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Assistive Technology Devices for Young Children with VI 1. Play/Learning Materials Many play items are commercially available for active use by young children with visual impairments. Well-designed toys with highly reactive features are especially useful for the infant and young toddler. Look for toys with the following characteristics: Toy Characteristics for Children with Low Vision • high contrast colors; separated primary colors • toys that emit light • shiny, mirrored, reflective surfaces • sound related to separate toy functions • immediate sound response; imitative • differently shaped dials • textured features Toy Characteristics for Children who are Blind • use sounds that help child to recognize toy use • toys that incorporate familiar sounds • immediate sound response; imitative stabilized toy; can be used with one or two hands • toys with structured play environment: puzzles/frames or block containers • 3 dimensional toys with defined boundaries • vibrating toys • touch or sound activated • differently shaped dials • textured features Toy Resources The following resources highlight commercial toys that are recommended for children with visual impairments Guide to Toys for Children Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired Developed by the American Foundation for the Blind in association with the American Toy Institute, Inc. AFB at (800) 232-5463 http://www.toy-tma.org/PUBLICATIONS/guide98/ Toys 'R' Us Toy Guide for Differently-Abled Kids Developed with the National Parent Network on Disabilities Local stores or : Toys Are Us; Guide for Differently Abled Kids; P.O. Box 4422; River Edge, NJ 07661-9894. APH Products Catalog: Unique Products Designed for People Who Are Visually Impaired or Blind Carries toys and other play materials. For a Catalog: (800) 223-1839. Lekotek Toy Resource National Lekotek Center, 2100 Ridge Ave., Evanston, IL 60201 Helpline: (800) 366-7529 Let's Play! Project University at Buffalo, New York Offers play suggestions for young children with disabilities. (716) 829-3141 http://cosmos.ot.buffalo.edu/letsplay/ Specialized Play/Learning Materials Many ordinary toys and games are suitable for visually handicapped children at this age, but this section just includes those specially designed for this purpose. Inevitably toys made in small quantities for a specialist market tend to be expensive. However there is nothing to stop a skilled amateur from making this type of toy provided that proper care is taken in the choice of materials and methods of construction Switch Toys There are a wide range of battery-operated toys that can be used with a single switch, giving children independent control. Some are permanently adapted and available through specialized vendors; others can be adapted with the use of a battery interrupter. Any of them with work with one of hundreds of single switches. Appendix A includes a list of vendors of switches and switch toys. American Printing House for the Blind 1839 Frankfort Avenue, PO Box 6085, Louisville, Kentucky 40206-0085, USA. (502) 895 2405 Fax: (502) 899 2274 Web: http://www.aph.org/ Twist Turn and Learn Includes modules that help develop skills such as reaching, grasping, searching, and visual motor coordination. Recommended ages: birth to 3 Price: $325.00 Small, Medium, and Large Circles, Set I Introduces the concept of fine size discrimination. A 4 x 8 7/8 inch frame contains three recessed nests for holding three wooden circles of various sizes. Print instructions. Recommended ages: 1 to 6 years. Price: $14.50 Formboard with Removable Hands Designed for beginning orientation to left and right hand position and texture recognition. Base measures 16 x 7 inches and has left and right hand shapes incised for placement of puzzle pieces. The tops of removable hand pieces are smooth, while the bottoms are textured. Hands and base are of contrasting colors. Print instructions. Recommended ages: 3 to 6 years. Price: $25.00 Giant Textured Beads Introduces young children to a variety of concepts, including shape, color, and texture. It also assists in the development of muscular and eye-hand coordination. Set includes 12 