Posted on December 8th, 2014 by Beth Finke
It’s just the first week of December, and the holiday commercials are already in full force. I remember watching all those ads while my son Gus was growing up, wondering if any of the toys advertised on TV would appeal to him. My husband Mike and I spent hours and hours searching catalogs, visiting toy stores, playing at music shops, filing through hardware stores, perusing gift shops, looking anywhere and everywhere to find a toy Gus might like, something he might want to explore.
Therapists told us it was good for Gus to be stimulated by different things. We gave him mobiles, wind chimes, tambourines — anything we could find that was colorful and made noise. By the time he turned 9 or 10, though, we just plain ran out of ideas. And as Gus grew, it was more difficult to muscle him in and out of stores on holiday shopping sprees. I still remember wishing for one place I could go for a list of toys especially good for kids with special needs. With a list like that, who knew? Maybe Mike and I might find something out of the ordinary for Gus, something we would have never thought of on our own.
Toys “R” Us to the rescue! The Toy Guide for Differently-Abled Kids is a free toy-selection guide for parents and friends of children with disabilities. Items featured in the Guide promote the development of specific skills, such as auditory, language, visual, fine motor, thinking and social skills.
Our son Gus is 28 years old now, living happily with three other guys in a group home in Wisconsin. I’m kind of out of the toy-buying loop now, so if any of you readers have other go-to places to find special toys for special kids, please leave a comment. I’m all ears.