March is Developmental Disabilities Awareness month. It is a time to raise awareness about the inclusion of people with developmental disabilities in all facets of life and the communication barriers they face. Developmental Disabilities are a group of conditions due to an impairment in physical, learning, language, or behavior areas. There are five identified categories: Autism spectrum disorder, cerebral palsy, intellectual disability, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and learning disabilities. According to the CDC, 17% of children have one or more of these disabilities.
Special education in schools was first introduced in Congress in 1972 and the “Education for all Handicapped Children Act” was enacted in 1975. The percentage of students in federally funded special education has grown 5.8% since then. As this number grows, the availability of resources, toys and tools has also grown. Testing for developmental disabilities has also come a long way through the years, being able to pinpoint specific needs and solutions. Professionals have developed several sensory tools and toys to help schools and Special Education staff.
One out of every ten students with disabilities are diagnosed with Autism. In 2013 the American Psychiatric Association added sensory sensitivities to the list of symptoms that help diagnose Autism. Sensory toys are designed to stimulate a child’s five senses: sight, sound, touch, smell, and taste. Researchers have developed several different sensory toys to help with all different sensory issues. Rain maker toys appeal to children’s sense of hearing and can help with relaxation. The bright colors and cascade of falling beads allow children to engage with multiple senses at once without being overwhelmed. Weighted blankets can relieve stress and improve the child’s ability to focus on the task at hand. Fidget Spinners help children focus by keeping their hands occupied. Being that there are so many options available, not all the sensory toys available will work with every child. Having several of these toys in special education classrooms, can help find what works best for each child.
Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common developmental disabilities affecting children. In the past eight years, ADHD diagnoses has gone up 30%. Fidget toys have been proven to help children with ADHD focus. Bubble pops, fidget spinners, and stress balls are just a few of the available options. These sensory items have become very popular with children and adults with and without disabilities. The reasoning behind these toys is to help with nervousness, frustration, agitation, boredom, excitement, stress, anxiety, and sensory seeing behavior. Having these nearby can offer alternate stimulation to the nervous system resulting in heightened focus and calmed nerves. The added bonus is that in using these devices, the student can self-calm while also being less distracting to their peers.
American Solutions for Business recognizes that each and every person is different. We are dedicated to helping with the branded collateral to support your special education needs.
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