A special vibrating teddy bear is bringing a smile to the face of five-year-old Karl Orr from Erith in the London borough of Bexley.
Karl has Autistic Spectrum Disorder and finding appropriate toys for him to play with can be expensive. But mum Anji Orr is currently getting a helping hand, from Newlife Foundation for Disabled Children.
Newlife is the UK’s largest charity provider of specialist equipment for children with disabilities and terminal illness. That equipment can range from hi-tech wheelchairs and communication aids through portable hoists and walking frames to specialist toys, to aid development.
The toys are part of Newlife’s Play Therapy Pod Service. Each pod contains a variety of toys that are designed to stimulate and encourage a child as well as helping them to be distracted from pain through play.
The pods also allow parents the opportunity to see which toys their child is most drawn to. As specialist toys can often be very expensive, families find it difficult and frustrating when they buy items that their child may end up having little interest in. The pods allow the opportunity for them to ‘try before they buy’.
Anji Orr added: “Karl has particularly latched on to a white vibrating teddy bear, which I keep finding in his bed.
“The occupational therapist at Karl’s school – Willow Dene in Plumstead, Greenwich – told us about Newlife; we are hoping that introducing him to new toys will help divert him from chewing his clothes.”
Karl received a Tactile Play Therapy Pod from a range offered by Newlife on a 12 to 16 week loan period, free of charge. The Pods – which each contain around £400 worth of toys – are available for a variety of needs and ages; from birth to 18 months, 18 months to three years, three to five years and five to 18 years.
Application forms for Play Therapy Pods are available online by going to www.newlifecharity.co.uk. Further information about Play Therapy Pods is available from the charity’s Care Services Team on 0800 902 0095 (free from UK landlines and mobiles).
To find out more about how Newlife supports children with disabilities and terminal illness across London, go to: www.newlifecharity.co.uk/greaterlondon
Pictured: Karl Orr