Toys and playtime are important in a child’s growing years and they contribute to the development of skills such as motor and social skills. However, many off-the-shelf toys are not accessible to children with special needs who are unable to play independently because of their physical challenges.
Technology and engineering can help to overcome barriers and challenges that people with disabilities face, enabling them to live more independently and thrive in the community. Hence, we are very pleased that DSO National Laboratories, Singapore’s national defence research and development organisation, chose to partner SPD for its community project Hack-a-Toy this year.
More than 50 engineers from DSO participated in the five-month-long effort to modify 51 toys and 68 switches to suit the needs of children with special needs. SPD worked with DSO to identify toys that the children would enjoy and switches they would benefit from.
The sounds of children’s gleeful laughter filled the Board Room at SPD Ability Centre on 17 October as engineers and volunteers from the DSO National Laboratories unveiled close to 120 specially designed switches and modified toys for children with special needs from our Building Bridges EIPIC Centres.
Three-year-old Rizq (above) was one of the children who had a go at trying out the toys. Diagnosed with cerebral palsy, Rizq has limited motor control and uses a wheelchair. His eyes lit up when the specially designed switch he touched sent a flurry of bubbles into the air.
“It is difficult for Rizq to play with normal toys. He would often watch others play or wait for someone to help him. With these special switches and toys, Rizq can now play the toys by himself,”
said Rizq’s mother, Madam Hidayah.
The design of switches and modification of toys to suit the needs of children with disabilities in our early intervention programmes will greatly enrich our classroom activities and aid the children in their motor skills and overall development.