Cerebral palsy is the most common childhood motor disability, affecting someone’s ability to move, speech and cognitive development. It’s helpful to find appropriate toys for your loved ones who have cerebral palsy. Adaptive toys allow people with cerebral palsy to have fun while developing their mental, social and cognitive skills.
When selecting a suitable toy for someone with cerebral palsy, you’ll want to consider a range of factors, including whether the toy is wheelchair accessible, whether the toy will properly engage your loved one and if the toy is appropriate for a child’s developmental stage. Below, we’ll discuss the best toys for people with cerebral palsy.
1. Building and Stacking Toys
Motor impairments like stiff muscles, tremors, difficulty with walking and problems with fine motor skills are some common symptoms of cerebral palsy. Large stacking and building toys are effective ways to help children develop their coordination, making them one of the best toys for kids with cerebral palsy.
The Musical Bear Stacker is a sensory-motor stacking toy that empowers people with cerebral palsy to build their motor skills. A child can practice stacking three large, colorful rings or press the bear’s head to make the toy light up and play “London Bridge” or “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”.
This toy is fun for children with a range of ability levels, as they can also press an attached switch to activate the lights and music. Beyond helping develop motor skills, this toy also teaches cause and effect and helps children differentiate between sizes and colors.
2. Kinetic Sand
Kinetic sand is one of the best toys for adults and kids with cerebral palsy. The soft sand slowly moves by itself, providing a soothing tactile and visual sensory experience. It’s completely dry but still easy to mold, helping people with cerebral palsy develop their motor skills, coordination and hand strength.
Playing with the sand will help spark the imagination by offering a wide variety of ways to play. For example, kids can play with molds to build sandcastles, draw in the sand, bury other toys or make hand imprints. With kinetic sand, your loved one will be able to play in many ways while developing their cognitive, physical and social skills.
3. Paints and Art Supplies
Arts and crafts are an excellent way to enhance color recognition, encourage imaginative play and build motor skills. Art provides children and adults with an outlet to express their emotions, communicate and increase their self-esteem. Switch-operated art supplies offer a way for people with cerebral palsy to participate in the arts.
Toys like the Adapted Battery Operated Scissors and Swirl Art are great options to help people with limited motor skills create art. With the press of a switch, these toys help people with cerebral palsy cut paper or make colorful designs. These tools will empower your loved one to express themselves and build their artistic development.
4. Multi-Functional Balls
People with cerebral palsy may display symptoms of sensory integration dysfunction, in which they have either increased or decreased sensory perceptions. For example, someone with cerebral palsy may appear clumsy in instances of decreased sensory sensitivity. On the other hand, a heightened sensitivity to sensory stimuli could include strong reactions to specific sounds or textures.
A multi-functional Therapeutic Balls Kit can help children with cerebral palsy develop their tactile processing and sensitivity while increasing their range of motion. The kit comes with 13 different balls of different colors, textures, sizes, and firmness for tactile exploration and improving hand-eye coordination.
Musical instruments are one of the best toys for kids and adults with cerebral palsy. Musical therapy uses instruments and music to encourage cognitive, social and physical development. Further, music comes with a range of health benefits, including decreased stress, lower blood pressure and improved mood. Beyond the health benefits of musical therapy, making music gives people with cerebral palsy an opportunity for self-expression.
Your loved one will experience a range of benefits from the gift of instruments:
- Physical skills: Musical therapy helps people with cerebral palsy by asking them to balance between percussion instruments on either side of them, by tapping or shaking particular items or through stomping and dancing.
- Social enhancement: Many people with cerebral palsy have trouble with verbal communication. Music allows people with cerebral palsy to communicate in a non-verbal way. Further, you can practice taking turns with musical instruments by switching instruments with your loved one.
- Cognitive development: Engaging in musical challenges helps increase cognitive development by encouraging memory and concentration skills. You can ask loved ones with cerebral palsy to choose the correct instrument for a particular piano cue to help boost their memory skills.
Toys like the Music Machine Set or the Music Box provide an opportunity to enhance the social, cognitive and physical development of your loved one with cerebral palsy. The Music Box encourages listening skills by playing four different tunes with flashing lights when you press a switch. The Music Machine Set is also switch-activated and comes with both a stationary and mobile holding arm to help someone with cerebral palsy play different instruments.
6. iPads and Accessories
iPads help people with cerebral palsy improve their motor and communication skills. Modern technology equips your loved one to better communicate and command their device via features like voice control and speech generators. Children can also use different applications as their skills advance to encourage continuous growth.
However, iPads may be challenging for some people with cerebral palsy to use. Mounting systems to attach a device to a wheelchair or tabletop, switches or styluses can help your loved one use an iPad to its total capacity. Adaptive technology for the iPad allows both children and adults with cerebral palsy to gain independence, keep learning, communicate better and adjust their device to best fit their needs.
Enabling Devices Empowers People With Cerebral Palsy
Enabling Devices has been delivering adaptive solutions for people with special needs for more than four decades. We offer a wide range of products for communication, sensory-motor toys and adaptive switches. We have the best toys for people with cerebral palsy to help your loved one develop their social, physical, cognitive and creative capabilities. We’ll even work with you to build custom products for your specific needs.
Contact us today to learn more about our adaptive devices for cerebral palsy and other disabilities!