Play is an essential part of learning and living for anyone regardless of ability.
Children who have physical, cognitive, sensory or communication challenges need to play just as much as anyone else, but they may rely more on play partners and ready adaptations to make that possible.
Explore the ready adapted toys and tools for hacking and adapting to create rich and varied play experiences.
From the Blog
These popular, straightforward favourites can be just the beginning. Combine with a SLAT to vary the action. Don’t know what a SLAT does? See the explanation below.
Take pictures, play music, time them, race them – you can even attach a marker and see what they draw. Add a wireless switch for even more versatility for your activities.
Explore more toys in our collection below
Switches, SLATs and Accessing toys
Communication Devices for Toy access
Why are there communication devices here? Add a word or a sound or make the toy part of a story or a joke. The simple communication devices shown below, like the like the BIGMack and Step-by-Step devices, come with a cable and a jack so that you can connect switch adapted toys or appliances.
JUST don’t use a communication aid with a switch interface to access a computer. The message on the communication aid can interfere and mess up the signal going to the computer for unreliable and unpredictable consequences.
Explore more communication devices to pair with toys in our collection below
Connect a switch directly to the adapted toy or device, or use a Switch Latch and Timer (SLAT). Some of our wireless switches have SLAT function built in and the Powerlink has it too. Check out “Hacking/Adapting toys for Alternative Access” below for more details on SLATS.
Explore more SLATs and SLAT-enabled switches in our collection below
Wireless adds variety.
Wireless is, of course convenient, neat, and essential for individuals with broad uncontrolled movements, eg. swinging limbs or head. But going wireless for adapted play can also add variety for anyone because the toy isn’t tethered.
Imagine a switch adapted car – Velcro or tie the receiver to the top -- and now, how far it goes isn’t limited to the length of the wire connecting it to the switch. Put the car inside a frame, attach a marker, roll it on paper and you have a fun random painter.
Explore more wireless switch options in our collection below
Hacking/Adapting toys for Alternative Access
Discover your inner maker or hacker. The tools below help you adapt existing toys and appliances. Learning how to adapt a battery operated toy with a Battery Device Adapter isn’t hard, but it means a lot more choice at a much lower price than buying pre-adapted toys. A Cable Extension will mean greater range, but going with a wireless switch will add even more freedom.
The Powerlink is for controlling A/C electrical appliances. It works with two different devices and has SLAT functionality built-in.
Explore more tools for adapting toys in our collection below
What does SLAT or SLAT function do?
SLAT’s add modes of control. The latch function means you don't have to keep holding the switch down for the switch to be engaged. Hitting the switch again will release it. The timer function means the device will be latched for however long you set the timer. This is an invaluable feature for someone who doesn’t have a lot of control of their movements and for an action you want to stay on for more than just a few seconds – a light, a fan, a music maker of some sort.
Eyegaze, Touch and Other Access Methods
Is a switch not the means of access? Touch, joystick or even eyegaze can access toys and appliances too. If you already use a computer, tablet or iPad for communication and other activities, you can connect this to toys outside the environment.
On a Windows computer, look at the BJoy Toybox to connect to external switch accessible devices. This means that even someone using eye-gaze can connect, control and play with the world around them, not just the virtual world on the computer.
For a user with a dynamic display communication aid, their communication/access software might have ways to connect and control electrical devices the way the Grid 3 has. If you have the Grid 3 you can find a Grid designed for interfacing with the Toybox that one of our colleagues here at bridges created:
An eye gaze, joystick or touch screen windows user with the grid can easily control up to 4 switch adapted devices.
An iPad user will have to look into additional apps and hardware. Research environmental control and internet of things to discover tools for connecting appliances and devices, from TV’s to lightbulbs.