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Switch adapted toys

Play is a huge part of a child’s development. Not only is it a lot of fun but playing with toys teaches children valuable lessons about cause and effect, control, responsibility and boosts self-esteem.

Five year old Kayla is a happy and sociable little girl. She has Rett Syndrome, a regressive disorder, which is causing her to lose the speech she had when she was younger and a lot of the functionality of her hands. She also has apraxia and dyspraxia meaning her body doesn’t always cooperate with what her brain is telling her to do.

Kayla is a joy to be around, she always has a smile on her face,” says mum Anna. “It was so important for us to get some toys that Kayla could engage with because otherwise she is so limited in what she can do asides from watching television and playing with her toy piano.”

Anna asked Kayla’s Occupational Therapist about getting some toys adapted and she put her in touch with TAD.

Volunteer Michael Barfoot adapted the toys to make them accessible for Kayla. The loss of function of her hands means that Kayla can only swipe her hands rather than grip with her fingers.

Making switch adaptations to toys is fairly simple,” says Michael, “the tricky part is often locating the switch as it can be hidden in the toy’s hand, foot or tail. It can also be difficult to stitch it back together without causing a mess but sometimes my wife helps with that!”

Once the wires are located from the battery compartment, a lead is fed out at an appropriate point and the switch is then connected externally to the toy.

And Kayla is a very happy customer. Anna adds, “we got six toys adapted and now she has so much choice for what she plays with. It’s lovely to see her playing and having a giggle at her toys.”

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TAD acknowledges the traditional owners of country throughout Australia and recognises their continuing connection to land, waters and community. We pay our respects to them and their cultures and to elders past, present and emerging.