ONCE Recommendations for Choosing Toys for Children with Blindness or Visual Impairment

Are you looking for a gift for this Christmas for a child with blindness or visual impairment? What games or toys are recommended? What criteria should be taken into account? The director of ONCE’s Center for Research, Development and Tiflotechnical Applications (CIDAT) , Guillermo Hermida Simil, responds to all possible doubts that may arise.

ONCE Recommendations for Choosing Toys for Children with Blindness or Visual Impairment

What Criteria Do I Have To Keep In Mind When Choosing The Game Or Toy This Christmas?

The choice of a toy for a blind or visually impaired child has to achieve the same goal as any other child. That is why we recommend inclusivetoys, that is, that are accessible to the child with blindness or visual impairment and, at the same time, are attractive to other children with standard vision. You only have to take care of some aspects when choosing the toy in a basic way:

If the child has a rest of vision that is usable, it is better to choose toys where the  color contrasts are more pronounced and striking, which will allow you to call attention to their different parts, functions, etc.
For a blind child, even if they do not distinguish or manage the colors, there is no reason to choose toys that do not have them, since it  is better that the toys retain all the inclusive characteristics that other children can use  and that serve as a link and Reference in the shared game. Here the different shapes and textures will be of incalculable value.

It is necessary that the  toys are accessible to the blind child , through reliefs, sounds, tactile  elements or elements that allow the location of the chips. As for the reliefs, we must take into account that the best illustration in relief is not the one that best fits the original visually. The simpler and more schematic a figure in relief, the simpler its interpretation to the touch. For example, a parchis can be very colorful, but a blind child needs to be able to place the chips on the board using tactile references for boxes, dice, etc.

We must always keep in mind, parents, family, friends, etc. That sometimes “home adaptations” can be made to toys to make them more accessible. For example, by affixing braille symbols, embossed elements, tactile references that help the child in the use of the toy  to mark or enhance certain areas or points, to make a toy sufficiently accessible.

Does The Disability Have To Condition The Choice Or Is It Better To Choose More Generalist Toys Without Differentiation?

As we said before it  is better to choose general toys, but that can be used by the visually impaired child. There are signatures that already produce parallel toys with “additions” to achieve their accessibility, such as the Rubik’s cube,  but we should not discourage the choice of specific toys that try to offer greater stimuli for the different disabilities, in the case of the child/To blind, the use of different textures, keys of ensable, etc. Make it very easy to use during the game. It all  depends on the character and need of each child.

What Games Or Toys Do You Recommend To Play Together (In Family, Siblings, With Cousins…) And That Encourage Inclusion?

There are many types of toys that can be recommended, usually they are the same that we recommend for children to play in groups, only adding some characteristics that favor their use by blind or visually impaired children. The most recommended are table games : parcheesi, goose, chess, different types of cards, sudoku, three in line, bingo, wooden and plastic constructions, colored inserts boards, Driven cars, provided they emit sufficient noise and light to follow their path, etc.

Emotional development: toys that develop affectivity, expression of emotions and feelings, that stimulate the relationship with others and interaction. For example: dolls, stories, CDs with songs…

Thick psychomotricity:  toys that promote movement, balance, sensory perception, laterality, muscular control, strength, orientation, spatial organization, or coordination. For example: carpets of activities, runners, structures of foam or cardboard, objects to stack and fit and to  construct…

Fine psychomotricity: for the development of manipulative skills, coordination, auditory, visual, tactile perception, stimulation and sensorial integration… For example: carpets with auditory, visual, tactile or sonoric stimuli  ; Animals or musical dolls, string beads, figure laces, puzzles and abacuses…

Cognitive development: to understand the cause-effect relationship, stimulation of reasoning and creativity, development of observation, logic, concentration and language. For example: toys for sorting, ordering colors, sizes, shapes, textures, puzzles and nesting, memorys, bingos, texture dominoes, visual perception games…

Sensory and perceptive development: to develop attention, observation, understanding of the environment in an active and participatory way, visual, auditory and tactile perception, the differentiation of forms…. For example: blankets with textures, sounds and colors, stunts, rattles, teddies, musical instruments, stackable, lace …

Symbolic and role play: to develop imagination, language, vocabulary and communication, knowledge of the environment, shared play and socialization. For example: dolls, cars, miniature animals, kitchen items, costumes, items related to professions, construction games, replicas of money, circuits…

Communication and language: to promote communicative intentionality, language comprehension, auditory discrimination, listening ability, language, vocabulary and grammatical structures. For example: whistles,  blowing games, musical instruments, games with letters, numbers, or songs…

About The CIDAT Of The ONCE

CIDAT is the specialized center of the Spanish National Organization of the Blind oriented to the research, development and application of technologies in general to reduce or eliminate the barriers that the lack of vision or the technology itself provoke.

The center tries to cover all the disciplines related to daily life, study, employment, sport, etc. To carry out this work is structured in 4 departments: Research and Development, Maintenance and Production, Commercial and Customer Service and Department of Coordination and General Resources.

The research carried out in the center tries to solve the problems that are presented day by day in our community establishing the necessary cooperation resources with other departments, entities, associations, etc. Where we can contribute our knowledge or receive, through these contacts, specialized information to solve the problem presented.

The mission of ONCE is to include people with visual impairment in all areas of their vital development: family, educational, playful, social, work and even emotional.