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.


Fun Toys That Also Give Physical Exercise to Kids

December 13, 2012

We are asked, “I’d like to encourage my youngster to move around more without suggesting to them, that they need exercise. What kind of toys do you have that are fun and encourage physical activity?”

Kids who play with other kids tend to be more physically active than are children who do not have friends to play with. If other kids aren’t around, parents should take the lead, and encourage simple activities like dancing, ask for a game of freeze tag in the yard, or take the family to the park to play on the swings or climb a tree. There are hundreds of ways to families, parents and kids to have fun that involve physical activity at the same time.

TAG Toys Easy Stand Dominos Set of 50

Set of 50 Easy Stand Dominos from TAG Toys

As a last resort, where no other kids are around and parents are dragged in different directions by travel or work, there are toys available that children can play with, which encourage physical movement, even if the child is alone during the playtime. Toys like the Stand Up Domino Collection from TAG Toys, encourages walking around, bending over and crawling between domino’s while setting them up for the eventual cascading knock over.

Other toys like TAG Toys Hollow Blocks and Ring Toss Games (Number Ring Toss and Word Ring Toss) also encourage physical activity. These games are entertaining for kids who are all alone, and even more fun when played with friends and family members.

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

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Games and Activities for Holiday Travel with Kids

November 19, 2012

We are asked, “My family is going on a holiday vacation. What kind of activities are best for a road trip?

Families can pack some imagination into their next family vacation or road trip with a simple Double Sided Lap/Game Board from TAG Toys. This lightweight, double sided write-erase/chalk-board doesn’t need software or even require batteries, but families can use it for endless hours of games, activities and family vacation fun.

TAG Toys Traffic Sign Toys

Traffic Sign Toys from TAG Toys

Travel time can be an opportunity to engage in discussions and improve interpersonal relationships between children and parents, but when children are muted into watching an in-car movie or trapped by an app, that valuable opportunity for family interaction is lost.

When long distances separate interesting landmarks families can turn to traditional travel games like, I Spy with my Little Eye, ‘Tic, Tac, Toe’, Guess my Word (formerly hangman), Keep Score (count cars vs. trucks), License Lists (keep a list of Car/Truck state license plates), and scores of other fun write/erase activities that invite everyone into the game.

TAG Toys is an environmentally friendly, family company that proudly hand crafts hundreds of educational toys in the USA including educational puzzles for infants, creative writing games  for toddlers and activity sets for children of all ages. Please visit www.TAGToys.com

Get involved in the conversation, ask TAG Toys your question on Facebook


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