December 07, 2006
Find gifts for special needs kids at these Web sites
CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Too footsore to hit the malls searching for a great gift for that little person with special needs? Special education experts in Southern Illinois University Carbondale's College of Education and Human Services have cobbled up a list of Web sites that could do the trick, and most of the toys found there are reasonably priced.
An "awesome" site full of gear that hits on all the senses, says Assistant Professor Deborah A. Bruns, who works with children under age 5 with developmental delays and physical disabilities. It features award-winning, electronic products for kids ranging from infancy to grade school.
Specifically for young children, this site has a raft of toy categories that include those for fine motor skills, sensory exploration and communication. A search feature allows you to look for toys that do specific things, such as lacing, recognizing shapes or stimulating vision.
Whether you're shopping for 8-month-olds or 18-year-olds, you can find a gift here. In the menu, a special interactive area called Leapster World allows you to sample what you're considering as you browse.
It might be switches instead of mice, or gizmos that give voice to a screen. This site has the technology to make computers accessible to everyone. In addition to kids with physical or learning disabilities, the equipment here can aid users who have arthritis, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis and other ailments.
A software company, Laureate deals in programs that demonstrate such concepts as cause and effect, taking turns and making sense of sentences. Featuring graphics and animation, the programs work with both Windows and Macintosh platforms.