Future Reflections Fall 2000, Vol. 19 No. 4
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Toy Resources

Boy playing with a ball.
Balls are always popular with kids of all ages.

Good Toys for Blind Kids:
Suggestions from Parents

Compiled and distributed by the National Organization of Parents of Blind Children (NOPBC), this is a list of regular toys recommended by parents of blind children. The list is divided into three categories: 2 years and older, 5 years and older, and 9 years and older. To request this free list contact the National Organization of Parents of Blind Children, 1800 Johnson Street, Baltimore, MD 21230 (410) 659-9314 ext: 360, <BCheadle@nfb.org>.

Fun Play, Safe Play:
A Guide from
the American Toy
Institute, Inc.

A booklet of general guidelines which includes toy safety tips, consumer information about buying toys, an age-guide to buying toys, and other helpful tips. To order a free copy contact the American Toy Institute, Inc. 115 Broadway, Suite 400, New York, NY 10010. For up-to-date information about toys and play, visit their web site at: <www.toy-tma.org>

[PHOTO of a young girl sitting on the floor with pieces of a tube snap-together toy in her hand and scattered around her on the floor.  The caption reads:]

Snap-together toys
improve dexterity.

Toy Resource Hotline

The National Lekotek Center has a toy resource hotline (800) 366-PLAY for parents to request information on appropriate toys for children with special needs. Lekotek centers offer in-person consultation to families of children with unique play/recreational needs.

Guide to Toys for Children Who are Blind or Visually Impaired: 2000-2001

This booklet, developed jointly by the American Foundation for the Blind and the American Toy Institute, Inc., pictures and describes examples of some 100 toys on the general market. The toys are listed by categories such as “Infant/Preschool Toys,” “Role-Play Toys,” “Activity/Outdoor Toys,” etc. Each toy listed is accompanied by a picture, toy description, manufacturer, price, age-range, and a code for blind, low-vision, and special needs. Contact  American Toy Institute, Inc., 1115 Broadway, Suite 400, New York, NY 10010, (212) 675-1141, <www.toy-tma.org>.

Editor’s Recommendation: If you choose to use this guide, I suggest you ignore the codes for blind, low-vision, and special needs. There were several toys that were only coded LV (low-vision), which I know are enjoyed by totally blind children. In fact, all toys were marked LV. The only codes used selectively were the B (blind) and SN (special needs—children with additional disabilities).

Toys and Play: A Guide to Fun and Development for Children
with Impaired Vision

Written by Kim S. Blakely, Ph.D.; Mary Ann Lang, Ph.D.; and Barbara Kushner Sosna, SDA. This soft-cover book published by The Lighthouse, Inc., New York, New York, discusses the typical stages of play from infancy through age eight. Adaptations for blind and low-vision children are incorporated when appropriate into the descriptions of toys and activities at each level. For cost and other ordering information contact the Lighthouse National Center for Vision and Child Development, (800) 334-5497.

Adapted-Toy Resources

The following information comes from SpecialKids, a MetroKids publication:

Dolls with Disabilities

People of Every Stripe—Numerous dolls with special needs are available including dolls with Down Syndrome, dolls with wheelchairs, g-tubes, colostomy bags, prosthetic limbs, and walkers. The doll collection also reflects all races and ethnicities. (503) 282-0612.

Dolly Downs—Each pig-tailed, stuffed doll with slanting eyes comes with a small book in her dolly backpack that tell the child she’s not alone in looking different. 800 682-3714.

Share A Smile Becky—Barbie’s 11-½-inch fashion doll friend who uses a wheelchair. Becky is available at local toy stores.

Catalogs

Different Roads to Learning—toys designed to develop a range of cognitive skills. 800 853-1057.

Therapro—A large therapeutic-activities section lists toys and activities that stimulate oral and motor skills. A huge selection of other toys, games, and activities to suit various disabilities and age levels. (800) 257-5376.

Dragonfly Toy Company—Many toys, games, educational products, and even recreational products, like bicycles. (800) 308-2208; <www.dragonflytoys.com>.

Learning, Play, and Toys

This distance education course: “helps parents understand what can be learned by the child through play, toys, and social contact. Toys, activities, and games are recommended for children of different ages and developmental levels. Helpful hints about adapting activities for blind and visually impaired children are also a part of this course.” The course is free to eligible family members of blind children. Contact The Hadley School for the Blind, 700 Elm Street, Winnetka, IL 60093-0299, (847) 446-8111, <www.hadley.school.org>.

Braille Storybook Resources

Compiled and updated annually by the National Organization of Parents of Blind Children (NOPBC), this is a list of organizations that provide print-Braille storybooks for sale, free of charge, or through a lending-library arrangement. To request this free list, contact the National Organization of Parents of Blind Children, 1800 Johnson Street, Baltimore, MD 21230 (410) 659-9314 ext: 360, <BCheadle@nfb.org>.

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