Toys and playthings are extremely important for the development of children. They helping children develop cognitive and motor skills, and stimulates their creativity.
Unfortunately, not all children have easy access to toys. Children with physical impairments may have difficulty using or operating toys, and while there are products that are specifically designed for special needs children on the market, they are often more expensive. And sometimes, what the child really wants to play with is that one specific, favorite toy.
The key to turning a regular toy into an accessible one often lies in attaching a larger external switch that even children who lack finger dexterity can use.
I remember when I was in university, I reached a point where I felt that I needed to use my skills for something. At that point in time, I didn’t know what that something was. I just wanted to do something good for the community, so I went to the Internet and searched around and I found Engineering Good.⠀ ⠀ For a lot of workshop attendees, it’s their first exposure to getting hands-on to create things for their kids. I like that they are learning something practical, like soldering, throughout the workshop. Like two of the participants I helped – they got to learn how to solder these kind of electrical parts together, which can be useful for everyday things. Hopefully, they learn the skills and pass it on. So the button solution can be continued to be used and more people can learn about it. ⠀ – Yan Hao, volunteer with Engineering Good⠀ ⠀ #igsg #disability #toys #lifehacks #accessibility #inclusiveness #volunteering
Enter Engineering Good, a local nonprofit organisation that organised a toy workshop in February to teach participants how to modify toys using nothing more than wires and a soldering iron. The workshop was led by Hannah Leong, who has a background in sustainable energy engineering, helped by two volunteers who were Engineering students. Participants at the workshop included therapists and parents of special needs children.
Mari Goh, a CPAS occupational therapist who takes care of children with cerebral palsy and autism, said the toys help teach children with autism not just motor skills, but patience as well.
Another participant, Amar Laddha, is himself a parent of a 2-year-old child with cerebral palsy and dystonia. Laddha operates toys on his son’s behalf, but the addition of an accessibility switch will make allow his son to engage and play with the toys by himself.
My son cannot play with his hands. So we will take the toys and, with his eyes, he will tell us which one he wants us to play. I will make sounds of the toy. I’ll play for him. At least with this switch we’ve learnt, it will make it easier for him. ⠀ ⠀ It’s my first time at SG Enable, attending such a workshop. The workshop was good actually. As a foreigner, we are not entitled to a lot of services offered. The public schools for special needs children are not for us. We need some kind of support. So it’s good that there are such workshops arranged where we learn skills which we can apply on our own. I’d like to attend more of such workshops. – Amar, participant at Hack-a-Toy workshop. His child has cerebral palsy and dystonia.⠀ ⠀ #igsg #disability #toys #lifehacks #accessibility #inclusiveness #volunteering