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ADHD-Friendly Toys

My daughter, Natalie, needs creative indoor stimulation during long winter evenings. Here are a few of the toys and gadgets we’ve discovered.

After a long, warm fall, winter has definitely descended on central Iowa. Although we are still without snow, it’s very cold, and since it’s dark by 5:00 p.m., we are stuck looking for ways to meet Natalie’s need for active play and stimulation indoors each evening. Luckily, at our house, Wii has come to the rescue; Dance Dance Revolution (DDR) in particular.

If kids are going to play video games, then the more active the game the better, I figure. DDR can make you work up a sweat and is a great option for doing so in tight indoor quarters. Some research (sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences) suggests that DDR does even more than that for our kids with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD); it may even improve their ability to read!

Given the choice between a product developed especially for therapy or a mainstream consumer product, our kids will almost always choose the latter. Who wouldn’t? When Natalie was in occupational therapy, her therapist frequently gave me ideas for toys and games that are available at big-box and discount stores that would meet the same needs as her therapy tools. Our trampoline is one example. Her Green Machine is another.

A couple of toys that I’ve seen advertised this holiday season have really piqued my interest — brain wave-powered toys! Perhaps we have at-home, do-it-yourself neurofeedback training on our hands? I wonder what the experts would say.

Has anyone tried this type of product? What other mainstream games or toys will your children receive this holiday season that may have a therapeutic side benefit?

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