The Season is Upon Us

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

Mason Corp.

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

by Crestwood

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.

Switch Adapted

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.

Older Children

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).