Making a List and Checking it Twice – Gift Giving Resources for a Child with a Disability
Do you believe in the magic of the holiday season? I do! One of my favorite things to do this time of year is to go gift shopping for my family and friends. I don't start shopping until after Thanksgiving and thoroughly enjoy wandering through the mall for hours on end in search of the perfect gift for each person on my list.
When I worked at the HSC Pediatric Center in Washington, D.C. I had the opportunity to incorporate my passion for choosing the perfect gift into my work. One of the departments I supervised was in charge of creating the hospital's wish list, managing the donations, and selecting gifts for all of the patients. We spent hours locked away in "Santa's Workshop" sorting through a sea of baby dolls, toy trucks, and board games. Even though thousands of people from the community donated wonderful gifts, each year we donated more toys that we received as donations to other community organizations due to the unsuitability of the toys for the population of clients we served.
During the 12 holiday seasons I worked at HSC, I learned a great deal of information about choosing the best gift for children with a variety of physical and cognitive disabilities. Here a few tips and resources for helping to ensure you give the perfect gift for the children on your shopping list:
Consult the Team
While caregivers and parents know their children best, sometimes educators and therapists are able to match a child's abilities, preferences, and therapeutic goals with specialized technology that may not be available in department stores. My fellow Assistive Technology (AT) team members and I assisted many parents with creating customized gift idea lists for our clients. Depending on the need of the client, we provided general recommendations to specific toy recommendations.
Create a Wish List
Gift givers want to buy something a child will enjoy and creating a wish list with specific recommendations is a great way to help ensure the gift giver chooses the correct item. There are a number of retailers that allow shoppers to create wish lists on their websites. Some retailers also provide comment sections where the user can write comments as to why the gift is important or desired.
Check-out the HSC Pediatric Center's 2014 wish list for inspiration. Members of the Rehabilitation Services Department wrote comments by a number of the toys on their list to assist donors with selecting the perfect gift for the patients at the hospital.
AblePlay™ is a website that reviews and rates toys for children of all abilities. The website looks at a variety of disabilities categories including physical, sensory, communicative, and cognitive disabilities. AblePlay™ was created to assist parents, teachers, therapists, caregivers, etc. with selecting the appropriate toys for a child with special needs.
Toys "R" Us Gift Guide for Differently-Abled Kids – For 20 years Toy "R" Us has published a toy gift guide designed to assist shoppers with selecting gifts for children with special needs. The toys are categorized by the skills the item targets. There are 10 different skills: auditory, creativity, fine motor, gross motor, language, self-esteem, social skills, tactile, thinking, and visual. The resource not only includes toys, but it also includes an App Guide.
We invite you to share your gift giving suggestions below or on our Zippie Facebook Page.
Thank you for reading our blog! We love hearing from you, so please do not hesitate to reach out to us. We encourage you to leave a comment or send us an email.
Always remember at the end of the day, your client is your number one priority!
Disclaimer: The contents of this blog are intended to be utilized as a general resource for clinicians and suppliers to then use clinical reasoning skills to determine optimal seating and mobility solutions for individual clients. Steve and Angie are unable to answer questions from members of the general public including caregivers and end users. Members of the general public should direct specific questions to their own clinicians, medical, suppliers, or other health care professionals.
Posted by: Date: 12/21/2014 12:00:00 AM
Filed under: Angie