OSU Program Adapts Toys for Special Needs Kids

Like scientists in Santa’s workshop, organizers of a program at The Ohio State University are working to adapt toys so that children with special needs are able to use them.

TAP Program Manger Elizabeth Riter started the adaptation effort in the College of Engineering in 2015. The program develops workshops to teach engineering students and community members how to adapt toys for children with disabilities.

The adaptation process adds an external wire to common electronic toys so a simple switch can activate it without preventing the toy from functioning normally. The switches take complicated toys that might have multiple buttons or effects and simplifies them.

The program is not just an asset to parents and their children. It’s also a powerful teaching tool for students.

The Toy Adaptation Program will be adapting toys with several families Saturday, Dec. 9, at Nationwide Children’s Hospital from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. The program will be donating some of the toys to occupational therapists as well. All toys adapted in the program are made available as donations.