Special kids have bing special requirements. As a mother of a young boy who has autism, I learnt the following: Some toys do qualify especially well, others absolutely do not. The one that don’t spike up the frustration and as an “autism mother” you definately want to avoid as many overwhelming situations as possible.
What to look for when shopping for toys for your kid:
This small guide will help you to strategise your toy shopping, so that you and your kid enjoy the outcome as much as possible and even benefit from it:
- Kids with autism need structure, and they need to be able to overlook the situation. Always.
The toy or game your child wants to play with needs to have a steady boundary. For the kid, this is a guiding path it needs to follow. It does not help having things flying around. Everything needs to have its order and everything needs to be where it is supposed to be.
For example, with this Match-Up Counting Toy Set your child will discover the world of numbers and colours. From the product description you can see already, that everything in this toy set is supposed to be at a certain place.
To enhance the structure of the set, you can place it on a
tray. Make sure you use one which has smooth edges (they should be there, just not too high).
To have the items also stractured when the game starts, you can should place them in jars – the colored ones are the perfect choice, it helps your kid to even better distinguish and learn.
So, bottom line: Regardless what type of toy or toy set you are looking for: Choose the ones which have a built in boundary and structure.
- Quality is key! Get products which are made of robust materials!
While shopping, this will definately hurt your budget. But in the long run, you will apreciate the toys which come with a lasting quality. My son chewed on every item he got into his hands until the age of five. we had to rebuy books, favorite toy figures and pets (also the ones which belonged to his sister) and everything that was in the broadest sense chewable. Above that, children with autism tend to use a disproportional amount of power while grabbing things and holding on to them. This makes the desire for well furnished products (ideally wood) so great.
For example, this memory and lotto is way more applicable than comparable products made of cardboard or plastic.
Think of it this way: Children with autism tend to play longer with one item than other kids do. They like their toys for several months or even years while other kids are ready for the next thing after a way shorter amount of time.
- Pick toys and games with potential add ons
In the example of the memory and lotto set it is obvious that with the same items, two games can be played. With additional cardsyou could even extend this game to a broader memory. Kids usually have a harder time adjusting to new environments as other children do. It is therefore important to stick to one setting and try to expand it, rather than buying several other sets in the same category.
This post is also available in: Deutsch (German)