Autism and Early Intervention

April 1, 2014

by Larry Mestyanek, Ph.D. – President, TAG Toys, Inc.

Early intervention with an autistic child has proven to be the most promising approach for stimulating normal development. Like all infants and toddlers the primary source for stimulating physical and mental development for an autistic child is through the basic senses of seeing, hearing, touching and movement. The stimulation of these senses is the basis for more advanced learning.

The human brain is the only organ not fully developed at birth. The human brain actually grows as a result of stimulation from the environment. The growth is not an increase in the number of brain cells or the size of the brain but in the formation of dendrites which are extensions from a brain cell that create connections between and among other brain cells. These connections are pathways whereby information is learned and stored in memory. With repeated stimulation these pathways solidify and strengthen. This is the basis of intelligence.

Every infant and in particular the autistic child who cannot yet speak, read or write depends on building sensory sub skills to allow for more complex learning. Developing these sub skills is accomplished first by sensory input from the environment followed by sensory output from the child. The next step is the manipulation of the environment through movement. There is no greater reward (positive reinforcement) for a child than to cause an effect in his or her world. This is why children grasp, push and pull, twist and turn, and mimic observed behavior.

We all have heard the real estate maxim – location, location, location. With learning the maxim is sub skills, sub skills, sub skills.

TAG Toys are specifically designed to target the development of sub skills basic for more advanced leaning. A child is born into a 3 dimensional world and must begin learning in the third dimension. This is why all of the TAG Toys are what we call “manipulatives”. Toys that are played with, handled, touched, moved, “manipulated” and in the process providing the stimulation that causes the brain cell extensions (dendrites) to grow and strengthen.

The products most successful with the autistic child in developmental order are:
 Spin-Around Glitter Drum
 Geo Form Boards
 First Blocks
 Giant Knob Shape Puzzle
 Amazing Tracker
 Maple Shape Sorter
 Shape Sorter with Mirror
 Hide and Seek Teddy Bear Puzzle
 Memory Circles
 Tumble Down Counting Pegs
 Motor Shapes Sequence Board
 Size and Shape Comparison Puzzle
 Watch Me Count! Number Puzzle
 I Can Spell! Alphabet Puzzle
 Lock Box Memory Game
 Locks and Latches Activity Board
 Hobby and Art Table

TAG Toys is an environmentally friendly, family company that proudly hand crafts hundreds of educational toys in the USA, including toys that help children learn to spell and count. Please visit www.TAGToys.com

Join the conversation by asking TAG Toys a question on Facebook.


Great Gifts for Nephews, Nieces and Kids of All Ages

December 18, 2012

We are asked, “I have no idea what to buy for my one year old nephew, can you please recommend a good, reasonably priced gift?”

The one-year old’s we know best tell us that the toys they like the most are the most simple, straightforward and brightly colored toys.  From simple building blocks, to basic animal shape puzzles and simple geometric shapes most one-year olds are quick to show appreciation for almost any colorful toy you decide to give them as a gift.

TAG Toys Geo Form Board

Geo Form Board from TAG Toys

A simple toy like the TAG Toys Geo Form Boards make a great stocking stuffer or a good basic gift for any one-year old boy or girl.  This toy helps very young kids develop physical motor skills and introduces the concept of matching and fitting shapes together.

Other simple puzzles like Animal Shape Puzzles or the TAG Toys First Building Blocks also make great gifts for one-year olds.

TAG Toys is an environmentally friendly family-run business making wood Toys in the USA. If you are looking for a gift for a girl or a boy TAG Toys has great toys for Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and Birthdays. Please visit www.TAGToys.com

Ask a question to TAG Toys on Facebook.


Stocking Stuffer Gift Ideas for Toddlers

December 17, 2012

A Reporter asks, “What do you have for last minute stocking stuffers for a two year old?”

We think puzzles are a great toy for any youngster and one of our favorite educational puzzles for two-year olds is our Giant Circle Puzzle. This 11-inch round puzzle has 8 jumbo interlocking pieces with eight bold colors. The big pieces are easy for youngsters to grasp and fit together, and the puzzle can provide an everyday activity for a child to work on independently or with the help of a parent.

TAG Toys Giant Circle Puzzle

Giant Circle Puzzle from TAG Toys

Working with puzzles, children develop fine motor coordination skills and learn how to tell apart shapes and sizes in the context of working towards a goal.  This stocking stuffer gift recommendation is available online from TAG Toys and overnight shipping options are available.

TAG Toys is an environmentally friendly family-run business making high quality educational Toys in the USA. If you are looking for a gift for a girl or a boy TAG Toys has great toys for Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and Birthdays. Please visit www.TAGToys.com

Ask a question to TAG Toys on Facebook.


Puzzles Develop the Mind of Toddlers and Babies

December 16, 2012

We are asked, “What is the educational value of puzzles for toddlers and babies?

Puzzles are a very important part in the development of concepts, fine-motor skills and confidence for babies and toddlers.  From simply connecting colors that are alike, to fitting shapes together and to developing simple hand skills like grasping, holding and placing items together, puzzles are fantastic tools that help youngsters learn and develop a wide range of physical and mental skills.

