Pediatric HealthSource: Finding the Right Toy

Kassidy Spring

Q: How can I be sure to choose the perfect toy for any child this holiday season, no matter their level of ability?

A:Shopping for a child with limited abilities does not mean that you have limited gift options. It might mean buying an item that offers more opportunities for creativity or adaptation, but the perfect toy is not out of reach for any child.

Many gift giverssearch for just the right item and await the smile on a child's face when the present is unwrapped. Not only are they looking for a gift that delights, but also for a toy the child will be able to play with and enjoy. A perfect toy considers a child's interests while adapting to meet his or her individual abilities.

Every child has unique abilities. Parents and caregivers know their child best. By asking questions and understanding the recipient, you can give them a gift they can truly enjoy.

There is an entire industry devoted to adapting toys utilizing technology, switches and other accessories. However, a child with different abilities is not limited to these high-tech options. By thinking outside the box and focusing on a child's skills and interests, you can find options to create your own adaptive gifts. Become familiar with online and local organizations that can help provide adaptations, resources and directions for modifying toys yourself.

Toys are made to reach children with differing interests. They also cater to specific age groups and abilities; however, this does not need to be limiting. Every child is different, abilities aside. By knowing a child, asking questions and learning what they like, the possibilities for the perfect gift are unlimited.

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Kassidy Spring is a child life specialist with family and volunteer services at Nationwide Children's Hospital.

Gift giving at any age, regardless of ability level, can be challenging. Here are a few things to consider:

Match interests and abilities. What is the child's favorite toy, character, movie or theme? Think about how you can use their individual interests to give the perfect gift.

Consider individual sensory needs. Which toys will be best and which could add stress? Think about textures, sights, sounds and smells.

Look at resources to make a game or toy adaptable. Toy adaptations can range from modifications that help a child hold the toy to use of technology or switches to allow for independent interaction with the item. There are also specific apps designed for use with switches.

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