When we refer to young children with special needs, it is usually an all-encompassing term for a wide variety of diagnoses. The issues range from those that resolve quickly on their own(relatively mild) to those that are more challenging. Special needs cover situations such as developmental delays and medical conditions. Others include psychiatric terms as well as congenital conditions that require accommodations. Children with special needs, receive this status so that the appropriate intervention materializes. The objective of intervening is so that the young person reaches his/her potential in life. Besides, special needs designation helps families/caregivers obtain needed services, gain insight, and prepare for the stresses associated with raising a special-needs child.

Read: Selecting The Right Toys For Your Child Is Not A Child’s Play

The various spectra of issues for young children with special needs cover the following:

Medical Issues

Medical problems include severe conditions like cancer, heart defects, muscular dystrophy as well as cystic fibrosis.

Behavioral Issues

Young children under this category may not respond to traditional means of discipline. The conditions here include ADHD, fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD), dysfunction of sensory integration, and Tourette’s syndrome.

Developmental Issues

Developmental disabilities like autism and Down’s Syndrome may impair the child’s propensity to live a full and rewarding life.

Learning Issues

Learning impediments like dyslexia and auditory processing disorder (APD), often mean that young children struggle with school work, regardless of intellectual abilities.

Special Needs and Concerns

No two families of young people with special needs share the same concern. A family dealing with developmental delays will express different concerns to one dealing with chronic illness. Parents/caregivers will have and display different anxieties coping with mental illness, learning problems, or behavioral challenges.

Young Children With Special Needs And Toys

Play forms a significant plank in optimal child development because it aids the cognitive, physical, social, and emotional well-being of children and youth. Toys also assist parents in teaching and interacting fully with children during play and learning. This case is no different for young children with special needs.

Appropriateness of Toys and Technology  for Young Children with Special Needs

Young children with special needs or developmental challenges face a variety of difficulties or obstacles in their play because of factors such as mental limitations or physical inhibitions. Experts point to an example of special needs children engaging in atypical play. Instances include playing with objects repetitively but not constructing anything. Another example is engaging with a toy in a non-functional manner, such as hitting a toy telephone against the wall as opposed to talking into it.

Experts posit that caregivers and parents of children with special needs may often choose functional toys over symbolic ones. Functional toys are those that are easily activated and often respond with lights and sounds. On the other hand, figurative devices engender pretend play, creativity, and social interactions. However, child behavioral experts state that toys adaptation forms an effective means for helping the development of special needs children.

Technology plays a crucial role in play outcomes and satisfaction with toys for young children. Adaptations of toys form an essential strategy a motor, visual, or other disability for children with special needs.

Various Play Outcomes

Several results come up with toys and technology for young children with special needs. One is mixing uncomplicated access with multisensory feedback such as light and sound when a toy comes on. Examples center on the adaptation of toy design which includes Velcro strips to help a child, with motor skills restrictions, hold a toy. A similar case involves the use of a more prominent push button to activate a toy for a child with motor difficulties, who cannot easily manipulate a small switch.

Technology in toys for young children with special needs should also take into consideration the role of caregivers/parents. For instance, therapists often use toys to stimulate the use of a non-dominant hand by putting the toy on that part of the body. Besides, custom toys can be held near an adult’s face to engender eye contact for a young child battling autism spectrum disorder.


Child care experts and psychologists advise that parents/caregivers chose low-tech, off-the-shelf toys that encourage functional play to help their child. This choice should help the child meet the learning and other developmental outcomes as time progresses.

About the Author Tom Brewer

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