Hudson Valley Parent

HVP - March 2014

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22 Hudson Valley Parent n March 2014 By JENNIFER COX W hen it comes to a child with special needs, it is important to be mind- ful of buying just the right gift for any special occasion. If you want a magical response, here are five key points to remember as you shop your local communities for some- thing special: 1. Make it musical, imaginative, and fun. While this may seem like a simple request, the truth is that many traditional toys are suitable for children with special needs. If the toy lights up, plays music, or transforms into different shapes, it will likely be well-received by all children. 2. Something with sensory input. Give her something that will also provide a brand new sensory experience. Many children with special needs have a variety of sen- sory processing deficits, and resist new textures or certain sounds. By providing a new sensory adven- ture in the context of a playful toy, you are exposing her to something that might really be helpful to her development. 3. Keep it safe. Many children with disabilities tend toward constant self-stimula- tion. A toy with snaps, buttons and the like could be very dangerous for a child who may chew or bite on things as a way to self-soothe. Be sure to ask her parents about what to avoid. Let's face it: 'blankies' last forever. For that special someone 5 tips for buying a gift for a special needs child 4. Give them the gift of comfort. Find the blanket that is soft, the shirts without tags, or the toy with a joyful presence. Let's face it: "blankies" last forever. 5. Take the time to enjoy the gift with them. Every child loves a new toy, but what she appreciates even more is a companion with whom she can enjoy her new gift. Put the cell- phone to the side, sit down on the floor, and give the child the gift of your full presence. If you need help finding just the right gift for your favorite child with special needs, visit Abilities First School online at abilitiesfirst-, or call us at 845-485-9803. We are more than happy to help. Jennifer Cox is the acting director of Abilities First School in Poughkeepsie.

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