Top 10 Things to Consider When Purchasing Toys for Children With Special Needs11/24/2008
Good Shepherd Online Rehability Store Offers Gifts for Children and Others with Disabilities
November 24, 2008
Alentown, PA – Finding that perfect toy for the child in your life is never easy, but it can become even more difficult when shopping for gifts for children with special needs. Jodie L. Moulton, M.S., CCC-SLP/L, clinical manager/speech-language pathologist in the Pediatrics Department of Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network based in Allentown, Pennsylvania offers the following tips when toy shopping for children with disabilities:
- Choose toys that match the ability of the child. Ensure that the toys provide activities that reflect both the developmental and chronological age of the child.
- Consider the child’s opportunity for successfully using the toy. Children with special needs can become frustrated if they feel the toy does not work for them.
- Choose toys that allow for creativity or self-expression. Toys that promote dramatic play offer children a relaxed way of increasing their language and cognitive skills. Likewise, the potential for interaction with other children is helpful to improve social abilities.
- Choose toys with multi-sensory appeal. Children with vision challenges enjoy toys that make sounds or vibrate. Those who have difficulty hearing prefer toys that use lights or print out messages. Toys that stimulate the sense of touch help children with special needs take in the world around them.
- Look for toys that soothe. Many children with special needs have a difficult time soothing themselves and need a special item to help calm them. These include items with soft tactile qualities or items that the child can put in his or her mouth.
- Find toys that are easily activated and require fewer steps to work. Toys that move or make sounds by activating a switch are a good choice.
- Remember toy safety and durability. Toys should be easy to clean and should not contain small parts or choking hazards.
- Look for items that increase the child's safety. Many parents of children with special needs spend a large portion of their day keeping their children safe. Providing parents with safety items gives them more time to spend interacting with their child.
- Look for items that help parents with everyday tasks. Again, anything to decrease time spent on activities of daily living will give parents more time to spend interacting or stimulating their child's development.
- Make sure the toy fits the child’s size and strength. Lightweight toys should be chosen for children with limited motor skills and strength.
Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network’s online store, Rehability (RehabilityStores.com), is a national resource for unique holiday gifts for children with disabilities. Products available include toys that aid in life skills, such as a crate of wooden food that children can cut, or a board to practice everyday tasks including buttoning and zippering.
Often small children look to toys with which they can identify. Dolls available at Rehability, such as Special Needs Abby who features crutches, allow children with disabilities to play with toys that look like them. These toys help children with disabilities feel included in society and those without disabilities understand why other children need mobility tools.
"The Special Needs Dolls help children understand everyone is unique and helps the child feel special because there is a doll that they can relate to," says Tara Clauser, buyer/operations manager for Rehability.
Rehability is offering 20 percent off and free shipping on all its items during the holiday season. Its convenient online store is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. All major credit cards are accepted.
Product categories available at RehabilityStores.com  include recreation, wellness, communication, education, home and daily living, mobility, clothing and children’s merchandise. The store allows people with various levels of physical disabilities to live fuller, more independent lives by providing access to specialty products and services and expert clinical support.
Rehability is a part of Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network, a nationally recognized leader in rehabilitation located in Allentown, Pennsylvania.
Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network, based in Allentown, Pennsylvania, is a nationally recognized rehabilitation leader, offering a continuum of care for people with physical and cognitive disabilities and specializing in assistive and rehabilitation technology. More than 40,000 people come to Good Shepherd each year for specialized programs in stroke, orthopedics, brain injury, spinal cord injury, pediatrics, amputation and more. Good Shepherd provides rehabilitation services in 8 eastern Pennsylvania counties. Good Shepherd operates 16 outpatient sites, 4 inpatient sites, a long-term acute care hospital, 2 long-term care homes for people with severe disabilities, an independent living facility, a Work Services division that provides employment training and job placement and a lifestyle products online store called Rehability. Good Shepherd Penn Partners, a partnership of Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network and the University of Pennsylvania Health System, began operations in July 2008 and provides post-acute care in the Philadelphia region. Good Shepherd was founded in 1908 when The Rev. John and Estella Raker invited a disabled orphan named Viola into their Allentown, Pennsylvania, home. Good Shepherd is affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. For more information, visit www.GoodShepherdRehab.org.