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Play Toys Universal Design Assistive Technology Resources

Assistive technology (AT) supports can help children with disabilities to not only participate in play but to do so independently. As no two children are alike, the supports they need will be different and will change as they develop. Technology makes it easier for children to move, communicate and interact with materials—to play!

Start with play materials with universal design features. Some children will require specailized equipment. Whatever AT supports are used should be naturally integrated into play activities as a mutual benefit for all.

When you notice a child having some difficulty using a toy it may be time for some simple adaptations. Everyday materials can be used to make a toy easier to use. More about adaptations...

When switches are added to battery-operated toys, they provide a way to turn toys on and off and allow children to participate in many games and play activities. Many allow the smallest action to create music, lights, and movement.

Computer play also opens up a variety of unique play experiences for children with disabilities. Adapted devices (keyboards, switches, mouse) paired with special software open doors for many children.


girl with switch

Let's Play Project: Playing with Switches
Provides specific information on getting started with switch play. A range of topics are covered from selecting a switch to extending switch play.

Let's Play: Starting up switch use

Let's Play Project: Computer Play
This guide will assist you in getting started with computer play by selecting and using software to promote playful interactions and providing ideas for using adaptive peripherals to allow children the control that leads to independent participation.

AT Resources for Play
This link provides a list of vendors who sell switches and switch interfaces for adapted toys.

Every Kid Can: Technology Supports for Young Children
This matrix, developed by national AT experts, offers a range of technology supports for young children as they participate in natural routines throughout the day. Side 1 addresses the use of technology in 8 routine activities; Side 2 offers examples of general assistive technology for children, birth to 3. Plans have been made to create an AT Wheel for young children with this information.


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