painted wooden beads: Four red cubes; Four yellow rectangular solids; Four blue cylinders. Shapes display three textures (smooth, striped, and a grid pattern), each shape having a different combination of textures. A white nylon stringer, 34 inches long, with a 6- inch, pliable nylon tip for threading the beads and instructions in print are included. Recommended ages: 3 to 6 years. Price: $71.00 Peg Kit Provides tasks to help children develop skills in manipulation; number and language concepts; and color, size, and tactual discrimination. Contains nine pegs of varying size, color, and texture; a manipulation/storage container measuring 7 1/2 x 10 1/4 x 2 1/2 inches; and six black inset frames with holes of varying number and size. The frames fit into the top of the box and provide for matching, sorting, and manipulating the pegs. Recommended ages: 3 to 8 years. Price: $23.00 Peg-A-Circle Set Assists in the understanding of the concepts of next, sequential order, and clockwise and counterclockwise. Consists of a 12 inch square board containing 16 holes in a circular pattern, and 16 pegs. Large type instructions. Recommended ages: 3 years and older. Price: $40.00 Sound Matching Board I Develops fine motor skills and auditory matching and discrimination, with the capability of introducing sequential order. Included are: 12 cylinders, 1 inch in diameter and 2 inches long (four loud- and eight soft-sounding), and a circular, 12-hole board, 10 3/4 inches in diameter. Cylinders and board are of contrasting colors. Print instructions. Recommended ages: 3 years and older. Price: $51.00 Textured Matching Blocks Permits tactual matching, recognition of types of textures, and identification of textures by name, while reinforcing directional and positional concepts. Includes six blocks of different textures measuring 2 1/4 x 2 1/4 inches, and a 6 3/4 x 10 inch board with identically textured nests for block matching. Print instructions. Recommended ages: 3 to 6 years. Price: $57.00 Textured Pegs Helps develop fine motor skills, manual dexterity, and grasp/release skills, reinforcing concepts of direction and position. Includes a 12-hole board measuring 12 7/8 x 9 7/8 inches, and 12 large textured pegs. Print instructions. Recommended ages: 1 to 6 years. Price: $22.00 Enabling Devices 385 Warburton Avenue, Hastings-on-Hudson, New York 10706, USA. (914) 478 0960 Fax: (914) 478 7030 Web: http://www.enablingdevices.com The Tumbler Pressing the big red button on the front of the device will send the balls tumbling around while simultaneously playing music, lighting up and vibrating. $84.95 Pyramid Busy Box This jumbo 4-sided fun center features 4 panels of exciting sensory stimulation. Its built-in swivel base allows a child to have full access to all 4 sides. Provides a variety of textures, sounds and vibrations to explore $359.95 Musical Light Box This Light Box enhances visually impaired children's view of the world. It is a multi-purpose musical lightbox that can be used as a backlight for tracing or as a light source for the visually impaired. Price: $39.95 (for either 1/4" or 1/5" Jack) Visually and Hearing Impaired Activity Center This activity center for the visually and hearing impaired give hours of somatosensory stimulation. It includes a spinning soft cloth, a vibrating plate and a fan. Price: $149.95 Independent Living Aids Beeping Foam Balls ($26.95 - $49.95) These safe-to-use foam balls are easy to find by following their high- pitched beeping. $39.95 EverBounce™ Ball with Internal Bell This ball seems to bounce forever. When it is in motion it has an internal bell that signals where it is rolling $24.95 Feel and Find Using 3-D shapes, children play by dealing the tiles and then reaching into the bag to feel for the matching shape. $19.95 Groovie Blocks Embossed math symbol blocks and wonderful shapes with high contrast colors for children to feel, identify, match and enjoy, make up the rest of the set. $31.95 Brailled Alphabet Blocks: $27.95 Eye Care Inc 523 8th Street SE, Washington DC 20003, USA. (202) 544 4700 Tuzzles Foam soft-sculpture puzzles for the very young child. They have a bright calico print on one side, and feature animal faces on the