I was lucky enough to be a winner in the Blog On Toy Awards raffle so I chose the Communication Toy Box from Talking in Pictures. Both my boys have communication challenges and we use the Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) so I was interested to see what the Communication Toy Box was all about.
Although we have many similar items to this at home I wanted to share it with you. This is exactly the sort of thing that I needed when we were just starting out. It is a great starter tool for people working with a child who has communication delay / difficulties.
The Communication Toy Box
The box comes with some helpful notes to get you started and a page on how to use the communication toy box. It also provides lesson plans based on the students level. It follows the same basic standard speech and language advice you should recieve and is a similar process to the first phase of PECS. Whilst this is very familar to me now, I know I didn’t have that knowledge when we first went for speech support with my kids.
The box contains some motivating toys and matching picture cards. It also includes a colour choice board. The box itself is well set out with sections for each toy and Velcro to keep the cards in the box. This would be very helpful for therapists or teachers who need to move around with the box. For me it’s just handy to have it all in a tidy box at home that I can pull out for some fun and speech therapy.
Speech motivating items
In order to get a child’s attention you need to use motivating items. Getting attention is the first step in speech development. Items like the spinners are great to get a child’s interest.
Once you have introduced the toy got the child interested you want to model communication and then encourage them to ask for more or again. Initiallly you would want the child to use the pictures to request the item and or the colour of the toy. Over time you will want to use the cards to develop speech but this will depend on each student.
If the toy doesn’t get their interest then move onto something else. Over time you will get to know each childs interests and what motivates them. Having a box with lots of options like this is really helpful when you are not sure what the child will like.
Our Favourites in the Communication Toy Box
As both my boys already use the Picture Exchange Communication System they got the concept straight away. The wind-up toys were a hit and we have also used these in our Attention Autism bucket.
My eldest loved the lip whistle, he kept pushing it in my mouth wanting me to whistle. We used the box regularly in the mornings while waiting for his school bus and about a month ago he got it, he can now blow the whistle himself. Whilst it is pretty annoying I am thrilled he has learnt a new skill.
My youngest was a fan of the pull and release cars. Some great ‘ready, steady, go’ action and colour choosing from him with these.
My favourite in the box was the jumping gingerbread man. A great surprise to see him jump so high and fantastic for grabbing the boy’s attention.
Value for money
Considering the time it would take to put the box together yourself it is reasonably good value for money. Also a great item to buy using DLA money if you get it.
For anyone just starting out with communication and or someone who needs to save some time this is a really helpful product.