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Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Should You Shop Using Age as a Guide Only?




Children who have learning or physical limitations have special needs that should be considered when buying toys and others items. If it is your child who is disabled, you may have a good handle on what types of thing he or she would enjoy this holiday season. For those who are buying for children that are not their own, choosing the right gifts can be daunting because disabled children may not enjoy the same things other children their own age would enjoy.


If you are comfortable enough with a child's mother to discuss level rather than age appropriate toys, do so. More often than not, she will simply be grateful that you are considering her child's needs before making a purchase, but if you feel hesitant to discuss the topic, choose toys that are most generic and educational for multiple age groups.


You can choose balance toys as a safe option (assuming the child is not in a wheel chair) because a child who has not mastered this skill will enjoy practicing and children who have will still enjoy playing games and being physically active on balancing trails, discs, and similar toys. Fine motor development toys are another good option for younger children or those with limitation in this area. There are lacing toys to help with tasks like tying shoes, as well as a variety of others.


When still in doubt, choose toys and gifts that virtually any age group or skill level would enjoy. Art supplies are always a good choice because kids from toddler to teen enjoy expressing their creativity through creation. You may also consider story books tailored for elementary aged children for older children and toddlers for the younger set.


Videos directed at children are another great option. Even infants often find the characters on screen entertaining, even before they fully understand language. Make sure to choose something educational in nature, as well as something that offers entertaining actors, cartoons, or stories.


For children who are severely handicapped, it may be a better option to discuss specifics with the parents before making a purchase. Certain toys or activities may not be appropriate or useful, depending on the type and severity of the disability, and you want to spend your money on things that can be used. When in doubt, rather than bringing up the disability or illness directly…simply ask what his or her favorite toys or movies are.

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