‘Tis the season for wish lists of boys and girls full of anticipation as the holidays approach. My imagination plays out the journey from list to playtime. With excitement, I begin the treasure hunt at the big brand toy story. Hours later, I leave exhausted and question my judgment on the money spent vs. the length of time the toy will actually hold my child’s interest. In a few short days after all the gifts have been opened, many of them have become forgotten. The quest… this year will be different!
When it comes to the measurement of a true bargain on a toy, it must pass the cost vs. the amount of play time litmus test. But, when you have a child with special needs, sometimes toys take on even more significant roles: roles of education, development, social interaction, emotional development, coordination, memory skills and so on. Dyslexia is complex. 1:5 people are dyslexic. On the surface, it may seem that your child reverses letters, has difficulty with handwriting, lacks coordination skills for his or her age, and/or is unable to remember a list of items or what they read. But overcoming these areas are rooted in the neurological routing of the brain, and that’s where toys can enter the picture and become fun ways to strongly build these routes!
Suggested toys that will pass the litmus test on fun and price:
Memory match games
Where is Waldo®
I Spy Treasure
Tripod Grip – use a pencil, crayon or chalk, which are no longer than golf pencils
Chalk, crayons and pencils will help with hand motor control so that written lines will not drift as easily.
Pushing too hard on the paper? Write on the back of a Styrofoam plate! This method is great feedback for your child to understand the correct amount of pressure to apply.
Ball & Jacks
Yoga Ball Chair
One last thought! When you begin your treasure hunt for the perfect toy, keep three things in mind: Fun factor, skills required, and cost. With a bit of thought and pre-planning, a true treasure can be found! Is your child included in this statistic? Leave it up to us to give you the answer.
Penny Stack, MOT, OTR/L, CLT is the owner of PH Therapy Holdings, LLC, the parent company of several subsidiaries, one of which is Dyslexia Institutes of America (DIA) in Tulsa, Oklahoma. In the quest to research the best possible services for her own child, Mrs. Stack brought DIA to the Tulsa area. Mrs. Stack has over 23 years of experience as an occupational therapist. Mrs. Stack received her Master’s in Occupational Therapy at Samuel Merritt College, Oakland California.