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Play and toys for children with disabilities

All children need to play

Episode 3 - In order to spread this idea, let's share

Child with Down SyndromWe have at our disposal an incredible power of communication with social networks and other digital media that are easy to use. This is where action is needed : 
❥ With toy libraries that must remain convinced that their role is to promote free play.
❥ With parent associations who need to start really interested in the play for fun and not just as a rehabilitation activity
❥ For future professionals in teaching and care to be trained on play, what it is, its interest, its necessity and its supports that are games and toys.
❥ For manufacturers to start taking this issue seriously
❥ For major institutions and foundations to talk about the Free Play for All
❥ For the Ministry to make the Play a crucial condition for the inclusion of children with disabilities.

FM2J/Enfantoys has started sharing with its groups and communities but nothing is possible when you are alone on social networks. Everyone should share at least once with a toy library, and/or a parents' association, and/or a school or university, a manufacturer, an institution or a foundation, etc. Then we will call on the Ministry, which should always link the game with the issue of inclusion.

To start, let's share the text below on social networks with these different audiences.

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ALL CHILDREN NEED TO PLAY

When we talk about play and children with disabilities, 3 questions always come up :

1 - Do children with disabilities really need to play?
Before we talk about need, let us talk about law. Playing is a right for all children and is enshrined in the Convention on the Rights of the Child. To agree that it is a right is to recognize that it is a necessity to live one's life as a child, in the same way as eating and sleeping.

2 - What play for children with disabilities?
Play as a support for rehabilitation is part of every child's life when he goes to a therapist.
We are talking about the Free Play, the one which is not an exercise imposed by an adult
but which takes place in a context of autonomy because it is not made to obtain a result
but for the pleasure of playing.

3 - Where to find toys for children with disabilities?
Among the toys on the market, there are some (between 5 and 8%) that are suitable for children with disabilities. But most importantly, a large number of toys can be adapted with small improvements. It is important that children can play with the same toys as others.
Shared play is at the heart of the issue of inclusion.

Play is important for all children. Let's say it around us.
For more information, visit www.enfantoys.com

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2 - What are we doing now ?

LudiEpisode n°1 (below) was a kind of activity report to show that play-for-all is an essential subject. For 4 years at the heart of LUDI, European research on play and children with disabilities, we learned, we wrote books, read observation reports, developed analysis tools, compared what is being done in different European countries... but now that we have become a little more aware, what are we doing? It would be a shame if all this remained locked up in books only for researchers and university students.

Episode 2 - So what do we do? 

2 joueurs

For Enfantoys a certainty has deepened still further: to really play, that is to say not to play to re-educate or to learn but just to live a child's life, toys must be pleasurable and adapted to the needs and abilities of players.
Our desire to offer toys for all audiences has been further strengthened, to allow play like others and with others. This is possible provided that toys are well chosen and that manufacturers design toys taking into account certain criteria of shape, colour, sound and weight.

Enfantoys, small Tom Thumb on the Internet has started to disseminate analyses of toys that may be suitable for children with disabilities in a Youtube Playlist entitled "Toys rated Handilud".
Handilud is a reference that we have been using for 20 years for toys that may be suitable for children with disabilities, most of the time motor or visual disabilities.

Boite à formes musicaleComments for toys rated "Handilud" can be found on the Enfantoys website by clicking on the "We like" article in each toy.
Look at Musical forms box
It's already a very small first step. But we all have to get started, parents and professionals. Those who are directly concerned with disability issues but also others, as shared play among children is perhaps the most basic form of social inclusion.


Next episode 3: We all have to get started, but how?


 

1 - Enfantoys (FM2J), Member of LUDI

Episode 1 : From 2014 to 2018,  FM2J was involved in the European research on “Play for children with disabilities, LUDI”. https://www.ludi-network.eu/ 

For us, the story had started from a long time ago .... because the FM2J trainers and Enfantoys have always been concerned by the topic of play and children with disabilities.

❤ First, because play is a right for all the children.

❤ Second, because free play is essential for all,  more, or at least as much as important than the educational play situation or the rehabilitation play, for a child who is growing up in the physical, sensory, intellectual, emotional and social domains that are always intimately connected.  

❤ Third, because playing requires objects, games and toys that involve knowledge that adults, parents and professionals must get to make choices adapted to the needs of children.

From 96 to 2016, the ludoscopes, catalogs of analyzes of games and toys, were published at a rate of 50 to 100 analyzes per year. Games and toys were chosen for their material and playful qualities. Some toys have received the Handilud mark indicating that they may be suitable for children with disabilities.

In 2007, edition of the Handilud guide which presented 80 analyses of commercial toys suitable for children with disabilities

One year ago, the Ludoscope has been replaced by Enfantoys, an internet project that presents a weekly youtube video analyse of a toy or game chosen for its material and playful qualities. For some toys, favorable accessibility features for children with disabilities are described on the site of Enfantoys, inside the detailed analysis, tab "On aime".

For the European project LUDI, the involvement of FM2J/enfantoys has been important to help the development of this new topic in the field of European research, so that it is inventive, creative and highlighted especially with regard to the point of view of FM2J/enfantoys , "games and toys for all".

  • A Conference at the Cyprus meeting by Odile Perino:  "Non-specialized toys for children with disabilities, context, usefulness, analysis method and selection criteria "
  • Involvement in the research workshop n°1, co-author of the 15th chapter “Mainstream Toys for Play” in LUDI’s first publication  “Play development in children with disabilities” https://www.degruyter.com/viewbooktoc/product/481126
  •  Participation as a Ludi Member to the Conference that was held in Brussels Parliament in the occasion of the Day of Persons with disabilities to present toys and games from the Handilud selection.

  • Teacher during the 2 European training schools "Play and toys for all" in Heerlen (Holland) and Bergamo ( Italy) on “Play, Toys and low-tech”
    https://www.ludi-network.eu/training_school/
  • Set up and participation in a short term scientific mission (STSM) at AIJU lInstitut (Valencia)? entitled “Comparative study of analysis methods of toys and games integrating criteria of accessibility and usability”. www.aiju.info
    This STSM lead us to develop a tool to evaluate the usability and accessibility of toys and games for children with visual, hearing and upper-limb motor disabilities.

The TUET (Toys & games Usability Evaluation Tool) was realized by Maria Costa (Aiju Institute, Spain), Odile Perino (FM2J/enfantoys, France) and Sylvie Ray-Kaeser ( HES-SO EESP, Switzerland)      http://www.tuet.eu

The first level of toy and game analysis within the TUET was performed using C.O.L., the toy and game classification developed by FM2J. http://www.fm2j.com 

 FM2J is a contributing author of the final version of Ludi Guideline: "Guidelines to support the play of children with disabilities. Methodologies, tools and contexts", Chapter 7. https://www.ludi-network.eu/products/

 

LUDI, European Parlament, Brussels, avril 2018  

Ludi, au Parlement Européeen, avril 2018