Educational toys and games for children with additional needs or a learning disability

Educational toys and games for children with additional needs or a learning disability

Special needs, additional needs, handicapped, disabled ... some of these are words that we used to (and some still do) use freely, and some of these are words that are no longer acceptable ... and now we are finally listening to those people with a disability and asking what terms they like used, when talking about them! Times are a-changing! 

For example, we've learned that it's important to use person first language,

e.g. DO USE Charlie is a person with bipolar disorder
(Use the disability to describe the person)
DO NOT USE Charlie is bipolar.

We want to make sure that we put people FIRST. 

Emphasising the person, not the disability, may seem a subtle difference but it’s important to people with disability. It takes just two extra two words or less than half a second to say ‘person with a disability’ rather than ‘disabled person’.
People with disability are people first!

We need to avoid collective terms like ‘the disabled’, ‘the blind’, ‘the deaf’ – instead, use ‘people with disability’; ‘people who are blind’; ‘people who are deaf’
rather than describing people by their disability;
When we refer to the person first:
‘Sam has cerebral palsy’, rather than ‘cerebral palsy
sufferer, Sam’. The use of the person's name at the beginning of
the sentence highlights the fact that people with disability are people first. 

What is people-first language?
When speaking or writing, it refers to the person first.

Such as:

Person with disability
Person with autism

What is identity first language?
It’s not exactly the “direct opposite” of people first language, in that it is not putting the person last. It is merely a way of saying “having a disability is acceptable.” You don’t need to try to hide the disability or squash it and put it second. It’s a part of who I am.

disabled person
autistic person

So, when beginning to write this article on educational toys and games for children with additional needs, or children with a learning disability, it could have been easy to fall back into old ways and title it, "Educational toys and games for children with special needs" but we've learned, and are still learning, that language is EVERYTHING. There are many articles, video's, social accounts you can follow to learn more, but this is a great blog post to start, Is “Special Needs” Offensive? The new term to say instead of Special Needs. and so is, Is People First Language dead? No, but demanding it is. (We've listed some more great reads and resources at the end of this blog post.)

Let's start from the top, with the question, "what is special needs, or additional needs?" and "what is the politically correct term for special needs?"

One definition we found on "special needs" is, A person with any of various difficulties (such as a physical, emotional, behavioural, or learning disability or impairment) that causes an individual to require additional or specialised services or accommodations (such as in education or recreation), are people with special needs. 

This one from Kids Health:

Kids Who Might Need Extra Help. Isn't every kid special? We think so. But what do we mean when we say "kids with special needs"? This means any kid who might need extra help because of a medical, emotional, or learning problem. These kids have special needs because they might need medicine, therapy, or extra help in school — stuff other kids don't typically need or only need once in a while.

The definition of disability, "Persons are considered to have a disability if they have a limitation, restriction or impairment, which has lasted, or is likely to last, for at least six months and restricts everyday activities."

The politically correct term for special needs is disabled. Disability. It’s ok to say the word. We like that! 

What is the politically correct term for special needs? It’s not new at all. Disabled. Disability. It’s ok to say the word.

Children, just like adults, deserve to have terminology used that empowers them, and all children have the right to learn and develop in their communities - whether that be home, pre-school or school. 

Every child is unique and, therefore, exceptional in their way. There are some general characteristics that may qualify a child as having additional needs and they include: having a disability, being diagnosed with a chronic illness, being gifted or talented, or having social and emotional difficulties. While there is no definitive list, these are just some examples of what might make a child stand out from their peers and require additional supports.

From delays in development to intellectual disabilities, autism, and ADHD, each type of disability presents its unique set of challenges for the child and their family. While there is no one-size-fits-all approach to raising a child with additional needs, there are certain things that parents can do to help their child reach their full potential. Self-advocacy is a process where a person asserts their needs and rights. Similarly, self-advocacy is an important skill that parents can teach their children with additional needs. If you would like to know how to find extra support, click here to read; School support for children with disability ages 3-18 by Raising Children. 

Some definitions you may find useful:

A developmental delay is a condition that affects a person's ability to achieve developmental milestones at the expected time. Developmental delays can impact any area of development, including physical, mental, emotional, and social skills. Developmental delays can be caused by a variety of factors, including illness, injury, genetic conditions, and environmental exposures.

Intellectual disabilities affect people of all ages but are most commonly diagnosed in children and adolescents. Intellectual disabilities can be caused by a variety of factors, including genetic disorders, infections, and injuries. Many people with intellectual disabilities require lifelong support and assistance to live independently.

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disability that can cause significant social, communication and behavioural challenges. ASD is caused by differences in the brain that affect how a person perceives and interacts with the world. There is no single cause of autism, but it is believed to be caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors.

Autism is described by Autism Spectrum Australia as a condition that affects how a person thinks, feels, interacts with others, and experiences their environment. It is a lifelong disability that starts when a person is born and stays with them into old age. Every person with autism is different which is why autism is described as a ‘spectrum’. 

Many people with ASD also have sensory processing issues which can cause them to be over or under-sensitive to sounds, smells, textures, lights or movement.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects 3-5% of children and 2% of adults worldwide. ADHD is characterised by problems with focus, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. The most common treatment for ADHD is stimulant medication, which helps to improve focus and reduce hyperactivity and impulsivity. Other treatments include behavioural therapy and lifestyle changes.

Sometimes, behavioural issues are common in children with additional needs. Often, these behaviours are a way for the child to communicate their needs or frustrations. It is important to understand the reasons behind the behaviour and work to address them.

Parents of children with additional needs can sometimes feel lost, overwhelmed, frustrated, unsupported, and unrecognised when their child succeeds in completing a task or achieving a milestone. Learning how to parent ALL children is challenging at times, and coping with additional needs, can at times be extra challenging, but it is an essential part of raising them.

