The most important thing to remember when designing toys for children with disabilities is that there is no such thing as a “toy for disabled kids.” Every child deserves the opportunity to play and have fun, and it’s our job to make sure we’re giving them every chance to do so. While designing a toy specifically for children with disabilities can be helpful, it’s not the only way to provide an accessible toy to a child in need.
As with all toy design, there are many factors to consider when making the simplest of decisions—from overall shape and size, to color and texture. For example, as you might expect, a child who is completely blind will not respond well to a brightly colored toy. One who cannot hear may not appreciate the sound effects on a button-pushing game; one who cannot talk may not enjoy playing something that requires speaking into a microphone.
That said, we must recognize that there are some broad categories of children who require special assistance with their toys. The key is that these aren’t always the same children who require assistance in other areas of their lives.
Disability toys are a new, innovative approach to the toy market. Categorized as “sensory stimulation devices,” they are designed to help children with disabilities learn and grow, as well as provide them with a more fulfilling play experience.
The first step in creating an accessible toy is to make sure it is durable enough to withstand the rigors of play. In order to do this, we recommend using materials like plastic, aluminum, or wood—materials that will last through many rounds of roughhousing.
Once you’ve identified what materials your toy will be constructed from, consider ways you might make it easier for a child with a disability to use. For example: If your toy requires two hands and does not offer voice activation options, consider providing some kind of alternate control mechanism (e.g., buttons instead of levers).
Allowing the user some degree of customization can also help ensure that everyone has access to your product. After all—it’s their experience with these toys that matters most.
It’s also important that we don’t make assumptions about what types of toys children with disabilities like or find accessible. For example, while some children might be able to hold a regular ball and throw it, others may not have the dexterity or strength required to do so. Instead, you could design a ball that has a handle attached, which would allow a much wider range of children to enjoy playing with it.
When designing toys for children with disabilities, make sure they are accessible to as many different types of children as possible. For example: if you’re designing an action figure that requires moving joints such as arms and legs, ensure that these joints can be moved by the child who uses them without having to move their entire body.
The most important thing to remember when designing toys for children with disabilities is that there is no such thing as a “toy for disabled kids.” While creating a toy specifically for children with disabilities can be helpful, it’s not the only way to provide an accessible toy to a child in need.
Another way you can make your toy more accessible is by ensuring that it’s inclusive of different types of people. This means making sure the design doesn’t exclude anyone based on their race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation or any other characteristic they might have (for example, there should never be an option only available to boys or girls).