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Accessible and Adapted Toys Assistive Technology Center Institute for Human Development Arizona University Center on Disabilities.

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Presentation on theme: "Accessible and Adapted Toys Assistive Technology Center Institute for Human Development Arizona University Center on Disabilities."— Presentation transcript:

1 Accessible and Adapted Toys Assistive Technology Center Institute for Human Development Arizona University Center on Disabilities

2 Who Are We? Northern Arizona University’s Institute for Human Development Assistive Technology Center – Lesley Iacona M.Ed., CCC-SLP – Nikki Anderson MA, OTR/L, ATP

3 What is Play? “Play is the work of the child.” – Maria Montessori “Play is a child’s work.” – Jean Piaget “Play is the highest form of research.” -Albert Einstein

4 Importance of Play Play helps children develop social, emotional, physical, language and creative skills. The Benefits of Play Vocabulary/language development Problem solving Imagination Abstract thinking Empathy, perspective-taking Learning new concepts Turn taking skills Attention regulation Concentration Persistence Sharing/Cooperation Expressing feelings Social skills Repetition

5 Importance of Play Click Here to read a short article that describes the basic skills developed through play in more detail. This article also includes excellent references if you are interested in learning more about the importance of play for young children. Click Here

6 Biological Value of Play Click HereClick Here to watch an interesting TED Talk given by Dr. Stuart Brown from the National Institute for Play. Dr. Brown discusses how play is more than just fun for both children and adults. Play deprivation results in abnormal brain development. Play is not just practice for adult skills. Play holds biological value in and of itself, similar to sleep and dreams.

7 During Play Children – Watch – Listen – Explore – Imitate – Create and Use Language for a Purpose

8 Barriers to Play Skill Barriers – Mobility Impairments - Difficulty handling toys – Vision Impairments - Difficulty discerning color/pattern characteristics – Hearing Impairments - Misses feedback from toys – Fine Motor Impairments - Difficulty manipulating toys – Knowledge of “how” to play - Has limited experience with play – Speech-Language Impairments - Difficulty creating scripts for play or communicating requests and demands during play.

9 Barriers to Play Environmental Barriers – Inaccessible environments - Child can’t get to toys – Lack of supports - Caregiver has limited time for assistance

10 Barriers to Play Age-labels - Baby toys may have some of the desired characteristics for older children, but are not age appropriate. Children and families may view using “different” toys as socially unacceptable.

11 Universal Design for Play The concept of universal design as it applies to toys is to design play items that are inherently accessible and motivating to children of all abilities.

12 Why Start with Universal Design Toys? – Many families express that they prefer off-the- shelf toys over specialized toys – Look and function like toys all children use – Often more durable – Can use for all children in the family – Often less costly option than purchasing specialized toys

13 Universal Design for Play The University at Buffalo’s Assistive Technology Center has federal funding to research and disseminate information related to universal design for play. Their project is called Let’s Play! And can be found by Clicking Here.Clicking Here

14 Examples of UD Toy Companies The mainstream toy company Melissa & Doug produce popular items with universal design features. Many of their products provide large surfaces for a better grip, added sound for auditory feedback, and brightly colored materials to draw visual attention to the item.Melissa & Doug PlayworksPlayworks is a company marketing toys using universal design. They categorize their toys by features or targeted skills. Development by DesignDevelopment by Design is a company that is currently defunct but still sells its products through The Pencil Grip.The Pencil Grip

15 What to Look For The Universal Design for Play Tool (Ruffino & Mistrett, 2006) designed by staff at the University of Buffalo’s Let’s Play project can help parents and support staff select toys for children with and without disabilities. This tool lists the following features as contributing most to the enjoyment of all children. The toy is appealing – Multiple colors, textures, dimensions, scents, and/or sounds. How to play with the toy is clear. The toy is easy to use. – Easy to pickup, hold, and use by children with a range of abilities. Ruffino, A.G., & Mistrett, S.G. (2006). The universal design for play tool: Establishing validity and reliability. Journal of Special Education Technology 21(4),

16 What to Look For The toy is adjustable. – A variety of actions can be used. The toy allows the child to play in different positions. The height, volume, level of difficulty, and/or speed can be adjusted. The toy promotes development. – Encourages imagination, social play, discovery of new ways to play, and physical or cognitive activity. The toy can be played with in different ways. – Appropriate for different ages and levels. Can be used differently for different types of play. Ruffino, A.G., & Mistrett, S.G. (2006). The universal design for play tool: Establishing validity and reliability. Journal of Special Education Technology 21(4),

17 Examples of UD Toys Shape, Model, and Mold Play Clay Happy Handle Stamp Set What UD features do these toys have?

18 Chunky Farm Puzzle Large Knob Shape Puzzle Musical Instruments Sound Puzzle What UD features do these toys have?

19 What features of UD does this toy have? Scratch Art Portable Light Box

20 What UD features does this toy have?

21 Textured Stencils What UD features does this toy have?

22 Adapted Toys If you cannot find a toy with the universal design features you need, you can purchase or construct your own adapted toys.

