Monday, July 16, 2012

Switching Up Adapted Toys

I started Switchamajig to expand the options my own son has for playing with toys. I feel that the single-switch toys that predominate do not provide enough of the benefits of play. Lekotek lists these benefits here.

As the parent of a child with special needs, I feel a lot of pressure to be an outstanding parent. I think children are in general resilient, so “good enough” parenting is usually, well, good enough. But children with special needs are using their resiliency to cope with their disability, and many still need help.

Between all of the therapy and the work of addressing my son’s disabilities, it’s easy to lose sight of playtime. And playtime has its own challenges, not the least of which is to find age-appropriate toys to play with.

I think multi-switch toys are a part, although only a part, of the answer. My Switchamajig simplifies the use of complex remote-controlled toys so that my son can drive them all over the house using only his pointer finger on the iPad’s touch screen. 

I also wonder if children with other disabilities would benefit from using these toys. Even if they don’t have motor deficiencies, cognitive difficulties or behavioral issues like autism might mean that they still can’t succeed with complex toys. Simplifying the user interface with the iPad might help this children as well, and merely using the iPad might draw in children who tend to fixate on their favorite app.

I want this blog to become a discussion of how expanding the reach of the iPad can help the most people possible. I’ll use it to discuss new features I’m considering for my app and to get your ideas for new products to develop. Let the discussion begin!

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