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.

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Child Activity Set Encourages Imagination and Creativity

December 7, 2012

We are asked, “Our child is very into fantasy stories about magic and mythological creatures. Do you have any activity sets that are linked to these types of stories?

Stories about wizards, knights from days gone by and dragons are popular topics in children’s stories, books and movies. To help connect children to this realm, TAG Toys has an enchanted King’s Castle Activity Set.

TAG Toys Castle Activity Set

King’s Castle Activity and Play Set by TAG Toys

This large hardwood castle play-set includes ladders, a ramp and a drawbridge that all move, and even a dungeon. This heirloom quality castle stimulates creative, imaginative play among both boys and girls. Imaginative play is a very important stage of childhood cognitive development.  Independent play time allows children to think through certain personal issues and to develop responses to different social scenarios.

TAG Toys is a family business that has been making environmentally friendly toys for nearly thirty years in the USA.  TAG Toys has educational gifts and activity sets for girls and boys for Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and Birthdays. Please visit www.TAGToys.com

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Playing with Toys Promotes Independence

October 22, 2012

We are asked: “How can a parent encourage childhood independence?”

Encouraging childhood independence is a complex process that requires solo experimentation for children and the requirement for parents to let go a little bit. Independent playtime with toys is a well researched area that provides a balanced situational opportunity and a safe zone for children to independently think and experiment, which fosters mental growth and creatively. Parents who are interested in finding toys that are specially designed to assist in their efforts to develop a child’s independence can look to TAG Toys.

TAG Toys Auto Play Center

Auto Play Center from TAG Toys

The benefits of independent play with toys is well documented, and toys like those from TAG Toys have been developed with this research in mind. Our products encourage independent thinking, like a hobby/arts table which promotes creative and artistic development, to a family doll house which promotes independent role play and situational analysis skills, and even a fun little puppet theater where children can manage imaginary discussions and work through pretend problems by talking out loud, or create an original adventure.

Please see some of these toys in our Creative Play Collection at http://store.tagtoys.com/creative-play-c10.aspx

TAG Toys is proud to hand craft all its toys in the USA including baby blocks, developmental toys for infants, and spelling toys for kids. Visit www.TAGToys.com


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