January 2011 | Vol. X - No. 1
Talk to the Toy
How Playthings Help Challenged Kids Communicate
With additional reporting by Chris Lundy, Marie Raven and Brenda Ruggiero
Parents of developmentally challenged children are always on the hunt for toys and games that can increase verbal skills. However, speech specialists told TDmonthly Magazine that how toys are used is more important than what toys are used.
"In all honesty, you can adapt and modify any toy," said Denise DiCristofaro, instructor, clinical supervisor, and coordinator of graduate admissions at Mercy College, Dobbs Ferry, N.Y. She explained that the idea of toys is to encourage interaction. (See Table)
DiCristofaro tells her teachers that they need to be detectives to learn more about what their children will respond to.
"What is motivating to the child?" she asked. "Do they [sic] like sports? Then bring in sports toys. Do they like cars? Then bring in cars." The toy should stimulate reasons to talk.
Pam Angione, speech therapist for the Lakeland School District in Westchester County, N.Y., explained that one of the goals is to disguise work with play. Toys and games help create opportunities for interaction, rule following, role playing, categorization and more.
Some of the benefits of playing are:
TABLE: Toys That Encourage Speech Skills
Read more about each product below:
Playing Cards Deck by THE UNITED STATES PLAYING CARD CO.
Other products from THE UNITED STATES PLAYING CARD CO.
Each deck of cards can be used for a variety of games. Cards range from Ace to King in the four suits of Clubs, Diamonds, Hearts and Spades. Most decks also include two jokers that are used as wild cards for some games and eliminated for others. Cards are used for games for one or more players, sometimes individually and sometimes on teams.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 31322 (added 12/16/2010)
PLAY-DOH 50 COLORS gives children an endless number of creative options with 50 different-colored cans of compound, including six new colors. This product is special for 2006, Play-Doh’s 50th anniversary.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 6790 (added 2/1/2006)
Kitchen Littles Deluxe Cookware Set by INTERNATIONAL PLAYTHINGS LLC
Other products from INTERNATIONAL PLAYTHINGS LLC
Made of heavy-duty, die-cast metal, this rebirth of the Kitchen Littles line showcases cookware in stylish miniature form. Suggested retail price for sets in the line is roughly $20 to $25. Launch date: 2008.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 17769 (added 2/27/2008)
Lights, sound, talking, and a fun sing-along song helps children’s imaginations take flight as they learn about “high” and “low” with a little help from the Little People. The little figurines wiggle and wobble as kids spin the airplane wheel, and an easy-carry handle helps pretend flights soar through the sky. The plan comes with figures Mia, Roberto, and a pilot. It requires 3 AA batteries. This product received the Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award for 2007.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 10502 (added 12/7/2006)
The floating toy boat comes with a moveable fishing rod, a fish scoop, a Captain Michael figure and a life ring. Kids can catch fish with the movable fishing rod, then use the fish as a scoop to pour water. Additionally, kids can press down on the sitting captain in his seat to activate a fun tune.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 17980 (added 3/17/2008)
Little PeopleŽ Sarah LynnŽ & Her Scooter by FISHER-PRICE INC.
Other products from FISHER-PRICE INC.
Sarah Lynn rides her scooter with her dog pal in the sidecar, headed to a birthday party. Both friends wear helmets and goggles. The set even comes with a birthday present and balloons, which Sarah can actually hold in her hand. The scooter and sidecar measure approximately 7” in length.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 17130 (added 1/18/2008)
These capes and wings help children explore their creativity as they pretend to be wizards, dragons, fairies, princesses and more. Ranging in size from toddler to child, these dress up clothes allow children to play out many stories and fantasies as they play. The bright colors and initricate designs enhance their imaginative play. All these dress up clothes are made of natural fibers and are machine washable to be used over and over again.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 31323 (added 12/16/2010)
This game is for 2 to 4 players. Each player selects cards with colors or characters to determine where to move around the board. Players move their gingerbread pawn through a variety of confections and treats on their way to the castle. The first player to the castle wins. The simple rules and color-coded movement make this a great first game for young children.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 2152 (added 1/3/2005)
This game includes an 8”-tall rotary cage with a random ball selector, plastic numbered balls, 18 reusable Bingo cards, about 150 colored chip markers and a call sheet. It comes in a box.
— Classic toys are popular at the Lollipop Shop in Jonesborough, Tenn., and Kiawah Island, S.C., and this game is no exception, said Co-owner Jeff Gurley in spring 2008.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 19261 (added 6/4/2008)
Recently inducted into Parenting magazine’s “Toy Hall of Fame,” Miracle® Bubbles is a product of all amazing ingenuity, hard work and creativity. You will be blown away by Miracle® Bubbles cool long-lasting and superbly crafted bubbles. Just what makes these bubbles such a miracle? Well, the secret miracle bubble potion of course. Miracle® Bubbles secret non-toxic bubble solution provides hours of endless enjoyment for all ages.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 6498 (added 1/10/2006)
Using plug-and-play technology, parents simply plug this kid-sized stationary bike into their television’s A/V jacks to bring the arcade experience home to enable kids to be active while learning. Kids pedal and steer to play fun learning games right on the TV. Launch date: March 5, 2008.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 11938 (added 3/15/2007)
The Alphabet Pal can giggle, sing, walk and flash its antennae. Four learning modes are designed to introduce letter names, letter sounds, colors and music.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 28625 (added 5/24/2010)
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Writer's Bio: Patrice Athanasidy has been writing freelance stories for over 20 years in the New York metropolitan area. She also works as a grant writer for several nonprofits between feature assignments. Patrice had a column with the Scripp’s Oconee Today last year about how her family handled day-to-day life with her son on the autistic spectrum. She can be reached at PatAthanas@aol.com. Read more articles by this author
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