AffiliationUniversity of Southern Indiana
TitleEveryone Deserves to Play! Adapting Toys for Switch Access
MetadataShow full item record
Embedded YouTube Videohttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LwIasz0S3yg&list=PL7zLNdwp3vSwYAXHgqItsRO6RE7Vs7zoc&index=4&t=8s
Play experiences provide children with practice for skills they require later in their child and adult life (Hamm, 2005). Children learn from interactions with peers and through independent play. Toys provide a way for children to problem solve and engage in their environment (Hamm, 2005). Children with significant disabilities including, those that hinder their ability to communicate, often struggle to express their needs and engage in play. By using assistive technology, these children have more opportunities to independently experience and learn from their environments (Schaefer and Andzik, 2016). According to Schaefer and Andzik (2016), switches are simply devices that are used to complete electrical circuits so that another powered device can be activated. These can range from lights to toys with an electrical system. These switches are activated by small body movements in order to create an easier way for equipment to be used. Some have even been adapted to be triggered by a breath of air (Schaefer & Andzik, 2016). The skills required for using a switch take time and practice. Learning this skill through play provides more independent switch use as an adult (Schaefer and Andzik, 2016). Switches are a form of assistive technology that can be attached to battery operated items to activate them in an alternative way.
The University of Southern Indiana occupational therapy faculty educated occupational therapy and occupational therapy assistant students on the purpose and process of adapting battery-operated items. This education and training included “Adapting a Toy for Switch Access without Soddering” from the robotics team at Ivy Tech. At the training, students learned how a simple circuit works, the toy evaluation process, the process of splicing wires, and the final toy modification process. The students received printed instructions, along with hands-on training, for future use. A total of 50 toys were switch adapted by the OT and OTA students. After completion of the training, the adapted toys were delivered to the Warrick County School Corporation. Learning how to adapt battery operated items using switches is a skill that students will be able to use in future professional occupational therapy practice.
Hamm, E. M., Mistrett, S. G., & Ruffino, A. G. (2005). Play outcomes and satisfaction with toys and technology of young children with special needs. Journal of Special Education Technology, 21(1), 29-35. doi:10.1177/016264340602100103
Schaefer, J. M., & Andzik, N. R. (2016). Switch on the learning. TEACHING Exceptional Children, 48(4), 204-212. doi:10.1177/0040059915623517