Friday, September 17, 2010

For Kids With Autism, Certain Toys Teach Life Skills

There are toys and then there are toys.  Some toys help develop the character of a child and help build needed life skills.  For kids with autism, toys can be life changers.
We’ve researched a number of toys that have tangible benefits for special needs children.  Some help with motor and sensory issues, others build social interaction.  All are more than just toys and each has a unique therapeutic value.

The following is a list of the most recommended toys from Playworks, a company that specializes in toys for special needs.  

Snap Bags
Throwing and catching are made easy with two Snap Bags linked together. Snap Bags create a calming presence when all six are attached and used as a shoulder or lap weight. Snap Bags open an entirely new world of gross-motor, fine-motor and social skill game opportunities. Game booklet included!

Explorer Ring
Open the doors and make the beads-go-round! Learn fine motor skills with the motivation of flowing beads. The Explorer Ring works on a range of skills while encouraging tactile, auditory and visual exploration. You can Squeeze the buttons, Pull the knob, Rotate the cuff, Turn the key and Spin the handle to make the beads flow. Game booklet included with play options for all levels.

Bumpity Blocks
Bumpity Blocks are a weighted foam alternative to classic blocks. The extra weight and unique texture provide increased motor control. The non-standard shapes encourage creativity in building. 8 blocks in 4 distinct shapes and 4 bright colors. Game booklet included!

Play Packs
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Development by Design, the creator of Play Packs aims to give all children of all abilities access to play. Designed with a licensed occupational therapist, DbD products encourage exploration and skill development. Versatile designs, multi-level game cards and a unique icon system allow parents and professionals to tailor games to any child.
Each Play Pack includes 15 skill-based game cards and six information cards printed on thick coated card stock. All games use readily available supplies. Designed for developmental ages 3-12+, each game card features an illustration to entice child's participation, easy to follow directions, and reference icons showing specific skills involved: gross motor, fine motor, bilateral coordination, motor planning, visual perception, eye-hand coordination, oral motor, social, sensory processing, and pre-academic.

Textured Pop Beads
Remember the fifties and the pop bead fad?  Enhanced with texture, what's old is new again.  Sized for easy gripping, Textured Pop Beads offer a fun way to increase tactile awareness and develop fine motor skills. 
Differences in color and texture invite sorting and counting and enhance language development as adult and child use words to describe how the beads are alike and different.  Math comes into play as the child creates chains and rings of different lengths and diameters, then measures, and compares.  An ideal fidget toy, Textured Pop Beads come 100 in a reusable plastic tube.

Autism Health and Wellness has arranged a special discount with Playworks for readers.  Simply log on to and enter code AHW for special discounts.  Or call (877) 579-9300 and use code AHW for the same savings.

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