My Journal - Week 61 (20Oct10)

Learning & Development:
Some developmental items we discovered while at the conference....

I wanted to post a few things about the conference, but in this post I wanted to focus on a few things that I discovered while we were at the conference.  Amongst the conference there were about eight booths set up for vendors.  One of the booths contained learning toys and developmental toys - from a company called "Smarty Pants".  I decided to purchase a couple of items that I knew would be helpful for Hunter.  Keep in mind, the physical developmental items require adult supervision because they are for physical development..

The first item I found was something I had already knew I needed but I was unable to find a suitable version of this item.  This physical developmental item is called a Balance Disk.  It is made by a company called "Body Sport".  The purpose of this disk is to increase stability, balance and coordination.  Since Hunter is now trying to develop his balance to walk, (and he is able to walk with help and also cruise the furniture) I figured that he could use something to assist him with the development of his stability, balance and coordination.  The reason I believe this device will be much more beneficial then other's out there on the market is because it is much more stable to the ground and made of a soft material that if Hunter topples over, he wont hurt himself on the item.  This disc can also be re-inflated or deflated from it's prepackaged state.  The other balance boards out there are made of wood and are not designed for younger or less stable children.  This blue disk has two different sides (top and bottom) that allow the disc to be used on various surfaces (carpet, tile or wood floor).  The different textures can also be used for different development exercises - such as standing, sitting, kneeling or tummy work.  The disc is so much more beneficial to me over a balance ball because of the height aspect.  This disc is low to the floor yet it does the exact same thing as the ball in terms of learning balance.  The price of this Balance Disc is $39.99 CAD.  This is pricey but is something that was designed with multiple uses and is much safer then a workout balance ball.  You may be able to find this item for a lower price.

Nubby sided for great carpet grip.

Smoother sided for different surfaces or textures.

The second item I discovered was a weighted ball (they come in various weights) called "Body Sport" soft weight ball that allows the individual holding it to increase their arm, shoulder and upper body strength.  One thing that babies and toddler with Ds have in common are low muscle toned limbs (especially arm and shoulder strength) and it's hard to find a great way to increase these muscles in a fun and interesting way.  This ball comes in weights of 1pound all the way to 6.6 pounds.  I know that Hunter enjoys playing with balls very much and this way, picking up this ball to throw it will increase his strength in his shoulders and arms which in turn will increase his ability to allow more weight baring on his arms for crawling and pulling.  The price of this soft weight ball is $19.99 CAD.  Again, this item is kind of pricey but the design is something that I could not duplicate that would be durable, safe and provide the same strength training.  You may be able to find this item for a lower price.

Body Sport Soft Weight Ball - 2.2 pounds.

Comes in six different weights (1.1, 2.2, 3.3, 4.4, 5.5 & 6.6 lbs).

Finally, these two items I did not purchase from the conference but I though they were worthy to comment on and I found them very helpful for Hunter.  The first item is called "Baby's Learning Laptop" made by V-Tech.  It is important for me to talk about this item because one thing that is a constant in Hunter's life is the fact that I spend a whole lot of time on my Laptop and he often wants to press the buttons and help me to type when he sits in my lap.  I purchased this baby laptop a few months ago and ever since it has allowed Hunter to develop his pointing and point to press.  Since this Laptop has three different functions - songs, familiar items in the home, and alphabet it is able to teach the following aspects to your child: Music, Objects, Shapes and Sounds.  The Baby's Learning Laptop is designed for babies 6 months and up and I have to say even though Hunter has had it for a while and he is now 14 months old,  it introduced him to the world of his own laptop.

Vtech Baby's Learning Laptop - even has it's own built in "mouse".
It has three different learning functions and two volumes.
Hunter really enjoys the bright lights on this Laptop.
Hunter also enjoys playing the 9 different songs - Here he's clapping along.
He understands when it tells him "Good bye!" that he can press buttons to start again.

The second item is called "Teach and Talk Laptop" made by BlueHat toy company which is a higher learning laptop and one that we actually started Hunter on before the Vtech one (yes, kind of backward) but I wanted Hunter to be able use the Vtech one that was more durable that he would be able to bang and and if it fell onto the floor from his highchair would not likely break.   The Teach and Talk Laptop (for older toddlers) we bought is actually designed more specifically like a laptop and even has a detachable mouse and the age group for that one is actually for age 3 years and up.

Teach and Talk Laptop with detachable mouse.

Teach and Talk screen.  It is monochromatic.
The keys are QWERTY and also resembles a real laptop.

The Vtech Baby's Learning Laptop is priced at $22.99 CAD in Toys R Us.  And the Teach and Talk Laptop we found at a general computer store for $9.99 CAD  Comparatively the Teach and Talk Laptop has more learning features such as mathematics, spelling, telling time, music, keyboard skills, memory and vocabulary.  Each unit is appropriate for development in different areas.   Admittedly I swap between the two units depending on what I want Hunter to focus on.  The Teach and Talk Laptop I only allow Hunter to use when he is sitting with me.  Since the age for that Laptop is 3 years of age and up, I ensure that he is supervised with that at all times.

I will be trying to put out some posts about the different developmental items I have purchased and how they have worked with Hunter.  I am really pleased with the various developmental toys and items that I have either purchased or received as gifts since he was born.  If anyone has any questions, comments or ideas, please feel free to send me an email!


  1. I have just discovered your blog and am enjoying it very much! I have a teenage son who has Down syndrome and who is in love with his new laptop.


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