Play is a cornerstone of development for all children. Consider the cognitive engagement when children are working on a puzzle, or the motor skills and coordination involved in playing catch with a ball, or the socialization skills required in playing a game. Through play, children expand skill sets related to:
- Critical Thinking
- Emotional Expression
- Fine/Gross Motor Skills
It is through play that many children are able to learn daily skills and functions while participating in an activity that is merely fun for them.
Unfortunately, play is not always easy for a child with special needs as the cognitive or physical challenges they face often prevent them from playing with traditional toys. Parents, clinicians, and educators have struggled to find toys that are appropriate for children with special needs. Their options have been limited to using traditional toys as best they can or trying to find adapted toys, which are traditional toys modified to make them more appropriate. Adapted toys are typically very expensive and as a result, children with special needs have not been able to experience the joy and developmental benefits from toys in the same manner as other children. With the rapidly growing numbers of children the special needs, the need for better designed and creative toys has become critically important.
PlayAbility Toys was founded to fill this need and has been creating unique toys and games for over ten years. Our products are designed with input from parents, teachers, therapists, child life specialists, and educational psychologists. Our philosophy has always been to make the toy or game "fun first" but to also make sure we have added effective therapeutic qualities to the toys to provide an enhanced play experience. Whether it's our multi-sensory plush toys like “Buddy Dog”, or our light weight “Rib-it-Ball”, which features easy to grab, multi-sensory ribs, our toys provide an engaging experience for all ability levels. Using unique toys specifically designed for children with special needs helps captivate the child's attention, motivates them to play longer, and enriches their perception of themselves and the play experience.
Designing special toys only solves part of the problem. We also recognize the financial hardships often involved with caring for a child with special needs and we strive to keep our products affordable. Our goal is to not only create wonderful toys but to make it possible for all parents to be able to buy them for their children. This not only allows children to have more play opportunities but also allows parents to use the same toys that therapists are using in clinical settings.
This continuation of play and therapy into the home environment amplifies the play opportunities and the developmental benefits provided to the child. We have also developed recommended “lesson plans” and activities demonstrating how to best utilize our toys allowing parents the ability to provide a more structured “play time” but in a fun and creative way.
So play is therapy and therapy is play! Improved play experiences foster multiple developmental benefits and enhance the child's quality of life. Finding appropriate toys has been a major challenge for parents and others providing services to children with special needs. At PlayAbility Toys, we focus on the special needs community and strive to design quality products that support the families, clinicians, and educators who are devoted to helping these special children.