Adapting and Modifying Toys for Children with Special Needs

Paper presented at the National Association for the 2003 Education of Young Children Annual Conference.

This paper provides guidance in appropriately adapting toys and the play situation to allow many children with disabilities to engage in meaningful interactions with toys and other play experiences. The paper offers five suggestions for selecting toys for children with special needs to allow positive learning outcomes, including the use of responsive toys and the inclusion of naturally occurring objects as toys. Suggestions for adapting toys relate to toy stabilization, toy extensions, toy attachment, and toy confinement. Suggestions are also offered for the following classroom learning centers: gross motor, fine motor, blocks, art, and dramatic play. The paper concludes by reiterating that selecting age-appropriate toys, adapting toys to children's needs, and designing centers that enhance development, caregivers can build an environment that promotes learning for all children.

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