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Play Toys Universal Design Assistive Technology Resources


In examining toy features that accommodate most children we looked at what barriers were faced by children as they played with toys. Some examples of barriers faced during play and potential toy design features to address these barriers are offered below.

Barrier to Toy Play

Toy Feature to
Address Barrier

Child has difficulty knowing where to start

Toy has "non-cluttered" background with use areas (buttons, knobs, holes) clearly highlighted or differentiated from the background

Child has difficulty attending to a toy

Toy offers multiple responses for child's actions; the toys responses are interesting to the child (vibration, music, lights)

Child uses little language

Toy uses realistic features, figures, pictures and/or sounds that relate to child's daily experiences (i.e. telephone, farm play set)

Child has difficulty playing with other children

Toys has multiple parts that encourage combine use (i.e. tea set, ball tower)

Child has difficulty reaching for and holding toys

Lightweight toys with multiple areas for a child to wrap his/her fingers around; child can grab they toy from many positions

Child has difficulty seeing parts on a toy

High contrast colors, multiple textures and dimensions are used to differentiate areas on a toy

Parents and caregivers of children with disabilities often have difficulty choosing toys for their child; they know what barriers their child faces but they ask for help finding toys that "match" what their child can use.

Families can have more success in selecting toys for their children by identifying toys that have been designed with universal concept in mind that not only address single barriers but offer a combination features to provide the greatest access to all children.



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