Sunday, January 22, 2012
Introduction to MAC&Toys
As a pediatric occupational therapist, I have spent a lot of time over the last 11 years looking for new and exciting toys to motivate the children I work with. I have noticed that children reach their occupational therapy goals faster with me when they are having fun, which makes total sense. Among the most important questions I ask myself when making my picks: Will the children's peers and siblings want to use these items when they play with them?
Every year around the holidays, parents ask me what they should get their children that will be fun but also help them developmentally. The last few years, I have compiled a list of ideas, including the therapeutic goals it will address, and sent it out to anyone I know with children--not just those whose children have special needs. It's important for these items to be attainable to all, so I recommend those that can be easily purchased from toy stores and web sites, not an expensive therapeutic catalog. I get lots of feedback from parents about how helpful the list was for them and how much their children loved everything they received. And it was especially helpful for the parents to know what skills were being targeted when using the suggested item.
I recently realized that I'm making recommendations all year long. Whenever I see something a child might like and benefit from, I'm sending ideas to his or her parents. That's when MAC&Toys came to mind. How great would it be for me to be able to share a great find with lots of people at once? The more people I spoke to about it, the more motivated I became.
The purpose of this blog is to share my new toy, book, game and iPad/iPhone discoveries as I find them, not at just during the holiday season. I will continue to pinpoint the skills each selection will target and if applicable, how it can be adapted for specific therapy goals and/or how it can be used differently for different children. I may even ask my colleagues (speech therapists, physical therapists and special educators) to occasionally weigh in on what other goals might be met with some of the suggested items. There will also be a place for you to ask questions about specific items for your child.
So here we go. I am going to give this blogging thing a shot and hope it can be helpful. The format and design will change over the next couple of weeks, but I wanted to get this started. I welcome you to MAC&Toys and hope that you will share this blog with anyone and everyone!