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

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Educational Toy Helps Children Develop Thinking Skills

December 11, 2012

A reporter asks, “I’ve been browsing your collection and have seen a lot of toys that deal with sorting (beads, blocks, etc). What is the educational value of sorting? What does this activity teach?”

Sorting is a skill that is related to conceptual thinking, or the mental process of being able to identify objects and the classes of objects.  Conceptual thinking is a mental process that can be developed, and even strengthened with the right type of stimulus, and proper practice.

TAG Toys Classify Discovery Learning Center

TAG Toys Classification Discovery Toy Helps Young Children Develop and Strengthen Conceptual Thinking Skills

Conceptual thinking is a skill that should be developed as early as possible, as it is a core element of higher levels of thought including abstract, analytical and strategic mental skills.

Educational Toys like the Classification Discovery Learning Center from TAG Toys help children learn how to sort objects and helps kids practice separating individual objects into different classes. The Toy provides instant feedback, by allowing kids to easily check the decisions they have made for each compartment against the category guide card.

TAG Toys is a family company proudly making eco-friendly, wood Toys in the USA. Whether you are looking for gifts for girls or boys TAG Toys has great toys for youngsters of all ages at Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and Birthdays. Please visit

Join the discussion with TAG Toys on Facebook.

Wooden Toys and Tech Addicted Kids

October 23, 2012

We are asked: “Is there any way to avoid raising technology dependent kids?”

As old fashion as it sounds, providing children from a very early age (infant, baby, toddlers) with real, classic thinking and learning toys (like those from TAG Toys is clinically shown to promote brain/mental development, in addition to helping youngsters develop physical & motor skills, and social behavior.

TAG Toys Elephant Push Toy

Elephant Push Toy from TAG Toys

Although kids are clearly attracted to phones, tablets and televisions, the solution you are seeking, really might be as simple as providing children with a wide range of non-technology alternatives (real toys) that they can see and grab to play with. This solution is also supported by decades of research on how to best foster thinking, intellectual and physical growth through interaction with real physical playtime objects during formative childhood years.

TAG Toys proudly handcrafts its toys in the USA including baby block toys, educational infant toys, and spelling toys for kids. Visit

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

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

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