Our son Sam has Angelman Syndrome and needs assistance with all aspects of life. He is developmentally delayed, non-verbal, has mobility issues, cerebral vision impairment and epilepsy. Sam’s epilepsy is well controlled at present but he suffers from seizures when he is unwell. He has no sense of danger so needs constant supervision. Sam is an active, sociable 12 year old. He thrives on 1:1 activities so is very willing to do his therapies.
I initially used the Cerebra toy library service when Sam was first diagnosed with Angelman Syndrome at the age of 2. Sam was not meeting developmental milestones or responding to his own name so I felt he couldn’t interact meaningfully with the toys. Since then, Sam has progressed and matured and is very aware of his surroundings thankfully. I’m glad I rediscovered the Cerebra toy library as it is a fantastic loan service that Sam really benefits from.
Sensory toys are so expensive to buy and replace all the time as Sam can be quite rough with his toys. Getting free access to sensory toys important for developing concentration and visual, auditory and tactile stimulation is important for every disabled child. Everyone should know about this fantastic service! Having the opportunity to borrow the toys has been invaluable for Sam and our whole family.
Sam would receive daily sensory stimulation therapy in the sensory room at school but it’s important for Sam to also receive this at home. He loves to explore new toys and getting access to a variety of toys from the library helps us learn which are Sam’s favourite ones to play with. He has shown great excitement and awareness when a Cerebra sensory toy box arrives. I would take the toys out in an organised fashion, almost in an attention bucket therapy style so Sam can enjoy the intensive interaction and anticipation involved with the individual toys. Too much stimulation at once can cause Sam to be overwhelmed as his Cortical Vision Impairment poses some confusion and he would find it hard to make sense of the world around him. Supervision is needed when Sam has sensory toys as he would put small things in his mouth and be at risk of choking.
I really love the opportunity to spend some quality 1:1 time with Sam. He is usually unable to sit still so trying to catch his attention is challenging. I’ve discovered with the help of a toy box loan he can relax and show a calm demeanor to enjoy sensory based lights, music and tactile activities.
Family life is busy and the toy box can give a central focus for the rest of the family to engage in play within Sam’s world, as we explore the toys together. Sam loves having special time with his three siblings, his brothers are 10 years old and 2 years old and his sister is 6 years old. The loan library has facilitated these moments as the other children are inquisitive to see what toys come each time. We still have lots more loan options of toys to check out and look forward to seeing what we can borrow next.
Sam was very chilled out with the sensory in a suitcase! He got into his hanging tent and I was able to hand him UV tubes and spiky light up balls as he watched and smiled at the flashing lights and slow moving images in the background from the projector.