Archives for the month of: November, 2015

Girl in a ball pool - Special Needs Essentials

Why is sensory play important to early childhood development?

Like most adults, children learn best and retain the most information when they engage their senses. Many of our favorite childhood memories are associated with one or more of our senses: the smell of a summer rainstorm or a song you sang with your family. Now, when your nose and ears are stimulated with those familiar smells and sounds, your brain triggers a flashback memory to those memories.

Sensory toys for children with special needs help teach hand-eye coordination, fine and gross motor skills, cognitive growth and social interaction. Sensory toys are not specially geared towards a particular age group. Rather, they are focused on the developmental level of the toy, not the specific age of the child.

Because specific developmental needs of each child varies, sensory toys designed for a certain age can be tailored to the specific need at hand. For instance, older children with autism can derive great benefits from toys that are designed for a younger child, like blocks or balls. By giving children the opportunity to investigate materials with no preconceived knowledge, you’re helping them develop and refine their cognitive, social, emotional, physical, creative and linguistic skill sets.

Many children with special needs can be less responsive to sensation. These sensory seekers benefit from toys that provide an intense experience with touch, texture, sound, pressure, light and balance. Sensory toys respond to a child’s actions. They offer feedback, like light and sound, that can help focus attention, soothe anxiety and decrease hyperactivity.

For sensory seekers, we offer a wide range of toys that provide a intense stimulation. These toys offer light, sound, varied textures, and vivid colors to provide a safe sensory experience. Toys that rock, spin, move, balance, and bounce are part of the sensory toy category. Others toys will encourage a child to move, balance and build. Here’s our Top Toys for Sensory Play.

Oddballs - Special Needs Essentials

Sensory Balls: Oddballs

What do you call four unique balls that come in gorgeous patterns and colors? Oddballs, of course! Perfect to bounce, kick, squeeze, roll, chase and love. Each ball feels different, offering a unique sensory experience. They are either soft or firm, covered with spikes, flowers, spirals and more. BPA free.

Finger paint - Special Needs Essentials

Sensory Art: Finger  Paint

Finger painting is a wonderful way for young children to develop manual dexterity, creativity, and self-expression through art! 6 brightly colored, washable finger paints with no-mess caps! Includes red, yellow, pink, green, blue and purple (3 oz. each). Don’t forget the finger paint paper, or our finger paint paper and tray.

Play Mat - 6x6 Foam Letter Puzzle (36 pieces)- Special Needs Essentials

Textured Puzzles: Play Mat – 6×6 Foam Letter Puzzle (36 PC)

Boost your child’s logic, reasoning and motor skills with the Play Mat – 3×3 Foam Letter Puzzle (10 PC). Each 12″x12″ tile has multiple removable puzzle pieces and textured tops for easy grip play and skid resistant bottoms. These fun, interactive tiles feature friendly animals, trucks, boats and more. The large, interlocking foam puzzle tiles doubles as a specific play area to enhance your child’s lifestyle.

Adorable Hippo Bath Set - Special Needs Essentials

Water Toys for Beach and Bath Time: Hippo Bath Set

Encourage Fun in the Tub with the Hippo Bath Set! This adorable purple Hippo organizes all of your bath tub clutter and strikes a cheery presence in the bathroom. The Hippo Bath Set also includes 41 colorful Wet & Stick Foam Letters to encourage creative play as well as fine motor skills, logic and reasoning, gross motor skills and hand-eye coordination. When playtime is over, just drain the Wet & Stick letters in hippo’s mouth to drain and dry.

Edushape Magic Bix

Blocks: Magic Brix Building Blocks

Spark your child’s creative side with the Edushape Magic Brix Building Blocks (72 PC). The Magic Brix offers soft and flexible building blocks especially designed for little hands. These nubby, interlocking bricks connect from practically every angle, making construction simple. The kit includes wheels and axles to build race cars, robots, houses, animals and more. With the Edushape Magic Brix Building Blocks, the sky’s the limit!

Drop by our Facebook page and tell us about your favorite sensory toy for a child with special needs. And if you have any suggestions for toys you’d like us to carry, we’d love to hear from you!

Living with epilepsy can be daunting and even dangerous, but for many of the 50 million people around the world living with the condition, it is something that they’ve been able to triumph over in their everyday lives.

One of the major challenges is living with epilepsy as an adult. Being an independent individual and coping with seizures at the same time has its challenges. Add an active lifestyle to the mix, and the difficulties only mount. Despite their obstacles and suffering, many athletes have found success and continue to redefine what living with epilepsy looks like.

Here are five well-known athletes who have found triumph through the challenges of epilepsy:

1. Olympic Medalist Marion Clignet

Marion Clignet - Special Needs Essentials Credit:

French-American cyclist Marion Clignet has said that her struggles with epilepsy actually equipped her to win two Olympic silver medals. And there’s no doubt that she’s right: she actually lost her driver’s licence because of her seizures, which influenced her to take up cycling in the first place. Clignet would go on to pick up a couple of Olympic medals, win six world titles and nearly 200 other races.

2. Major League Baseball Player Greg Walker

Greg Walker - Special Needs Essentials

Among the many MLB players to overcome epilepsy and shine with high-profile careers is Greg Walker, former first baseman and power hitter for the Chicago White Sox. He also coached the MLB team before finishing his career with the Atlanta Braves last year. After collapsing on the field once and again later on that night in the hospital, Walker found relief for two years with anticonvulsant medication.

3. Champion Boxer Terry Marsh

His fight against epilepsy prepared Terry Marsh to be a pro fighter and an undefeated world champ in the light welterweight division. He won the ABA senior amateur championship three times and went on to be the professional and welterweight world champion. Marsh retired as the first European boxer to retire as an undefeated world champion.

4. Basketball Player Mighty Mike Simmel

Mighty Mike - Special Needs Essentials

Hailing from the Harlem Wizards, a show basketball team, “Mighty Mike” has suffered from epilepsy seizures ever since he was a toddler. Though he’s found triumph, he doesn’t sugarcoat the fact that he’s had many difficult experiences throughout his life.

As a speaker for the Epilepsy Foundation, Mighty Mike continues to inspire others with stories of how his life changed when his father handed him a basketball. Playing sports helped him develop coordination skills and overcome the obstacles found in living with epilepsy.

5. NFL Football Player Jason Snelling

Not only is Jason Snelling a former Atlanta Falcons running back, he’s also a well-known supporter of the Epilepsy Foundation. After Snelling was diagnosed with the condition in college, he persevered with treatment and went on to have a successful career as a pro athlete. To this day, he works regularly with the Epilepsy Foundation to raise awareness, speaking out about his own experiences to inspire others living with the condition.

Famous Footnote:

You’d never know it, but there are lots of famous folks living with epilepsy, conquering adversity in the public eye! We’re inspired to learn that these celebrities are also coping with epilepsy every day: Lil Wayne, Prince, Neil Young, Susan Boyle, and Danny Glover.

Who inspires you? Drop by our Facebook page and share your story!

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