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Switch-Adapted Toys

What Can Young Children Learn by Playing with Adapted
 Toys and Switches?

CCBDD Annual Early Childhood Department Conference

May 23, 2011

Improve Cognitive Skills

Ø      Intentional behavior

Ø      Understanding of cause-and-effect

Ø      Initiate action

Ø      Continue enjoyable activity by initiating movement


Explore Sensory Activities

Ø      Vision (spinning, tracking, tracking complex movements)

Ø      Hearing (sounds, music)

Ø      Tactile (vibration, fan)


Improve Visual Skills

Ø      Visual attention (eyes fix on object)

Ø      Visual tracking (eyes follow moving object)

Ø      Coordinate listening and looking

Ø      Coordinate moving (activating switch) and looking

Ø      Interest in novel activity

Ø      Show pleasure

Ø      Show displeasure


Improve Motor Skills

Ø      Activate switch

Ø      Repeat switch activations

Ø      Release switch

Ø      Sustain switch activations


Improve Communication Skills

Ø      Follow directions

Ø      Respond to questions

Ø      Request recurrence

Ø      Make comments

Ø      Reject

Ø      Indicate finished

Ø      Request assistance

Ø      Express choices


Improve Social Skills

Ø      Engage with caregivers

Ø      Joint attention

Ø      Repeat activity that causes a reaction from others

Ø      Show off 



Where to Find Adapted Toys and Sensory Activities and How to Pay for Them


1. Purchase from companies that sell adapted toys and adapted sensory activities


  • Enabling Devices (
  • Ablenet, Inc. (
  • RJ Cooper (
  • Abilitations (

2. Donations

  • RePlay for Kids ( sometimes has adapted toys and sensory activities to donate to individuals, schools and/or agencies
  • Friends/family/staff often have toys that are no longer used; get unadapted items adapted by Replay for Kids

3. Loans – a cost-free way to trial equipment

  • The Cuyahoga County Public Library Toy Lending Library, housed at the Brooklyn Branch, has a small collection of adapted toys. Catalog is available on their website and items can be delivered to the branch of your choice
  • The CCBDD AAC Unit has a library of adapted toys and activities that are loaned for trials
  • Matthew's Lending Library (216/226-3669;

4. How to pay for adapted toys and sensory activities

  • School district, when adapted toys and sensory activities are required within the educational curriculum
  • Family Supports money may be available to purchase recommended items for individuals for use in the home
  • CCBDD Support Administrator may budget to purchase recommended items – if no Support Administrator has been assigned

5. Another resource

  • Methods Engineering (a department of S.A.W. Inc., the nonprofit partner of CCBDD) can either design and fabricate equipment or adapt off the shelf items – referral can be processed by CCBDD AAC SLP or Support Administrator – labor is free, however, materials cost will be billed. Cost may be paid by Family Supports or Support Administrator.

Gloria Stansberry, SLP, CCBDD AAC Unit

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Cuyahoga County Board of Developmental Disabilities
1275 Lakeside Avenue East
Cleveland, Ohio 44114-1129
PHONE: (216)241-8230 - FAX: (216)861-0253