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Tailoring Play to Special Needs

Children and adults with disabilities understand and discover the world differently than people without disabilities, but many toys and gadgets don’t cater to these perspectives. Accessible toys let individuals with disabilities interact with the world in a way that makes sense. They also help loved ones join in on the play and learn about these different viewpoints. For example, a toy that lets someone on the autism spectrum count and sort objects for fun allows the loved one to understand this way to play.

Toys that engage the senses in a safe, comfortable environment help those with special needs engage with their environments on their own terms. These toys allow kids and adults to experience new sensory input while they’re still in control, making the experience less scary and more relaxing for them. With adaptive toys, play is more accessible for children and adults with disabilities who want to explore the world.

Benefits of Play for Children With Special Needs and People With Disabilities

Everyone learns through play, and playing lets people with disabilities learn skills on their terms. Accessible toys and products offer a number of benefits, including the following.

1. Communication and Social Skills Development

Play allows children and adults with mental disabilities to communicate and share with others. Special education students can pass around music toys to create something new together. If someone can’t express their feelings through language, they can show their reactions to sensory toys and new experiences. Playing with others lets people learning social skills see how others share ideas.

2. Sensory Stimulation and Calming

Disabilities such as ADHD and autism can cause someone to feel over- or under-stimulated easily. As a result, they experience anxiety, focus issues or hyperactivity. Fidget/”stim” toys and sensory toys offer the stimulation or relaxation needed to feel calm and focused. People with all types of autism, ADHD and other disabilities benefit from these devices.

3. Motor Skills Development

People with disabilities can improve their fine and oral motor skills through play. Toys that encourage grasping, hand-eye coordination, chewing and manipulating the mouth help someone develop these capabilities. They also strengthen the muscles used to play with these toys.

4. Visual Tracking and Attention

Visual impairments and blindness make it challenging to keep track of an object’s position. Devices and toys that create bright colors and enticing sounds promote visual tracking and attention because they stand out. Adaptive switches made for people with visual impairments teach them how to use technology with their abilities.

5. Cognitive Development

People without disabilities use puzzles and other brain teasers to keep their minds sharp. So do people with disabilities! They can use a wide range of toys and devices, including switch adapted toys, to stimulate their minds and learn cause and effect and how the world works. Adaptive toys allow people with disabilities to become more comfortable with new experiences and process these new sensations and results.

Types of Toys & Products Available From Enabling Devices

To accommodate the unique ways that adults and children with disabilities play, we sell a large inventory of accessible toys and other assistive products. The major types of products and toys we offer for individuals with disabilities include:

Adapted Toys

An adapted toy activates with an adaptive switch. Adaptive switches let adults and children with disabilities interact with electronics with a button press, eye blink, mouth puff or other motion. The user can use their switch to tell the toy to move, make sounds or flash lights.

Sensory Toys & Products

Sensory toys and devices stimulate any of the five senses for someone who needs to feel a certain sensation. Some of them relax and soothe, while others offer an intense sensory response. Ask us about our sensory room design and quote services if you need help creating the ultimate sensory space.

Soft Play Sensory

Soft play toys and cushions create a comfortable and safe place for someone to play and relax. They can provide a tactile experience or offer protection for a child who needs to move with extra cushioning. They’re an ideal way to help someone enjoy play in an environment that reduces anxiety and frustration. With a more comfortable place to play, individuals can better engage with sensory stimuli and focus on learning.

Communication Devices & Development Products

Communication devices enable children and adults who are non-verbal to “speak”. These tools not only give them a voice but can also be used as teaching tools, building a person’s language skills starting with one message, moving on to two message choices, and so on. Many of our products also make communicating fun with bright colors, custom recorded messages and tactile experiences. People of all ages and abilities can use these devices to communicate with others.

What Custom Options Does Enabling Devices Provide?

Everyone should have the chance to play with the toys and devices they like and need. If you have a certain adapted product in mind but can’t find it, let us make it for you! We develop most of the products we sell ourselves and take custom orders including switches, communicators, mounts and more. In fact, many of the devices we sell came about because someone needed a custom product. Our design experts will happily make it for you. Contact us to learn more about this process.

Whatever options you’re looking for, we’re here to provide trusted solutions so children and adults with special needs can experience play for themselves. Our team understands that each individual is unique, and we’re committed to creating toys and devices that match those unique needs. Our goal is to provide switch-activated and other special needs toys to help each adult and child with a disability play, learn and interact with the world.