Differently Abled Children & Toys

While I teach lessons on birth defects early in the year when talking about pregnancy, I like to spend more time at the endgirl.playing.with.toy of the year in a special topics unit teaching about special needs children.  This is one of those areas that I love to teach and students really need to be more aware and understanding about because they never know if this will be something that will affect them as future parents or with a family member or something they will need to know because of job or career interests in day care, education or even therapy.



  • View this clip two times.  First without the assignment and second with the Task Rotation chart.  Discuss when everyone has finished.


  • Laptops
  • Simulation items from PPT


  • Have students learn more about disabilities by participating in the Disabilities Awareness PPT  free from TPT.  This is full of really engaging simulations which students really got into!
  • Discuss the three types of disability categores: physical, mental, emotional/social
  • Ask students the following:  Do expecting parents always know they will have a child born with special needs?  Where can they get help and intervention?  What resources are available to them?  What feelings might they experience?  What do parents need to know?
  • View:  A Child with Special Needs DVD and complete the video guide sheet. Note:  I just found out that Parent’s Action is no longer producing this video.  It is available at half.com if you don’t already own it.
  • Assign the Special Needs Case Study Assignment/Project (below) and have students read through the case studies and then select two (either randomly or teacher assigned) to complete the toy selection project using the Fat Brain Toy Guide for Special Needs.  See guide sheet for specific criteria. Note:  Students don’t have to get the prices for the selected toys from this source.  They can shop around for the best price using other venues such as Amazon, Target, Walmart, etc.

Extension (optional)

  • If time, have students create a bulletin board of famous people with disabilities.  Choose from:  Vincent Van Gogh, Michael J. Fox, Halle Berry, Jim Abbott, Marla Runyan, Rachel Barton, Marlee Matlin, Ray Charles, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, H.G. Wells, Helen Keller, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Christopher Reeves, Albert Einstein



Photo courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at Free Digital Photos

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