other. Each washable Tuzzle comes in circle and square, circle and triangle, or triangle and square. Price: $6.50 each Exceptional Teaching Aids Inc 20102 Woodbine Avenue, Castro Valley, California 94546, USA. (510) 582 4859 Fax: (510) 582 5911 Web: http://www.exceptionalteaching.com Touch and Color The raised line geometric shapes, along with brailled color names, helps students develop finger dexterity, practice reading color names and learn to follow directions. This 41 page coloring book comes as a kit that includes Squizzers (squeeze them to cut paper and they spring back on their own; they have no sharp edges) and Crayola Anti-Roll Crayons (the flat side of these crayons can be labeled in braille). Price: $21.50 Shape and Color Sorter Shapes - bumpy on one side, and smooth on the other - slide over pegs. The set includes 25 crepe rubber pieces - 5 shapes in 5 bright colours - 5 removable wooden pegs and 1 base panel . The pieces are washable. Price: $13.95 J K Kronheim Box 345 Greenfield, New Hampshire 03047, USA. (603) 827 3859 Learning Pillows Learning Pillows are tactile/visual pillows featuring various high contrast images/characters on both sides of the pillow surface. These visuals/tactuals are illustrations that correspond with a story or poem, filled with sensory language and vocabulary. Price: $18.00 - $40.00 depending on complexity of design Pediatric Products Inc PO Box 1889 Santa Monica, California 90406, USA. (213) 828 8963 Exceptional Animals Soft bears who have short-term or long-term disabilities including eye patch or dark glasses with white cane. Price: $20.00 Repro-Tronics Inc 75 Carver Avenue Westwood, New Jersey 07675, USA. (201) 722 1880 Fax: (201) 722 1881 Web: http://www.repro-tronics.com and http://www.tactile-audio.com Hungry Fingers Clever Triangles A variety of various triangles with different tactile feeling that have a magnetic backing. When combined with an adjustable easel containing a magnetic surface, the triangles can be manipulated to create a variety of different shapes. Templates are included to assist the learning process in the beginning. Price: $149.00 Royal National Institute for the Blind Customer Services, PO Box 173 Peterborough PE2 6WS, UK. 44 1733 375400 (International Sales) Email: email@example.com (International only) Web: http://www.rnib.org.uk BeActive Box An activity box for babies and infants with profound learning disabilities and visual impairment. Designed to encourage exploratory movement and handling of hanging play objects (not included). Hinged box made of MDF with a clear shatterproof lid. Folds flat when not in use. Price: £165.00 Touch and Tell Children get hands-on experience by matching seven big, differently colored and textured pieces with the holes in the wooden board. Price: £10.70 Novelty Book This reversible soft cloth first book is easy to handle. Inside the book there are appealing graphics including baby face and safety mirror - the first step to self discovery. Black and white with bright blue, red and yellow to encourage early visual activity encouraging language development. Price: £8.81 Pattern Pals These small, lightweight soft toys will provide stimuli for sight, hearing and touch. There's a red boat that rattles, a goldfish that squeaks and a blue caterpillar that crinkles, each is a different texture. Price: £14.69 2. Low Vision Aids American Printing House for the Blind 1839 Frankfort Avenue, PO Box 6085, Louisville, Kentucky 40206-0085, USA. (502) 895 2405 Fax: (502) 899 2274 Web: http://www.aph.org/ Light Box Provides an even, high contrast background for opaque and transparent materials. Can be used as a table or tilted at one of three angles. Price: $ 328.50 3. Mobility/Positioning Devices ** Adapted from K. Clarke (1988). Barriers or enablers? Mobility devices for visually impaired and multihandicapped infants and preschoolers. Education of the Visually Handicapped, XX(3), 115-132. Electronic Travel Aids Laser Cane Mowat Sensor Sonic Guide (Wormaid International) Pathsounder Floor- Child Positioning Devices Wedges (Tumble Form) Prone pillows (Tumble Form) Tadpole Positioner(Tumble Form) Box and Blocks system (Tumble Form) Rolls (Tumble Form) Floor – Toy