When a child has special needs, toys are often more than about play. Therapists use toys to engage, teach, and even calm children. Here is a list of toys that my boys have used in occupational, speech, or behavioral therapy.
A game, like Bingo, that encourages vocalization for reluctant talkers. It also helps attention span and short term memory.
Trampolines are used to provide sensory input and can also save your furniture from kids with boundless energy. We were lucky enough to get a trampoline on loan from Early Intervention.
3. Peg Puzzle
Peg puzzles force children with fine motor delays to use the pincer grasp, which is an essential pre-writing skill. They also encourage problem solving.
4. Musical Instruments
Instruments provide immediate auditory input and are great for children that like to make noise.
5. Balance Bike
Balance bikes are wonderful tools for children with gross motor delays or difficulty with motor planning. They build confidence and skill necessary for eventually learning how to ride a bike.
6. Marble Run
Marble runs can be used to encourage building and problem solving skills. My boys with autism love watching marble runs and will watch them for hours.
Thomas or Chuggington, it doesn’t matter. Trains are an extreme interest for many children with autism. My older son began to understand social relationships and emotions through Thomas the tank engine.
Duplos for preschool aged kids or those with fine motor delays and lego for older children. Lego is another extreme interest for many kids with special needs. Lego is great at building hand strength and fostering imagination.
Sets of gears are another great building tool which fosters problem solving skills.
A puzzle ball that you twist and turn to solve, which fosters concentration and problem solving skills.
What toys would you add to our special needs gift guide?