Adapting toys for kids with special needs

December 28, 2008 7:55:58 AM PST
Max Malec, 2, was born with spina bifida. But the neurological disorder doesn't stop him from playing. "We want Max to be as normal as any other child, so he doesn't feel left out. And having an older brother to keep up with, Max is on the go," his father Mike Malec said.

So when Max wasn't able to use his new tricycle with hand pedals, the family asked for help from the Toy Adaption Network. Occupational therapist Amy Frantz works with technicians to custom-adapt toys like Max's bike.

"So when they brought it in, you know, it wasn't really complex adaptions but it was enough to enable this little boy to use it successfully and they were excited. The little boy was so excited," Frantz said.

For Max, they added trunk support straps, blocks to help his feet reach the pedals and velcro closures to secure his feet. The Toy Adaption Network has programs in several locations including one in Scranton, Pennsylvania. They'll adjust toys free for kids with special needs.

"I think it's very important because you know, most people take play for granted. And when a child cannot play, developmentally, they're gonna be behind because that's how you learn- through play," Frantz said.

"The bike or tricycle has made a big improvement in Max's life, because he can now interact with his brother and enjoy being a child, playing, doing the play thing that kids do," Mike Malec said.

If you have a child with special needs and want more information or to make a contribution, call 1-888- FIX-A-TOY. Or visit: Toy Adaption Network


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