Friday, November 26, 2010

Choosing a Gift for the Visually Challenged Child

Choosing a Gift for the Visually Challenged Child

With the holiday season going strong, it can be hard to select gifts for children who have vision challenges. Some toys may not be appropriate for a child with low vision, may be too difficult to play with, or not hold a child's interest regardless of the age recommendation.

A few things to consider when choosing a gift for a child with vision challenges.

In the case of books

Choose books with large print and few words on a page (depending on reading level and of course vision abilities).

I recommend the Random House has a
"Step Into Reading" books. They include popular children's characters and are very inexpensive (under $5 a book). The paperback books are all labeled based on level. Step 1 books (red) all have very large print and are a good place to start. Step 2 also have large print and use of picture cues, as well as ample spacing between words.

Electronic Toys

"Noisy Toys" - or toys that make sounds, music, or read books are good choices but only with a few caveats: a volume control and an on/off switch.

For a child who enjoys music, a keyboard or microphone can be a good choice.

For a child who enjoys stories but cannot read - look for books on tape/cd or consider a reading system like the LeapFrog TAG Reading System or the Poingo Interactive Reader. My daughter who has amblyopia and low vision is having difficulty learning to read but enjoys these reading systems as well audio books.


Sensory Toys

Look for toys with interesting textures and surfaces or that provide sensory stimulation.

Toys with bright lights, bright colors, or contrasting colors (white/black) can be beneficial and enjoyed by children with moderate vision challenges and low vision. I recommend a toy that combines music, bright lights, and also has a talking clock and alarm -
Zizzle Zoundz 



Toy Resource Guides

- Toys R Us has a
Guide for Differently-Abled Children

American Foundation for the Blind maintains a categorized list of toys according to the disability.

- Bright Tots
Choosing The Right Toy for Special Needs

- Prevent Blindness America:
Help Keep the Holidays Merry and Bright by Giving Safe Toys and Gifts to Children This Year (pdf)

This article was orginally published by me at Bella Online Vision Issues site

1 comment:

  1. My daughter is in her toddler years but she shows interest in books. I am having a hard time looking for books with large prints on them so your suggestion would help me a lot. I will also try those audio books. However, I saw some Leapfrog books before and if I remember correctly, I think they're expensive. But anyway, thank you so much for your suggestions. They're really helpful.