Positioning Devices Overhead gym (with links) Sparkling Symphony Gym (Fisher Price) Activity Play Blankets Gymini (Tiny Love) Whoozit Play mat Adjustable activity frame (FlagHouse) Crawling 1-2-3 Discovery Lane (Tiny Love) Adjustable crawl trainer (FlagHouse) Suspended Movement devices Baby Swings (Achievement Products) "Jolly Jumpers" Therapy Swings: o Full body JennSwing (Sammons Preston) o Platform (Achievement Products) o Net (Achievement Products) o Hammock (Rifton) o Vestibular (Rifton) o Bolster (Rifton) Suspension Walking Suppport (Preston) Infant Walkers (with seats) Commercial Walkers o Xframe: Constructive Playthings) o Walker with Toys (Safety 1st) o "Fun Walker" (Ring type: Constructive Playthings) Therapeutic Walkers o Infant Walker (Achievement Products) o Busy Bee, Small with seat ((\Sammons Preston) o Balance Ring Training Walker (Achievement Products) o Small Cricket (Hopla) Orthopedic Walkers (without seats) Toddler Walkette (Preston) Small Child Walker (Kaye Products) Children's Full Body Suspension Walker (Achievement Products) Toddler Strider Walker (Sammons Preston) WalkAbout (Mullholland) Scooter Boards Commercial o PE Type Boards (Achievement Products) o Skateboards o Carseats on casters o Cookie Monster Crawl-Along (Educational Teaching Aids) Therapeutic o Midline Positioning Scooter (Achievement Products) o Tumbleforms Jetmobile (Preston) o Electronic Single-switch Scooters (Enabling Devices) o Floor scooter (Rifton) Wheelchair Devices Manual Devices o Toddler Cart (Achievement Products) o Starcar (Preston) o Cyclone (Equipment Shop) o Quickie Kids (Motion designs) Commercial Powered Devices o Lil Coyote (Power Wheels) o Honda Fourtrax (TOMY) Therapeutic Powered Devices o Amigo Mini (Amigo) o Pony II (Oththokinetics) o Rabbit (Invacare o GoBot Cruising Surfaces Crib Playpen Furniture o couch o low coffee table Wall Fence PVC pipe structure Rolling Devices Cylinder Peanut Push Toys (Supported/Stooped) Commercial Roller Fun (Constructive Playthings Large Wooden trucks (Environments, Inc.) Wooden Wagon (Nasco) Footstools on wheels Large beachballs Weighted boxes Low wooden children's chairs (Constructive Playthings) Crutches and Support Canes Wooden Support Cane (Preston) Aluminum Support Cane (Preston) Quad Cane (Invacare) Auto Support (Hycor) Walking Hoops,Guiding Sticks and Rings Walking hoops o Hula hoops o Gross Motor Hoops (Kaplan) Guiding Sticks o Wooden dowels o PVC Pipes o Rulers Walking Rings o Hard rubber pet rings o Rubber swimming pool rings o Large metal key rings Harnesses, vests (give upper body support when walking) Zip-a-Babe (Life Manufacturing) Love Leash (Kaye Products) Velcro walking belt (Preston) Weighted Vest Riding Roll Toys (wheeled toys propelled by pushing feet) Quackles (Environments, Inc.) Scoot Around (Holcombs) Tyke Bikes (Environments, Inc.) Happy Horse (Achievement Products) Rodi Push Toys (upright support- two hands) Walker Wagon (Kaye) Walker Wagon (Radio Flyer) Play Van (Fisher Price) "Tuff Stuff" shopping cart (Kaplan, Little Tykes, Target) Child size carriage (Constructive Playthings) Kids Action Push Mower (John Deere) Kitchen chair Walking Ropes (tactual guides for walking) Rope Clothesline Thick wire Push Toys (rolling devices that can be cane pre-cursors – one hand) Corn Popper (Fisher Price) Melody Push Chime (Fisher Price) 2-in-1 Vacuum Set (Little Tikes) Pre-Cane Instruments Pillow Polo sticks (North American) Foam Hockey Sticks (Achievement Products) PLastic baseball bats Long Canes (standard canes modified for young children) Equipoise Cane (Macam Devices) Collapsible or Rigid Canes (WCIB) Autofold or cable canes (Hycor) 4. Communication Aids Several devices are available that enhance play with language as they also act as switches for battery-operated toys. Messages can be recorded of varying lengths- usually from 3 to 30 seconds. Sound effects, music or a spoken message can be used. As the child activates the switch/AAC device, the message is played and the connected toy/device turns on. This is helpful in setting up dramatic/pretend play situations and in playing with other children. Although the single message switches are the best to start with, others with dual or multiple