Festive Shopping for Children with Disabilities
Christmas, it’s the most wonderful time of the year! And whilst Christmas in 2020 might be a little bit different to usual, if you are spending the day with children, it is guaranteed to be full of energy, excitement and fun!
Choosing presents for children isn’t always easy. Toys fall in and out of fashion and it can be difficult to keep up with the current toyshop trends. In addition, choosing the right gift for a child with a brain injury who has more complex needs can be even more of a challenge. Scientists have found that the human brain continues to develop as we enter into adulthood. As a result, children who have suffered a brain injury might find that they do not develop the skills that they otherwise would have acquired. Side effects of brain injuries vary considerably and depend on the severity of the injury, but can include:
- Problems with memory
- Hearing loss and loss or reduction in vision
- Difficulties understanding and processing information
- Finding it hard to understand language and communicate
- Emotional difficulties such as anxiety and depression
- Sensory problems, i.e., when the brain affects the way a child processes its environment leading to sensory overload.
- Developmental delays when children miss typical milestones such as crawling.
- Problems with gross motor skills, being unable to crawl, walk, or move their arms and legs in the usual way.
- A reduction in fine motor skills, for example, a child may struggle to hold a pencil or turn on a tap because of reduced dexterity in the muscles in the hand.
For children with brain injuries, the typical toys that are available in toy shops may not be suitable for their abilities. To help out with this year’s Christmas shopping, I would encourage you to visit Fledglings, an online non-profit shop that specialises in equipment, products and toys for disabled children.
Fledglings is operated by national charity, Contact. The Child Brain Injury team at Bolt Burdon Kemp have proudly supported Contact and the excellent work they do for the families of disabled children for many years. The Fledglings online shop sells a huge range of items for children of all ages and importantly, every purchase made allows Contact to continue to support families of disabled children across the UK.
The online shop can be accessed here but some of my favourite items are below.
Nyby Gardening Set
In many ways, 2020 has demonstrated the value of spending time outside for both our physical and mental wellbeing.
This gardening set complete with its own wheelbarrow and watering can will encourage children to engage in messy play, practice fine motor skills, and improve coordination.
Encouraging children to be active outside whilst learning a new hobby such as gardening can be hugely stimulating. Understanding the process of gardening allows children to develop an appreciation of the environment as they spend time experiencing the sounds, smells and textures of the garden.
For some of the children we work for, communication can be a real challenge. This message mirror is designed to be affixed to a wall and has the statement “how I feel today” printed on the surface. Children using the mirror are encouraged to engage with their emotions, question their feelings, and in turn, communicate these with others. Asking children to take time to look at themselves also promotes positive self-image and self-awareness.
Tactile Grid Ball
This eye-catching light weight grid ball is great for family fun! Ball play is suitable for children of all ages, with all levels of mobility and can be played when standing or sitting. The benefits of ball play include improved coordination, the development of manual dexterity, strengthening of core muscles which in turn promotes stability and the encouragement of social interaction and inclusion. The weight of the ball means it can be used both indoors and outdoors and it is also suitable for rolling.
This percussion set would make a brilliant present for a budding musician! Music therapy is known to reduce anxiety, encourage concentration, and in children with cerebral palsy, improve dexterity in the arms, hands and fingers and improve their gross motor skills as they stomp along to the beat!
This set is made up of ten instruments, including a tambourine, castanets and maracas. Children will be encouraged to play together building on their social and communication skills whilst also having fun!
Colour Changing Mood Block
These colourful mood blocks would be a lovely addition to a child’s bedroom and would make a fantastic stocking filler. Sensory lighting is known to reduce stress, anxiety and light sensitivity. The soft lighting can be a comfort to children when they are worried or upset. The colour of the block changes from blue, to purple, red, yellow and green creating a calm and soothing atmosphere.
The Fledglings online shop is a great resource for those buying gifts for children with disabilities. If you’re still struggling with what to buy, speak to the family of the recipient and gauge an idea of what skills the child is developing, either at school, or through their therapy sessions. You can then choose a gift that is designed to build on these skills.
Purchase toys that are brightly coloured, make sounds and have different textures. Gifts that encourage physical movement or have buttons and switches are also hugely beneficial to a child’s development.
Most importantly though, gifts should be fun. The magic of Christmas is, after all, made for children!
At Bolt Burdon Kemp we have a team of solicitors who specialise in representing children who have suffered brain injuries as a result of clinical negligence.
We are committed to investigating the medical treatment the child received thoroughly and ensuring they are appropriately and fully compensated for any injuries they have suffered. We are focussed on ensuring early access to the rehabilitation and support required and dedicated to helping the family navigate this often confusing and challenging time in their lives.