OVERALL WINNERS for INCLUSIVE PLAY
The toys were tested by 40 children from 8 months to 11 years old with a wide range of different needs, these needs included children with cerebral palsy, hearing impairments, some with hearing aids and some with cochlear implants and children with brain injury.
These are the comments we received from focus group evaluations co-cordinated by Carole Burton (Editor, Good Toy Guide) at the National Association of Toy and Leisure Libraries.
All of these products were felt to be excellent! Perfect for children with additional needs especially when the switch plug was attached, this made it easy for children to ‘turn’ the toy on no matter their ability.
Mongo’s hand clapping encouraged the children to clap hands and many of the children enjoyed singing along with him. He was particularly useful to use with children who have just be fitted with a hearing aid or a cochlear implant. He was used in a vowel recognition game – ‘oo’ is the monkey vowel and the children were delighted to have Mongo as the symbol. A deputy head of a P.S.L.D school felt that she would buy and use this switch toy with music as it was invaluable in a 1 to 1 situation with children with a severe learning disability.
A recommended modification for Mongo is to change his name to Mongo the Monkey.
Cowley the Cow great toy that encouraged the children to make the animal sounds as they sang along with or listened to Cowley. Encouraged the children to move along to the singing cow with flapping ears!
The Nurserytime Bear was used as a therapeutic resource – a fun play item and a bedtime routine toy – very versatile. It was excellent for encouraging fine and gross motor skills, particularly reaching and stretching out to switch, and also encouraging a functional touch/grasp. Good introduction to cause and effect skills, speaking and listening, observation and concentration. It was felt to be a very sensory toy, useful for calming and relaxing the sensory system as it is a soft cuddly toy with a ‘twinkly’ sound to the bears voice.
Arnold the Snoring Pig is very huggable and the children found the snoring very entertaining. Arnold appealed more to the older children/young people with additional needs. Mainstream children enjoyed him as well, but tended to lose interest quicker. But he did make everyone laugh adults and children alike!
All of these toys were felt to be excellent for encouraging therapeutic goals for the children. They were felt to have good movements and pleasant sounds. Good materials – soft and cuddly, but a little difficult to clean. A storage bag would be a great and useful addition. It was good that they could be used with or without the switch lead, but the switch lead is a very useful and welcome addition.