Special Toys for Special Children: Recommended Guides

Play is important for all children of all abilities. Through play, children learn about the world and themselves while experiencing joy. Toys are the tools of play. They can help promote a child’s cognitive, social, and physical development. But with so many options, choosing toys that support a child’s learning and development while still being fun, can be overwhelming. Extended family members who may spend less time with a special needs child, may also be looking for additional guidance to make a holiday purchase. This is particularly true during the frenzy of holiday shopping. To help make purchasing toys less stressful and more thoughtful, the following resources are offered as guides.

The Arc–Western Wayne County

Take a look at information about The Arc Lekotek program, provided by and located at The Arc of Northwest Wayne County (Redford). Lekotek is a worldwide system of support for families with children who have disabilities.  Lekotek is a Swedish made up word for play library.



AblePlay is a toy rating system and website that provides comprehensive information
on toys for children of all abilities. There is also an online Toy Guide.


 Fun and Function


   The Fun and Function homepage has a “Solutions Finder for Special Needs”: you can plug in your choices for “Age”, “Diagnosis”, ‘Budget”, and “Helps With”


American Occupational Therapy Association


AOTA provides this checklist developed by occupational therapy practitioners to assist you in selecting toys that can help your child learn and develop while having fun.


Toys R Us 

Check out “Sensory Toys for Differently-Abled Kids” on the Toys-R-Us  website; this function allows you to shop by skill or sensory categories.

As always, if you have any questions about toys for your child with special needs, please contact MiNavigator at 877.463.2266 or Navigator@aaomi.org. Our Navigators are on call ready to provide resources for you.