Educational toys and games for  children with additional needs

Play is a child’s ‘work’.

Playing while learning is a great way to help children with special needs. All children need to play in order to learn about the world around them. 

There are many different types of toys for children with all manner of additional needs. Some popular choices include sensory toys, educational toys, and therapeutic toys.

Sensory toys can help children focus and learn better. 

Educational toys can teach basic skills to children who have learning disabilities.

Therapeutic toys can help improve motor skills, communication abilities, and social interactions.

It is important to choose the right type of toy for each child's specific needs, at each stage of their development. Our products cater to all ages, stages and abilities and we offer a huge range of educational toys and games that cater to learning difficulties, additional needs and disability.

Children with additional needs are often misunderstood and underestimated. These children face unique challenges that can be difficult to overcome. They require an extra dose of love and patience, but with these qualities, they can achieve great things.

Here are some of our favourite educational toys and games for kid with additional needs:

Fat Brain - Squigz - Deluxe Set Apply pressure to two Squigz. Air rushes out and the fun rushes in! Connecting to each other and to any solid, non-porous surface - Squigz are a species all their own. They flex. They stick. They suck people into creativity. Once they take hold, it takes some pull to separate them. When Squigz POP! in protest - you’ll have to admit… your hands and ears are shamelessly delighted! They are flexible fellows and committed joiners. Squigz can become rockets, vehicles, a cushion for the cat, jewellery, a ginormous octopus or squid - any kind of playful experiment, and stick to bathtubs, windows, school lockers, tabletops, and desktops. (And they are mannerly guests too - never leaving a trace of their presence.) Playful curiosity. It's a whole new gig - thanks to Squigz. A lively toy innovation - new Suction Construction! Encourages creativity, fine motor skills, interaction, playful experimentation. Provides relaxation and sensory stimulation


Fat Brain - Simpl Dimpl Young or old, this unique little keychain provides endless hours of fidget fun! The frame is made of strong, high-quality plastic - ideal for rattling around in your pocket or purse - and the two colourful buttons are made of 100% silicone. One touch and your fingers can't stop pushing, poking, and popping! Available in four brilliant colour combinations and perfectly sized to fit any set of keys, the Simpl Dimpl is a simple delight that's hard to resist. Encourages tactile stimulation, calmness, concentration



Jellystone - DIY Calm Down Bottle unique sensory bottle for focused, calm play. Sensory bottles have been used by parents, teachers and therapists to help children self-regulate their breathing and improve their focus.

Our DIY Calm Down Bottle is a unique sensory bottle, where you receive all the creative elements required to create a sensory bottle perfect for your child. Just add water and a dash of washing up liquid and it's ready to go! With this option you can refill and reuse the sensory bottle for endless creative options. 



Ramen Noodlies are almost as irresistible as the real thing! You can squeeze, stretch, or mash these crimped textured noodles. Ramen Noodlies are brightly coloured in 5 fluorescent tones and offer a unique sensory play experience that creates loads of endless fun. Toss them around with friends or squeeze a handful when you want to mellow out! A fidget toy that satisfies and soothes; Nee Doh is appropriate for anxious tendencies and helps promote focus, attention, and centring.



Rainbow Puzzle Ball Spinner This is an awesome sensory puzzle that is achievable to solve from ages 4 and up typically. Move the inner balls (in a slide fashion) across to the empty space to manipulate the colours so that they eventually all match up. Also spinning function for extra fidget play.




Schylling - Nee-Doh Stress Ball The Classic NeeDoh is the Groovy Glob that started it all! The original NeeDoh ball is known for its durable squish that helps you mellow out and soothe your soul. Available in an array of bright colours, the Classic NeeDoh makes for an exciting sensory experience. Each Classic NeeDoh is filled with a non-toxic, dough-like compound that always returns to its original shape. Small enough to fit in the palm of your hand and great enough to find the squeeze that will get you feeling groovy fast. A fidget toy that satisfies and soothes; Nee Doh is appropriate for anxious tendencies and helps promote focus, attention and centreing.



LaLaBoom - 5 Arches & Beads 8 piece This sensory based play experience encourages your little ones to master the skills of stacking and building along with engaging in creativity. Children are able to develop a better understanding in pattern recognition and problem solving as they challenge themselves to stack and create new structures. The Lalaboom Rainbow Arches and Beads allows children to develop their fine motor skills and develop sensory awareness. This product has been carefully created to include different textures on each arch and bead in order for children to become familiar with different consistencies as they handle the product and make connections between the different textures and colours. The bright colours included in this sensory toy allows children to become more engaged, as colour sparks curiosity and attention in young children, especially during play opportunities. 


Miniland - Caucasian Down Syndrome Boy

promotes the value of equality among kids regardless of their race, gender or condition and allows them to also learn about the diversity in all of us and how to develop social skills such as empathy and tolerance. Articulated head, arms and legs that can fully rotate allowing the doll to sit, stand or lie down. Can be dressed with our Miniland’ s clothing collection to complete its look.


Would you like to get something awesome for a special person on their special day? Because THEY ARE SPECIAL (not because they have "special needs!" ... Check out our huge collection of fun and affordable gift ideas we have. In cases where you are unsure what to buy for somebody, a gift voucher is an excellent option for giving the gift of choice.

Got questions? Get in touch! Our team live and breathe the world of toys, so are primed to help you. Contact us


  1. A day in our shoes and
  2. Raising Children
  3. Kids Health
  4. Words that work
  5. Disability Royal Commission
  6. ND Kids
  7. Autism Spectrum
  8. ADHD in children support
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