Our Stories

Toys That Meet Unique Learning Needs

“Thank you for these much needed supplies!”

– Romy Cisneros, PreK SAI at Webster Elementary

Thanks to a generous gift from a private donor and a grant by Pasadena Educational Foundation, 175 Pasadena Unified School District students with disabilities received specialized materials to support their unique learning needs.

Specifically identified by PUSD occupational therapists and ortho specialists, some of the items donated were:

  • Sensory squishy balls
  • Sensory fidget tangles
  • Playfoam
  • Wikki stix
  • Pop tubes
  • Tripod grip tongs
  • Ball tongs
  • Pipe cleaners and small beads

These manipulatives were provided by our partner Playopolis Toys. They facilitate hand strength, proprioceptive input, and coordination.

Advancing a students’ kinesthetic learning is difficult in the best of circumstances, and even more so while remote learning. Materials like these are required to further students’ physical and mental development. Megan Edwards, OTR/L Occupational Therapy Lead of the PUSD Special Education Department, has been using these materials in her virtual sessions. “I have done some stringing beads with students during virtual sessions and have used the tongs to work on hand strengthening in preparation for manipulation of scissors,” she says. “The kids have enjoyed the tactile play with the foam and squishy balls. It has been great to have some fine motor supplies at students’ houses during virtual OT sessions.”

Thanks to your donations and the work of partners like Playopolis Toys, PEF can best support the efforts of dedicated teachers.