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Posts Tagged ‘choosing toys for a disabled child’

What to Pack for your Child’s Hospital Stay

What to Pack for your Child’s Hospital Stay

Having a child staying in hospital for any reason is a difficult time but for children with disabilities it can be especially difficult. Chances are there are many instances of planned appointments and this at least gives you a chance to get organised and prepared.


As well as ensuring your child is as mentally prepared as possible you need to also ensure they’ve got all the things they need to feel as at home as possible. Packing for your child’s hospital stay needs to be thorough and meet their specific tastes and needs.

What to Pack

Packing falls into two categories: essentials and non-essentials. Many of the non-essentials may be things for comfort, to ease anxiety and make the stay uncomfortable. Having a clear idea of what you need for your child’s hospital stay will make the whole process of getting ready a bit less difficult.


The essential things your child is likely to need will include clothes and this post for adults staying in hospital is useful for advice. It recommends loose fitting comfortable clothes as it makes getting around the ward less difficult and more comfortable. Normal clothes are a great idea to help separate bed time from day time, even in hospital. This will depend on the reason for being in hospital too – if PJs are the way then that’s fine. Don’t forget sock and slippers too.

Hospital bedside with child using multi sensory unit

Ask about the sensory toys available, you might be surprised

If your child wears glasses of course they’ll be needed, along with any prescription medication along with a list of all supplied. In most instances the hospital will happily administer their stock but you should always have yours in hand in case this isn’t so.


Trabasack for Child's Hospital Stay

Handy Trabasack as a bed tray

Non-essentials will be very personal to your child but think this great list is a good start. They have some key non-essentials which you could call essential such as straws and even drinking cups but this is down to personal taste. Children with disabilities may find hospital stays more traumatic than most so keeping the area as fun and entertaining as possible is a good start. Bring along any favourite toys and don’t forget your handy Trabasack with its tray surface ideal for propping up games consoles or playing games on. For comfort it makes sense to bring soft or cuddly toys and perhaps as a special treat for being so brave throughout the stay you could consider a pillow pet. Portable DVD players, Kindles and iPads are also worth considering if your child has a favourite device.

Hydrant for Child's Hospital Stay

Innovative Hydrant drinking system

For eating and drinking purposes you should definitely ensure you pack a Hydrant – they’re ideal for ensuring, where able, your child can keep hydrated if lifting or accessing regular drinking cups is difficult. The Hydrant can be clipped to the hospital bed and be accessed via its innovative straw. For comfort and convenience you may want to pack children’s cutlery too. Keeping your child comfortable is also essential whilst in hospital. Of course they’ll provide blankets and pillows but many of our Twitter followers told us it’s much better to take your own and this will add a further touch of familiarity which your child may welcome. Children with Autistic Spectrum Disorders may benefit from bringing their weighted blanket along to ensure a good night’s sleep is possible.

If you have one, a familar sensory story can be brought along too.

How to prepare your Child for their Stay

Having the right stuff in your bag is one thing but it also important to ensure your child is ready. This can be very difficult with children who have a learning disability but key to ensuring everything goes as well as possible is preparation. The overriding feeling will be to try and not talk about the hospital stay at all but this can be the worst possible action. Talking to your child and telling them what will happen, especially those who will be anaesthetised, will make the procedure much less difficult for all involved. It’s very easy to think your child has a full understanding of their condition and what it entails but this isn’t often true and putting things in simple, basic terms to help them understand really helps. You could put together a social story, read books about their favourite characters going into hospital or have a chat about their worries. Reassuring them at every step will help you and them feel better and less concerned.

Many hospitals are more than happy to allow a pre-admission visit to the hospital so your child can be familiarised with the area and may even meet the staff they’ll be seeing on their first day in hospital. All these markets can make a huge difference when the day comes around.

Age will make a difference to when you speak to your child. Those who are approximately 2-3 years (taking into account development delays) should be told 2-3 days before the event whilst children aged 4-7 will feel more assured and prepared with up to a week to prepare.

Taking your child into hospital is a traumatic experience but keeping this information in mind can make it less stressful and easier on your child.

We did a similar post with adults in mind on our sister blog at wheelchairlaptrays.com

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