message capabilities as a child develops. Single Message Devices: Loop Tape with tape recorder Big Mack (Ablenet: $86) One-Step Communicator (Ablenet: $99) Talking Switch Plate (Enabling Devices: $64.95) Say & Play (Flaghouse: $112) Dual Message Devices: Say It, Play It (Enabling Devices: $69.95) Talking Rocker Switch Plate (Enabling Devices: $89.95) Rocking Communicator (Flaghouse: $114) Sequential Message Devices: Provides up to 75 seconds of sequentially played recorded speech Step Talk Communicator (Enabling Devices: $89.95) Voice-in-a-Box (add a switch) (Enabling Devices: $63.95) Step-by-Step (Ablenet: $129) Step-by-Step Communicator with Levels (Ablenet: $149) Multiple Message Devices: Cheap Talk 4 (Enabling Devices) Direct: ($89.95) Scan: ($174.95) Direct and scan: ($219.95) Cheap Talk: Inline ($89.95) Cheap Talk 8 (Enabling Devices: $180-300) Talk Pad (4) (Frame Technologies: $99) Inline ($119) Chat Line (Flaghouse: $154) Voice Mate (4) (TASH: $325) Talk Back (6) (Crestwood: $395) Speak Easy (12) (Ablenet: $399) Voice Pal Plus (10) with taction pads (Adaptivation: $489) Resources: Ablenet - http://www.ablenetinc.com/ Adaptivation - http://www.adaptivation.com/ Crestwood - http://www.communicationaids.com/ Enabling Devices - http://www.enablingdevices.com/ Flaghouse – http://firstname.lastname@example.org/ Frame Technologies - (414) 869-2979 American Printing House for the Blind Developmental Guidelines for Infants with Visual Impairment: A Manual for Early Intervention Regular Print Edition: 8-50700-00 -- $24.00 Cassette Tape Edition, 4 track, 15/16 ips: C-50700-00 -- $8.00 Beginnings: A Practical Guide for Parents and Teachers of Visually Impaired Babies (print handbook) - 7-11710-00 Price: $9.00 A VHS videocassette -- Playing the Crucial Role in your Child's Development Price: $20.75 Parents and Visually Impaired Infants (PAVII) Strategies to try: Few "blind" children are totally without some degree of vision, so try visual stimulation as well as using the other senses. Here are some ideas....try them out! Sew bells on pieces of ribbon or elastic and attach to baby's wrists and ankles so your baby can relate the movements to itself (make sure the bells are securely attached for safety). Hang mobiles above baby - make mobiles from bells, brightly coloured toys, Christmas decorations or anything that will move easily. Make a mobile from bottle tops. They will glint in the light and sway in the breeze. Wear brightly colored clothes. Baby might be able to spot you. Show baby bright toys. The light should be from behind or from the side. Put mirrors everywhere....unbreakable ones of course! Use a colored flashlight to shine on baby's face, hands and feet. Always tell baby what you are doing; what's happening. Give each object you are showing a name. Use squeeky toys. Make rattles from bottles of rice, sugar or stones - and talk about the different sounds they make. Play music of all sorts...but not to loudly and keep the sessions frequent and short. ADAPTING COMMERCIAL TOYS As parents prefer to purchase toys from local stores, simple adaptations to the toys can make them easier for a child with a visual impairment to use. These solutions include ways to extend, stabilize and confine; the design of the toy's access method and the abilities of the child will guide the modifications. The following are examples of toy positioning and access aids. Attachers are materials that are used to bring items closer to the child, so that s/he knows the toy is there. They making reaching, grasping and playing less “work". Several materials can be used. Links come in a variety of shapes and sizes and can be used to lower play materials from an overhead onto the child’s body for initial “connection”. Sometimes children are so intrigued by the links themselves that they never get to the toy at the end! Assuming that the toy is more interesting than the links, try using ¼ or ½ inch elastic for a pulling effect, shoelaces (straight or curly), or snap straps (in sewing stores for toddler pants). Try using these attachers to “anchor” a toy to a tray so that it can’t get “lost”. A child simply pulls up on the links to retrieve the toy. Extenders are materials that