Charlie’s second birthday is approaching quickly. For the past few months, I’ve been on the look out for birthday gift ideas. Buying toys for Charlie is tricky. I suspect it is for many kids with special needs. Every child is different. There are different abilities, interests, therapy goals, and needs. In Charlie’s case, size is an important consideration. Here are three sources that have been helpful with generating ideas:
1)Toys R Us Toy Guide For Differently-Abled Kids: I’ve used this to find ideas for the past two Christmases. In addition to the online copy, they have a hard copy in the store. This handy guide is a great starting point from which to shop or build ideas.
2)Discovery Toys Special Needs Toy Guide: A Discovery Toys Educational Consultant was at the most recent March For Babies we attended. The display toys intrigued Charlie and were the type of toys she generally enjoys. At home, I looked at the website for possible birthday gifts. During my search, I found out the company has a special needs guide which I found helpful.
3)Go Baby Go! : Today, I discovered Go Baby Go! It is a project at the University of Delaware that adapts motorized toys for kids with special needs.
I took Charlie to the USA Science and Engineering Festival. I knew, going in, that it was going to be extremely crowded and Charlie was too small for most of the interactive exhibits. My main goal was to collect science themed coloring books, story books, and activities (like paper airplane kits) that we could do together at home.
After walking through row after row of exhibits (and having to explain that Charlie was older than she looks as I collected coloring books and paper airplanes for what people thought was a baby), Charlie let out a squeal. We had come across an exhibit with a ride on toy.
The lady working behind the exhibit table asked Charlie if she liked it. Charlie smiled and clapped as I explained (for what felt like the millionth time) she was older than she looked. The lady responded by asking Charlie if she’d like to ride on the toys. To Charlie’s delight, the lady helped her ride both of the toys in the exhibit. I found out about the project and their amazing work afterwards.