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Toying with the perfect needs to boost child’s play...

The National Lekotek Center in America is dedicated to making play and learning accessible to disabled children.

The Center’s latest factsheet, 10 considerations when buying toys for children with disabilities, offers the following advice.

Multisensory appeal: Does the toy respond with lights, sounds, or movement? Are there contrasting colours? Does it have a scent? Is there texture?

Method of activation: Will the toy provide a challenge without frustration? What is the force required to activate? What are the number and complexity of steps required to activate?

Where toy will be used: Can the toy be used in a variety of positions such as side-lying or on wheelchair tray? Will the toy be easy to store? Is there space in the home?

Opportunities for success: Can play be open-ended with no definite right or wrong way? Is it adaptable to the child’s individual style, ability and pace?

Current popularity: Is it a toy almost any child would like? Does it tie-in with other activities like TV, movies, books, clothing, etc?

Self-expression: Does the toy allow for creativity, uniqueness, and choice-making? Will it give the child experience with a variety of media?

Adjustability: Does it have adjustable height, sound volume, speed, level of difficulty?

Child’s individual characteristics: Does the toy provide activities that reflect both developmental and chronological ages? Does it reflect the child’s interests and age?

Safety and durability: Consider the child’s size and strength in relation to the toy’s durability. Are the toy and its parts sized appropriately? Does the toy have moisture resistance? Can it be washed and cleaned?

Potential for interaction: Will the child be an active participant during use? Will the toy encourage social engagement with others?

• Printed with permission from the National Lekotek Center, 1.800.366.PLAY or www.lekotek.org lekotek@lekotek.org