Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah or Kwanzaa, the holiday season is here. Children’s eyes twinkle at the shiny decorations, holiday cheer and scrumptious food. Children are the center of attention. The holidays are for everyone, whether five months or 105 years of age.
Presents are a part of the festivities along with the traditions, stories, and beliefs. Squeals of joy resound throughout the walls as gifts with bright colorful wrapping paper are opened. Children with disabilities are equally enchanted by this season. The realization of new toys and leisure perpetuate through many products by specialized vendors, service providers and online adapted equipment stores.
Ages 1 through 5
Switch adapters by AbleNet
Many toys for the youngest children are battery-operated. The switch adapter is placed between the battery and battery case holder making the toy switch operable. Stuffed animals with movement or musical objects simply go on and off by hitting the attached switch.
Ages 6 through 10
Adapted Racing Cars by Enabling Devices
Remote controlled cars are all the rage. Enabling Devices developed an easy-to-use remote car for children with disabilities. The enlarged joystick enables many to race their car against other siblings and friends.
Mason Exer-Rider® by
Children with poor trunk control and weak lower extremities can experience the fun and benefits of movement with the Exer-Rider®. By moving the handlebars from side to side, children enjoy independent play. Upturned handlebars encourage trunk extension.
Ages 11 through 14
PlayStation Adapter for Special Needs by Enabling Devices or K. Y. Enterprises
What child doesn’t enjoy competing with the PlayStation? The controller is operational by switches, pressing a circular disk, or sip and puff. Imagine your child playing such games as Skateboard independently. The smile on his or her face will be priceless.
Super Bubble Blower
This device spews colorful bubbles into the air. The bubble blower is good stimulation for sensory deficits as well as for those with low cognition. Turn the device on and watch it create lots of big bubbles for you.
Ages 15 through 19
Cell Phones from ETI Engineering
Have you walked down the high school hall recently after school? Students talking on cell phones are everywhere and text messaging is extremely popular. There are large button cell phones, voice-activated, voice output, and many other varieties.
CD Player Boom box from Dragonfly Toys
Music is part of being a teenager. There are new CDs produced every day with more downloadable through Itunes over the Internet. Teenagers enjoy making their own CDs and listening to them with friends. This adapted CD player and boom box is an excellent option providing independence for individuals with limited physical abilities. Simply attach a switch to this device, then let the music rip.
Peter Pan said he would never grow up and many adults feel the same way. Just as the saying goes … you are only as old as you think you are. There are many adapted games available for older children. Cardholders, Braille cards, large print games, and card shufflers are a few examples of gift ideas for the fun-minded individual. Computer games are available both online and as loadable software. Several online versions allow the homebound individual to play backgammon or hearts with people around the world. Real Arcade is a Web site with thousands of games which can be played for free in the limited version or purchased for around 9-15 dollars each. Some games even work well with voice recognition.
The Art of Surprise
This is a small sampling of adapted toys and devices available today. Search the Internet or browse through adapting catalogs for additional ideas. Before purchasing, you should consider the likes and dislikes of the user, their capabilities, and age appropriateness.
The unique and special surprise you give will surely cause the recipient to shout for joy. Your heart will be full, and no doubt, tears will come to your eyes, as you witness the recipient’s fulfillment and exuberation at your gift choice(s).