Gift Recommendation for Special Needs Children: Neo Track by Mindscope.
This Child Therapist LOVES This Toy for Young, Autism Spectrum Clients.
Yes, I am a child therapist. I have worked with special needs children and families for the last 17 years or so. Wow, 17 years. Where have the years gone? I like to think my specialty is working with adolescents; especially those involved in the juvenile probation system. But more recently, I have been working in a special education school that serves grades K through 8. Which means I now work with teeny, tiny children. Not my strong point. I definitely needed to shift my techniques and tools to fit in this setting.
This racetrack has been perfect in helping me make the shift. Many of my clients love this toy. It is usually used on a daily basis.
I was not accustomed to working with children on the Autism Spectrum. I had to learn to approach a 1st grade child with Autism very differently than I had approached "juvenile delinquents".
Clearly, each child on the spectrum is as individual and different than each person in every other category. No child therapist has the same strengths, weaknesses, or interests. All child therapists have different coping skills. In this same way, not every child on the autism spectrum will like this racetrack. However, every single one of my clients on the Autism spectrum over the last couple of years have responded to this toy in very positive ways. There is no way I am expert enough to tell you why exactly. I just know that they do and that this is an excellent gift for children.
Image Credit: Dawn Rae - All Rights Reserved
Toy racetracks are fun.
Do you love toy racetracks?
Why Is the Neo Track so Popular? - I cannot tell you scientifically why my clients love this toy. But I do have some guesses.
- The bright, primary colors
- The ease of which the track snaps together and apart
- The flexibility of the track
- The "soft" feel of the cars (a sort of spongey texture)
- The movement of the cars.
- The fact that no pieces "fall apart" for the children that have motor skill problems.
- Our clients are medium to high functioning. Tantrums often end via distraction. They enjoy the Neo Track distraction.
Additional Toy Recommendation Information
Adults like it because the children can play with it fairly independently. All of my young clients have been able to put the track together and take it apart on their own. We help with the batteries that need replaced occasionally. The “tunnel” is sturdy and doesn’t tip over or cause problems in any way. Our set has no additional parts. Adults, especially me, like it because in the midst of the loudest, most emotional tantrums, I can say “Can we go get the track and talk?” Almost always, some sort of “yes” is indicated. As soon as the attention is on the track enough to dry the tears (or stop the cursing) we can begin the therapeutic part of the discussion. Talking over the very slight noise of the track is so much better than meeting under tables, in lockers, or running around the building.
According to customer reviews, there are other similar racetracks that can be used interchangeably with Neo tracks. We have only used our one Neo Tracks set. We have only used this one Neo Tracks set for years. This is going into my 2nd year of it being located in my office. And it was donated to me from it’s previous therapist owner. We currently use a small piece of tape to hold the battery doors shut. But otherwise, we’ve had no issues with the cars or tracks. And considering the punishment the set takes during tantrums, that’s very impressive. There are replacement cars that can be purchased. The reviews state that the replacement headlights do not light; like our original cars do. Otherwise, they appear to be the same.
Additional Sets, Track, and Cars.
I would recommend Neo Tracks for any child in the recommended age range. And will buy a set for my grand baby as soon as he is old enough. But, I especially recommend the set for the medium to high functioning children with emotional disorders. It is something that keeps their attention and allows them to feel successful. Order a Neo Tracks set for the child in your life... just remember to share.
Other Sites to Visit
There are many sites on Squidoo and elsewhere that list recommended items for special needs children. Here are a few that recommend things, or similar things, that we use in our work.
- Gift Guide from the National Autism Resources page
A large variety of items for a large variety of needs are listed.
- Autism's Gifts
A beautiful lens written by a mom about parenting a child who is diagnosed with Autism.