What’s up with the overpriced “special” toys?


Last week on my blog, I started a Special Needs Swap Shop. I offered up a $1600 PONY Gait Trainer that Max used when he was little (someone took it). Then I invited readers to send me e-mails mentioning what sort of stuff they were looking for, and to let me know what sort of things they had to give away. I ended up talking on the phone with Ali, mom to a kid with cp, and we commiserated over how expensive stuff for kids with disabilities can be. “It’s like, the second you attach the words ‘special needs’ to something you can charge double,” she said. Sooooo true. I have literally paid double the price for an adaptive Connect Four game because it came with a special stand and rubberized pieces that are easier to hold.

I think there are fantastic toys out there to help kids with special needs. Developmental toys that encourage them to better use their hands, minds and senses. Adaptive toys that help them get beyond their disabilities and play, just like every other kid. I also think these toys are often overpriced. Sometimes, I’ll start flipping through a catalog of them and get ticked off as I see the prices—I feel like I’m being taken advantage of. Like many parents of kids with special needs, I’m vulnerable to wanting to get my child anything and everything that could help him. I don’t like being at the mercy of these companies.

To be fair, maybe these companies charge more for the toys they make or adapt because they are small operations and don’t have armies of people in China mass-producing them. That’s when you start to wonder why the big-gun companies can’t get find a way to make toys for our kids.

Have you also found toys for kids with special needs to be overpriced?

Ellen blogs daily at To The Max

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