Great Gifts For Special Needs Kids

Got a super special kid on your gift list this year? We have toys that match up to kids with different abilities, so you can find something great to give.

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Toys to help develop fine motor skills

Kids with cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, and other disorders often have difficulty with fine motor skills. Fine motor mastery is important for writing and other skills, so look for toys that help kids work on these small movements.

Kids who have difficulty manipulating objects almost immediately take to the (pictured) Tangle Toy. Children love the smooth and easy twisting and turning motion, and the textured surface creates a massage-like effect. The toy also helps organize mind and body function and soothes children with autism spectrum disorders who crave repetitive stimulation. $10.

A classic toy for all children, Mr. Potato Head has long been used as a therapeutic game to aid fine motor development. Working the different body parts into and out of positon builds critical skills -- and it's just plain fun. $10-$20.


Smart playtime toys

When you're buying toys for kids with cognitive delays and disabilities, you have to think outside the box. Printed age ranges don't always mean much for these kids. Focus on fun, but look for toys that can help them gain and enhance the skills they need to master.

These two-sided wooden pattern boards offer ten designs children can explore while building shape, pattern, and color recognition skills. $20.

Why teach math and numbers with pen and paper? The Smart Snacks Counting Fun Fruit Bowl (pictured) lets kids devour learning to count and exploring parts of a whole. This sturdy bowl holds 5 fruits. Numbered pieces with embedded magnets and friction fitting pieces let kids fully understand math concepts. $20.

Go beyond ordinary flash cards with Touch & Feel Flash Cards, double-sided cards with double-sided cards with different textures to help children learn more about what they're seeing. These cards provide an introduction to early reading and counting skills, and offer activities for parents and children to do together to enhance learning. $15.

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Comments on "Top 10 toys for special needs kids"

Susan Block August 19, 2010 | 1:08 PM

Dear Abbi, I like how you mention in your tag line of the article that you have gifts for kids with different abilities. I have a child who has special needs and recently took a class for parents with children with special needs. In this class they taught us to use what they refer to as "people first" language. In other words, their suggestion is to always refer to the person first then by whatever it is that you would like to mention. The rationale is that people do not want to be defined by their "dis-ability" first but rather as a person first. I find myself using "people first" language with everybody these days. I am just sharing this with you because we really are all more alike than we are "different." Hope this helps you in your writing! Sincerely, Susan Block

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