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Gifts For Kids With Special Needs

The Huffington Post   First Posted: 12/ 6/2011 8:01 am Updated: 01/31/2012 2:23 pm

Ellen Seidman writes Love that Max: A Blog About Kids With Special Needs Who Kick Butt. Named for her nine-year-old son, who has cerebral palsy, it is a chronicle of the joys of being his Mom. It is also a practical guide, and has become a resource for her many readers who rely on her as their go-to and touchstone.

For the past few years she has created a gift guide like no other -- a list of ideas for children with special needs. This year's version was compiled after she received more than 100 toys, activities, sports gear and games from manufacturers, which she sent to kids themselves to review. As she writes on her blog:

Then the kids got their assistants -- aka their moms -- to write up reports about their experiences, the developmental boosts the items provide and, of course, how much fun they are. Whenever possible the kids' therapists checked out stuff, and I did, too.

Given the particulars of her readership, she doesn't divide the toys by age, but rather by what the toy helps or allows a child to do. "What works for your child's developmental stage, works," she writes, regardless of the age range written on the box.

Seidman has offered Parentlode a sampling of what she's found, and you can click through that below. You can find the entire list here.

Wishing the happiest of holidays (and the most perfect toy) to you and all the children in your life.

Toys And Activities That Help With Fine-Motor Skills
1  of  11
Large Farm Jumbo Knob Puzzle By Melissa & Doug

What it is: Farm characters on a wooden board with oversize, easy-to-grasp knobs
Reviewed by: Braden, 1, who has Down syndrome

"Braden was very interested in this and happy with it--he liked everything about it!" says his mom, Christine, of Blessed Again. "We are working on finger activity, and it's great for his fine-motor skills. The size of the knobs helps so much. With other puzzles, he swats at them. But he manipulated the pieces very well! I loved watching his little fingers just mold themselves around the knob."