The charity adapts toys so that children with special needs find them easier to use



Meru adapts toys for disabled children to use.

Families with disabled children who struggle to use toys can send them off to be adapted for free this Christmas.

MERU designs and makes life-changing disability products for children and young people with disabilities.

But it also adapts products that already exist including children’s toys – installing a large button or switch to make them easier for children to use.

Parents can send a toy off to be adapted. The charity doesn’t charge for carrying out the adaption work, but parents are asked to pay for whatever switch or button is advised – such as the commonly used Buddy Button which costs around £30.

MERU is part of the Queen Elizabeth’s Foundation for Disabled People Family of Charities, working in partnership for the benefit of children and young people with disabilities.



The group’s media manager Alistair Pulling said: “Young children start to learn how the world works through play – especially cause and effect – and this is an important part of development.

“A lot of early years toys involve squeezing the toy and it making a noise, or pushing a button and having something happen.

“However, for many children with disabilities, this can be difficult, as they don’t have fine motor skills control, or may have other impairments.”

Meru adapts toys for disabled children to use

He added: “What we do is adapt the toy so that a large button or switch will work the effect, which makes it easier to use.

“It’s nothing especially complicated, and whilst our engineers can do some quite complex adaptations to meet specific needs, our Christmas toy programme is aimed at making simple toys that help very young children to learn about cause and effect more accessible.

“It may seem like a small thing for a child to be able to press a button and make a toy sing or perform some other action, but the first realisation that ‘if I do this, then this happens’ is a crucial part of development.

Charlie with his adapted Xbox controller

“A fairly common switch that’s good to use is called the Buddy Button, which costs around £30. I know this sounds a lot for a switch, but these are specially made with no sharp edges, are extremely robust and are designed for children with disabilities to use.”

Engineers have adapted numerous toys including the Leapfrog Scout Dog, Elmo Live and the Fisher Price Learn and Laugh Dance and Play Puppy – even an Xbox controller.

Alistair added: “Being able to have some accessible toys to play with is great, and definitely brings big smiles to tiny faces, but we’re also helping their parents to help them learn and develop in important areas too.


“Although we are making this offer for Christmas, it is something we’re happy to help out with all year round, or to help and provide advice to anyone with a disability that needs a piece of assistive equipment to meet a need that nothing else can help with.

“We’ve made everything from stands to help musicians with only one hand play instruments, to smaller adapted bicycles for children with restricted growth, to special controllers for video games, to airline travel chairs for children with disabilities.”

To find out more about which toys can be adapted visit the website here .


Source: Manchester Evening News.