Toddlers can start with basic puzzles, like horsesbutterflies and cat puzzles. As toddlers gain confidence they can be introduced to new, more complex puzzles which help keep them developing motor skills and mental growth.

TAG Toys Gears Puzzle

Gears Puzzle from TAG Toys

A natural progression for toddlers is to start with simple puzzles, and then move into size/shape comparison puzzles, and then to more creative types of puzzles like the TAG Toys Gears Puzzle. Puzzles are great for introducing more advanced concepts too, like numbers and letters. These types of puzzles often simply focus on introducing these characters to children, however more complex varieties also are designed to teach spelling and math.  Puzzles can also take the form of creative make-you-own puzzles which involve drawing and writing to help connect a child’s imagination and creativity to their puzzle-solving skills.

TAG Toys is an environmentally friendly family-run business making wood Toys in the USA. If you are looking for a gift for a girl or a boy TAG Toys has great toys for Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and Birthdays. Please visit www.TAGToys.com

Ask a question to TAG Toys on Facebook.


Educational Toys that Teach Kids Numbers and Counting

December 14, 2012

We are asked, “What kind of toys do you have that teach children about counting?”

It is really never too early to start teaching children about numbers, counting and even simple math. From the earliest days, parents can make a routine out of counting just about anything from steps and stairs, to the number of grapes sitting in the high-chair tray, and of course fingers and toes. Numbers can be pointed out on clocks and when reading books together.

For toddlers numbers are often a centerpiece of the toys they play with too, and toys like Watch Me Count! Number Puzzle, the TAG Toys Numbers Template and Traceable Numbers all have numbers as the central component of the toy.

TAG Toys Tumble Count Pegs

Tumble Count Pegs from TAG Toys

For teaching children about counting (versus just learning to recognize the design of numerals), there are toys like the TAG Toys Tumble Down Counting Pegs. This basic counting skills toy is a multi-sensory tool that helps teach counting through a visual, tactile and auditory combination. This type of cognitive development technique is a well established learning method where more than one sense is stimulated to help create cross-brain fitness.

Youngsters playing with the tumble down toy read the numbers on the cards and count while inserting the pegs into the slots. When they pull the handle, the pegs come tumbling down and are provided with an immediate reward that helps reinforce the lesson of learning about numbers, quantity and counting.

TAG Toys is an environmentally friendly family-run business making educational Toys in the USA. If you are looking for gifts for girls or boys TAG Toys has great toys for Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and Birthdays. Please visit www.TAGToys.com

Ask a question to TAG Toys on Facebook.


Toys That Help Children Improve Memory Skills

December 10, 2012

We are asked, “My child is really good at memorization and I would like to encourage her natural skill.  What kind of educational toys do you have that help children develop a good memory?”

A common technique for improving memory skills is to experience material being presented through multiple sensory dimensions. This multiple sensory memory technique not only strengthens the brain’s impression of the actual material being presented, but also strengthens the ability for the brain to make multiple connections to other stored information effectively making learning and memorization much easier.

TAG Toys Memory Box

The Multi-Sensory Memory Box from TAG Toys is like a Cross Fitness Trainer for Young Minds

Toys that apply the cross-sensory memory method technique like the Multi-Sensory Memory Box for example, combine visual input, sounds (speaking) and tactile stimulus (touching) together as one experience to develop the brain’s cross fitness skill.

The Multi-Sensory Memory Box from TAG Toys combines the visual presentation of information (upper portion) with a lower section that presents an actual object for the child to touch and hold.  As children (often working with a parent) verbalize the shapes and colors presented, the child effectively develops the  cross-brain memory skill which prepares them for more advanced learning achievements.

TAG Toys is a family company making environmentally friendly wood educational Toys in the USA. Whether you are shopping for girls or boys TAG Toys has great gifts for youngsters at Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and Birthdays. Please visit www.TAGToys.com

Join TAG Toys on Facebook.


Toys that Develop the Mind of a Baby

December 9, 2012

A reporter asks, “What toys from your collection are the best in helping to develop the brain and cognitive skills of very young children?”

The development of a baby’s brain is a complex, ongoing experience, and there is not a single toy that can accomplish the job on its own.  To sufficiently stimulate the brain of an infant a variety of incoming experiences and multi sensory (smell/taste), visual, verbal/auditory, and tactile (physical) stimulus need to be continuously provided.

TAG Toys Mystery Box

Mystery Box from TAG Toys Helps Sharpen Minds and Perception Skills of Youngsters

By the time children are about one and one-half years old, personal exploration to objects (like toys) in their environment becomes extremely important.  Mental images imprinted in their memory through tactile sensory experiences become much more efficient than through the visual or auditory modes, and toys like the TAG Toys Mystery Box fosters this stage of cognitive development.

Toys like the Mystery Box provide for a wide range of tactile experiences from basic shape recognition to fine size and shape discrimination. This learning center comes with 10 solid wood shapes and 10 matching shape tiles, and chalk for drawing exercises that develop fundamental memory skills, helps sharpen mental focus and heightens attention to details.

TAG Toys is a family owned business making environmentally friendly, hand-crafted wooden Toys in the USA. Whether you are shopping for girls or boys TAG Toys has gifts for Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and Birthdays for kids of all ages. Please visit www.TAGToys.com

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