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Archive for December 2012

Toy Buying Guide for Disabled Children

Toy Buying Guide for Disabled Children

There are many things to take into consideration when you’re buying toys for disabled children, including their personal capabilities and the specification of the toy in question. We have previously talked about making  your own sensory toys, but what are the questions to ask when buying them?

Is the toy multisensory?
Does it flash, make noise or offer different textures? Does it have a unique scent or structure?

Can the toy be activated easily?
Will your child be able to play with the toy independently? Is it easy to trigger?

Does the toy appeal?
Does it tie-in with popular TV shows or characters?  Is it something children can relate to?

Is the toy age appropriate?
Is it designed for the right age group? Does it fit both mentally and physically with your child’s abilities and age

Does the toy allow for self-expression?
Is it designed to allow for creativity and decision making? Does it give your child chance to encounter different media sources?

These are just a few points you need to consider as well as adjustability and durability too.

Sensory Toys for Disabled Children

Flashing, Musical Tambourine

Sensory toys appeal to many of the body’s sense and are great for disabled children who may rely on some senses more than others. Sensory toys can be designed to focus on a single sense such as sight or sound but often aim to trigger responses from a few. Pictured is a fun flashing tambourine, which both flashes and makes musical noises and is a great example of a sensory toy. Others include fun bubble machines and colourful flashing toys such as this Colour Changing Egg.

Switch Toys for Disabled Children

Inflatable Switch-Adapted R2D2

Children who require some assistance with accessing toys can use specialised switches. Switches mean that toys become easily accessible and fun to use. Switch adapted toys can be purchased from specialist retailers in most instances and allow regular toys to be enjoyed by children with disabilities. We’ve recently see switch adapted talking teddies and bongo drums as well as this fantastic switch adapted inflatable R2D2 (pictured). Locating switch-adapted toys can be more difficult than others but they’re worth the additional work for the increased usability and entertainment factors.

If your child uses switches, you may want to visit Switchmounting.com to get a free pdf guide to using switches for sensory play, gaming and communication.

Musical Toys for Disabled Children

Soft Chime Garden Sensory Toy

Musical toys are great fun for children of any age and although they might drive parents a little crazy, it’s more than worth it for the smiles and laughter they create. The range of accessible musical toys on the market is vast, whether children can use them independently or with support. We recommend this fab Conga Drum and Rainbomaker. Pictured is the charming Lamaze Soft Chime Garden which is popular with children of all ages and makes a range of different musical sounds with the slightest touch. It works very well with the trabasack media mount as it can be held at different angles for different children’s needs.

Trabasack for Toys

Your Trabasack lap tray is the perfect surface for accessing musical, sensory and switch toys for disabled children. As the photographs show it can be used for a range of different toys and

Trabasack Curve, Media Mount and Dinosaur Toy

the Trabasack Media Mount is perfect for holding toys in the ideal position to maximise play and entertainment value.

 

Trabasack Xmas Special Bundle Offer

We’re pleased to announce we’re currently offering a Curve Connect bundle deal, perfect for use as a sensory play tray with all the accessories you need including a Media Mount, non-slip mat and additional hook tapes for securing toys in place, at £44.95, this saves over £30 on the usual price of all the items combined and will help your child enjoy more from their toys this xmas!

Click for more info on using the Trabasack Media Mount as a Toy Holder

Sledge for a Disabled Child

Cerebra and Gordon Ellis Co create a Sledge for Disabled Children

It is that time of year and so we are all on the look-out for snow, and some of us have even had some!

Sledge for disabled child

The Cerebra Sledge has extra support but does not look out of the ordinary
Photo Credit: Gordon Ellis

Most children enjoy playing in the snow and children with special needs can often miss out on some of the activities, like sledging!
However we were pleased to find out that, Gordon Ellis & Co, a healthcare company has teamed up with Cerebra to come up with a new design. Creating a sledge for a disabled child to safely use needs a bit of thought and careful design. Working with the Cerebra Innovation Centre, Gordon Ellis have produced a robust enjoyable sledge so that children who need extra support do not lose out on enjoying the thrills of riding in the snow.

Cerebra and their Innovation Centre

Cerebra, is a favourite charity of ours, it was established to help enhance the lives of children with brain related conditions. Cerebra support research, education and directly support children and their carers.
Part of the charity is the Cerebra Innovation Centre (CIC) based in Swansea University. It has a small team of designers and engineers that are able to create custom made equipment and one off special designs for disabled children.

 CIC undertake many design projects initiated the members of the charity and develop, design and produce products to help in the daily lives of children with neurological conditions.

Some of the products are ‘one-off’ bespoke designs, and others are made in small batches. The way we have to make things because of the small numbers, require ingenuity in design and manufacture. We constantly strive to make the best products to the highest standards. Click to read more about this scheme

The idea for the ‘Special Needs’ Sledge

The Cerebra Sledge was initially designed as a custom option for Sarah, from Scotland. The original idea for the sledge started in 2010 when Cerebra were approached by a mum, Lynne, who asked for help getting her daughter Sarah out into the snow. Sarah’s wheelchair and buggy could not be used in the snow, so she had to wait indoors while all the other youngsters in the town went off to school playing and sledging and enjoying the experiences of snow. Cerebra saw the sensory input Sarah was missing by being unable to get out. Lynne had difficulties pushing a buggy through the snow and they felt trapped inside. Cerebra got help and funds from a small charity ‘Claires Project’ who paid for the Cerebra Innovation Centre to get a CAD (Computer Aided Design) system to design a sledge for Sarah.

The story of the design and the creation of the sledge then featured in Cerebra’s Newsletter. After this publicity, there were 100 families who wanted a sledge and these were made for the following winter.

Improving on the design

After that amazing success, the Cerebra Innovation Centre began talks to have the sledge made commercially. Cerebra’s small team wanted to make the sledge more widely available and contacted Gordon Ellis, a reputable healthcare company known for creating their own aids to independent living. They improved on earlier versions by getting feedback from existing sledge owners and children. The sledge now features an adjustable back so it can fold flat for transport and has two angles to choose from. It also has foot plates so that the child or parent riding on the back has a protected place to put their feet. It looks very much like a normal sledge so is not stigmatising in any way, but has safety straps, a wider seat, armrests, a lower centre of gravity for balance and a safety leash.

Cerebra Sledge 2012

Special needs child on a sledge

Enjoying the Snow

 Gordon Ellis are now manufacturing and offering them for sale, which means that lots more children can benefit by getting hold of their very own adapted and improved sledge. The company offers a home delivery service and gives a donation to Cerebra for each one that is sold. An information video of the disabled child’s sledge can be seen below:

They have already had some lovely feedback from customers
 “It seems really well made and our son can’t wait to be able to use it. His little sister is also excited about her little seat at the back! Once again, thank you.”
two children on a cerebra sledge

Wooooooo!!!!

You should allow time for delivery as these special sledges for disabled children are made to order. You will also need to provide VAT exemption form. They cost £250. Unfortunately much more than commercially made mass produced sledges but they are a specially made high quality item, that we are sure will bring children lots of joy.