Good Toy Guide – Focus Group Report

OVERALL WINNERS for INCLUSIVE PLAY

Mongo the Gorilla, Cowley the Cow, Nurserytime Bear and Arnold the Snoring Pig switch adapted toys.

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.

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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.

Unquote.

Watch the video of young children at KoolKidz Nursery playing with these and other switch adapted toys.

Mike

High flying Bob’s joystick controller

Mark has had a few late nights recently perfecting a joystick interface for a Futaba radio transmitter. This is the link to the full story published in the Leek Times.

But, just to give you a flavour for the project, we received a call asking whether we could help Bob fly his radio controlled plane.

That sounded straight forward enough but then we got to the interesting bit; Bob, rather casually mentioned that he had only one arm and you normally require two hands to control the Futaba transmitter.

So it came down to whether Mark could figure out how to make the flight controls on the Futaba accessible through some adaptive / assistive technology engineering.

Quite soon he’d worked out how to connect a Saitek Cyborg joystick to the Futaba transmitter to control thrust, wing, tail and the rudder.

On a beautiful later summers evening we had the first ground test flight on St Edward’s Junior High School field in Leek.

After Bob’s mastered the controls of his Tiger Trainer he wants to move up to the Spitfire he’s already built.

Plane-with-Joystick-Futaba-Transmitter

Mike

Switch adapted toys from HOP’TOYS, France

We are very pleased to announce  that our switch adapted toys can now be purchased in France from HOP’TOYS.

Each year HOP’TOYS looks at the range of new products available and selects the best for inclusion in their annual catalogue of products for children with special needs.

Contact HOP’TOYS to request a copy of their catalogue.