them when they get home.

Collaboration with their teachers play a very important role on how our kids sharpen their minds.

More so with our special kids, we need to pay more attention to them and offer lots of help for our children with learning disabilities. We cannot overemphasize the role of parents and teachers in this regard.

What are the signs of learning disability?

At a certain point in a child’s life with learning disability, his parents or the teachers notice something is not right.

It is very important that these kids need to be assessed as soon as possible so you can seek for help right away for your children.

By doing so, your child can be helped the soonest so he can overcome or improve his disability and reach his fullest potential.

Signs of learning disability are usually subtle and hard to recognize. These are mostly seen when the child starts school or as they reach school age.

Let us first define what learning disability is. In Wikipedia, it is described as a classification that includes several areas of functioning in which somebody has a difficulty learning in the usual manner.

These kids have difficulty doing specific types of skills or completing tasks if left to figure things out by themselves or with typical conventional ways of teaching them.

Thus, they have struggles to learn how to read, write, do math, solve problems, recall and organize information by themselves or if taught just like other kids of their age.

If properly assessed and classified accordingly from mild to severe, specific interventions can be planned for these special children by their teachers and psychologists, of course with the support of their parents.

What causes a learning disability?

You may ask, ” How did this happen? Why is my child struggling? I have been trying my best to teach him at home everyday, but still he seems not learning.” 

This is really important. It’s not your fault. Please keep this in mind. 

Learning disability is a neurological disorder, which means that in these children, it results from a difference on how their brains are “wired.”

They usually don’t have physical deformities and they maybe as smart or could be smarter than kids their age, but just present with difficulties in learning specific areas of acquiring knowledge.

Children with learning disabilities can be famous and successful!

My dear parents, don’t lose hope.

Do you know that some accomplished people had some forms of learning disability but still, they thrived?

Albert Einstein for example, learned how to read when he was already nine.

Take note! 

When kids have learning disability, they cannot be cured or fixed.

It is a a life-long struggle for them. But not a hindrance to succeed.

Examples are  Walt Disney, General George Patton, and Vice President Nelson Rockefeller,  who had difficulty reading all their lives.

Other famous people  like Alexander Graham Bell and Winston Churchill, as well,  had some forms of learning disability, but still they were able to rise above their condition.

Goldie Hawn, the famous actress, had dyslexia and some reading comprehension problems, but with the support of her parents and teachers, she was able to overcome these obstacles and become successful in the movie industry.

Be very supportive of your child with learning disability. 

Cooperate with the teachers and other caregivers and for sure, your child can dance in the rain just like their peers, or can even become more successful than them.

Some important facts

  • Learning disabilities usually run in families.
  • The most common forms are difficulties with reading and language skills, of which 80% of these kids have some forms of reading problems.
  • Children with learning disabilities usually look normal with no physical deformities, thus, they should not be confused with children who have autism, intellectual disability, deafness, blindness, and behavioral disorders.
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorders might also be present in these kids but they are two separate entities.

Positive Reinforcement

Parents need to understand that their kids with learning disability have specific strengths and weaknesses that they need to recognize so special interventions can be planned and put into place.

But first things first.

You as parents must recognize that your special child needs care, support and encouragement.

Don’t look at his disability but focus on giving him unconditional love and remember there is always help out there.

You need to cooperate with teachers and the school system for your kids to be helped.

Here are some helpful tips on how you can help your child with learning disability. 

Observe him at home and share information with his teacher. Also, ask his teacher how he learns best at school, so you can apply some specific methods at home for follow up.

Partner with your child’s teacher to help your child.

  • Look at areas where your child excels or is good at and encourage him to give more attention on that.
  • Focus on his strengths, not on his weaknesses. Even if he has struggles with reading, but he is good in music, let him join the school band or let him join singing competitions.
  • Be there for these activities and let him know that you appreciate his efforts. 
  • Recognize how your special child learns well. Is he a visual learner? An auditory learner , or a kinesthetic learner?
  • Assist your child at home with schoolwork by supporting his style, so it will not be much of a struggle for him.
  • For visual learners, let him read more books, look at diagrams, use the computer, flashcards and other visual aids. Let him take detailed notes in class and offer him to read them again and again.
  • For auditory learners, read out notes loud and let him memorize stuff by speaking them. Let him record lectures so he can listen to them later. Encourage him to join study groups where they can discuss their lessons.
  • For kinesthetic learners, let him study with music in the background. Get him hands on and let him do experiments; also,  let him join field trips. Encourage role playing and model-buliding. You can also let him join study groups with small frequent breaks.

Let us meet two kids with learning disabilities

Ally is 9 years old with mild learning disability in written expression. She can cope with the activities in the general education classroom setting; her cognition, reading and comprehension are all good. Her struggles though, are putting her ideas into writing. Ms Rica, her Special Education teacher,  attends to her for 30 minutes twice a week and has been providing her with different  repetitive activities and the use of manipulative materials to help her improve.

Raven on the other hand, is 10 years old and with moderate to severe learning disability. He attended Kindergarten for 2 years. He has short retention skills, poor cognition and comprehension, and also struggles with his speech. Areas that he find difficulty in learning are reading, writing and math. Ms Rica attends to his needs half an hour daily for the 3 subjects.

Both started school at 5 years old,  where the pre-school teachers noted developmental delay. At 6 years old, they had assessments with the Developmental Pediatrician and were diagnosed with learning disability.

Ally and Raven just finished grade 2 and will be in grade 3 this coming school year. Both of them are good in drawing though and both are visual learners.

With early intervention in school, their teachers and their parents hopefully will see them able to cope with their disabilities and become  the best version of themselves someday.

Be optimistic that your child can rise above the challenges

Having a child with learning disability maybe a bit of a challenge for our dear parents but with the help of our Special Education teachers, your kids will, in no time learn the ropes of keeping up with learning the basics and can live productively and independently.

There is definitely help for children with learning disabilities.

Remember, your child has strengths that they can focus on more, while taking the time to hurdle their specific learning disability and with your support as loving parents and the guidance of their teachers, they will be fine and for sure, will eventually be able to see light at the end of the tunnel.

 

Does your child have a learning disability? As a parent, do you collaborate with his Special Education teacher? How do you help him at home?

If you are a Special Education teacher, please share with our readers how you help your students with learning disability.

Post your comments below.

This post contains affiliate links. Please read the full affiliate disclosure here.

Check out these books for kids with learning disabilities, their parents and teachers.

Click the image to see the price.
.        How I Learn A kid's guide to Learning Disablility                
The 6 Success Factors for children with learning disabilities

Greatly recommended for Special Ed teachers

 

 

 

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