Playing board games with Switch Dice, a switch accessible electronic dice, is great inclusive fun.
Board games remain amazingly popular despite the trend to much more ‘techie’ toys. Nevertheless, go into any toy shop and you are certain to find a display of classics like Snakes and Ladders, Ludo and Monopoly through to a whole bunch of much newer games.
Playing board games usually requires players to throw or roll a dice. But for some gamers the act of throwing a dice may be difficult; that’s when Switch Dice, a switch accessible electronic dice can help. Switch Dice could be a great leveler especially if ‘local ground rules’ insist all players must use the Switch Dice when it’s their turn. Why not?
Switch Dice is really simple to use. Turn it on by plugging in a switch – any 3.5mm / 1/8th inch switch works. Pressing it makes the red Switch Dice LEDs ‘roll’ then stop showing how many spaces the gamer can move forward. The bright LEDs should help kids with sight conditions. It runs on two ‘AAA’ type batteries and if not used for more than five minutes goes to sleep to save battery power. Pressing the switch wakes it up again. It’s as simple as that 🙂
I’m planning to build six Switch Dice in January and send them to the mum and dad bloggers to test and review. The first one is going to Kara Melissa who blogs at ‘Free as Trees’ Read this posting about Kara and her son Seb. Another is for Stacy Warden who blogs at Noahsmiracle and the third is going to Tony Jones at TalkSense.
Would you like to check one out and willing to review it on your blog? Then get in touch – this is the link to our Contact Us page.
Gifts for Seb is a blog post by Kara Melissa from Toronto and it’s definitely worth reading. Kara’s post is about her search for Christmas gifts suitable for her son, Seb, who has a cerebral palsy condition.
The full title of her post is ‘Gifts for Seb. And kiddos like him’. In it Kara lists toys Seb has enjoyed and, to use her description, toys that ‘continue to deliver’.
I find her concept of ‘toys that continue to deliver’ really interesting and it’s something I’ll be looking to appreciate more as we add new toys to our Special-Needs-Toys website.
‘Gifts for Seb. And Kiddos like him’ lists some toys I’ve not seen before but ones I’ll be keeping an eye open for when we visit the toys fairs in January. Perhaps more children would benefit from Kara’s research.
This Christmas Kara has purchased one of our Rally Racer switch adapted toys for Seb. Rally Racer is a two person toy. Seb will plug his switch into the adapted controller (on the left side in the picture) and he’ll be ready to race his car around the track against his sister, mum, dad or friends. I wonder who will be the champion racer?
I’m also looking forward to reading Kara’s review of Rally Racer and hearing what Seb thinks of it; fingers crossed it’ll be positive and also ‘continue to deliver value’.
This is Part 2 of a two part blog on the Benefits of Switch Adapted Play. I wrote this at the request of Janet Canning who runs the USA based website ‘apieceofthepuzzle.net’. It’s a social community website that is completely dedicated to people with special needs and disabilities. (Here’s a quick link to Part 1 in case you want to recap.)
Toys can teach awareness
The ‘play value’ of a toy can be subtle but, if chosen well, can help develop a child’s awareness of what is going on. In other words one of the benefits of switch adapted play is the learning experience.
What we need is a toy that works when the switch is pressed and stops when released. But then continues, from the point at which it stopped, when pressed again. Switch adapted toys that work in this way are the best. This sounds very simple but today’s trend is toward more complex toys that generally don’t do this.
We believe toys should have:
Some form of movement: one may stay on the spot while its body moves (bubble machine) while another might drive along on a track (Rally Racer).
A purpose/function apart from fun and play: the toy may teach spatial awareness, or develop cause and effect, or expand sensory awareness in some way.
Be varied: so that a child does not become bored with it. (although they may inevitably out-grow it) Boredom may prevent the child from grasping a specific educational aspect.
Ideally switch adapted play should be both fun and educational.
By selecting the right toys the child will begin to increase their cognitive awareness. Lots of toy features can support this such as:
Shape: the child can interact with the toy and, in so doing, develops an increased awareness of shape. If this is something that a teacher can observe – for example putting shapes through correct holes – then the child demonstrates a learnt skill.
Colour: increased awareness of colour in some specific way. Perhaps the child learns to interact with one coloured part to perform one function and another to perform a second.
Sound: toys that produce a variety of sounds that can be controlled by the child. For some, sounds may help the learner locate the toy in their surroundings.
Light: for those with visual acuity problems light is important. It might mean the difference between being attracted to and awareness of the toy and showing no interest and or awareness. (Twilight Turtle Tunes)
Tactility: If the toy is designed to be interactive and the child can hold/touch/feel it then different tactile surfaces may be helpful (Sneezy the Activity Dragon)
Spatial awareness and control: in all three dimensions. Often we neglect the up and down aspect. For example, a fire engine that can travel forwards and backwards, left and right and also raise and lower its ladder plays in 3D. Each direction should be controlled by a different switch. Full 3D control may be too complex for the child to grasp all at once. If that’s the case then the parent / professional may initially restrict control to make it simpler. Progressing at a later stage to learning all of the possibilities with the same toy.
You’ve made it through to the end of Part 2. I hope the points covered give you good ideas for when you next go toy shopping. I’d love to hear what you think. Feel free to leave comments.
Acknowledgements: I would like to thank Tony Jones atTalksensefor the help in preparing this blog on the Benefits of Switch Adapted Play.