23 What to Look For Multisensory appeal (lights, sounds, movement, contrasting colors, scent, texture?) Appropriate method of activation Where toy will be used (easy to store, space in the home, used in a variety of positions?) Opportunities for success (open ended with no definite right or wrong way to play) Current popularity (does it make the child feel like “any other kid”?) National Lekotek Center. (2003). National Lekotek center’s top ten tips to consider when buying toys for children with disabilities.

24 What to Look For Self-expression (does it allow for creativity, uniqueness, and choice making?) Adjustability (adjustable height, sound, speed, level of difficulty?) Child’s individual characteristics (provides activities that reflect the child’s interests to match their age both developmental and chronologically?) Safety and durability (matches the child’s strength and size, moisture resistance, parts sized appropriately, washing and cleaning) Potential for interaction (Can the child be an active participant? Will it encourage social engagement?) National Lekotek Center. (2003). National Lekotek center’s top ten tips to consider when buying toys for children with disabilities.

25 Adaptive Toy Companies Achievement Products Beyond Play Dragon Fly Toy Company Enabling Devices Flaghouse- Special Populations Funtastic Therapy Catalog Jesana, Ltd Kapable Kids, Inc. Sportime Abilitations Technical Solutions- Australia TFH (USA)Ltd. Therapy Toy Shop There are many companies that sell adaptive toys. Let’s Play! (2013) Retrieved from

26 Examples of Adaptive Toys Switch Adapted Toys Switch Adapted Magical Light Show

27 Examples of Adaptive Toys Vibrating Mini Rib-It Ball VibroLadyBug

28 Examples of Adapted Toys Examples from the AT Center to pass around.

29 Ablenet Inc. YouTube video on switch adapted toys: – Regular use of switches Switch-latch and timer use Wireless access to toys

30 Switch Adapting Your Own Toys: Using Battery Interrupters – Battery Interrupters are easiest way to switch adapt simple toys. – View this 3 part video on using premade battery interrupters: devices/battery_interrupters/battery-interrupters devices/battery_interrupters/battery-interrupters

31 Battery Interrupters – Companies that sell battery interrupters Adaptivation $12 Enabling Devices $10 - $15 Ablenet Inc. $13 – How to make your own battery interrupters: d_toy.htm d_toy.htm

32 Switch Adapting Your Own Toys: Hardwiring If you have a more complicated toy, you can adapt some toys for switches. There are many videos online that step you through this process. YouTube videos on how to adapt switch toys: – – – sch.vic.edu.au/instructions/adapting-simple-switch- toys.pdf sch.vic.edu.au/instructions/adapting-simple-switch- toys.pdf –

33 For Gamers For adaptive gamers: – – For adapting your own controllers: – Adaptive Wii Kit: – nintendo-wii-remote-kit nintendo-wii-remote-kit

34 Using AAC devices You can use high-tech AAC devices with infrared environmental control features to control infrared toys. The following companies have instructions on their website that guide you through the process. DynaVox: Prenke Romich Company: Tobii: technology/global/support-and- downloads/faqs/ Sqze/http://www.tobii.com/en/assistive- technology/global/support-and- downloads/faqs/ Sqze/

35 Using AAC devices for IR Toys Toys “R” Us Infrared Toys Dinosaur and Gorilla are controlled by infrared technology. This allows AAC devices with environmental control features to be programmed to control these toys.

36 Adapting Books Interactive Books Adding Icons to Books Photos are from

37 Adapted Books Texture Books Baggie Books

38 Adapted Books Page Turners Talking Books such as Tarheel Reader Powerpoint Books

39 Adapting Books The document A-Z of Adapting Books for Students with Disabilities in Virginia can be found at: Z_of_Adapting_Books_for_Students_with_Disabilities _in_Virginia.pdf. It contains an abundance of information about how to create play materials focused on increasing literacy opportunities using adapted books for students with disabilities. Z_of_Adapting_Books_for_Students_with_Disabilities _in_Virginia.pdf

40 GoBabyGo! Dr. Cole Galloway at the University of Delaware – Modifies “off-the-shelf toy racecars to provide mobility to children with crawling and walking problems, empowering them to be part of the action at home, in the daycare center, and on the playground.” – – Hosts “make and take” clinics and trainings. – Conducts research on the impact of power mobility on early skill development.

41 Our GoBabyGo TowMater Vehicle

42 Our GoBabyGo Tinkerbelle Stand Up Vehicle

43 One final important note……..remember that play may be a child’s “work”, but it should be inherently FUN!

44 NAU AT Center Loan Equipment We have a library of adapted toys that can be loaned to families and individuals with disabilities. See our inventory by stopping in the AT Center or checking out and liking our page on Facebook! Facebook Page Name: NAU Assistive Technology Center Northern Arizona University’s Institute for Human Development Assistive Technology Center at

45 Other Local Resources for Adaptive Toys Arizona Technology Access Project (AZTAP) at aztap.org aztap.org Arizona Department of Education Loan Library at Technology-Loan-Library/ Technology-Loan-Library/


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