can be used to build up certain access features making them easier to get to. They help children to locate and press too-small buttons or keys or make markers easier to hold. Materials include: Magic Model Clay (Crayola) can be shaped and super glued onto an area on a toy to make a knob larger or a key longer. Cylindrical foam padding comes in a variety of colors and widths and is a “quick-fix” to make crayons, markers and spoons easier to use. Sponge rollers can be used in the same way. Popsicle sticks can also be glued onto piano keys or like shapes to provide easier access. Larger kitchen knobs can be found in hardware stores to replace smaller ones or to make puzzles easier to complete. Stabilizers are materials that support play by preventing a toy from moving out of the child's reach or vision. Often toys need less adaptation if they can stay “in one place”. Materials can be used to hold a jack-in-the-box in place or connect a communication device to a crib. Non-slip materials: Stabilizing materials include "mug mats", rug mats and a Rubbermaid non-slip material that is commercially available and can be used in table length strips. Show loop is a fabric that acts as “female velcro”. When glued to a play surface (tray, table top, etc.), it will firmly adhere to an object with “male velcro” on its base. For example, by putting strips of male velcro on the base of a puzzle, a child can more easily insert the pieces, as the base is stationary. Dual Lock is a material that is stronger than velcro, but not as easily removed. Carpet squares (indoor/outdoor) provide some stability and also work with male velcro, but do not fasten as firmly as show loop. Bed trays with tilt tops can be used as floor tables and covered with show loop or carpet squares for a more stabile play environment Magnets adhere well on cookie sheets Confinement materials keep toys from moving too far away from a child. Items such as hula-hoops, box tops or planter bases help a child to control his immediate play environment by keeping toys and other materials within reach. VENDOR LIST Creative Educational Surplus Velcro 1000 Apollo Rd. Get a Grip - foam grips Eagan, Minnesota 55121 Racy Laces Phone (800) 886-6428 http://www.creativesurplus.com/welcome.asp Sammons Dycem P.O. Box 386 Foam grip Western Springs, IL 60558-0386 Phone (800) 323-5547 Fax (800) 547-4333 Right Start Fun links Right Start Plaza 5334 Sterling Center Dr. West Lake Village, CA 91361-4627 Phone (800)548-8531 Lockfast, Inc. Show loop 10904 Deerfield Dr., P.O.Box 42488 Cincinnati, OH 45242 Phone (800) 543-7157 Perfectly Safe Stringers - Magic shoelaces 7245 Whipple Ave, NW North Canton , OH 44720 Phone (800) 837-5437 Fax (216) 494-0265 Switches, Adapted Toys, Switch Interfaces Resources for Children with Special Needs **Ablenet 1081 10th Avenue East **Flaghouse - Special Populations Minneapolis, MN 55414-1312 150 No. MacQuestern Pkwy. (800) 322-0956 Mt. Vernon, NY 14222 (800) 793-7900 **Access first PO Box 3990 **Frame Technologies Glen Allen, VA 23058 W681 Pearl St. (888) 606-6769 Oneida, WI 54155 (920) 869-2979 **Adaptivation, Inc. 2225 W.50th Street, Ste.100 **HCT - Handicapped Children’s Sioux Falls, SD 57105 Technological Services, Inc. (800) 723-2783 P.O. Box 7 Foster, RI 02825 **AssisTech (401) 861-3444 P.O. Box 137 Stow, NY 14785 **Jesana, Ltd. (718) 789-4197 P.O. Box 17 Irvington, NY 10533 **Crestwood Company (800) 443-4728 6625 N. Sidney Place Milwaukee, WI 53209-3259 **Kapable Kids, Inc. P.O. Box 250 **Don Johnston, Inc. Bohemia, NY 11716 26799 W. Commerce Dr. (800) 356-1564 Volo, IL 60073 (800) 999-4660 Mayer-Johnson Co. PO Box 1579 **Enabling Devices Solana Beach, CA 92075 385 Warburton Avenue (800) 588-4548 Hastings-on-Hudson, NY 10706 (800) 234-6006 **ORRCA 218 McDowell Road Lexington, KY 40502 Richmond VA 23233 (606) 268-1635 (804) 747-5020 **Switch Kids, Inc. 8507 Rupp Farm Drive **TFH (USA) Ltd. West Chester, OH 45069-4526 4537 Gibsonia Rd. Gibsonia, PA 15044 **Switchworks (412) 444-6400 P.O. Box 64764 Baton Rouge, LA 70896 **Zygo Industries, Inc. (504) 925-8926 P.O. Box 1008 Portland, OR 97207 **TASH, Inc. (800) 234-6006 3512 Mayland Ct.
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